Can I Have Your Tots?

I’m going to a potluck dinner tonight.  Normally, I hate potlucks and buffets.  Gross.  I don’t know where the food came from, I don’t like having to scoop stuff onto my plate, and just, EW.  But when a potluck happens among close friends, I don’t mind as much.  I trust them, so I’m not suspicious of how their food is made or if their dishes are clean or not.  And if I somehow drop my food onto the floor while trying to heap a portion on the plate, they’ll forgive me (and laugh, naturally).

 

I don’t cook, but I used to make something quite often when I was a vegetarian, not vegan.  I’m going to make it tonight, but without egg or dairy products.  It is the amazing concoction known as the TATER TOT CASSEROLE.  Yummmmmmmmmm.  I’m sure it won’t be the same without actual cheese (the fake cheese is never as good.  Dammit.), but it’ll be worth a try.  Besides, TOTS.  I love to eat ALL OF THE TOTS.  Here’s the recipe if you’re into it (by the way, I didn’t compose this recipe – I copied it from somewhere ages ago):

Ingredients:  

One teaspoon vegetable oil

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

One pound fake beef crumbles

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

One egg

1-1/2 cups tomato soup

One cup cracker or bread crumbs

Two tablespoons minced parsley

Three hearty shakes of hot sauce

1/2 cup grated cheese

1 32 oz bag frozen tater tots

Directions:  

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Heat up a medium sized skillet to medium high and add the oil.  Once the oil is hot, add the onion.  Sauté onion on medium high for about a minute, and then bring the temperature down to solid medium for five to six minutes, until the onion is shiny and opaque and a little soft.  Add the crumbles, salt, and pepper, breaking up the crumbles if there are any large pieces.  You want the mix heated, but not completely cooked.

2.  Lightly beat the egg with a fork, until yolk and white are combined.  Mix onion-crumbles mixture, tomato soup, egg, cracker crumbs, parsley, and hot sauce in a medium sized bowl.

3.  Add the mixture to an 11 by 8 (or comparably sized) casserole dish, spreading it out into an even layer.  Cover the mixture with the cheese – making sure you have it evenly spread across without any gaps (you wouldn’t want a bite without cheese, right?).  Then cover the cheese with the tater tots.  You’ll want a single layer of tots, with no doubling up.

4.  Place the casserole dish, uncovered, into the preheated oven, on the middle rack.  Don’t forget to shift the oven to bake.  Bake for 40 minutes (I’d check at 30 minutes just to be sure of where it’s at, because ovens do vary a little in temperature, and you don’t want the tots to burn).

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Hermit The Frog

Whenever I think of a hermit, I always picture Terry Jones’ character in Life of Brian. I’m not 100% sure that he actually was a hermit; more of a spiritual dude doing monk-type things (being naked and taking a vow of silence?  And growing juniper bushes?). But whatever.  Hermits.  They don’t go anywhere. They don’t socialize. They revel in their own abode, doing wonderful solitary things like sleeping, reading, watching television and/or movies. Maybe do a bit of internet lurking. I’ve been about that hermit life lately, and while most of their typical activities are right up my alley, it wasn’t something I particularly wanted to do.

Last year, around the holidays, two massively expensive, craptastic things happened.  A new washing machine was purchased, and my dude discovered a tiny hole in a pipe leading to our water heater, which resulted in a new pipe.  Hooray.  Basically, my laundry room was the asshole room of the house. These two things woke me up.  In order to take care of our crippling debt, we had to make some extreme changes.  Spending money BAD. No more going out to bars/restaurants and being a social butterfly.  This, along with the usual seasonal depression, turned me into a really sad panda.

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At the same time, I was right in the midst of taking an improv class, and really enjoying the shit out of it.  There were great folks involved, I was learning cool things, and I didn’t feel like I sucked at it.  Well, I missed one class because of illness, and then another because of the sad panda thing.  So I basically flunked it on my terms, because if I don’t do everything that is required of me, I don’t feel like I accomplished a task.  BOOM.  More sad panda-ness.

