Monday, January 30, 2012

Beer Chili

I can't remember how the Beer Chili idea came to be.  I think one of you mentioned it recently, but I'm not positive.  Either way, it was a very good idea!  This was a delicious and very fulfilling Chili.  The aroma all day was WONDERFUL!  On first taste, I could really taste the beer.  It was scrumptious!

If you're a real beer conosour, (unlike me) you can really cater the flavor of your soup with the type of beer you use.  I used a New Castle my husband had in the fridge downstairs, but I'm sure a darker beer would be lovely!

I think you'll find you have all the ingredients (or most) right in your pantry/fridge already!  I did.  With a little help from my little helper, we whipped this up in no time.  If you have hectic mornings like me, you'll want to prep everything the night before and assemble it into your crock.  Put it into your refrigerator and then in the morning, place the crock into your slow cooker base and turn it on.

This Beer Chili was on the spicy side.  If you don't want as much spice, you can cut the cumin and chili powder in half.

You may wish to serve this with some delicious sweet corn bread muffins like I did!  Here is the recipe I followed.  I had ALL of the ingredients and didn't have to spend a penny! :)  Yay!

Beer Chili

Ingredients: (Serves about 4)
1/2 lb. Ground beef, browned with salt and pepper
1 large onion, chopped
1 15.25oz. can black beans
1 14.5oz. can diced tomatoes with green chilies
4 oz. tomato sauce
1 12oz. Beer (you choose the type)
1 beef bouillon cube
1 Tbsp. Garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder

Get your beef cooking with some salt and pepper while you assemble the rest of the ingredients.
Place you onions into your crock.
Next, pour in the black beans and diced tomatoes.
Add the tomato sauce, bouillon cube, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin and chili powder.
Now, add the beer!
Finally, add the ground beef and stir.
Cook on LOW for 7-10 hours or on HIGH for 4-5 hours.
Enjoy with some yummy cornbread!

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Pina Colada Oatmeal

I had GRAND visions of making Pina Colada Oatmeal when I began this.  Grand, I tell ya!  I looked up how to make a Pina Colada and then came up with the recipe you see below.  I was SUPER excited when I went to bed.

When I woke up this morning, I quickly scooped myself a bowl of this oatmeal.  The first thing I did, was add some sugar.  Somehow, the pineapple chunks lost their sweetness.  I didn't taste the coconut at all.  It was just o.k.

Long story short, this is going to go to the list of "flops!"  Although it wasn't awful, it wasn't very good and I don't want to steer any of you toward a recipe that is not very good.  Sorry to those who had high hopes for this one!

Pina Colada Oatmeal

3/4 cup Steel Cut Oats
2 cups Coconut Milk
1/2 cup Pineapple Juice
12 oz. pinapple chunks or bits

Place all ingredients into the slow cooker and stir.
Cook on LOW 7-9 hours.
Enjoy......but add some sugar and maybe even some coconut flakes too first!

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This Week's Plan 1-29-12

My husband and I have put ourselves on a "Money Diet!"  We are each going to be giving up a couple of things and only grocery shop for necessities.  Last night, we went through our freezers and wrote down everything we have.  We have a TON of food!  LOL  We then came up with a menu plan based off of things we have pre-made and things we can make from what we have.  I'm thinking we probably have close to enough food in there for at least 2 months worth of dinners!  We'll have to buy a few things here and there, but I think this will help us get "back on track!"  If you haven't done this with your own freezer lately, I highly recommend it.  You will see how wasteful (or forgetful) you're being.  Use that stuff up before it's too late!!!!

With the Super Bowl coming this Sunday, I thought I'd make a couple of treats for us, but ones that won't break the bank!  If you're looking for other appetizers, click here.

Here's This Week's Plan:

Sunday: Beer Chili

Monday: The Best Bean and Ham Soup (this was in our freezer)

Tuesday: Leftover Beer Chili

Wednesday: BBQ Country Ribs

Thursday: Leftover Ribs

Friday: White Chicken Chili

Saturday: Leftovers

Sunday: Apricot Glazed Wings and Cheesy Chorizo Dip

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Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Story of a Traveling Nursing Mother - Can You Relate?

A friend of mine recently sent me this image and I couldn't agree more!!!!!!!!!!  (Thanks Calista!)

