Sunday, October 28, 2012

Italian Crock Pot Chicken

Mmmm... Dinner smells so good.

Italian Crock Pot Chicken, with carrots and potatoes from Crock-A-Doodle-Do (cute name, no?). 

I stumbled upon this recipe when I was looking for easy frozen chicken crock pot recipes, and I'm so glad I did. Let me say this again, it smells so good. 

Here is what you will need:
One bottle of Italian dressing 
Frozen chicken breasts (I used 4, for leftovers)
Bag of baby carrots
6ish red potatoes, cut in quarters
Parmesan cheese
Oregano, rosemary, thyme and marjoram (or Italian seasoning for those of you who like it easy)

So here's what I did. First I sprayed down my crock with Pam, and put in a little squirt of Italian dressing. then I squirted more Italian dressing on the chicken and added a bit of each of the array of spices and a little bit of Parmesan cheese. Then I threw in my bag of carrots and added more seasoning, dressing and cheese. Last, I piled on the potatoes, more seasoning, the rest of the dressing and some more cheese. I turned the crock pot on low for 6 hours and I can't wait to try it!

Let me know what you think!

Dinner was delicious and we will definitely be making it again! If I were to change anything it would be the kind of dressing I used, I would use one with less oil.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Fast Facts Friday

I thought I posted this yesterday, but I didn't!

5 Fast Facts, every Friday.

1. My mouse pad has an image of a beautiful beach.

2. One of my favorite author is Janet Evanovich.

3. I am now hooked on Lost

4. Lil' Red has an Alfalfa hair-do today

5. When I was attending a University I thought I might minor in Art

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Lazy Day

Today Lil' Red and I have absolutely no plans. Besides making dinner, and even that plan isn't nailed down yet. First I though Hamburger Helper with some potatoes, then I decided on spaghetti, and now I'm thinking tortellini. 

Here's Lil' Red relaxing in front of the TV, watching Word World.

Mr. Red is getting ready to do some errands before he heads up to the business, and I'm just sitting here watching season 3 of The Good Wife. I love it. I've watched the first two seasons this week. Have any of you seen it? What were your opinions? 

I think the first season was pretty slow, but season 2 was great, and I'm only an episode or two into season 3, but so far it's got a good story line.

What shows are you addicted to? I love getting into a new series. Let me know what's good!

Hope your day is super fantastic and that you get to take a moment to relax.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

My Spidey Sence

Let me start with this:

I can spot a spider from a mile away.

Now let me get to this:

Our house is crawling with them.

No pun intended. Here are some very recent photos of the spiders I've found in my house. 

 Here is one on my Wildtree bag in the living room.

Here is one next to one of Lil' Red's giant LEGO's.

 Here is one watching me in the shower.

Here is one in the kitchen watching me cook.

Here is one (about an hour ago) that I saw skitter across the floor into Lil' Red's blankets.

I swear. I can't eat, I can't shower and I can't even sit down and watch TV without getting bombarded by a spider. Not just a spider, but a very large spider. 

The worst part about this spider business is that I can't bring myself to kill these things! Listen here, if I were to attempt to kill him, say, by throwing a shoe at him (I can't get close enough to step on it, couldn't imagine feeling it squish under a paper towel I was holding...) and if I was to miss in my attempt... Don't you think that it would be quite simple, being a sneaky, little big, 8 legged, furry creepy crawly critter to just bite you when you were asleep? Or say I were to get him with my shoe, what if his little brother, or mother or some relative of this spider wanted revenge?! A sleeping target is an easy target.

That being the reason I contract Mr. Red for all of my spider hits.

I have a bottle of spider killer I'm going to spray when Lil' Red goes to bed tonight. Hopefully this will solve the problem!

Dump Chops Review

I love dinner. I really do.

I mean, really, what's not to love? Most of the time I make a delicious meal and I get to sit down with at least my man, and at most the entire family. 

As you may know, I made Ranch Pork Chops, or "Dump Chops" as I liked to call them. They were good, they weren't fantastic. I think this might of been the chef's fault. They didn't taste anything like ranch. Next time I would use two packets of ranch. They were extremely tender and easy to cut, but like I said, no ranch flavor. It was kind of disappointing.