I think things are slowly getting better.  I realize sacrifices can be made without completely isolating myself.  As long as I learn more frugality and stuff.  No need to become Howard Hughes, who I just remembered as I was typing this blog, was a super crazy hermit in his later life.  No, I will not pee in jars and grow my nails out super long.  I’ll get out once in a while to see my peeps and support the local comedy scene.  I’ll rack my brain to come up with a cool idea for a podcast of my own, while still being a part of the Mouthy Broadcast.

You know, at this point, I feel like I’m about to break into Let It Go.

The cold never bothered me either.

Quick Book Review – The Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz

I surprisingly enjoyed this novel, despite it being yet another witch book. The twist on the Beauchamp family’s origins was interesting, and for some reason, the story kept me hooked. The chapters were short and to the point. Definitely not the greatest thing I’ve ever processed with my eyeballs, but yeah, I liked it. I give it bonus points for the surprise appearance of one of my favorite Norse gods! At some point, I’ll seek out the next chapter in the series, when I’m in the mood for some mindless fun entertainment.  I give it three stars.

I should add that this was one of my book club’s selections.  I’m always grateful when one of the books surprise me.  I can get cynical (no way, really, Meri?) and not want to read a pick when it seems like something I’m not going to like.  Which is pretty dumb.  THAT IS WHAT A BOOK CLUB IS FOR.

duh

Anyway, check out the FBI book club. We rock.

Happy Birthday to Tom Hiddleston

If you know me on the internet, whether it’s from this site or the super kickass Mouthy Broadcast podcast (Go here for info on the Mouthy Broads & my Tom blog specifically) I do, you know I am a fan of Thomas William Hiddleston. He is an extremely talented, funny, tall, English, hot, gorgeous, gifted, kind, and wonderful human being. I have had many celebrity crushes in my life, but Tom’s is more than that. It’s definitely love. I know we are meant to be together. PSYCH. Kidding. I am not like that. It’s just nice to see a phenomenally talented dude like him become successful and be brilliant and hot and positive about it all. He was born on February 9, 1981.  I hope he’ll be partying like mad tonight or tomorrow, because you’re only a 33 year old smoking hot famous guy once in your life, right? Eh, I don’t even know what that means. But he’s had a busy year so far.

Performing in the title role of Coriolanus on stage in London must take a lot out of the guy.  Just look at the preparation!

Then he had to go and be naughty in that Super Bowl ad for Jaguar.  Being bad takes effort!

Finally, he went to all the trouble of having a sexy photo shoot for Elle.

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So relax and enjoy your birthday, Thomas.  You deserve it.

A Musical Intro

Hi.  This is the first post on my new website.  There will be all kinds of fun stuff here, so go make yourself a nice cocktail, have a snack, and enjoy yourself.  This place is a work in progress, so bear with me.  Pretty soon I’ll have it all spiffy looking, with cool features, including my future podcast, Meri’s World.  But for now, I’m just going to post random things to get my creative juices flowing and whatnot.

Today, I’m starting my Saturday with a clingy cat on my lap, the computer in front of me, and some music playing.  My friend Peter created a playlist that’s been in heavy rotation lately, and one song in particular has been speaking to me.  It’s one of those songs I’ve loved since I was 14, but didn’t know why particularly until I got older.  Don’t Change by INXS.  

LYRICS ALERT!!!

I’m standing here on the ground
The sky above won’t fall down
See no evil in all direction
Resolution of happiness
Things have been dark
For too longDon’t change for you
Don’t change a thing for meI found a love I had lost
It was gone for too long
Hear no evil in all directions
Execution of bitterness
Message received loud and clearDon’t change for you
Don’t change a thing for me

I’m standing here on the ground
The sky above won’t fall down
See no evil in all directions
Resolution of happiness
Things have been dark for too long

Don’t change for you
Don’t change a thing for me

Baby Michael Hutchence.  *sigh*
I’ll leave you with that today.  Be good, kitty cats.  Oh, and here’s the playlist I’ve been jamming to all week:  Songs That Hit You In The Feels