Wednesday, December 23, 2009

New Computer on its way

Since we found out our Motherboard died and it would cost as much as getting a new tower, we bought a new tower (luckily all our information is intact!!) I should be back up sometime in the beginning of January. We ordered it online and it won't ship until after New Years. I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Computer is still down...

Just to let you all know that my computer is still in the repair shop... 
It goes a little like this, they were suppose to let us know Monday or Tuesday what was wrong with it. We called yesterday and they said there were just getting to it and they would call us today... They never called and their number was busy for 2 hours this afternoon. I'm currently using a super slow computer at the local library to post this... Hopefully we'll hear from them soon. I'm not very happy with the business, but since we now live rural, it was the only place within 30 miles.
I hope your week has gone better than mine! Hopefully my next post will be saying that we have a working computer back.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Computer Troubles and winner

Due to some computer troubles - such as it doesn't want to start at all and we just took it into a repair shop who will let us know Monday or Tuesday what is wrong and then how long it will take to fix it... I won't be posting until I get it back (because unfortunately I haven't backed up in like 2 months - yes I know a bad idea!)

Due to the computer troubles and the fact that no one has entered the contest in the past few days, I'm announcing the winner right now... thus the contest is ended and all that jazz.

Decided by the winner is comment #3 (sorry I'm using a library computer so there is no way I can show you that, you'll just have to trust me!)

Andrew said...

My favorite board game is Viktory 2 (Light wargame).

Congrats Andrew!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Tortilla Soup

I love making dishes from other countries... I love the flavors that come to life with Mexican especially. I adapted this Tortilla soup from Rick Bayless' cookbook "Mexico One Plate at a Time." The original recipe was good, but by adding the fried chilies to the blender, it really makes a HUGE difference. The other difference is that I cook the chicken in some of the soup. It really helps to meld the flavors.

I usually try to make my own tortilla chips when I make this recipe as well... if you have never made your own tortilla chips, I would suggest trying it, they are delicious! I do not fry my chips, I bake them which makes them healthier (always a plus!). Just cause I was talking it up, I'm going to give you quick instructions (no pictures, sorry I don't have any) of how to make tortilla chips. I buy corn tortillas and brush each side of each tortilla with lime juice and then I cut them into fourths. Place the cut tortillas on a cookie sheet in a single layer and either brush or spray with olive oil. Salt to taste. Bake at 350 for 5 minutes, turn each tortilla chip, bake until browned (turning at least once more.) Serve with salsa or the following recipe.

Tortilla Soup

In a skillet, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat.
Toast 2 large dried pasilla chilies which have been stemmed and seeded for 30 seconds on each side. You will need to press them down so they touch the pan.
As you can see the chilies are in rough pieces, they tend to break apart as you remove the seeds... that is fine, they don't have to look pretty. Remove from pan.

Add 2 Tbsp olive oil to pan, and 1 medium white onion, sliced (be sure to use the white onion, not yellow) as well as 3 garlic cloves, peeled.

Cook until golden, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from pan and add to a blender along with one of the pasilla chilies and 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes in juice. I have also used fresh tomatoes to make this (if you do you will need to strain out the skins after blending. Fresh tomatoes add great flavor, but I love how handy the canned tomatoes are.) Blend until combined.

Pour blended mixture into pan on medium high heat and cook until reduced about half, stirring constantly. It should take about 8-10 minutes.
 Add 2 quarts chicken broth to the blended, reduced tomato mixture. Simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
 While soup is simmering, remove 1/2 cup soup mixture and cook 2-3 chicken breasts, cut in half (to make not as thick) in skillet.
Once soup has simmered for 30 minutes, serve with the other pasilla chile, crumbled; 1 large ripe avocado, cut into cubes, Cheese (Monterey jack, or cheddar), and fresh lime juice.
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Monday, December 7, 2009

Meals: Nov 30 - Dec 6

Happy December! This past week we have eaten prepared food a lot due to going grocery shopping too late (I hate it when I do that, but we bought a $5 pizza and ate it for 2 meals) and going on a trip.I'm going to have you vote on recipes I have made in the past (I am going have both of my pizzas in the poll.) I hope you all have a wonderful week! Don't forget to enter the giveaway!


Monday: Leftovers from our Saturday Thanksgiving meal

Tuesday: Brunswick stew (using leftover Turkey)

Wednesday: Pizza (picture is of Chicken Club Pizza) Recipe for Pizza Crust.