I would definitely make them again, though. I'd just alter the recipe.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Ranch Pork Chops

So, Mr. Red informs me this morning that the pork chops I bought yesterday have a slit in the wrapping and I need to use them very quickly. I wasn't planning on that. I'm not going to be here for a while this afternoon, I have a standing appointment on Sunday's at an adult foster home for pedicures and haircuts. I needed something I could throw in my crock pot to be ready when Mr. Red gets home (early tonight!). 

So, I called up my good friend Google, we're pretty tight, and asked her (I mean really, no way a man could be that smart, all of the time), "pork chop crock pot recipe" and found this lovely blog post by Renee over at Living Laughing & Loving for Crock Pot Ranch Pork Chops... and apparently they are "Finger Lickin' Good". 

I'm pumped. Not only because I love crock pot recipes, but because if there is one thing I love more than crock pot recipes, it would be 3 ingredient crock pot recipes. That's right, 3 ingredients. And get this, I had all three on hand, chances are, you will have them all on hand, too.

1 (or two) can(s) of cream of chicken soup
1 packet of ranch seasoning
pork chops

Easy, peasy lemon squeezey.

I dumped 2 cans of cream of chicken soup into the crock pot, rinsed out my cans and dumped about 1/3 of a can of water in there, dumped the ranch dressing packet, mixed it up and covered the pork chops in the mixture.

I think if I were to name this recipe myself I would call it "Pork Chop Dump" because I find myself saying dump (I know I will get all kinds of jokes from Mr. Red tonight for saying that word) quite often when explaining it. 

I turned my crock pot onto 6 hrs. high and now I'm just waiting.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

1,050 Calories

So I maybe may have had dessert before dinner tonight.

Lil' Red and I ate the whole container. No, really we and I shared it. You know, she had 3 bites and I had the rest. 

Do I even need to tell you how delicious - actually, a little side note.

Every time I hear that word, "delicious", I hear Fergie in my head singing:
"To the D, to the E to the L-I-C-I-O-U-S"
And because of this, I would like to take a moment to thank her for never letting me forget how to spell the word. Now, back to me being fat.

This ice cream is fantastic. Want to know what makes it even more fantastic? Mr. Red is allergic to almonds. What does this mean? All 1,050 calories were mine. All freaking mine. And they were great.

On another side note, Mr. Red doesn't actually have red hair. I just couldn't think of a better nickname for him. I told him to think of a better one and he quoted The Big Bang Theory:

"You can't just make up a nickname, it has to be given to you..."

So I dubbed him "Mr. Red".

Although this post is all over, I think it is very informative. 

Dinner is now cooking on the stove (it's 10:38pm), and it smells delicious. I'd love to post the recipe, but I fear it's not that impressive. I found a box of Zataran's Spanish rice in the cupboard, along with a can of diced tomatoes and green chilies (needed for the rice), and I got some water from the tap.

I had bought some chicken at the store and figured it would go along nicely. But I had to make it Mexican, right? So I basically threw as many spicy seasonings as I could find (chili powder, caijun seasoning, fajita seasoning), some Roasted Garlic Grapeseed Oil in the pan, and then some Scampi Blend (both Wildtree products). 

I know what you're thinking... why are you cooking dinner at (now) 10:44 at night? Simple. Mr. Red has been working all day and hasn't had a day off in 3 weeks. I figure the least I could do is make sure his dinner is hot and ready when he closes the business at 11:00pm. 

So anyways, I'll let you know how it turns out. With some pictures, of course!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Fast Facts Friday

Here's my new tradition, 5 "Fast Facts" on (hopefully) every single Friday.

1. I love the over-processed sugar cookies that are totally bad for you and super delicious... You know, the ones with 1/2 an inch of frosting on the top? 

2. Lil' Red loves the talking tea set we got her for Christmas last year. I hate it.

3. I haven't gone to the grocery store for over a week.

4. My favorite color is orange.

5. I've watched Alvin and the Chipmunks 4 times today. Lil' Red has paid attention to it for a total of 10 minutes or less. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Oh, the laundry!

