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Monday, March 31, 2014

Tex Mex Burritos

It's spring break FINALLY!  This winter has been SO long and well, even though it's "spring" break it's not a very springy forecast and we're stuck in MN because of baseball and dance obligations!  Had we not been, I would be in my car driving towards warmth and ability to wear flip flops.  But since I can't, I decided to take a food vaca.

First stop...Mexico, my absolute favorite warm weather destination and food that I could eat every single day!

Let's get this vacation started!!

The recipe takes a bit more to prepare than my usual recipes but oh so worth it. And, it's still easy...I promise:) PLUS..I've given you several days to get yourself in the "mood" to cook!!

Tex Mex Burritos
1 pkg boneless Chicken Breast
4 C Water
4 Chicken Bouillon cubes
1 T Chili Powder
1 t Cumin
1 T Garlic Powder
1 T minced Onion ~ I used dried
few cranks of fresh cracked Pepper

Throw all of this in a pot and boil until chicken is done, about 30-40 minutes..I've never actually timed it but if you stick a fork in the chicken and it goes in without resistance, you're good. Turn off heat, shred the chicken and put back into broth.

1 pkg of 10 Tortillas~I don't know the size, it's the pack they sell in 10s;)
1/2 Red Pepper and 1/2 Orange Pepper diced ~ you can use one whole pepper any color, I just like how pretty it is to use two different ones.
1/4-1/2 medium onion diced
3 cloves garlic minced
2 C Spinach chopped
1/4 C Jalapenos diced~I use the sliced ones in the jar
1 can Black Beans drained and rinsed
1 C Frozen Corn
1 t Cumin
1 t Chili Powder
1 t Cayenne Pepper

Saute peppers, garlic and onion a couple of minutes in a bit of the chicken broth you stole from the chicken. Add the jalapenos (you can use more or fresh, it's just what I always have in the house), black beans and corn. Splash in a bit of the jalapeno juice from the jar. Fold around for a minute or two. Fold in Spinach. Drain chicken and throw it in. Throw in cumin, Cayenne and chili powder. Taste and make sure it doesn't need salt.

Spray 13x9 pan with cooking spray. Put about 3/4 C mixture in middle of tortilla and roll up. Put seam side down and continue until all tortillas are used. If you have extra filling, throw on top of the burritos.

1 can Mild Enchilada Sauce ~ I prefer HOT but some people don't
1 can 98% Fat Free Cream of Chicken Soup
1 C Sour Cream~I use light

Mix together and pour over top of burritos. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes until bubbly. Top with 1-2 C of your favorite cheese, I used a Colby Jack mix and bake 5 more minutes.

While this is cooking put together the best topping in the whole world.

3/4 C Sour Cream ~ I use light
1/2 C Mayo
2 t Dill Weed
1 t Garlic Powder
1 t Onion Powder
3 Ripe Avocados mashed

Mix Sour Cream and Mayo, add seasoning. Chill while the burritos are baking. You can do this step as far ahead as you want. Add avocados to the mix when you put the cheese on the burritos. You can NOT make this too far ahead, it turns a funny greenish brown color. If you did this, skim off the top and the underneath will still be green:)
Here's the chicken ready to shred. I actually prefer to use bone in chicken because it's more moist but I only had boneless in the house.
Shred your chicken and put back into the broth.
Here's your peppers, onion and jalapenos diced up.
The spinach pre chop.
Peppers, garlic, onion and jalapenos in the pan for a couple of minutes with a few T of Chicken broth you stole from the chicken pot.
You've added the black beans, corn, chicken, spinach and seasoning. Cook together for a couple of minutes.
Here is the size of tortillas I buy. You can use any size but this size typically makes exactly the recipe. These turned out to be a bit smaller so I had left over topping. No problem, throw it on top.
Put about 3/4 C of the topping in the middle of the tortilla, roll up. You can add cheese here if you want but the recipe really doesn't need it.
Seam side down in your sprayed 13x9
Throw whatever is left on the top of the burritos. Typically I don't have a lot left over, these tortillas were a bit smaller than usual. You can cover and refrigerate at this point for up to 24 hours. IF you do that, allow an extra 15 minutes of cooking time.
Here is the sauce ingredients.
Whisk together and this is what you get.
Pour it over the top and throw in a 350 oven for about 45 minutes.
I'm gonna be honest and tell you that I don't measure. I did a very good estimate for you up above but truth be told, it's 3 parts sour cream to 2 parts Mayo. The seasonings I did measure this time...just for you:)
This is what a ripe avocado looks like. DARK green that is soft but not squishy.
How to get your pit out...Cut avocado in half, whack with a knife, give a twist of the wrist.
TA DA, out comes the pit. No fuss, no muss.
Take a big spoon and scoop out the yummy avocado.
Here they are ready to meet the fork for some mashing.
Now the choice is yours. Mash these babies until they are smooth or if you're like me and like a few chunks you can do that too.
Need a new camera to get a photo of this mixture. It's a soft green color and OH SO YUMMY. Eat some with chips but make sure to save enough for the burritos.
Out of the oven with the melted cheese. Again, you can leave the cheese off, the sauce is creamy enough but who can pass on melted cheese!?!?
If you're a good hostess you can serve rice and/or salad on the side.

