Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Recipe Review - - Chicken Boudine

I made Bobby's Lighter Chicken Boudine for supper last night. I had never heard of Chicken Boudine, so I would have never known it was the "lighter" version. Either way, it was very tasty! I served it with roasted asparagus and steamed broccoli.


Ease: This was a really easy recipe to make. I put it together early in the day and had it in the refrigerator until supper time. It took about 20 minutes to throw together. That includes cooking the chicken. I just sauteed the chicken before I did the onion and peppers.

Cost: This is a very affordable recipe. Just adding it up in my head quickly, I would say this cost around $4 to make. I don't always have "No Yolk" noodles on hand, but they are pretty cheap. Everything else in the recipe can usually be found in my pantry, freezer, or refrigerator.

Taste: Yummo! I left out the mushrooms, but I added minced garlic, pepper, and thyme. It wasn't overly flavorful, but it was very good. I really love spinach and I liked how it tasted with the red pepper. I did use a whole red pepper instead of just 1/2 like the recipe calls for.

Nutrition: I wouldn't say that this is a "healthy" recipe, but it definitely isn't unhealthy. It is definitely a quilt-free recipe. I don't think I used fat-free cream of mushroom soup. I remember that there was a lady standing in front of the fat-free cans in the grocery store and she wasn't moving. I'm usually in a big hurry when I'm shopping, so I didn't want to wait for her to finish chatting. So, I had to sacrifice.

Overall: 4 out of 5 stars - - Good, but not a recipe I would crave.

WC #4 Update

Monday, 8:40 p.m. - - All clean and headed to bed!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Weekly Challenge #4

If I were being honest with myself and you, I could make this week's challenge be something along the lines of: get out of bed before 8:00 every morning, take a shower every day, put on real clothes, make supper every night, or make the bed every day. However, I'm sure I would be a complete failure. I'm not feeling very motivated today, but hopefully that will change as the week goes on!

Anyway, on to the challenge for this week.

Every day this week I will...have all the dishes done before going to bed.

This is a real challenge for me. I wash the dishes no less than 5 times a day. We don't have a dish washer and we have very limited counter space to let dishes build up. So, I spend a lot of my day washing dishes. I think the thing that makes it hardest for me to keep up is drying the dishes and putting them away so I can wash another load.

The evenings are the hardest for me. I usually try to keep up with the dishes as I'm fixing supper, but that doesn't always happen. Then once supper is over, I have to dry and put away what I've already washed plus wash the supper dishes. I'm also usually exhausted by that time of night and can't find the energy to get it done.

The problem is that I hate waking up and seeing a pile of dishes staring me in the face first thing. It's not a good start to the morning. I have to wash the dishes and clear the counter off before I can get breakfast going. I often think to myself, "I should have just done this last night. It would have been so much easier."

So, here's to having a clean kitchen at night! I'll let you know how it goes!


Our sweet Wilson passed away Saturday morning. It was one of the hardest things I have ever experienced. He was so sick and it was so hard to watch his body shut down.

We are missing him and thinking about him constantly. I'm thankful for the time we had with him and the fun we had together. Wilson certainly was a playful, rambunctious, and loving puppy. I am missing having him curl up in my lap or nuzzle his head up against my neck. I miss playing fetch with him out in the yard . I miss watching him and Wesley chase each other around the house. Wesley seems to be missing his buddy as well. He has walked around whining a lot since Saturday.

I'm sure it will take us a while to get over this and get back into a normal routine of life.

WC #3 Update - Teriyaki Meatball Pita Sem-Review

I attempted to make the Teriyaki Meatball Pita recipe and homemade pita recipe on Friday night. It didn't go so well. First off, here's the recipe:

Teriyaki Meatball Pita

1 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1/2 cup honey-teriyaki flavored barbecue sauce, divided
1 egg
1/2 tsp. pepper
4 large pita breads

Preheat oven to 400. Combine beef, bread crumbs, 1/4 cup barbecue sauce, egg and pepper in a mixing bowl. Using about 2 tablespoons of beef at a time, roll meat into balls. Place balls in a 9- by 11-inch baking dish. Pour remaining barbecue sauce over top. Bake 20 minutes or until cooked through. Cut each pita in half. Spoon meatballs into pocket just before serving.

