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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sticky Chicken

I have read about sticky chicken all over crockpot sites for years. I printed the recipe and didn't think about it again until I recently was cleaning up those piles of recipes.

I had everything I needed so I gave it a go and it was YUMMY. Moist, flavorful and my favorite...took 10 hours to cook so it was an easy weeknight dinner plan.

Here's what you'll need:

4 t Salt
2 t Paprika
1 t Cayenne
1 t Onion Powder
1 t Thyme
1 t White Pepper
1/2 t Garlic Powder
1/2 t Black Pepper
1 Whole Chicken
1 medium Onion chopped

In a small bowl, combine the spices. If you bought a chicken with giblets and/or neck..remove those. Wash the chicken well, taking extra care with the cavity. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Rub the spice mixture into the chicken, inside and out. Try to make sure it's evenly distributed and that you rubbed it in well.

Place in a ziploc and refrigerate overnight. When ready to cook, dump onion into cavity of chicken and put in the crockpot. You don't need any liquid because the chicken will make it's own juice. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours, I cooked 10 because that's how my day worked out, it was falling off the bone. Slice it up and you can spoon some of the pan juices on top if you desire. I threw the onions out.

Here's your spice mix.

Just a whole chicken, wash it, pat it dry and rub the seasoning in
Give that chicken a good rub and put in a ziploc bag and into the fridge
Doesn't this look yummy!
I cut it up, poured a bit of pan juices on top and put in the oven on warm while I made the sides. Forgot to take a "pretty" photo, sorry.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Book that makes you say Hmmm

I received Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter as a gift. I finally got around to reading it on my vacation and let me say, hmmmmmm. They had random "facts" throughout the book to validate their claim that Abe Lincoln was a Vampire Hunter.

Kristen had already read the book and about half way through I asked, "Did you Google any of this"?

"Yep and it's true".

That made me say HMMMMMM a little louder. It's a quick read so give it a go and let me know what you think. Was our 16th President a Vampire Hunter??

Thanks Amazon for the photo.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Happy Birthday Chantel

Chantel is the youngest in the family. The calm one who never freaks out. I completely envy how calm she is. She's loyal, loving and forgiving. She has 5 darling kids and I've lost count of how many pets. Today is her birthday so I just wanted to shout out ~ HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHAN! HOPE YOUR DAY IS FABULOUS!!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Cajun Orzo

I had planned to go out to dinner. Walked in the door to find out Max wasn't feeling well. Two minutes later, in walks Dylan. Dylan was STARVING so I told him to see what looked good to him in the fridge. I thought he'd pull out some eggs. Instead he handed me cocktail wienies and left over Orzo.

Sidebar for my friends that are wondering why I have cocktail wienies in my fridge...Claire wanted them.

"Really"?, I asked.

"Sounds good to me", he shrugged and left the kitchen.

I like cooking for Dylan, he'll eat almost anything and rarely does he say anything except thank you. If I ask what he thought, he is always honest, which I appreciate. Maybe it goes back to his toddler years when he and I used to sit and watch cooking shows on the Food Network and comment on preparation, presentation and how we thought it would taste. Yes, I admit...the poor kid didn't know who was on Nickelodeon but he recognized Bobby Flay and Emeril no problem.

At any rate, I took about 12 cocktail wienies and cut them in half both ways, the long skinny way to split them in half and cut them in half so the pieces would be bite size.

I had 1/2 of a red pepper in the fridge so I chopped that up.

Threw the wienies in the pan, meaty side down and pan fried them for about a couple of minutes. I added the peppers, 2 T butter and sprinkled with 1 t of Cajun seasoning and tossed that around for another minute or so. Next came a cup of cooked Orzo, another 1-2 t of Cajun seasoning, heated through and dinner was served.

