Monday, January 13, 2014

The Meal That Rendered Me Speechless

There are times when I’m completely and utterly speechless. Granted, those moments are few and far between, but when they do happen food is usually involved.   And not just because I’m too busy stuffing my face to talk.  This recipe looked too good to pass up and I was so happy the list of ingredients and prep time didn’t scare me away.  One bite in and I was speechless.  Completely and totally speechless.  This is, hands down, one of the most flavorful meals I’ve ever eaten or even cooked for that matter!  I’m usually one for the quick prep and minimal clean up type meals, but this was worth every.single.second spent in the kitchen. 

CARNITAS AVOCADO PIZZA

via Damn Delicious

2 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. oregano

1 tsp. kosher salt

3-4 lbs. chuck roast

2 Tbsp. canola oil

2 & 1/2 Cups orange juice

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 onion, thinly sliced

1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 jalapeno, thinly sliced

1 premade pizza crust {I used Boboli.  You could make your own, but that was just another step I didn’t want to take}

1 Cup tomatillo salsa

12 oz. mozzarella, cut in tiny chunks

2 green onions, diced

diced avocado

Chipotle Avocado Mayonnaise

1-3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

1 avocado, pitted & chopped

1/4 Cup mayonnaise

1/4 Cup Greek yogurt

juice of 1 lime

1/4 tsp. salt

 

I know, I know.  Seems like a lot.  And it is.  But TRUST me when I say it’s totally worth it. 

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Not really sure why that bottle of Lawry’s marinade made it into the picture, but it has absolutely NOTHING to do with this recipe, so just ignore it!  Moving right along…

Let’s go ahead and get your meat ready first.  You’ll wanna make this about 3-4 hours ahead of time.  This slab of meat is meant to be slow roasted…and OH so delicious.  First let’s take the chili powder, cumin, oregano, and kosher salt and mix it up. 

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Then go ahead and rub that spice mix ALL.OVER the meat.  Oh my yum.

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Pour the oil into a dutch oven…or large pot…and plop the meat on top.  Heat on med/high heat and lightly sear both sides of the chuck roast until it’s nice and brown {2 minutes, give or take}.

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Now pour the orange juice on top and cover.  Let it roast for about 3-4 hours or until it’s tender and falling apart at the touch.

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Before the meat is ready, go ahead and prep the rest of the pizza.  Grab your olive oil and heat it on the stovetop.  Then go ahead and add your jalapeno, onion, and bell pepper to the skillet.  Cook on medium high heat for about 5-6 minutes or until the veggies are tender.

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As the peppers are a’cookin’, you’ll wanna prep the pizza crust.  Now you could definitely make your own crust, but ain’t nobody got time for that.  SO I bought a Boboli.

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Set the crust on a pizza pan and top it with the tomatillo salsa.  I had to improvise.  My grocery store doesn’t carry such greatness, so I had to mix my own and here’s what I used.

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Now spread the salsa all over the pizza crust. Notice the edge I left around the perimeter.  You’ll wanna leave a nice little edge for the crust.

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Then top with the sliced mozzarella.  As you can see, I wasn’t afraid to pile it on thick.

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The remove the veggies from the stovetop and spread on top of the mozzarella.  Salivating yet?!

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Now bake according to package directions, remove, and set aside.  By now, your roast should be tender and falling apart.  Go ahead and shred the meat and evenly spread across the top of the pizza.

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Now here’s where you’ll want to go ahead and make the chipotle avocado mayonnaise.  Add the chipotle peppers, mayo, yougurt, lime juice, salt and avocado to the blender.

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Puree until nice and creamy.  I went ahead and put this little concoction into a little condiment dispenser {squirt bottle} so that I could drizzle it on top of the meat.  I’m so fancy.

Speaking of meat, let’s get back to the pizza.  Top the meat with the diced green onions and chopped avocado.  Y’all.  I added a very GENEROUS helping of avocado because I love it thismuch

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And don’t forget to drizzle the chipotle avocado mayonnaise all over the top.  I swear it makes the meal!!!!  Don’t leave it out!!

