You know what makes this dish so special? The crunchy rice. Well, the crunchy rice and the french bread. Win braved the dramatic drop in temperature and misty rain a few nights ago to pick that loaf up. Thanks, girl.
Crunchy rice aside, there is nothing wrong with this. Sausage. Shrimps. Veggies. Chicken thighs. Wait, what? Chicken thighs? Yes. Chicken thighs. I just went with it. Strayed away from my trusty, lesser of two evils boneless, skinless, trimmed chicken breast and went with the chicken thighs. Turns out, they really stand up in a crock pot. Huh. Who knew. Filing that away under awesome.
Ok so let's talk about crunchy rice for a hot minute. This rice was not supposed to be crunchy. I was supposed to add the rice to the crock pot thirty minutes before it was done, crack the heat up to high, and wait for fantastic results. Well. Of course it didn't work because I still can't cook rice. Crossing my fingers for a rice cooker. Next time I make this, and there will be a next time, I'll cook the rice separately and then just add it in. But maybe you'll have better luck!
Don't you just love it when you re-discover an favorite? I know I do. When my mom and I were roommates, I made this dish all the time. Like, should have bought stock in Montreal Steak Seasoning...that's how much this happened. It's great leftover and a total crowd pleaser. There's a slight citrus taste, not real sure where that comes from but I'm just going with it. Perfect for this arctic blast chill we're having here in the Delta.
1 cup of beer (I've used dark beer and light beer, both were good)
1 14 oz can of tomato sauce
1/2 cup of bbq sauce
2 cups of corn kernals (frozen)
Heat olive oil in a large pot, add the ground turkey, the chili powder, the steak seasoning, the cumin, the Worcestershire sauce, the hot sauce and cook. Add the onions and the peppers, cook for about 5 minutes.
Add the beer and deglaze the pan. Add the tomato sauce and the bbq sauce, allow it to come to a bubble. Add the corn. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and serve
Happy day after Thanksgiving! I'm sitting here eating my oatmeal, trying to wrap my brain around the amount of food that I consumed yesterday. What was your favorite thing that you ate? Mine was the dressing, the pretzel salad, and the white chocolate blueberry bread pudding. Dee-freaking-lish.
My family and I spend Thanksgiving at the Luckett Lodge in Brandon. It's a great place, especially now that there are so many kids involved. Here's a shot of Chickey and Baby Girl A taking a long walk on the pier. She likes for everyone to hold hands. Which is kind of adorable.
Another thing that's kind of adorable is attempted Christmas card pictures. In this shot, Jennifer had just said "Alex! Hug baby sister!" She proceeded to put her in a head lock and take her to the ground. I'm guess at 2.5 and 6 months old, you can only hope for a funny card.
Once I got home, all eyes turned to Christmas. It was fake trees and James Taylor, with Wheel of Fortune in the background. Here's a twinkling picture of my tree snapped on my phone this morning, before I'd had my coffee.
It's pretty much the same tree as last year. The difference is that it features two strands of lights as opposed to three. I'm trying to not do things that make me crazy (following that "if it hurts to touch the stove, don't touch the stove" mantra), putting on the third strand of lights would have fallen into the "makes me crazy" category. I freaking hate putting on Christmas lights. But I love a Christmas tree, so it's all worth it in the end.
I've found another thing that didn't make the move. In addition to the mixer and the baking sheet, we can add the Christmas wreath to the list. There's a possibility that I threw it away in a fit of moving rage, I'm just not sure. Alls I know is that I need to get a new one. I just spent about 30 seconds searching wreaths on the interweb, it didn't help much unless I plan to wrap things in yarn. Which I don't.
Don't people have, like, wreath making parties? If you have one, will you invite me? Or better yet, will you just make a wreath for me? Thanks.
I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! Keep it real.....
I love a well organized list. I also love gratitude and the power that it has to lift spirits and improve moods. Pardon me while I put these two things together in one big, heart warming blog post.
A is for ALEXANDER. As in my current last name. I wont be my last name for to much longer but it sure has served me well. It's a strong name, a proud name, and I'm glad I've gotten to rock it for 29 years.
