Sunday, April 29, 2012

Southwestern Crock Pot Chicken

Can you tell I'm in a food-phase? I'll get to posting crafts soon enough... someday :)

I've heard of black beans and corn with chicken, but I always wondered what kind of sauce could go with it. So I looked up chicken, corn, and black beans on Google - and this delicious recipe came up (at This recipe had me at crock pot. I'm just saying - anything involving a crock pot ALWAYS comes out tender, full of flavor, and just yummie, yummie, yum, yum, YUM!!!

Here's whatcha need:
(Sorry that the salsa and cream cheese is not pictured! They were fashionably late.)

4-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I have used the frozen tenderloins from Costco & they come out great - just use way more than 4-5 of those tenderloins... they're kinda on the small side)

1 (15oz) can of black beans

1 (15oz) jar of salsa

1 (15 1/2oz) can of corn (I use frozen corn & just kinda eyeball-measured it)

1 (8oz) package of cream cheese (I tested out the Philadelphia Cooking Creme w/garlic flavor - just because it was on sale at the Grocery Outlet.... and I also love anything garlic. It came out great!)

Clean your chicken (my momma always taught me to clean off my chicken - meaning get all that slimy nasty stuff & fat that you can off of the chicken. I don't know if it really makes any difference, but in my world - it does!), then put it into your crock pot. 

Drain and rinse your black beans & dump them into your crock pot. Then add your frozen corn (drained if you're using canned corn) and salsa.

Put your crock pot on high for 4-5 hours (or until the chicken is cooked throughly)

Let the sweet aroma of cooked food fill your house.......

When the chicken was done, I took half of the chicken out, bagged it, and threw it in the freezer. You can either leave your chicken breasts whole, you can cut them into chunks, or shred your chicken at this time. Then, add your cream cheese and let it melt for 30 min.
Stir and Serve over rice, in tortillas, or even over pasta. 


Call me boring, but I didn't need all that flair to have a good meal. Besides, my mouth couldn't fit over his ginormica taco... He eventually reached for a fork for some assistance :D

This was so good... you can thank me later for finding this sweet recipe!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Nummy - Nummy Salad -The Top Ramen Concoction

This is another pot luck favorite. The original recipe is called "Fugi Salad". Why it's named Fugi Salad is beyond my knowledge. What's fugi anyhow?! I personally call it the Top Ramen Concoction... that has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

This is my modified version. Let's get down to business! You will need:

2 bags of pre-chopped cabbage (or if you want to put yourself through more work - you could also get a head of cabbage and chop it yourself.... but - uh yah, I'm not doing that. I'm being simple people! Work with me on this!)

2 packages of crushed ramen noodles
1/4 teaspoon of pepper
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
1/2 cup of sugar
8 chopped green onions
1/3 cup of vinegar (white, rice, or apple cider vinegar works fine. We favor Braggs, so we use Braggs apple cider vinegar)

 2 teaspoons of salt (we used Braggs Liquid Aminos -  a natural soy/salt alternative....)

(Optional: 3/4 cups of blanched slivered almonds)

So, all you do is grab the 2 bags of cabbage, the crushed ramen noodles, the green onions, and the almonds (if you decided to get some. I'm frugal, so I usually leave the almonds out - unless I'm making this for my man. Think what you want about me, but no one will know that they're called for in the recipe. It'll be our little secret!). Mix all of that in a huge bowl (if you are preparing this ahead of time - wait until you're ready to serve, then add the crushed ramen noodles to prevent them from getting soggy & squishy). 

 In another bowl, whisk the oil, sugar, vinegar, pepper, and salt. 

Pour the sauce over the cabbage and toss. It may not look like a lot of sauce, but the cabbage will soak it up - so don't worry. 

Your finished!!

You can serve this right away, or put it in the refrigerator to chill. I personally can't resist this stuff, so I try not to make this too far ahead of time because then I'll start munching, and next thing you know - I have nothing to take to the pot luck! If you can't tell.... I like to eat. If you didn't know that... you know now :)

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Best Dessert EVER!!!

