How I Do Hamburger Helper

Today is last day that I will be 36.
And I’ve got to tell you, I’m feeling pretty fancy in my pants.

I’ve made a few revelations within the past few days, and I’m thinking this whole growing up thing is really rather a good idea.

1.) I am beneath no one.

I am just as wonderful and horrible as the next guy, and this has been a bit of an epiphany for me. To me it means, no more excuses, no need to explain myself.  This girl, this woman who stands here, typing on her laptop is OKAY. Better than okay, FANTASTIC. And so are you. And oddly enough, so is that horrible guy.

2.) I have the right to say NO. And mean it. Which means I have the right NOT to want to spend Mother’s Day doing anything but what I want to do.  AND, if I should decide not to say NO, and  spend my Mother’s Day with my husbands mother in a miserable restaurant, waiting for my food for 1 1/2 hours with 2 children on my lap, and a bug in my lemonade, with a mother in law who is clearly not pleased with me just because i love that fellow that sleeps in my bed a RIDICULOUS AMOUNT, then,  I reserve the right the to complain about it from now until FOREVER.

3.)  It’s okay that I took vows that said, “To love, honor, and obey” even though I was on an altar, and in a church, IN FRONT OF GOD, and I really had no intention of the obey part. Because I was thinking it was just a formality, and nobody really expects me to do what he says, right?

I mean, those powers THAT BE, surely must have understood that when I had children and they got mad at me, and threatened to tell Daddy on me, that I would laugh and smirk and rouse with a deep chortle, “Go right ahead, YOUR FATHER IS NOT THE BOSS OF ME.”

4.) I do not have to bake a birthday cake for every single birthday of every single person in this house because store bought ice cream cakes with Oreo cookies and ice cream are happy magnets.

This is what I think the 30’s are all about.
Learning about myself.
Becoming more comfortable in my skin.
That’s what I’m trying to do.
I’m just trying to remember.. . .
I’m good.
I’m great.
Just as I am.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

I mean it.
I’m good.
Just like this.
I’m not going to make any excuses.

I like a really decadent homemade chocolate cake.
And I like the ones from the box too.
I like homemade pickles.
And I like sour ones that have been sitting on the grocery store shelf for who knows how long.

And. . ..
I make Hamburger helper.
Yes, I admit.
I am not above it. Nor am I beneath it.
It is what is . . . .people.

I do change it up a little.
Add a bit of this, to a bit of that.
Change out the white rice to brown, or the pasta to whole wheat.
But, in the end it’s still Hamburger Helper.
And I ain’t above it.

This is generally what I do for every and any kind of hamburger/tuna helper. Usually I add 1 1/12 – 2 cups of complementary vegetable, add 3 times the amount of the starch to lower the sodium balance, and change the starch (ie. pasta or rice) to the healthier brown rice or whole wheat pasta. If it’s a Tuna helper, I use Tuna marinated in olive oil, and if it calls for ground beef, I use the 93/7 version because any leaner than that is too dry for my taste buds:)  Oh! And I ALWAYS add grated cheese at the end. No matter what.

Grab a box of Hamburger Helper. Any type will do.

Chop up some fresh veg.  I added peppers from my garden!!! Remove the ribs and seeds if you don’t like it spicy.

And always, always add a large onion, diced. No matter what the box says, no matter what the weather, ADD A ONION!   You won’t regret it!

Add the veg to a skillet on medium high heat. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until translucent.

Add the meat! Season it with salt and pepper. Cook until brown, and DON’T drain if using a lower fat meat!

Now do what the box says. Add the box seasonings, but nix the rice or the pasta. Instead add YOUR brown rice (2 -3 times more than what came in the box) or whole wheat pasta, and plenty of liquid. It doesn’t have to be precise, usually I add twice the amount and then watch it. If it starts to cook out or stick, add more liquid. (* FYI – Cooking times will increase with brown rice and whole wheat pasta.)

When it’s finally done. . . . .

Add some fresh tomatoes, or peas, or cilantro, or parsley. Something to lift and liven it up a bit!

Mix it in, and then. . . . .add some lovely, lovely cheese. And if you’re really crazy, crush up some tortilla chips and throw those on top.

And hand it to your family, and they’ll EAT. IT. UP.

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