Last June we agreed to take Lola as our pet. She was two years old and she came with a wardrobe for all seasons what could possibly be bad about that? My husband was not thrilled but I think because we are still in the newlywed stage of our marriage he let me have my way after only ten minutes of begging.

During the first week of ownership he caught me holding her and whispering what a sweet girl she was and that I just loved her loved her loved her. He was all, you don't even know her?! Incredulous that I could fall in love with something so fast. While holding my little preemie baby close and whispering sweet nothings in her ear I listened to the warnings of not getting too attached, ya da ya da and then he used a big vocabulary word to throw me off, anthropomorphism. Huh? what? Whatever Mr. PhD, I love her.

She needs us, mostly to just stay warm, feed her and dress her. She cuddles and give hugs when you sit down on the couch by putting her head right under your chin and her paws on your shoulders. Who wouldn't love that? She goes to bed on her own. The minute she hears the TV turn off she is booking it to her crate - if only our kids did that.

But she has outlived her welcome. After spending over an hour on my hands and knees Sunday cleaning the game room floor with Clorox and soap I decided no more. We have three doggy doors that she uses every. single. day. and yet she has been using the far corner of the rug as her own personal toilet, unbeknowest to any of us. DONE!

The baby gate is coming down, the kitchen door is going to stay open, I can open the french doors to the living room, our family will be free to roam our own house. Amazing! This little 5 lb 1 oz dog has had us barricaded downstairs in the carpet free zone. She managed to get upstairs a couple of months ago and the first thing she did was pee on the carpet.

We have tried to re-train her to go outside. I have caged her up in a 4x4 area right at the back door with doggy door in her face. We did this for two full weeks and have gone back to this several times when she has been caught. We have given treats when she goes out in the snow and rain. We push her out the opening if we think she hasn't gone in a while. She goes out on her own to bark at our neighbor's dog and to chase our cat. But no more. Her determination has lost her a place in our household.

Poor baby-yea, yea Anthro-shmatho, she is a sweet little girl and I will miss her but I am sure the rescue foundation in our area will find someone perfectly matched for her.

The kids however have already moved on. We told them on Sunday that we were going to have to get rid of her. At first there was shock and then immediately asking for another dog, a real one this time (had TD been coaching them?)

On Monday morning the 4 year old saw Lola and asked his dad "What is she still doing here?" No worries of anthropomorphism there.


Surprise!! My 38th birthday was Saturday and my fabulous husband has been planning a surprise party for me since February. I had absolutely no idea. He got me out of the house to spend the day with my friend Tricia going shopping and having lunch. Tricia is a huge planner so I thought nothing about her asking me what I wanted to do on my birthday, while I was putting away my Christmas ornaments.

She picked me up around noon and we had a great relaxing day. We went to a wine bar and bistro to have lunch and then went shopping at little boutique stores nearby. The markup was killing me. We went into a store where every article of clothing was made out of crushed linen in either cream, dark tan, or navy. I found a baby pink t-shirt for $95. It was so cheap delicate that I could hold it up and Tricia could see the color of my eyeshadow through it. To make this T-shirt even more over-rated spectacular the edges were left unfinished. Oooh! the labor involved.

We ended up at an outdoor mall where I bought white capris. Love them! Want them in red, khaki, and navy too. They were on sale, $10 off, so I got them for $29. And Stella McCartney would be appalled - they had a finished hem. Can you imagine? the audacity!

We ended up at P.F. Changs and sat outside to have a drink. The whole time I kept saying that I needed to get home TD and the kids needed dinner and I was making oven-fried chicken. Tricia never once let on. That's why when we finally made it home at close to six I was shocked and awed. Take a look:

SURPRISE!!! I loved it! All the kids were there, my close friends were there, and my husband had planned it all. My artistic friend Sonja made the birthday crown that on my pin head looked more like an Indian Headress, but I love it! My kids were so excited and were also led astray because they were not informed about the party until that afternoon. TD did fan-tab-u-lous!!

It was great! But it was really such a blur. And no it was not because of the Mai-Tai at P.F. Changs. It was because no one had ever done this for me before. I just kept thinking of all the effort everyone went through. It almost made me cry. I am tearing up now!

