A Semi-Homemade Nightmare

by Holly on August 7, 2011

in Asian,dinner,gluten-free,recipes,silliness

Sometimes, I suffer from really bad nightmares.

These nightmares aren’t pregnancy dreams, frightening sequences where I get kidnapped by a gross old man + try to escape his wrinkly throws by jumping out the car door or even montages of scary monsters, goblins and E.T. look-a-likes. Just as I am about to groggily sink into a relaxed night’s sleep, I see a vision of her and let out a blood-curdling scream…

Sandra “Semi-Homemade” Lee


And then I get wretched visions of gaudy tablescapes, signature cocktails, “Brycer,” overtweezed brows, bottles of hair bleach and a chest that hangs far too low for it to be real. I think there is more “semi-homemade” happening on the show…and I’m not talking food.

All of this becomes entrenched in my Everythingtarian brain – like a car accident you can’t turn away from… a Disney movie you simply can’t stop watching…or another picture of Kim Kardashian’s booty you can’t help but peek at – and I can’t rid my mind of this most irritating Food Network personality.

Making macaroni + cheese out of a Kraft box, adding tuna, broccoli and a shake of paprika doesn’t a Food Network-worthy meal make.

Aunt Sandy, I’m talking to you.

And so here I am before you all today, admitting to the worst nightmare I can possibly think of, because it’s become a reality: today, I’m officially The Healthy “Semi-Homemade” Everythingtarian.

I didn’t want to do it, I swear!

I don’t want to look drunk all the time, I promise!

I even stopped blogging when I didn’t have good recipes for you and posted Brett’s ACT Ride update and offered you guys the chance to win a $100 shopping spree! I triiiieeeddd! But then life got in the way, and suddenly I had no time to prepare a proper Sunday dinner.

So, come 6:00pm tonight, I found a lonely-looking bag of Alexia Sweet Potato Puffs in the freezer and tossed them in garlic salt. Then I baked them. And suddenly, I wanted dips. Because I like dipping things…including my butt to the dance floor, which I guarantee will give you nightmares.

I made Sriracha mayo (it’s an obsession).

And I remembered this really good restaurant in Madison makes blackberry jalapeno jam for their homemade potato chips…and suddenly, I wanted that too.

Then, scouring the contents of my cupboards, making peanut sauce looked promising.

I remembered I had three sauce dishes…and that was that.

Then, as if I was Sandra Lee’s long-lost sister from another mister (like a curly-haired, olive-skinned, non-Scandanavian and much cooler mister), I started mixing mayo + Sriracha. And I blended blackberry jam + jalapenos. Finally, I whisked a lil’ bit o’ this + a lil’ bit o’ that together for an easy Asian peanut sauce.

I added my tots + a side of pita chips and – voila! – a semi-homemade Everythingtarian feast. All I was missing was a boozy signature cocktail + a powerful NY governor on my arm.

The rule for success?

Keep it at a second grade level, keep it unspeakably easy and always keep it semi-homemade.

Sweet Potato Tots with Three Dipping Sauces

1 bag Alexia Sweet Potato Puffs
1/2 t garlic salt
cooking spray

Pour the sweet potato tater tots on a baking sheet. Lightly coat with cooking spray and toss with garlic salt. Roast at 400 degrees for 18 to 22 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Serve hot + dip in condiments of your choice!

Sriracha Mayo
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 T Sriracha or to taste

Mix well. Serve.

Blackberry Jalapeno Jam
1/4 cup blackberry jam
1 heaping T pickled jalapenos
2 T jalapeno juice (from jar)
dash of salt
dash of ground ginger

Blend in a blender or food processor until smooth. Serve.

Peanut Sauce
2 T peanut butter
1 T mirin
1 T sesame oil
1 t soy sauce
1/2 t minced garlic
drizzle of honey

Whisk together until smooth. Serve.

Makes 4 servings


Jessica August 7, 2011 at 10:56 pm

Hm….I am hungry and I have sriracha mayo in my fridge and those sweet potato puffs in my freezer…..sounds like a perfect midnight snack!

Linda August 7, 2011 at 10:59 pm

Oh my gosh! You crack me up!! LOL

I love Siracha mayo! I use it for shrimp sushi rolls. Mmmm….super yummy!
Those sweet potato puffs look good! I’ve never seen them before. The next
time I am in the US, I am going to spend an entire day in a grocery store!

dana @ my little celebration August 7, 2011 at 11:00 pm

Ha, this is awesome.

My favorites parts were the mentions of “brycer” “always drunk” and “weird boobs.”

Yes, yes and yes.

Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing August 7, 2011 at 11:39 pm

Please, please, please tell me you have seen the Sandra Lee jokes on Food Network Humor… http://foodnetworkhumor.com/2011/03/how-to-make-an-episode-of-semi-homemade/ <– Yep.

Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga August 8, 2011 at 3:49 am

the trifecta of condiments…i would seriously NEVER leave the house

Blackberry Jalapeno Jam, Peanut Sauce, and Hot Mayo….

my sweet, my peanut sauce, and my love of all things spicy AND mayo.
I am in love with those and will dream about them :)

Aine @ Something to Chew Over August 8, 2011 at 4:28 am

Ha this is a hilarious post!

I totally agree with you – if somebody is such a good cook that they’re on TV, I want to see some actual cooking!