Serves 8. Serve with a tossed salad, low fat dressing and fresh fruit kabobs (layer strawberries, blueberries, grapes, orange slices, etc. on toothpicks)

253 calories
17 g. protein
23 g. carbs
9 g. fat
69 mg cholesterol
1 g. fiber
380 mg. sodium

My pitas didn't go so well. I have a lot of trouble using yeast. I usually get my water too hot and it kills the yeast. That must have been what happened this time. They were rising OK, but then when I baked them, they were flat and dense. Also, if you look closely at the recipe for the pitas, it calls for 1 TABLESPOON of salt! That's a lot of salt!!!! I only used about 1/2 Tbsp. and they were too salty! I'm sure it is an error in the recipe.

After the disaster with the pitas, I thought I could still make the meatballs. But, my meat didn't get thawed out all the way. By that time, it was hot in the kitchen and I was frustrated. So, we had sandwiches instead.

I did make the meatballs for church on Sunday. I didn't have the honey-teriyaki bbq sauce, but I made my own. I just combined regular barbecue sauce, honey, and teriyaki. The meatballs were really good. I also added some onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper as I was mixing them up. Tasty!

Perhaps I will attempt this recipe again sometime.

Friday, March 25, 2011

WC #3 Update - No Review for Veggie Burgers

Due to having a very sick puppy and trying to nurse him back to health, I did not make the veggie burgers for supper last night. Hopefully I will be making the Teriyaki Meatball Pitas tonight.

***Our 5 1/2 month old Golden Retriever, Wilson, is very sick with parvovirus. It is a very serious and contagious virus for dogs. We took him to the vet yesterday morning and they were concerned he wouldn't make it through the night. He was given fluids and antibiotics at the vet and I gave him Gatorade with a syringe through the night. Thankfully, he made it through the night and seems to be on his way to recovery. He isn't out of the woods yet, but he seems to be a fighter.

I realize that most people think, "What's the big deal? It's just a dog." However, he is part of our family and a constant companion to me. He helps to fill a void and provides much joy in our lives. Wilson, Wesley, and Jake are more than "just dogs" to our family. Yes, we're those kind of people!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

WC #3 Update - Santa Fe Chicken Review

Wednesday night we had Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken for supper. I served it with cilantro lime rice and guacamole. I realized this morning that we've had rice for 4 meals in a row. We typically don't eat rice that much, but that's the way it worked out. I know I'm getting a little tired of rice.

I tried to take a nice picture of it on the plate, but this is the best I could do with my phone. It doesn't look too appetizing in this picture, huh?


Ease: This recipe took me less than 10 minutes to put together in the crock pot. It was really a matter of opening a few cans and dumping it in the crock, adding spices, throwing the chicken in. I just put the frozen chicken breasts right into the crock in the morning. It cooked on low for about 8 1/2 hours. It took me all of about 3 minutes to shred up the chicken before I served it. Super easy.

Cost: Again, another relatively inexpensive meal. All of the ingredients are often in my pantry and freezer, so this would be an easy meal to throw together on the fly.

Taste: I had a little trouble deciding if I liked the flavor of this dish. At first, I thought it was a little bland. It smelled so good cooking and I was sure it would have a lot of bold flavor. I added some fresh cilantro and guacamole right before serving. When I mixed that in, I liked the flavor. It gave it a nice fresh taste. After a while, I started noticing the heat from the cayenne and green chilis. It might have also been good with a sprinkle of cheese or a small dollop of sour cream. It didn't taste bad at all, just not as bold as I was expecting.

