Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Chilaquiles: One Reason Why I Love My Husband

They say a way to a man's heart is through his stomach. The same maybe true for us girls too.

We gals like to eat. We love tasty food. And we love a man who knows his way around the kitchen.

One of the most wonderful things my man brought to our relationship...Chilaquiles   (pronunciation: chill-a-keel-es). As I am thinking back, I will tell you all the day after we brought the Short Chic home from the hospital my husband made this for me for breakfast.

There maybe many other "fancy" ways to make chilaquiles. But our way is simple and easy. And oh so yummy!

For us, making this dish always starts with leftover chips and salsa from a Mexican restaurant. Why, because we think they have the best tortilla chips! They just work better for this dish than store purchased chips.

Step 1: Gather your supplies

You will need tortilla chips (again, I recommend restaurant chips), salsa, oil, onion, and cheese.

Step 2: Chop Onions.
I love onions. My husband does not. So we usually half it. I use half the onions a recipe calls for to make him happy. I used about 1/2 of a medium sized onion.

Step 3: Heat Oil and Saute Onions

Heat up that oil and saute the onions. In this photo, maybe the husband got the onions a bit too brown (but he knows I like that so I will forgive him!)

Step 4: Add chips

After the onions are starting to brown, add the chips. It might be best to add a little at a time. Breaking them up as you go. You want to mix the chips into the oil and brown the chips. We used approximately an 8 ounce bag of chips.

Step 5: Add Salsa
 The next step is to add the salsa and cook it into the chips.  This step will go quickly. When I was younger I would get annoyed with my mom because I would ask her how to make something and she would just say, add some of this, and some of that. She could never tell me HOW MUCH! But, I have turned into her. I do not know how much salsa you should add.  Add enough to cover all the chips. But not so much that it is swimming in salsa.

Of course this is also an important step because this will determine how spicy your overall dish is. The hotter the salsa the spicier the Chilaquiles will be.

Step 6: Add cheese. 
Again, I guesstimate here. Do you love cheese, load it up. I am going to guess we used about a cup of cheese.

When the dish is all mixed together and the chips have cooked down. It is done.

Eating Chilaquiles: I  prefer to eat this dish for breakfast with eggs. I do believe you could easily add shredded chicken or pork and some black olives and have a great supper.

Happy Eating!

I have linked up!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Kitty Kisses

You have all probably heard of Eskimo Kisses. You rub noses with your loved ones.

Or how about Butterfly Kisses? You flutter your eyelashes on your loved ones. Short Chic loves to give Kitty Kisses!

At first thought it is kinda gross. I mean licking me on the face!  Now it is just one of those odd things she does that I hope I remember her doing forever!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Backyard Double Feature

This is my husband's birthday weekend. It was important to me that we celebrate his birthday this year. You see, last year his birthday got overlooked in my diagnosis. I believe I started chemotherapy on his birthday last year.  I wanted to do something just for him as a small way of saying, "Thank you for standing by me and I love you!"

Rather quickly, we whipped up a Backyard Double Feature in his honor. I had every intent to delegate the grillin to someone else, but The Husband was so insistent on smoking hamburgers. I am kinda glad he did (insist, that is) because those smoked hamburgers were absolutely yummy!

My husband is a simple man and would not like a lot of fuss. So I made up two desserts I have been wanting to try.

Glorious Treats posted a recipe for S'mores Rice Krispie Treats that looked so yummy! I put them on my list of must try things. 

The verdict: they did NOT disappoint! This is basically a rice krispie treat recipe but you add golden grahams and mini chocolate chips to the recipe. Then you add a layer of melted chocolate and graham crackers before you add marshmallows that you toast.  If you love s'mores, please head over to Glorious Treats and try this recipe!

Secondly, I saw these super cute cupcakes at Family Fun and have wanted  a reason to make them. They were popcorn cupcakes.  I think a backyard double feature is just the reason to have cupcakes that look like popcorn!

