It's Kind of a Funny Story

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The hubs and I watched a great movie last night that I thought I'd share with ya'll. It's Kind of a Funny Story is a wonderful film, and great one to watch if you ever plan on having teenagers. The cast was great with some of our favorite comedians.

Being a teenager isn't the easiest time in our lives, and I think most of you would probably agree with that. This movie is the perfect depiction of a teenager trying to manage school, relationships, and family. At times it can be really stressful, and trying to explain that to parents (who seem to have forgotten what it was like) is a challenge.

Happy viewing, happy hump day, and happy leap day everyone :)

Slow Cooker Meatloaf

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Today for Slow Cooker Sunday we tried meatloaf. Now, I'm not posting a picture of this one. Not because it didn't turn out, but because I'm not a food stylist, and don't know how to make meatloaf look great in a picture. I do however have some comments about this one.

I got the recipe off of GMA's website from a slow cooker contest that they had back in 2009. The biggest problem that I had is that my Crock Pot is vintage. It's not like the shallower, oval shaped ones they make now-a-days, it's a four quart Crock POT. This made making an actual loaf in it a bit of a challenge.  Ours was more of a giant meat ball. It was very juicy, and the flavor was great, just not the best item to make in this vessel.

The recipe also includes a ketchup-y sauce which I loved! It was very sweet and somewhat tangy. Dave on the other hand was not so much a fan. He preferred A.1.

All in all, dinner was good, but I'll probably stick to meatloaf in a loaf pan, and probably whip up some of this ketchup sauce on the side.

They all can't be winners I guess, so, until next Sunday ... happy slow cooking!

Have a great week, all!


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I've decided that once a week, maybe mid-week as it turns out, I'm going to talk about inspiration. Sometimes on Wednesday finding a little inspiration is all I need to get through Thursday to make it to Friday, and the weekend.

This week's inspiration is about faith. I don't mean faith in the religious way, but more in believing that everything happens for a reason, and, that everything will work out just fine.

I am a learn from your mistakes kind of girl. In most cases I'd rather do something my own way, screw it up, and learn from it, rather than doing it the way someone told me was the "right" way, first. Some might say I'm stubborn. I also like to "wear it home." I get an idea in my head, and I run with it. Today's quote reminded me of me.

Sometimes we have to take a leap, and trust that things will come together. Have faith in the process, and most importantly have faith in yourself.
“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
― Martin Luther King, Jr.

Shredded Chicken Tacos

Sunday, February 19, 2012

You know what another Sunday means. Another delicious slow cooker recipe!

This week I made a recipe that was found on Pinterest. You can find the recipe here at Chocolate Therapy. As usual though, I did improvise just a little bit.

1 packet fajita seasoning ~ 16 oz your favorite salsa ~ 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
mix all ingredients into your slow cooker
cook on high for 4-6 hours or low for 6-8 hours
remove chicken from slow cooker and shred chicken ~ return to slow cooker
prepare with your favorite topings ~ we used soft taco shells, lettuce, jalapenos, sour cream and cheese


UPDATED 2.20: So, I just ate the leftover shredded chicken on nachos, and oh my gosh, I think it was better the second day! It's like the flavor just developed that much more, yum! If you have leftovers, and want to try this, here is what I did.

on an oven safe plate spread a layer of tortilla chips
spread leftover shredded chicken onto chips
top with shredded cheese (I love the Mexican Chihuahua cheese!) and any other toppings you want
put nachos in oven under broiler on high until cheese is melty



Thursday, February 16, 2012

I'm running low on inspiration this week, but thought this was a great quote to share.

I always try to maintain a positive attitude and outlook no matter what the circumstances. By staying positive and looking at the glass half full in all that we do, is a great way to act out these words. 

Life is hard, and full of downs to go with all of the ups. If we try to think of happiness as a "manner of traveling" being happy might become second nature to those of us who struggle to put those pieces together. Nobody is perfect, and nobody has it easy, some of us just choose to live in a more positive light every day.
“Happiness is not a station you arrive at, but a manner of traveling.”
― Margaret Lee Runbeck

Chunky Chicken Chili

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Slow Cooker Sunday has returned!

Chili is a great meal to have on a cold wintery night, and today we wanted something warm and comforting.

Whenever we make chili it's never made the same way. We kind of just go with whatever feels right, and add ingredients as needed. This was my first attempt at making chili in the slow cooker, and I think it turned our really great!