So I tasted this piece of heaven at some event - somewhere, and I decided to make this for our Financial Peace University class (by the way - you should take the Dave Ramsey class if you haven't already. It's amazing!). We get together on Friday's and the host makes the main dish. Everyone else brings some side dish. Our responsibility was dessert this week. Now, I don't know about you, but when I'm around other people - I just want them to be amazed by my super-awesome tasting dishes :) Thank you pinterest for the many ideas you have provided me. Unfortunately, I didn't find this on pinterest.. I found it here

So anyway, after tasting this dessert I decided to hunt down the recipe. Here's what you need:

1 (10oz or 16oz) pkg of frozen strawberries, 8oz. of Cool Whip, Pretzels, Butter, Sugar, 1 (8oz.) pkg of cream cheese - softened, and 1 large pkg of strawberry Jello

For the Crust:
2 cups of crushed pretzels (not too fine)
3/4 cups of melted butter
3 Tbsp. sugar

Mix the above ingredients together and form the pretzel mixture into a 9 x 13 inch pan, packing tightly. I did crush up about 1/2 cup more because I wanted a bit of a thicker crust. Bake at 400 degrees for 8 minutes. Let it cool (I threw mine into my freezer for a little while - worked like a charm)

For the topping:

1 cup of sugar
1 (8oz) pkg of cream cheese - softened
1 large pkg of strawberry Jello
1 (10oz or 16oz) pkg of frozen strawberries

Beat the sugar and cream cheese until it's blended and smooth. 

Now, since I don't have a Kitchen Aid Mixer, I used my hand-held mixer (ghetto - I know... I like to call it resourceful - HA!). 

Stir in Cool Whip

Spread this delicicous goodness over that pretzel crust you just made (which should be cooled by now - if you stuck it in the freezer)

And don't let ANY of that fluffy mixture go to waste....

Grab yourself a pretzel and eat that stuff... or you can channel that inner child and lick the spatula before your children ask if they can. I'll spare you that picture of me :)

Go ahead and put this back into the freezer until you get the strawberry mixture done.

Next, dissolve the Jello in 2 cups of boiling water. Stir in the frozen (not thawed) strawberries until it's mixed in. Let it set for 10 minutes. My strawberries were whole - so I decided to cut them in half. Of course it was after I had thrown them in the hot Jello - so that proved to be interesting... 

When your 10 minutes is up, go ahead and stir the mixture to break it up a bit. Then, pull out your pan with the pretzel crust and whipped topping, and pour the Jello/strawberry mixture over the entire thing. Spread it around - all the way to the edges. 

Refrigerate this baby until it's set. Then try not to gobble the whole thing up before it reaches it's destination. That's the hardest part!! 

When you take your first bite - feel free to roll you eyes, moan, drool, gasp, growl, silently mouth the words "Oh My Gosh" to whoever is looking at you, tilt your head back - close your eyes - and thank God for allowing your taste buds to work properly, or do whatever comes naturally. Don't worry about being embarrassed by your actions... I'm sure you won't be the only one!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


This is a question that's always asked when I tell the kids to get their own bowls in the morning, water cups, spoons, plates... you name it... Well, I've figured out how to fix that:

Enough said.... Thank you dry erase markers for helping fix my dilemma!
I'm sure I could have used a darker marker to get a better picture, but if you haven't realized that I'm a little too busy for that now.... well, then you don't really know me, and I'm not sure how long we can continue this relationship :) Let's work on that - shall we?

Big Hair

I'm so in love with this new hairstyle I found because it allows me to be lazy, dirty, and messy. Since there's few opportunities for me to do that, and feel good about myself at the same time, my hair can fill that void for now! I usually pull this hairstyle out on the 3rd or 4th day of not washing my hair. Sounds gross, but I love it lol! I don't care what anyone else says. Besides, they don't really know. Well... I guess you know now... So if you see me - don't judge :)

It's just a lot of teasing, dry shampoo, a rubber band, hairspray, and - uh.... that's about it! I found the awesome tutorial here. The chick who writes the blog is so pretty! She wears this hairstyle better than I, but what can I do - I'm an impostor! Haha! Anyhow, this is how it looked on me:

Yes, it was high, huge, and fun! I felt somewhat glamourous that day. The button necklace - you ask? Yep, just buttons and string. 4 rows to be exact. Found the idea on Pinterest!! Love it!

Friday, April 6, 2012

What to do with all these hats?!

Yes, it's been forever since I posted. I'm spring cleaning - what can I say? It takes up a lot of time. Feel loved that you even got this posting out of me :p

So my husband has a lot of hats... and I mean a lot. I've only been able to find SOME so far, but I know there's a stash of them waiting to pop out like a gremlin (Ha! Remember that movie? I loved it..)

