The Sewing Bug

***This post contains affiliate links.  If you click one and make a purchase I may receive a small commission!***   Have I told you yet that I got a sewing machine for Christmas?  I did.  Actually, I like to tell people I got the house wife starter kit for Christmas:  a sewing machine, a set of pots and pans and coffee mugs.  And I couldn’t be happier with those gifts!  I’ve made a few simple things with the sewing machine, but I’m itching to make something a little more substantial.  Like curtains or pillows!

If you happen to be a beginner sewer and you are in the market for a sewing machine, might I recommend to you the one my sweet husband got me for Christmas?

Computerized 80 Stitch Sewing Machine Brother Sewing https://www.amazon.com/dp/B013SQR9O2/ref=cm_sw_r_pi_dp_x_sorLybTWP85VN:

It’s a Brother machine and it has been super simple to learn.  I haven’t done more than sew some straight lines with it yet, but I had basically no clue how to even thread it and the instructions have been very easy to follow.  It has three speed levels, which is great for a beginner like me because if you keep it on super slow mode, you are almost guaranteed a straight line.  It might take you a little longer than most, but it will be straight.

So, I’ve got the machine, all I need is some fabric to inspire me, right?  I’ve purchased fabric from Fabric.com in the past and was very pleased with it.  The prices are light years better than my local Joann Fabrics and they have a HUGE selection.  I did a very simple search for Home Decor Fabrics between $9-$15/yd and I came up with 54 pages of fabrics to drool over.  You can refine your search of course in many ways: by measurements, by theme or by pattern if you want to narrow in on something in particular.  My favorite feature of the site is the Design Board which allows you to sort of pin a bunch of different fabrics together so that you can reference back to what you liked while browsing.  Here’s what mine looked like after a good hour of poking around:

I’m obsessed with that turtle pattern.  But I love the two navy and green patterns together.  And each and every one of those fabrics is under$13/yd.  Get yourself over there and start making a design wall of your own – Fabric.com .

Game Day Bingo

Anybody out there not really care about the big game on Sunday?  Are you just in it for the snacks and the excuse to get together with friends?  Do you feel awkward when everyone else is cheering or booing and you have no clue what is going on?  This post is for you (so isn’t this one if it’s the snacks you’re really in to!)  I’ve devised a way to keep your head in the game and look totally engaged while still having fun.  It’s a little thing I like to call “Game Day Bingo”.

I found a great site called My Free Bingo Cards.  It is super easy to make your own customized Bingo Cards for any occasion.  Mine are football themed, of course, but the possibilities are endless.

Game Day Bingo:

You can create your own cards, or print mine with the link at the bottom of this post called Game Day Bingo.  If you want to create your own cards, all you have to do is go to the Bingo Card generator, add your title and your words (the hardest part was coming up with a bunch of football related words.  My cards have 25 squares, so I needed more than 25 words in order to make each card fairly unique), select a theme and make a couple of other easy choices and hit Next to generate your cards.  You can print up to 30 for free.

I think this is great for kids who might not be that into football.  They just have to listen to hear the words on their card to be said throughout the game and when they get five in a row, they win! It would be a super smart idea to laminate these bad boys so that the kids can use a dry erase pen to mark off the words as they get them, then just erase the whole thing after someone wins and start again.  Otherwise you will need something to cover each space with, like a small candy (M&M’s are perfect!) or coins.  It will probably be a good idea to have a few inexpensive prizes on hand for the winners.  My kids love prizes.  And they don’t love it when someone tells them, “You won!” and then they don’t get a prize.  Just FYI.

I hope you enjoy bingo and I hope you enjoy the game!!

Game Day Bingo

Can He Even Do That?