For these cupcakes, I used a box mix and doctored it up.  I see nothing wrong with using a box mix. But, if you have not learned how to doctor up that mix to make it sing, I say...."What are you waiting for?" To a regular yellow cake mix I added: instant vanilla pudding mix, sour cream, eggs, and instead of water...Tropical Juice concentrate. Then I made some yummy buttercream frosting and added the "popcorn" which is really just marshmallows cut in half and squeezed back together then "painted" yellow with a solution of yellow food coloring and water.  I am amazed at how yummy they tasted as well as how cool they looked! 

We set up equipment in the backyard and watched movies. My husband's favorite movie is The Outlaw Josey Wales. So it was our main feature. Before the main show, we watched a new movie, still western themed...Rango with Johnny Depp.  It was funny how many Outlaw Josey Wale references were in Rango as well as other favorite western themed movies.

We passed out glow sticks for the young ones, which was probably a good idea, they did not much love Rango. We had a complete refreshment table (although I think most of us were stuffed from the smoked hamburgers). Refreshments included Popcorn Cupcakes from Family Fun, S'mores Rice Krispie Treats from Glorious Treats, popcorn, chips and movie candy.

Hopefully we did not annoy our neighbors too much, what with the late night movie. I think The Husband had a good evening of celebrating. The icing on his cake came that I did not overdo party decorations and he got to spend an hour or so fishing before the party. AND, I let him sleep in this morning!

I love you Dear Husband! Thank you for all you do for our family! Thank you for holding my hand during one of the most stressful times I have gone through. I look forward to celebrating many more birthdays by your side.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Chicken Spaghetti

Sometimes I wonder what I get myself into.

Two weeks ago my mother-in-law was rushed to the emergency room with chest pains. Turns out it was a gallbladder attack and they removed it. She spend several days in the hospital. When she came home she told me about an event she was planning for her church. She and my father-in-law are chairmen for an older singles group that meets once every few months. This month they had decided to make Chicken Spaghetti.

I am a big fan of  The Pioneer Woman who first taught me about Chicken Spaghetti. I have made it a few times and everyone loves it. I had passed the recipe along to my MIL and when she told me about her church event, I volunteered to help her.

Then she tells me it is for 60 people!

I have never cooked for that many people at once. It was a little intimidating. But, I made a plan. Broke it down and knocked out three double batches in less than 2 hours!

So, for my dear friends who have never had this before...behold The Pioneer Woman's Chicken Spaghetti recipe:

1 cut-up chicken

1 lb thin spaghetti, broken into 2-inch, pieces

2 cans (10 3/4 oz each) cream of mushroom soup

2 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar Cheese

1 small onion, finely diced

1/4 cup finely diced green bell peppers

1 jar (4 oz) diced pimientos, drained

1 tsp seasoned salt (such as Lowery's)

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Add the chicken to a stockpot. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the chicken is cooked, about 25 minutes.

2. Remove the chicken from the water using tongs or a slotted spoon and set it aside on a plate to cool.

3. Remove 2 cups of broth from the pot and set aside. Bring the remaining broth back to boil and add the spaghetti. Cook until al dente. Drain it and set it aside.

4. With two forks (or your fingers) remove the chicken from the bone. Shred or cut it into bite-size chunks.

5. Place the cooked spaghetti in a large bowl. Add the cream of mushroom soup and 2 cups of the shredded Cheddar. Then add the onion, green pepper, and pimiento. Add the seasoned salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Take it easy on the cayenne if you can't handle the heat. But if you can, it sure adds some interest to the final dish.

6. Add the chicken and broth. Stir together well, then taste to check the seasonings.

7. Pour the mixture into a large baking dish and top with the remaining 1/2 cup Cheddar. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until bubbly.

This recipe feeds a large crowd. If you are making it for a family of four, you will have leftovers. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Back to School Surprise

Today was the day The Boy thought would surely never come. Or at least it seemed so far away when school broke in June for the summer. But the clock pauses for no one and today at six a.m. alarms were ringing in my house.