He brought back an empty bowl a few minutes later and without prompting said, "that was good". :)

Too bad I didn't take any photos. I think you can handle it though. Just to recap, this is what you need:

12 cocktail wienies halved and halved
1/2 Red Pepper chopped
2 T Butter
2-3 t Cajun Seasoning
1 C Cooked Orzo

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Magic Eye

I was watching these little kids being kind of naughty, their Mom sitting with her back to them, oblivious to it all. Claire said, "their Mom must not have a magic eye" and she smiled at me.

That one sentence brought me back to when my kids were little and my magic eye was always on alert. When my kids would be doing something they shouldn't and I told them to stop, they would ask, "how did you know" and I would tell them my magic eye was watching.

They asked how it worked and I said that it was on the back of my head and when my children were doing something naughty, the eye would pop open so I could see.

The magic eye stopped quite a few little things from becoming big things. But, my favorite memory of the "magic eye" was actually when I was laying on the couch and the eye was sleeping. Max was 5 and Claire was 3 and they climbed up behind me and started playing with my hair, whispering to each other.

I asked what they were doing and they said, "looking for the magic eye"

"OHHH that only comes out when you're naughty", I said.

Without missing a beat, Max excitedly said, "so, if I pulled your hair it would come out"?

"No..that would just get you sent to your room because I would feel that before I needed to see it".

They both let out a defeated puff of air and ran off to play:)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Competition Dancing

Claire has been dancing since she was 3 years old. The cute little tap and ballet studio thing was her first try. She looked darling with her big bow and puffy skirt. The owner of the studio had an injury and closed. What to do??

We tried this place that did dancing, singing and acting. She liked that too. But she didn't "love" it and for the price, she needed to love it.

Moved on to Just For Kix. Danceline type dancing for little girls. She liked it and I liked the price. She has gotten to perform at a bunch of fun locations, dance her way through the Fourth of July parade and has made a lot of friends over the years.

Last year competition started for her. It was an adjustment because the coach no longer gives dance prompts from the floor, you have to know it and she takes that seriously.

Our competition season has ended, just another month until the spring show. Her group finished 2nd at the first competition and 4th at the last one. I'm proud of my girlie and her team!

She is second from the right in the first row in this video.

Waiting for results
After the show

Monday, March 21, 2011

Nutella Fudge

My Mom makes really good fudge so I've never actually made it myself. I was browsing around at other blogs and a fudge recipe jumped out at me. It contained Nutella. I've had a weird curiosity about Nutella, wondering how it tasted but never purchasing it.

Anyway, I found the recipe here. I didn't really detect a Nutella flavor but I guess I'm not sure what I was looking for being that I had never eaten it.

I thought it had a few things going for it. It was easy to make, rich and creamy texture and the sweet and salty, well that was a bonus.

Here's what you'll need:

14 oz can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 t Vanilla
8 oz Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips (I used a little over 3/4 of a bag)
1 C Nutella
3 T Butter, room temp
1/2-1 t Sea Salt

Spray an 8x8 pan. Combine all ingredients except Sea Salt in a double boiler. Ok, here's my confession. I did NOT use a double boiler, I melted my chips in a glass bowl and added the rest of the ingredients. Problem was, the Nutella is a bit thick which made the fudge a little thick. The fudge turned out fine, but I think the double boiler would have been easier in the long run even though I detest using them. Choice is yours but I'd go double boiler next time.

Spread fudge in prepared pan and sprinkle with Sea Salt. Chill at least 2 hours, I did half hour fridge, 1 hour freezer.

Get a cup of hot water, dunk your knife in water and cut fudge. It's not necessary but it makes it easier. It was pretty rich, so cut your pieces small and share with your friends.

Mix milk, butter and Nutella with the melted chips
See it doesn't look very smooth, not sure if it would have looked better with a double boiler but I'm guessing that it would. I pushed it into the pan and it worked out fine.
Sprinkle with Sea Salt and Chill


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Travel Tip

When I stepped on the plane I noticed something NOT good. A toddler without a seat. His parents had decided to hold their child who I'm guessing was about 18 months for the four and half hour flight. The kid lost it less than half way through and the plane heard it for quite sometime. I felt so bad for all of them.

