A New Taco Night – Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos

One of my husband’s favorite food nights is taco night. We used to just buy some ground meat (either Turkey or Sirloin) and cook it with a little taco seasoning. We usually serve it on tortillas and have a taco bar of sorts. The bar generally has olives, cheese (the Costco mexican blend), Cholula and home made pico de gallo. Then I visited the Country Cook’s website and I made our taco nights even better!

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We like to use hard taco shells:

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Adapted from The Country Cook:

Yummy Ingredients:

  • 4 frozen chicken breasts (I love that I can use frozen! You can also use boneless thighs)
  • 1 cup of your favorite salsa in a jar (I use pace mile–> for my kids)
  • 1 10oz can Cream of Chicken Soup (I use Campbell’s)
  • Taco Seasoning (1 packet or I use the Costco sized container and just sprinkle as much as I want on)

Directions:
Spray your crockpot with cooking spray. Place frozen chicken at bottom of crockpot (you can use non-frozen chicken but you need to adjust your cooking time). Sprinkle taco seasoning on top of the chicken (put as much or as little as you want but keep in mind the more you put, the more spicy it might be). In a separate bowl, mix together chicken soup and salsa. Pour soup/salsa mix on top of chicken. Cook on low for 6 to 7 hours. Once chicken is ready, shred chicken in the pot or if you prefer not to mark up your crock pot you can take out the chicken before you shred it (and then put it back in). Serve on your favorite kind of tortilla and create your taco bar. Yummo!

**These are good the next day on top of some chips. Simply warm the chicken, put on top of chips, add some cheese and bake at 375 degrees on top rack until cheese is melted.**

I Have an Obsession With Cake Batter

I have to say that I love all things Cake Batter flavored. The place that introduced me to the flavor is Cold Stone Creamery. It is absolute delicious-ness wrapped in whatever dessert is flavored with. It reminds me of my days as a kid when I used to like the spoon after mixing cake. Um…who am I kidding, I still like to lick the spoon! 🙂

You can imagine my delight when I found this on Pinterest. It’s from one of my favorite sitesSix Sisters’ Stuff. It’s a simple recipe and you can adapt it in different ways.
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The first Time I made it, I think I over baked it but it was still delicious. You have to remember that even though you take it out of the oven, it still cooks afterwards, so it is good to take it out early. I actually have a convection oven so, mine bake even FASTER. So bake it a few times and adapt it to YOUR particular oven. In my oven, 16 minutes was perfect–I like it moist.

Adapted from Six Sisters’ Stuff website

Yummy Ingredients:

  • 1 box Funfetti (or any yellow) cake mix
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • Sprinkles from the cake mix (if it comes with it)
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • Sprinkles for the top
  • Frosting (see recipe below)

Directions:
Combine the cake mix, oil, and egg in a large bowl. Add the milk slowly. Then mix in the rainbow sprinkles and white chocolate chips. Spray pan or Pyrex baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Pour batter (the batter is kind of doughy, so it’s not like normal cake batter) in pan and spread to the edges. Bake for 16 – 20 minutes at 350 degrees. While the cake is cooling, make the frosting. Frost when cooled and sprinkle with sprinkles (my girls’ love doing the sprinkling as you can see in the picture below).

Frosting:

  • 1/4 cup margarine or butter, softened
  • 2-3 Tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups powdered sugar (more or less depending on how thick/runny you like it)
  • 3-4 drops food coloring to match what ever occasion you may be celebrating.

Combine all ingredients until well-blended. Spread on top of blondies.

For the Fourth of July, I made it with a box of patriotic cake mix. I put half of the red and blue sprinkles in the cake and saved the remainder for the top.

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I think it tastes better when the cake is only LIGHTLY brown. Not like this:

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The Blogs That I Enjoy

One of the effects of my addiction to Pinterest is that my feedler app now has sooo many food blog subscriptions. Sometimes it is overwhelming (usually when I haven’t read my feeds in a while) and other times it is inspiring. Before, I used to try Googling “food blogs” or “recipe blogs” and I only found bloggers that really no longer blogged about food. So I thought that I would compile my own list, since I found them on Pinterest. So here are some of my most favorite food blog feed subscriptions in alpha order. I would encourage you to visit them like I do 🙂

It’s a lot, I know. You can see why I get overwhelmed. I actually subscribe to more, but these are my favorite. Enjoy!!

Book Review: Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult

Five years ago, I was still relatively new to my neighborhood (and a little lonely). In an effort to meet more people, I made a flyer to start a book club in my development. I left a flyer at half of the tract homes in my development (I was too lazy to walk to all 700 homes).

I got a pretty good response back, so I decided to host the first book club at my house and the book I chose was My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult (and no– I don’t get anything if you click on the link). It was the very first Picoult book I ever read and I thought it was fabulous. That book began my Picoult book reading. I’ve read 14 of her 19 books.

I just finished her latest book– The Lone Wolf:

Luke is a man that has devoted his entire life to researching the behavior of wolves. He even went on to live life as a wolf in the Canadian forest for 2 years. His work becomes renowned once he re-enters society and is given his own show on Animal Planet (or some similar channel). One night, when he drives his intoxicated daughter home, he gets into a car accident and is rendered comatose with little chance of recovering. The book explores Luke, his relationships with his family members, and the wolves. His tragic accident brings his broken family together to decide his fate by determining whether or not to continue life support.

In true Jodi Picoult fashion, this book is told through the eyes of several different characters:

  • Luke— the father, lone wolf and comatose patient
  • Cara–Luke’s daughter that was in the same accident but suffered non-life threatening injuries
  • Edward–Luke’s estranged son
  • Georgie–Luke’s ex-wife
  • Joe— Georgie’s second and current husband

It wasn’t her best book but it was still entertaining. I finished it in 3 days. I would recommend it as a great beach/vacation read.

