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An Open Letter To All Advice Columnists

Dear Advice Columnists,

All of you–huddle up.  I have a situation.

Scott and I have been living together for almost a year now.  We’re doing great.  At least–I think we are.  I’m definitely happy, and he seems happy too.  I mean, I haven’t heard him crying in the shower or anything.  I haven’t found any receipts for couples massages with other ladies.  As far as I know, we’re good.

Just one thing:  What is this and why is it in his office?

Concerning, right?

I can tell you what it’s about because I just read it.  It’s about a baby rabbit who hops around saying “I love you.” A lot.  A weird amount, to be honest.  He says “I love you” to a new rabbit on every page (there are only four pages, but still).

My first thought was it’s cool; this is left over from Scott’s childhood.   That’s the simplest explanation, right?  But it’s copyrighted 2009.  So my second thought was did he buy this recently? And leave it out so I’d find it? Maybe he’s trying to tell me something’s wrong, like: 

  1. I should tell him I love him more often;
  2. He’s in love with three other women, represented here as rabbits;
  3. He reads at a kindergarten level; or
  4. He wants a pet rabbit.

I’m okay with 1 and 4, actually, though I wouldn’t say I actively want a pet rabbit.

Anyway, I just wish he’d tell me in person about whatever’s going on with him.  Using a kid’s book to broach a delicate topic once is okay, but I hope this doesn’t become a thing.  It’s not a very efficient way of communicating, you know?  It’s going to get expensive if I have to find a kid’s book on point every time something bothers me at home.  And I don’t even think they make kids’ books for some of the problems a couple could have.  I mean, I’ve never seen a kid’s book called “Honey, I Think You Drink Too Much,” or “Why Can’t You Do Your Own Damn Laundry,” or “The Cashier At The Grocery Store Was Totally Hitting On You And You Looked A Little Too Into It.”

I want to be supportive, but I also want to go through his stuff to see if he has the other three books in the rabbit series, which are, apparently: “Going to the Doctor,” “Good Night Sleepyhead,” and “Learning to Potty.”

What’s the best course of action here?

Katherine

~~~

I’ll let you know what Scott says once he’s read this.  In the meantime, um. . . tell someone you love them? I guess?

Or, if you can’t work yourself up to that, you could make dinner.  If it’s really hot where you are, you should cook with jalapenos.   I read an NPR article about how drinking hot tea or eating spicy foods on a hot day will actually lower your body temperature.

Since IT’S HOTTER THAN THE HINGES OF HELL in Alabama, I’ve been cooking with jalapenos lately.

And because it’s the South, I’ve been putting cornbread tops on everything.

So I give you:

I made this because I was getting a little too obsessed with Amy’s vegetarian tamale casserole at Elephant Eats.  The thing is freaking delicious.  It’s got tempeh and enchilada sauce and cheddar cheese in there.  It’s one of the tastiest things I’ve ever found online.

So I changed it up a little: I poached some chicken, mixed it with jalapenos, green pepper, and corn, and added cream cheese to make it creamy.  Then I sprinkled Havarti on top, made Amy’s quick cornbread crust, and baked it until it was golden and bubbly.  It was a total success.  I actually set some of the chicken mixture aside and didn’t bake it into the pie at the end.  Instead I ate it cold– as chicken salad–the next day.  So good.

Creamy Chicken & Pepper Pie With A Cornbread Crust {Download & Print Recipe}

Inspired by Amy at Elephant Eats

Ingredients: (Serves 4-6)

2 chicken breasts

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 green bell pepper, diced

1/2 yellow onion, diced

3 stalks celery, diced

2 small jalapeno peppers, ribs and seeds removed, diced

1 8-oz. brick of cream cheese

1 15-oz. can of corn, drained (or kernels removed from 4 cooked cobs of corn)

1 15-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 c. salsa

4 green onions, diced

1-2 tsp. cider vinegar

1 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

salt to taste

2 c. Monterey Jack or Havarti cheese, shredded

For the cornbread topping:

1 6 or 8-oz. package of cornbread/corn muffin mix (not just cornmeal)

1/3 c. milk

1 egg

1 4.25-oz. can green chiles

Directions:

Poach the chicken:  Fill a skillet with just enough water to cover the chicken breasts (you can test this out and then remove the chicken).  Bring the water to a boil.  Add the chicken breasts.  This will decrease the temperature of the water, so wait a minute and then adjust the heat so that bubbles rise lazily from the bottom of the skillet.  Cover an simmer until cooked through but still tender.  (Cooking times will vary.  Cut into a piece of chicken to check. My chicken breasts were butterflied and took less than ten minutes.)  When chicken is done, set it on a plate to cool.

Make the pie filling: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Sautée the green pepper, yellow onion, celery and jalapeno with a dash of salt until the vegetables have softened, at least 5 minutes.

Reduce the heat to medium-low.  Cut the cream cheese into several pieces and add it to the skillet, stirring until it’s evenly distributed.  Add the corn, black beans, salsa, green onions, cider vinegar (1-2 tsp. to taste), cumin, and cayenne pepper, and stir to combine.

Keep the skillet over medium-low heat as you cut up the poached chicken into bite-sized pieces.  Add the chicken to the skillet and stir to combine.  Taste the mixture, and add salt to your taste.  If your taste runs to the spicy side, add a dash or two of hot sauce.

Transfer the contents of the skillet to a 9″ x 13″ baking dish.  Top with the shredded cheese.

Make the crust: In a medium-sized bowl, combine the cornbread mix, milk, egg and green chiles.  Stir or whisk until smooth.  Spread the batter in a thin layer over the shredded cheese.  It’s okay if the batter doesn’t stretch to the far corners of the dish.

Bake until the cornbread topping is golden and the pie is hot and bubbly, about 20-25 minutes.  Let cool a few minutes and serve.