Lauren August 8, 2011 at 5:52 am

Haha, I HATE Sandra Lee. WOw that was harsh, but I really can’t stand to watch her.
I just had these tots last night but I really wish I would have seen this before I did. The dipping sauces would have been an excellent addition.

Katie August 8, 2011 at 7:14 am

Sriracha mayo is my JAM! Love it!!!

I use it for a sauce when I make homemade sushi, use it for the rolls!

Jessica @ Stylish Stealthy and Healthy August 8, 2011 at 7:26 am

I just discovered these sweet little tots and I’m actually thinking I might need a tot intervention.

Sarah@The Flying ONION August 8, 2011 at 8:16 am

Uh-oh. I think you just opened up an entirely new addiction for me. This could be very, very dangerous.

Elizabeth August 8, 2011 at 8:53 am

While she’s not exactly a whiz in the kitchen, she’s not a monster. Maybe think about being a little gentler with your words when you describe someone. I know her breasts aren’t in the perfect place but how can she help that? Yes she’s scary, but she’s still a human being.

Megan (Braise the Roof) August 8, 2011 at 9:39 am

You forgot to mention her giraffe-like neck. It is truly stunning. I need those tots in my life. And more dips.

Megan (The Runner's Kitchen) August 8, 2011 at 9:49 am

Mmm, I think this is my favorite type of meal. Fried potato-y things and dips! There’s a place called Pommes Frites in NYC and if I could, I would eat there every day. The crispy Belgian-style fries with chipotle mayo, basil mayo, and pineapple salsa are heavenly – especially after a night of drinking :)

Shannon August 8, 2011 at 10:30 am

I can’t stand Sandra Lee!!! She drives me nuts and she stuff is pretty tacky. Plus, if she says just one more time, I’m going to explode! My brother is that way with Giada and Rachael Ray, I guess everyone has at least one Food Network star that annoys the hell out of them!
That peanut sauce looks really good! I love dipping things too and I love having multiple things to choose from.

Kacy August 8, 2011 at 11:14 am

Haha, Sandra Lee is a crazy person. Those nightmares would put the fear of God in my soul.
However, anything with sweet potato tots is worth sharing in my opinion. And sriracha mayo… yes please.

Jackie @ That Deep Breath August 8, 2011 at 12:11 pm

Sandra Lee drives me nuts!!!! I literally can’t stand watching her show…she’s so annoying and no one else has ever understood why I get so annoyed by her. Thank you!! I’m glad I’m not alone. Tator tots are crazy addicting!! Yum

Katie August 8, 2011 at 12:40 pm

Hahaha, “Brycer”…I laughed and snorted at the same time. Your version of semi-homemade looks a million times better.

Madeline - Greens and Jeans August 8, 2011 at 12:59 pm

How have I never seen her? I’m guessing this is a good thing.

Parita @ myinnershakti August 8, 2011 at 1:31 pm

Haha! I love this! Your sauces sound yummy. I find that a lot of the Food Network personalities get on my nerves after a while, yet I still can’t stop watching!

Rachel @ Grateful Girl Goes Gluten Free August 8, 2011 at 1:40 pm

This was SO funny. Everything you said about her was exactly on! Your dips beat out anything she has ever made!

emily (a nutritionist eats) August 8, 2011 at 2:41 pm

I need some sweet potato puffs in my life! (With a vat of sriracha mayo, it is also my favorite – on anything, with anything)

Andrea@WellnessNotes August 8, 2011 at 5:31 pm

You made me laugh. Your description of Sandra Lee is spot on! I’d love your dipping sauces and some potato puffs. I bet the toddler would love them, too. But it may be too dangerous to introduce them to him… :)

Pure2Raw Twins August 8, 2011 at 8:27 pm

haha Sandra Lee can be a little crazy. seriously though it has been years since I have seen her show. Though it sounds like I am not missing too much haha


Jess August 8, 2011 at 8:43 pm

Sandra Lee drives me cray cray!! well, I bet she’s a nice person and all, but she is not on par with Bobby Flay!!

those tater tots look amazing :D

Lindsay @ Lindsay's List August 8, 2011 at 9:04 pm

De-lurking, Holly! I’ve followed you for a while now and today seemed as good as any to leave a comment.
Your “semi-homemade” looks 10x harder than anything I could come up with! And 10x yummier!

TracyP August 8, 2011 at 9:58 pm

All 3 sauces look fantastic! I see nothing wrong with what you did. Love Alexia anything.

Amanda August 8, 2011 at 10:52 pm

SWEET potato tater tots? HOLY HOLY I WANT! I have not seen them in stores yet. As for those dipping sauces, I want to try sriracha mayo. On everything!

brandi August 9, 2011 at 8:53 am

uh yum. can you come visit and bring this tonight? :)

Hillary August 9, 2011 at 9:52 pm

I want to punch her in the face.
Oh, and your dips look fab.

That is all.

Lauren http://theclimbingchef.blogspot.com/ August 11, 2011 at 12:47 am

OMG! You are soooo funny :) I have nightmares about scary things, like an entire line of unmade burrito and I have no hands to make them… you know, things like that :) In Anthony Bourdain’s new book, Medium Raw (I highly recommend it), he has a very funny story about miss semi-homemade. You may need to read the book just for that story!

Btw, those tots look amazing!

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