Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pinterest.. The Good and The Bad

For those of you that live under a rock, there is a website a very addicting website by the name of Pinterest.  I spend many an hour scouring the site looking for fun new ideas, DIY projects, cars that I will never own, dream vacation homes, jewelry, and of course food.  I really enjoying cooking and baking and wish I had more free time during the day to do so.  But alas, I don't, so I'm always on the lookout for yummy crock pot dinners and easy to put together meals.  I don't know about you, but when I get home from work sometimes I lack the motivation to prepare a meal.  I recently made two meals from the above-mentioned site.  One crock pot recipe and one easy to prepare meal. 

First up... Beer & Brown Sugar Kielbasa

Here's my review of this dish... it was good, but it wasn't great.  I think that I like my kielbasa done on the grill.  I like the snap and the char.  It was flavorful, but I wouldn't make it again.  Also, if you do decide to make this and it's only for 2 people I would suggest cutting the recipe in half.  There were way too many leftovers for a so-so dish.

Second trial... Million Dollar Spaghetti

Now this my friends was DELISH! I would absolutely recommend making this.  The ingredients are cheap and it comes together quickly.  I had my reservations at first.  I hate cottage cheese, but because it's blended until smooth with the other cheeses you don't even notice.  It almost tastes like a deconstructed lasagna.  It's really tasty and not dry at all.  I will be making this one again.  Plus, you make it in a 9x13 pan so there's a lot to go around or if it's just the two of you, quiet a few leftovers. 

All in all I love Pinterest.  BUT if you find something you want to try, try it.  Just remember it may not turn out the way it looks in the picture or you may hate it.  OR you may love it and keep it in your regular repertoire. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Little Chicken That Could

Last week I received my new crock pot and promptly made a tasty crock pot chicken.  This little bird lasted a few meals, one of which was chicken chili.  It's really easy and quick to make, especially since everything is essentially cooked, it just needs to be heated up.  It was a really nice night when John and I got home from work so we decided to take a little walk down the street with the doggies while the chili came together. 

Now, here's the disclaimer for this recipe (I'm not even sure you can call it a recipe).  I never measure anything for it.  I do it all on taste.  But here's what's in it:

1 large can of tomato sauce
1 can of diced tomatoes (do not drain)
1 can of pinto beans (rinsed)
1 can of dark red kidney beans (rinsed)
1 Medium onion diced (if you have time)
Shredded Chicken
Tabasco Sauce
Chili Powder
Onion Powder
Garlic Powder
Fresh Garlic
Salt and Pepper
Stir it all up, set the temperature on medium-low and let the flavors meld.  Taste it once in a while to see what you need to add.  Once it's to the temperature and flavor you like, enjoy!

Enjoy with cheese, sour cream, and some tortilla chips if desired!

Friday, October 19, 2012

I love you... I love you not..

We all have those relationships.. you know.. the love/hate kind.  The subject of my balancing love is the Fall season, which is currently upon us.  I love Fall!  The weather starts to get cooler, the leaves start to change, nice days and cool nights, and you get to bring your cute boots out of closet hibernation.

The Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina
The leaves were just starting to change!

Self-portrait on our Blue Ridge excursion.

 But, with these nice changes come a few things I dislike about Fall.  The days become shorter.  You get home after a day in the office and it already looks like it's midnight outside.  You wake up for work and there is not a sliver of sunlight to be seen.  This my friends is my biggest hangup.  I was doing so well with exercising every morning before work during the summer.  The alarm would go off and I would get up immediately (or at least after the first snooze).  NOW, I just can't find the motivation. My brain says, "It's dark, keep sleeping".  I need sunlight to get me going.  When the alarm goes off now I just keep hitting the snooze button (very much to John's dismay).  I need help!  I need to workout in the morning.  My motivation is lacking when I get home as well.  I did however workout in the evening once this week, but it was definitely not ideal.  There are too many factors that play into the evenings activities to make it a regular occurrence.  Anyone have any morning workout motivating suggestions?? 

So that my friends is my love/hate relationship with the Fall season. 
                 "Dear Fall,
                       I love your pretty changing leaves and cooler weather, but your
                       lack of morning sunshine is killing my morning motivation. 
                       Please don't make me kill you 3 times in my head.  Let's work
                       this out.
                 Your Most of the Time Fan, 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Gettin' Handsy!

