Tuesday, January 22, 2013

2013 Resolution: Do Something with the Holiday Cards!

Just do SOMETHING with THEM already...sheesh!

I absolutely LOVE getting photo holiday cards from friends and family over the years, but I never know what to do with them. For a couple of years, I tried to be crafty and I made a Holiday Scrapbook for each year...but that was EXHAUSTING. And really, as much as I've tried, I'm just not a scrapbooker....I wish I was, but it's time to face facts. I'm just not....and I'm (sorta) ok with that.

So after those couple of years, I just kept holding on to the cards because I knew I wanted to do SOMETHING with them, but couldn't figure out what!

Enter.....PINTEREST!! omg. I've just recently joined and I'm having so much fun being inspired and getting some really creative and most importantly EASY things to do for the craft-challenged.

Over the holidays, I came across this pin:





 
..and I thought...HEY! I can totally manage that!!

So, I grabbed my various boxes of cards and my friendly neighborhood helper, and set to work:
The only thing I had to run to the store for was the binder rings...everything I had stashed somewhere in the house.

The kids and I had a blast looking at all the old cards and remarking on how the kids and families have grown over the years.  So, if you've sent me a holiday card over the last 8, yes EIGHT years.... we gotcha covered!!



This was really fun and I've already had a few guests comment on how great they turned out! I'm so excited! I can't wait to make them part of my Holiday Decor next season! So, now if I can do it..I know YOU can do it too!!

Happy Holidays!

(maybe next Christmas, I'll actually send OUT holiday cards.....baby steps, baby steps.)

2013 Resolution: Cook More!!


It was one of those days where I just didn't feel like leaving the house again, especially to battle the grocery store. (Tell me you don't have any of those kinds of days....) But it was a good day to actually cook, since we were all home together without any evening activities.

So there I am doing the thing I holler at the kids for doing....standing with both the freezer and the fridge door wide open, just staring....hmmmm...what do I have in here that I can cook?

Shrimp! I have shrimp! ..and sundried tomatoes (recently found how yummy these are! Super delish on sandwiches...) ...and surely I have some pasta.... (hurdle over Ohso who thinks the best place to park herself is in the middle of wherever I am...)...stare into pantry.....YES! I have pasta! Perfect!

Grab fancy new iPad I got for Christmas, google search: Shrimp sundried tomato pasta.....and BOOM!!

Found this great recipe...that had me at "EASY".

SPICY SHRIMP and SUN-DRIED TOMATO PASTA
Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound uncooked large shrimp, peeled, deveined
  • 4 large shallots, sliced
  • 3/4 cup sliced drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup sliced pitted Kalamata olives or other brine-cured black olives
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice, drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 12-ounce package linguine
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese

Preparation

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and sauté until pink, about 2 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer shrimp to medium bowl. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to same pot. Add shallots, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, garlic, lemon peel, and crushed red pepper. Sauté until shallots are soft, about 4 minutes. Add canned tomatoes and simmer until sauce thickens, about 3 minutes. Mix in basil. Return shrimp and any juices to sauce; stir to heat through, about 1 minute.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in pot of boiling salted water until tender, but still firm to bite. Drain. Add pasta to sauce. Toss over medium heat until sauce coats pasta. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl; top with cheese

Find the complete Recipe and Reviews on Epicurious!
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It was, in fact, relatively easy. I made a few minor mistakes...er...changes.

I sauteed the shrimp with the olive oil AND the garlic. Just seemed like the more appropriate thing to do. The sauce was a little spicy...ok for grown ups, but the kids did not like it at all. Maybe a little less red pepper flakes next time? And I didn't have any shallots, or olives and feta cheese (which I don't like anyway), so I just skipped those parts. :)  ....and ok, truth be told, I didn't have any canned diced tomatoes technically...so I used Ro-tel!

Other than that...it was YUMMY!!! ..and most importantly EASY! I think it was relatively healthy as well? Worst part was probably just the pasta. Was going to start go with our whole wheat pasta but didn't have enough for everyone, so ended up using a package of bowtie that was in the pantry.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Crockpot Thai Chicken: 4 Stars!!

My friends are awesome. They are a veritable bevy of information, resources, comments, ideas, suggestions and constructive criticism. I love them. Just ask, and you shall receive with this group.

In response to one of my 2013 published and documented resolutions (yes, there is also a secret resolution list...ssshhhhh...), my friend Becca McCann sent me this awesome  recipe:

Crockpot Thai Chx:
No advanced prep needed for this (WOO-Flippin-HOO!), just throw everything in the crockpot. Great served over Jasmine rice (they have Brown Jasmine rice btw)

1lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, frozen (FROZEN, how cool is that?)
1 cup salsa (I use low-sodium salsa)
1/4 cup peanut butter (sounds weird but trust me) (and I use natural pb)
2 Tbs Lime Juice
1 Tbs Soy Sauce (I use low sodium)
1 tsp grated Ginger root (I use 1tsp ground ginger if I don't have fresh)
1/4 cup chopped peanuts (optional, we don't put on)
2 Tbs Fresh Cilantro

Place the frozen chx breast in crockpot, mix other ingredients (except cilantro) and pour over chicken. (I don't even mix them first, just dump it on top, it melds while cooking) Cook on low for 6 hours, shred chicken and combined with ingredients, garnish with cilantro!

Serves 4 (but really it's more like 6, LOT's of food)


So that was the plan....here's what actually happened:

1lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, frozen (FROZEN, how cool is that?) - I had boneless, skinless, chicken breast cutlets...bascially just cut into nugget-sized pieces...I had a grand plan to bake some chicken nuggets for the boys at some point...

1 cup salsa (I use low-sodium salsa) - Didn't have low-sodium, but had a bag of fresh HEB salsa!

1/4 cup peanut butter (sounds weird but trust me) (and I use natural pb) - They boys aren't a fan of the pure natural peanut butter, so we get as close as we can with Jif or Skippy
Natural Creamy. It ain't perfect, I know...but at least it is something they will eat.

2 Tbs Lime Juice - I had the kind in the little green, lime shaped bottle. I have no idea on the nutritional value of it.

1 Tbs Soy Sauce (I use low sodium) - My sister's delicious Japanese egg rolls deserve the fully loaded soy sauce when you eat them, so that's what we have in the house. (Right Traci?)

1 tsp grated Ginger root (I use 1tsp ground ginger if I don't have fresh) - Fresh Ginger...in my house? cha. Thankfully I had some ground ginger that someone else bought and left at my house...probably Papa Bill.

 1/4 cup chopped peanuts (optional, we don't put on) - Just got done traveling, which meant I had a unfinished bag of peanuts I bought in the airport (standard travel procedure for me), so I was good there!

 2 Tbs Fresh Cilantro - I'd actually just bought some cilantro for something else I was going to try so BONUS! I get to use it here too! And does anyone actually use the whole bushel of cilantro before it goes bad? I mean, really??

I put all the chicken in the crockpot as suggested. I went ahead and mixed all the ingredients (except the cilantro) together in a bowl before pouring on the chicken...left it on low for 6 hours...stirring occasionally in the last hour...mainly because I was impatient and wanted to see how it was coming along. And to my surprise, it actually smelled like Thai food!!!

Served over BROWN (nod to Meredith Terranova) Jasmine rice and garnished with cilantro!! 


Clearly this household knows nothing about serving size, because Big Daddy and I finished the whole thing by ourselves...the boys each had one "Fine-I'll-Try-It--Ew-I-Don't-Like-It" bite.

Overall, I give this recipe a 4 out of 5 stars! Easy to make, yummy to eat!!

Big thanks go to Becca McCann for sending it to me!!