Almost every day I find myself turning to my husband or my coworker or a stranger on the street and saying, “Can he even do that?”.   The response is always “Apparently” with a side of “I can’t believe this is happening” face. Donald Trump’s latest executive order on immigration makes me ashamed and angry.  Ashamed to live in a country that elected this person and also a little ashamed at how much I have taken our democracy for granted and how little I know about how it works.  I can’t be alone on that.  I’m a college educated person.  I had four years of History and Western Civ in college. I studied democracy from it’s roots. I took US History classes.  Why did I not know how much the President can actually do all on his own?  “Checks and balances” was the phrase that kept popping into my head to comfort myself.  When do the checks and balances start??  Why did I wait until now, when it’s possibly too late, to speak my mind about this and re-educate myself?

I feel compelled to do something, but I don’t even know what to do.  Luckily, I have at my fingertips all the knowledge in all of the world.  Literally.  I’ve been researching ways to resist (other than marching) the policies that are being put in place and I wanted to share some of them with you.  Here’s what I have found:

  • Indivisible – This is a website and practical guide with steps you can take to show your resistance to Trump’s policies.  This is based on the grass roots efforts of the successful, if unpalatable, Tea Party.  I don’t like what they stand for, but they sure can organize.  Happy to steal their ideas.  Thanks Tea Party!
  • Five Ways to Be a Silent Protestor – These are five simple ways to protest without marching.  My favorite, #4, Stay Informed.  I like to google “fact check Trump” and see what fun stuff I come up with.  I actually laughed out loud at this one that I found on NPR:

I had a standing ovation like you wouldn’t believe….They actually — they were standing from the beginning. They didn’t even sit down. It was one standing ovation, the whole thing.” Trump in interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Jan. 26

THE FACTS: Trump never told the CIA officers to sit at the beginning of his speech, and it’s standard protocol without a directive from the president, they wouldn’t have sat down, as Huffington Post’s S.V. Date explains.

  • If you can’t stomach all of the political stuff but want to feel like you’ve done something to help someone, donate to a refugee fund.  International Rescue Committee has a 4 star rating.
  • 10 Actions/100 Days – The Women’s March organizers will send you one thing you can do every ten days to protest.  The first is to write a postcard to your representatives.  They even made a postcard for you to print.  Doesn’t get much easier than that.
  • Read this statement by Madeleine Albright and sign the petition by clicking on the link.  And I dare you not to cry as she describes arriving in New York Harbor.

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard about the executive order on immigration and refugees that the President signed on Friday. It bans Syrian refugees from entering our country, suspends the entire refugee program for 120 days, cuts in half the number of refugees we can admit, and halts all travel from certain Muslim-majority countries.

I felt I had no choice but to speak out against it in the strongest possible terms.

This is a cruel measure that represents a stark departure from America’s core values. We have a proud tradition of sheltering those fleeing violence and persecution, and have always been the world leader in refugee resettlement. As a refugee myself who fled the communist takeover of Czechoslovakia, I personally benefited from this country’s generosity and its tradition of openness. This order would end that tradition, and discriminate against those fleeing a brutal civil war in Syria.

There is no data to support the idea that refugees pose a threat. This policy is based on fear, not facts. The refugee vetting process is robust and thorough. It already consists of over 20 steps, ensuring that refugees are vetted more intensively than any other category of traveler.

The process typically takes 18-24 months, and is conducted while they are still overseas. I am concerned that this order’s attempts at “extreme vetting” will effectively halt our ability to accept anyone at all. When the administration makes wild claims about Syrian refugees pouring over our borders, they are relying on alternative facts — or as I like to call it, fiction.

The truth is that America can simultaneously protect the security of our borders and our citizens and maintain our country’s long tradition of welcoming those who have nowhere else to turn. These goals are not mutually exclusive. Indeed, they are the obligation of a country built by immigrants.

Refugees should not be viewed as a burden or as potential terrorists. They have already made great contributions to our national life. Syrian refugees are learning English, getting good jobs, buying homes, and starting businesses. In other words, they are doing what other generations of refugees — including my own — did. And I have no doubt that, if given the opportunity, they will become an essential part of our American fabric.

By targeting Muslim-majority countries for immigration bans and by expressing a clear preference for refugees who are religious minorities, there’s no question this order is biased against Muslims. And when one faith is targeted, it puts us all at risk.