What a wonderful weekend, the best! I just love everyone right now. I could even go give a hug to the neighbor lady down the street who tried to refuse to let my friends park in front of her house, on a public street. Yes, I could even hug the crazy right out of her. But I am going to hug my hubby instead, he so deserves it.
When I was younger I always wanted to know just how much my parents loved me. The best re-assurance of my father's love for me was his statement that he would die for me. I would then push him further with different scenarios. Growing up in a Christian home meant denying Christ as your Savior was a straight path to hell. So this was the area I would test my father to find out just how much he actually loved me.

The best time to interrogate ask my father how much he loved me was while we were driving on the Riverside freeway coming from or going to church. Depending on what year it was we were either in a blue Nova or in his pick up truck. If in the pick up truck I would be sitting beside him with the gear shift at my knees or on the floorboard under the glove box if my sister happened to win the 'I sit by Daddy' competition we had every Sunday. Regardless of where I was sitting or which vehicle we were in the quest for knowledge that my dad loved me started the same.

"Daddy how much do you love me?"

"So much."

"But how much?"

"I would give up my life for you just like Christ gave his life for all of us."

"If we were all in a prison in China (the Red Army was terrifying for a little girl in the 70's) and they said I was going to be killed what would you do?"

"I would say kill me instead."

"What if they said we had to say we didn't believe in God what would you do Daddy?"

"I would not be able to say that because I believe in God and His Son Jesus Christ."

(The picture in my mind is still the same as it was when I was younger. All five of us are standing in a cellar type room with wet dripping walls wearing Little House on the Prairie dresses and men in navy blue pajamas are standing around us wearing the hats they use to gather rice in.)

And here came the loaded question:
"What if they said they would kill me if you didn't say you don't believe in God?"

"Then I would pray to God that I never would have to make that choice. Did you know they can’t have Bibles in China? They barely have enough rice to eat. We need to pray for the people of China that they will be able to hear the Gospel."

My mom would join in the conversation telling us stories of missionaries and their hardships. My dad would be off the hook.

Jump ahead thirty years to my life now. I feel the same way about my own daughter. I would take a bullet, a train, a car, a sword, a fire, you name it and I would try and save her from it even if I would lose me life in the process. I would have my head whacked off if it would save her life. (the present day equivalent to the Chinese Red Army)

My daughter does not grill me about how much I love her, not like I did my family. I have told her from day one how much I love her and would protect and care for her forever and ever. In fact, I am the one who quizzes her about how much she loves me. Those times when I want her re-assurance of her love for me she puts her arms out as far as they go and says, "this much Mommy" or blows me off with a 'you are bugging me' look. When we hear this song by Mercy Me she laughs that I tear up listening to the lyrics I Would Die for You.

But she has no idea how much I have struggled with accepting love from my father and from God.

My dad once told me that he could have loved me so much more but I wouldn't let him.

It took me years to understand God's grace over the over preached Wrath of God. I still struggle with the concept of loving the person but hating the crap. It has taken having a child that I would lay down my life for to get it through my head and heart the capacity of love God has for me and my parents had for me.

Last night when I was putting my little girl to bed I remembered the times I questioned my dad about how much he loved me. I finally get it, it only took 38 years.

Every Thursday Sandra at Family Corner has recipes for Slow Cookers from other readers. She calls it Slow Cooking Thursdays and you can find some really good recipes. Check it out.

I love dumplings! That was one of the best things about spending weeks at a time in China. I have absolutely no idea how to make Chinese dumplings but American dumplings? Oh yea, frozen or refrigerated biscuits are the way to go. Add some meat or chicken and we have a semi-homemade meal that everyone loves. This was no exception. It was the first time I made this and it will not be the last. The whole family loved it, kids, parents, the dog was begging, all of us. And the flavors? to die for.

I have inherited my husband's mother's 1960-something Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. I found this yummy sounding recipe and adapted it to make in a Crockpot.