Nutrition: I don't feel like this dish wasn't as healthy as the others this week, since it didn't have any fresh vegetables. However, it wasn't unhealthy by any means. I did use low sodium, fat free chicken broth. It didn't really have anything else with a lot of calorie content in it. It does have some vegetables with the corn and tomatoes and chilis. The black beans are also a good fiber source. It's also a good source of lean protein with the chicken and whole grains with the rice. The guacamole I added on top is somewhat high in fat and calories, but it's a good fat in moderation.

Overall: 4 out of 5 stars - - With the additions of the fresh cilantro and guacamole, I really liked the flavor of this dish. In the future, I might try to add some more fresh ingredients right before serving....maybe some scallions, fresh pico de gallo, avocado slices, or even a lemon or lime wedge to squeeze over the top.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

WC #3 Update - Spicy Shrimp and Asparagus Stir Fry Review

Here's the recipe for our supper last night. Chris gets weekly emails from work with healthy living tips and recipes. This was one of the recipes from a few weeks ago.

Spicy Shrimp and Asparagus Stir-Fry

1/2 cup instant brown rice (measured dry)
1 tsp. canola or other cooking oil
1/2 onion chopped
1 cup chopped bell pepper
2 garlic cloves
1 cup chopped raw asparagus
8 oz. frozen shrimp, defrosted
1 T. low-sodium soy sauce
Hot sauce
Salt and black pepper

Cook the rice according to package directions. Add the oil to a large skillet or wok and place over high heat. When the oil is smoking, add the onion, bell peppers, garlic and asparagus. Stir-fry for five minutes until the vegetables have browned slightly. Stir in the shrimp, soy sauce and hot sauce to taste; cook for an additional three minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve half of it over the brown rice.

Serves two

Per serving: 592 calories, 11 grams fat (2 saturated), 36 grams protein, 88 grams carbohydrates, 9 grams fiber


I doubled the recipe and it was plenty for us for supper with some left over for lunch today. This was a really good recipe and very easy to make. I don't follow measurements when I'm using vegetables. I used 2 bell peppers (green and yellow), about 20 spears of asparagus, 1/4 white onion, and 3 or 4 scallions.


Ease: This recipe was super easy to make! It took me about 25 minutes total to prep and cook. That also included a brief intermission to clean up after the dog. Chopping up the vegetables was the most labor-intensive part.

Cost: When I first found this recipe, I didn't know if I would try it because shrimp can be kind of expensive. Thankfully, I found it on sale last week for less than $5 for a 16 oz bag. Asparagus has also been on sale lately. I can't remember how much I paid for it, but I think it was around $2.50 for big bundle and I only used 1/2. The peppers were cheap from Sam's and everything else I already had on hand.

Taste: This was really good! I wasn't sure at first because I'm not a huge fan of soy sauce. But, the 2 tablespoons isn't too overwhelming. I didn't have any hot sauce, but I did add some black pepper and cayenne while the vegetables were cooking. I was hesitant to add salt, because I didn't have low sodium soy sauce. After it was done cooking and I tasted it, I did add a little salt to it.

The taste wasn't overwhelming, but it was good. The vegetables were cooked enough, but still had a good crunch to them. I didn't serve it with anything (other than the brown rice), but I wished I had some fresh pineapple and some strawberries to go on the side.

Nutrition: If I had used low sodium soy sauce and didn't add the extra salt, this would have been a very healthy meal. Even with the salt content, I feel like it was very nutritious. Protein, whole grain, fresh vegetables....doesn't get much better than that! I have a hard time understanding how each serving has 592 calories, but maybe that's right.

Overall: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars...We really enjoyed this meal, but it isn't something that I would crave. I would definitely make it again and enjoy it!

Monday, March 21, 2011

WC #3 Update - Slow Cooker Stuffed Peppers Review

I made The Deen Brothers Lighter Slow Cooker Stuffed Peppers for supper tonight. I served it with peas & carrots and garlic cheddar biscuits.

In my usual style, I made a few changes to the recipe. I added mushrooms when I was sauteing the onion, garlic and zucchini. I left them in big chunks so the non-mushroom eater could easily pick them out. I also browned the turkey before I put it in the peppers. The recipe didn't say to do this, but I was a little concerned that it wouldn't get cooked all the way in the crock pot.