Thursday: Pizza (Picture is of Chicken Fajita Pizza)

Friday: Tortilla Soup at my sister-in-law's house, which was really great! I'll share my recipe if you vote for this one...

Saturday: Ate out

Sunday: Santa Fe Chipolte soup (made from a mix as I was not feeling very well.)

Friday, December 4, 2009

May Be Foodless Friday: Boardgames

When Hubby and I were poor undergrads, we decided to celebrate things by buying boardgames (every couple of months or so) instead of  going out to eat (at a non-fast food place). We figured we would spend about the same amount of money but get something we'd get to keep and reuse instead of stuffing our faces and only wishing we hadn't eaten as much. Then we both graduate and moved so Hubby could go to grad school. I was working 3/4-full time until the end of my pregnancy and then stopped working... but while I was working full time we decided to order boardgames online so we could get discounts. We also decided that when we ordered we would have to get free shipping (which meant spending a bit of $$). So we bought a few more games. We enjoy playing them so we justify how much we spent on them. Before we moved, I took all our games out of their storage containers and took pictures (really trying to make all of them fit):
Looks like quite a few games, eh?
Here's another view.
So basically the games covered the card table and were stacked pretty high. We love our boardgame collection.

Most people when they hear we play games mention games such as monopoly, life, sorry (we do have Sorry Sliders and love it!), Phase 10 (own it), Boggle (also own it). Most of our games are not available in stores such as target, walmart, kmart, shopko, etc. Hence the reason we order them online... We also loved going to the store that was the local game store in the city we went to college in, it was a fun experience. We try to go there every time we go back to that area (and since we have family just north of that city we can find excuses to go back ;).

My favorite games are: Ticket to Ride, Pandemic, Mr. Jack, Carcassonne, Odin's Ravens, Bohnanza (commonly called "the bean game", and Dominion. Links are to a site, they have info about every boardgame in existence (at least every game I've heard of and more...) It is one of the sites Hubby and I check out games on before buying them.

Giveaway Closed
To enter the giveaway for



Image on by user Bobby4th

Coloretto is a card game great for adults and children. If you want to learn more about it please, visit click on the above link. It is one Hubby and I have our eyes on, but have not gotten yet, so I'm a little jealous of whoever wins this game!

One entry per person (except those who entered my first giveaway - you all get two entries, just leave a second comment saying you entered the potato bag giveaway.) Everyone is welcome to enter this contest, friends, relatives (except Hubby), those I have never met, etc.

Contest open to US Residents only.

Contest will end Thursday (December 10) evening at 8PM or close thereto, or whenever I remember to disable comments.

Winner will be announced next Friday (December 11), please check back to see if you won as I will not require you to enter any contact information. Winner will be selected by

To enter, please leave a comment answering the following question:
What is your favorite boardgame?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Comfort food: Shepherd's Pie

So my biased decision chose this recipe due to the fact that only 2 people commented and one was anonymous. Since I like to know who people are, I find it more personal that way, I am going with the named comment. That is just the type of person I am. Plus I had about the same amount of pictures for each recipe, which was my original criteria.

We do not have shepherd's pie that often in my family.  Hubby doesn't really like it that much, and while I like it, there are so many other foods that I want to try... but occasionally I really crave this for the comfort food that it is. My mom would make this when I was growing up and I loved it, which was odd because I was not a fan of tomatoes, tomato soup, etc. I did eat Ketchup and that is about all! So who knows maybe if you have a child who "hates" tomatoes they will eat this. I am actually over the tomato hating. Oddly enough it came with pregnancy - I craved tomatoes and since then I have been able to eat it. In fact I actually like them. It is a weird switch to go from hating them to liking them, but it's been kind of nice. I actually enjoy eating a lot of foods I have not liked before. Hubby still does not prefer to have tomatoes, but he eats them.

There are many versions of Shepherd's Pie, but this is the one I grew up eating.

Shepherds Pie

Brown 1 lb hamburger in a pan (or use hamburger pre-cooked and frozen). While hamburger is cooking, boil 3 cups potatoes for mashed potatoes (boil for 15-20 minutes or until tender). Add hamburger and 1 - 15oz can green beans into a bundt pan.

Then pour a can of tomato soup (10.75 oz) over the hamburger and beans. Mix well.