~~~

Thunder likes to drink out of the pool on hot days like these.

That way, she can keep an eye on her ball, and Seymour can’t steal it while she drinks.

This is unlikely, though.  Seymour’s usually busy trying to bite the water that shoots out the hose’s leaky joints.

Which is why everything smells like wet puppy around here.

Have a good week!

52 Comments Post a comment
  1. I have to tell you Katherine, that your posts are little gems. They build so beautifully, making me chuckle to myself, then getting me really hungry, and finally getting a big involuntary guffaw out of me. That Thunder has a million dollar face. I hope you figure out that bunny book thing ;)

    July 16, 2012
    • Sue, thank you so much for the kind words! I love doing this so much, but sometimes I can’t think of what to write about. That’s how I felt this morning, and then I was like “wait. . . what THE HECK is that over there?!” :)

      Thunder really does have an amazingly expressive face, doesn’t she? At first I thought it was mostly just mopey, but now I see she has various TYPES of mopey, or intent, or mad. I’ve never met a dog quite like it!

      July 16, 2012
      • winsomebulldog #

        I think the mopey/expressive face is a bulldog thing. At first glance, they just look horribly depressed or irritated. But there is SO much more to it once you get to know them!

        Seymour just keeps getting cuter all the time, I see. And wet puppy isn’t the worst thing your place could smell like. Wet dog is an altogether not so pleasant smell. But puppy smell, wet or not, is always adorable.

        Oh, and as someone who was born and raised in the South, I can attest that cornbread is good with and on pretty much everything. ;)

        July 16, 2012
  2. sue ellen #

    Well….the ‘bunny’ had on clothes and a smile = good. Perhaps your ‘hunny bunny’ was telling you ‘I love you’ . Yep…that’s it !! He was leaving you a ‘love note’!! <3

    July 16, 2012
    • HA! That’s true. At least it wasn’t a magazine full of exposed “bunnies.” I should be thankful. . . I think!

      July 16, 2012
  3. On the flip side, I’ve heard that Russians believe eating ice cream in the winter will warm you up: http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2012/02/09/russians-eat-ice-cream-in-the-winter-to-keep-warm/

    That recipe looks like something I could quickly devour!

    July 16, 2012
    • That article was full of interesting facts. Thanks! I started clicking on the links and got to a page of documentaries, which got me excited. I’ve become obsessed with documentaries in the past few weeks. We’ve watched some about food and some about Earth and outer space.

      But what I really want is a documentary about Josie, the new puppy! She’s adorable. Congratulations!

      July 19, 2012
  4. juanitascocina #

    I find that your strategy is an excellent one…hotness (from peppers) cools you down in the summer. Or something like that.

    Also, I need a pool. And a ball.

    July 16, 2012
    • If anyone would know, it’s you. I bet you do magical things with jalapenos. What’s your favorite recipe of yours that involves spice? Tell us, Juanita, tell us!

      July 19, 2012
  5. You are a loon and I love your posts! And the girls LOVED their homemade treats! Tasia

    July 16, 2012
    • I’m so glad they liked them! Can’t go wrong with peanut butter for a growing great dane, right? They are precious. Can’t wait to see them in, like, a week, when they’re 9 feet tall and eating food off your counter like a couple of giraffes.

      July 16, 2012
  6. a #

    I…don’t have any idea about the book. Can’t wait to hear what Scott has to say.