**Honorable mention: ARLO GUTHRIE and ALICE'S RESTAURANT
B is for BRANDON. As in my future mister. He is cute. He is kind. He is supportive, helpful, and funny. He thinks I'm great even when I'm not and has promised to love me forever.
C is for CHURCH OF THE NATIVITY. This is my church here in Greenwood. I've loved this church since I moved to town, but have grown to love even more in the last year. I look forward to being married there and enjoying many more milestones in the future.
**Honorable mention: my CAMELBAK
D is for the DELTA. As in my home land. Love it or hate, it's what raised me. I appreciate the flatness, the people, the mystery, and the pride. And all of the good restaurants.
E is for ENOUGH. I've always had enough of what I need. Enough food, enough money, enough support, enough laughter, enough work. Maybe I haven't always had exactly what I wanted but I've always had enough.
F is for FRIENDS. My friends are like my family. I would be the saddest girl without them. They listen and call out and poke fun and lift up. They are the strongest, most beautiful, and most interesting group of women around. They are also all a little crazy, so that's fun.
G is for GOOGLE. Seriously. I love gmail. It makes my life easier.
H is for HEALTH. I work in a hospital. Or rather, I work attached to a hospital. People are sick all the time. They are hurting all the time. Health is priceless. I hope to always have it.
I is for INDEPENDENCE. Not only from dictators or religious oppressors, but also from people that are bossy-pants.
J is for JOKES. As in humor. I love to laugh.
K is for KINFOLK. I got some good kinfolk. I might not see them often but I do love them dearly. Looking forward to the holidays where I can get some good visiting time in!
*Honorable mention: KIT KATS
L is for LIFE. I'm glad I'm alive. My group members always list this as their number one when we do gratitude. I'm always like, "Ya'll say something else!" But really, there is nothing else. I'm still here. And that's awesome.
M is for MINKY. As in minky fabric. It is so soft and a perfect fabric for a baby blanket. It makes people happy, and that makes me happy.
N is for NIECES. Alex and Mary Kenway blow my mind regularly with how awesome they are. For instance...each time they pass a certain house on their way to school, Alex screams "Hey Mamma! Polar Bear!! Polar Beeeeaaaaaaaaaaar!!!" What does that even mean? They both rock.
O is for ONLY IF FOR A NIGHT. As in my new favorite Florance and the Machine song. You should check it out.
P is for PARENTS. My parents...God love 'em. They aren't perfect, but they're perfect for me. They've taught me lessons, helped me out, encouraged me, and are paying for my wedding. I promise to not to put you in the worst nursing home. Mom, I'm kidding. Don't panic.
*Honorable mention: PINTEREST
Q is for QUIET TIME. As in sitting in silence. Or piddling around in silence. It rejuvenates me.
R is for RAIN. I love a rainy day. Especially a rainy Sunday afternoon when there is nothing to do.
**Honorable mention: RUNNING
S is for SISTERS. My sisters are the best. The absolute best. I've got a step sister that's kind of awesome, too.
T is for the TODAY SHOW. I love to start my day with Matt and Anne. I feel like we are friends. I also feel like I'm slightly delusional at times.
**Honorable mention: sewing TUTORIALS
U is for UNREST. As in the times that I feel I am in a funk and than am forced to do something about it.
V is for VACATION. Ohhhhhhh California. So ready for you.
W is for WORK. I'm grateful not only to have a job, but to have a job doing work that I feel passionate about.
**Honorable mention: WEIGHT WATCHERS
X is for XMU. As in Sirius XMU. It's the home of the hip indie rock music and I love it.
Y is for YOU! As in the people that read this blog. You rock!
Z is for Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz's. I love to sleep.
What are you grateful for? Hit me up on the comments at let me know!
Sometimes you gots to go with what you got. Even when it's really random. And a little redneck.
Such was the case with Monday nights supper. I had some beef and some jarred pasta sauce and was wanting to work from that. Of course it turned out to be to much meat and not enough sauce so I had to do some improvising. Some SERIOUS improvising. What turned out to be the star ingredient?