Until I became a nursing mother, I never had true appreciation for all nursing mothers go through!  And for those of you who may not know, let me define what a nursing mother could be; A woman who exclusively breast feeds, a woman who exclusively nurses when with baby and pumps when away, a woman who pumps exclusively to provide milk for their baby, or a woman who uses a combination of nursing/pumping plus formula.  Whatever way you look at it, it's hard work!   Your body is a milk producing factory.  You have to keep yourself hydrated to not only produce milk, but to replenish your own body with the extra liquid that's leaving your body.  You have to watch what you eat as to not upset baby's tummy, or watch what medications you take so as not to pass them to your child (I recently went through Kidney stones/surgery with only advil/tylenol so I didn't have to stop nursing, or pump and dump. I would do it again in a hear beat!), etc.  You make LOTS of sacrifices to provide your baby with the best possible start to life you can.  When I traveled to Chicago last weekend, I became outraged at the lack of support in airports.  All I wanted was a place to sit, in some sort of privacy and pump while away from my baby for the first time.

When I'm with my baby, I have no problem nursing in public.  I am a modest mommy though, and feel more comfortable nursing with a nursing cover.  I will nurse my baby anywhere!  (I buy them for all my friends who are expecting and plan to nurse!  I own this one,Bebe Au Lait Nursing Cover, Chateau Silver, btw....and 4 others.)  Some mothers are really nervous about nursing in public, and some to the extent that they actually cannot produce milk for their baby unless in a quiet and private place.  BUT, sometimes we're not WITH our babies!  What then?

Now, I know there are LOTS of other nursing mommies out there who travel away from their children.    We go to work, we might have to go on a business trip, a girls' weekend, a day out with our spouses......and we bring our pump with us, because we love our babies and we want to provide what's best for them.  At the airport this weekend, I became aware there is no decent place for a nursing mother to go to pump.  I was extremely disappointed and outraged.  It's not as if I could go to my car, or another location.  Once you're in there, you're "stuck!"

I tried the family restrooms, but they all seemed to be "occupied," even though I never saw anyone coming or going out of them.  My other choice was the communal women's restrooms.  When I finally found one family bathroom that wasn't occupied, I still had to stand next to the changing station, balancing my pump on the little corner of counter, while standing against the wall.  It was definitely not sanitary!  It was definitely not comfortable.  Would it be so much to ask as to put a chair into all family restroom so mothers could either nurse their babies in there or pump?  Some mothers are not comfortable nursing in public, and a family restroom would be a nice quiet place for them to go.  A nursing mother, without her baby, is already feeling bad enough.  Why make them stand in an unsanitary place to pump?

The communal womens' bathroom were humiliating!  I stood there, setting up my equipment, next to the counter, which was next to the hand dryer and a sink.  I put my nursing cover on and "set up shop."  People were staring at me like I was some sort of alien.  I took out my phone, brought up my Kindle App and tried to just keep my eyes on the screen.  I had several woman tell me, "I remember those days!" But, most just stared.  I even had one woman who actually tried to use the hand dryer right next to me.  No, really.  It was touching my side because I was wedged in there trying to disappear!!!!  I wanted to shout, "GO AWAY WOMAN!!!  Wait for another dryer!  I'm humiliated enough, thank you!"

I was in the airport for almost 2 full days with all the cancellations and delays.  It was NOT fun.  I dreaded each pumping session more and more, knowing the fate that lay ahead. At Chicago O'Hare airport, I had a lot of time before my flight.  I walked to a family restroom and, low and behold, the door opened!  NO WAY!  First time all weekend!  I "set up shop" inside, breathing a sigh of relief that I could actually pump in private.  I had everything all ready, turned on my pump, and......wait, seriously?!  The outlet didn't work!  UGH!!!  So, I reluctantly walked next door to the communal women's bathroom, "set up shop" again, and found those outlets to be out of order as well.  DOUBLE Ugh!  I refused to walk to each and every bathroom to see which one would work.  That's insane.  I was ticked.  So, I found help.  (I had the time, so I took advantage!)

I would like to give a GREAT BIG THANK YOU to the woman at Chicago, O'Hare Airport who actually let me use someone's office at the airport to pump in.  It was the first time, all weekend, I was able to sit, in private and pump.  That woman probably had NO idea how much this meant to me.