I understand the problem. Air fare is NOT cheap. But you have to ask yourself if your sanity is worth the price of flying.

See, I've been there, done that with Max. Only Max, only once. I figured he'd take a nap on Mommy. Play with his toys and there were 4 adults. I figured, he'd have enough to keep him busy on our 2 hour flight. I was WRONG. He was curious, he was bored, he didn't understand why he had to sit on someone's lap for 2 hours. After that trip, I vowed never again.

Fast forward to our next trip. He had his own seat, he had his car seat. He had his comfort zone and he knew that he had to stay buckled in. No muss, no fuss. Take it from someone whose been a ticket for your kid and bring the car seat.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Two houses, One Family

Two houses, one family has been our motto since my ex-husband and I separated. Craig and I had guidelines we tried to follow but the biggest thing we have continued to do is..."WE" are always there for our kids even though "WE" are no longer a couple.

"WE" attend every important event in their lives, "WE" sit together, "WE" share dinner at a restaurant or I host back at my house. "WE" take photos on every birthday together. "WE" share information, both parents are on the same page and provide a united front on big subjects and little ones too. "WE" have done all this because we didn't want our children to feel like they were missing something because their parents didn't share a home.

We've gotten compliments over the years from teachers about our children. Telling us, "that they would never suspect Claire and Max came from a divorced home". I asked what that meant and was told that divorced children are just different for different reasons. Some are needy, some are trying to keep the peace, some are working both parents for what they want. Our children don't do any of those things, our children talk about both parents equally and without hesitation.

We've gotten compliments from multiple parents from the sport teams are children are on. Telling us that they would never suspect we were divorced because we are so kind to each other and that we look like we actually like each other. I always laugh at that because Craig and I didn't get divorced because we didn't like each other, we had different ideas of what a marriage was and made the difficult decision that everyone would be happier if we no longer lived together. We gave each other two fabulous kids, why wouldn't we be kind to each other?

The ultimate compliment came the other night. Max needed a photo of his family for a class project. I know the drill with those and typically it's a photo of who lives in your house.

I said, "you can use the one we had taken at Christmas".

He said, "well that doesn't have Dad in it".

I quickly recovered and said, "yep, you're right. I'll find one for you".

It made me smile that we have instilled that sense of security. That we have managed to actually achieve Two Houses, One Family.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Chicken Taquitos

Back to the real world after a fabulous vacation and my "real" world needed a bit of vacation. I decided to recreate my favorite dinner..chicken taquitos. The fact that it took all of 20 minutes to have dinner on the table...BONUS! The kids both loving them...double BONUS!!

What you'll need:

Salsa Chicken
Cheese ~ I used a Mexican Blend
Small Flour Tortillas ~ my bag came with 20 of them
Cooking Spray ~ I use Butter Flavored

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Wet and ring out two paper towels. Wrap 6 tortillas inside and microwave for 30 seconds. You want to soften up the tortillas for easier rolling.

Put about 1/4 C of chicken in the middle of the tortilla, top with about a tablespoon of cheese. You could leave the cheese out but I was trying to sell the kids and let's face it, cheese sells it.

Roll the tortilla up and put on a sprayed cookie sheet, seam side down and leave a little room in between each one. Continue until you have a cookie sheet full.

Spray the tortillas with a bit of cooking spray and put in the oven for 10 minutes. Take out and flip to seam side up and cook for another 5 minutes. Serve with your favorite taco toppings.
Put your chicken and cheese on tortilla and roll up
Spray with cooking spray
Dinner is served
Claire brought left overs for lunch and asked when I'd be making them again!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day

I've always been one to wear the token green shirt when going out but Claire, Claire takes it to a whole new level.

I adore how fun she is. Not only does she embrace every holiday, she OWNS it.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Peanut Butter Honey Crescents

My daughter LOVES peanut butter. She makes grilled cheese and peanut butter sandwiches, she alone loves those;). I thought this might be something the whole family would enjoy.

Take your crescent roll, spread some peanut butter on and about a teaspoon of honey. Roll up per package directions and bake.