Anyhow, I've used his hat collection as decor before (in our room) with twine and clothes pins, but that's long gone now that I want to hang up pictures.... and maybe even *GASP* paint! So I've been trying to think of a clever way to hang these up where it's easily accessible, easy to remove, and (most important) easy for him to put away. I was using shower rings to store my scarves onto a hanger (see the idea I found here), but I noticed that the rings and the scarves would end up sliding down all together to one side of the hanger. Lame. So now, I figure those shower curtain rings are not as useful as I thought.... or are they...?

Get some binder clips that can slide over the shower curtain rings like so (not all binder clips are made equal. I had some binder clips the same size, but the shower rings would not fit through the opening. Of course I'm using cheap fat plastic shower rings... so this could have been easier if I had the skinny metal ones, but remember.... this is why they weren't being used - and I'm trying to re-purpose something so give me some credit):

I stacked 5 to each shower curtain ring just to give myself some leeway, but you're welcome to stack more. Then I clipped the brim of the hat into the binder clip. Here's a pic of 5 on a ring:

The hats without that adjustable strap in the back were the ones that I chose to put in the clips. The other hats that had the strap I just pulled through a shower curtain rod like so (if General M needs one of these he just can snap on or snap off):

Weave that shower curtain rod through a shelf holder, or use the tension to place between two walls. I was really tempted to put this close to the ceiling, but then I realized I'm short (which I've of course known all my life.... if it seemed like I forgot, someone was always there generously reminding me by putting their ginormous arm on my head), and that I need this rod accessible to me - 
just in case I find any stray hats ;)

The end result?

Oh yah, baby! It looks so beautiful! I may even sneak my scarves in between the hats because, you know, I'm worth it :)


Saturday, March 17, 2012

What happened to simple days?

Today was just a nice relaxed day. I had my sister (in-law) over, and she made some BOMB vegetarian chili, as well as some mouth watering banana bread. Ooooohhhh..... yah, it was gooood! I haven't had banana bread in forever! 

It was nice to have her over and not feel like I had to entertain her. She and I just chatted while she was raiding my kitchen baking. Then a little later we sat on the couch together and played Scramble With Friends, as well as Draw Something (apps on the iPhone). She attempted to make paper stars with me, but we quickly figured out that construction paper isn't the paper you want to use to make those lol! We then cut up vegetables for her chili, and she threw it all together. It was fun! We were even wearing *GASP* sweatpants and t-shirts! Yes. We were not wearing jeans, we were not wearing makeup, and we barely did our hair (she had a ponytail, and I had mine barely brushed lol!). We did have brushed teeth though :) Hanging with my sister was like going back in time... when being with your friend was all about being happy with the simple things.

What happened to those days anyhow? Do you remember going over to your friend's house just to hang out and watch TV? Or maybe just to braid each other's hair and do each other's chores together? My sister and I were just talking about that. Now that I'm all "grown up", it seems like those days of simplicity are no longer here... If I were to have a friend over, it would be really hard for me not to attempt to make my house look like a showroom. I mean, yah I picked up and swept before my sister came over, but... I dunno. For some reason I think us women freak out before company comes over while we go to great lengths to clean our house like there's no tomorrow! What's with that? Enough with the games ladies. Let's be real. We have kids.... our house is constantly a mess, dishes do get piled in the sink, we have piles and piles of laundry hidden in our closets (because that's the only door you can shut away so much stuff), our substitute for dinner is cereal on busy nights, we don't open our mail which creates a pile of papers on our counter, and our dinner table is usually cluttered with a project we are working on! Please say it's not just me!!

More easy projects

It's time I post some more quick crafts that satisfy your craft craving without having to dedicate a whole afternoon to a project that you'll just be disappointed in. This stuff was too easy to make...

The first thing I put together was a jean cuff bracelet. I had just finished hemming a few pairs of jeans, and I used the scraps to cover this old cuff that was tarnished beyond repair (at least it was in my eyes). All I did was wrap the jean fabric around the cuff and hot glued it to the bracelet. Easy peasy, no?

The best part? It goes with EVERYTHING!! You would have noticed it in my portland trip posting..... IF you were paying attention.... 