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OH.MY.YUM!!! {Did I say that already?!?!?}

Can you see why I was speechless?!  My taste buds were exploding.  Absolutely and totally TO DIE FOR.  Just don’t plan on making this for company…you’ll wanna keep this all for yourself!!!

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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Something To Keep You Warm

There’s nothing I love more than a warm bowl of soup on a cold winter night.  A bowl of soup and my snuggie, of course.  I mean, who doesn’t love a snuggie?!  But I digress.  There’s truly nothing more comforting than a hearty bowl of soup laden with flavor…and a heaping scoop of shredded parmesan.  When I found this recipe, I knew it would be a keeper and I couldn’t have been more right.  The original recipe says to make this in a crockpot, but being the forgetful cook that I am I didn’t prepare for that at all.  So I made it the old fashioned way….right on the stovetop.  And it.was.AWESOME.

CHICKEN PARMESAN SOUP

via Foxes Love Lemons

3-4 garlic cloves, pressed

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 (14.5 oz} can crushed tomatoes

1/2 lb. – 1lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts

3 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup chopped white onion

1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

1 tbsp. chopped fresh basil

2 tsp. chopped fresh oregano

1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes {we used a smidge or two more…we like it spicy!}

4 oz. mezze penne pasta {I think Ditalini would be good, too!!}

 

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First get started chopping the veggies & herbs.  Don’t forget to press your garlic, too!  These are some of my most favorite flavors right here, people.

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Add the garlic, bell pepper, onion, basil, oregano, crushed tomato, chicken broth, & red pepper flakes to a large pot.  Stir in half a cup of shredded parmesan and add the chicken.  I cut my chicken into bit sized pieces because I feel like that makes it cook faster.  Am I fooling myself?!  Who cares.  The added step was hardly noticeable.  When I’m trying out a new recipe, I typically like to follow it verbatim before I add my own little spin.  That means I can be a little too precise when it comes to measurements and such.  I could only find a 28 oz. can of the crushed tomatoes and just to be 100% sure I had the right amount, I had to measure it out with one of my favorite kitchen tools.  I could’ve easily just poured half the can in the pot and called it a day, but my OCD got the best of me.  Dangit.

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Now return the pot the the stovetop and cook on medium – high heat and cover, stirring occasionally.  I cooked the soup for about 10 minutes before I added in the pasta.  You’ll only need 4 oz.  I accidentally added the whole box.  Let me just tell you that it was darn delicious just like that, but heck if it was a lot of pasta.  It soaked up most of the “soup” and I ended up adding more chicken broth.  It was AMAZING, but next time I’ll use less pasta….maybe even try the Ditalini.  And y’all…it was even better the next day albeit more of a pasta dish instead of soup.  HA!! 

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Cook on the stovetop, covered, for about 30 minutes.  Then pour yourself a steaming bowl and top with a generous amount of shredded parmesan cheese.  Ohmiword.  Definitely one of the best…and EASIEST…soups I’ve ever tried!  A winter favorite, for sure!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Happy New Year! And A Christmas Flashback

Hello friends!  I sure have missed this little space of the internet. 

I’ve missed sharing recipes.

And décor.

And random ramblings about nothing important. 

I only have one New Year resolution.  To be HAPPY.  I am.  Truly.  At least 99.9% of the time, I’m VERY happy.  Life’s too short to be anything but happy.  I just want to do MORE of the things that make me…and those around me…happy.

So I’m starting with this blog. 

I love it here and I’m coming back to start blogging more. 

Life is crazy so I’m definitely not promising to blog everyday. 

But I’m coming back.

Maybe even with a new blog design that doesn’t blind you when you read {if you’re even still reading!!!}

In the meantime, I’m gonna flashback to Christmas and share a few of my Christmas decorations.  Technically I’m not really flashing back because I’ve yet to take any of them down.  I heard that the season isn’t technically over ‘til today…January 6th…Epiphany…the day the Magi visited baby Jesus, so I’m goin’ with that.  I’m not sayin’ I’ll take anything down today, but at least I have an excuse for keeping them up this long.  I know I’m not alone.