The Ingredients:
  • 2-3 lbs. of Pot Roast (I had cut mine up into medallions earlier and had frozen, they worked perfectly and only had to cook 5 hours to be super moist and tender)
  • 1 14oz can of Basil, Oregano, Garlic diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup of Rice Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Cooking Sherry
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced (3 spoonfuls of the already minced in a jar garlic)
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1/2 tsp of Accent (the original recipe called for Pickling Spice but I could not find that at my grocery store)
  • Salt and Pepper and Garlic Salt
  • 6-8 or 10 Frozen or refrigerated biscuits (I thawed my frozen Grands Buttermilk Biscuits ready made biscuits)

Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a pan. Season the meat with garlic salt and pepper and brown in the heated oil.

In the Crockpot add the vinegar, sherry, cloves, and Accent. Stir. Add the browned meat and cover with the can of tomatoes. Spoon garlic on top and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook for 4-5 hours on high, 8-10 on low.

After cooking place the biscuits on top of the meat and sauce.

Cover and turn on high for half hour to 40 minutes. Serve and enjoy the praise.

Was Secretary's Day this week? Or The Professional Female Appreciation Holiday? I do not keep up with all the Hallmark holidays. But I did get a gift today. An Aromatique Reed Diffuser with the scent Smell of Spring.

Who knew the Smell of Spring would smack of inequality? I sure didn't but do you think my co-worker, the one who does a job equal to mine get a reed diffuser?? No, HE does not. HE got nothing to commemorate "Happy Professionals Day".

All the women in my company managers, supervisors, directors--oh wait! no women directors got a gift-wrapped present today via corporate mail. I really really want to just be grateful and say how sweet but the normally content almost non-existent feminist in me wants to scream!

Instead I am going to say nothing and be grateful. But if HE comes over even once and says that HIS allergies are bothering HIM because of my Smell of Spring reed diffuser I am going to knock HIM out. HE can clean the refrigerator on Friday before Memorial weekend.

I have absolutely no idea what I will do if one of the 175 guys in my building ask me if the diffuser is what I got for Secretary's Day. I think it will probably rhyme with Coastal.
October 4, 2007 or 5,000 miles ago. Either one is when I was suppose to get my oil changed. I even got a phone call to remind me to get the oil changed. In October. Now that it is April I am too embarrassed to take it in and get the oil changed. I don't want to hear the tsk-tsk of the German auto mechanic followed by a lecture on how important it is to change the oil in older vehicles.

I guess the procrastination and excuses became too much for my husband. He went and bought all the supplies he would need to change it himself. He had mentioned this Friday night when we were out with friends, but I thought he was kidding. I was telling our friends about the night I went out to the garage and saw TD changing out my spark plugs. The scene did something for/to me and some sparks definitely flew in our house later that night. Now my husband was looking for another opportunity to work on my car. Changing the oil was going to be his Rico Suave move.

On Sunday he got his supplies ready. He jacked my car up crawled underneath and I sat down in the garage to watch him.

I really am not sure of all the steps that were taken while he was beneath my 13 year old BMW convertible but the next thing I know he is holding up an oily hand and saying this is not the oil pan. What? then what is that stuff on your hand? Oh! transmission fluid, then just plug the hole back up and redo I say while I hold up my wedding ring and admire the way the sun makes it sparkle and pop my gum.

Apparently, it is not that easy and he referenced the manual to figure out why my BMW oil pan and transmission pan look the same and is not in the same place like a Honda and how to fill the transmission back up.

The filler cap, or whatever, on the transmission pan is stuck, completely stuck, wrench, hammer, and swearing stuck. He is going to have to take the pan off and refill it then put it back in place while full of hydraulic fluid. This will require more than two hands.

The pan is fastened to the car by SIXTEEN, bolts/screws whatever. SIXTEEN parts that have to be unscrewed while lying on your back with your face 3 inches from a motor that can fall and squish you, dead.

After cursing the sadistic and masochistic tendencies of the Bavarians my darling wonderful fabulous husband had all SIXTEEN bolts/screws off and the pan free. He filled the pan up to the rim with the transmission fluid while I commented on how gross this was and should we wash the pan while it was out. That would be a negative. We both crawled under the car and reattached this wobbly red oily heavy pan back to the belly of the beast.

TD held it in place while I reattached the bolts/screws thingy's. With a ratchet. A ratchet that was so slippery and held in a hand that was dripping with oily nastiness. If the pan moved just a little transmission fluid would spill out and all over us. But I prevailed against adversity and I fastened that pan back onto my car. I did it!! I actually did manual labor on my back and it didn't involve having a baby.

