Monthly Archives: October 2012

T-Minus 1 Week

We’re seven days away from Election Day, and I’m getting more and more nervous.  Of course I want my guy to win, but it’s looking like it’s going to be a very close race, perhaps coming down to a single state’s electoral votes (Ohio, go figure!).  And while I think the Electoral College is outdated and ridiculous, that’s a topic for another post.

I have three quotations that I’ve had to continuously chant to myself like mantras over the past several weeks as I’ve read editorials, opinion pieces, and Facebook posts that make me want to throw my aging laptop out of our second story window.  So, as November 6 draws nearer and the political discussion intensifies (which is a good thing in my opinion – please don’t take me for one of those who gets annoyed by seeing talk of the election), I thought I’d share my “mantras” with y’all:

First, is a definition of patriotism that I can agree with:

And these are the two that I have to tell myself when people’s opinion infuriates or perplexes me:

See y’all on the other side, and may the best man win!

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Moroccan Chicken & Couscous

This really is among my top 5 favorite recipes.  I love the sweet flavor that’s thrown in there with the cinnamon and the raisins, and the couscous is out of the ordinary.  And not only is the taste pleasing, it’s a really colorful and impressive dish.  So make sure to prepare it when you have guests coming over!  They’ll love it.

Prep time = 10-15 minutes

Total time = 40 minutes.

Serves 4 (but, if you’re a hearty eater like me, you may want to increase each ingredient so you’ll have four “good helpins” or enough for two folks to have leftovers the next day)

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 4 boneless, skinlless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) chicken broth
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) of Rotels (diced tomatoes with chilies, garlic & onion)
  • 1 package (1 lb) of cubed, fresh butternut squash – that’s about half of a squash if you want to buy it and cube it yourself (don’t cook the skin/rind!)
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 cup plain couscous
  • 1 cup frozen peas

Directions

  1. Heat oil in large deep skillet over medium-high heat.  Sprinkle chicken with salt and cook 5 minutes, turning once, until browned.
  2. Add broth, Rotels, squash, raisins, cumin, cinnamon, and paprika.  Bring to a boil; cover and reduce heat.  Simmer for 15 minutes or until chicken is tender.
  3. Stir in couscous and peas.  Bring to a boil.  Cover, remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes.  Fluff with a fork and serve.
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Egg Muffins

If you’re like me, you find yourself running out of the door in the mornings, lucky if you have your shoes on the right foot, let alone having had time to fix and eat breakfast.  And then I found this recipe.

There’s a simple list of ingredient: eggs + whatever you want.  Essentially, you’re making mini, personal omelets in your muffin pan.  Here’s what I used:

  • eggs
  • green onions
  • green bell pepper
  • red bell pepper
  • crumbled bacon
  • sharp cheddar cheese
  • Cajun seasoning

For a regular sized muffin pan (with 12 muffins), use 10-12 eggs.  I used 10 because I had so much other veggies and cheese and mine that no more egg would fit in the pan!

The process is simple:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F
  2. Spray your muffin pan with cooking oil (you can also use muffin liners, but spray them, too).
  3. layer your ingredients: bacon/ham, diced veggies, shredded cheese
  4. beat your eggs in a large bowl and put in any spices you’d like (I just used Cajun seasoning) and put the eggs into something you can pour out of.
  5. Pour your eggs over the other ingredients in each of the muffin spots.  Don’t fill them completely (probably only about 3/4 of the way), because the eggs will rise as they cook.
  6. Bake them for about 30 minutes, or until the eggs have risen and are slightly brown and set.

Then, either eat them all (as I was tempted to do), or fill up some ziploc bags with two each, stash them in the fridge (they’ll stay good for at least a week in the fridge), and then you can grab instant breakfast on your way out the door in the mornings. And even better, they’re not bad for you!

Original recipe from Kalyn’s Kitchen Blog, here.

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Coconut Chicken Tacos w/ Mango-Cilantro Salsa

I wanted to name this “Holy Crap These Are Freakin Awesome Coconut Chicken Tacos w/ Mango-Cilantro Salsa” but it wouldn’t all fit in the title box. 

Total Time:  45 minutes – 1 hour

Makes about 6 tacos.

Ingredients for the Mango-Cilantro Salsa:

  • 2 mangos- diced (there were no mangos in Buffalo in October – imagine that – so we just used a 15 oz can of tropical fruit salad, with the juice drained – but also chop up the fruit chunks into smaller pieces)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1 garlic clove-minced (about 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic)
  • Minced onions to taste—we added about two tablespoons (about 1/8 of an onion)

Make the salsa first by combining all of the above ingredients, and then just setting the bowl in the fridge until the chicken is done and you’re ready to make the tacos.

Coconut Chicken Taco Ingredients:

  • 3-4 boneless chicken thighs (or breasts if you prefer the good ol dry, white meat)
  • Coconut Oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons of flour
  • Fajita-sized tortillas
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • Chopped lettuce

Directions:

1. Cut chicken thighs into strips.

2. Beat eggs in a bowl and set aside.

3. In the another bowl, add flour and one tablespoon of shredded coconut.

4. Pat chicken strips dry and start dipping into the egg bowl first, then the flour bowl, making sure to coat them fully with both eggs and flour. After coated with flour, place on plate until all chicken strips have been through the coating process.