Monday, March 14, 2011

Majahua Palms

Once upon a time there was this very tired hockey Mom. Carting two kids around 7 days a week, shoveling all the MN snow (and we've had a LOT this winter) and making sure they are properly fed. Actually the word tired is an understatement, this Mom was BURNED out.

Enter my fairy god sister named Kristen.
She waved her magic wand and surprised me with a trip to Majahua Palms. It's just a short ride from the Ixtapa/Zihuntanejo airport. It was the ultimate relaxation destination.

They had stuff you could do; kayaking, mountain hikes, horseback riding, surf lessons, etc. I chose not to do any of it. I parked my butt on a lounge chair. I read, I napped, I ate lots of guacamole. I walked the beach collecting shells, I watched the waves crash and I drank margaritas.

Majahua Palms is like no place I've ever been in Mexico. It takes the term "chill" to a whole new level. The owners, Mike and Lori are warm and make you feel like family. The staff are always smiling and extremely competent. The accomodations have exactly what you need and they throw in a few of the things you don't too:)

If you're looking for a beautiful vacation destination, this IS your place. I know my kids are going to love it when I bring them back. !
Krit, I canNOT thank you enough for the wonderful gift. I had a fabulous time hanging with you and I'm very lucky to have you in my life!

Caramel Rolls Pioneer Woman style

The Pioneer Woman talks a lot about her cinnamon rolls so I had to give them a try. She offers a fabulous tutorial that there is absolutely no reason to recreate. I'll just give my opinion on them.

First, you all know I'm scared of yeast. Doesn't seem to work like it should for me, but I followed her step by step instructions and dough was born!! It really was easy.

Second, I mixed the last cup of flour, baking soda, powder and salt in after I turned the dough onto my counter because I thought it was easier. Maybe it was because my bowl wasn't large enough.

Third, this makes a LOT of rolls. Prepare to share or cut the recipe in half.

Since I had so many to make...I made them exactly as she does both with frosting and with caramel sauce and I made them the way I make my caramel rolls. And, although hers are good, I like my version better. Her dough is great but I didn't care for all the extra white sugar. Everyone that I shared with, including my kids, no one noticed the difference.

So, give one or all a try...something sweet in the morning is NEVER a bad thing:)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Roasted Turkey

I got a screaming deal on a turkey so I thought what the heck since a turkey is SO easy to make. My kids aren't fans of Thanksgiving type dinner so I just roasted it, served it on rolls with some carrot sticks and french fries. With the rest, I took all the meat off and made various things with it. Soup, hot dishes, sandwiches.

Don't be scared, a turkey is the easiest thing to make and now with the little stopper that pops up when it's done, it's pretty easy not to over cook. You will want to defrost in your refrigerator for a few days before you plan on cooking it.

Wash the turkey well
Don't forget to take out the gizzards and neck packet, I throw this away but if you're feeling ambitious you could boil it for your gravy base.
About a tablespoon of salt
Rub the salt in the cavity
Pats of butter (I used about 1/2 to 3/4 of a stick) and a sprinkling of salt, pepper and garlic powder about 2 t of each. Bake at 350. Your packaging will tell you how long to bake according to how many pounds the turkey is.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Lemon Blueberry Bundt

I love lemon and blueberries. Put them together and I'm a happy girl. I have a friend who also likes that combination so I decided to try something easy and drop it off. They said it was delicious so I thought I'd share.

What you'll need:

Lemon Cake Mix

Make almost according to directions. I replaced the water with 1 C Milk and 1/4 C Lemon Juice.

Mix in 1 C Blueberries, I used frozen.

Pour into bundt pan and bake until you put a tester (skewer or knife) in and it comes out clean, for me, that was about 35 minutes.

Cool 10 minutes and invert on a plate.