So, as you may have already read, I've been working on the 14 Week Challenge, over at A Bowl Full of Lemons. My kitchen is inching closer and closer to being finished, and I am ashamed to admit that the laundry room has kind of gone to the wayside. 

Today I jumped back in there and started to clean off the washer and dryer and I needed to do a load of laundry for Mr. Red. I am so behind on laundry, still. Would you mind sharing your routines for me in the comments below? I'm looking to implement a new routine so that my house stays nice and organized. 

Hit me up with those ideas, guys! I'm desperate!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Goodbyes suck.

I hate goodbyes.

But, you know what I hate more than goodbyes? Two goodbyes in one week. Not just any goodbyes, mind you, but saying goodbye to two of  my best friends. 

The first one happened on Saturday. 

I met one of my very closest friends in third grade. Neither of us wanted to play soccer during recess. We then proceeded to walk the perimeter of the playground and talk. I remember I was wearing my baggy black pants and she was wearing a raggedy old t-shirt. You guessed it, we were a couple of tomboys and we had so much in common. 

Although I changed into less of a tomboy, Jessie stayed the same. Not only did she keep her style, but she kept her personality, too. She is straight forward and to the point. She likes to make you think she doesn't care about what anyone thinks, but she really does. She will never stop caring and she truly loves those she cares about. She went to college for a year and decided it wasn't for her, so she then decided to join the Navy. It's so amazing that she got the training to be an x-ray technician. I'm so proud of her. 

After her training she the assignment that she is going to Italy! How exciting, right?! I'm so happy and excited for the opportunity she got. She's young and she gets to travel the world.

For the past few years we didn't get to talk very much. Every time she was home on leave I was so busy. The first time she was on leave I was busy pushing out Lil' Red, and the second time she was only home for a few days. This time I was fortunate enough to spend lots of time with her, not enough, of course, but still a good amount. 

She came over to my house on Saturday morning around 8am to say goodbye. She's going to be stationed in Italy for two years, and she admitted to me that she was scared. She didn't want to go to a foreign country where she didn't have any friends. Broke my heart. Understand that Jessie will have absolutely no problem finding friends, she's amazing, she's just an over-thinker. I hate goodbyes.

The second one happened on Monday.

When I was a freshman in high school we had a foreign exchange student from Germany named Hannah. She had an Ag class with me, along with her host family's daughter, Laura. Hannah and I weren't close to begin with, but she didn't make friends easily. I had no problem Laura, but Laura had a problem with Hannah. 

One day during class Hannah invited me over to her house for dinner, and she needed help packing. Later that night I came over for dinner with her host family. The food was good and everyone was nice. After dinner was over I went into Hannah's room with her and asked her what was going to happen now that she had to move. She replied to me something along the lines of her needing to get a new host family or she would be sent home. She turned around to get something off of her white shelf next to her bed and when she turned back to me she had tears rolling down her cheeks and a quivering lip.

She wrapped her arms around me and I had no idea what to do.
"Why does no one like me? I don't want to go home. What if I have to go home? I have no one."
I was instantly flooded with emotions and I was so sad that I might lose this German foreign exchange student that I barely even knew. Aww man, it sucked. I didn't want to say goodbye. 

After leaving her old host family, and feeling all alone, she went to stay with a teacher and her husband. They loved her and she loved them. She was finally happy. The program she went through to become an exchange student needed to make sure they were a suitable host family. For one reason or another they deemed her new family unfit to be a host family. Luckily the school was doing everything they could to find her another home and make sure her time here in America was enjoyable. 

The superintendent at our school gladly welcomed her into their "fit" host family home. That wasn't her only home though, she spent a large chunk of her time in America at our house with me. 

I think she was my soul mate.

We were the best of friends and saying goodbye was the hardest thing I have ever done. I cried for days and deep inside my heart I knew I would never find another friend like her. Someone who was always there, someone who, despite our language barrier, knew exactly what to do and say at exactly the right time. I hate goodbyes.

She came back to the states this August. Six years had passed and when I first saw her, wandering the streets trying to find my new house, I didn't know what to do. She hadn't met my daughter yet, and I hadn't seen her in six long years. She, however, knew exactly what to do. She wrapped her arms around me, just like she had several years before and tears came to my eyes. It was about time she came back to see me.

