Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos

On March 30, 2010, in Yummy Goodness, by Wendy

I’m always on the lookout for new slow cooker recipes and I found this one in the comments of a post about slow cookers over at City Mama. It sounds delish, and will be on our menu planner for Friday.

Chicken Tacos

Layer in crock-pot in the following order:

16oz bag frozen corn
15oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, still frozen
1 packet taco seasoning
16-ish oz jar of salsa

Cook on low in crock-pot for 6-8 hours (time will vary depending on your particular appliance). When done, remove chicken and fork-shred. Return chicken to crock-pot and mix with other ingredients. Serve as taco filling, or as taco salad, or nachos or over rice. Left-overs freeze beautifully.


Best ever Blondies!

On March 29, 2010, in Yummy Goodness, by Wendy

Smitten Kitchen posts the best recipes and photographs of food. Today, while home sick, I got a craving for Blondies, and of course, Smitten Kitchen had a recipe available.

Adapted from How to Cook Everything

8 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla or 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Pinch salt
1 cup all-purpose flour

Butter an 8×8 pan
Mix melted butter with brown sugar – beat until smooth. Beat in egg and then vanilla.
Add salt, stir in flour. Mix in any additions (below).
Pour into prepared pan. Bake at 350°F 20-25 minutes, or until set in the middle. I always err on the side of caution with baking times — nobody ever complained about a gooey-middled cookie. Cool on rack before cutting them.
Further additions, use one or a combination of:

1/2 to 1 cup chopped nuts, toasting them first for even better flavor
1/2 to 1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon mint extract in addition to or in place of the vanilla
1/2 cup mashed bananas
1/4 cup bourbon, scotch or other whiskey; increase the flour by one tablespoon
2 tablespoons of espresso powder with the vanilla
Stir 1/2 cup dried fruit, especially dried cherries, into the prepared batter
Top with a vanilla butter cream or chocolate peanut butter cream frosting

For my adaptation, I added roasted flax seeds, walnuts, chocolate chips and butterscotch chips. I just pulled them out of the oven and they smell awesome! I can’t wait to have a bite. Yum!


Seafood and Saffron Pasta

On March 28, 2010, in Kid, Things I want, Yummy Goodness, by Wendy

Preparation: 5 minutes Cooking: 10 minutes Serves: 4

Generous pinch of saffron threads
1 cup dry white wine
17.6 oz fresh pasta or 8.8 oz dried pasta
1 tbsp oil
6 spring onions, sliced
1 stick of celery, chopped
1lb peeled prawns, cooked
17.6 oz FAGE Total Yogurt
2 tsp Dijon Mustard
Small bunch fresh dill, chopped
Grated Parmesan cheese


1. Soak saffron in 1tbsp wine, while the rest of the ingredients are prepared.
2. Cook pasta according to pack instructions.
3. Meanwhile, cook spring onions and celery in oil in a frying pan for about 1 minute.
4. Add wine to the pan and boil over a high heat until reduced by two-thirds. Stir in FAGE Total Yogurt, mustard, saffron and dill.
5. Drain pasta and serve into warmed dishes.
6. Add seafood to the mixture in the pan, heat through and pour it over pasta.
7. Serve immediately with grated Parmesan cheese.

Chef’s tip

Prawns can be substituted with smoked salmon, or cooked chicken pieces

I found this recipe on the Fage USA site and it sounds pretty awesome and easy to make. I actually went to the site today see if there was a contact us or suggestion box and was pleased to find a recipe section. I’m always on the lookout for a new, easy to prepare and nutritional meal. They have quite a few recipes that I want to add to my repertoire.

I love their yogurt because it is so tasty and the nutritional values are excellent. I’ve also been using it as a substitute for sour cream for a while now. Izzy totally loves Fage yogurt (with no sweeteners added!). I hope the Fage folks make a kid friendly tube that is easy to grab when you’re on the go.