    My husband would love this chicken pie. Unfortunately, we don’t ever turn the oven on when it’s this hot! Guess it’s more BLTs…

    I love your dogs! I wish they (and you) lived next door!

    July 16, 2012
    • Yeah, my oven makes the kitchen pretty hot too, but what’s worse is that our light went out and the ceiling’s high so we haven’t replaced the tube yet. I’ve got a big halogen in there in the meantime. It’s like cooling under a tanning lamp–not that I’ve done that. Gross.

      July 19, 2012
  7. I apologize, but I inadvertently named a dead squirrel Seymour yesterday. Well, he was alive when we first met him. But Mason climbed a tree to catch him, and actually did. It took Seymour about 5 minutes to finally keel over after landing on the concrete and trying to run into our house, but the screen door was closed, so he was trapped. I’m hoping his demise was from the adrenaline rush, and not the fact that my dog is a cold-blooded murderer. Anyway, as we deposited him in the open space near our house for the circle of life to live on, I bid adieu to Seymour Squirrel, said a small prayer, and stuck a stick in the ground to mark his spot for the coyotes. The hubby had named him Mr. Unfortunate. So really, his name was Mr. Seymour Unfortunate. Anywhoo… Sorry we named a dead squirrel after your super cute pup.

    July 16, 2012
    • Ha. Scott said “Not cool, dude. Not cool.” But he was kidding. There’s no special place in his heart for squirrels, and I think deep down he agrees with you that alliteration in animal naming is critical.

      July 19, 2012
  8. Maybe you could try wearing bunny ears on a headband and see what Scott’s reaction is. The dogs probably won’t notice.

    July 16, 2012
  9. Your chicken pie topped with cornbread sounds delicious, Katherine. It was so cold here today (Mark Twain said “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco”) that I made shrimp and andouille gumbo for lunch. Maybe you should try cooking rabbit?

    July 16, 2012
    • Ah, thank you for the Mark Twain quote! My father loves Mark Twain quotes, but I haven’t heard this one.

      It’s been so long since I’ve been to San Francisco. I was there in 1996. I wish we’d had a wintery day here. I was outside yesterday and had a flash of excitement thinking about fall. It’s my favorite season–it still makes me feel like I’m a kid and I’m going back to school.

      Your lunch sounds freaking awesome, by the way. Are you going to post it?

      July 19, 2012
  10. Diane #

    The answer is so obvious to me. The book was a parting gift from Dottie. She has hopes that a robot who can eat chocolate muffins can also learn to love. And it starts by saying, “I love you” to anyone who will listen. Hopefully Dottie doesn’t send you a bill for her couples therapy!

    July 16, 2012
    • Diane, I read your comment out loud to Scott. Hilarious.

      If Dottie sends us a therapy bill, it’s going to be related to something else. She and Scott were getting along so well, but then Scott told her that if she kept eating macaroni and cheese, she was going to turn into a “Cheese Monster.” She FREAKED OUT. Her little bottom lip started quivering and she started to cry. Later, she said she “didn’t trust him anymore” because there is no such thing as a cheese monster. It took him a lot of robot movements and one-liners to win her back!

      July 19, 2012
  11. Amy #

    Haha, looks like Scott has some explaining to do. I think he probably put the book there as a way to throw you off the track of him and Thunder, seeing as how, um, COMFORTABLE, they were dancing together in your last post.

    Aw, I’m so so glad you loved that tamale casserole recipe so much that it inspired you!!! This take on it sounds absolutely amazing. I think I will have to try it :)

    July 16, 2012
    • I should probably video them dancing to something super romantic. Like “At Last” or something. Ha!

      July 19, 2012
  12. LOLOL.. You’re hilarious! And love the photos! :D

    Pink.

    July 16, 2012
    • Thanks always, Pink! Hope you’re well.

      July 19, 2012
      • Most welcome! Yes, doing much better than before, I think. :D It seems like this new job is much better (you know, no bullying, sexual harassment, helping people embezzle funds). Yup. Anything beats that :D

        Pink.

        July 19, 2012
  13. Sher Abbott #

    I laughed and laughed at this one. I even read it to my husband. He had no clue as to what the bunny book meant. I loved this recipe too. It looks delish! And, as always, your photos of Thunder are a perfect way to make anyone smile. Seymour is adorable too but my heart drops at your photos of Thunder. I have a Boston Terrier so maybe I am partial to the smushed nosed pup pups. I love your blog! It brightens my day!

    July 16, 2012
    • Aw, I met a Boston Terrier the other day and it was super cute. You have excellent taste in dogs, if I do say so myself. And thank you so much for the kind words! They brightened my day right back.