Things were exactly like they were when she had left. We fell into our "new" normal routine, of cooking dinner together and talking about the years we missed. She was there when I needed her. She could read my mind. She could finish my sentences. 

I went to say my goodbyes, but I couldn't say them. I couldn't say see you later, I couldn't say any of that. I was so sad and it felt like she was being taken away from me all over again.

I didn't cry when I was with her, because I knew saying goodbye was so difficult for her, I didn't want to make it worse, but I had such a hard time holding myself together. I know I will see her again, but it is so hard to lose two of the best friends I have ever had in a matter of days. Who knows when I'll be able to see them next? I hate goodbyes.

Cherish the moments you have with your friends, and don't say goodbye. When you say goodbye, everything feels so real.

Organizing the Pantry

Sometimes, it's just time for a fresh start

You know, clean out the laundry room, donate some clothes and get rid of all the expired stuff in your pantry...

Yeah, I'm talking about reorganizing your entire house.

I recently graduated from cosmetology school, and between all of the time I spent there, all of the time my daughter spent at the babysitters and all of the time my boyfriend spent at his own personal business, our house got kind of messy became a total disaster, and I'm trying to put it back together piece by piece. 

I found the "Home Organization 101: 14 Week Challenge" over at A Bowl Full of Lemons, and let me tell you... It was just the motivation I needed! After joining the challenge (by following the week-by-week tasks), you also have the ability to join a fantastic Facebook group where you can share your before and after pictures, your questions, and organizational ideas. Toni did a fantastic job putting all of this together and I honestly don't know if I would have done it without her... Okay, a little exaggeration  but I probably would have done it all halfheartedly. 

Now bear with me, I didn't start the challenge at the beginning of the 14 weeks, I started it 2 weeks ago, so I'm a little behind. I've started three different rooms simultaneously, and although that isn't the best way to do it, it made sense for me. I started working on my kitchen first (Week 1), and got most of the cabinets/drawers all done in one day, but it's not totally ready. I then moved on to my laundry room (Week 5) which is definitely one of the two BIGGEST challenges in my house. I've already done 9 loads of laundry (stuff that was all covering the floor...), donated two garbage bags full of clothes to a local thrift store (the guy asked me if I wanted to trade my clothes for... wait for it... more clothes! I quickly walked away to avoid temptation), and filled two garbage bags with clothes that were too small to put out into the garage. Now those 9 loads of laundry I did do not count the load I did this morning when I woke up to my daughter, happily chirping and covered in poop.

Anyways... moral of the story is while those loads of laundry were going I started working on my pantry (Week 5), it only took me one day!! Here are the before and after pictures of my pantry!



Here was my process:

  • Empty out the entire pantry, throwing away any expired food, and recycling (almost) all boxes
  • Wipe everything down
  • Sort all the food that is left into categories, mine were the following (from top to bottom, left to right):
    • Instant pudding and Jello
    • Canned goods
    • Pasta
    • Sandwich stuff
    • Hot tea and cocoa
    • Baking (all muffin and cake mixes)
    • "Just add..." meals
    • Bread
    • Seasoning packets
    • Lil' Red's snacks
    • Mom & Dad's snacks
    • Chips and crackers
    • Cereal
  • Next search all your rooms for things that can be used as baskets and bins to organize
  • What you don't have, if you can afford it, head off to Walmart (or you can check out these simple baskets from Amazon, 6 large ones are here and 12 small ones are here) and buy (if you can't stay tuned for a post with DIY fabric covered boxes!)
  • Put everything into its proper bins
  • Fit them in the pantry
  • Make some labels and put them on your containers (thanks, Mr. Red!)
  • Stand back and enjoy your neatly organized pantry!!
I swear, I can't open my pantry without smiling. I love it. Lil' Red loves it, too! She knows exactly where all of her snacks are and puts her basket back where it goes every time, and even closes the pantry when she's done!

I never realized how much better my deep, short shelved pantry, could be with the addition of baskets! I now know what I have in there, and where it is!

So what do you think? Not too shabby for a rookie, eh?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

And so it begins...

I'm not going to lie, I'm kind of nervous...