I hope this story might help one person out there gain a little bit of compassion for a nursing mom.  If you're in an airport and you see a mom in my situation, offer a smile, a helping hand, a few words of encouragement.  She could really use it.  It's hard enough being away from your baby.  A situation like the one you read above makes it 10 times worse! :(

Maybe some of you can relate to this story. Does anyone have a similar airport story to share?  Do you have any advice for other women faced with this type of situation?  Do you have any tips or tricks?  Let's discuss! Print Friendly and PDF

Friday, January 27, 2012

My 2012 Kenmore Blogger Summit Adventure! @KenmoreConnect #kbs2012

I know you all have been waiting in great anticipation to hear the story of how the 2012 Kenmore Blogger Summit in Chicago went.  Those of you following me on facebook have some idea of the drama I went through this past weekend, but those of you not on're in for a real treat. Sit back.  Relax.  And enjoy the read!  I'm here to tell you a story you wouldn't believe unless you actually went through it.......or read about from your favorite blogger! ;)  Hee hee!

First of all, let me tell you how EXCITED I was to even be invited by Kenmore to attend the Kenmore Blogger Summit!  I was really looking forward to meeting the other 43 bloggers, vlogging, taking pictures, networking, etc.  I had GRAND plans!

Friday morning, I left my house right on time and headed to my sister's (she only lives 20 minutes from the airport) house so she could drop me off at the airport.  I've never traveled by myself before, mind you.  I was so nervous.  I somehow managed to check my baggage and find my gate.  Phew!  I was sitting at my terminal across from a very friendly group of ladies who were heading out for a girls' weekend in a Brownstone somewhere in Chicago and then I happened to sit next to another local Blogger, Michele from Mommies Playground, who was also headed to the Kenmore Blogger Summit.  I was feeling much more at ease knowing I'd have someone to travel with!

We boarded our plane right on time!  Yay!  Michele was sitting across the aisle, just 2 seats away from me.  We were all giddy!  We were ready for our short hour long flight to Chicago.  As the plane pushed off toward the runway, I felt so giddy!  I couldn't believe I was actually, really and truly, heading to stay in a VERY nice hotel and to rub elbows with Kenmore and some pretty famous bloggers!  Me!  Little ole' me.  Wow!  I took out my book (It was Gunn's Golden Rules: Life's Little Lessons for Making It Work....which is really good btw) and sat back.

I was only a few pages in, when an announcement came over the PA.
"Ladies and gentlemen, this is your Captain.We've been watching the weather patterns in Chicago...........blahidy blah blah........We're going to sit on the runway for about 45 minutes and see if the weather clears up a bit for take off." (For those living in warm climates, the "weather" they were referring to was snow.  I envy those of you who don't have to deal with it!  LOL)
Bummer.  Oh well, I was going to be there super early anyway, so no worries on the delay.  I wasn't in a hurry.  Then, the second announcement came....
"Ladies and gentlemen, this is your Captain again.  We've been in communication with Chicago and the weather pattern is going to delay us at least another hour."
My thoughts?  I leaned across to Michele and asked, "I don't suppose you think they'll serve us snacks while we wait?!!!!"
About 20 minutes later, it was the captain again, "..............It doesn't look like the weather is going to be letting up and I don't see any point in us sitting on the runway, so we're going to de-plane and we'll keep you updated inside."
Oh my goodness.  At this point, I was bummed.  But, I thought, surely the weather is going to clear up and I'll be there in time to wear my new outfit for the fancy reception at The Solfitel in Chicago!

Long story short, my flight was cancelled.  In fact, all flights leaving from Detroit to Chicago were cancelled Friday night.  My ticket was automatically re-booked for a flight leaving from Detroit to Cincinnati at 8:45 and then I would arrive in Chicago from Cincinnati at 11:24 a.m.

Reality set in.  I was so sad.  I was going to miss the big reception.  I was going to miss spending the night in a big fancy bed all by myself.  I was going to miss breakfast with all the bloggers.  I was going to miss the first 3 hours of the Summit.