The next thing I made was a necklace, bracelet, and headband out of an old skinny tie I found at (where else?) Goodwill. All I did was sew a button hole at the bottom of each end, measured where I wanted it to be on my neck (and wrist), serged the end (you can cut it, then use fray check if you don't have a serger), and sewed a button on. For the headband, I was lazy and just sewed the ends together. My head is small enough for the middle to just be sewn. If you need some elasticity, you can sew a rubber band down between the ends. I was too lazy to show the headband though. Sorry!

This was made from the big end:

This was made from the smaller end:

GAH! I just realized how skinny my wrists are - haha!
Adjust your tie accordingly :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Clutter, clutter.... Go away!

I love my beautiful black coat rack with a storage bench that stands by my front door. I found this beauty on Craigslist (my second favorite place to shop), and I found it for a ridiculously low price. However, lately I've been neglecting it... Things are piling up on it, and I'm thinking, that's gotta stop.

So I went from this:

Do we really need all that stuff up there looking so messy?

To this:

Besides clearing off the clutter, I made one of my favorite things.... Paper covered boxes. If you get a gift from me, you better know that you'll be getting a paper covered box. I'll either use cereal boxes (the big ones from Costco), boxes from my Mary Kay orders (yes, I just did a selfless plug there... but what can I say? I LOVE being a consultant!!), or any ol' box that crosses my path. For the paper/wrapping, I'll use anything from comic strips, to scrap-booking paper, to music sheets, to magazines.... Heck! Even the papers that my sons bring home from school works too! These boxes are a gift by themselves!

For the boxes above, I cut the top off of the box to fit the height I needed. If your box has flaps on it, cut those off so that it's a topless box (ooooh la-la). I really meant to make it an open box. You get it? Anyhow, I ususally use spray adhesive on the paper, and then press it onto the box. If you're making this a gift box, still cut off the top & wrap it, but then poke 2 holes on opposite sides, string some twine through and wha-la! You've got handles! Throw some tissue paper (or comic strip paper) in as your stuffing, and you're ready to rock :)

*GASP* - this was a short post. Imagine that!

Monday, March 12, 2012

My Visit to Portland, OR

Yes, this posting is a little late AND it's long. So sue me!

General M & I had been planning to go to Portland since the beginning of February. We were "cordially invited" to a wedding from a friend of his. When we found out, we booked a train ride (with Amtrak), a hotel, and then we made plans for the kids to stay with Grandma & Auntie while we were gone.

The boys and I ended up sick a couple of weeks before General M & I were supposed to leave for our trip, and I wasn't getting any better. So the week before we were supposed to leave, I set up a doctor's appointment. I was then put on antibiotics and told by the doctor that she suspected whooping cough. Scary! Needless to say we were quarantined to the house (by the request of yours truly - Hey! I don't want anyone else to get it!) a week before we were scheduled to leave. The boys and I had been battling sickness for 2 weeks, and now we were stuck in the house for another week before leaving on our trip... so you could say I was beyond ready for a break! We found out 2 days before leaving that we didn't have whooping cough - whew!

A sigh of relief entered my mind once General M & I dropped off the mini men at school. I was very proud of myself since my hubby and I had 1 bag (that's right ladies... ONE BAG COMBINED!!) as a carry on to the train for our 2 day trip. We began our adventure out to Tacoma on Friday morning @ 10:30 am (where we were catching the train), and made it there with time to spare. I had never ridden on a train before, so I was nervous and excited. I was about to burst! The thought of both of us relaxing and enjoying the ride was just too much! Compared to gripping the dashboard as a passenger, keeping a backseat driver muffled in my head, and remembering to breathe while my husband drives (bless his heart - I love him, but ADD and driving is possible, but surely doesn't always mix... especially if you're on the passenger side).

Here we are at the train station:

Now, before I go any further, there's a few things you need to know. My husband and I are not normal people... we like to play pranks, we act goofy, and we like to have fun. My life will never be boring as long as I have him. I love it!

Also, a little side note... I asked my husband if wearing a fur coat would be too much for Portland & he said no way! In fact he gave me an enthusiastic WEAR IT (with his thumbs up and everything)! Actually, I'm not even sure the thing is real... my super awesome mother in law gave it to me. I sure do LOVE it though! Shout out to my friend Christy who sweetly gave me the hat I'm rockin'. It has been my favorite hat ever since! So back to the trip:

I told him to look stoic for his picture... he just quickly took the picture of me - HA! The differences between how a man and a woman perform the same task is fairly amusing:

We begin our ride:

 Here's one of the conductors (he wasn't really sleeping.. He was doing his job... I swear!)

