Thursday, December 23, 2010

Recipe: Chicken Chili with black beans and sweet potatoes

This post promises to be lackluster. No pictures. No humor. Straight to the point. I made a crock of .... something (which shall be referred to as "chili" from this point on) that was tasty. I tweeted. Recipe requests followed. Those who know me are well aware that I'm a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of cook in the kitchen but I'll dish my secrets for ya'll.

Without further ado, I present to you the recipe for my on-the-fly Chicken Chili with black beans and sweet potatoes.

3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
2 15 oz cans of black beans, undrained
1 lb frozen corn
2 15 oz cans diced tomatoes
1 sweet onion, diced
1 envelope taco seasoning
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 green pepper, diced
2 15 oz cans chicken broth
1/2 cup - 1 cup apple cider

Toss everything into a crock pot or a large, HEAVY pan with a lid. Place whole chicken breasts on top. Cook on low for 8-9 hours or bake in oven at 325 degrees for 4-6 hours. I'm sure that the chili would probably be done MUCH sooner than this, but I was out shopping and came home to it being perfect after this time period. It helps that I used a porcelain covered cast iron dutch oven to cook this--the super heavy lidded pan cooks evenly and keeps things nice and steamy inside the pan. When the sweet potatoes, peppers and onions are soft, you know you're ready to rock. I take the chicken out of the pan, dice or shred it and return it to the pot for 10 or 15 minutes. That's also when I pour some apple cider in, just to get the chili to the consistency that I like. I think it complements the sweet potatoes nicely but if that's not the style that makes you smile, you can use chicken broth just as easily.

Recipe can be halved super easily and leftovers are great. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

How come...?

Be it right or wrong, here's my view of common perceptions regarding family sizes. Keep in mind that, as a mother of 4 children, these may or may not be my opinions.

Families with...

1 child : "Aww, how sweet. A cute young couple just starting their family."

2 children: "I'll bet that they've got the whole golden retriever/white picket fence dream too. Good for them." (This is particularly prevalent when the couple has one male and one female child)

3 children: "Ahh, the days of my youth. I always hated being the middle child but boy, was it great to have an older sibling to take responsibility and a younger sibling to lay all the blame to. That's just great. They're the average American family. Heck, she's probably got a vinyl 'soccer mom' decal on the back of her minivan."

4 children: "Sheezum! Ever heard of birth control?" Spoken to the parents: "I'll bet you have *your* hands full!! Wow!! Ha ha! Aww, beautiful family, good for you!!" ::mumbling and head shaking:: as they walk away.

5 children: "Good golly, he'd better have a good job to pay for all those kids! No, wait, **my taxes** are probably paying for all of those kids!"

6 children (or more): "Holy cow! What are they in competition with the Duggars or something?!"

So what I'm wondering is how it seems to me that we go from a positive perception of families right up until the 3rd child. All of a sudden there's a shift right around 4 kids and suddenly people seem to think that a family of 6 is freakishly huge. Not that I'm upset about it or anything because you know, I'm still on the smaller side of the freakishly huge family but I was just curious as to what it is that causes what seems to me to be fairly popular opinions.

How about you, what do you think of larger (or smaller) families? When does the number of children in a family just get to be outlandish?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

My Little Secret

OK, maybe this isn't really a big secret, but this is a little trick that I use all the time in the kitchen. As a mom of four children it seems that portioning out the plates and drinks and setting the table is always the craziest time of my day. I rely on the help of one of my very best friends to help me get dinner on the table and sit myself down while my food is still hot... or at least lukewarm. :)So by now, you're ready for my little kitchen tip, right? Well, here it is:

I use kitchen shears ALL OF THE TIME. They make cutting food for the kiddos go by in a flash. Forget the old fork and knife routine. Slap chop, step aside. I cut up my kiddo's burrito in about 4 seconds this afternoon (something messy like that would ?NEVER work in the ol' slap-chop). I can dice steak or pork chops for the kids in about 30 seconds, make short work of dicing green beans into bite-sized pieces and snip open freeze pops all with the same versatile tool. Need diced tomatoes and you've only got a can of whole, stewed babies? Pop the lid off that can, stick the shears in and with just a few quick snips in the can you've got diced tomatoes ready for action. Same with sliced peaches or pears, etc. My kitchen shears get lots of use around here so I keep two pair on hand so when one's in the dishwasher we've got one waiting in the wings.
I know that there's nothing super revolutionary here but it's a great tip that I picked up along the way and thought was worth sharing. :)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Rite Aid Deal week of 4/18

Found a couple of bargains at Rite Aid this week, I'll give you a heads up on a few:

In my store they had 12 oz bags of Starbucks coffee for $9.49 marked @ 75% off making them $2.37. Pair with a $1.50 coupon from the 3/21 SmartSource you can snag a bag for just 87 cents!