      July 19, 2012
  14. Your post made me smile and laugh – great photos:)

    July 16, 2012
    • Aw, thank you! Have a good rest of the week.

      July 19, 2012
  15. LOL The explanation will probably be quite the letdown now that you have so brilliantly lead us to the brink of intrigue. Great looking chicken pie – yum! -Nikki

    July 17, 2012
    • Indeed. When he explained, I was like “oh.” And then we moved on to something else. Probably all for the best, considering the alternatives we all came up with!

      July 19, 2012
  16. Thunder is always a *little* too intense with that staring business. I think Scott got the book to help with her communication skills. And the Learning to Potty book is, of course, for Seymour.

    July 17, 2012
    • Sandy Sue, Seymour needs the potty book. NEEDS IT. He was doing great, but then it started raining for a few days and we’ve taken a couple steps backward. I’m taking Thunder to a new doggie class in about an hour. So excited–maybe she’ll learn so new communication tricks there. :)

      July 19, 2012
  17. Cripes. SCOTT IS A ROBOT. And here’s the thing about robots: they are awesome, but it’s next to impossible to program REAL human emotions into those things. The book is research. That’s what robots do. He’s uploading information. He will regurgitate that information as required. Most likely in a bunny voice. But Katherine? He’s YOUR robot. So you’d be wise to leave the information you’d like to have uploaded around the house. Maybe start with a book on how to clean grout. And then one on trimming nose hair. (That’s long-term planning right there.) I hope this has helped.

    July 17, 2012
    • Dude, what would I do without your wisdom? It’s almost like you’ve dealt with this before. Is 2.0 called “2.0″ for the same reasons that, like, R2D2 is called R2D2? Namely, because 2.0 is a robot? If so, I won’t tell anyone. If he has super strong metal arms and legs, it would explain why he likes building stuff. Also, both Scott and 2.0 hate shrimp, right? It’s probably a robot thing.

      The Rutherfords eat shrimp, right? You should probably check, because if they’re robots they’re ROBOTS FOR EVIL and we’re going to have to confiscate their battery packs.

      July 19, 2012
  18. Oh My! Yet so funny! Your dog(s) are the bomb and rabbits are best left in children’s books!

    July 17, 2012
    • Yes, I’m not a huge fan of rabbits. My best friend had one when I was growing up, and it bit me–through my jeans–in the knee. Hurt like hell!

      July 19, 2012
  19. Carrey #

    In reading your post, I thought of about 16 logical explanations for the book. Hopefully, it’s one of those, and not something weird. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for logic. Your posts are very entertaining… and distracting. Back to work!

    July 17, 2012
    • Carrey, as I now know, the book was just from Scott’s sister, to make him laugh. Was that one of your logical explanations? We’re going to regift it to her now since she has a toddler. It’s basically the book that keeps on giving and is always relevant.

      July 19, 2012
      • Carrey #

        Actually, it was, though not specifically from his sister. I have been going through a lot of my own stuff recently as my partner and I combine our lives and homes. It’s amazing what I’ve saved over the years – and what my mother has recently dumped on me as she readies her house for her own move. ;)

        July 19, 2012
  20. This is clearly a book on rabbit interbunnynal relationships. We all know that rabbits are the Cassanovas of the mammal kingdom. They don’t say “breeding like rabbits” for nothing. This is clearly part of a series for rabbit children on how to get things started. It starts with telling a girl you love her, possibly preceded by toilet training, but you know those wild rabbits don’t mind “going to the little bear’s room” on occasion, then of course, you know, the bedtime thing, and finally the doctor visit. I think Scott is just sharing his fascinating discovery of rabbit rearing techniques. Or, you know, maybe I’ve had too much coffee…

    July 17, 2012
    • My God, this is gold. “It starts with telling a girl you love her, possibly preceded by toilet training. . .” If you’ve had too much coffee, keep drinking because this is hilarious.

      July 19, 2012
  21. You could write those next topics in the life lessons and bunny series yourself. I mean, you’re already identifying potential friction points! Who is going to help boys, young and old, learn these things if not you?! lol

    July 17, 2012
    • Interesting….perhaps I could substitute a cuddly puppy for the bunny. It would be a lot less weird. The bunny’s big bunny teeth kind of scare me. It’s like he’s going “I love you AND I WANT TO EAT YOUR FACE.”

      July 19, 2012
  22. I love the pictures of your dogs! ;)

    July 19, 2012
    • I like the pictures you got at the party. So cute!

      July 19, 2012

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