Now the roles were reversed. Apparently the sight of me underneath a car in a wife beater covered in transmission fluid is equivalent to Pamela Anderson running across the beach carrying a life preserver. Next time I might just change the oil before the suggested mileage is up.

The best thing about jury duty last week was getting home before 4 p.m. and not leaving the house until almost 9 a.m. It was fantastic! Yes, I had to lick my wounds and practice hooey-balooey positive self talk because I was rejected from two jury panels. The self talk was more along the lines of "you are a freak, you are smart enough, pretty enough, and dog-gone-it people like you". So to boost my self esteem that has sunk to a new low of worrying about what convicts and ambulance chasers think of me I did what I love, I made dinner.

Doesn't that look fabulous?! So good, so rich, and so incredibly pretty--Just like me! well minus the rich part and probably not the incredibly part either but who cares anyway, I am smart, funny, and people really like me.

This is not a dish I could just throw together on my lunch hour. I also wouldn't prepare this before going to work unless I happened to be up at the butt crack of dawn.

The ingredients:

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 Red Peppers, sliced into strips
  • 1 large onion, sliced into strips
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup of whipping cream
  • crumbled bacon (about 5 strips)
  • Garlic salt and Cracked Pepper
  • Minced Garlic (3-4 cloves)
  • 5 Tablespoons of tapioca, crushed (you can use 4-5 tbls of cornstarch mixed in water instead)
  • Fresh Basil
  • Asparagus
  • Rice or Mashed Potatoes

In a saucepan melt butter and add the peppers and onion. Saute until slightly wilted but so the crunch is almost gone. Pour into the CrockPot and add the garlic, bacon, and crushed tapioca. Sprinkle with Garlic salt and Cracked Pepper. Pour in the chicken broth and stir. Place the chicken breasts on top and sprinkle with Garlic Salt and Cracked Pepper.

Cook on high 4 hours or low 6 hours. There will be another half hour or 45 minutes after this when the asparagus, basil, and whipping cream is added.

Prepare the asparagus by cutting off the woody part and cutting into 3 pieces. Wash and tear the basil, I used the whole package because we really love basil. Remove the Chicken from the CrockPot and add the whipping cream, basil, and asparagus. Stir until combined (if using cornstarch instead of tapioca I would add it at this time) and place the chicken back in the CrockPot. Turn to high and cook an additional half hour.

Serve with rice or mashed potatoes. We did rice the first night and then I made mashed potatoes for the leftovers. Personally, I liked the mashed potatoes better. Wide noodles would be good too.

And then to celebrate no more jury duty and because I wanted a pick me up since the local ambulance chaser thought I would not make a good juror because I ..........well I don't really know but I am sure it was because I was too fantastic, too logical, too smart, and too many people like me, I made this:

We had these delicious, wonderful, incredibly easy but freaky fattening and gorge inducing Apple Dumplings. TD had seconds! He never has seconds that is how tempting and wrong they are. If I ever just let myself go and know I will be able to live without my pancreas I am having an entire pan of these right after a heaping plate of Chicken Alfredo with a side of Chili Cheese Fries, loaded of course.

I am exhausted. Exhausted from doing nothing. I have been randomly selected two times to be one of the juours on the jury panel. Both times one of the lawyers have excused me on their pre-emptive strikes.

The first case was a criminal case where the possible punishment would have been life in prison. The defense lawyer excused me. I think when I had to tell the court my experience with lawyers was the one we have been paying because of custody modification. The assumption from my fellow juours was that it was my divorce case when in fact it is my husband and his ex wife.

The next case was a civil case. A man is suing a woman due to an accident they had in 2004. She had already admitted fault for hitting him from behind and he now is suing for money on top of the insurance money he has recieved.

I was asked if I was ever in a car accident. I had been, a large extended cab Dodge Ram had hit me from behind two years ago and I in turn hit the car in front of me. This happened on a highway so it was while we were moving. The lawyer for the man suing asked if I received any damages. I said no, just that my car had been totaled and I had to get another one.

