January 25, 2016

Quick and Easy Recipes for the FrEnZiEd SLP {linky}

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I am one crock-pot lovin' lady. There's nothing more satisfying than dumping 15 different ingredients into a pot and forgetting about the whole thing for 8-10 hours. It's my favorite way to cook.

Both me and my husband have figured out the ways of the crock-pot during our first year of marriage. We lived in a 2 room, re-purposed hotel room for a few months with no stove/oven, so in a way, the crock-pot actually kept us from starving to death.

Here's my favorite recipe for the crock pot, and how I keep it super quick, simple, and as healthy as possible.

Crockpot Chicken Chili: Low Calorie, Low Carb, Low Sodium, Low Fat!

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup dried black beans
1 cup dried kidney beans
(if using dried beans, I usually put a cup of low-sodium chicken broth in as well)
1 small onion (I keep frozen chopped onion, so I use about 1 cup)
1 cup frozen corn
1 can no salt added Rotel
1 8 oz can no salt added tomato sauce
1 pack low-sodium taco seasoning
1 tbs chili powder
1 tbs cumin
1-2 garlic cloves, minced (optional, but we put garlic in everything)

-Put a liner in your crock-pot. Yes, these exist. Yes, they're amazing.
-Trim off all the fat from your chicken.
-Add your vegetables, sauce, broth and spices in the crock-pot and stir them together. 
-Then add in your chicken breasts (whole). I usually take some of the mixture and cover the chicken with it, but you don't have to. (I just think it soaks in the flavor better if you do!)
-Cook on low for 8-10 hours. About 30 minutes before it's done, shred the chicken (you can take it out or shred it in the crock-pot) then cover and leave it for the rest of the cooking time.

At my house, we just dump it in a bowl, put a little cheese on it, and eat it. However, you can serve it with rice, drain the juice and put in on a tortilla, or eat with corn chips!

*If you want it to be lower in sodium, don't use anything canned that you don't have to. This is why I use dried beans and frozen corn. I was surprised to learn that dried beans will be fully cooked when left in a crock-pot for that long, but that's why I add broth (or water)-- to give them plenty of liquid to soak up!

I can't wait to see what everyone else is cooking up!

January 20, 2016

Ode to a Snow Day

Image by: Pixabay

What is it about a snow day?

Snow days evoke an array of emotions from me. Among these are a deep sense of childhood joy, inspiration and mindfulness that few things can recreate for me at this point in my adulthood.

Living in Kentucky, it's a toss up as to how our winters will turn out. Some years, we do not get any snow. Some years, such as last year (and the year before!), we are out of school for over 2 weeks because of snow. This year, when December ended and we had yet to have gotten any significant amount of snow, I was starting to worry. But thankfully, winter has arrived... and working in a county school district with many back roads, we are often out for days at a time when any amount of snow falls.

I have trouble sleeping when I know it's going to snow. That is how much I love to watch the snow fall. If feasible, I would stay up all night long just to watch the large flakes drift peacefully to the ground. In my mind, that is the most calming of sights. 

Waking up to a blanketed ground fills my heart with youthful bliss. I prefer this weather to any other. I like to sit on the couch with the fireplace crackling, drinking hot chocolate and snuggling with Misha (who becomes extra friendly during the cold winter months). I like to turn off all the lights and open the curtains to allow the bright, reflective light stream into the room.

If you're lucky enough to get snow days, take the time to enjoy them. Let time slow down, accomplish things you normally wouldn't, or just stay in your pajamas all day. What you do is up to you.

Disclaimer: I absolutely sympathize with those who have to go to work.  I do not think I would enjoy snow days nearly as much if I had to get out in them. However, I am lucky that my husband and I both are able to stay home on days when conditions are hazardous. Please do not leave negativity on my blog for this reason, and be safe on your commutes to and from work.