Sunday, March 30, 2014


My friend Karol picks a word every year to guide her and I loved the idea and without realizing it did the same thing last year.

Last year it was HEALTHY.  Healthy choices, healthy changes, healthy mindset.  It served me well because it drove me in a sense the direction that I wanted to go.  I started exercising again regularly and began to feel stronger.  I started eating better and felt better physically.  I started making decisions that were healthier for me mentally.  All in all, a pretty good year.

This year it's EFFORT.  The effort that you put into things both emotionally and physically.  The effort that makes a positive difference in my life.  I spoke up at work finally after years of just going through the motions and told them that I wasn't happy with my position but I continued to put effort in, I put effort into things there that were important to me and it resulted in a new position that I am loving.

I have made a sincere effort to enjoy the little things in life and truly appreciate the relationships that I sometimes take for granted and have had a lot of laughs and smiles added to my year so far.

It's difficult being a single parent.  My co-parent attends events and supports me and the kids and is there when I ask for help but 99% of the time it's just me.  I go to work full-time, make them dinner, make sure homework is done, do the disciplining, clean the house, drive them to their multiple practices and events, and volunteer  but every night I climb into bed alone.  I never in a million years thought that this would be my life.  I grew up with parents who were completely in love and supported each other every single day.  I had no reason to believe that I would not follow in their foot steps.  But when I'm having a bad day, I realized that I don't think about "if only I had put more effort in to keep my marriage" because I know that I did, it just wasn't meant to be.  We are better people, better parents not living together.  I tell you this because effort has always been part of who I am, I just didn't focus on the many different areas that the word applies and that's why this year I am doing just that.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Tiger Cupcakes

I have to admit.  I think Claire is a chip of the ole block;)  BUT she's much more creative than I am.  She made these cute tiger cupcakes to kick off spirit week at her school.  She made the cake orange, white and black and used orange chocolate melts from Michael's cut in half for the ears.  FUN!


Friday, March 21, 2014

Hockey Cupcakes times two

Alanna's son plays association hockey so I made these tie-dye Orange, Purple and White cake topped with purple frosting and orange sticks.  To make tie dye, check it out here.  The boys LOVED them.  Much more fun to work with three colors AND bake them for boys who still thinks stuff like this is FUN.

To make the sticks, check it out here

Monday, March 17, 2014

Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls

I'm trying one of those 10 day detox things to flush out all the crap I've been eating.  Namely sugar.  I have been a SUGAR freak lately and that has not been kind to the scale.  The thing I like about the detox diet is I can eat as many non-starchy vegetables that I want and protein at lunch and dinner so I'm thinking I won't be hating life too much? 

I made this a couple of weeks ago in preparation for this detox and really liked it so it's on the menu this week for dinner.  If you like hot dishes, this will fit the bill.  It's straight up Grandma comfort food with a bit of a zip from the chilis and salsa without the calories.  Very Weight Watcher friendly because your only points are the turkey and the rice and the rice, you could leave out.  It's also St. Patrick's Day so you can get your cabbage fix:)

I used:

1 lb ground turkey

3 cloves Garlic

1 medium onion diced

Cook and season with salt and pepper


1 small cabbage about the size of a cantaloupe chopped and washed.  Add to turkey mixture.