I called my husband.  With his encouragement, I decided to go for it!  Being at the summit for 5 hours was better than no hours.  So, I got my luggage, my brother-in-law picked me up from the airport and I spent the night on the bottom bunk of my nephew's bed.  (Yes, it was extremely comfortable and I got to hear stories about my nephew's first grade adventures.  It was totally worth it.  I'll be his roommate any time!)

My sister drove me to the airport Saturday morning.  I had no need to check any luggage because I was no longer spending the night anywhere.  With my breast pump on one shoulder and my purse with my Tim Gunn book on the other, I easily passed through security.  I was one of the first at the desk at my gate to get my seat assignment.  I was all set.  We boarded at the last minute (due to the VERY frazzled woman working that gate), but we ended up pushing off toward the runway on time.  I was feeling very hopeful.......UNTIL.....
"Ladies and gentlemen, this is the captain.  We're going to de-ice the craft before we leave.  As soon as we're de-iced we'll be ready for take off.  Sorry for the delay."
45 minutes later........we were de-iced.  Yes, I said 45 minutes later.  Did I mention I had a connecting flight in Cincinnati I had to get to?????

Once we took off, I seriously prayed.  "Please lord, let me just make my connecting flight.  I will run through the airport like a crazy person (in my super-cute high-heeled boots) to get to my next gate, but PLEASE, oh PLEASE let me make it!"

When the flight attendant came by, she asked if I had a connecting flight.  I told her my situation.  To my complete relief, the same plane and crew were taking me to Chicago from Cincinnati, so I didn't have to worry about running through the airport, etc.  PHEW!!!!  At least something was going right!

When we arrived in Cincinnati, we de-planed.  I ran to the restroom and then came back to hear, "Ladies and Gentlemen, we're terribly sorry to have to tell you this, but the captain of this aircraft has come down with a stomach bug.  We're looking for a new captain and we'll keep you updated.  Again, we apologize for the delay."


At this point, I feel I'm now going to be stuck in Cincinnati.  I am feeling sadder and sadder by the minute.  I am no longer going to be 45 minutes late, I'm now going to be A LOT later.  I mean, at this point, I'm unsure I'll make it for any of the summit.

Again, long story short, they find a new captain who was somewhere in the building.  It took her at least an hour to get to our gate.  We were back on the plane.  Thank goodness.  I was at least going to get to Chicago.  The captain gets on the PA and introduces herself, apologizes and then before she hangs up quickly adds in,
"And we have to make a quick stop to de-ice the plane, which is fairly common.  Thanks." Click.

Oh, dear Lord.  We were fifth in line.  I kid you not.  No, really.  I get that this all sounds fake, but trust me, it wasn't!  LOL

Thank goodness for the people at Kenmore, because when I landed, I made a very quick phone call to a limo/transportation service and there was a car waiting for me by the time I found the door I was supposed to exit through.  I literally hopped into the car and breathed a huge sigh of relief.  It was 1:30 p.m.  The summit was supposed to end at 5:00 p.m.

I arrived at Kenmore Live Studio just in time to hear our key note speaker, Evan Hanson of  He spoke about how times are changing and how blogging and technology are changing journalism.  Before Saturday, I had never though of myself as a journalist.  Thank you, Evan Hanson!

I then watched a woman from the Green Grocer in Chicago make some very healthy shakes in a Kenmore Elite Blender.  They blended all the berries, lettuce, powder, etc. very quickly and efficiently!  I was amazed!

After that, I watched my fellow bloggers receive prizes for the slow cooker challenge they participated in earlier in the day (which made me even MORE sad that I had missed most of the summit!!!!,) prizes for the video challenges and for various others.  It was exciting and depressing all at the same time!  I learned that Kenmore has a Kenmore Live Studio LiveStream Channel!  You can check out all the events they have going on there online.  It's really cool!

I had a very nice drive back to the airport (3 hours after arriving, I know, I know.....) with Jessica of, C.C. of and Mike of  My flight home?  Very UNEVENTFUL!  Yay!  I actually got to take a small nap......after reading more of my Tim Gunn book.  I have to say a great big thank you to Mr. Gunn.  His book seriously helped me keep things into perspective and to stay calm.  It was the PERFECT book to have with my on my journey last weekend!

