Patiently

Only 2 more days until we are reunited with our home goods! I am most looking forward to having a bed cause the couch is getting old.

Even though we’ve been without our “stuff” I can’t help but feel so grateful that we even have “stuff.” So many in the world are not as fortunate and this experience has made me more thankful for the many ways we are blessed. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t frustrated but when you put everything in perspective, this just isn’t that big of a deal.

In 60 years I won’t be telling my great grandchildren about how awful it was to be without our things for a few weeks.

I will be telling them how happy their great-grandfather and I were to be together in our first home. How blessed we were to have great neighbors. How wonderful it was to be so close to family and friends.

Those are the things that matter.

I hope everyone has a safe and Happy 4th of July! I know I’m celebrating at home, with my hero.

*Thank you to all of the brave men and women who have sacrificed for our freedom.*

-Brittany

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Sopa Seca

Even though I discovered that I enjoy cooking more when I’m not trying to get it done in time for dinner, I don’t always want to eat something out of the freezer. And my freezer can only hold so many different meals at once. So there’s nothing I like more than a really good recipe that’s fast enough to make on a weeknight and makes leftovers for lunch. My mom actually made this recipe (from Food network Magazine) for the first time a few days before I moved to Virginia. I told her how much I liked it and she said she’d give me the recipe because it was really easy to make. The name is Spanish and means dry soup. It’s a really unique dish, and you can make the whole thing with one skillet!

Sopa Seca

You’ll Need:

1 Tbs Olive oil

1 onion, halved and thinly sliced

1 poblano chili pepper, seeded and sliced (I always leave this out because honestly, I just can’t be bothered. LOL)

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp ground cumin

Kosher salt (I just use table salt)

8 oz spaghetti, broken into thirds (the recipe calls for whole wheat which I always use anyway, but regular spaghetti would probably work too)

1 14 oz can diced fire roasted tomatoes

2 cups low sodium chicken broth

1 14 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 bunch cilatro, leaves chopped (approx. 1/2 cup loosely packed)

Cheddar or monterey jack cheese (optional)

Directions:

1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet and cook the onions and poblano pepper, stirring occasionally, until slightly soft (about 3 minutes)

2. Add the chili powder, cumin, and salt and continuing cooking for 2 more minutes

3. Add the uncooked spaghetti and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly toasted (about 5 minutes)

4. Add the tomatoes (juice included), and cook until some of the liquid is absorbed (about 2 minutes)

5. Add the chicken broth and increase the heat to high. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute

6. reduce the heat to medium, cover and simmer, until spaghetti is almost fully cooked (about 6 minutes)

7. Uncover and stir in the beans and all but 2 Tbs of the cilantro

8. continue simmering until the spaghetti is tender and most of the liquid has absorbed

9. Top with cheese and remaining cilantro if desired and enjoy!

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Finally Moved

Hello dear readers! It’s Brittany here to give you a quick update!

We’ve finally arrived in Texas! Our stuff has yet to arrive, but we made it here safely!

I made it through my first (of many) military moves and I’m happy we were about to drive all the way here with no problems. We’ve been getting the run around on when our stuff is due to arrive, hopefully soon!

We bought a new loveseat recliner duo and my wonderful parents gave us some furniture so our little house is a bit more homey.

I’ve been working hard cleaning and putting things away, finding everything a home…not easy when you’re terrified of the closets. The home we live in has vast amounts of various closet space, but the closets seem a tad too rustic for me.

I’m seriously paranoid about spiders and scorpions. I’ve already sprayed outside (and emptied the bottle) with Raid Repellent. On the inside I’ve used an eco friendly, pet safe, non-toxic, plant based spray…it balances out my outdoor chemical warfare.

Inside

Outside

Our home is wonderful though, a few quirks that make me feel a little uneasy, but the kitchen covers a multitude of sins!

The kitchen was a major selling point for me. It is spacious with ample cupboards, GAS STOVE, great natural light, plentiful countertop space, GAS STOVE.

In case you couldn’t tell, mama likes a gas stove.

I will be posting some pictures once our things arrive and I’m able to unpack! Until then, I’m heading off to the local farmer’s market!

Hope you’re having a wonderful day! And you those of you with a crock pot and taste-buds should make Vanessa’s new cheesy beer chicken recipe!