Sidebar: Anyone got any fabric suggestions for curtains to match my lovely counter tops?
Why it was this garlic sea salt grinder. Brandon bought this a while back, I immediately claimed it a wasteful purchase and forgot about it. Weeeeell he was right and I was wrong. With all of the canned-ness and jarred-ness going on in this, the garlic sea salt added a nice flavor. I'm sure that fresh basil would have added a nicer flavor but hey...we're working with what we got, right?
I'm not saying that you should run out and purchase the ingredients to make this exact dish. What I am saying is that it's OK to put pizza sauce in your meat sauce. At least, in my world it's OK.
WWWYG Meat Sauce
1 lb lean ground beef 1/2 onion, chopped 1 clove of garlic, chopped 2 cups of light pasta sauce 1 small can of tomato paste 1 cup of pizza sauce to taste: garlic sea salt, salt, pepper, basil, parsley
Brown the beef, onion, and garlic. Add the pasta sauce, the tomato paste, and the pizza sauce. Add seasonings to taste. Simmer for a while to let everything blend.
Serving size 1/2 cup (makes about 8) Points plus 4
'Tis the season to eat cookies. And to take pictures of cookies on the "vintage" setting of your camera phone.
Here's another non WW recipe for you to try. No, I'm not trying to fatten you up for the holiday season. Rather, I got this make-you-weep recipe from my sister and I just HAD to share it with you fine people. I made this for my church bake sale recently. While I'm not sure how they fared at the bake sale, I know I enjoyed testing them to make sure they weren't poisonous. When testing things to see if they are poisonous, one must try at least three.
What wedding dress?
PTL for spanks.
After further research, I've found that this recipe originated with Paula Deen. Raise your hand if you're shocked. Yeah, me neither.
1 block of cream cheese, room temp 1 stick of butter, room temp 1 egg 1 box of moist chocolate cake mix 1 tsp vanilla extract powdered sugar
With a mixer, cream the cream cheese and the butter. Beat in the egg, then the vanilla, then the cake mix.
Cover and stick in the fridge for 2 hours.
Roll the batter into tablespoon size balls and then roll in powdered sugar. Place on a baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 12 minutes. The cookies will remain soft and gooey.
Allow to cool completely and sprinkle with some extra powdered sugar.
A few notes on this. Turns out, my mixer didn't make the move. I'm not even going to ask how, so whatever. I did this without a mixer but I wouldn't recommend it. My right arm is now slightly bulkier than my left; hopefully it's not noticeable.
Also, mine only took about 10 minutes to bake.
Thirdly...I bet these could change the world with a glass of cold milk.
All through out my life, when one of us crazy Alexander girls would do something less than proper, my mom would sigh loudly and say "What if the president was here at this table??!!! Would you still act like that?"
Well. Our test might come sooner rather than later, Peggers.
Rumor has it that if you send a wedding invitation to this address you get a lovely little congratulatory letter from the President. I'm sending this one out a little late. My fingers are crossed and I hope that yours are, too.
How stinkin' cool is that?
Mr. President, if you're reading...we'd be honored for you to attend. But the Alluvian is booked already so you're going to have to settle for the Comfort Suites. Sorry, buddy.
While most food bloggers are spending their time teaching you interesting things to do with sweet potatoes and turkeys, I'm plopping a block of cream cheese in a crock pot and calling it a day. Because that, my friends, is how I roll.
This dish is neither WW friendly or fancy, but it is for sure good and worthy of a spot on your Thanksgiving table. I made it for a Thanksgiving feast we had a work last Friday. It was pretty darn good and super simple to make.
Hey guys! Happy Friday! Hope you've had a great week. I'm looking forward to a weekend break. Planning to head west to Greenville to get some QT in with the fi-zam. Chickey is at home so we'll probably sit on the couch and annoy our mom. Sisters are the bomb, as is annoying your mom. But it's all in good fun.