2 thawed chicken breasts, cubed
1 red pepper cut into pieces
1 green pepper cut into pieces
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups corn
2 cans diced tomatoes seasoned for chili
1 can beans in chili sauce
1 can kidney beans
cheese & sour cream for top

*If you wanted you could add more or less of these ingredients. You could also throw in some other ingredients that you felt could go well. That's the fun thing about chili! you don't need an exact recipe, just good proportions.

layer all ingredients in slow cooker
cook on high for 4 hours


Vacation Jewels

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

So, as our vacation nears, I've been thinking about what I will pack, and the things we'll be doing while we're in Florida. One of the highlights of our trip is our friends' wedding in Key West!

I've decided that I'm going to wear a dress that I already have in my closet. It has kind of a palm pattern in purple, lime green, yellow, and shades in between. I have a couple of cute bangle bracelets that I'm going to wear with it, but need to find a necklace and possibly some earrings.

One of my favorite things to do before a vacation is head over to Beadnicks in Wicker Park, and make some of my own jewelry. It's a fun shop, and makes the jewelry extra special. In preparation for my upcoming stop at Beadnicks I've found some pieces online that have given me some good ideas.
These jewels are from the Archive Jewelry website. I've always admired their pieces, and thought it might be fun to try and make something similar on my own.

I've been loving the gold tones lately. I think the warm Florida sunshine, and the colors of my dress will be a great combination!

Superbowl Sunday

Monday, February 6, 2012

I know there are several of you who were looking forward to my next Slow Cooker Sunday recipe however, it has been postponed until next week. If you want to look at my past SCS recipes, click here.

This Sunday we had a few friends over for a little Superbowl get together. After everyone arrived though, it became more about the super bowls of food, rather than the actual football game. We had so much fun just being in each other's company, I actually had to Google some of the commercials that people were talking about that I missed live!

Another thing I didn't do was take pictures of my food. I still wanted to share my recipes with you though, so I've listed them all below with our notes.

Mexican Fiesta Dip
~This is a recipe that I've had for a few years. It's absolutely delicious, and different from any other layered dip that I've tried. What makes this dip different is that you mix some chipotle in adobo sauce with the sour cream. You can do this "to taste" depending on how spicy you like your food. It really gives it a kick. Serve with tortilla chips.
Hot Corn Dip
{You can find this recipe here on my Recipe Board, or here at Gina Marie's Kitchen.}
~We tried this dip for the first time last night. Now, I realize that trying new recipes on dinner guests can be a bit risky, but didn't think I could go wrong with cheese and corn! And, I was right, success! I think each of my guests, and the hubs and I would agree that this dip was amazing! Highly recommended!
Santa Fe Salad
{You can find this recipe here on my Recipe Board, or here at Weight Watchers.}
~This salad fit really well with our menu, and I wanted to give people something healthy so we weren't just eating dip, and tacos. It was easy to throw together and the dressing is really good. I'll probably make the dressing from time to time to have on hand for any salad I make.

The main entrees were Dave's responsibility, and he did a great job! Dave is not a recipe cook though, he cooks by feel and taste - something that I wish I was more confident at doing. Dave made skirt steak and chicken seasoned in fajita seasoning. After it came off the grill he sliced it into thin slices so everyone could build their own tacos. If you want to do this you'll need several items for fixin's: guacamole, onions, pico de gallo, cheese, sour cream, and any other items that you enjoy with your tacos.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Dessert
{You can find this recipe here on my Recipe Board, or here at Taste of Home.}
~This was also a huge hit, but very rich - not that you have a problem with that! Who doesn't love chocolate and peanut butter anyways?!

Two of our guests also brought football sugar cookies, and cupcakes.

As you can see, we had quite a spread! It was quite the night. After everyone left, and I was cleaning up, this quote suited how I felt perfectly.

Are We Really Getting That Old?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Tonight was one of my best friends' birthday so a few of us got together for some tapas and sangria. We had a nice two and a half hour dinner, and headed on our separate ways home.

As I entered my apartment building (which as a side, is across the street from a college campus), I said "hello" to my doorman who is there every week night when I get home. Tonight I got home at 9:45, not 5:45 pm. This is what happened from there:

Doorman: "You just getting home now?"

Me: "Yes, was out for a girlfriend's birthday."

Doorman: "Nice, have a good night."

Me: "You too."

*I head over to the elevator where another girl is walking into it right in front of me.

College girl: "What floor?"

Me: "Eight, thanks."

College girl: "So, you were out for a friends' birthday, and you're home already?"

Me: "Ya, we have to wake up early for work in the morning."

College girl: "But still, it's a Thursday. You could still be out for a little while longer."

Me: "Well, I guess this is what happens when you get old."

College girl chuckles to herself, out loud, and gets out at her floor.

I mean, really? Are we that old? I don't feel that old. And, to be honest, I much prefer our long dinners on a week night, to our crazy nights out of our younger years.

To college girl in the elevator: you just wait. Those sweat pants that you've been wearing all day, savor those moments because this is your future, and will be here before you know it!