1 sm can Tomato sauce

1 tomato sauce can water ~ I’d leave this out next time

1 can diced tomatoes with chilis

1 C Salsa
 Season with a bit of salt and pepper. Give it a stir, cover and turn on medium low heat (3-4 on my stove) Leave for 10 minutes, take off cover and stir. Ready.
  I added 2 big handfuls of spinach leaves because I thought it looked a tad anemic and 1 ½ C cooked brown rice (added  because it seemed soupy).  Stir until wilted and serve.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Fun 50th Gift

My friend Lisa turned the big FIVE OH last week and I wanted her to know that she's still a blast so I made her something fun.

I hot glued a bunch of mini liquor bottles onto wooden skewers.  For the "after" party, I threw in some packets of Aleve, packets of Gatorade and Happy Birthday breath mints and wrapped an aqua mask around the pot for a fun look but also a neccesity in my opinion.  She loved it!


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Fridge Cleaning Soup

I had a bunch of random things in the fridge and decided to use all of them to make a soup.  The result, pretty darn yummy!

You can mix it up depending on what you have in the fridge.  Be adventurous, that's the beauty of fridge cleaning soup.  Keep throwing stuff in until you get a flavor you like.  If you want to make this exact soup, here's what you'll need:

8 C Chicken Broth (or 8 cups water, 8 bouillon cubes)
1 can V8
1 can diced Tomatoes with chili's
1/2 diced Onion
Handful of chopped carrots
2 stalks celery diced
Bring to a boil.  Turn heat down and add:
2 C chopped chicken (leftover crockpot chicken or rotisserie or pan fried or whatever)
1 C cooked Wild Rice
1 C cooked Lentils
1 C Frozen Corn
1 lb Bok Choy washed and chopped
Couple handfuls of Spinach chopped

Let the flavors blend about 10-15 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve.  This one would be super easy to make vegetarian.  Just use vegetable broth and leave the chicken out.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Cran Raspberry Coffee Cake

So I had some berries in the freezer that needed to be used because I need the space.  I don't think I have ever made the cranberry and raspberry combination and it was YUMMY!!

Another super easy cake to impress your friends:)

Here's what you'll need:
White Cake Mix
2 Eggs
1 C Sour Cream
1 C Milk ~ I use skim

Mix together with electric mixer.  Add

3/4 C Cranberries and Raspberries
1/2 C White Chocolate Chips

Pour into sprayed bundt pan and bake at 350 for about 40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Invert onto plate after 10 minutes.  Cool and frost with glaze of your choice.  This one was about a third can of cream cheese canned frosting that I heated up in the microwave for 15 seconds to make it easy to drizzle.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Candy Plant

My friend's Dad was turning 80 and I wanted to get him something but seriously, what do you really need at 80?  He's a young at heart, totally hip 80 year-old but still??  I'm 45 and there's not a lot that I want so I thought I'd go with something fun.
I know he likes his sweets so I decided to get him some of his favorite candies.  80 pieces of candy to be exact.  I hot glued (just a little dollop will do ya) over half of them to wooden skewers and pushed them into floral foam that I had glued to the bottom of a Terra Cotta pot.  I'm not particularly artistic so I opted for a Happy Birthday spinny ribbon thing to finish it off. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ash Wednesday

I just got back from Ash Wednesday services at our church.  I use the term "our" loosely because although I became a member so my children could get baptized and confirmed there, I don't feel embraced by the experience.  It's not because our church isn't welcoming, they are.  They are accepting of "my" involvement as limited as it may be.  I just feel like an outsider on nights like tonight because it's not something I can fully accept into my life.  When everyone and I do mean EVERYone goes up for communion and I stay in the pew, I feel a little out of place.

