Trashy Tamales To Go With Your Trashy TV

trashy TV [tra-shee tee vee] noun
that stuff we watch that's so dumb but so awesome

I watched Joe Millionaire. I've done weekly corporate viewings of a couple of seasons of Bachelor(ette)s. Laguna Beach. The Real Housewives. While I feel my brain cells leaving me and cover my eyes through much of it, like I'm watching Jaws or something equally horrifying, I still love a little trashy TV.

One F skinny jeans Jef? UhDORable.

Until he turned into a fame-hog and left poor Emily Maynard to suffer in her giant house with her perfect hair. Bring in Chris Harrison for a pep talk, y'all. Because those conversations seem so authentic

Just because something isn't the real thing doesn't mean it can't be great though. Take this recipe. I call them Trashy Tamales. Because they're not tamales AT ALL. They are Mexican food like Trista and Ryan are a classic love story. ::gag:: But they're reeeally good, and you should try them. And eat them while you watch that new Married At First Sight show... which is exactly what it sounds like. 

Our intellectual death is imminent, but pass me the remote anyway.

trashytamales

Trashy Tamalas

Do you notice how ugly these are? Look beneath the sour cream and pop of cilantro green. Yeeeah. Have low expectations on the aesthetics, people. Questionable at best. 

INGREDIENTS

1 box of Jiffy corn muffin mix
1 can creamed corn
eggs lightly beaten
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
a good pinch of salt
8 oz shredded Mexican cheese blend, Monterrey Jack, or cheddar
10 oz enchilada sauce (Ortega is your best regular-store brand. Old El Paso is from the devil.)
3 cups already cooked chicken, shredded or cubed
sauteed onions and/or peppers (optional)
black beans (optional)
avocado, sour cream, lime, cilantro to garnish (optional but kind of a game changer)

HOW YOU MAKE THEM

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Mix together the Jiffy, creamed corn, eggs, milk, spices, and about 2/3 of the cheese. You can even mix it in the 9x13 baking dish you'll bake this in. No one cares. Just check the corners to make sure everything is mixed well. Just saved you some dirty dishes.
  3. Bake it for 20 minutes until the top is just set. 
  4. While that's baking, gather whatever extras you want - the chicken, beans, vegetables, anything. 
  5. Pull the pan out of the oven, and poke a few holes in it with a fork. Pour half of the enchilada sauce over top, put all of the chicken and vegetables on top of that, pour the remaining sauce over that, and finally top it with the rest of the cheese. 
  6. Put it back in the oven for another 20 minutes. 
  7. Serve it with all of the toppings mentioned above; lime and cilantro elevate it from trashy to... well, just a little less trashy.

Enjoy every bite. Because this mess is DELICIOUS.

How My Mom Changed My Life With One Yes

When I was eight years old, I snuck out of the house. Hold, please. Not the house. Just my room. But it felt like sneaking out of the house because I was such a freakish rule follower, and the rules said I wasn't supposed to leave my room. As I crept down the hallway, I imagined the integrity gods swooping down from on high with their rulers and rapping my knuckles until I left my wicked ways. 

You would be right in assuming that I was a killer hall monitor. 

Still, I pressed on because I heard something coming from the living room, and my curiosity got the better of me. As I finally got close enough to peek into the dark room, I saw Mom on the floor in front of the television, wrapped in a quilt, her face glowing in the light.

She was watching Willow, one of the greatest trippy fantasy movies ever, and I was hooked. Up until that point, my movie experiences were limited to Disney cartoons and The Sound of Music, so this felt like something important, something I knew I needed more ofI sat behind the couch where I hoped she wouldn't see me and watched with as much intensity as I could squeeze out of my second grader's body, gulping the world down quickly in case I was suddenly banished to my kingdom I mean bedroom. 

But Mom didn't banish me.

I wonder what she was thinking as she certainly heard my feet padding down the hallway (I have a disappointing lack of covert skills), sure that I knew what I was doing. But instead of punishing me for breaking a rule, she lifted up her blanket, and welcomed me in.

We sat on the floor together and watched Willow and Madmartigan (Val Kilmer in freaky braids) journey through a magical land of monsters and crazy people to help fulfill an ancient prophesy. Wolf soldiers, bug-sized dudes in warpaint called brownies, a sorceress who was under an enchantment and looked like a possum, a bald dude getting pooped on by a bird... everything a Ron Howard Oscar-nominated movie should have. (Not a joke. Two nominations - sound and visual effects. It also got a couple of Razzies and Val Kilmer improvised most of his lines, so let's be realistic here.)

Creepy and kitsch and fantastical, it remains one of my favorite movies to this day, not only because of the sweet memory attached to it or because it's crazy and awesome and Val Kilmer's braids, but because it awakened my inner fangirl. And all because my mom let me break a rule.

As a parent, I don't have to say no just because it's easy. One of the most pivotal moments in my childhood, one that ushered me into the beautiful world of movies that I now hold so dear, was because my mom chose to say yes. Thanks, Mom. 