Shellac or Gellish manicures are my new found love.  They usually last over 2 weeks on my nails and they look shiny-wet for the entirety.  Now mind you, I like to get a fresh manicure about every 2 weeks because my nails start to grow out and my cuticles could use some TLC.  However, this past week we were a little tight on cash and my nails were getting to the embarrassing point.  The problem with the Shellac nail polish is that the nail techs tell you not to remove it yourself or peel it off your nails.  (Really, don't peel it off your nails.  It will take a few layers of your nail with it)  However, after watching the nail techs remove the Shellac from my nails before I knew I just needed to get my hands on some Acetone nail polish remover.  It just so happens that CVS carries a large bottle (CVS brand) of professional nail polish remover for about $5.00.  You will also need a bowl or a manicure soaker, an orange stick cuticle pusher, and a 2-sided nail file. 


Pour the polish remover into your bowl and soak your nails for 3-5 minutes.  You will notice that the Shellac will start to peel up.  Take your orange stick and with gentle pressure scrape the polish off your nails.  Once you're finished your nails are going to look HORRIBLE.  Take the coarse side of the file and file it over the tops of the nails.  Go back over with the fine side of the file for a smoother finish.  At this point you can continue your regular manicure or do what I did and moisturize your nails and hands to the point where you can't grasp a damn thing.  The pure acetone just dries everything out.  Works like a champ though!  I would also recommend doing this for glitter nail polish removal as well.  Good luck and Godspeed!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Ooohh... How Shiny and New!

My crock pot has seen better days.  I've have it for-ev-er.  I can't even remember when I purchased it.  The knob is broken, you need to make sure to apply enough pressure while turning it to set the temperature.  One of the plastic handles crumbed in my hand last time I was putting it away.  OK, it was time for a new crockpot.  Luckily, I work for a company where we get great deals on Calphalon.  While browsing the employee purchase site lowandbehold they had a special purchase for Calphalon Digital Crock pots.  BINGO!  7 quart, digital, black and stainless, and NEW.  A few clicks later this baby was on the way to it's new home.  One thing that I love doing with my crock pot is simmering a whole roaster chicken until the meat is falling off the bones.  I enjoy using the shredded chicken for chicken chili, nachos, chicken soup, BBQ pulled chicken.  It makes a few meals.

  • 4-6 lb roaster chicken
  • Roughly chop the following vegetables:
    • 1 onion
    • 2-3 carrots
    • 2-3 ribs of celery
  • 1 box of chicken stock or broth
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper
Place the chopped veggies on the bottom of the crock.  Remove the gizzards from your chicken and give it a good wash.  Place the cleaned chicken on the veggies.  Add your thyme, salt & pepper.  Fill the crock with the box of stock.  Cook on HIGH for 4-5 hours.
Once the chicken is done, remove from the crock pot.  Be careful!  She's very hot and needs to cool off in a separate bowl.  Once cooled, remove the meat from the bones and store in an airtight container.  If you would like to keep the stock strain it into a ziplock bag.  (Make sure the liquid has cooled off a bit).  If you don't plan on using the stock immediately, no worries, you can freeze it.   
I'm looking forward to using my shiny new crock pot for many more meals.  Be sure to check back for some new crock pot creations in the near future!

Back On The Wagon

I know I have been MIA for a while now.  I think my last post was in February.. it's now October.  Eek!  I renewed my subscription to the Sunday paper so I can get coupons again.  I was doing pretty well planning out meals for the following week and sticking to a budget.  Then something happened... I'm not sure what, but the wagon we were riding fell off the trail.  Kind of like Oregon Trail.  One day you're trucking down the trail, no cares in the world and BOOM!, there's a flash flood. All of your food is washed away, one of your mules died and the other one has a broken leg.  *Sigh*  Time to restart the game. 

If you think about it though, life is usually like this.  One minute it's going great, and the next something happens and you get derailed.  So here I am, back where I started.  Still DINK (double income, no kids) status, but somehow incapable of holding onto our hard earned money for very long.  Don't get me wrong, we do fun things.  Just last week we went on vacation up North and had a great time visiting with family and friends.  But when we're talking about money and the future, well, let's not go there.  So we will try to keep sight on the present and build up to the future. 

Since I had Labor Day off I decided to spend it in the kitchen.  The neighbor looked in on the cat while we were gone so I thought it would be nice to make them some bread.  I really like making bread.  The assembly is very quick, it's the rising that takes forever.  If you want to make bread be sure you're not busy that day because you will have to devote your time at home.  My aunt taught me this recipe and it's made in a food processor.  If you're interested in the recipe please feel free to email me about it.

(Sorry for the crooked bread picture, I couldn't get it to edit straight)
I also made some roasted red pepper chickpea spread to go with the freshly baked bread.  However, I did not photograph that process.  Once the bread was cooled and the spread prepared I brought some over to the neighbors for looking after the cat.