Product Spotlight: Travel Cloths

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Every so often (when I'm out of crockpot meals) I'll throw in a product spotlight for one of my favorite Norwex products. If you don't know about Norwex, check out my page. Over the last year, one of my favorites (and a product I use every day) is the travel pack. It is made up of 4 small envirocloths that you can stash anywhere like...

In the you can wipe up messes or wet slides at the park. (but don't buy a stroller just to put a travel cloth in it, that would be silly!)
In the car...when you spill your coffee on your shirt.
In your diaper bag....cuz there is always a mess with kids around.
In your desk drawer...for random work related spills.
In your purse....because you never know when you'll run into a mess.
In your kitchen...for smaller messes and wiping counter tops.
In your bathroom...because it is a bathroom.
In your gym bag...because you sweat.

Know what that means? You need two packs *grins*

Mexi Crockpot Chicken

Monday, November 26, 2012

This is one of my FAVORITE meals...and lots of variations depending on our mood. It usually starts out with the following:

1 lb chicken breast or thighs (or a mixture, and it can be frozen)
1 can corn
1 can fire roasted, diced tomatoes (sure, you can use normal diced, but I like fire roasted!)
1 can black beans
1 can pinto beans
1 cup salsa
2 TBSP Taco seasoning (or whatever you like...I got the mondo package pictured below from Costco, but when it's gone I plan on filling it with this because it's yumtastic)

Throw it all in the crockpot and cook on Low 6-8 hours (if you are using fresh chicken, you can go with less time...but for frozen chicken I would go with the 8 hours). We serve over cilantro-lime rice in a bowl or put the chicken mixture in tortillas. Don't forget to top with cheese, sour cream, avocado, green onions, tomatoes, crushed tortilla chips...whatever floats your boat! Oh! And one variation is to add 8 oz cream cheese during the last 30 minutes of cooking. It's insanely yummy!! You can also add chicken stock and make it into more of a soup (that's when the crushed tortilla chips & avocado are SUPER yummy!)

The last time I made this, I used dried beans instead of canned. This was MUCH cheaper!!! I just soaked them overnight the night before. Note: See photo below for what NOT to do!!!!

BONUS: Double the ingredients and put one meals worth of ingredients in a freezer bag, label it and throw it in the freezer for another day. When you are ready to cook it, pull the bag out of the freezer, dump it in your crockpot and set & forget!!

Random photos:

Mondo sized taco seasoning mentioned above

Note to self: if you want your pinto beans to turn purple, soak them over night with black beans
Ug, what's with me turning food purple lately??

Poor Man's Thai

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I love Thai food and could eat it everyday. However, my wallet and waistline won't let me. I was wandering around Pinterest awhile back and found this recipe for classing up ramen noodles.

So, today (this is completely a lie, I wrote this last week and forgot to publish it! hahahaha) I found myself with a hardcore Thai craving while the kids were in quiet time. So I brought up Pinterest on my phone and checked out how to dress up ramen. I don't usually have it on hand because of the massive amounts of sodium, but I had some left over from making this salad during the summer...and you know ramen noodles don't go bad!

Of course I didn't stick to the here is what I did:

Poor Man's Thai

Chicken ramen soup with packet
1 tbsp peanut butter (crunchy would have been better, but creamy was fine)
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp siracha (I'm a pansy, do this to taste)
1 tsp red curry paste (gave it an extra kick and I had it laying around)

Cook the ramen as directed
Drain most of the water
Add the peanut butter, soy sauce, siracha & curry

(pretend you see peanut butter here)

The end result

The verdict: I enjoyed it and would totally make it again (but add some peanuts for crunch and green onion for some color, it was very beige! It doesn't replace the yumminess that is thai food, but it's good in a pinch. Eat up!

It's official!!!!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

I am insanely excited to announce that I can now consider myself a happy hooker!!!!!