Do you remember the movie that woke up your inner fangirl? Will you tell me in the comments? Those stories are my favorite.

Weekend Sugar #005

Hey, local friends! Did you enjoy your Harry Potter Sugar Box yesterday? Anybody want to peek inside? Orders open this Friday, July 25th, for the August box...

THE PRINCESS BRIDE!

It's conceivable how much you'll love it. 


The Emmys announced their nominees last week, and Grantland has already written Matthew McConaughey's acceptance speech for him. And it's... good. It's good good stuff, y'all. Alright alright alright. Read it here


Every time I go on a road trip, I hope to get a strawberry shortcake ice cream bar from the gas station. You know the ones with the crumblies on the outside? Heaven. Neon pink heaven. Buzzfeed gathered up some recipes on how to make ice cream truck-ish treats at home, just like this one. Summer just improved tenfold. 


Buzzfeed wins again with 21 Fandom Mashups That Are Impossibly Perfect. This is my favorite one. 


In case you haven't seen Colbie Caillat's new music video Try, take a look. When I spend a lot of time loving on celebrities, sometimes I forget that they're regular people with just really excellent stylists and $300 haircuts. I'm not saying they're not attractive on their own. Just the opposite really. I've recently been learning that we all are. Sappy time, but beauty is in all of us, and it shows up when we believe it's true, when our eyes are open, even if our eyes aren't sporting mascara. This video came at a great time, and the actual song is actually pretty great, too. 


Trailer time. Christian Bale plays Moses, and Ridley Scott is going cray-epic on this thing. I. can't. wait. Although I say that about a ton of movies and then end up being too tired or poor to actually get to the theater and then have to wait until they're on FX. So I guess I'll see Exodus: Gods and Kings in about three years.


And in case you missed it, my sister and I have a new podcast episode for your fangirly ears. Packed full of the movie moments that make us cry every time. Every. TIME. It's a sickness really. 

Happy weekend, fangirls. 

How to Throw a Harry Potter Party

Tonight, my local friends are enjoying this month's magical Harry Potter Sugar Box (want to peek inside?), and I wish you could, too. But for those of you who don't live near me, you can still celebrate The Boy Who Lived with ease. How? Well, PINTEREST because searching "harry potter party" gives you an explosion of ideas that can't be tamed, much like Hermione's hair. ::knee slap::

Let's narrow it down based on your intensity.

 

Fangirl Level One

A few friends on a weeknight. No big thing. But still totally a big thing.

HARRY POTTER NAME CHAIN GAME

Print it off here. It's a character trivia-memory game that was in this month's box, and you'll love how it makes your Hogwarts brain spin.

HEDWIG CUPCAKES

All you need are iced cupcakes (store-bought, boxed, or homemade), Oreos, and M&Ms or Reese's Pieces to make an owl face. So fun, and it's cupcakes and Oreos so no one will hate it.

COSTUMES

Wear your graduation robe, a scarlet scarf, or a pair of round glasses from the dollar store to greet your guests at the door. 

 

Fangirl Level Two

For when the obsession runs deep but the prep time runs short, try a few of these to add to the ideas from level one. 

BUTTERBEER

This recipe looks spot on, and since the girl modeled it after what she drank at the actual Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction, I trust her tastebuds. 

Recipe and photo from Bakingdom. 

Recipe and photo from Bakingdom

ROUND ROBIN

This is my favorite party game in any situation because you need zero supplies and it works with everything. Simply come up with a Potter category - character names (play Round Robin before playing Name Chain if you do both), spell names, couples, which Patronus is whose, etc. - and go around the circle with your answers. When someone can't come up with one, that person is out. Play until one person is left. 

BATHROOM CHAMBER

Write a creepy Chamber of Secrets message on your guest bathroom mirror in lipstick. I love coming up with ways to make the bathroom part of the fun. 


Fangirl Level Three

This is the party you plan days or weeks in advance. You send invitations and make plans and do crafts at night while watching the actual movies. And you invite me because you have to.

INVITATIONS

Pinterest is crawling with invitation ideas. Scrolls attached to owl balloons, Marauder's Maps, potion recipes, Howlers, tickets to board the Hogwarts Express... deciding on one is half the fun. Go forth and search. 

MUSIC

Spotify is the best for party music. I just searched "Harry Potter" and got several hours of the actual score. Music really sets the tone and keeps the initial guests from feeling awkward if conversation starts slowly. Have it playing 15 minutes before folks are supposed to show up, and get the wizard jams pumping. 

DECORATIONS

Let your invitation be your guide. Are you drawn to the train ticket? Boom, make your front door the 9 3/4 platform

The owl invitation? Cover the living area in owl balloons.

Photo credit and instruction at Uniquely Grace. 

Photo credit and instruction at Uniquely Grace

Potion recipe invitation? Put assorted glass bottles on every surface labeled with potion ingredients.