I'm now a big Twitter fan, thanks to my new Kenmore and blogger peeps!  I wasn't before.  You can follow Kenmore at @KenmoreConnect with me and keep in touch with all the latest and greatest products coming from Kenmore.  I am super excited to work with Kenmore and Sears in the future!  I will also be receiving a small Kenmore Appliance for my participation in the Summit!  How exciting is that?!  When it comes, I'll be sure to let you all know!

So, that was my big adventure!  I would like to thank those of you on Facebook following my "drama" and sending me encouraging words!  I would also like to thank all the people at Kenmore who were patiently waiting for me and who had a car ready to pick me up from the airport the moment I arrived!  They truly know how to treat their guests!  I'm hoping to be able to attend the summit again in the future (in its entirety!) if Kenmore is willing to have me again! :)

*Disclosure: All travel and accommodations were provided by Kenmore. I also received a Kenmore small appliance for my participation in the Kenmore Blogger Summit 2012.

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Monday, January 23, 2012

sneakpeeq Giveaway!

When it comes to the A Busy Mom’s Slow Cooker Adventures/sneakpeeq giveaway, everybody wins!  sneakpeeq is giving away 20% off your next purchase just for entering, plus a chance at the Grand Prize:  three winners will receive a $25 gift card to use on your favorite food, style and home products.  Five runners-up prize winners will receive a $10 gift card—that goes a long way in sneakpeeq’s amazingly low-priced boutiques!

Come see all the things you love but haven’t discovered.  sneakpeeq only has New Products that you have never seen before!  I signed up about a month ago or so and have seen some really neat things come my way!

Enter the giveaway by clicking on this link: and joining sneakpeeq!  All winners will be announced on my blog on January 31, 2012!  Don't miss out on this super fun and great opportunity!

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Honey Mustard and Onion Meatloaf using Snyder's of Hanover Honey Mustard Pretzel Pieces

Snyder's of Hanover Pretzels have been a part of my family tradition for a very long time!  My sister and I have always LOVED spicy food.  I remember her and I discovering the Snyder's of Hanover Jalapeno pretzel pieces in the grocery store when we were young girls.  We begged my mom to put them in the cart.  (We usually stuck to the list, so we knew our request may not be fulfilled.)  To our amazement, my mom allowed us to get them.  From then on, Snyder's of Hanover Pretzels became a frequent item on our grocery list.

My favorite Snyder's of Hanover products are the Honey Mustard & Onion Pretzel Pieces and the Jalapeno Pretzel Pieces.  I LOVE how much flavoring is on each little piece!  The flavor explosion in my mouth is so incredibly satisfying!  Growing up, we also frequently bought the Snyder's of Hanover Pretzel Rods.  Those are also salty and excellent!

Pretzel's are a much better alternative to snack on than chips and provide that same crunch you crave.  With lots of flavors to choose from, Snyder's of Hanover Pretzels make a great healthy snack!  Besides pretzels, another favorite healthy snack of mine is good ole' carrots and a small bit of ranch.  I used to buy the baby carrots to make things easier, but I found I didn't really care for them!  I prefer to buy carrots and take the time to peel and slice them into small sticks.  My daughter LOVES them too and dips them into about a couple teaspoons of ranch.  A much healthier alternative to the ranch would be to dip them in plain yogurt.  My daughter also enjoys this very much.

Today, I found another extremely useful way to use my Snyder's of Hanover Honey Mustard Pretzel Pieces!  I put them into my food processor and made "crumbs!"  I used them in my meatloaf, in replacement of regular bread crumbs.  Let me tell you, it was brilliant!  The pretzels kept the meatloaf together and so incredibly moist, at the same time.  There was a hint of the honey mustard and onion flavor (although I wished more had come through) and it tasted wonderful.  As we smelled it cooking all day today, we could not wait to try it!  We were not disappointed!  I had wanted to make a brown sugar and honey mustard "glaze" to go on top, but I was completely out of brown sugar.  So sad.  Oh well!  It was still delicious!

This meatloaf was so much fun to put together!  My daughter, who is almost 4, had a great deal of fun helping me today.  As we put the ingredients in, one by one, we snacked on our Snyder's of Hanover Honey Mustard and Onion Pretzel Pieces!  Now, that's my kind of cooking!  The ingredients are simple, and quick to assemble, so I hope you consider giving this a try!  I promise, you won't be disappointed!  If you're feeling extra brave, I encourage you to try this meatloaf with the other flavors of Snyder's of Hanover Pretzel Pieces, such as Japapeno, Cheddar Cheese or Buttermilk Ranch.  I personally think they would ALL be delicious!