I FINALLY showed that crochet needle who is boss!!!! I still can't read a crochet pattern all that well, but I'm a card carrying hooker...and that's something to write home about! *grins*

Turkey time

The other day we took a sick day. P had been under the weather, running a fever and just not herself and I was sure N would be next. Unfortunately for me, they were not lethargic enough to be entertained by a movie and we are rarely home all day, so they were looking at me like, "what the heck do we do with ourselves?" So, I pulled out paper and finger paints and we got down and dirty!

Totally looks like pudding, huh? My daughter thought so!

It's so funny to me how different my kids are. I started by painting N's hand and he whined a little then started gagging. His little sister was across the table, hand outstretched, screaming "PLEASE"!!!!! They crack me up!

We started with brown paint all over....

...then we did just orange on the fingers and we have a turkey (sans beak, dangly neck thing & feet)

This handprint belongs to Mr. N

This belongs to Miss. P

Once they dried a little, I asked each of them what they were thankful for. N started with everything around him, then fell off the chair and added gravity to the list (I just about died laughing) then he started down the list of family members. It was really sweet.

P doesn't have too many word yet, but she did run through her growing vocab with a little prodding.

After the turkeys, N made some trees then found pompoms in the bin and had some fun there.

P loved playing in (and eating) the finger paints...

I should have made my own turkey. I would have listed that I'm thankful for good cleaning supplies (shameless plug, but I'm 100% honest that I'm thankful for them) and washable paints. Sometimes it's SO tough for me to step out of being my Type A self and get messy...but I always enjoy it in the end, and I hope I'm making good memories for my little ones!

Eat, Sleep, Knit

Friday, November 16, 2012

I kinda need I can knit and be warm and comfy at the same time. I guess technically it would be SO much cooler if I knitted it myself, but that's not gonna happen. 

So...guess what is on my knitting needles right now? 

hahahaha...that's a trick question because I have 987987987 projects going at the same time...and since both my grandma's gave me all their knitting needles, I really do have close to that many pairs of knitting needles. In fact, here is a photo of just a few of my special ones that I inherited from the grandma that taught me to knit...

These sit in a vase in my garden window as a reminder of my wonderful grandma. I figured this was a much better way of displaying them as art instead of just stuffing them in one of my MANY totes of yarn. It is strange to people who don't understand the story, (you have a vase of knitting needles in your window?) but they make me happy.

Wow...I go off course so easily!


That adorable hat right there is what I'm currently working on (in tan) for my little girl, P. It's one of the funkiest patterns I've ever done, but it's pretty darn cool how it's coming out. If you are interested in the pattern, click on the photo. I purchased it from Ravelry. If you don't know what Ravelry is, GET OVER THERE RIGHT NOW. I apologize in advance! ;)

I also have preemie hats on my needles too. I decided this year, instead of knitting for profit, I would knit for charity (and of course my kids, they need hats!). 

Man Pleasin' Chicken Freezer Meals

Thursday, November 15, 2012

I stumbled upon the original recipe for Man Pleasin' Chicken here (while pinning my heart out on Pinterest, of course). It seemed to get rave reviews...but honestly I am NOT a fan of maple syrup. But I decided to give it a shot...and wouldn't ya know...I fell instantly in love. There weren't leftovers for lunch the next day because I ate them for dessert! :)

So, the original recipe is stellar, but I decided I needed a little Man Pleasin' on hand at all times in my freezer, so I adapted the recipe to make 3 dinners at a time. If you want to cook one today and have 2 for the freezer, just put one of the 3 meals straight into a pan and the other two in a freezer bag.

What you will need:
3 - 1 gallon FREEZER bags*
Sharpie Pen
6 lbs Skinless & Boneless Chicken Thighs
2 cups Dijon Mustard
1 cup Maple Syrup
4 Tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
2 tsp Dried Rosemary

With the Sharpie, write "Man Pleasin' Chicken" and the date on each of the bags** (Quick Tip: It's also helpful to write the cooking temperature and time, it saves you from having to track down the recipe when you are ready to cook). Then place the chicken in the bags.