Again, in my store they had select Betty Crocker Warm Delights marked $1.99 marked @ 75% off making them $.49. Use with a $1 off 2 coupon from 3/28 Smart Source making them FREE!

Purex 3-in-1 Starter Kits are BOGO marked $8.99. You can use the Rite Aid ad-perks $2 coupon and the $2 off 1 starter kit in the 4/18 RedPlum making these $1.50 **or less** per pack.

CoverGirl products are Buy one, get one half off. Eye shadow single packs priced at $3.29 (second one $1.70) paired with the wellness coupon for $2 off a $2.99 or greater cosmetics purchase AND 2 $1/1 CoverGirl product coupon from the 3/7 or 4/4 P&G insert make these $.49 each.

Huggies and Goodnites are $8.99 this week. Pair Huggies with the $3 internet printable for Huggies diapers floating around or the $1.50/1 Goodnights from the 4/18 Smart Source, the $2 Rite Aid ad-perks from March (exp. 4/30) and you can get them for $4.00 - $5.50 per pack (*or less).

Kotex U products are $3.49 this week with a $3.49 Single Check Rebate, you can pair them with the $1/1 coupon in the 4/18 Smart Source to get them for FREE (actually, a $1 money maker after rebate).

Any of these deals can be combined with a $3 off a $15 non-prescription purchase Wellness Rewards coupon or a $5 off $20 purchase ad-perks coupon. Keep in mind that a Ad-perks coupon can be combined with a Wellness Rewards coupon so you can actually get $8 off any $20 purchase!!!

Here's an example of a scenario I did this morning:

2 Purex @ 8.99 (BOGO)
1 TGIF snack @ $.99
1 clearanced Chow Mein @ $.25 (filler)
2 CoverGirl EyeShadow 1 @ $3.29, 1 @ $1.70
Subtotal: $15.22 + tax
- $2 Purex MQ
- $2 Purex MQ
- $2 Purex Rite Aid ad-perks
- $1.50 TGIF internet printable
- $2 Wellness Rewards cosmetics coupon
- $1 Covergirl MQ
- $1 Covergirl MQ
- $3 on $15 purchase Wellness Rewards coupon
Total: $.72 + tax

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

You *thought* you trained them well...

Being sick tends to greatly exaggerate people's traits and tendencies. Typically an impatient person does not develop the patience of Mother Theresa when they're running a fever but rather they want a cold, wet cloth for their forehead NOW. If you're juggling their drink, the TV remote, a crossword puzzle and their meds and just happen spill a solitary drop of tea on the nightstand you're likely to hear quite a bit of ha-rumphing or exasperated sighs. The clumsy sickie often pukes on the floor, stubs their toe and knocks over chairs on their way to their porcelain throne and forgets to close the bathroom door when Mother Nature leaves them spouting like Old Faithful every fifteen minutes. The messie leaves a trail of tissues everywhere and will have you wiping up Gatorade they've splattered all over the counter. If Mother Nature happened to touch this poor soul too then you're likely to find skid marks on the back of the toilet seat when you follow them with a can of Lysol... if you're lucky you won't find a crumpled piece of stained toilet paper kicking around next to the can but let's face it, how often are we mom's ever really THAT lucky?

Over the past two weeks my kiddos came down with, of all things, the dreaded flu. Now, up to this point, I thought I'd done a decent job of teaching my children to mind their manners. Granted, they do interrupt me fairly frequently when I'm chatting with another adult, they're prone to childing bickering and if you know them at all I'm sure that you could rattle off a list of their other childish, impetuous ways. On the whole though, they say their pleases and thank yous. Pipe in with an "excuse-me" here and there. Cough into their elbow... grab a tissue for a sneeze. I think you can see where I'm going with this.