So, give it a try!  You have nothing to loose, I promise!

You can join Snyder's of Hanover on Facebook here

Honey Mustard and Onion Meatloaf
using Snyder's of Hanover Honey Mustard & Onion Pretzel Pieces

Ingredients: (This makes 4-6 servings)
2 lb. Ground Beef
2 cups Snyder's of Hanover Honey Mustard and Onion Pretzel Pieces, processed into crumbs
1/2 cup onion, minced
2 eggs
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper

Open your bag of Snyder's of Hanover Pretzel Pieces and begin snacking. ;)
Now, take 2 cups of that and put it into your food processor.  Turn it on and let it turn into crumbs.  It will look something like this...
Now, you can go back to snacking because you have what you need for the recipe in the food processor! ;)
In a bowl, break up your ground beef.
Add your onions.
Next, add the Snyder's of Hanover Pretzel crumbs you made, the eggs, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.
Mix it up and form it into a loaf.  I feel my hands work best to mix up a meatloaf mixture, so dig in if you're brave enough!
Place it into your slow cooker crock.
(For directions on how to make the foil handles, please visit this post)

Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or on HIGH for 3-4 hours.
Lift the meatloaf out of the crock with your handles.
 Slice, serve and Enjoy!

*Disclosure: I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Snyder’s of Hanover blogging program, for 6,000 My SocialMoms Rewards Points. For more information on how you can participate, click here. Print Friendly and PDF

This Week's Plan 1-22-12

WHAT a weekend!  For all who missed the drama, I tried my very best to make it to the Kenmore Blogger Summit 2012 and only made it for the last 3 hours.....after 36 hours of traveling.  Summit was fun, traveling that long, not so much!  Look for the blog to come about all that!

So, what to make this week?  Hmmmmm......after this weekend's festivities, I want to take it a bit easy on myself.  I think I shall repeat some recipes I've made before.....oldies but goodies!!!  LOL! I know what you're thinking........WHAT?!!!  Nothing new?!  Well, some of these will most likely be new to you because you may have not made them before.  This girl's brain needs a break!  LOL

This Week's Plan:

Sunday: Honey Mustard and Onion Meatloaf

Monday: Leftovers

Tuesday: Meme's Meatball Stew (I have homemade meatballs in the freezer!  Yay!)

Wednesday: Lime Chicken Tacos

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Leftovers

Saturday: Beer Chili (this is new!)

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Manhattan Clam Chowder

Oh, YUM!  I've actually never had Manhatten Clam Chowder before and BOY was I missing out!!!!!!! It was so yummy and filling!  I loved the veggies in it and the "chewiness" of the clams!  All of the flavors just melded together so perfectly! It was a bit spicy, but I really liked it.  If you want to try and keep the heat down, disregard the hot sauce and maybe even the red pepper flakes.   My daughter ate it and never mentioned how spicy it was, LOL!  Maybe the enormous amount of oyster crackers she had in her bowl had something to do with her not noticing?!????!!!  LOL

I highly suggest you give this a try if you've never thought about it before!

Thank you again to Mamma Maria from Mamma Maria's La Cucina for inspiring me to make this recipe.  I made just a few minor changes.  Here is the original Manhatten Clam Chowder Recipe.

P.S.  Don't be intimidated by the long list of ingredients!  This comes together very quickly, I promise!  It took me about 15 minutes.

Manhattan Clam Chowder

1 6.5 oz. can minced clams (undrained)
1 6.6 oz. can chopped clams (undrained)
1 can whole baby clams (undrained)
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 chicken bouillon cube
4 dashes hot sauce
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. dried thyme
2 bay leaves
28 oz. Crushed tomatoes
7.5 oz. Tomato Sauce
2 cups water

1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Oyster Crackers to serve on the side.

In the bottom of your crock, place all the clams.
Next, dump in your potatoes, carrots, onions and celery.
Next, season with the garlic, bouillon cube, hot sauce, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, pepper, thyme and bay leaves.
Lastly, pour in your crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce and water.  Give it a stir.
Cook on LOW for 8-10 hours or on HIGH for 4-5 hours.
Right before serving, add the fresh chopped parsley.
(My picture disappeared, sorry!)
Serve with some oyster crackers.