Today, while The Boy showered and primped (oh yes, boys primp too!) I prepared him some breakfast. We did our final mother/son talk about drugs, alcohol, mean kids, good attitudes, and making his momma proud. After that, I forced him to take the traditional first day of school photo.

Then he walked out the door, heading to a new bus stop. Then I choked back so many tears!

Today, my son entered his Freshman year of high school. Gone is the handsome, little boy who I walked into kindergarten. Gone is the middle schooler.

As with most everything else, when I am sad/stressed/happy/mad/tired I threw myself into making something. Today....MARSHMALLOW POPS.

Both The Boy and The Short Chic love marshmallows.  I think they are one of their favorite foods. Smear that marshmallow with chocolate and it is even better.

Step 1:

Open a bag of fresh marshmallows and stick them with popcicle sticks.

Step 2:
Dip the marshmallow in melted chocolate bark. I used Wilton's Candy Melts. Swirl the marshmallow around coating the bottom and a bit of the sides. Knock off excess chocolate by taping the stick on the side of the pan.

Step 3:

Swirl the wet chocolate around in some sprinkles. Pictures are multicolored nonpareils. But any type of sprinkles will work.  Then make sure all of the chocolate is covered with sprinkles.

Step 4:

Let them dry. I used a very creative option of an empty egg carton. But then I ran out of room so I used glasses.

After you have let them all dry, you can put them in little treat bags and close it all up with a pretty ribbon or curling ribbon.

Sugar. It can almost make me forget that The Boy is growing up fast! It can almost make me forget how quickly The Short Chic is growing up quickly too. Almost. But not completely!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Bathroom Mirror Updo!

I do not like gold. I am more of a silver gal. Sorry fans of gold!

When we moved into our home three years ago, the mirror in my master bathroom was gold.  I knew immediately that I wanted to change it. It was just a matter of when I would change it.

I purchased some new paint weeks ago. I left it sitting on the bathroom sink for a month...or so.

Finally, I asked my husband to drag that old gold mirror outside under our big oak tree. I scrubbed it clean. I hate to admit out loud that it has collected lots of dust and toothpaste!

Next, I taped it up with blue painters tape. Maybe a smarter person than myself would have removed the mirror but I was about ease.

Then I spray painted it. Mediterranean Blue. Three coats.

I love it! It is like walking into spring every time I turn the bathroom light on. The husband on the other hand, still is not sure if he likes it or not.

Definitely an improvement over the old gold mirror. I can live with this one for a while longer!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Pinkalicious Cupcakes

My Short Chic loves the book, Pinkalicious. 

Last Wednesday she went to the doctor for her three year checkup and she literally asked the doctor, "can she really get Pinkititis?" The doctor must not have gotten the bribe money copay in the mail, so she responded that she had no worries the Short Chic would ever catch Pinkititus.

Since then, my Short Chic wants to make pink cupcakes!

More, more, more!

Having some down time today and needing some cupcakes for my bosses birthday celebration in the office tomorrow, we proceed to make the most Pinkarific cupcakes!

Our recipe is easy (it has to be when your helper is three)!

Start off with a white box mix. Add the ingredients the box calls for but instead of adding the water, add that amount of frozen pink lemonade concentrate that has been thawed. (My box called for 1 1/4 cups of water and I used 1 1/4 cups of thawed pink lemonade concentrate.) And then mix it up.

The batter had a hint of pink to it from the lemonade but we added a dab of pink food coloring. Fill cupcake liners with 1/3 cup of batter and bake according to the package directions.

Next, whip up some amazing buttercream frosting and tint it pink too.  Decorate!
 The great news for me, Daddy stepped up and took the young ones to the pool while I made the frosting and decorated the cupcakes. The walked in the door as soon as I had finished putting the sparkles on the last one.