I will never forget sailing into New York Harbor for the first time and seeing the Statue of Liberty when I came here as a child. It proclaims “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” There is no fine print on the Statue of Liberty, and today she is weeping.

This executive order does not reflect American values. If you agree, make your voice heard now.

https://my.ofa.us/Stand-Up-For-American-Values

Thanks,

Madeleine Albright
Former Secretary of State

There are a million reasons I’m not on board with Trump, but the Executive Order on immigration is possibly the scariest.  I’m not a particularly religious person, but I know if we ask the question, “What would Jesus do when faced with women and children who are fleeing from places RAVAGED by war?” the answer would not be, “Let’s make them wait 90 (more) days to come to the United States”.  If you find a way to justify to yourself that Jesus would be on board with this executive order, you are reading the wrong bible.

I’ve never asked for my work to be shared, but I’m going to now.  If you found this post useful, please share it in as many forms of social media as you can.  You can do so with the sharing buttons that should be staring at you from the left sidebar or at the bottom of the post.

 

Gluten Free Game Day

Who’s excited for the big game on Sunday?  As in years past, I have what is possibly an irrational fear of saying the name of the game that is being played on Sunday because I think the NFL will try to make me pay for using it.  Because the NFL is totally stalking my blog.  I got my eyes on you, Goodell.  As a New Englander, I’m excited to have the Patriots in the game, but I will be straight with you, I am mostly excited about the food.  Cause that’s my life. I’m planning on making a bunch of Gluten Free Game Day treats.  I don’t plan on telling anyone they are gluten free because some people will pull a face about it and think the food will be “healthy” or “bland”.  Could not be further from the truth!

Most of what I’ll make on Sunday are recipes I’ve shared here before, so I’ll give you some pictures and links below, but I have not shared my Gluten Free Sheet Pan Nachos, so here is a quasi recipe for those.

Gluten Free Sheet Pan Nachos

About a bag of Gluten Free Nachos (Tostitos will do!)

Salsa

1 Bag of Mexican Blend Shredded Cheese

1/2 Red Onion, chopped

3 T Green Onion, chopped

3 T Sliced Black Olives (PS, I’m the only person in my family who liked black olives on the nachos.  Use with caution.  Know your audience).

  1.  Preheat the oven to about 350.  You are really just going to melt the cheese and toast the nachos a little, so not particularly important what temp this is at, but if you go hotter, just keep an eye on them so they don’t burn.
  2. Add a good layer of nachos to your sheet pan.  Cover the whole pan so that you can’t really see the bottom.  My goal was to have enough nachos spread out that none of my toppings would make it to the pan, but not so many nachos that some of the toppings would not make it to the underlayer of nachos.  Got it?
  3. Add your veggies
  4. Spread on some salsa.  I used a spoon and did my best to find that delicate balance of not too much and not too little.
  5. Add your cheese
  6. Pop them in the oven for a bout 8-10 minutes until the cheese is melted and the nachos are warm.

I love these!  The week after I made these for the first time, we ordered nachos from a restaurant for take out and it just wasn’t the same. They were soggy by the time we got home and the toppings were only on the top, not evenly spread out as the sheet pan allows you to do.  This is definitely an instance where home made is better than take out.

Now, woman cannot exist on nachos alone.  So to round out the menu, we’ll have:

Gluten Free Burger and Fry Bites

Gluten Free Veggie Pizza 

That’s some good eats.  Can’t wait for the big game!

 

Monthly Wrap Up

I had plans for a post about shopping at Ikea for today, but this month is about to come to a close and it has been an absolute whirlwind!  I feel like I had a lot of solid posts and I’ve actually gained a bunch of new followers, so welcome to all of you!  You have no idea the thrill I get when I have an alert telling me I have a new follower.  It makes my day every time!  So, welcome aboard and I hope you find some fun projects, recipes and some laughter here!