Chickey has promised me that we can go get yogurt 4 times. Like, we are going to go there four times. While I'm there for the day. We Alexander girls love our yogurt. You see, Greenville has this new yogurt place, one of the ones where you can make your own, getting as wild with the toppings as you like. The last time I went with mom, I topped my cheesecake yogurt with oreos, blueberries, and cookie dough. Isn't that the trashiest yogurt combo you've ever heard of? Love it.
I also love the idea of this. I think I'm going to make it for myself this weekend.
As I'm typing this, this video is playing in the background. You see, one of my co-workers has a mild obsession with Jimmy Fallon. Do yourself a favor and check this out. And JT, give me a call. I mean, just to hang out. I'm almost a married woman, I know, but we could still grab a glass of wine and like dance or something.
I love humor. Love it love it love it. I often inform Brandon that I could probably hang with Jimmy Fallon, Tina Fay, and other big time funny people. He always says "awww it's cute when you say things like that." A girl can dream, eh? Talk about delusions of grandeur.
Re-discovered this jam the other day. Heck yeah. Reminds me of my days in Cleveland.
I'm not saying I'm this incredibly mysterious, multi-layered, blow-your-mind fascinating and dramatically complex gal, more that I tend to try to do to many things at one time.
I check facebook at stoplights, I constantly pour over my planner, and my brainy-brain rarely shuts off. This has gotten even more intense since planning the weddin'. Lots of things to think about, questions to answer, opinions to get, emails to send. Despite all of the running amok...my to do list is getting shorter, I've had wonderful support, and am generally enjoying myself. Still busy, though.
I wasn't surprised when I found this blog post written on the Spoonful blog. One of my favorite things about life is finding things just when you need them. Wether it's a 20 in a coat pocket, a beer behind a scary Tupperware bowl, or a well written and insightful blog post...God gives us these little gifts exactly when we need them. No sooner, no later.
Everyone is always talking about how life flies by. My mom, she shakes her head and says it all the time. I agree 300% that It's true.
I went and got my hair fake-did yesterday for the wedding; some one asked me if I was getting my hair done for my wedding and if so, when was I getting married. Of course, I said first that no, there was no wedding, I was just getting a Tuesday night up-do to wear to the Wal - Mart. I quickly retracted my statement and responded with this:
"Oh, we're getting married in a few weeks. December 10"
Wait huh? A few weeks? It doesn't even seem real. But I don't know what it's like to get married and have no reality to compare it to...I guess it's OK that it doesn't seem real, right?
I promise, I have a point. I think.
I want to enjoy these last few weeks before the weddin'. In order to do that, I'm going to work to chill the freak out. Lean cuisines are fine for a meal, nights out with friends (and the Brandon!) are awesome, and sitting on the couch doing nothing will be embraced and encouraged. Of course, work is still a necessity, as is exercise if I want to look bangin' in that dress. However, I hope to cultivate my faith that there is plenty of time to do what I want to do and what I need to do. I can stop being so wide-eyed....it's all going to be wonderful.
Simplicity. Being available in the moment and aware of what is happening, while it's happening. I don't want to look back and be all like "ugghhhh I don't even remember any of it because I was so busy thinking about things that don't matter." And not just about the wedding. About life. Life, man.
What is your plan to keep it simple? This is the question that Sara Barry asked of her readers and it prompted this blog post. Let me know if you find yourself equally inspired and have any wonderful revelations. Or let me know if you'd rather me stick to posting about food and points. I mean I might not listen, but I'd still like to know what you'd like to see more of.
And let me know if you would like some Gooey Chocolate Butter cookies. Come by the Episcopal Church of the Nativity in Greenwood tomorrow mid day for soup and salad, fashion shows and cookies. Love a bake sale. I'll share the recipe soon. But now...I'm off to get ready for my di-zay.
Speaking of restaurant recommendations, my future mister and I will be traveling to California for our honeymoon. Napa for a few nights then Carmel for a few nights. Ever been there? Have any recommendations for us? Anyone have any ideas for how I can hypnotize myself for the flight? I've developed a fear of flying in the last few years so I'll take any suggestions that you have.
Taco soup. You probably all make it, you probably all love it. So let me just blow your mind real quick.
Let's take taco soup and add some Paula Deen love and see what happens. Yeah, I'm in. You in? Good.