5. Heat up some coconut oil (maybe like 3-5 tablespoons) in a medium-sized frying pan. Make sure your oil is hot enough to cook with, but not too hot where your chicken burns right away—ours was fine at medium heat setting. Cook three or four strips at a time. Each strip will cook at a different time than the next due to different size and thicknesses, but it should be approximately three minutes. Once a side is a nice golden brown, flip chicken over for another three minutes until cooked fully. Place cooked chicken aside and sprinkle with shredded coconut. Your tacos are now ready to be assembled.

6. Top tortilla with lettuce, chicken and mango salsa! I bet a side of black beans or a margarita would go great with this tropical delight!

Original recipe from http://www.simplyrealmoms.com, here.

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“We read to know we are not alone.” – C.S. Lewis

Luckily my family instilled a love of reading in me at an early age.  Some of the oldest gifts I have from my grandparents are books.  And every time I move (which seems too often lately), it’s always the boxes and boxes of books that make people want to never help me move again.

From short stories, to Harry Potter, from Dr. Seuss to Dagmar Herzog, I just love to read.  And while I do enjoy seeing how authors craft the English language & how the literature itself is composed, let’s be honest – I’m in it for the stories.  For the feelings, for the entertainment, and maybe to learn something about the human condition, too.

Maybe that’s why I chose History as my life path (or History chose me?).  After all, that’s what History is:  passing on stories.  Of course, we mean to learn something (and teach something) through these stories, but narratives are nonetheless at the heart of our profession.

So, here are some pictures for all of my other book nerd friends out there!

memes making fun of Twilight: you can’t get enough of them

But now that I’m doing my reading year for my degree, this is more like how I feel:

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Nanny’s Meatloaf

I know everyone has their own meatloaf recipe, and probably everybody thinks theirs is the best.  Well, I’m here to provide yet another “best meatloaf” recipe.  This is the one that my Nanny (Southern for “grandmother” – I didn’t actually have a nanny) and Mama make.

Ingredients:

  • Ground Meat – 2 pounds
  • ½ onion (or 1 small one), chopped
  • ½ bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 egg per pound of meat
  • about ¼ cup of Worcestershire sauce
  • salt & garlic pepper (to taste)
  • 1 can of Rotels (not drained)
  • approximately one cup of oatmeal
  • about 8 oz of ketchup

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Mix all ingredients together and then place into large (9×13) pan.
  3. Don’t pack the loaf tightly, just shape it.
  4. Cook until done (approximately 30-45 minutes)

Directions for the Glaze:

  1. 4 tbs of hot salsa
  2. 4 tbs of ketchup
  3. 2 tsp of ground cumin
  4. 1.5 tbs brown sugar
  5. splash (or splashes) of Worcestershire

Mix the above and pour half over the meatloaf for the last 15-20 minutes of baking time.  Use the remaining half to pour over your meatloaf while eating it.

Side Note: the glaze is not my Nanny’s recipe, but one that we got from a friend, and it is so good!

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Jambalaya

This Southern boy loves jambalaya and all kinds of good creole food.  While that seems to taste best when you’re on the streets of New Orleans, but this one’s actually not too bad.  

Prep time = 15 minutes

Total time = about 1 hour

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/4 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup chopped smoked turkey sausage (about 4 ounces)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked long-grain white rice
  • 2 3/4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/4 pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • (for a little extra spice, you can cut up a hot pepper, like a cayenne when you’re sauteing the veggies)

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and black pepper. Add chicken to pan, and cook 5 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.
  2. Remove chicken from pan; cover and keep warm. Add sausage to pan; cook 5 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add 1 cup onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic; cover, reduce heat to low, and cook 12 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.
  4. Stir in rice; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  5. Add broth, paprika, thyme, and red pepper; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes.
  6. Add chicken and tomatoes; cook, uncovered, 10 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
  7. Stir in shrimp; cover and cook 5 minutes or until shrimp are done. Remove from heat, and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Sprinkle with green onions.

Note:  We didn’t have any chicken when we decided to make this at the last minute, so we just doubled the sausage and shrimp to make up for it, and it turned out great! 

Original recipe here.

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Easy Taco Casserole

If you’re in need of a quick recipe to make for supper, this is it!  Very easy, and both times I’ve made it, people have loved it.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Total time: 40 minutes

  • Tortilla Chips, plus additional for serving
  • 1 Tbs Chili Oil (or olive oil and red pepper flakes)
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 pound Ground meat (we’ve used chicken once, and also venison
  • One packet of Taco Seasoning
  • 1 can Black Beans, drained
  • 1 cup Salsa
  • 1 cup shredded Cheese
  • Optional: Other toppings such as jalepenios, olives, etc.

Heat oven to 350.

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and garlic and sautee until soft. Add meat and taco seasoning. Cook, breaking up meat with a spatula, for about 5 minutes. Add beans and salsa. Mix well and continue to cook until salsa thickens.

Line the bottom of a large baking dish with tortilla chips, pressing down on them lightly to break them into bite-sized pieces. Spread the meat and bean mixture over the chips and top with cheese. Add sliced jalepenos or other toppings that you want to be cooked. Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and gooey.

Scoop up with additional chips if desired.

Original recipe from healthy-delicious.com

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Found Some More

Throughout the week, I’ve found some more memes that I thought I’d share:

How true is that?!

X-Men meets Star Wars = nerdgasm

This reminds me of my Nanny

This also reminds me of my Nanny!

Who’s f*cked now?

Don’t judge. We’ve all had that moment.

Maybe too early for Xmas posts, but I couldn’t resist. Laughed too damn hard.

These make me think of my earlier post about coffee (Elixir of Life)

This is me during finals week.

Again, this reminds me of an earlier post (Tied in a Knot)

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