Whatcha Looking For?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mexican Chicken Crock Pot

Super easy idea for dinner tonight!

Throw 3 or 4 frozen -- yes, FROZEN -- chicken breasts in a crock pot.  Add 1 can cream of chicken soup, a packet of taco seasoning and 1 cup salsa.  Cook on low for 6 hours.  Stir to break up chicken, then add 1 cup sour cream (I use light), 1 can corn (drained) and 1 can black beans (drained and rinsed.)  Serve over rice.

So easy and yummy and pretty darn healthy if you use 98% fat free soup and light sour cream. 

Also, one of the best things ever invented is Reynolds Crock Pot Liners.  They go in the crock pot before the ingredients and then you just throw it away.  With a dish like this you'll probably rip the liner when you are breaking up the chicken with a fork but you still won't have stuff that has been baked onto the crock pot for 6 hours!  A box of 4 is less than $2 at Walmart!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Happy Advent -- Make your own wreath

For many years I looked and looked for a nice Advent wreath and finally gave up and made my own.  It was super easy.  I bought a plain wreath from Hobby Lobby and some shear lavender and sheer pink ribbon.  I also bought 4 basic glass taper holders.  Then simply use the pink and lavender ribbon to make four bows and hot glue them in the four corners of the wreath.  Wrap the remaining ribbon around the wreath, hot gluing periodically to get it to lay right.  When you set it up on the table you simply place the 4 taper holders in the 4 corners by the bows.  You could also replace the bows with lavender and pink flowers or white flowers with lavender and pink ribbon.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Things I'm Thankful For

Today is Thanksgiving so I thought I'd share some of the things I'm thankful for.  I know everyone is doing this on Facebook but I have not participated.  Even though I could easily think of 24 things I'm thankful for the thought of having to remember to post one each day was just more than I could handle! So instead I'm posting my top 10 here:

1.  My husband.  I don't give him enough credit and I shower much more love and affection on our children than I do on him but the reality is without him I wouldn't have these amazing children.  I do love him and I am very thankful that he found his way into my life 18 years ago.  And when the children have moved on with their lives (and settle down with their families a mile away :) I know Jeff and I will have many more years of happiness and fun ahead!

2.  My children.  I always knew I wanted to be a mom, hence the fact that I became a mom very young, but I never knew how much I would enjoy my children as people.  I love the fact that they are just really great people and I enjoy spending time with them.  I remember an episode of Frasier where he tells Roz that you expect to love your children, but what you don't expect is to fall in love with your children.  I am madly in love with my children.  I can't wait to talk to them each day.  When they have been away I get excited to see them.  They are such a blessing in my life!

3.  My family.  My mom and sister are two of my very best friends.  I know that I am so spoiled to live a mile from each of them and to have the luxury of seeing them whenever I want.

4.  10 extra years.  I lost my dad much too young.  He was only 61 and I was 35.  I feel a hole in my heart whenever I think about him but I am so thankful for the 10 extra years we got from his successful heart transplant.  During those ten years he got to welcome 4 of his 6 grandkids into this world and my own girls were so blessed to see him on a daily basis.  They have such wonderful memories of their grandpa Rick that they would not have had without those 10 extra years.

5.  My job.  I love working and often say that I am a better mom because I work (which I wholeheartedly believe.)  I am thankful for a job that I enjoy doing and for the new opportunity I have taken on this year.  I am thankful that I am able to provide for my family when so many are not.

6.  My friends.  Over the years I have "accumulated" many groups of friends.  I have my Indianola friends, my high school friends, my college friends, my Good Shepherd friends, work friends.  I am thankful for each and every one and I am thankful for Facebook who helped bring some of them back into my life and allows me to keep tabs on everyone.

7.  Technology.  I am thankful for all the brilliant people who have worked so hard over the years to create all of the technology that makes our lives so easy and enjoyable today!  What did we do without computers, dvr, cell phones??  I know we could live without them but I'm thankful that we don't have to!