That was the only time I spoke besides telling my married status, where I worked, and where my husband worked. So either he didn't like where I worked, what I looked like (I wore a suit), or he didn't like that I did not take my opportunity to sue.

I was glad not to be on that jury. I am uncomfortable with awarding money for accidents, on top of what insurance covers. I get that not all people have insurance and taking someone to court is the only way to get money for damages medical, car, loss of work, etc. It was pretty obvious this lady had nothing, nothing and I do not think I would have been impartial so I think the right decision was made, removing me from the jury.

However, now I get to report to the jury pool at 8:30 this morning and sit. It was nice actually knowing what you were going to do for the day and engaging your brain. I have met some super great people. The stories you hear. Amazing the things people have gone through.

A lady that is a hospice nurse told me that her oldest son had dies a year and a half ago. He was 27. I started to cry but she held her composure. She has/had worked through her grief and she is positive she will see him in heaven and she has peace that he is with the Lord. Her story was amazing.

I have to run. Thank you so much Tresh, Sandra and Mississippi Songbird for the comments. I think today will be my last day if I am not put on a jury. There are only two more to be called.

Every Thursday Sandra at Family Corner has recipes for Slow Cookers. She calls it Slow Cooking Thursdays and you can find some really good recipes to make in your Crock Pot. Check it out.

Mondays are not the easiest days in our house. If it is after a weekend that we had TD's kids then mine will be whiny when I pick her up because she will be soooo b-o-r-e-d without her playmates. Never mind that she has dance every Monday night from 6-7 p.m. and was an only child for the first 5 years of her life.

Creamy Chicken and Noodles is the 9 year old's favorite and if she likes it then even the pickiest eater will like it.

This will make enough for 4 adult servings and it is 9 Weight Watcher Points per serving (I used my recipe builder)

2 large frozen skinless boneless chicken breasts
1 can Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup
1 can Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 small can of Chicken Broth (the whole can of Swanson makes it a little soupy)
Dry Ranch Dressing Mix
4 oz Cream Cheese
Wide Egg Noodles

Dump the cans of soup into Crock pot, stir to combine and sprinkle 1 tbls of Dry Ranch over soup mixture. Place the chicken on top of the soup. Sprinkle about 2 more tablespoons of Dry Ranch over the chicken. Turn Crock pot on low for 6-8 hours.

My Crock pot is at high Heat for 4-6 hours so I used the Low setting for 8 hours even though we ate within 6.5. I like using the low setting to keep the sides from burning.

When we came home from work even the garage smelled terrific. Anna was immediately hungry.

I started boiling a large pot of water for my egg noodles and dumped about half the bag in.

I took the chicken out and set aside.

Then I added 4oz of Cream Cheese after cutting it into small pieces and stirred this into the soup mixture and replaced the lid.

Now cut up the chicken into bite size pieces. See how it just falls apart??? YUM!! Place back into the crock pot and stir to mix into the creamy soup. You are now ready to ring the bell or in our family “Go wash your hands it’s time to eat; and make sure you use soap”

Drain the noodles and spoon the creamy chicken on top.

I think she likes it.

Yes, she liked it.

Originally posted 2/5/2008
I am performing my civic duty this week. I am deciding the fate of the nation. I am upholding the moral compass for my community. I am creating a safe haven for my children. I am upholding our constitution. I am the voice of reason in the black depth of the darkest night.

What am I?

I am on jury duty! All week. I will probably start twitching from my lack of blog reading, not that I do it at work or anything. No, not me, never.

This week I will be in the jury pool. Currently, I am one of 13 people in a jury for a criminal case. I could be kicked off tomorrow when the defense attorney questions the jury. I am assuming I was okay for the prosecution since I am still part of the jury.

I have never been called for jury duty but two years ago my husband was. He was elected foreman, of course. It was a trial for a guy that shot and killed an officer in another county and they had to move the trial to our area due to media exposure.

My case is not like that but it does have the possible sentence of life in prison. Ssssh, I can't talk about it.

When I arrived at the basement room there was a line of people that kept going and going. When I got into the large room and handed over my summons I was able to find a couch to sit on. (My husband gave me the heads up to look for a couch or I would have to sit at a desk) After everyone has been given their jury card we then have to stand in another line to sign and get our jury label to wear. Not real efficient if you ask me, but I think there is this extra step of signing because we were asked if we were citizens, convicted of a felon, or mentally retarded. If you answered yes then you were excused. All this before you sign your name but not before you give your summons.

