Sunday, January 31, 2010

just too easy: slow cooker rustic chicken

i adapted this recipe from a really cute blog called sweet tea in texas.  this meal was the perfect way to wind down after a crazy week.  it took no time to prep and the crock pot does all the work for you.

1 pound chicken breast tenders
15 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
15 oz can marinated artichoke hearts
1 packet dry chicken gravy mix
1/4 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
handful green olives

combine all ingredients in a crock pot (except rice); stir to combine.  cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. serve over rice and garnish with fresh parsley.  yes, it's that easy.

Friday, January 29, 2010

chowDUH: a simple and delicous broccoli chowder

ok ok, before you think anything, i know this looks like split pea soup - but i promise it's not. i made the mistake of pureeing it a little too much, hence the similar characteristics of baby food.  but don't let its appearance fool you - it was scrumptious! i got this recipe from and you would never know that there is no cream or milk in it. there was also a nice subtle hint of heat from the cayenne pepper. definitely add this to your repertoire for those extra cold nights when all you want to do is cozy up.

1 onion, minced
1 large carrot, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 large potato, peeled and diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups broccoli crowns
1 cup shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese
1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream

heat evoo in dutch oven over medium-high heat.  add onion, celery and carrot. season with s&p. cook about 6 minutes, until onion begins to soften. add potato and garlic to pot and cook for another 2 minutes. stir in flour, cayenne and dry mustard. cook for 2 minutes. add broth and broccoli; bring to a boil. cover and reduce heat to medium low and let simmer for 20 minutes. remove 2 cups of soup into a bowl and mash and then return to pan. now here's where i messed up - instead of doing this step, i put an immersion blender right in the dutch oven and pureed it.  note to reader - don't do what i did! 

next stir in cheddar, sour cream and s&p until heated through.  garnish with dollop of sour cream and more cheese if you please. serve alongside grilled cheese sandwiches. enjoy!

shout out to suzanne for coming up with the catchy title of this post.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

moms know best

be's mom sent me a funny email tonight called 'nine words women use.'  and i'm loling because this collection of words and reactions couldn't be more true.  so this post really is for our male readers.  read carefully, take notes, and commit to memory.  this is good stuff that will keep you out of trouble.

1. "fine"
[definition] this is the word women use to end an argument when they are right and you need to shut up.

2. "five minutes"
[definition] if she is getting dressed, this means a half an hour. five minutes is only five minutes if you have just been given five more minutes to watch the game before helping around the house.

3. "nothing"
[definition] this is the calm before the storm. this means something, and you should be on your toes. arguments that begin with nothing usually end in fine.

4. "go ahead"
[definition] this is a dare, not permission. don't do it!

5. a loud sigh
[definition] this isn't actually a word, but is a non-verbal statement often misunderstood by men. a loud sigh means she thinks you are an idiot and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here and arguing with you about nothing. (refer back to # 3 for the meaning of "nothing.")

6. "that's ok"
[definition] this is one of the most dangerous statements a women can make to a man. "that's ok" means she wants to think long and hard before deciding how and when you will pay for your mistake.

7. "thanks"
[definition] a woman is thanking you, do not question, or faint. just say you're welcome. (i want to add in a clause here - this is true, unless she says 'thanks a lot' - that is PURE sarcasm and she is not thanking you at all. DO NOT say "you're welcome". that will bring on a "whatever").

8. "whatever"
[definition] this is a woman's way of saying "forget it", i don’t have anymore time to waste on you.

9. "don't worry about it, i got it"
[definition] another dangerous statement, meaning this is something that a woman has told a man to do several times, but is now doing it herself. this will later result in a man asking "what's wrong?"  for the woman's response, refer to #3.
all so true, so true.
(photo credit -

the headboard reinvented

last week, i mentioned i really wanted to invest in a headboard at some point this year. sweet suzie posted a little comment with a suggestion worth considering -

"i graduated to a headboard...really made me feel like an adult in the ole bedroom. mine however is homemade (penny saver). all it is is two pieces of wood nailed onto two posts (front and back), wrapped in a foam pad and then covered in your fabric of choice. i went with white, but the nice thing is you can always switch it up if you are trying to recreate your room. i love it!"

it got me thinking - "maybe i can make my own too?"  or at least, "what else is out there as an alternative to my $300-400 dream for a headboard?"

enter:  the headboard reinvented.  check out these ideas.  pretty and brilliant.

nonetheless, i feel like this could end up in my house someday if someone had their way. i better get on

 (photo credits -,,,

easy italiano: italian baked chicken and pasta casserole

last night, we enjoyed this easy pasta bake recipe from giada de laurentiis.  i tweaked it a little bit to add more nutritional value, using whole wheat pasta and adding frozen spinach.  next time, i think i will add more chicken and maybe fresh basil to give it more flavor. overall, it was quite tasty and very filling.

2.5 cups whole wheat rotini
2 chicken breasts, diced
1/2 cup diced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with juice
1 cup jarred pasta sauce
1 cup thawed frozen spinach
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon butter

preheat the oven to 400 degrees. cook pasta according to package. when finished, place in mixing bowl. meanwhile, put the evoo in a medium saute pan over medium heat. add the chicken and cook for 3 minutes. add the onions and garlic, stirring to combine, and cook until the onions are soft and the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes more. add chicken mixture to pasta in mixing bowl. add the canned tomatoes, spinach, jarred pasta sauce, mozzarella cheese, 1/4 cup parmesan, parsley, and s&p. stir to combine. place the mixture in greased small baking dish.  sprinkle top with breadcrumbs and remaining parmesan cheese. dot the top with small bits of butter and bake until the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes. bon appetito!

a close up view...look at all the cheese!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

tea for two

sis has a design theory that everyone should have at least one collection of random items in their house to showcase. she collects globes. peg collects lanterns. meagan collects all things owl. and i've decided that i'm going to collect teacups.  naturally, i would collect something for my kitchen since i plan on spending all of my time there one day. 

i'm going for a hodge podge of new and vintage teacups with golden rims, delicate flower buds, streams and swirls of color, and dainty handles for all of the ladies to hold at my saturday afternoon tea parties.

here's what i'm thinking...

and for a little more inspiration, i found these girly-girl gems to get my collection going.
now i only need a house to call my own.


what will your collection be?