1 C Powdered Sugar
1 1/2 T Lemon Juice
2 t Vanilla
Food coloring if you want

Mix together and drizzle over the top of the cake.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Sleek Hair

My hair used to be stick straight. I paid for many a spiral perm in my day and then I got pregnant. After I had Max I had naturally wavy, sometimes curly hair depending on the product and the humidity level. It was fun for awhile but the thing about having curly hair, you need to wash it every day for it to look decent or at least I do and being a busy Mom, I'm lucky to have time to wash my hair every couple of days, ponytails became my good friend.

I used to be able to use any type of shampoo and conditioner and round brush my hair into a decent looking style but as I'm getting older, my hair is getting more coarse, add the curls and well, I need all the help I can get.

I also must confess, I'm an Aveda snob. My name is Christol and I've been addicted to Aveda since my late teens. Aveda has this great shampoo for hair like mine, Smooth Infusions, LOVE it. But, my budget needed an overhaul and I had to get creative. I saw this on the shelf when I was buying my son's shampoo...
I decided to give Suave "Sleek" Shampoo a try. I have to admit, I get very similar results from this shampoo and conditioner for a very small fraction of the cost. Alanna's daughter started using it and she is just as happy with the results. So give it a try if your hair needs some sleeking:)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Buttercream Frosting

To make butter cream frosting
2 sticks of soft Butter
4-5 C Powdered Sugar
2 t Vanilla
4-7 T Milk

Start out with 2 sticks of butter.  Whip until the butter is CREAMY and light.  About 5 minutes.  Add 4 C powdered sugar, vanilla and 3 T milk. Mix it with your mixer. Keep adding milk by the T until it's the consistency you want.

IF you add too much milk, add more powdered sugar. I've never used a true recipe for frosting, it was an add and adjust philosophy. When it's done, separate into different bowls and add food coloring. If you are using liquid food coloring remember it will thin the frosting a bit.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Cranberry Bliss bars

I had some Craisins I needed to use up and went looking around for a recipe and found this on some copy cat website. They are supposed to be a copycat of Starbucks Cranberry Bliss bars. Since I don't drink coffee and haven't had the opportunity to try their bars, I went in blind.

I should further state that if a recipe has the word "bliss" in the title, it should contain chocolate but that's just me;) The word bliss to me makes for expectations. Expecations that mean I will put it in my mouth and think OMG!! These bars didn't do that but I did like them quite a bit. A woman at work who works part-time at Starbucks said they were very close to the ones they sell. And, it's one of Alanna's new favorites.

They have a dryer, cake like consistency. They have good flavor and I could see how you would like this with a cup of coffee.

What you'll need:

2 sticks of softened Butter
1/3 C Sugar
1 C packed Brown Sugar
3 Eggs
2 t Orange Extract
2 C Flour
1 1/2 t Baking Powder
1 t Ginger
3/4 C Craisins
3/4 C White Chocolate Chips

Beat Butter and sugars with an electric mixer for about 3 minutes until it's nice and creamy. Add the Eggs, Flour, Baking Powder, Extract and Ginger and mix until blended. Fold in Craisins and Chips.

Spread into a sprayed 15x10 pan. That's a cookie sheet with an edge in my house.

Bake at 350 for 18-25 minutes. I baked for 20 because the recipe said 20-25 and should have gone 18 minutes. Every oven is different so just check them starting at 18 please:)

Cool and frost.

2 T softened Butter
3 oz Cream Cheese
1 t Orange Extract
3 C Powdered Sugar
2 T Milk

Mix all together with your electric mixer and if it seems to thick, add another tablespoon of milk. You want a firmer frosting but not so thick that you can't spread it.

Now top with:
1/3 C chopped Craisins
Zest from one Orange
1/4 C White Chocolate melted

Sprinkle the craisins and orange zest on top.

Melt white chocolate, took 1 minute in my microwave. Take a fork and drizzle over the top.

Cool at least an hour.

Cut into 20 large bars and then cut diagonal so you have 40 triangle bars. Share with your friends.