I've never written for a blog before, but I tell you what, I've always enjoyed writing. Hopefully you enjoy reading, because that is what you will be doing here.

But don't worry! It will (almost) all be entertaining and helpful.

So here's the lowdown:

I'm a fairly new Mama to a beautiful little, you guessed it, red haired beauty!

Lil' Red

I mean really, could she be any cuter?! And if you didn't catch on from the caption below the photo, I will be referring to her as "Lil' Red" throughout my blog.

I am also a girlfriend to a fantastic and handsome man that I will be referring to as "Mr. Red". We have been together for 3 wonderful years. It's actually a funny story, if you'd like to hear it. For those of you that said "no", scroll down past the picture to skip the story, but be forewarned, it's a great story...

It all started when I was 3 years old, yes, I said 3 years old. My family and I moved to this small town to be close to my grandmother, who had been in bad health for quite some time. My parents found themselves starting up a business, a restaurant to be more specific, that was positioned right across the street from a grocery store. This grocery store was one of two in the town and had one of the nicest, fun loving, helpful people you would ever meet running the place. His name was Mike.

See, when I gained a couple years and started attending school, I would have a bad and tell my mom, "I'm going to go talk to Mike!" and off I would go across the street to vent to Mike about how people cheated when playing four-square and how I should have been server for way longer.

And after I gained a couple more years (now 10 years old), I totally started crushing on Mike's youngest son (Mr. Red). Let me give you a little explanation as to why... Not only was he super hott, he also had a... wait for it... lime green Honda CRX.

I'll let that soak in for a moment. Ahhh, it was a beauty. I might also mention that during my Jr. High and High School years I was also crushing on a few other boys, one had an orange car (don't remember make and model) and the other had a Toyota Tacoma, and being from the country, I've always loved my pick-up trucks. Back to Mr. Red, fast forward to 2009 and picture a still smoking hott Mr. Red, now owning an Audi TT, and a St. Bernard puppy. One word for you, irresistible. We had connected through Facebook, and I'll admit, I was Facebook stalking him, when my internet went down during finals week of college. Insert Mighty Mouse theme song music here:

Mr. Red then kindly invited me over to his house to use his internet to print off my assignments. The next time I saw him was when I asked him to help me fix my Xbox. After he fixed it, he stayed to watch "Hairspray" (the new one, one of my favorites) with me. It was all downhill from there. Basically we fell in love and had Lil' Red. We still aren't married, but we're working on it.

Me and Mr. Red

I am a hairstylist, nail tech and esthetician. I love what I do. I love to give people a confidence boost every single time they come to see me, or rather when I come to see them. I'm a "traveling stylist", which basically means I come to the comfort of your home to preform my services. 

Mr. Red runs his own business at the moment, but will be closing it on the 11th of November. He graduated with a degree in Computer Information Technology and Computer Networking Technology, and has worked for the IT department of an NBA team, as well as Intel. He will be going back to work at the family store, and I'm going to try and convince him to write some guest posts. Some funny stuff goes down at the local small town grocery store. Let me share with a few of his previous stories:

"Today I had to help TWO, yes two, separate customers find places to tie up their horses. Then I had to ask them to please pick up the feces left by their horses in our parking lot... They proceed to argue over which "vehicle" left the excrement and who was responsible for cleanup (I have to admit that was entertaining). "

"A man comes in for cherry flavor Imodium AD (anti-diarrheal), but we only carry the original flavor. I tell him to check the drug store. The next day the man returns and says he "needs it REALLY bad". I suggested he chase it with a can of Cherry Crush. Maybe it's just me, but if I had mud-butt that wouldn't go away I don't think I would be too picky about the flavor of the medicine... "

"Do you know what's worse than drinking pumpkin spice eggnog? Daring your father to drink a carton that is over 3 weeks outdated followed by him showing you the curdled chunks coating his mouth. I get it dad... you don't like things to go to waste but when I can smell the sour stench across the room it's time to toss it. I love the man but sometimes he disgusts me... "

Don't tell me that you didn't crack a smile when reading those stories. Cause I know you'd be lying. That is some funny stuff.

So, buckle in folks, and enjoy the ride through our crazy life.