Just like regular taco soup, this one is comforting, easy to make, and filling. Perfect for a lazy Saturday. But be sure you have some sour cream. I didn't have sour cream and you would've thought by Brandon's huffing that I was trying to get rid of Christmas or fight dogs. So just make sure you put some sour cream on that shopping list.
Good Friday to you all!!! Hope this blog post finds you well and cozy. I'm well and cozy, thanks to the rediscovered box 'o sweatas' that I found up under my biscuit this morning. I probably haven't lived in that house long enough to have hidden boxes under beds but whatevs. Glad I found them. And glad I bough these fleece leggings at Stein Mart a few years ago. I'm pretty sure I have Mary Straton to thank for that! Thanks, girl!
And I have my wonderful Greenwood friends to thank in advance for dinner tonight. I know you're not supposed to count your chicken's before they hatch, but I'm pretty sure that this is going to be much, much fun!
Luckily, Lauren put this on her blog a few days ago so I can share it with you fine people! How great is that invite? You should see the envelop! Only envelop I've ever saved. Can't wait till seven!!!
So what are your thoughts on return address stamps? I want one bad and now.
This dish was my attempt at meatless Monday. I love the idea of meatless Monday. Something tells me, however, that the future mister is not going to be a fan of meatless Monday.
But that's OK. Our premarital counseling is teaching us how to accept each other as we are and communicate needs. Often, my needs include pasta with some sort of a cream sauce. My needs 1; Brandon's needs 0. I feel like it's going to be like that sometimes.
Now before you go worrying about us and the state of our relationship...Brandon had himself a turkey and fried egg sandwich on the night that I had this. He's fine...
Cook egg noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
Melt butter in a large skillet, add onions and cook until soft. Add mushrooms and cook for a few minutes. Add chicken broth, salt, pepper, dijon mustard, worcestershire, and flour. Cook until the sauce thickens.
Remove from heat, stir in sour cream. Add egg noodles and dill. Toss to combine.
Serving size 1 cup (makes about 12 cups) Points plus 4
Sunday night's meal was intense. INTENSE. I found myself in the weeds more than once; thankfully Win was there to help me. Brandon was also there to provide moral support as he would pass through the kitchen. His passing through the kitchen became less as each time he walked through, I danced and sang a Beyonce song to him. But that's neither here nor there.
Back to the intensity that was dinner. See that picture up there? That's fried chicken. Yes. I fried something. In oil. And nothing caught on fire. It was a big day. A big day, indeed.
So what was I frying? Orange chicken. Yes. That amazing little meal that you get at your favorite Chinese joint that makes your heart smile? That one. It's Brandon's favorite. He eats it, on average, twice a week. He asked recently if I could try to make it....I accepted his challenge and found this recipe on AllRecipes. Don't you just love that site? I know I do.
So I did absolutely nothing to make this recipe healthier. But I did calculate the points and plan accordingly.
Pour 1 1/2 cups water, orange juice, lemon juice, rice vinegar, and soy sauce into a saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Stir in the orange zest, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, chopped onion, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat, and cool.
Place the chicken pieces into a resealable plastic bag. When contents of saucepan have cooled, pour 1 cup of sauce into bag. Reserve the remaining sauce. Seal the bag, and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
In another resealable plastic bag, mix the flour, salt, and pepper. Add the marinated chicken pieces, seal the bag, and shake to coat.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Place chicken into the skillet, and brown on both sides. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels, and cover with aluminum foil.
Wipe out the skillet, and add the sauce. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Mix together the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water; stir into the sauce. Reduce heat to medium low, add the chicken pieces, and simmer, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Serving size 1/2 cup (makes about six servings) Points plus 12
This was great over some brown rice. Speaking of brown rice. Does anyone have a rice cooker? What are your thoughts on it?
I am impressed with people that remember to get their eyebrows waxed regularly, people that can stick to strict budgets, and people that can throw parties. That list is neither all inclusive nor is it in any particular order.
But let's talk about parties. I am a girl that can follow directions and make dips. I'm good to help you host your party but need some work on the actually coming up with the details of the party. Thank goodness other people rock at it.