 Standing in the bathroom I'm thinking to myself... WOW! Even bathrooms in the airplanes aren't this big! The toilet was over to the left with room to spare.

 I forgot what he did (we were joking around.. I wasn't really mad), but obviously he thought it was funny. Besides, how could you be mad at that face? Doesn't he look so innocent?!

Our arrival in Portland (you will notice I only took pictures of us... no pictures of - oh, maybe a sign in the background... Yah, I wasn't really thinking of that. Whatever! I knew where we were!!)

Gotta love a guy who asks for directions! 

This train station kinda reminded me of the movies.. 

Our first stop was at a place called Scooters. We were referred from some people on the train. They considered it a dive. It ended up being our kind of place :)

If you're in Portland.. this is the place to go! Or at least start out there. Two words... heavy pour. 

We played around the rest of the day, to which I only stopped to pull out my camera at the Voodoo Doughnut shop. We went inside Saturday night, but I just wanted to take a picture of the line outside (Sorry this picture doesn't show the details of the bright sign. I'm putting the blame on the awful angle, terrible lack of lighting, I was in a hurry, and I was using my iPhone to take this picture).

 At one point in time, we were searching for something greasy and cheap (hey, sometimes you're in the mood for that stuff), but no one knew of such a place. We were smack dab in the middle of the Pearl District. Most places we went into had a steep price for one entree... I wasn't really in the mood for something "classy" or expensive. What can I say, I'm a simple gal! Too bad the next day we found what we were asking for, not even a block away from where we were staying. Go figure! 

Saturday morning we ventured out to a little place called The Morning Star Cafe. 

This time he told me to look stoic!

Loved the food and excellent service there. Portland is a pretty eclectic place. I enjoyed the vintage feel it gave me. Now I know that bringing the fur coat was a good choice. I fit right in! Of course, I wasn't wearing it in this picture, so that's why I look frumpy :)

While we were eating, we saw a few groups of people just running around like they were going to an event or something. It piqued our curiosity because.... well, you just don't usually see people running around like they're in a marathon, but dressed in regular clothes.

Then we saw groups of people who were dressed in costumes

Come to find out there was a massive scavenger hunt! Sounded cool enough. I wonder why I never hear of neat stuff happening like that in WA... oh yah... I'm in a small town eh? Our waitress at the cafe told us the weekend before they had shopping cart races. I would have loved to see that!!

We walked around before we had to go back to the hotel & get ready for the wedding. We found this cute area (it reminded me of the farmer's market in CA, or the Pike Place in Seattle)

With food vendors:

I found this place amusing.. I don't remember Chinese food being completely healthy....

After walking off our brunch, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for the wedding. We rode on the TriMet (I think it's called?) to the church

Found another group of people on that scavenger hunt lol! Looks like a bunch of grapes....

The wedding took place in The Old Church. How fitting the name was. It was beautiful inside!

I just love the old couch!

After the wedding we went back to change & venture out again. I can honestly say that we weren't lazy while we were there! We stopped in a few vintage stores, and my favorite place (when I lived in Vegas)... The Buffalo Exchange!

We spent a lot of time in there. GASP! Yes, General M was busy shopping too. Usually he's a grab-without-trying-it-on-and-buy-it-so-we-can-get-out-of-here kinda guy, but he was genuinely looking :)

Finally, at the end of the night we decided to wait in the line at Voodoo Doughnuts. It wasn't too long of a wait. That place had a line the other 2 times when we passed by it (yes we were stalking our prey)

I loved the chandeliers they had inside

Eating a cardboard sign..

General M pointing to the doughnut he wanted

I was all to excited to get the bacon maple bar. It was like biting into a piece of heaven! We were so hooked, we went back on Sunday morning before we hopped on the train! Besides, we told the boys we had a surprise. What kid doesn't love doughnuts?! The doughnut that had fruit loops piled on it was what we brought back. I swear their eyes jumped out of their head when they saw it. The hubby also tried a Mango Tango (mango filling, vanilla frosting, and  sprinkled with tang)... oh.... it was good... Just talking about this place is making my mouth water!

This place is has a line morning, noon, and night. Rightfully so! But they are soooo worth waiting for! 
On the way home I slept, so there's no pictures of our adventure home. All I can say is that it was extremely peaceful... I can't wait to go back!