This Christmas I bought us new stockings and decided to simplify the mantel.  I sorta love the way it all turned out.  After trying {very unsuccessfully} to convince my husband that I NEEDED this print from Lindsay Letters, I ended up *trying* to recreate a less skilled version of my own to hang above the fireplace.  Not perfect, but it works! Maybe next year {sigh}.

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I had to put my little apothecaries to good use and the housed a lot of extras for me.  I’m just happy they made it through the holidays without breaking as a result of projectile objects from my boys.

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I have a thing for Santas.  I try adding more and more to my collection every year.  These are some of my favorites.  I had a set of glittery, skinny Santas on that same table last year and they shattered into a million pieces when my boys started riding their scooters in the house.  Whoops!
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I found this great set of 12 shutters on Craigslist several years ago and bought them for a whopping $25!  Best purchase I ever made!  I spray painted two of them red and now use them for our Christmas card display.  We received several more after I took these pics and they’re currently sitting on the little table.  Not my best effort.
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I became a little obsessed with the deco mesh this year and love the way it turned out!  It’s such a great “filler!!!”
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We even added a new tree to our kitchen.  It’s flocked and I’m in love.
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We have these fabulous built-ins on either side of our fireplace, but I never quite know how to decorate them.  They’re just a huge hodge podge of clutter and chaos, but I sort of love them.  My mother-in-law gives each of her kids & their families a new Santa {Possible Dreams} every year.  This has become the most anticipated gift of the season.  I love getting these every year.  She does the BEST job of picking out Santas that fit our families to a T!  This year we got an “ugly sweater” Santa because we throw Ugly Sweater Christmas parties every year.  I love them!!!
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I tried adding *tiny* touches of Christmas wherever I could.  Pretty simple, but it did the trick!christmasdecor6
These little decorate shelves sit in our kitchen right across from our newly flocked Christmas tree.  My Willow Tree nativity set is, hands down, my most favorite piece of Christmas décor.
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Our “big table” centerpiece.  christmasdecor14
Now to find a new chalkboard idea for the new year!!!christmasdecor15
Hope you enjoyed my little flashback!  I’ll be back….I promise!!!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

What’s With The Name?

I know it’s the day before Thanksgiving and I should be sharing something Thanksgiving-ish.  Not gonna happen.  But I fully intend to post a few family recipes after the holiday.  My grandma makes a mean stuffing and I would be doing the world a disservice not to share. 

In the past few months, I’ve gotten several emails, comments, and messages asking about the name of this blog.  I’ve also read some really mean and nasty things about it, too.  That’s always fun.  I just got another question about it today, so I figured I’d take a few minutes to explain. 

If you read the tagline on the header above, it’s pretty self explanatory, but I can also see how the name might cause you to infer something completely inappropriate, too {cue maniacal laughter}.  It’s all just a play on words, people.  That’s it.  Nothing more.  Since this is a food/home/décor/RANDOM blog, the name is just that…something that incorporates a little bit of all of it.

Pearls, Handcuffs, and Happy Hour

Here’s how it all breaks down…

Pearls = June Cleaver. 

I’m far from the iconic TV mom, but every now & then I try to play the part of a 1950’s domestic goddess. **Try** being the operative word.  I’m far from it.  Truth be told, I‘m typically cooking my my granny jammies because I couldn’t wait to rip off my work clothes and get comfy.  The house is a mess 95% of the week because I’m just too tired to worry about it.  I’ve got no less than 5-6 piles of laundry in the laundry room at any given time.  The kitchen is a mess…an absolute TORNADO…while I’m cooking and heck if I can get everyone in this household to eat the same thing.  I give up. {PS:  I don’t own any pearls}

Handcuffs = Martha Stewart.