Ease: This was a relatively easy recipe to make. It took me about 30 minutes to prep. That time did include figuring out how to use my new slicer/shredder that goes with my KitchenAid mixer.

Cost: Most of the ingredients are staples in our house. I don't always have ground turkey, but I found it pretty cheap last week and bought several pounds to put in the freezer. The zucchini isn't a staple right now, but once our garden starts producing we will have tons! The peppers were the most expensive part, but they are kind of pricey right now. I did find a bag of 6 yellow/orange/red peppers at Sam's for less than $5 the other day, which was a good price. Again, once our garden is producing we will have lots of peppers.

Taste: Chris and I both agreed that it needed more seasoning. It definitely needed a little more salt. I might also try to add some other herbs in the mixture next time. The texture was also odd. I cooked it in the crock pot on low for 6 hours, which I think was a little too long. The pepper was very mushy and the filling was also kind of mushy. I think also leaving the rice uncooked might help with the texture. Next time I will probably only cook it for 4 hours. Otherwise, it was a very good recipe.

Nutrition: The only "processed" part of this recipe was the shredded cheese and marinara sauce. Everything else was fresh, whole grain, and meat.

Overall: 3 out of 5 stars

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Weekly Challenge #3

Every day this week I will....try a new recipe.

This might seem somewhat ambitious, but I love trying new recipes. I'm in the mood for new, inexpensive, healthy recipes.

Monday: Slow Cooker Stuffed Peppers
Tuesday: Spicy Shrimp and Asparagus Stir-Fry (a recipe Chris got from work)
Wednesday: Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken
Thursday: Veggie Burgers (recipe from March 2011 Better Homes and Gardens)
Friday: Teriyaki Meatball Pitas (another recipe Chris got from work) with homemade pitas

I'll attempt to post reviews and the recipes as I try them each night. Hopefully they will be successful meals!

Weekly Challenge #2 Update

This week ended up being a challenge, but not entirely because of this challenge. Make sense? The week didn't go as planned, but that's OK. It was a very busy week, but I did get a lot done around the house.

Just to recap, my plan for the week was:

Monday: Clean out humidifiers and prepare to pack away
Tuesday: Pack away winter clothes, throw out what didn't get worn, unpack spring/summer clothes
Wednesday: Wash the curtains
Thursday: Wash all the blinds (YUCK!)
Friday: Wash the walls in Grandma's room.

Well, here's how my week went:

Monday: Didn't clean out humidifiers
Tuesday: Packed winter clothes away, put several things in the garage sale/Goodwill pile, unpacked spring/summer clothes
Wednesday: Didn't wash the curtains
Thursday: Washed the blinds and windows in Grandma's room
Friday: Washed the blinds and windows in the living room, washed the walls in Grandma's room, washed the curtains in the living room

So, all and all it wasn't a complete failure, but not completely a success.

Splashes of Spring

Even though I had planned to make this post earlier in the week, I think it's fitting for today. Happy 1st day of Spring! I've been in the mood for Spring for several weeks now and the house is showing it! My normal box of Spring decor is in storage and I'm too lazy to dig it out. So I thought it was a perfect opportunity to get some new stuff!

Kitchen table - new tablecloth on clearance from Target, birds from Hobby Lobby, tin bucket from Target dollar bin with plastic eggs

TV Console table - Bird and rabbit from Hobby Lobby, flowers from Hobby Lobby

Living Room - egg wreath from Target dollar bin

Living Room - "Spring" blocks from Hobby Lobby

Living Room - eggs from Hobby Lobby, rabbit from Hobby Lobby, plaque from Mardel's

Living Room - most of the stuff in the apothecary jars is the same that has been there. I did put some Easter grass and plastic eggs in the large jar

Front door - "Welcome" sign from Hobby Lobby

Our lilacs are blooming! I can't wait for them to get very full so I can bring a bouquet in the house!

HaPpY SpRiNg!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Weekly Challenge #2

The challenge this week isn't going to be quite as exciting as last week's. However, with Spring right around the corner, it's a necessary one.