 The batter is slightly tart. But the buttercream frosting goes well and makes a wonderful partner to the tart cake.
These Pinkalicious Cupcakes made a great after swimming snack! But this Mommy is keeping the cupcakes under lock and key! And just to make sure, dinner will consist of several veggies of the green variety!

Monday, August 15, 2011

ICK! Sickness!

I spent this past weekend around two sickly children. Unfortunately they were mine and I could not escape.

In my attempt to doctor up my kids with over the counter medications, I notice that the majority of my medicine cabinet is full of.....expired medications.
I read somewhere that out dated medications are BAD. They lose their effectiveness. Can become poisonous. Even fatal.  What Mommy would knowingly give their children ineffective bad medicine?

Not me!  I may swear in front of my children. Let them eat way too many sweets. Stay up late. But knowingly give them ineffective bad medicine. No way!  Once I found the first outdated medicine bottle, I immediately scour the medicine cabinet for any others. Holy smacks! I hardly had anything in the cabinet that was not expired.

They all go in the trash. Then today, I decide I should look up the research on out-dated medications. I find the Internet is mixed. Some sites will tell me what I thought to be true. Medications that are expired can be dangerous even fatal. Other sites indicate that maybe expiration dates are all apart of the drug companies attempt to make money and they really don't lose that much of their effectiveness after the expiration date.

So, who knows? Not me. But, I will admit that the fear based technique has worked...on me at least. Now that my cabinets are is in order. Time to replenish my home medical supply.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Semi-Silent Sunday

I just got off the phone with a friend of mine. She was recently diagnosed. There are so many things I want to say, yet I have no words.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

My Shutter Project

I have been a little busy these past few days. Attempting to update one of the bedrooms in our rental house.

You see, someone way back when put decorative mirrors up on the wall. You know the kind, square mirrors speckled with gold. They scream 1972!!  They are glued to the wall, so removing them has felt like a daunting task.  A needed task, as a few years ago when we sided the house one of the panes of glass broke.

I set about updating this look this week. I found a great buy of used shutters on Craigslist! I got 12 of them for $30.00! So much cheaper than Home Depot!!

Removing the old glass mirrors proved to be just as difficult as I thought it would be. I literally had to chisel away pieces of mirror with a hammer and screw driver piece by piece. It seems like it took me hours but in reality it only took a few. Of course I do a super woman welcome to my friend LeAnn, who came over to smash glass with me one afternoon.   With LeAnn's help, I believe I put a total of two hours into smashing glass.

I had glass everywhere! All those cute curls I know have, well they did a great job of keeping that glass caught in my hair. Even LeAnn had glass particles everywhere. We were such a site!

Then came the clean up! I had put down a drop cloth but that glass was flying everywhere and went in places there was no drop cloth. My husband and I spent about half an hour just vacuuming up the carpet. Looking for shiny pieces of glass. I even took tape and ran it across parts of the carpet just to make sure it was all clear!

Once we had enough of the mirrors removed, we found the nails that held this piece of plywood up to the wall. With relative ease, we were able to pry it lose and remove it. I had strongly suspected that this part of the house had originally had a window that had been sided over. I was not wrong in my suspicions. There is was, a completely empty old frame for a window.

We made a quick stop at Lowes to buy some cheap white paneling. We cut it to size and covered the hole with it. Next, I prepped the shutters by removing the hinges and taking three of them apart. We measured the space and hung the shutters in place with screws.

The end result, a faux window.

In my opinion, a vast improvement over the 1970's gold speckled mirrors! My only disappointment, it is in a rental house and not my house. So, I won't get to see it everyday.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

No Way, No How

I just got home from enrolling my eldest in .....HIGH SCHOOL!

No way, no how!

It seems like only a few years ago he and I went shopping for his first ever school supplies. I remember taking off work for two days to get him use to his new routine called Kindergarten. How on earth did he become a freshman in HIGH SCHOOL?