(photo credits -,,,

can you sew a button?

i saw a today show feature on this book a few weeks back and it seemed quite appropriate as we all fine tune our goals for 2010.  cute little erin bried spent the past year collecting the treasured wisdom of our 'mom moms,' 'nanas,' 'grandmas,' and 'meemaws.'  with all this valuable insight, she wrote how to sew a button that shares over 100 essential tips to get us young ladies through a lifetime.  she covers it all - cooking, cleaning, entertaining - the girl did her homework!

so on the today show, erin asked ann curry if she had a few of the basics covered. watching the episode, i started to check things off in my head:
  1. can you sew a button?  check
  2. can you tie a man's necktie?  check on the regular tie...but absolutely not a bowtie
  3. can you hang a picture?  check
  4. have you perfected your posture?  working on it
  5. can you roast a chicken?  check - i learned!
  6. can you dance a basic waltz?  anyone up for dance lessons?
  7. can you mix a perfect martini?  i'm not a martini girl but i should probably learn
  8. do you know how to throw a yard sale?  will figure it out when the time comes
  9. do you know how to compost?  gonna learn
  10. can you build a fire?  check
so looks like i have a few things to work on.  but check out my chicken - i'm growing!  and you can master this one yourself.  it was almost too easy.

bottom line, if you want to make grandma proud, get your copy today.

(photo credit -

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

return of the mmc

sweet ellen featured this old mickey mouse clubber last week on her show. i couldn't place the crooner until google images reminded me of the mousketeer.  soon after he sang, he was back for round two and this time, my lovah (jt) was with him.  oh ladies, just when jt couldn't get any hotter, he brings his little friend along with him to share the spotlight.  

next, we move onto friday night. i thought my night was headed towards boredom.  then i remembered the hope for haiti benefit was on and there the charmers were again.  if you do nothing else today, download their version of "hallelujah" on itunes.

feel free to mop me off the floor now.
i've. completely. melted.

(video credit -

pass the peas please: balsamic chicken with peas and couscous

i never thought you would hear me say the words "pass the peas please." i'm really not a huge fan of them, but last night i realized we didn't have any spinach to make the original recipe, so i had to improvise with what we had.  it actually turned out quite well - the sweetness from the peas paired perfectly with the fire-roasted tomatoes and the tanginess of the balsamic vinegar and capers.

(adapted from food network)
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 boneless chicken breasts
1 cup frozen peas
1 tablespoon capers
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup fire-roasted canned tomatoes with juice
2 cups whole wheat couscous, cooked
1/4 cup chick peas

heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. add evoo and garlic, cooking for 1 minute. sprinkle chicken with s&p and cook for about about 4 to 5 minutes per side. remove the chicken from pan and set aside. lower the heat to medium and add the balsamic vinegar and chicken broth to the pan and stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to remove any browned bits. add the tomatoes, peas and s&p cooking for about 5 minutes.  return chicken to pan and let cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, letting the chicken absorb the juices. add capers right before serving.  after couscous has finished cooking, stir in chick peas, drizzle of evoo and s&p.

to serve, scoop the couscous on bottom of plate, making a flat layer. top with chicken and then pour on the balsamic-tomato sauce.

home sweet santa fe?

would you move to new mexico for this house?  i'm tempted but then again, life in a tiny, nyc little hobbit-hole of an apartment is going pretty well right now. 

enter to win hgtv's 2010 dream home...i've always wanted to visit the wild west.

(photo credits -

cake love

oh brides, catch these little guys.  no one ever tops their cakes with MINI MEs anymore. we think you should get the tradition going again. 

the best part - you can have them custom made to look like you and your beau. darling!

(photo credits -

Monday, January 25, 2010

class act

i was so impressed with conan on friday night.  the whole mess got a bit out of hand and yet, conan bowed out one last time with more grace and more class than i think anyone expected.

"all i ask is one thing, and i’m asking this particularly of young people that watch. please do not be cynical. i hate cynicism, for the record, it’s my least favorite quality. it doesn’t lead anywhere. nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. but if you work really hard, and you’re kind, amazing things will happen."

nice job, my favorite little leprechaun, nice job.

(photo credit -

this week in the kitchen

we're cooking up lots of goodies this week.  every recipe is moderately healthy and most meals will be served with a side salad or a roasted veggie.

balsamic chicken with baby spinach and couscous
italian baked chicken and pastina casserole
broccoli cheddar chowder with grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches 
slow cooker rustic chicken

stay tuned to see how it turns out, foodies.

(photo credit -

minor obsession

there is no doubt i'm baby crazy.  BE will tell you.  and long before i started to get the 'mama itch,' sis was knocking my door and asking when she could expect little nieces and nephews.  but for now, i will live vicariously through our mommy and mommy-to-be readers.  i will be sure to reference all these posts someday down the road but for now, i will obsess from afar. 

point in case to be baby clothes.  the duds out there these days have me swooning.  espeically from kelly's kids and mini boden.  with these getups, your littles ones are sure-to-be-mini-hipsters.

oh boden...we love.

oh kelly...we love.

(photo credits -,