The jury lady has a metal box, similar to what companies keep their petty cash in. She has each juror's name in it and each time she reaches in and calls out a name she closes the box up gives it a little shake and calls another name. Get that lady a bingo basket!! Poor thing, I looked and the paint has rubbed off where she holds it to shake.

I was not called until 3:10 p.m.. I was tired of reading. I actually fell asleep for about 20 minutes. I really hope I didn't snore. No one said anything but then again it was all walks of life down there in the jury assembly room. However, since I was not wearing a funky knit hat and golashes over my sweat pants I doubt it really matters.
These pork chops were so good! Super simple and quick this smelled so good while it was baking. I served it with a side of spaghetti noodles. This would make an excellent meal to serve for a family get together.

All three of the kids loved it. They didn't even notice there were chunks of tomatoes sabotaging the kid friendly dish. My step kids are not the most adventurous eaters but they are getting better and this was a winner!

I need a name for it though, something that conveys the Italian breadcrumbs, the Parmesan cheese, the tomato pasta sauce, how moist and tender this was and easy! Too many adjectives and not enough time or creativity.

The ingredients:
  • Bone in pork chops 1 1/2 inches thick, do not trim
  • Italian dressing
  • Italian style bread crumbs
  • Dry Ranch dressing
  • 1/2 a jar of Pasta sauce (I love Paul Newman's Stockarooni)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • grated Parmesan cheese
  • Cooked Spaghetti noodles
Heat the Italian dressing in a skillet and brown the chops. This took no time at all and I salt and peppered as I was browning.

With a fork mix breadcrumbs and dry Ranch dressing mix in a pie pan. When each chop is finished browning coat each side in the bread crumbs.

Pour the 1/2 jar of pasta sauce and the entire can of diced tomatoes, undrained. If you do not want to risk the tomato hatred reaction then skip this and add more pasta sauce and 1/4 cup of water.

Cover with tin foil and place in a preheated 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.

After 45 minutes turn the oven up to 400, take the tin foil off and generously sprinkle Parmesan cheese over all. Cook uncovered for 15 more minutes.

Make the spaghetti noodles during this time. Spoon some of the sauce over all when plating. Yum!

Bread and salad would make this dish perfect. So simple and so delicious. What shall we name it?
TD and I both took a vacation day today to chaperone Anna on her field trip to the zoo. After choosing not to go on her Kindergarten zoo field trip and being the only parent not to go, yes out of four kindergarten classes Anna was the only kid that had to stay at the school after the field trip. They let her stay in the teacher's lounge and have a pop from the off limits teacher only pop machine. After that "Most Horrible Parent" moment I will never again miss a field trip.

Anna didn't know that her step dad was coming with me. She thought it was going to be just us.

I was telling her that when TD and I drop her off we will run and get the lunchables. She said, "What?! He is going with us?!!" (crying started) "I wanted it to be just us."

"I am going to be the only one with a dad there."

All these years I have carried this feeling of dread/guilt that Anna would feel left out when the other kids were making Fathers Day cards and she wasn't. Before I married they would make them in Sunday School, Pre-School, and Day Care and she would give them to me and I would tell her how beautiful they were. Today she acted just like any kid would that has had a dad their whole life. I didn't know what to do with my guilt. LOL

By the way, she perked right up when she remembered her step dad is friends with the guy who runs the primates.

We had a great time at the zoo! It was very cold but we were able to see all the animals being fed breakfast, it was pretty cool. TD wasn't the only dad on the field trip either. Another dad was there too. I thought I was pretty lucky to have a husband that would want to help chaperone a bunch of first graders and spend time with me and his stepdaughter. I really love him.

Every Thursday Family Corner has recipes for Slow Cookers. She calls it Slow Cooking Thursdays and you can find some really good recipes to make in your Crock Pot. Check it out.

This is a family favorite. My family could eat this soup every single day. The chicken stays moist and the flavors blend together nicely, making leftovers almost better than the first serving. It can be made spicy and hot and beans and veggies can be switched to please even a picky eater.