Best Bath Toy on the Market

On March 27, 2010, in Uncategorized, by Wendy

Every night, I would struggle to keep Izzy from turning on the tap in the bath and adding more water to the tub. I started to look around for some sort of bathwater recycling toy and found this.

Unfortunately, it was out of stock at every retailer. I was so disappointed and then I moved into OCD mode, checking to see if it was back in stock on a near daily basis for a month.

If you’ve got a toddler and you make them take baths, you need a Yookidoo Flow ‘N’ Fill Spout. This toy has been such a blessing for us. Izzy can turn it on or off, and there are different types of cups she can fill up and pour out. She loves this thing so much that she squeals with delight at the mere mention of bath time.


On the importance of meal planning

On March 20, 2010, in Yummy Goodness, by Wendy

There’s a post over at Ohdeedoh talking about meal planning and the various strategies people use. I find other people’s strategies very interesting, but I still like mine the best.

For years, I used a template from MS Excel for my Meal Planner. My planner included the meals we were having along with any recipes I didn’t already know how to make. I would keep the planner on the fridge and refer to it when I got home from work to figure out what we were going to have for dinner that night. I used the planner on and off over the years, but sort of stopped using it when I needed it most–when Izzy was born.

What I love about meal planning is that you only have to think about what you’re going to have for dinner once. Over the next two weeks, you just follow your own orders and it all comes together very easily. I also use my meal plan to build my grocery list. I am much less inclined to buy food items spontaneously because they don’t fit in the plan.

I don’t have much time to spend on the computer these days. That’s sort of why I fell out of using my templates for meal planning. I came up with a new idea–chalkboard paint! We painted two of our cupboards with chalkboard paint and now I can plan things out while I’m in the kitchen. I love it even better than the spreadsheet. It’s easier to change and I don’t have to waste paper to print out updated versions. I can just erase and edit when necessary.

One of the shortcomings of meal planning is spontaneity. Because I’ve selected certain meals to be served on specific days, it can be hard to make last minute adjustments to serve additional people if someone stops by unexpectedly near dinner time. The only time it works is if the last minute guest is on a first meal night and not a left over night.

How do you plan out your meals?


I don’t need an intervention. Honestly.

On March 17, 2010, in Kid, by Wendy

If you only listened to my daughter’s side of the story, however, you might think I’m a total lush.

She learned about wine over a week ago when my friend, Jaime, came over for dinner. We opened a bottle, poured ourselves a glass and said, “Cheers!” while clinking our glasses. Izzy thought this was the most awesomest thing she’s ever seen and now raises her sippy cup and shouts, “Cheers!” whenever she’s drinking.

The funny thing is that I don’t drink anything other than water. I may have an occasional root beer or a cup of tea, but that’s about it. It’s only been recently that I’ve started to drink wine again after about three years. The previously mentioned bottle was the first I’ve opened since I found out I was pregnant.

Tonight, Izzy got a little confused when I pulled out a Guinness from the fridge to have myself a little St. Paddy’s day toast. She pointed and asked wine? And I replied, “no sweetie, this is beer.”

Now everything is beer, and I am trying to teach her how to say Sláinte. Does that make me a bad parent?


Always Fresh

On March 14, 2010, in Miscellany, Yummy Goodness, by Wendy

And indeed it is!

I bought some of these amazing containers at Bed Bath and Beyond a couple of months ago as a replacement to for my Debbie Meyer Green Bags. I loved the bags and they worked, but were a total pain in the butt to wash between uses and I still had stacks of unknown produce in my fridge.

The Always Fresh containers totally work! I had strawberries last over 8 days. The spinach was still good 10 days in. And the Blueberries? 2 weeks! Pretty amazing if you ask me. The best part is that the containers stack so nicely in my tiny little fridge. I can fit more food in there than before, and it’s easier for Mitch to know what we have because I use masking tape and a Sharpie to mark what’s inside. When not in use, the containers nestle within one another.