Beat your butter and sugars together for 3 minutes
This is after you've added all the ingredients and folded in craisins and chips
Spread in sprayed pan
I would have liked to see these a little lighter but wasn't paying attention. 18 minutes would have been the ticket.
See how the frosting is just a little thick
Frost bars
Chop your craisins
Use the small side of the grater
You want to make sure you just get the orange off, don't go deep on the skin.
Sprinkle zest and craisins and drizzle white chocolate
Share with your friends:)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Fudge Frosting

My Mom has been making this frosting forever. I think it's actually on the Cocoa can.

Fudge Frosting
1/2 C Butter
1/3 C Milk
4 T Cocoa
Bring to a boil. Add
2 t Vanilla
3 1/2 C Powdered Sugar

Whisk until smooth. Pour over your favorite brownies or cake.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Mock Chowmein

I'm breaking my rule of 8 hours or more for a crock pot recipe but I have a good reason. My son has confirmation on Wednesdays. We leave and are gone for about an hour and a half. We come home ready for dinner.

I typically make this in the oven but it works great with 2 hours in the crock pot.

What you'll need:

1 lb Hamburger or ground Turkey
1/2 small Onion minced
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup ~ I use 98% fat free
1 can Skim Milk
1 can Water
1/3 C Soy Sauce
2 stalks of celery chopped
1 C Brown Rice

Cook meat with onion and season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix soup, milk, water and soy sauce in the crock pot. Throw in the rice, hamburger and celery and stir. Cover and cook on low for 2 hours. OR you can put in 350 oven covered for 1 hour. Top with chow mein noodles.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


This month is my 2 year anniversary of having Lasik surgery. I was basically blind without my contacts or glasses and had been considering Lasik since it came out years ago. BUT I was a chicken. The thought of surgery on my eyes, eyes I could see out of with contacts or glasses, well it made my stomach hurt to think about it.

What finally pushed me towards Lasik surgery is that I needed new glasses. I've never liked the way I looked in glasses. I knew I would have to pay more money to have the thinnest lenses possible made but they still weren't "thin". So, I made the appointment and found out I was a candidate. I did my research, I asked friends who had it done and almost everyone said the same thing, "Wish I had done it sooner. Best money I've ever spent".

I made the appointment to have it done and tried not to think about it. I had to wear my glasses for a week before the surgery to give my eyes a rest from contacts. I couldn't wear eye make up the day of surgery or for the week following. I needed to be able to sleep for 4 hours after the surgery and someone had to drive me home. I also needed to buy a bunch of eye drops. That was it.

The day of the surgery, I went to work, Kristen picked me up and drove me to the appointment. I was given a Valium and put in a massage chair to watch an after care movie while I waited.

A nurse brought me back to the surgery room and during the surgery there was a few seconds of uncomfortable pressure and a second where everything went black and my heart stopped. I immediately said, "EVERYTHING is black" and was assured that was normal and the light came back before their words finished. That might have been something they should have told me BEFORE it happened;) The entire procedure took about 5 minutes.

I walked out and could read signs that were blocks away!! I haven't been able to do that without glasses since I was in grade school!

I was sent home with some sexy sunglasses and goggles to wear while I slept. Imagine big bug style with a white elastic band that goes around your head and you're getting an idea of what those goggles looked like. I had to wear those goggles for a week while I slept because they didn't want me to accidentally rub my eye or have a pillow edge hit my eye while it healed.

Unfortunately, my dog had a barking fit and I didn't get to "sleep" the entire 4 hours but I kept my eyes closed for 4 because it did sting and lots of moisture was coming out if I tried to open them.

After the 4 hours, I got up, ate dinner and watched a little TV. My right eye felt fine and my left felt like it was tired. Imagine how your contacts feel when you're tired, kind of scratchy and dry. I used eye drops every time I thought about it for well over a month because I thought that would help with the healing.

I drove myself to the check up appointment the next morning and haven't had a problem since. The hardest part was walking through those doors to have the procedure done but I am SO glad that I did it.

Waking up and seeing the clock, not having to worry about getting water in my eyes at the pool, no more fears of losing a contact, the reasons are endless. I ditto what everyone said to me, "I wish I had done it YEARS ago".