So, number one crazy thing that has happened this month just happened today.  I work part time outside of the house and today… I GOT LAID OFF!  I’m sad that I’m going to be leaving the company that I’ve worked at for seven years and don’t get me started on the people that I work with.  They are my family. I’ve spent 6-8 hours a day with them everyday for the last 7 years.  I can’t think about not seeing them everyday.  For now, I want to focus on the positive side.  I will be home full time for at least a little while, which means I will be focusing big time on this here blog.  If I can manage to get this thing making me some money, maybe I won’t have to go back to work at all!  Expect lots of good content because I will have plenty of time to create it!

Number 2 crazy thing also happened today. I was featured in one of Hometalk‘s emails today and oh my, I have like a 1000% more people coming to see this blog today than ever before.  If you happen to be a blogger and you are reading this, get yourself on Hometalk.  Their features are the real deal.

I had some really fun posts this month, too!  If you are new here and haven’t made it through any of the posts, here are some of the fun things I’ve been up to:

I painted these tiles which are a precursor to a top secret project that will be on the blog in a couple of months.  Sadly, the tiles pictured above were destroyed in my attempts to find a good way to seal the tiles.  I did, however, find a way to seal the tiles.  And you can find out all about that in this post:

I also shared how I painted my favorite upholstered chair.  This is the post that was featured on Hometalk today. Thanks Hometalk!!

And I made some pretty delicious food this month, too.  If I do say so myself.  Other people said so, too.  Like my daughter and my husband.  These Gluten Free Burger and Fry Bites were legendary.  As in, my family keeps asking me to make them again, so they are a legend now.

I also made some delicious and easy gluten free Peanut Butter Cookies and some gluten free Chicken Fried Rice as an early Chinese New Year celebration.

This is year is off to a crazy start! I can’t wait to see where we end up!!

 

 

How To Seal Painted Tiles

***This post contains affiliate links.  If you click one and make a purchase, I may receive a commission!***        I was so excited to see a massive response to my post about painting tiles with Sharpies and Rubbing Alcohol!  So happy you all liked it and welcome to anyone new who found my little blog because of it!  I have exciting news!  I have an update on how to seal painted tiles!  Just in time for me to get started on a pretty important project that I will share when it is done!

First, let me tell you what did not work.

  1.  Mod Podge – I first tried painting on some clear Mod Podge.  This left some paint lines on the tile and I absolutely hated that. It ruined the look of the tile.  Also, when I put it to a water test, the Mod Podge came off in clumps.  The Queen of “How to Remove Mod Podge” (my most popular post) should have remembered that Mod Podge is water soluble and therefore would not stand up to water.
  2. Shellac – Shellac, in case you didn’t know, is a natural product made of bugs and alcohol.  Had I known that it was made of bugs and alcohol before I purchased, you better believe I never would have bought.  Because, a. BUGS! and b. Alcohol is exactly what I used to activate the color blurring when I made the tiles in the first place.  So, of course, the first thing that happened when I sprayed shellac on the tiles was that the ink started to blur.  Which, by the way, ruined ALL of the tiles pictured above, so I was super bummed about that.

So what did work?

Krylon UV Resistant Clear Acrylic Coating  did the trick.  It was extremely easy to apply, although it smells horrendous and I strongly recommended doing it in garage with the door open or somewhere outdoors if possible (remember to keep your project covered so nothing lands on it.  Like a fly).  I did it in my basement and it made the first floor stinky for a while.  But, other than the smell, it does not affect the ink in anyway, as long as you remember to shake the can for at least a full minute. I didn’t see any new blurring.  The finish is completely clear.  I ran it under hot and cold water and did not have any issues.  I still would probably not put this finished product in the dishwasher, but my plans for this project wouldn’t require that anyway.  If you’re making coasters, I would say hand wash them, just to be safe.

And, further proof that the Sharpie/Alcohol painting comes out great every time:

The tile does still need to cure for a couple of days before it’s completely dry, but I’m thrilled to see that the hot and cold water had no effect on it.  This was my biggest concern as my project will eventually be out in the elements.  I’ll keep an eye on it and I’ll be sure to post an update if there happen to be any hiccups as I continue to the project!

