I don’t recommend brushing your hair with a toilet brush.

This column is the perfect illustration of my third born.  He is an enigma.  A cute enigma, but definitely an enigma.



Foodie With Family

Slow cookers to the rescue


Rebecca Lindamood By Rebecca Lindamood
Local columnist

Read Rebecca’s past columns here

Today, I was working at my computer for five minutes when my 5-year-old, Ty, hollered down the stairs, “Mom! I’ll be good now!”


That was his way of asking me whether his banishment for sitting on his brother and poking him in the eye with a pickle could end. The pickle is a favorite torture device around here. The pickle-as-weapon preference is probably owing to the fact that there are so many, since I canned 70-something quarts of them last summer.


While keeping my eyes firmly fixed on the monitor and fingers firmly planted on the keyboard, I voiced permission to descend. After a bit, I became aware that he was standing behind me. I turned and saw soaked hair brushed tight to his forehead and water dripping down his face. The torso of his shirt was sopping wet and he was wearing a smile that stretched from one little pink ear to the other.


“Mom! I washed my own hair,” he proudly proclaimed. “… And I didn’t use the toilet brush.”


(I was unaware that was an option …)


“I just poured a few cups of water over my head and then I brushed it. How does it look?”


I stifled my urge to respond, “Like a blond Eddie Munster,” and said, “Fabulous! Did you hold your head over the sink while you poured the water on it?”


His chirpy answer came over his shoulder as he marched into the living room, “No, but the floor’s ready for you to clean now!”


The extent to which we’d spiraled into chaos in five minutes became clear when I saw my 3-year-old sitting at the table drinking water through a curiously hairy straw of unknown age and origin and my 1-year-old scooping butter into his mouth with the handle of a spoon. Some days it just doesn’t pay to ask.


On days like today, I give grateful praise for the gift of the people who invented and perfected the slow cooker. I love my slow cookers so much that I’ve given them names: Jude and Martha (the patron saints of desperate cases and cooks, respectively). Martha and Jude have been hard at work today preparing my kids’ favorites; sloppy joe and billy-joe-joe filling. I’m not sure where they came up with billy-joe-joes, but, honestly, I’m not sure why they say half of what they say.


I made some soft, wonderful rolls to serve with the filling. By adding a salad and some “helfy soda” (or healthy soda for those of us who aren’t 5 or younger), I’ll have a reasonably well-rounded and totally family- and budget-friendly meal.


I usually make both fillings at once so that I can offer an option at the table. And I find that the homemade fillings taste much better than the varieties made with the “manly” stuff in a can and they’re nearly as easy to make.


Prepare the quantities listed here because the filling freezes wonderfully for meals when time is even tighter.


Slow Cooker Billy-Joe-Joes

  • 3 lbs. 90 percent lean ground beef or lean ground turkey
  • 2 c. low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 T. Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 t. paprika
  • Dash of cayenne pepper or hot sauce, optional
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Hamburger or split sandwich or Kaiser rolls


Optional toppings:

  • Pickle slices
  • Ketchup
  • Mustard
  • Hot sauce
  • Chopped onions
  • Grated cheese


In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook ground meat, breaking apart with a fork or wooden spoon, until cooked through and lightly browned. Drain meat, then add to the slow cooker with the broth, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, paprika and cayenne pepper. Cover and cook on low for six to seven hours. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper to taste.


Serve filling loosely piled on rolls with choice of toppings.


Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes

  • 3 lbs. ground beef or turkey
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 large ribs celery, finely chopped
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and finely chopped or grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 3 6-oz. cans tomato paste
  • 1/3 c. cider vinegar, plus extra for adjusting flavor after cooking
  • 1/3 c. firmly packed light brown sugar, plus extra for adjusting flavor after cooking
  • 3 t. paprika
  • 2 t. dry mustard
  • 2 t. salt
  • 2 t. chili powder, more or less, to taste
  • 1 t. fresh ground black pepper, more or less, to taste
  • ½ t. hot pepper sauce


Optional toppings:

  • Pickle slices
  • Ketchup
  • Mustard
  • Hot sauce
  • Chopped onions
  • Grated cheese


In a large skillet over medium high heat, cook the beef with the onions, bell pepper, celery, carrot, and garlic, breaking up meat with a fork or wooden spoon until meat is lightly browned. Drain meat mixture and remove to a slow cooker, adding remaining ingredients. Stir until thoroughly combined, cover and cook on low for six to seven hours. Adjust flavor by adding additional brown sugar and vinegar to taste, if desired.


Serve filling loosely piled on rolls with choice of toppings.


Healthy Soda

  • ½ c. 100 percent juice, any flavor
  • ½ c. unsweetened Seltzer water, any flavor


Pour juice over ice in a glass. Add seltzer. Serve immediately with a straw.


  1. says

    Hilarious. I seriously don’t know how you deal with 5. All boys. I know people must tell you that all the time, but since I have none and can’t imagine even 1, it just boggles my mind.

    Love the helfy soda too. Great idea.


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