My Family Can’t Get Enough of These Peanut Butter Bars!

I don’t know what your favorite candy is– but in my household, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Butterfingers are quite popular (especially among the adults here). So when I found this recipe for Peanut Butter Bars— I was in heaven!! This recipe is no bake, simple, quick AND tastes just like Reese’s Peanut Butter cups! YUMMO!

How can you go wrong with peanut butter (I prefer Skippy), powdered sugar, and graham cracker? Now, I am not a chocolate fan ( *gasp* I know, right? How can I even say I’m female?!?! ) and I tolerate it in this recipe. I often just give my husband the chocolate part and eat the inside (and yes– this is how I eat the butter cups too). I think in my next iteration of this, I will make it with WHITE CHOCOLATE– which I do happen to love <3<3

When you cut the bars, it’s best to use one of those slicers like the one in the picture above– cleaner slices. 🙂

For the recipe, Click Here

Enjoy!

Crock Pot Teriyaki Chicken

I found this teriyaki chicken recipe that looked absolutely delicious on pinterest. It was a pretty tantalizing recipe for me because it:

  1. was a crock pot recipe
  2. crock pot = little hassle
  3. it called for chicken thighs–> a very cheap cut of meat
  4. and the picture from Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen was gorgeous

So…with good intentions, I made the recipe.  When I made it, it didn’t taste so good.  My problem though, was that I didn’t follow the timing. I couldn’t start and stop the crock pot with just a 4 hour window because I decided to make it during a week night.  Plus, I figured that it was a crock pot recipe…it wouldn’t hurt to let it cook a little longer (I thought it would just make the chicken more tender).  Long story short– it tasted good but the chicken was a little rubbery because I cooked it for too long.

The sauce was delish, though. I recommend trying it and sticking exactly to the timing directions…




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It’s Been a While, Will You Forgive Me if I Share My Favorite iPad Apps?

It has taken me a while to post because the next things I wanted to post were recipes and I was too lazy busy to convert my raw images to jpegs. I got these fabulous recipes on Pinterest— the place that inspired me to blog in the first place. I’ve found 3 great recipes and I can’t wait to share them with you and let you know what I think of them. So, you have those recipes to look forward to…

In the mean time, I would like to share with you my favorite iPad apps. These are paid apps unless otherwise noted:

  1. Feeddler Pro–I use this to read my Google feeds.
  2. Instapaper– I use this in conjunction with Feeddler and Safari. It helps me save articles in a very readable format (without the ads)
  3. Pinboard (free)–I use this with my Pinterest account
  4. Words With Friends HD–best game EVER!!
  5. Pimp Your Screen– Allowed me to easily personalize my iPad.. There are a lot of REALLY good images that you can use.
  6. Numbers– MS Excel for the iPad
  7. CraigsPro– I love craigslist. I use it to buy and sell used stuff.
  8. ToonCamera–turns your pictures into cartoons.
  9. Cut My Rope–Kids game but it is oddly addictive.
  10. Where’s My Water–Same story as above
  11. Netflix– Stream movies on your ipad. You can take your movies with you on vacation!
  12. Livestrong– Fabulous Calorie counter
  13. People Magazine (free app but magazines cost $)–This where I get my dirt on celebrities

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Have You Ever Heard of Plinky.com?

A while back, when I was blogging at a different site, I used to have a hard time thinking about what I should blog about. Then I can’t remember how I did it, but I found this site called Plinky that emails you prompts daily. I think it’s totally cool and today, the prompt was “When was the last time you voted in an election?”

My Answer:

I last voted in 2008 because it was a monumental presidential election and there were some California propositions I was interested in. The person I voted for won. I wish he hadn’t. Since his presidency began, I’ve become very house poor. I think the economy is still terrible and health insurance for the self employed has sky rocketed. I’ve been told by insurance brokers that I can expect it to double in 2014 when Obamacare takes full effect ($2000/month). We just got priced out health insurance.

What Did You Give Up For Lent?

I was raised Catholic and went to church EVERY Sunday. I was part of the choir, the youth group, attended CCD, and I was probably at church at least twice if not 3 times a week. That being said…I’m not that religious anymore. On occasion, I start to feel the Catholic guilt and decide that I need to go to church. When I do go to church, I don’t attend Catholic services anymore (although I sometimes miss the rituals)– I go to a Lutheran Church.

The Lutheran church has a more modern service complete with Christian songs sung to “modern” tunes (like U2 or the Beatles). Lots of hand gesturing and sometimes dancing. Very interesting but sometimes uncomfortable for the Catholic at heart. At any rate, the Lutheran religion isn’t that far off from Catholicism and Lent is still a big part of the religion.

Lent has always been kind of like a new New Year’s Resolution time period for me. I generally give up something for 40 days. The something is generally some bad habit or “addiction”. This year’s addiction…candy. Yup. I gave up candy. It’s been difficult, but I’ve been able to do it thus far. I used to make Sunday my day off and allow myself a reprieve from my resolution, but then every time I did that, I’d break down and give up my will to give up (does that sound right?!?!).

You know what I feel my biggest accomplishment with my Lenten resolution? The fact that I have a very LARGE tub of candy on my desk at work and I haven’t eaten a single candy!!! Yay!

What did YOU give up for lent?

Pinterest…It Inspired Me

I have to admit…I’m addicted to Pinterest.  I love all the pictures, the recipes, the ideas…EVERYTHING.  It’s opened my world up to a whole slew of websites and has inspired to blog again.  My hope is to cook the recipes I find on Pinterest and blog about them.  I also want to record what I do with my family.  So there you have it.  I’m back.