Tuesday, January 29, 2013


The other day I went to pass on my delicious (and SUPER easy) crockpot buffalo chicken recipe to a friend, when, much to my dismay, the link was broken.  Hellllloooo.  Internet?  Where is my go-to-number-one crockpot buffalo chicken recipe?  No dice.  

But, then I realized it provided me with the opportunity to share it with you and pretend it was my fantastic idea all along.  I can't even get to the link to give credit where credit is due.  So let's just pretend I'm a genius and I'm sharing my genius with you.  Definitely had to look it up to make sure I had spelled genius correctly.  That would have been an unfortunate mistake.

So on night number one, I like to fix up my crockpot buffalo chicken into a sandwich topped with a little (or a lot) of Monterey Jack cheese.  Typically with some nice roasted potatoes on the side and a salad if I'm feeling the need for something with some nutritional redeeming qualities.

On night number two, I transform said crockpot buffalo chicken into this:
Buffalo chicken enchiladas.  They are incredible.

So here it is.  My genius unveiled.  And I have apparently passed my genius on because my kid found both of her feet today.  At the same time.  I have been waiting for a few days for her to achieve this feat.  And yes.  Pun intended.

Crockpot Buffalo Chicken

  • 4 chicken breasts (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 bottle of thick wing sauce (for example, Anchor Bar sauce is delicious)
  • 1 packet of dry Ranch Dip mix
1.  Put chicken, wing sauce, and Ranch Dip mix into your crockpot.
2.  Cook on low 5-7 hours (the 7 hour extreme would be more for if you are using frozen chicken).
3.  Shred your chicken with 2 forks and return it to the crockpot for another 30 minutes to soak up all the buffalo deliciousness.
4.  Eat it directly out of the crockpot or fix it up anyway you like.

Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas
*adapted from How Sweet Eats 
  • Leftover crockpot buffalo chicken
  • 6-8 whole wheat tortillas
  • 10 ounce can of red enchilada sauce
  • 1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
  • 4 ounces gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
  • 5 green onions, chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick spray.
  3. Pour half of the red enchilada sauce into your sprayed baking dish to just barely coat the bottom.
  4. Mix the leftover crockpot buffalo chicken, 2 green onions, and 1/2 cup monterey jack cheese in a bowl.
  5. Fill each tortilla with some of your chicken mixture and then roll your tortillas and place seam side down in your baking dish.
  6. Pour the rest of the enchilada sauce over top of your tortillas and top with the rest of the monterey jack.
  7. Bake 20-25 minutes.
  8. Remove from the oven and top with gorgonzola cheese and the rest of your green onion.
  9. Devour immediately.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Mushy bananas and other entertainment...

It seemed that fate had a plan for me on these bitterly cold, snowy days this week.  I got stuck with a bowl full of mushy bananas.  So when a recipe for Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread  popped into my Google Reader, I knew it had to be made.  I was missing a couple of the ingredients.  But when the windchill around here is in the single digits, you better believe that I am not heading outside.  So I got creative.  

No buttermilk?  No problem.  A Tablespoon of white vinegar + milk until you hit the cup line.

No brown sugar?  One Tablespoon molasses + 1 cup sugar. Super fluffy, fresh brown sugar.  Done.
I made 4 mini loaves 36 hours ago and let's just say 2 of them are gone.  No way of telling that creative substitution was involved!

Also being stuck in the house for days on end with no one to talk to besides your infant, can cause you to get creative for entertainment.  We tried the Michelle Obama chunky bang on for size.  
Not for us.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

New Baby Meal Part 2

So if you'll recall, I posted my baked ziti recipe for a new mom yesterday.  Today, I'm going to explain myself on those blueberry oatmeal muffins that I recommended double as dessert/breakfast.  

New mom's want something healthy...hence these muffins have no butter, are made with calcium rich yogurt, oatmeal, which is said to increase milk supply in nursing moms, and cancer preventing blueberries.  Plus they have half whole wheat flour.  

Total.  Health.  Food.  

So, naturally, I had to mess with them a little bit.  I mean, what the heck is a dessert with no butter?!  This is when the streusel topping lightbulb flipped on.  I looked through a few recipes for the topping that sounded the tastiest for these little guys.  I'm pretty sure it's the streusel that takes them from muffin to dessert.  Actually, I'm absolutely sure.