 

Chicken Fried Rice – Home Made & Gluten Free

Who wants to impress their family with a special recipe for Chinese New Year?  I made Chicken Fried Rice – home made & gluten free – this weekend and my family loved it.  Nearly as good as take out, which I will accept as a major compliment because our take out place is on point with their rice.

If that picture of ingredients is intimidating, I feel you.  This was kind of a lot of work.  You have to cook and shred the chicken and cook the rice, but once that’s done, it comes together quickly.

Chicken Fried Rice – Homemade & Gluten Free

2-3 Chicken Breasts, cooked & shredded (I used three)

3-4 cups of cooked rice – (I used three bags of instant rice)

1/2 red onion – chopped

1-2 c frozen peas & carrots (I used a medley blend that also had corn, lima beans and green beans.  The more veggies the better, right?)

3-4 T Soy Sauce (Remember to use Gluten Free soy sauce if you are GF.  La Choy is gluten free).

2 T Sesame Oil

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 T chopped green onion

  1.  Heat a LARGE skillet (whatever you have that is enormous because this is a lot of food by the time you are done.  Mine was really not big enough. Or just cook in two batches.  Which is what I should have done in the first place) on medium and then add the Sesame Oil.  Sesame oil might be the only thing not lurking in your fridge, but don’t skip it.  It gives an amazing flavor and aroma!
  2. Add the peas and carrots and chopped onion and cook until onions are translucent.
  3. Move the veggies to one side of the pan and add your egg.  Scramble the egg until cooked, then mix it into the veggies.
  4. Add in the cooked chicken and rice and soy sauce.  My recommendation on the soy sauce is to add it in slowly and taste as you mix.  Soy sauce is super salty so you don’t want to add too much, but you also want to give your rice some color.  It’s a balancing act.  I’m not a fan of super salty foods, so I went a little light on the soy, which is why my rice is slightly blonde.  Kind of like me.

For such an enormous amount of rice, this went really quickly. It was one of those things that was kind of fun to make if you’re in a cooking mood.  Lots of chopping and lots of steps to get through.  It would be fun to serve and maybe even have the kids help cook it for Chinese New Year, which starts on January 28th. Just five short days until the year of the Rooster!

 

Well Behaved Women – The Real Intention of that Quote

I don’t have a ton of energy to talk about anything important.  If you’re curious about how I feel about this inauguration today, see this post.

I did hear something interesting on my favorite NPR show, Fresh Air, this week.  You know that quote, “Well behaved women seldom make history”?  I’m sure you’ve seen it somewhere before and you may have even seen it attributed to many different women.

It was actually written in 1976 by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, a historian and Harvard professor and Pulitzer Prize winner.  She didn’t mean it the way we all have come to understand it.  The quote has become a rally to break the rules to get noticed.  And I’m fine with that if that’s what you’re into, by the way.  If you’ve already crocheted your hat and are on your way to march in your city tomorrow, you go girl.  It’s a worthy cause.  We’re a worthy cause and if marching is what you want to do, go on and do it.

But, if you are a well behaved woman and you don’t want to break the rules, fear not.  Because Laurel Thatcher Ulrich was just stating a fact, not issuing a rally cry.  The quote is from an article, “Vertuous Women Found: New England Ministerial Literature, 1668-1735” about the well behaved women who came before us and how important their lives were in history.  The point wasn’t that the well-behaved women were not doing enough to change the world.  The point was that women like Laurel Thatcher Ulrich wanted to tell their story.

So, if you’re not marching tomorrow or if you’re not interested in making history, then your job is to continue to be the strong, if quiet, woman that you are and shine a light on and lend support to other strong and quiet women around you.  Because we might not make the history books, but we will change the world if we all uplift the women around us.

How to Paint with Sharpies and Alcohol

***This post contains affiliate links. If you click one and make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no cost to you.***    ***UPDATE – After you read this post, click here  for instructions on how to seal your tiles!***   Before you get too excited, I’m not talking about painting with wine, I’m talking about rubbing alcohol.  Although feel free to add the wine if you like.  Just drink it, don’t paint with it.  Or maybe wine is a fantastic additive for paint.  What do I know?  I’m just a humble crafter. The point is people, you can make totally awesome art with wine and alcohol!  No, I mean sharpies and alcohol!  I swear I didn’t drink any alcohol in the making of this craft.  It must be the Sharpie fumes.  (Just kidding, Sharpie’s have barely any fumes.  I’m just kooky in general today).  Who wants to learn how to paint with Sharpies and Alcohol? (and wine). Well, let’s do it!