To the boiled potatoes, add 1 cube butter, 1/3 cup whipping cream (or sour cream), 1 egg and salt to taste (you may want to salt before adding the egg). Mash to desired consistency (I use my hand beaters to make them nice and smooth.)

Place mashed potatoes on top of the green bean and hamburger mixture.

Top with 1/3-1 cup cheddar cheese.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes - until cheese is melted.

If you want the cheese browned like above instead of just melted, broil for 2-3 minutes after cooking. Let cool for a couple of minutes.

Enjoy! (And no this dish is not suppose to look 'pretty'.)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tuesday Treats: From other blogs

So I have found a few recipes from other blogs that I wanted to share with you... The first is from The Pioneer Woman (for the one or two of you that don't know her...) It is a recipe for Chocolate Molten Lava Cake. It is absolutely delicious! I made this a while ago and am working on a White Chocolate adaptation.

But doesn't this look delicious?

Honestly, this was SO GOOD!

You have to try it. I topped mine with vanilla ice-cream and used the Smuckers Magic Shell chocolate topping.

The next recipe I want to share with you is: Waffle Cones from Lovin' from the Oven. I love waffle cones, they are my favorite way to eat ice-cream. This recipe is very delicious (and a lot cheaper than going out for ice-cream!) Unfortunately when I made this recipe I did not take any pictures, but she has plenty on her site - check it out.

I will probably be sharing recipes like this each month due to my continuingly growing list of recipes that I NEED to try from other food blogs. I hope you enjoy these recipes! Next week I'll be sharing my holiday cookie recipe - this cookie is a must make for me every December.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Menu: Nov 23-29

Due to traveling, I did not really cook a meal in the past week. We spent Thanksgiving at Hubby's parents house. We went up on Tuesday and came back on Friday. Then we had Thanksgiving dinner with my family on Saturday (due to my sister being in the hospital, they postponed their meal.) I'm still writing up a list of what we had, but there will be no poll this week. Instead I will leave it open to all of you to decide which recipe from all the meals I have posted before you wish to have posted - just leave a comment with the recipe you would like to see.

I hope you all had a great thanksgiving! Ours was a little hectic as my son took a nose dive out of a high chair and we went to the Emergency Room. Luckily he's fine, he had a swollen upper lip and a cut on his bottom lip from his teeth. If there is one thing that can make you feel horrible, it is having your child in pain. The worst part for him is that he is cutting in about 3 teeth on his upper gums which took the worst beating. He's one tough 8.5 month old and is doing great, in fact his mouth is almost all healed. The night we had the meal with my family was exciting as well! The dinner went great and while my mom was on her way home from taking some to my grandfather, my little sister went into a seizure. She is doing pretty well now. Hopefully Christmas will be a lot less hectic than either of my Thanksgiving meals.  How was your meal (hopefully less hectic than mine)?

So here is what we ate, such as it was:

Monday:  Leftover 'Naked Burritos'

Tuesday: We at with some friends at Cafe Sabor on our way to Hubby's parents. (Cafe Sabor is a great resturant in the town we went to college)

Wednesday: Hubby's mom made fried chicken and asparagus

Thursday: Thanksgiving meal - Turkey, rolls, cranberry sauce, sweet potato/yams, mashed potatoes, gravy, jello with bananas, stuffing, lemon-lime punch and for pies we had: apple, pumpkin, chocolate pudding, oatmeal (plus a pecan pie we ate the night before.)

Friday: We picked up a pizza on our way home.

Saturday: Thanksgiving meal (with my family): Turkey, rolls, stuffing, yams, twice-baked potatoes, cranberry sauce, gravy, and apple-raspberry juice.
Pies: pumpkin, coconut creme, chocolate pudding, pecan and apple

Sunday: Leftovers from Saturday.

Which recipe would you like to see that you've voted for in the past. Just leave a comment letting me know how your Thanksgiving meal went and which recipe from all past posts (listed below) you would like to see on Wednesday! In case of a tie, I'll be the tie breaker (probably based on which recipe has the best pictures, cause that's just how I am...) Comments are now closed. Are there really only 2 of you that wanted to vote for these recipes?!?

Here's the list:
Stir Fried Thai Chicken Salad
Quesadillas with Fresh Salsa
Chicken Fajita Pizza
Garlic Sage Roasted Chicken
Shepherd's Pie
Chicken Italian Pasta
Southwestern Chicken Skillet
Macho Nachos
Mini Meat Loaves
Taco Soup
Tortilla Soup
Baked Potato Soup
Tin-Foil Dinners
One-Pan Stovetop Mac & Cheese
Chicken Club Pizza
Taco Salad
Pineapple Salsa

Friday, November 27, 2009

Enjoy you're weekend!