I should just call this Multiple Can Soup due to the simplicity of this recipe, just open cans and dump. It really is that simple.

I use the following ingredients:
  • 3-4 frozen, boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 cans Cheddar Cheese soup
  • 1 can Mexican Corn
  • 1 can white beans
  • 1 can spicy beans, I used Ranch Style with jalepano peppers
  • 1 can Rotel, I used the Lime and Cilantro flavored and we loved it!
  • 1/2 can Chicken broth
  • Generous dashes of Taco Season, if using a packet the whole packet
  • Several dashes of Cumin
  • Several dashes of Garlic Salt

Dump all the canned ingredients into the Crock Pot. Stir and add the Taco Seasoning and Cumin. Before I put the white beans into the mix I rinse them over and over.

See all those bubbles? Uh-yea, if you don't want those bubbles inside your intestinal tract saying "Hello! Outside world!" I found that it really helps to rinse canned beans. Otherwise, enjoy this soup on a night when you are alone or wanting to be alone.

Lay the chiken breasts on top of the soup mixture. Generously sprinkle the Garlic Salt and again sprinkle the Taco Seasoning. Cook on high 4-6 hours or low for 8. After cooking take the chicken out and cut up into small bite size pieces or shred. Put chicken back into the crock pot and mix with the soup.

Serve with Fritos and cheddar cheese. I love to add a spoonful of sour cream too. TD sometimes adds more salsa adn cilantro, but the Lime and Cilantro Rotel was perfect.

Link to printable recipe here.

Originally posted 3/2/2008

We went to Anna's first grade Alphabet Play last night. She was the letter I. It was really cute and each kid had a speaking part. Four first grade classes, 18-20 kids in each, so yea, it was not exactly a short play but it was pretty cool that they could pull it off.

Anna had been telling me everyday how she was the loudest one (remember) and that the whole gym could hear her. Believe me I had no doubt she was right.

However, I was not prepared for the ear piercing, bone crunching, sound that came when she grabbed the microphone, rammed it into her mouth and yelled, "Wait, I have something I need to get straight!!" At once, the entire audience sucked all the air out of the gym. The shock of having their breath knocked out through their eardrums was more than some infants and toddlers in the audience could bear.

One of the parents turned back to look at me and I just smiled and said, "She is ALL mine and and I love her! Hasn't your baby ever heard a police siren? Gosh!" Well, I didn't say that but I sure was thinking it. We loud ones have to stick together.

We are all recovering from the storms last night. Tornado sirens went off a little after 2 a.m. and there were several thunderstorms throughout the night and morning. We are all walking zombies in my office. Some people had to wait a few hours to come in due to flash flooding a.k.a. sleeping in. (I kid)

The kids knocked on our door a few hundred times last night, just in case we didn't hear the thunder that turned our house into a Sub-Woofer. When the tornado sirens went off we had them all go downstairs to wait it out and watch the news. At 3 a.m. the tornado warning was over for our area and we had the kids go back upstairs to bed. We let them all sleep together with the lights on thinking at least we could get some sleep. The last time they knocked on our bedroom door (#101), the girls told TD that their 4 year old brother was scared. TD said yea that's because it's loud and closed the door. My immense capacity for sensitivity and compassion is rubbing off on him. LOL! The pink elixer benadryl will be flowing tonight.

Have you seen this? So incredible even if their country makes poison tainted consumables.

We had a great time Saturday night. TD and I went to a fundraiser for Street School, a private, non-profit alternative school of choice. Their theme was The Outsiders, written by Tulsa native S.E. Hinton. They had great food from different restaurants and caterers located in the tulsa area.

You could choose to dress up or not and we decided to try and dress for the occasion. It was easy for me; white shirt, neck scarf from the '90s and rolled up jeans. TD was a greaser, so not what he would have been in high school. I don't think TD ever did anything wrong growing up much less in High School. He tells me that he got straightened out in 2nd grade by a nun that hit him so hard with a ruler he never again misbehaved. He never once spent a day inside of an In-School-Suspension room. I don't think he even skipped a class. I married a perfect one didn't I?