Now go ahead and get your mind out of the gutter people.  I don’t own any of these, either.  But you might remember that the goddess of all things beautiful and crafty was once in prison…hence the handcuffs.  I don’t plan on heading down that same ill-fated road she traveled, but every now and then I like to get my “Martha” on and craft a few things and try to decorate the house, too.  That’s where the handcuffs fit in. {See, not totally terrible ;)}

Happy Hour = That’s all me :)

I enjoy Happy Hour.  Yes, I do enjoy the kind of happy hour you can only find at your local brewery, but I also enjoy the “happy hour" I get every night before bed…that’s the one hour of peace and quiet I get when everyone in the house is sleeping.  I also enjoy the “happy hour” I get when I get my boys ready for bed each night…the crazy bathtime, stories before bedtime, prayers, and cuddles.  That’s where I got ‘happy hour’.

While I realize that it’s a “train wreck” of a blog name, I like it.  And it makes me chuckle thismuch every time I open up the blog.  And if you were ever curious or wondering what I was on when I decided to name my little slice of cyberspace, now you know :)

DISCLAIMER:  I am NOT a writer nor am I a chef.  I’m just a mom who likes to eat, share recipes with others, and write about it all like we’re talking on the phone :)

On that note, I hope you all have a very, VERY happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

It’s the Great Pumpkin {Fluff}, Charlie Brown!

One of the best things about Fall is the pumpkin flavored everything that overwhelms the grocery store shelves.  Now, I’m not gonna lie to you.  Most of it looks scary.  Pumpkin Pie Pop Tarts?!  Not sure how I feel about that.  Or Pop Tarts in general.  But I digress. I just like seeing pumpkin everywhere I go.  I still can’t get on board with the pumpkin spice lattes everyone raves about, but give me a slice of pumpkin bread or a pumpkin chocolate chip muffin and I’m in heaven.  Speaking of heaven, we recently had a potluck at school and one of the girls brought this delicious pumpkin concoction.  So deliciously light and fluffy and full of flavor…I could’ve licked the bowl clean.  And I almost did.

PUMPKIN FLUFF

1 can of pumpkin pie filling

1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1 {8 oz.} pkg. cream cheese

1 {5 oz.} box instant vanilla pudding mix

1 {16 oz.} container of Cool Whip

Cinnamon {optional}

This is pretty much as easy as it sounds. 

Mix together the vanilla pudding mix {powder ONLY!}, cream cheese, pumpkin pie spice, and pumpkin pie filling.  Fold in the Cool Whip until well mixed.  If you like a little cinnamon, sprinkle it on the top.  Serve with ginger snaps, cinnamon graham crackers, vanilla wafers, or anything else you think would enhance the flavor of pumpkin. 

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Y’all.  This is SO dang good!  And way too easy not to try!  I made this yesterday for a bridal shower and it was all gone by the end.  Okay…so I ate the majority of it.  But still…it was a hit!!! And just in time for the holiday season :) Now go on out and getcha some!! 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Halloween In The House

It’s the first day of Fall and I’m all finished decorating for Halloween.  It took me a serious amount of self control not to start decorating at the end of August.  Halloween is my most FAVORITE time of the year.  I love Christmas just as much…I really do.  But there’s just something about Halloween that makes my heart way too happy…the cooler weather, pumpkin spiced lattes, and well…everything in between!!! 

My boys were chomping at the bit to get this place decorated.  I was a big holiday bah-humbug last year and didn’t put too much effort into decorating for anything.  Now that we’ve been here for a year, I am way too excited to celebrate everything!

My favorite part of the house is definitely my fireplace/mantel area.  And I’m super excited about the way it turned out this year.

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I’ve had these pumpkins for YEARS and finally have a place to put them all!  The big spiders were from Martha Stewart & I got them at Michael’s for 25% off :)  My boys are OBSESSED.

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I found the wreath at Marshall’s and that little October 31st sign from Ross for a grand total of $20…I think.  The banner is another Martha Stewart creation and I found that at Michael’s, too.  I really considered making my own, but I’m all about using the Easy Button these days. 

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My sassy little glitter spiders are from Michael’s and I wish I would’ve picked up more. 