How To Paint with Sharpies and Alcohol

Materials

Sharpies, various colors

91% Rubbing Alcohol, not the 70%**

4.25 x 4.25 inch ceramic tiles (or whatever size you want!)

Small paint brush (you could also use a dropper or a small straw)

Krylon

**Important Note:  When I went to get my supplies, I saw that there is 91% alcohol and there is 70% rubbing alcohol. I got the 70% alcohol.  I did that purposely because I am going to be using this method with a bunch of 12 and 13 year olds and I was worried about the smell of alcohol.  Well, the 70% was a total bust.  I started over with the 91% and all was right with the crafting world.  And there was no difference to me in the smell.

  1.  Clean off your tiles.  I bought my tiles from Home Depot for less than a dollar each.  They had what I can only assume is a protective strip of netting on them that needed to be removed.  Dry the tiles well.
  2. Color your tile with coordinating Sharpie colors.  Don’t be scared, they look really bad until you put the alcohol on them.  You can color small areas with different colors as in the tile below, or you can cover a greater amount of area with each color.  Totally up to you!
  3. With your paint brush, small straw or dropper, drop small amounts (about dime size) of the alcohol onto the colored tile.  You’ll almost immediately see the alcohol start to blur the colors.  I sort of concentrated on the areas where the colors met so that those lines would be well blurred.  After dropping some alcohol on random spots on the tile, stop and look at the tile.  Do you see spots that need a droplet?  Add one.  BUT!  Don’t add too much alcohol to the tile.  I’ll show you why in a minute. 
  4. When you are happy with the amount of blurring that is happening, you can stop and let the tile dry.  OR, you can be a nosy artist like me and dab at the colors with a paint brush.  Or, you can be like my daughter and actually pull the paint brush through the colors, which I thought was going to totally ruin the whole thing!  But, it didn’t. Her tile came out different than the others, but very cool!  See below:If you’re wondering, she used red, yellow and purple sharpies for this tile.  I can’t lie.  I watched her making it and I was like, “Oh my God, that is going to be so bad and I’m going to have to pretend to like it when she’s done”.  But guess what?  It’s probably my favorite!  It’s a completely different look than how mine turned out.  Her colors are a little more muted whereas mine are more in your face.  That sentence has so many meanings.
  5. You must let your tiles dry when you are done adding your alcohol and dabbing at them with your paint brush, if you chose to dab at them with a paint brush.  Give them a good 30 minutes and then go look at how they came out.
  6. Did they come out weird with a weird sort of washed out spot where you can see the lines from your Sharpie?  Don’t worry, I did that, too. I’m pretty sure it means you added too much alcohol (too much alcohol is bad for everything).  But it’s an easy fix!  Grab your Sharpies and add some more color then add a little more alcohol to get the blurring going again. (This is not what you should do if you have added to much alcohol to your body.  Generally, adding more alcohol to a problem that was caused by too much alcohol is never a good thing.  Except when we’re talking about painting tiles).

All in all, this craft is super easy, especially since I’ve now shown you what mistakes to avoid!  You’re welcome!  And they are definitely high impact.

So, now you’ve made four super cool tiles, what are going to do with them?  You are going to protect them of course!  The sharpie “paint” will rub right off with water and will scratch very easily, so you definitely want to protect these before you use them.  I’ve done some research and written a post on how to protect them here.  Once we have sufficiently protected our tiles, however, there are a lot of things that we can do with them!  Like make them into coasters or tile a bench with them or tile a mirror with them or frame them and hang them as art.  Coasters I think are the best implementation.  Just pop a piece of felt on the bottom with some hot glue and call it a day!  As for me, these tiles were a practice round for another project that I will be posting about soon!