My friend Sonja and me? I am pretty sure we would have lived on the "right" side of the tracks with the Soc's but we would have been all about Ponyboy and his crew, there is not a doubt in my mind.

I love love love this meal. I love all the flavors the sour cream, the tomatoes, the spice. So incredibly good and it happens to be my dad's favorite homemade dish. Not that knowing it is my dad's favorite had anything to do with me making it. Just some extraneous info in case you happen to run into my dad and ask him over for dinner. He would tell you some great Civil War battlefield stories. But I would wait until after the elections are over, he is a little tense right now.

Back to the Goulash. Here are the main ingredients and this recipe will serve 8 and it makes the best leftovers. Yum!

  • 2 1/2 pounds of beef round steak, cut in 1/2-inch cubes (veal can be used as well)
  • 1/4 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup of flour
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon of pepper
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 28oz can of whole peeled tomatoes
  • 16 oz sour cream
  • Noodles (egg, no yolk, wide, whatever anyone likes)
Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Season the meat with salt and pepper and brown it in the oil. After the meat is almost brown add the onion and garlic. Cook until onion and garlic are tender.

In a small bowl mix together the flour, paprika, and thyme. Slowly add to the meat until it is incorporated into the mixture. Transfer to your Crock Pot.

In a mixing bowl dump in the tomatoes. With a potato masher or fork break up the tomatoes. I also cut off the top with the core but that is optional. Pour all of this into the Crock Pot, add the bay leaves, and stir.

Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4. Before serving stir in sour cream and ladle over noodles.

Like I said I love Hungarian Goulash just wish I didn't have to do all the meat browning, onion tenderizing, flour mixing before hand. But I have tried it without doing all that prep work, just throwing it in the Crock Pot--not as good. I haven't served this to my step kids, they may or may not like it since it is different and has tomatoes, but I loved it as a kid and my daughter really likes it. And my dad, well you already know he does. German Chocolate is his favorite dessert, just so you know.

(Can be made on the stove top just simmer covered for one hour, stirring frequently)
I got this in an email the other day. I think it is hilarious. When I sent it to my husband he replied, "You eye ballin me?"
Every Thursday Family Corner has recipes for Slow Cookers. She calls it Slow Cooking Thursdays and you can find some really good recipes to make in your Crock Pot. Check it out.

The kids absolutely love these burritos! The reviews were fantastic. The four year old ate two!! The nine year old said, "I love these. This is the best night". The seven year old was overheard saying to her sister, "The chicken was the best tonight, the juicest, moistest, yummiest that we have had".

If only I could get this praise for the meals I actually work on. I made the chicken when I went home for lunch in less than FIVE minutes. Let me show you how.

Take 2-4 frozen, boneless, skinless, chicken breast, Rotel, and Taco Seasoning. That is it!! Easy peasey.

Pour a can of Rotel over the chicken and generously sprinkle taco seasoning over all. Normally I use McCormick or Pace Taco Seasoning but we went to Sam's this weekend and I got this. I noticed no difference.

***If using more than 3 chicken breast add a half cup of water to keep moist.

Set your Crock Pot on Low to cook for 5 hours. Yes, most slow cookers will say 4 hours is high so I set mine to 8 or 10 hours so I get a low setting. You could also start this in the mroning just put it on the lowest and longest setting. Today I only used 2 breasts because I didn't want leftovers.

After coming home put the kids to work. Get the table set and get out the next ingredients: Refried Beans, Tortilla (burrito size for adults, taco size for kids), sour cream, shredded cheese, salsa, lettuce, and any other condiment your family likes or you have on hand.

Refried Beans can be optional but our family likes them and I tend to think it makes the burritos/tacos more filling. I added Taco seasoning to the beans as the seven year old was cooking them.

If you do not own a comal then wrap your tortillas in foil and put in the oven at 300degrees for 10 minutes to warm them up. (My friend Carol would call me a guera if I put tortillas in the microwave)

Shred the chicken, there should be just enough liquid to make it perfect. Take the tortillas out, put all the condiments out and call them to the table!!

Did I mention he ate TWO??!!

Their burrito folding skills do not stand in the way of devouring these chicken burritos!

Yes, the nine year old was right, this was a pretty perfect night.

Originally posted on 2/12/2008