Wasn't it just a  few short years ago he transitioned from elementary school to Middle School? We had to transition to a new start time. Elementary starts school at 9:00 but Middle School starts at 8:00. But, now he has gone and finished Middle School.

No way, no how!

In a few short days, he will enter the doors of the building below and begin his high school journey!

No way, no how!

The line at registration was the longest line I have seen, outside of an amusement park. We waited in line to turn in our health forms. Then we waited in a massive line to turn in our registration forms. I also learned how expensive high school can be. Class dues, student sports pass, a participation fee (I opted to pay this only if/when The Boy is selected to participate in something!), yearbook ($65.00!!), parking pass (Thank you God, I did not have to cross that bridge tonight!!), PTA, and of course the spirit wear!  I have to wonder, how do families with more than one child in high school afford it?

The Boy's freshman schedule include: Physics, World History, Spanish, Algebra, and Literature and Composition. Nothing like just jumping into it, right!  We waited in line for so long to register that the night ended before could get our photo taken for student id's. Which means, we have to go back for day 2!

After enrollment was finished, The Boy and I headed off to gather up school supplies. I love school supplies! I get so excited to purchase them! I am sure I will be purchasing school supplies long after The Short Chic has finished college!

No one in my family needs crayons this year. But had to buy them! They are only 40 cents a box and that just makes me happy. I mean, who does not love those fresh sharp points and the fact that none of those are broken?

 Paper. Paper. Paper! We are well stocked with paper for all of those math problems and written reports we are going to be writing this next year! Who doesn't miss standing in the aisle picking out just the right color or pattern that describes how cool you are?

 Who can overlook the basics? Despite all the fancy rulers, I prefer the old fashioned wooden ruler. Somethings are just like they were back when Mrs. DeForie was teaching fifth grade. Although some things have changed. The Boy's school is sponsored by Under Armour and they have their own spirit shop inside the high school. I thought spirit shops were reserved for colleges/universities.

No way, no how!
Of course, high school requires organization. The Boy's high school was issuing mini notebooks. Organization has sure come a super long way from a Trapper Keeper and pencil pouch! We went ahead and picked up several three-ring binders. I honestly hope he learns to be organized. It will absolutely make everything go smoother.

What I could not force myself to buy....a scientific calculator. Does he really need it? Is Algebra so hard and complicated he will need a $100 calculator?

No way, no how!

Two weeks from now, the first day of high school will be a thing of the past. Until then, I am going to live in denial. And remember the little boy who use to live in my house.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

One Year Anniversary!

My family just returned from a great weekend with my BFF and her hubby's lake home.  This is not our first trip there, we spent Memorial Day and Fourth of July there. But this is the first time we have visited when there were only five of us. It was such a nice relaxing weekend. Their Roses of Sharon bushes where loaded with butterflies this weekend. Swarms of them! The weather was perfect. Warm. Not hot. The company was amazing and we shared in some yummy food!

We went down to celebrate my 1 year anniversary. One year ago today, a very wise and caring doctor had to tell me I had cancer-Hodgkins Lymphoma to be exact. One year ago today, I clicked on Blogger and started blogging about my diagnosis.

This past year has been filled with many down moments. Surgeries. Chemotherapy. Radiation. Injections, Doctors. Hair Loss.  But it has also been filled with some of the best up moments. Friends. Phone Calls. Letters. Family. Support. Prayers.   Even with all the trials I was experiencing, I had a lot of hope and faith that I was going to come out on the other side of this diagnosis.

I know this sounds absolutely weird to many, but this blog helped get me through this past year. The blog opened up an avenue for me to write (is it called writing if you are typing?) down my thoughts. I can not tell you all how much it helped!! And the fact that you all read it and stuck with me, I say thank you.  I have "met" some awesome people this year. Gotten some strength from some of you. Total distraction from others. And inspiration from a few others.

Today's post is my 200th!  That is a lot of chatting!  I have survived one year! I will survive more.  Thank you all for the peace I feel today.