-Brittany

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Cheesy Beer Pulled Chicken

I hope you all had a great weekend! I spent the weekend in New Jersey because my best friend (who’s really more like a sister than a friend) got married yesterday! We met online, so our friendship has always been long distance. Of course, I would’ve been at her wedding no matter what, heck I would’ve gone overseas if that’s where her wedding took place! But because we don’t see each other as often as we’d like, being together on such an important day is particularly special. I’m not going to post a bunch of pictures because it was her wedding, not mine. But I do want to share one picture of  the gorgeous bride and myself. Oh and I caught the bouquet, so you know what that means… ;)

For some reason my train was 2 1/2 hours late this morning :( (I’ve taken the train between DC  and Newark 6 times now and it’s never even been a few minutes late until now) and I got home at 3:30 instead of 1:00. So my plans to go to the grocery store were scrapped and dinner ended up being pizza. But I wanted to share this recipe that I made last weekend but didn’t have the chance to blog about yet.  It’s easy (crock pot alert!), it’s delicious, and it will definitely become a regular at my house.

This was actually the second time I’ve made it. The first time, I followed the original recipe except for omitting some of the spices I didn’t have and using one less chicken breast. The second time, as I was mixing the spices, I spontaneously decided to make a few changes, and this time it was even better than my first try. You can use this chicken multiple ways, but I highly recommend putting it in tacos!

Cheesy Beer Pulled Chicken Tacos
*Serves 4 or more

You’ll Need

3-4 Boneless skinless chicken breasts (If you use 3, use slightly less of each spice than the recipe calls for)

1 bottle beer of choice (I used what I had on hand, Shiner Bock)

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 1/2 teaspoons cumin

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Shredded cheddar cheese

Desired taco toppings

Hard or soft taco shells

Directions

1. In a bowl, mix all the spices thoroughly

2. Place chicken breasts on a plate and rub both sides with the spice mixture (I used pretty much all of it, but amount is up to you)

3. Put chicken in the crock pot and pour entire bottle of beer over the chicken (I added a little water too and drained my chicken when I was done. That way there’s plenty of liquid so it cooks evenly but the tacos don’t get soggy)

4. Cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 4 hours. Shred the chicken as you cook it and once finished, drain in a collander if desired

5. If you’re not making this for a large group and you know there are going to be leftovers, I recommend adding the cheese as you use it. Just microwave the chicken and cheese slowly before serving. If you DO plan to finish it all at once, transfer the chicken to a large bowl and add cheese to taste. Toss it all together  so it melts and serve immediately. Enjoy!

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Toying With Trends

This is an old post! I wrote not long after I got home from my top-secret apartment hunting trip with my mom  in January. In fact, I had to fudge some details when I originally wrote this because I hadn’t told my employer that I was leaving yet so I hadn’t mentioned the move at all on Facebook or the blog. Before I had a chance to post it, things got so busy and this post got forgotten. It seems weird to post it now, but I figured a non food related post was in order since that’s all I’ve blogged about lately. So without further ado, here’s a long overdue fashion post

Feather earrings are EVERYWHERE right now. I’ve seen them at predictable places like Claire’s and Charming Charlie’s, but I’ve also seen them at Steinmart, Gordmans, and little boutiques. I think they’re cute, but most of them are huge and come in very bright colors, making them anything but subtle. I was still open to trying out the trend though. And then, back in January when my mom and I were checking out the gigantic mall located ten minutes from my apartment, I found a really cute pair at a little boutique type store. They were beige and there were several small feathers instead of one big one. Between the neutral color and the smaller size, I thought they’d be a great way to ease into this trend. Unfortunately, they never made it home. Sometime between buying them and getting back to the hotel, they must have fallen out of my purse :( Thankfully they weren’t expensive, but I was totally bummed.

So I decided to stop by Charming Charlie’s once I got back home to see if I could find anything similar. I didn’t, but I did find two pairs that were fairly small and in neutral colors

What do you think? Both pairs were only $7.99 each and they were the kind that come with two other “coordinating” pairs. Some I kept, some I didn’t. But I love totally affordable trends!

Question of the day: Is there a current trend you’re thinking about trying?