 

 

Gluten Free Burger and Fry Bites

News flash!  Just because you want to (or have to) eat gluten free, doesn’t mean you can’t eat totally indulgent, super tasty food every once in a while.  I made these Gluten Free Burger and Fry Bites this weekend to munch on while we watched football and they tasted like a really good fast food burger.  This got the “This might be the best thing you’ve ever made” seal of approval from my husband.  I don’t think he even realized that they were gluten free.

I will say, these were a little bit of a process to make, but they were totally worth it.  For real.  Even though there are like 27 steps and two separate, but very similar sauces to make.  I mean, I’m not going to make them for supper on a weeknight, but a fun night of football watching deserves a little something special, no?  And if you have a special person in your life who has to stick to a gluten free diet, these would be such a treat!

Gluten Free Burger and Fry Bites

***I used a mini muffin pan for these.  If you want bigger bites, you can use a normal size muffin pan, but you’ll need more tater tots – about 3 per muffin hole.

24 Tater Tots – Make sure they are gluten free. I’ve not seen any that are not gluten free, but check your labels, just in case.

1 lb. Ground Beef

1/2 a red onion

2 T each – Ketchup, Mustard, Relish, Mayo – again, check your labels, gluten can sneak into things like Mustard

3-5 slices American Cheese to top your mini burger bites

Salt & Pepper to taste

Sliced Green Onion – Blogger confession:  You don’t really need these on top of your bites.  They taste good, but they are mostly for the picture.  There, I’m glad I got that off my chest.

Special Sauce:

1/2 c Mayo

1/4 Ketchup

2 T each Relish and Mustard

1 t chili powder

1 t onion powder

1 t garlic powder

  1.  Preheat oven to 425.

  2. Dice the 1/2 onion.

  3. Brown the ground beef with salt and pepper.

  4. Drain off the excess fat from the pan and add in the onions.  Cook until onions are softened.

  5. Grease your mini muffin pan.  Add 2 tater tots to each muffin hole and cook for 10 minutes.

  6. While the tater tots are cooking, mix together the 2 T each of Ketchup, Mustard, Relish and Mayo and add to the cooked ground beef and onions.

  7. After 10 minutes, take the tater tots out of the oven and use a rounded something to smoosh them into a cup.  (I’m on a crusade to make “Smoosh” a genuine cooking term.  I add it to every recipe that it applies to).  I used the back of my cookie scoop to smoosh the tots.  Say smoosh the tots out loud.  You know you want to.  Who cares if you’re at work right now?  Just do it.

  8. Fill the newly smooshed tater tot cups with the ground beef mixture.

  9. Take your American cheese slice and fold it in half.  And in half again.  And one more time.  Maybe one more time.  You basically want to get a mini piece of cheese to top your burger with.  It’s super cute.

  10. Pop those back in the oven for 15 minutes.

  11. While those are cooking, mix together all of the ingredients for the sauce. I know this seems like an extra, unnecessary step, but do not skip this.  This is where the magic happens.

  12. Take the burger bites out of the oven and LET THEM COOL!  DO NOT even think about taking them out of the muffin tin for a good ten minutes.  Once you have waited patiently with drool going down your chin, gently, coax the burger bites out of the muffin tin.  Use a fork or a knife or pixie dust to ease the bites from their happy home in the muffin tin.  If you go in there all willy nilly and just pry them out of the muffin tin, you will destroy the precious tater tot cup.  It will still taste delicious, but you will have to eat it with a fork instead of your fingers and that’s not fun for anyone, amiright?

  13. Drip some of the magical sauce over the bites and serve them to your guests who should be honored to be in the presence of such a fine hostess.

A lot of steps, right?  13.  That might be the most steps in anything I’ve ever posted.  Anyone want to go back through everything I’ve made and check?  No?  Fine.  I know it’s kind of labor intensive, but these are so yummy.  And there’s smooshing involved and that’s always fun, right?  Make these for that crazy football game that’s coming up in a few weeks.  You won’t be sorry!