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Facebook/Google+ Like You Back 1-18-12

Welcome to Facebook/G+ Like-You-Back hosted by:
Are you looking for new Facebook and Google+ pages to follow and new friends who like your page? Then join us!
  1. Add your FACEBOOK page to the FIRST Linky below (you only have to add it to one and it will appear on all). Click on the Facebook link for the hosts and "like" them on Facebook. Leave a comment on their wall and they will like-you-back.
  2. Add your GOOGLE+ page to the SECOND Linky below (you only have to add it to one and it will appear on all). Click on the Google+ link for the hosts and "Add to Circle" them on Google+. Leave a comment on their wall under their "Facebook/G+ Like-You-Back" post and they will like-you-back.
Please link up directly to your Facebook page and/or Google+ pages only. All other links will be deleted. Like as many more Facebook/G+ pages as you want, leaving comments with links so they'll know where to like-you-back.
Our Facebook Page of the Week is Save Green Being Green and Google+ Page of the Week is Shopaholic Mommy! They take the next spot on the Linkies, respectively, under the hosts and will get a shout out on each of the hosts' Facebook and Google+ pages! Next week's pages of the week will be drawn from all of the entries from this week's hop.
By the way, we'd love to have you stop by our websites / blogs too & here's where we are:
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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Can You Turn Kitchen Time Into Time With Your Girlfriends? A Guest Blog Post for Jen and Barb Mom Life

I was honored this week when I was asked to write a guest blog post for Jen and Barb Mom Life.  What a fantastic site for Mom's!  They are so real and inviting and always focusing on new topics all moms can relate to.  This week, they were focusing on Turning Kitchen Time Into Time With Your Girlfriends.  This is SO up my ally so I jumped at the opportunity to write about it!  It was so fun to sit down and write about something I can really relate to.  I can't wait for you to read the post!  Please go check it out and leave a comment for me!  

Disclosure: I was compensated for writing this guest blog post.  All the opinions expressed are entirely my own. Print Friendly and PDF

Savory Sausage Stuffed Apples

My Father-in-law gave me the old Fannie Farmer Cookbook for Christmas.  Such a great gift!  I LOVE to browse through cookbooks and the Fannie Farmer one was really interesting.  Great basic information on how to do everything in the kitchen and lots of great recipes.  I was inspired to make this when I saw something similar in the Fannie Farmer cookbook!

Seriously, this was DEEEEElicious!!!!  My husband and I both went back for seconds!  It's packed with fiber (thanks to the apples) and so savory and scrumptious!  I've never had anything like this, but now that I've had it, I want to have it again.....and soon!  This would be incredibly impressive for company, but your family will be equally impressed when you serve it to them.

Depending on the appetites of your crew, I would plan 1-2 stuffed apples per person.  If you're serving a few sides, 1 should be good.  We just had ours with a light salad, so I had two and my husband had three, LOL!  What can I say?!  He liked them! ;)

I will say this, this is not something you make with little time on your hands.  Save this one for the weekend.  It is time consuming to hallow out the apples.....well worth it, but nonetheless, it will take some time.  Don't do this to yourself when you're tired or busy!  LOL

I hope you enjoy these as much as we did!

Savory Sausage Stuffed Apples

Ingredients: (makes 3-4 servings)
6 large Apples, hallowed out (I used Golden Delicious and they were perfect for this!)
16 oz. Sage Sausage (if you can't find, just get mild and add some sage in your seasoning)
1 small onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. rosemary
3/4 cup apple, diced
1/2-3/4 cup plain bread crumbs (I made my own with stale bread!)
1/2 cup or so of Shredded Cheese to place on top at the end.

First make sure your apples fit into your slow cooker!
I used my 7 Quart for this recipe and they fit perfectly.

Now that you know if they'll fit, it's time to clean them and hallow them out.
This sounds intimidating, but really, it was quite simple.  
First, slice off the top, and eat it, LOL!  No, really!  It will keep you happy while you hallow out all the apples! ;)
 Next, use a mellon baller or paring knife to hallow out the inside.
(You'll get better at it as you go....this was my second one.  My first one I broke through the bottom!  Oops!)
As you're hallowing out the apples, keep the pieces without "core" in a bowl because you will use these for the filling.

