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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Cha-cha-cha-changes's been three months. That is CRAZY. I can't believe it. I've been trying to find things to blog about - but nothing has really given me the motivation. I planned a ton of crockpot meals...none that I'd honestly share or make again. I work nights all.the.time and only cook a day or two a week. But a lot has happened - it's catch-up time. 

I lost my job, not my self-worth. 
Wow, that feels good to type, see, and say. I've had a really hard time dealing with the loss of my teaching job and the opportunity to blog about food and education in the classroom. I've tried to keep a brave face, but I can't live with my head in the sand anymore. It's time to get on with my life. 

So...I've been at my current job for three months now. Just had an employee review. It's going well and I enjoy it. I am really excited about the opportunity to go back to school - I just need to figure out what I want to major in and get started on the course work. 

Maria got engaged shortly after Christmas to an awesome guy. They're getting married in July of 2014. I am so excited to stand next to my sister on one of the most important days of her life. We hit the ground running on the bridesmaid dress shopping and it didn't take long...forgive the bad model. 

I am so excited about the shower and have tons of ideas and motivation in my Pinterest. My only hope is that I do not go all Kristen Wiig in Bridesmaids.

I look forward to this weekend - actually having two days off will give me tons of time to get into the kitchen and make some deliciousness happen. It also means actual time to figure out meals for the week, ones that I hope to share with you soon!


Thursday, December 20, 2012

End of the World Coupons

So, if you've been living under a rock, you know that tomorrow is where the Mayan calendar ended. Yes, the end of the world is tomorrow. I plan to spend the day baking up a storm for the Christmas festivities at my house...just in case they were wrong. In case you want to hurry up and stock up your house, here are some coupons that will get you through should you survive the end-of-the-world-insanity or last minute Christmas shopping, whichever should come first. 

Coupons For The Apocalypse
Fighting Zombies all day can be a real headache:
You’re gonna want something to do on those long cold nights:
Don’t forget the kiddos, they’re our only hope at repopulating the earth:
When your husband is out slaying the walking dead, he needs to smell good:
I hear blood stains are hard to get out of clothes:
And you certainly need to wash off the Zombie guts before dinner:
Snacks. Snacks. And More Snacks. Fighting Zombies is hard work!
Keep the putrid smell of Zombies out of your house (or what’s left of it):
Fido and Fluffy can defend the homestead while you’re scavenging for food:
Leaves and berries can be bland, sweeten them:
If you take to the seas to escape the Zombie herd, you’ll need this: 
Doesn’t this stuff last forever?
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate:
Where else are you going to store the food you scavenge?!
You do have one of those camp coffee makers right?
And last but not least, you gotta look and smell good in the new world!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Tip: Defrosting Chicken Without Cooking It

Thought I was leaving you high and dry today? Nope. I've been indulging in the beginning of my weekend. DJ let me sleep in today, we've enjoyed a breakfast in our jammies, and finally went to buy his costume and fixings for treat bags for the 14 kids in his class. And what's an 80 degree-ish day without a trip to the park?

So now we're home and I just realized that we're having chicken tonight for dinner. Not a problem - except the chicken is frozen solid in a bag in the freezer. When I first started cooking and had frozen solid chicken, I would throw it in the microwave on defrost. The pieces of chicken would be partially cooked when the defrost was done. Gross. 

I'd love to share my preferred method of defrosting chicken without cooking it before, well, cooking it. 

Step One: Preheat oven to 200 degrees. 
Step Two: Place chicken on aluminum foil in a single layer. 

Step Three: Turn off the oven and place chicken in, setting the timer for 25 minutes. I've tried 20 minutes for smaller batches. 

Step Four: Take the chicken out of the oven and begin preparation for the delicious meal that you have ahead of you tonight. For us, it's Chicken Chop Suey. Another clean plate club recipe, maybe?

Preheat oven to 200 degrees and turn it off when you put chicken in. 
Set the timer and forget about it. 
Dispose of the foil properly. No one enjoys salmonella. 

Peek on the chicken to see how it's doing. Precious heat will be lost. 
Try to eat the defrosted chicken raw. This process is purely for defrosting without cooking it, allowing you to totally control the cooking process. And everyone loves control. 


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Hot Fudge Brownie Larabars

Two days in a row...I am on a roll like butter! A Hawaiian roll, please. I love them so very much, but am too cheap to buy them. They are an indulgence of mine - like Twix, Starbucks, and chocolate. Just like Larabars...yep, too cheap to buy. When I saw this recipe on Chocolate Covered Katie, I knew that I had to make them ASAP. 

Now, if you've been reading long, you know that DJ can't be around nuts. Yes, there are nuts in this recipe. When this recipe was made, DJ was at school. All associated dishes and areas were cleaned and sanitized prior to his return. It's nice to be able to make things yourself - definitely try this out - you will not be disappointed at the taste and the money still in your wallet. You're welcome!

Hot Fudge Brownie Larabars

adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie, originally seen ad Fudge Babies.


1 cup walnuts 

1 and 1/3 cups pitted dates 

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

3-4 T cocoa powder 

1/8 plus 1/16 tsp salt chocolate chips, bar, or baking chocolate (I added chocolate chips)


Blend all the ingredients, using a food processor,

Place mixture in a dish lined with waxed paper and shape into bars. Cut into bars and wrap. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Lunch On The Go: Turkey Salad Wrap

I have mentioned, without sarcasm, that I LOVE my job. I work alongside the executive chef and cooks and all their amazing talent. I sample on a daily basis so that I can adequately talk with the patients about their meal choices. Don't even get my started on the desserts that they roll out of the kitchen. So.damn.good. 
The down side? Trying not to purchase everything in the cafeteria. In an effort to not put my entire paycheck back into the cafeteria, I've started bringing my lunches. I found this recipe from Martha Stewart and had the feeling that it would be absolutely delicious. And it is. I adapted it slightly to use turkey lunch meat instead of cooking actual turkey because 1.) it's faster. 2.) I just worked an 8 hour shift and didn't care. 3.) Did I mention it's easy? Chop up four ounces of turkey, mix with some mayo, mustard, and vinegar. Wrap it up (whole wheat, please) with some spinach and carrot - you're good to go! 

I leave you with some pictures from our trip to the pumpkin patch this past Saturday. DJ had a blast! 
DJ loved feeding the goats and sheep.

Turkey Salad Wraps
adapted from Martha Stewart

For the filling:
4 ounces turkey lunch meat
2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
1 tablespoon honey mustard
1/2 teaspoon red-wine vinegar
Ground black pepper
To assemble:
1 cup baby spinach, or arugula
1 carrot, finely grated 
1 (12 inch) flour tortilla, flavored if desired

Slice the  turkey and place in a medium bowl. Stir in the mayonnaise, mustard, and vinegar until combined. Season to taste with pepper.

Arrange arugula and carrot in the center of the tortilla. Spoon turkey salad down the center. Fold one end of tortilla up over a little of the filling. Fold the sides over to enclose the filling, and then roll up to close. 
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