Combine all the ingredients (except the chicken) in a bowl. 

Pour 1/3 of the liquid into each bag (just over 1 cup each). Zip up the plastic bag and freeze flat in your freezer***

When you are ready to cook your Man Pleasin' Chicken:

Pull the freezer bag out of the freezer and let it defrost in your fridge (overnight or 24 hours is good). Preheat your oven to 450 degrees and dump the contents of your freezer bag into an oven-proof baking dish. Put the dish into the oven and let it bake for 40 minutes (or until internal temp is 165 degrees). Baste the tops of the chicken with more sauce halfway through. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes before serving. 

We like to serve with broccoli & brown rice! 

Random Notes:

*don't try to use bags that aren't made for the freezer, you will regret it...I learned this the hard way. For more freezer cooking tips, check this out (well, the post isn't finished yet, but when it is I'll link it!) 

**Even if you think you will remember what is in the bag...WRITE IT! Far too many times I have stood in front of the freezer, scratching my head and asking my husband, "Does this look like Pork or Chicken??"

***You can store more freezer meals when you freeze 'em flat. Plus the Type-A goddess in me loves seeing all that freezer goodness in a row. But if you don't care about such things, just throw it in there, but please don't tell me!

November 14, 2012 - What's In My Crockpot?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Overachiever of the day goes to....ME!!!!! No blog posts for months...then...BLAMO...3 in one day!

But I had to share what is in my crockpot right now!

I doubled the recipe and I will add peas near the end (I don't think they will last 8 hours in the crockpot). I'll let ya know how it turns out...but so far it's looking fantastic!

What's in YOUR Crockpot today?


Oh goodness, sometimes you just have to laugh at yourself....other times you need to publish your mistakes so that OTHER people can laugh at you.

This weekend we went to Seattle and I picked up some pretty colored carrots. Today, when I was prepping the meal I linked above, I pushed the baby carrots that I purchased for the meal to the side and headed straight for the beautiful Pike Place Market carrots. I peeled, chopped and dumped the beauties into the crockpot. I then turned the crock pot off and left it to do its thing...

A few hours later I peeked inside (I know, the crock pot rules are DO NOT PEEK...I live dangerously!) and to my chicken looked like this:

The beautiful purple carrots had turned my chicken a funky purple-ish color...and the broth was also the same shade. Isn't that appetizing??? 

Hope it tastes better than it looks! :)


I greatly enjoyed this dinner, but there are a few things I would do differently. I would thicken the sauce a bit more and use more of a flour based biscuit than the corn bread based one. Luckily, the purple-ness dulled and the meal was not a visual disaster. The flavors were very good though, it received thumbs ups from the kids and husband!

Facebook Fan Page!

I've decided to link my blog to a Facebook hopes of keeping up on my blog more and being able to easily link to meal planning and all the fun stuff! :)

Back On Track!

I love the fall...each year it seems like summer gets so busy (and fun) that I look forward to the changing leaves and changing schedule...and SLOWING DOWN. This summer was amazing...the weather was breathtaking and I think as a Washingtonian I felt extra compelled to enjoy EVERY sunshine-filled, non-rainy, day before the gloom of winter set in. We enjoyed our new place and the ability to walk to the pool or walk to the little park. Each weekend we found ourselves outside...but I can't really name much of what we did this year...we were just busy.

I've thought of my blog a lot...even in the midst of doing something I would say "I should blog about this"...but it just never happened. I really should blog from my phone more!

Anyway...I have filed away all sorts of things to blather about and I have lots of arts and crafts ideas for the holidays (thank you, Pinterest) and my HUSBAND even got crafty the other day...which impressed the crap outta me! I snapped pictures of the process, but totally forgot to get a finished product shot...must do that!

So stay tuned...I'll be around until the weather starts warming up and I come out of hibernation! :)