Because that muffin picture is so pathetic, here's another picture.  
It sort of ties in because this is what she wore to come shopping for ingredients with me.  She got no less than 4 compliments on the headband.  

Anyways, enjoy the muffins/dessert!

Blueberry-Oatmeal Muffins with Streusel Topping

  • 1 cup Yoplait® 99% Fat Free plain or creamy vanilla yogurt (from 2-lb container)
  • 1 cup old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats
  • 1 egg or 2 egg whites, slightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen (do not thaw) blueberries

Streusel Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup loosely packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon milk


1. Heat oven to 400°F. Place paper baking cups in 12 regular-size muffin cups, or grease your muffin pan.

2. In small bowl, mix yogurt and oats. 

3.  In large bowl, mix egg, oil and brown sugar. 

4.  Stir in flours, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and yogurt mixture (batter will be lumpy). 

5.  Gently stir in blueberries. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.

6.  Mix streusel topping and spoon on top of the muffins.  Any leftovers can go directly from the spoon into your mouth.  Yum.

7. Bake 18-20 min or until golden brown. Immediately remove from pan.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

New Baby Meal Part 1

Some of our friends had baby boy #2 about two months ago.  With the holidays and now germs and infections, we have yet to be able to see them!  We were supposed to head over for dinner this past weekend, but the viruses that were swarming in their house didn't sound too appealing so we had to reschedule.  I had a fabulous meal planned.  Baked ziti, a salad, bakery bread, and blueberry oatmeal muffins with a streusal topping that could double as dessert/breakfast the following morning.  This particular mom brought us some fabulous food not long after the Princess was born and she stepped it up a notch by bringing paper plates, plastic silverware and everything so that we didn't even have to do any dishes!  Sorry environment, but if anyone deserves to destroy you and skip doing the dishes, it's a new mom!  Even though we didn't make it over to see them, I still prepared the meal anyways and froze it for when we do get to see them (don't worry-not the salad).  The best part is, our next meeting is supposed to be brunch, so I'll just toss a breakfast-y casserole together and bring that along.  Then we have brunch (casserole and muffins) and I can leave them with dinner.  She won't have to lift a finger in the kitchen that day.  Sounds like a dream come true to me!

And obviously, I have to bring a gift for the new little guy.  So waaaaaay over there on the right, atop the muffins, are a pair of baby leg warmers for him that I hope to exchange for some snuggle time.  Take it from me, baby leg warmers are awesome.  Diaper changes are so much easier when there are no pants to remove.

The recipe for the baked ziti belongs to the Pioneer Woman and can be found here.  I had to switch it up a little bit and skip the meat, so the following is my adaptation.

Any suggestions for a breakfast-y casserole?

Baked Ziti

  •            2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  •            3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  •            1 whole Large Onion, Diced
  •            1 (28 Ounce) can Crushed tomatoes
  •            2 cans (14.5 Ounce) Marinara Sauce
  •            1 (14.5 Ounce) can diced tomatoes
  •            2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
  •            Salt And Pepper, to taste
  •            16 ounces, weight Ziti Or Mostaciolli, Cooked Until Not Quite Al Dente
  •            1 tub (15 Ounce) Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
  •            1-1/2 pound Mozzarella Cheese, Grated
  •            1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  •            1 whole Egg

1.  Heat olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and saute for several minutes, or until starting to soften. 
2.  Add all forms of tomatoes (crushed, marinara, and diced), salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Stir and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes. 
3.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
4.  Cook and drain the pasta and rinse under cool water to stop the cooking and cool it down. 
5.  In a separate bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, 2 cups of the grated mozzarella, Parmesan, egg, and salt and pepper. Stir together just a couple of times (do not mix completely).
6.  Pour the pasta into the bowl with the cheese mixture and toss to slightly combine (there should still be large lumps).  Add the cheesy coated pasta to a large casserole dish or lasagna dish. Spoon the sauce over the top, then top with the remaining mozzarella cheese. 
7.  Bake for 20 minutes, or until bubbling. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before serving.
*To freeze it, I skipped step 7, wrapped it in foil and put it directly into the freezer.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Board Book Love