Since I'm out of town this weekend and I ran out of time to post, this is it for today!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

To all my readers, Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you are all enjoying your day!

I am thankful for my family... For my son who has added so much joy to my life! He's just a little over 8 months now.

I am also thankful that I'm not pregnant (and do not have hip pain) this Thanksgiving. Along that line, I'm thankful that I'm not in charge of a potluck dinner for 20+ people (yes I volunteered).

I'm thankful that we're spending the day with family.

I'm thankful for my supportive husband who lets inspires me to achieve my dreams and helps me reach my goals. Thanks hon for all you do for me.

What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Beef Carnita

I can't believe it's already almost the end of November!! Happy Thanksgiving to everyone - tomorrow. This dish is not a Thanksgiving dish or even close, but it is delicious! Hubby has been after me to make it for about a month since I briefly mentioned it and made Beef and Broccoli instead. It has been nice since lately the roasts at our local store have been on sale for as cheap as you can buy 75/25 hamburger. I don't think it is a hard decision to make... so we have quite a few roasts.

Wrapping the roast in aluminum foil to cook it helps keep in the moisture making this very tender. Be sure to use a roast that is not marbled with fat as it will make it harder to shred. We used these to make 'naked' burritos. The name comes from Qdoba Mexican Grill, a place we use to eat before we moved. I really loved that place, it had really good food. A naked burrito is a burrito without a tortilla shell. I have missed eating at Qdoba since we moved, but after making this meal, I felt like I can make a meal that comes close to their shredded beef burrito. Now all I need to do is figure out the seasonings for the shredded pork. That was my weakness. (Just a side note, if you get some of the juices from a shredded pork quesadilla on your fingers while feeding your 4 week old baby - DO NOT break a latch using one of those fingers... please trust me on that one. It was worse than the lemon juice finger I had while in the hospital right after giving birth. Its moments like those when you wonder why you think you were qualified to be a parent!)

I'm just going to show you the recipe now, before I start spilling all my parenting mistakes.

Beef Carnita

Mix together: 
1/4 cup salsa, 2 Tbsp Chipolte hot sauce,
2 Tbsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp oregano, 1/2 tsp ground cumin, 2 cloves garlic-minced,

1 4oz can chopped green chilis
in a bowl.

Place 2-4 pound roast on Heavy Aluminum foil. I would suggest a 4 lb roast because if you are going to go through all this work you may as well have leftovers!
Rub seasoning mix over roast.
Wrap foil around beef.

Place on a baking sheet or in a baking pan. Bake at 350 for 3-4 hours or until beef falls apart.
Remove from oven, let cool slightly.
Shred using two forks and place shredded beef and juices from cooking in a saucepan. Simmer for 20 minutes. Serve.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Monday Menu: Nov 16-22

So this week I made two dishes requested by Hubby. He wanted to have Slow Cooker Black Beans and Beef Carnita. I also made Feta Chicken, which is one of my favorite meals. I will say one thing for the meal I made last night (Naked Burritos) though... Hubby and my dad both went back for seconds! Then my mom asked me to give her the recipes so she can make it for my dad in the future. I don't know what it is, but somehow that makes me feel so happy. Maybe it is because my 'mentor' asked me for the recipe or it is because I was able to introduce a new food to them successfully. Either way I love the feeling! I think part of it was that the pineapple salsa and the beef carnita were a first time success. I also made my own adaptation of the beef carnita, which turned out wonderful.

We did have a frozen pizza one day this week... right after I went on a 1.8 mile walk. Is that something I should feel guilty about? I feel like after a walk like that I should have had a nice salad instead. What do you think?

Here is the menu, although there are only two days that have recipes, there are a few to vote for this week.

Monday: Slow Cooker Black Beans

Tuesday: Slow Cooker Black Beans

Wednesday: Feta Chicken

served with a Carrot Apple Bisque

Thursday: Baked Ham (made by my mom)

Friday: Leftovers

Saturday: Frozen Pizza

Sunday: "Naked" Burritos

(made with Beef Carnita,

Pineapple Salsa,

Garlic Black beans, and Lemon Garlic Rice)

Let me know which recipe you want to see on Wednesday!