8.  Travel.  I am so thankful that travel has become achievable for the average person.  Growing up not a lot of people were flying to Mexico for vacation, only the very rich.  Today I think travel is much more accessible and I am so thankful for that.  I have loved all of the vacations that we have taken as a family, whether just the four of us or extended.  It has created memories that you cannot put a price on (but lucky for me the price isn't that high thanks to internet deals and my savvy bargain skills!)

9.  Good Shepherd.  I have belonged to Good Shepherd since 1985 but specifically for the past 10 years it has been so much to us.  It has been a wonderful school for our girls providing them with a great education in a safe, secure and faith based environment.  It has been our social life providing us with innumerable new friendships and many social opportunities such as Fall Festival, Lollapalooza and Good Shepherd Married Couples. It has been our place of worship.  It has been our recreation hub with CYO sports.  I cannot express what a blessing Good Shepherd has been for us as a family.

10.  God.  For everything above I am most thankful to God.  He is good.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Good Old Fashioned Chili

Tonight was the perfect night for chili and cinnamon rolls and that is exactly what we had for dinner.  Growing up we always had cinnamon rolls with our chili and it drove my dad nuts.  He always wanted to know who decided those two foods went together.  I don't know who first paired the two but in my book it was sheer genius.  Here is my recipe for chili (it is very similar to my dad's but just a little better :-)

1 lb. ground beef
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 can Mexican tomatoes -- you can use Rotel or several brands make a diced tomato with onions, peppers and Mexican seasonings.  I recently discovered Great Value (yes, Walmart private label) Diced Fire Roasted tomatoes with Mexican seasonings.  That's what we used tonight
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
2 cans Brooks Hot Chili Beans
chipotle Tabasco sauce
Chili powder

Brown the ground beef with the onions.  I use 93% lean ground beef so no need to drain off the fat but if there is a lot of grease in your pan you'll want to drain it.  Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce and beans, don't drain anything -- use the whole can.  Add about 1 tsp of cumin and 5 or 6 dashes of the Tabasco sauce.  Start light with the chili powder, just 1/4 - 1/2 tsp.  Let simmer at least 30 minutes and then give it a taste.  If you want more heat, add more chili powder. 

That's it.  Awesome chili.  It freezes great so make a double batch and freeze some.  You can put the frozen solid block of chili in the crock pot some morning on low and come back to dinner waiting for you!  This chili is also great on nachos, hot dogs and burritos!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mexican Pizza

Tonight for dinner I made a mexican pizza that was so yummy and super easy.

1 lb. ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
Taco seasoning
1 can refried beans
1/2 medium taco sauce
1 small can sliced black olives
2 pizza crusts
12 oz. cheddar cheese
4 green onions

Brown ground beef with onions.  Add taco seasoning and water and cook according to package directions.  Mix refried beans with taco sauce.  Spread half on each pizza crust.  Top beans with taco meat and black olive and shredded cheese.  Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted and crust is crispy.  Remove from oven and top with chopped green onions.  Can top with chopped iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, salsa, guacamole or just eat plain.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Hanging a Picture Collage

I'm back.  Sorry for the long time between postings.  I was frustrated with the fact that my blog wasn't very easy to find recipes and such after they were posted.  My husband found a way to create "Categories" so on the right you can now see categories and by clicking on one it will take you to those posts.  So hope this makes it easier.  I'm still working on improving the site but I'm back to posting!

Today my tip is how to hang a collage of pictures.  I wanted to hang 7 framed family pictures on the wall going up my main staircase.  My husband seems to get a little cranky when I pounded 14-20 holes in the wall trying to hang pictures.  So here is how I make it almost fool-proof. 

1.  Trace each picture onto craft paper.  Make sure to label each one and make a mark to show where the hanger is on the back.

2.  Tape these craft paper templates to the wall.  You can move them a dozen times.  Live with them for a few hours. 

3.  Pound your nails/hangers right through the paper and then tear it away. 

Viola!  The perfect collage.  In doing this one I did need to move one picture so 7 pictures = 8 holes.  Not too shabby!