There are also Hogwarts House flags and candles hanging from the ceiling and broomsticks and this party will be amazing no matter what you choose. 

I made these wands for the Harry Potter Sugar Box, and they're UH. MAZING. I want them all. My sister ordered a box, and I let her pick her wand because family perks. Again, a screenshot of our conversation because she's funny. 

text convo.PNG

ENTERTAINMENT

Go full-out and divide your guests into Houses and play a ton of games to win the House Cup.

  • Harry Potter Name Chain timed with teams earning points based on speed
  • Round Robin
  • Gather quotes, and quiz teams on who said them
  • Name a moment or scene, and quiz teams on what book the moment is from

FOOD

This is where you can just go crazy. Again, search Pinterest and get overwhelmed. There are a few directions you can take, so choose what you feel comfortable with and what will keep you out of the kitchen during the party. The Greatest Entertaining Rule Ever: Do as many things ahead of time as you can. 

Go English. Dinner foods like roast potatoes, sausages, shepherds pie, etc. 
Honeydukes. Candies and fudge all with Honeydukes names. No one will care about authenticity. 
Harry icons. Cookies with the Deathly Hallows sign. Pretzel wands. Pumpkin pasties. 

Here's the thing, my witches and wizards. This is supposed to be fun. You choose what you can do, what you think is fun, what will make you excited but not crazy. Parties don't need your apologies and your "Sorry I didn't get to that!" People want to see you and have fun. They have no idea what plans you didn't get to. The lighter you feel, the better your party will be. Just relax, my friends.

A lot of themes require a ton of creative legwork. Fortunately, the Harry Potter love runs deep in the Internet world, so you don't have to be original unless you want to.

Potter Party People, y'all.

Citrus Lavender Pound Cake

Let's discuss why Michelle Williams is the human version of citrus lavender pound cake.

Michelle is yellow and dainty and makes you smile.
So does this cake.

Michelle is mannerly and classy, a perfect match for those fancier occasions. 
So is this cake.

You might not know her by name, but you recognize her when you see her and immediately like her. 
You're the same way with lavender. 

She's consistent in who she is but, like all of us, has a number of complementary traits that are greater than the sum of their parts.
Lemon, orange, lavender, rosemary, almonds, butter - all individual and lovely on their own, but together? A delightful sprite of a cake.

I like to think this cake works outside the system, too. Sometimes when you try and reinvent a classic, you lose the essential sense of the very thing you're trying to uniquely preserve. In this case, there's no loss. Just an awesome pound cake - a fresh take on an old soul.

Just like Michelle. Told you.

Citrus Lavender Pound Cake

INGREDIENTS

16 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
eggs
3 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
zest of one orange
zest of two lemons
1 tsp fresh lavender
1 tsp fresh rosemary
1 3/4 cups cake flour (not all-purpose)
1/4 cup sliced almonds

HOW TO MAKE IT

  1. Put the cubed butter in a large bowl or in your stand mixer's bowl, and let it hang out to soften while you gather everything else, about 20 minutes max. Also, put the eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla in a liquid measuring cup, whisk it together with a fork, and let it hang out for the same amount of time. Soft butter and room temperature eggs are important in pound cake.
  2. Put the sugar, salt, zest, and herbs in a food processor. Pulse it together a few times to make the best smelling sugar known to man. Let it hang out there until you need it.
  3. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees with the oven rack in the middle. Grease and flour a 8.5 x 4.5 inch loaf pan. If your loaf pan is a bit larger, still use it. The cake might not take as long, so keep an eye on it.
  4. Beat the butter on medium-high until it's shiny and smooth, maybe two minutes. Scrape down the bowl once in the middle to make sure it's all the same. 
  5. Reduce the speed on the mixer to medium, and gradually pour in the sugar. It'll take a solid minute, so please go slowly. This process allows the sugar crystals to gently cut into the butter, transforming into its essential fluffy-mixture self. Slow wins the race here, guys. Once the sugar is completely in, beat another five minutes on medium-high. Trust the times here. You have to be mix a long time to get the perfect texture.
  6. Reduce the speed to medium again, and add the egg mixture in another minute-long steady stream. Scrape down the bowl, and beat until light and fluffy, about three minutes. It might look curdled, but that's normal and fine. 
  7. Sift the cake flour on to a piece of wax paper, and gently fold it into the egg mixture in three additions. Gentle touch, loves.
  8. Pour the Michelle Williams batter into the prepared pan, and sprinkle the almonds on top. Pat them down a touch if any are sticking up. Bake for 70-80 minutes until the cake is golden brown. When you stick a toothpick in the center, it should come out clean. Let the cake cool for at least 15 minutes in the pan, and then gently remove it to a cooling rack for at least two hours. It has to be completely cool before you cut it, or the texture will suffer. It's best stored well wrapped at room temperature for a solid three days.

Adapted from the classic pound cake recipe from the Cook's Illustrated Baking Book.