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Sweet & Spicy Honey Glazed Chicken

I can’t actually remember where I stumbled across this recipe, but it sounded really good and easy, so I gave it a shot soon after I first found it. The original recipe is made in a crock pot, but the person who posted it online suggested that it could easily be baked in the oven as well. During the week, I’m gone too long to use my crockpot, and I wanted to make this on a week night. So I just poured the sauce over a whole chicken breast and baked it in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes just like I do with BBQ chicken. the sauce is really good and I’m willing to bet you already have all or nearly all of the ingredients in your kitchen. Just a word of warning, this sauce has a definite kick to it. I had no idea how strong 1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes would be! It wasn’t too bad, but I think I might decrease the amount of red pepper flakes a bit next time. Keep in mind though, my mouth is super sensitive so I’m kind of a wimp when it comes to spicy foods :p

Sweet & Spicy honey Glazed Chicken

you’ll Need:

3/4 lb chicken of your choice (I only made one breast and just had extra sauce. If you’re making it in the crock pot, see the original recipe)

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/8 cup chopped onion or 1/16 cup onion flakes (I skipped the onion entirely because I didn’t have onion flakes and I was feeling lazy)

1/8 cup ketchup

1 Tbs vegetable oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

Brown or white rice (optional)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper and place in an oven safe dish

3. In a bowl, whisk together all ingredients and pour over chicken (I didn’t use all of the sauce, just made sure the chicken was thoroughly covered)

4. Bake chicken for 20 minutes or until thoroughly cooked and serve over rice if desired

Note: Sorry for the lack of pictures in my recent posts, I’m totally out of practice!

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Cincinnati 5 Way Chili

I’m back with another great recipe for you all! This is something that my mom has made for years, and I was always excited to see it on the menu. If you’ve never been to Ohio or known anybody who has lived there, you probably haven’t heard of Cinnicinati 5 Way Chili. It’s a very unusual chili that has become famous at a restaurant in Ohio called Skyline Chili. Years and years ago, my mom saw the recipe in the newspaper and cut it out. Confession: I’ve never actually been to the restaurant that started it all!

Even though I loved this dish, I never tried to make it myself until a few weeks after I moved to Virginia. I’d always thought it would be too complicated and I didn’t have all the necessary ingredients. 5 way chili requires a lot of spices, which are expensive. When my mom was first married and would make this, she’d borrow the spices she didn’t have from her mom, who was also a fabulous cook. In fact, the original copy that she cut out of the newspaper still has her notes to herself about which spices she already had and which ones she had to borrow from her mom :) So, keeping with tradition, my mom occasionally sends me “5 way Chili kits”, all the necessary spices premeasured and put in a plastic sandwich bag. Is she awesome or what?! In case you’re wondering, it’s called 5 way Chili because you can have it:

1 way (just the chili)
2 ways (the chili over spaghetti-I told you it was unusual!)
3 ways (over spaghetti with shredded cheddar cheese)
4 ways (over spaghetti with cheese, and chopped onions)
5 ways (over spaghetti with cheese, onions, and kidney beans)

Sound good? Well, here’s the recipe!

Cincinnati 5 Way Chili

You’ll Need:

1 lb ground beef or turkey

1 medium onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup water

1 cup BBQ sauce (I used Jack Daniels #7 recipe)

1 Tbs chili powder

1 tsp ground black pepper

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp tumeric

1/2 tsp allspice

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp ground coriander

1/4 tsp ground cardamom

1 tsp salt

1/2 oz unsweetened chocolate (I usually cut it in a few small pieces but it’s all going to melt anyway)

Optional: cooked spaghetti, shredded cheddar cheese, kidney beans, more chopped onion

my 5 way Chili Kit!

Directions:

1. Cook onions, garlic and ground beef/turkey in a large pot until meat is thoroughly cooked

2. Drain any fat and return to pot

3. Add bbq sauce and water, bring to a boil

4. Add all the spices and chocolate, cover and simmer at very low heat for 30 minutes

5. serve with desired toppings and enjoy!

Note: There appear to be multiple versions of this recipe. if you google it, you get a version that is completely different from this one and calls for 4 hours of cooking and overnight refrigeration. Um, no thanks! i’ve never had 5 Way Chili at the actual restaurant, but I think this version tastes amazing!

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