They sell for $9.99 at Bed Bath and Beyond, but a total steal when you use your 20% off coupon.


Sugar Honey Iced Tea

On March 10, 2010, in Kid, by Wendy

Upon entering the kitchen, I discovered the rotten cat knocked his water fountain on the ground, spilling more than a quart of water. I said, “ah, shit” not realizing my little parrot was following right behind me. And thus Izzy spoke her first curse word today.

My mom said I picked up the same word when I was a toddler. She said she started to say Sugar Honey Iced Tea instead. I don’t think I’ll remember to say that many words when I’m upset by the rotten cat.


Latest Milestones

On March 4, 2010, in Kid, by Wendy

We took Izzy on her second flight to go see Grandma and Grandpa Cowboy out in Colorado a few weeks ago. Now that she’s getting to be a willful toddler, I was worried about how it was going to go. Lots of people told me to dose her with Benadryl to knock her out, but I wasn’t comfortable doing that. It’s funny because I don’t have a problem popping a Xanax to get me through a flight, but the idea of doping up the kid just didn’t sit well. She had been suffering from a long standing cold though, so I did break down and give her some Benadryl with the hopes that it would relieve her of her congestion (and yes, hopefully knock her out). The plan backfired as it does with some kids. There was no congestion relief and she stayed wide awake for both legs of the flight.

Fortunately, I was prepared with Plan B. I brought her backpack stuffed full of toys she hadn’t seen in weeks, books, crayons, paper and an iPhone filled with Disney movies. I pulled each item out one at a time and was able to keep her attention in 10 minute increments.

Once we cycled through all of the toys, I brought out snacks–Goldfish, raisins and pumpkin pancakes. When her belly was sated, we cycled through the toys one more time. The flight was just over two hours and we made it through without much fuss.

The second leg was much shorter–35 minutes. Daddy was in charge of her for that trip. I used that break to my full advantage and ordered a glass of wine and watched part of a grown up movie with cussing and everything! It was awesome. One of these days l’ll be able to finish that movie.

We had a great time at Grandma and Grandpa Cowboy’s house. We played in the snow, went swimming, played with the kitty, and took lots of naps. Oh yeah and I came down with a lovely case of Pink Eye.

The flight home was just as easy–no, actually easier–than the flight out. She fell asleep for the second, longer leg of the trip. I took advantage and ordered a cocktail. I tried to finish the movie I started on our way out, but my headphones weren’t working. It didn’t matter. I had my drink and a little bit of peace among the dull roar of the plane.

We have determined that Izzy is an awesome traveler and we’re making plans for our next trip to San Diego.


The other day Izzy was playing quietly with her toys. She was wrapping her stuffed animals in a blanket and lying them down. I asked her a question–maybe inquiring if she was hungry. I just don’t remember because i was taken aback by her next move. She raised her finger to her lips and she shushed me! SHUSHED ME! She was putting her babies to sleep and didn’t want me to wake them.

I immediately felt scandalized and elated at the same time. No one likes getting shushed, but that was one of the funniest things I’d seen her do. I broke out into laughter (wrong wrong wrong) so now she does it whenever she plays her sleeping game with her babies.


My kid is typical. Potty humor makes her laugh. When ever she passes gas, she screams, “farting, farting, farting,” and laughs maniacally. I don’t know who taught her this trick, but it was hard to stiffle a snicker (wrong wrong wrong), so she just got encouraged to keep it up.

I’m trying to not raise a savage, so for the last few weeks, I didn’t laugh or smile when she did this. You have NO IDEA how hard that was. It really is funny to hear a little a kid chant farting, farting, farting.

Tonight was a little different. My sweet little angel farted during her bath, and then she said, “pardon me.” What?! And then she repeated it. That’s right. Pardon me. I showered her with praise and hope this trend continues.

I’m so proud of my little girl. I just might succeed at raising a child with manners after all.