I was raised with a sense of self and a more spiritual attitude.  My Dad believed in the Native ways of spirits guiding you and my Mom believed in the more traditional sense of God and what he represents.  My Dad who didn't make a hard stand on much when it came to our upbringing, took a stand that it would be our choice to pick which route we wanted.  My Dad randomly spoke of different things.  My Mom sang Amazing Grace to all of us and other hymns.  I knew who God was, I just never had any formal teachings.  It wasn't something that bothered me much until 4th grade when one of my friend's moms asked me where I went to church, they were Catholic.  I told her I didn't.  She asked if I was baptized, I told her I wasn't.  That was the last time I was asked to stay at their house.  She told me in school that she wasn't allowed to hang around with me anymore because God wasn't in my life and she really didn't speak to me again.  I couldn't put into words my exact feelings at the time but now I can say it, I was sincerely hurt by the experience.

I attended church fairly regularly with my friend Julie's family through middle school and I can honestly say I took little from the experience other than it was something I did if I wanted to sleep over on Saturday night, I didn't think I was a better person for going and they never judged me, they simply let me tag along and exposed me to something different and I appreciate now because it gave me a positive experience with church.  I remember sitting through brunch after and her Dad asking about how we interrupted the sermon.  I  thought it was kind of silly at the time but now realize he was just helping us figure out what the words really meant in a real life experience and I thank him for that because he made sense of it for me.

But it happened again in high school with my first boyfriend's parents.  Why wasn't I baptized, why didn't I go to church?  That time I was angry that not only myself but my family was being judged.  That we were somehow not good people because we didn't attend church on holidays, what both of those families had in common.  They weren't regular church goers, they were hypocrites is what they were.

So when my children started asking questions about God when they were little and both their Dad and I gave different answers, I decided to bring them somewhere that would give them information and they could decide for themselves and I dropped them off, grabbed a bagel up the street and picked them up 40 minutes later because I still had no interest in organized religion.  But that relationship has been over 11 years now.  I have done some volunteering during those years but my children have attended Sunday school regularly, Claire sang in the choir, took junior high classes, were baptized, had first communion, Max was confirmed and still chooses to attend and Claire is in the final weeks of confirmation.  My children feel a sense of comfort there, I can especially tell with Max and that makes me happy.  Another place, another option that can help them through tough times or simply lighten their load.

But I don't take communion, although I am welcome to.  I don't take it because they put in the work, learned the scriptures and read the bible and are entitled to have that reward so to speak.  I'm not going to be a hypocrite and stand next to them and do it when I haven't invested myself completely like they have.  So instead I sit there and watch them and my feelings of discomfort are erased by a feeling that I gave them a sense of self too and I'm proud of that.  I'm proud of them.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Competition Season

Got off to a great start.  Claire's team placed 1st in Jazz and 2nd in Lyrical and Kick.  It was especially sweet because the "practice" show the weekend before was a little rough.

Started out the day finding her face on the van:)
 Having a blast dancing jazz!

 Lyrical is my favorite


 A happy dancer at the end of the day!

Hockey Cupcakes

How can hockey be done?!  I seriously feel a tad cheated this year.  With cold/snow cancellations and it being a high school sanctioned sport, we only had 20 games!!  Twenty, as in TWO ZERO!  Stop the madness, last year we had 51!  I'm one of those weird hockey Mom's who actually like the game and watching the kids play. 
So this season left me feeling a little empty even though Max finished as the 3rd leading scorer on the team.  That was a pretty big thing because he is a defensive player. 
He played all his shifts as a Varsity player, another big thing because he's only a sophomore. 
He broke 3 sticks, big thing for his parents because the cost of those kind of suck:(  The day after he broke the first stick, a friend of his came up and said, "hey, I sat by your Mom last night at the game.  Max wrinkled his face and said, "okkkkk.  "Yeah, I knew it was her because when your stick broke she swore."  Probably not the nicest thing to be known for, but at least I keep it real and I didn't say the naughtiest of words;)
But today's post isn't really about hockey.  It's about the cupcakes that were served at one of the team dinners.  I got a little funky with it and colored half the batter green since their colors are green and white.
I bought some green melts from Michael's and made hockey sticks on waxed paper.  My little tutorial is found here on how to do that.
I piped the number of every player on the cupcakes and stood the sticks up in the middle.  My favorite #3 is Gluten-free so he got special brownies:)