Every day this week I will...do one deep cleaning task.

Monday: Clean out humidifiers and prepare to pack away
Tuesday: Pack away winter clothes, throw out what didn't get worn, unpack spring/summer clothes
Wednesday: Wash the curtains
Thursday: Wash all the blinds (YUCK!)
Friday: Wash the walls in Grandma's room.

This is certain to be a challenge for me. I only enjoy one of the tasks (packing away clothes and getting out new ones). The others are like pulling teeth for me, especially washing the blinds. I'm sure It will be worth it when I'm finished.

I won't be making a post every day to update you on the progress. That would be a little boring. But, I do have a few other posts planned for throughout the week.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Weekly Challenge #1 Update


I've had this necklace a long time. I believe I bought it to go with an Easter outfit about 5 years ago. It was one of those that I had forgotten about and was in the back of my jewelry box.

(Pardon the awkward shadows and angle. I was trying to take a picture of myself with my phone, but not get my face/neck in the picture much. I have this rash thing on my neck and jawline, so I figured you probably don't want to see that!)


This beautiful necklace was given to me by a dear friend for Christmas. I really love it! Turquoise and brown are big down here, so I feel like I fit right in.

(Have I mentioned how much I hate taking pictures of myself!?!?!)


This necklace was a Christmas present from my Grandma Kate. I really like cameo jewelry and I was so excited about this necklace. I love the black, white, and silver combination. It has earrings to match, but I wasn't in an earring mood today.


I was looking quite nasty today, but the necklace helped disguise that a little. I was in desperate need of a shower, but decided to wait until I could go for a run.

Unfortunately, I don't remember where I got this necklace. I'm sorry if that fact hurts someone's feelings. I wish I could remember, and I've tried all day, but it won't come to me. Maybe it was Tasha? It's a very pretty necklace. This picture isn't very good, but the necklace is green and blue with some silver running through it. It kind of has an iridescent look.


I was trying to do something different with the picture this time, but it didn't go as planned. You should see all the "mess-up" pictures, it's quite humorous.

This necklace was from my Mom a few years ago. I love the bright blue and really like for it to stand out. I paired it with this simple white shirt and called it done.

Saturday and Sunday

I didn't get around to taking pictures with the necklaces on, so this will have to do. I wore the necklace on the left on Saturday and the one on the right today.

The necklace I wore on Saturday is made out of blue and brown buttons. It was a gift from a friend when I graduated from high school.

The necklace I wore today is a simple red and silver necklace. I bought it to go with the outfit I wore the night Chris proposed to me, so it holds many special memories.

I enjoyed the challenge this week. I had hoped to be more creative with the necklaces I picked to wear, but that's alright. Just for fun, I counted that I own 39 necklaces! That might be a few too many!

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Weekly Challenge #1

(See post below to know about the Weekly Challenge.)

Every day this week I will.....wear a different necklace.

I was inspired to do this challenge last week when I looked in my jewelry box. I have TONS of necklaces, yet rarely wear them. I love wearing necklaces. They just add so much to an outfit and can really just make me feel better about myself. So, this week I'm going to make a special effort to put on a different necklace each morning.

Weekly Challenge

Is it just me, or has this blog gotten super boring? I'm sure you're tired of reading about the dogs and Grandma. I need to think of more exciting things to write about.

Actually, I have a plan to help make things a little more exciting around here. I'm going to start doing a Weekly Challenge. Each week I'll pick a different "challenge" that must be completed every day. For example, every day this week I will wear a necklace. Or maybe every day this week I will call a friend. Sometimes the challenge will be related to clothing. Sometimes it will be related to household tasks or maybe something I need to accomplish.

I'll write about the challenge for the week and try to make some posts about how I'm doing with the challenges. Maybe it will inspire some of my readers to take part in your own challenges.

Hopefully this will add some spice to the blog and my life in general. Also, I can't think of a more creative name than "Weekly Challenge." If you think of something, please share your ideas!