I have been trained, and trained well, to love books.  My mom has recently let us in on a little secret-that as kids, if we asked her for a new book, she would always say yes.  Obviously, this being a well kept secret of our childhood, we never caught on.  My parents would read to us every single night before bed until we were old enough to do it on our own.  My mom read from a book and my dad preferred to make up great stories for us.  I still try to read at least a couple pages at bedtime before my eyelids slam shut.  Anyways, we are trying to instill a love of books in the Princess, and I think she's catching on pretty early!  
In the past couple days, she has started "helping" us turn the pages!  She does it on each page and she is quick to relinquish control when she can't flip the page all the way over.  I'm sure it's normal baby behavior, but I am still quite impressed.

Anyway, here are some of our favorite board books so far:
From the top left:
1.  Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by: Eileen Christelow - It's the classic warning tale of what happens when little monkeys jump on their bed...with a surprise ending.  
2.  Down by the Bay by: Nadine Bernard Westcott - It should be no secret that the King and I love books that are based on ridiculous songs.  I fear the day when the Princess no longer wants to hear me sing.
3.  Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing by: Judi Barret - A humorous tale of why it would be ridiculous if animals wore clothes.  
4.  Hippos Go Berserk by: Sandra Boynton - A counting book where hippos get together and throw a crazy party.  We got 2 copies as shower gifts.  Must be a classic.
5.  Moo, Baa, La La La by: Sandra Boynton - This book is trying to pull a fast one on your kid.  They pair a couple animal sounds with the correct animal and then throw in a ridiculous one at the end to make sure your kid (or sleep deprived parent) is paying attention.
6.  The Very Hungry Caterpillar by:  Eric Carle - The classic tale of a (very) hungry caterpillar who turns into a beautiful butterfly at the end (sorry, if I gave it away!).
7.  Bear Snores On by:  Karma Wilson- Bear is hibernating during a cold winter storm.  A few of his creature friends come into his cave to stay warm...but the bear snores on...or does he?  I can't give the ending of this one away too.
8.  Baby Beluga by:  Raffi- Another great book based on a song!  The Princess enjoys hearing about the frolicking whale before she heads off to dreamland.  Or maybe she is trying to escape her mother's horrendous singing?
9.  We're Going on a Bear Hunt by:  Helen Oxenbury - a family goes in search of a bear and encounter many obstacles along the way.

I used to have to skim countless Amazon reviews for the perfect board book to toss on top of a baby shower or 1st birthday gift.  Since I now have a list of go-to favorites, I thought I'd share.  Sure to be well received!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My new BFF

My new love of the show Homeland may have taken a slightly unhealthy turn.  I was super excited and very impressed to read about Claire Danes scheduling nursing her 1-month son into her time at the Golden Globes.  I really admire her being able to schedule in feedings and keep herself looking so presentable.  I have enough trouble making sure I don't smell everyday!  Let alone walking a red carpet in a dress with a plunging neckline for all to see.  And then giving a coherent acceptance speech on likely zero sleep?  Forget about it!

I would also like to tell Claire-mom to mom- about my new favorite recipe for Slow Cooker Cream Cheese Chicken Chili.  Aside from my new admiration for Claire, I am also developing an admiration for crockpot recipes.  Especially ones where you just toss ingredients in and walk away for 5-7 hours and when you return, you magically have a meal to stuff in your face.  It doesn't seem likely to me that my golden globe winning friend often cooks for herself, but if she did, this recipe is a fairly healthy hit to all food groups.  Although, not the healthiest ingredient, the brick of light cream cheese is extremely necessary.
It's thick, creamy, and delicious!  Most importantly though, it was a dump in the crockpot and go type meal.

The other thing I would tell my imaginary friend Claire is that we are both working moms now!  I signed a contract for a part-time position working a few evenings a week.  Once I have clients, I'll be leaving the Princess with the King and return to the working world for a few hours.  I haven't won any Golden Globes in my field just yet though...I'll keep working on my acceptance speech for when it happens for me.  Maybe I can get some pointers from Claire?