A group of us came together on Saturday to celebrate our dear friend, Leah and her will-be-here-soon baby boy.
An occasion as special as this deserves lots of cookies.
And Annie Glass galore. Be still my heart. I'm afraid I've got a new obsession. I know I'm a little bit late to this party but my, oh my. So pretty.
The party was held at my friend Fran's house. I arrived Friday night to help her set up, she taught me lots of things about parties and crystal and silver; we drank beer and ate sushi and generally had a large time. It's fun how some things never change.
Anywho. Here's a shot of the hostesses. Unfortunately, not everyone could be there. They were greatly missed!
A time made even more fun by serving coffee slush. Jeeeeeeze this stuff is good. It probably has as many points per serving as a big mac but is worth it. Here's the recipe:
3 cups of brewed coffee 6 cups / 3 pints of half and half 2 cups of sugar 2 tbl vanilla
Combine all ingredients, pour into zip lock bags. Freeze. Remove from freezer about 1.5 hours before serving. Prepare to lick the bowl.
I wonder how this would be with fat free half and half and splenda? Hmmmm.
Ok sorry I got sidetracked with yummy coffee goodness.
It was so surreal! Seeing Leah with her a-dor-able baby bump. She's going to be a great mom to that precious baby boy. Can't wait to meet him!
But hey Oliver? Please just stay hanging out an chill until after December 10. So your mom can be in my wedding. Thanks, kid.
Oh brussle sprouts. You are such a strange little veggie. Kind of stinky, green, no wonder kids (and adults) despise you.
But you know who doesn't despise a brussle sprout? The Brandon. Loves 'em. You know who else loves as brussle sprout. Daniel Smith. Husband of Lauren Smith. How do I know this? Because she emailed me yesterday asking if I had any ideas how to prep brussle sprouts. She had a similar problem as me. The man loves them, the woman kind of gags at them.
Well happy Monday friends, here's a brussle sprout recipe that wont make you gag. It is so good. After I'd had my serving size, I kept walking past the dish and stealing little sprouts. The recipe was based on this one, I really only changed the amounts and some of the process.
Some important point information about this one. When I plugged everything into the only recipe builder, it was pretty high in points. This is because for some reason, the builder gives vegetables a points value other than zero. So what lots of people do is continue to count the veggies as zero regardless of what the builder says. I usually count the veggies just to be sure, but this time I decided to leave the veggies out. You can do whatever you please, as chances are you are an adult.
Sorry for the spotty blogging this week. Just one of those weeks. I feel like I'm going to have a lot of those weeks coming up. Holiday and wedding season is absolutely upon us. Not to mention cold and flu season is also upon us.
Take your vitamin C ladies and germs, it's going to be a wild ride from here until January.
Speaking of wild rides I had to purchase new make up at the Wal Mart this morning. It was quite the challenge.
You know what else was a challenge...getting those bananas to check out. They absolutely would not ring up so sadly, I had to leave them behind.
But back to the makeup. I was completely shooting in the dark. The foundation and eye shadow are OK, the mascara rocks my world, the blush is horrid. Makes me kind of look like a clown. Whoops.
Usually I wouldn't worry about not having makeup. See, I left it at my mom's house last weekend I would normally be content with just getting it when I get it. However, adult acne, uneven skin tone, and two baby showers this weekend created the perfect storm that required the purchase of this jazz.
And the mini bottles of shampoo? Kind of an impulse purchase that I can't really explain.
I also can't explain my strong desire to make this...
Guys! We all know St. Jude in Memphis does amazing work...let's help them to keep up the good work. I'll be running the St. Jude Half Marathon in December and have signed up as a St. Jude hero with a goal to raise $1000. Donate here!
Wife, Akita mom, runner, therapist, wanna be yogi, most of the time weight watcher, sometimes seamstress, full time nerd. Lover of rap music, friends, family, and french fries. Trying to figure out how to stay a size six(ish) and put out more good energy than bad. Let's do this...
Have questions, comments, recipe ideas? I would love to hear from you!