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You’ll notice that I have a serious obsession with chalkboards and skulls…both of which are a predominant decoration in the house this year.  My big black glittery skulls are from the Dollar Tree and I’ve had them for a few years.  You could easily make your own with a little black spray paint and glitter.  The smaller skulls are from Michael’s and the Dollar Tree.

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I found that fun little framed skull pic at Marshall’s, the jack o’lantern is from Hobby Lobby, and that scary little boy is from Ross.  I’ve had him for a few years and each time I take him out of the box, Mr. Spouse freaks.  He absolutely HATES that thing.  I agree…he’s a pretty creepy little thing to look at.

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We have a pretty open floor plan and you can see this table…and the living room…as soon as you walk in the house.  I wanted to make sure to decorate this little space this year and it’s kind of just a hodge podge of randomness, but I’m loving the way it dresses up this little space.  Those cute little witch feet are still my favorite piece of Halloween décor!  I got those years ago from Kirkland’s after Halloween and I think I only paid a few dollars for them!!!  I LOVE them!!!

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Speaking of good deals, I found this darling little piece of subway art last year after Halloween and paid a whopping $3 for it!!!  I love it when I find cute things on the cheap!  It’s even better when you totally forget you bought it and you get a pretty nice surprise when you open up your holiday boxes to see it sitting there.  Good times, I tell ya.halloweenhouse10

This was another Kirkland’s find a few years ago and it’s right up there with one of my favorites.  Just too cute!

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And here’s just a whole bunch of random.  halloweenhouse12

Here’s another little table you see as soon as you walk in the front door.  It’s a little blah, but it’s a tiny table so there’s not much I could put there.  I made the music sheet wreath a few years ago and it’s a permanent decoration.  We didn’t have anything else to go there :)  I’m LOVING my little cloche that I found for a steal at Marshall’s!!  That little Trick or Treat sign is from Marshall’s, too.  Can you tell I love that place?!

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I used cheesecloth for my table runner and plopped a big ol’ tray full of apothecary jars filled with Fall goodies on the top.  I found the bats at Michael’s {Martha Stewart} and I need to go back and put them all up because they’ve since fallen off.  Dangit.

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A little spanish moss and some Dollar Tree skulls & Hobby Lobby pumpkins make up this little arrangement.halloweenhouse16halloweenhouse17 halloweenhouse19 

Here’s our little shelf/buffet area in our kitchen.  My husband made these shelves for me a couple of years ago following the House of Smiths tutorial.  Technically the short shelf should be on the top, but we hung these around 4 am the morning of my sister’s baby shower and I didn’t notice what the heck we were doing.  But let me just tell you that I love it.

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I use chalk markers for all my chalk art because I don’t get along with the real deal.  Chalk doesn’t like me.  I freehand everything, so that’s why it looks a little scary & askew.halloweenhouse22halloweenhouse23 halloweenhouse24halloweenhouse25 halloweenhouse26

This little window is hanging up right across from my shelf area.  I know I could probably dress it up a lot more, but I’m sorta loving the simplicity.

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I think my boys were most excited about these little silhouettes I found at Michael’s  {Martha Stewart}.  I let them decorate this {almost} all by themselves. 

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The porch is still a work in progress.  I really, REALLY want to go all out.  I’m not sure I have the energy.  Or the time.  Or the funds.  But I really, REALLY want to.  Chances are, this will be the only thing on our porch when it’s all said and done.

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I wasn’t kidding about my obsession with chalkboards and chalk art.  Don’t look too close because this is a little jankity, but I absolutely LOVE this chalkboard.  I found it at Hobby Lobby in the furniture section and used my 40% off coupon :)  Thank you, Hobby Lobby!!

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So there’s my little Halloween house tour.  Nothing fancy.  Nothing special.  But so perfectly Halloween and that’s just my favorite part of Fall :)  Now it’s time to light my pumpkin spice candles and cozy up on the couch.  It’s FREEZING here!  The temperatures actually dropped below 90 and I’m in long sleeves and pants…we haven’t seen the low 80’s in FOREVER ;)

Happy Fall, y’all!