And finally, I would tell her not to fear shots with her baby boy.  Well in the moment they are quite horrific, that night, your child may sleep more soundly than they ever have before due to the trauma.  The Princess went 10 hours straight last night!  I finally woke her up to eat for fear of starvation occurring.  I'll leave you with her verdict on shots:

Slow Cooker Cream Cheese Chicken Chili

  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can corn, undrained
  • 1 can Rotel, undrained
  • 1 package ranch dressing mix
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder (adjust accordingly for your personal level of heat)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 8 oz. brick of light cream cheese
  • 2 chicken breasts
1.  Drain and rinse black beans. 
2.  Place chicken at bottom of pot, then pour out whole can of corn (undrained), rotel (also undrained), and black beans. Top with seasonings and ranch mix. Stir together. 
3.  Place cream cheese on top. 
4.  Cover with lid and cook on low for 6-8 hours. 
5.  Use 2 forks to shred chicken. 
7.  Stir together and serve.

*Adapted from Plain Chicken

Monday, January 14, 2013


1.  The reign of terror...aka the week of cheese-less-ness has finally come to an end.  I have 4 varieties of cheese on my grocery list for this week and I could not be HAPPIER to replenish our cheese drawer.  In my last act of insanity, I made a cheese-less pizza.
I lazily used a pre-made crust and topped it with sauce, some sauteed red peppers, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, and capers.  It was not bad.  But, still nothing the King wanted to be a part of.  All in all, my cheese-less week has made me more aware of how much cheese I am actually eating.  And, I'm not sure I mind anymore.  Cheese fills me up and I actually think I snack less when cheese is involved.  Everything truly IS better with cheese.

2.  Someone is 4 months-old!  Yesterday was the big day.  I know they say that kids grow so fast.  Sometimes, the days seem SO long, but the months are FLYING by!  She was completely uncooperative for the picture-taking and the King had to be called in to cojole a smile.  This is the best we could do:
We're hitting the doctor today to get the dreaded 4-month shots.  Hoping I don't cry!  I am also very curious to hear about the solid-food adventure that we may soon be embarking on.  

3.  I am sort of ashamed to admit that I am a huge Bachelor fan.  For the past year and a half, I have gotten together with a friend once a week to watch and heckle the 25 contestants.  I was thrilled that it returned last week and got me out for a much needed ladies night!  There are TWO ambulances in the previews for this season.  Can't wait to watch more drama ensue tonight!

4.  The King and I have also FINALLY jumped on the bandwagon that is Homeland.  Oh man.  Can't get enough.  I just want to sit down and plow through the season, but the King is holding us back and forcing me to savor it one episode per night.  

5.  That is the excitement in my life for now!  

Monday, January 7, 2013

Senseless Acts of Cheese-less-ness

In case you missed me...I have been busy going from stay-at-home mom to getting a part-time job.  My time at the computer has been spent setting up interviews, gathering references, sending information for background checks and paperwork instead of writing blog posts.  Boorrring.  Now we can all wonder fear what will happen to my blogging when I actually start working again.  Only time will tell...

In the time that we've been apart, aside from my job search, I have been committing to senseless acts of cheese-less-ness.  Why, you might ask?  Because, as it happens, this week our cheese drawer in the fridge was actually EMPTY.  The shock!  The horror!  
This is SO incredibly rare.  I usually buy at least 2 kinds of cheese each week at the store.  A typical day involves eggs with cheese for breakfast, soup with Parmesan cheese on top for lunch, and typically Mexican, Italian or a salad with cheese in it, around it, and on top of it for dinner.  Cheese breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Cheese is the best, although probably not the healthiest...My proclamation to go without cheese sent the King into a panic as he has given up sugar and was relying on my cheesy comfort foods to get him through.

So far, we are making it.  The King seems pleased and not so hungry.

Saturday- Take-out from a pizza place.  I got boneless wings and a salad with ranch dressing (normally this would be blue cheese) and made myself a buffalo chicken salad.

Sunday- Betty's Shepard's Pie  (without cheese or the weird pasta in the Hamburger Helper, but with the help of Wegmans pre-made whipped mashed potatoes)
Monday- Chicken Tikka Masala (kind of a lot of effort, but soooo good!)
Thankfully, these meals have been able to provide comfort without cheese!  So we'll be dining on leftovers for the next few nights.

I guess this is the best cheese I'll get this week!