Any illusion that I'd had of having taught my children proper etiquette has been shattered. Yeah, they went flying out the window at 2 am when my daughter was *screaming* "MOMMMMMMAAAAAY!!!" at the top of her lungs. Of course I thought she was vomiting or had fallen out of bed on her way to the bathroom or something. Nope. When I got to her my heart was racing, I was light-headed from jumping out of bed so fast, out of breath from hurtling myself down the stairs at warp factor 7 and was groping around to find her since 1--I didn't have my glasses on and 2--it was darker than a pimp's heart. "What is it honey? Are you ok? Mommy's here..." And as I reached out in compassion, trying to console my obviously distressed daughter she liftede her head from the pillow and demanded with a certifiable screech in her voice, "Get me a drink, NOW!!!!!" Sadly, this was only the beginning. That girl is the crabbiest, nastiest, most demanding sick person I've ever dealt with. Nothing was addressed calmly, everything was needed urgently and all demands were made VERY LOUDLY. Yeah... that didn't fly too well. She soon learned that she could refill her own cup with water if she was going to yell at me. But rather than ask calmly she marched her independent little butt to the sink time after time. Great, now that I've said that, this is stuck in my head:

Then we have sick child #2. This one was very polite, very docile and actually fairly cheery. She just coughed in your face and sneezed all over you. I think that one of the things she did repeatedly that I was particularly fond of was when I'd hold the thermometer in her mouth she would cough all over my hand. EVERY SINGLE TIME. She would be absolutely fine, no cough, perfectly calm and as soon as that thermometer hit her lips she turned into a fire-breathing dragon; her hot breath would make my fingertips curl back against the tip of the thermometer, inching away from her mouth. Her chest would start to rise in preparation for the heaving coughs that would soon send her into fits of coughing and spewing abundant showers of micro-sputum up my arm, across my chest and even in my face. Ooh, ooh--another thing she kept doing was walking up to you and just letting those queer little pre-vomit burps out. You know what I'm talking about, oh yes. Those little froggy, demon seed burps that you try to swallow down just moments before the big hurl. Yeah, she didn't try to swallow those. No keepin' those suckers down. But she never puked. And it seemed like she derived some sick little bit of amusement from watching your reaction. The more reviled you were by the belch the more satisfied she was.

I could go on but I think you get the picture. I won't exactly be sending them to Mo'Nique's Charm School (GAH!) but I guess we're starting back at square one. And I've made a mental note to keep kleenex in every single room of the house. We just stocked back up on lysol so I hope we're set for the next big disaster to rock my humble abode.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Huggies Deal

The week of 3/21 Rite Aid is going to have a pretty smokin' deal on Huggies:

$8.99 for a jumbo pack of Huggies with a $1 SCR (one SCR per household)

Head over to or RIGHT AWAY and print out the $3 Huggies coupon; you can do this twice. Hopefully you still have another coupon for Huggies kickin' around, if you can't get another $3 coupon, you can find one for $2.00 pretty easily (just ask if you *really* need my help with this).

On Rite Aid's adperks site you can watch videos to earn coupons: you'll want to score the $2/1 Huggies coupon.

Watch enough credits to earn yourself a $5/$20 purchase or $5/$25 purchase coupon.

When you print your coupons MAKE SURE that you elect to print at least 3 copies of the coupon. Once you print that coupon sheet those coupons disappear down a black hole of "You already saved once, sucka!" I repeat, when you print your Rite Aid Huggies coupons, print at least 3 copies.

Here's how your purchase is going to play out (the order you give your coupons in does matter):

Purchase 3 packages of Huggies @ $8.99 Subtotal: $26.97
Use $5/$20 Rite Aid coupon next. Subtotal: $21.97
Use (3) $2/1 ad perks Huggies coupons. Subtotal: $15.97
Use (3) $3/1 Huggies internet printable coupons. Subtotal $6.97
Submit for $1 Rite Aid SCR (Single Check Rebate) Final Total: $5.97
Divided by 3, you paid $1.99/pack

Pat yourself of the back and revel in the savings.