While you're finishing up your apples, get your onions and celery sweating in a pan with a tiny bit of olive oil.
Do a couple more apples while you wait and then add the sausage with the garlic powder, thyme and rosemary.  Brown it up while you finish your apples.
When you are finished with your apples, place them into the bottom of your slow cooker.
Mix the bread crumbs and diced apples with the sausage mixture.
Now, take that delicious mixture and stuff your apples with it.  Pack it in there good!

Cook on LOW for 3-4 hours.
About 5-10 minutes before serving, place shredded cheese of your choice on top and let it melt.
Serve and Enjoy!

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Monday, January 16, 2012

Garlicky Chicken and Chorizo

Mamma Maria from Mamma Maria's La Cucina has really been an inspiration lately.  In my news feed a couple of weeks ago, popped up a picture of a very delicious looking chicken dish.  The original dish was Chicken Sausage with Couscous.  It looked seriously divine!  I thought, hey!  I can do that in my slow cooker!  And......So I did!

This was extremely good and extremely easy to make.  I just love when a recipe only has a few ingredients!  I chose to make this recipe with chicken thighs because that's what was on sale when I went to the grocery store.  This would be great with boneless skinless chicken, drumsticks, breasts and leg quarters as well.  Whichever you choose, (unless you're using the legs) take the skin off.  We ended up taking the skin off of ours before we ate because it was just soggy.  No one wants soggy skin, LOL.  So, take it off before you cook the chicken, or sear it on the stove first to avoid this.

Personally, I felt there could be FAR more garlic in this.  I have to be careful because fresh garlic and I don't get along very well, but go hog wild here!  Make this really garlicy!  Live a little!

The chorizo has SUCH a nice flavor to it!  It was so nice to get a little bite of chicken with the chorizo.  It has a sweet and mild flavor.  I think you'll really like it if you've never tried it before.

We served ours with noodles (because that's what Ella wanted,) but this would have been excellent with rice.....or with Coucscous like Mamma Maria made!

Garlicky Chicken and Chorizo

1.5-2 lb. Chicken Thighs, skin removed (I didn't and wished I had)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
2-4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 onion, halved and sliced
8 oz. choirizo, casing removed and "sliced" or just crumbled (no need to cook first)
14.5 oz. Can Diced Tomatoes

Place your chicken in the bottom of your slow cooker and season with salt, pepper and garlic.
Place the onions on top.
I took my chorizo out of the plastic casing, kept the shape and just "sliced" off pieces.  It's really soft sausage, so if you feel more comfortable, just crumble it on top.  Either way it will work!
Pour the can of tomatoes over the top.

Cook on LOW for 7-9 hours or on HIGH for 4 hours.

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Sunday, January 15, 2012

This Week's Plan 1-15-12

There are so many exciting things going on right now that I'm a bit overwhelmed.  Most of you probably read I'll be heading to Chicago this coming weekend for the Kenmore Blogger Summit.  It's exciting and extremely nerve-wracking all in one.  (I've never left my children before and am having major anxiety about it!) :(  I will be vloging, blogging, facebooking and twittering from the summit, so be on the look out!!!

I've also been offered my first paid guest blog post!  Of course, when it goes live, I'll make it easy for you to find it! :)  I'm very honored and excited!

I am feeling MUCH better the last couple of days!  I think I'm finally on the mend.  It's nice not to be in pain 24/7.  I've forgotten what it was like to be pain free!  Kudos to all of you with chronic pain issues.  It really wears on your emotions!  We'll be using less salt in this household (not that we really used all that much before) and I'll be trying to drink A LOT more water.  That's the hardest part for me.

Since I'll be away the better part of the weekend, I'll be making a shorter plan this week.  I hope you have a wonderful week!

This Week's Plan:

Sunday - Savory Sausage Stuffed Apples

Monday - Manhatten Clam Chowder (thank you Maria from Mamma Maria's La Cucina!)

Tuesday: Leftovers

Wednesday - Family Night Out

Thursday - Leftovers

Friday/Saturday - out of town

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