My First-Ever Crockpot Creation: Chicken and Wild Rice

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I’m a picky eater.  If it’s red or green, I probably don’t like it (read:  I refuse to try it.)  So I’m not into fruits and vegetables much.  And definitely no condiments for me.

I like meat, cheese, butter, potatoes, pasta, rice, and bread.  Mmmm, carbs…  And junk food.  Lots of carbs and junk food.  But that’s about it.  (When I’m 50, I’ll want to come back to right now, and punch the 27-year-old me in the face for eating like this.)

I eat one food until it’s gone; take a drink of water; and then move on to the next.  No mixing of tastes or textures.  Oh, and I don’t like for my food to touch, like, on the plate.  My meat can’t touch my carb can’t touch my French-cut green beans (the only veggie I like/have tried) can’t touch my dinner roll.  Or I just can’t eat.

Yet, somehow, some of my favorite dishes are casseroles.  I don’t understand the (lack of) logic behind it all.  I just like what I like.

All that said – because you so desperately wanted to know about my food-related OCD tendencies (go ahead and shoot me the side-eye if you’re still reading)…  I’m pretty stoked to have found this recipe – Christy Jordan’s Slow Cooker Chicken and Wild Rice – on Pinterest.  It’s perfect for the picky eater like me, as well as people who enjoy some variety.

It was an absolute hit with my family of four adults and a toddler.  My stepdad doesn’t like rice (would have been good to know before I started), but even he enjoyed the dish.  And we have zero leftovers after only one meal!  My mom told me I should have doubled the recipe, but…….  I DID!  So I guess I’ll have to quadruple (???) it next time.  Goodness gracious!

Here’s what the original recipe calls for:

  • 4 Boneless or Bone-in Chicken Breasts
  • 1 Can Cream of Mushroom Soup (10.5 oz. size)
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 1 Box Long Grain & Wild Rice with Seasoning Packet

Here’s what I used:

  • 12 Large Boneless Chicken Breast Tenders
  • 2 Cans Cream of Chicken Soup (10.5 oz. each; I don’t do mushrooms.)
  • 2 Boxes Rice-a-Roni Long Grain and Wild Rice (so add 2 Tbsp Butter & 3 1/3 cups of water to my ingredients list)
  • (Notice I skipped the onion completely.  I don’t do those either.)

Directions:

  1. Put chicken breasts (thawed or frozen will work), chopped onion (not me!), and soup in slow cooker. 
  2. If you set it on low, cook for 7-8 hours.  If you set it on high, cook for 3-4 hours.
  3. When you’re ready to serve, stir in cooked rice.  If you cook the rice right before serving, it will be ready to go after you stir it.  If you cook it earlier, like the night before, let it cook a few minutes after stirring (five minutes should do). 

That’s it!  Get ready to fill your belly and soak up the compliments.  :)

I’d like to mention that, despite having owned one for over a year, I had never used a slow cooker until today.  And I will tell you that, already, I. Am. Hooked.  What an amazing feeling it was to know that dinner was prepared before 9 a.m.!!  I had a kind of peace of mind all day knowing that the daunting task of cooking dinner (my least favorite daily chore activity) was already crossed off of my to-do list.  After only one experience, I’m strongly considering coming up with a list of 365 slow cooker recipes so that I can do it like his every day of the year!!

Another New Sneakpeeq Freebie!! Rhapsody Ring by Bohemian Rhapsody

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Sneakpeeq, my favorite daily deals site, frequently offers high-value freebies to new users.  In the past, they’ve given away real pearl rings and earrings, silk scarves, silver charms, and different bracelets.  (There may have been other items as well, but these are the freebies that I know of for sure.)

Now, the Rhapsody Ring by Bohemian Rhapsody (pictured above, retail $27) is the current freebie.  I’d like to snag one of these rustic bamboo rings for myself, but I already received my freebies for signing up a few months ago.  Boo!

If you like this ring as well, sign up for Sneakpeeq today!  In addition to this pretty freebie, new sign-ups will get a free $10 credit and free shipping on your first purchase.

To get your free ring and discount credits:

  • Click here to visit Sneakpeeq.
  • Click sign in.  (You need a Facebook account to access the site.)
  • Click the “Get Your Reward” button.
  • Click the “Use Your Badge” button.
  • Click the “Peeq for Your Price” button.  It will show that you are getting your ring for free!  (Shipping is also free.)
  • Click the “Buy Now” button.
  • Enter your shipping information (name and address).  They will NOT ask you for a credit card number or any payment information for free items.

Done!  It’s that simple.  Once you’ve claimed your freebie, feel free to look around.  You will still have your $10 credit either way, as the freebie does not count as your first purchase.  Use it today; use it in a few days…  Doesn’t matter – it’s up to you.

But be prepared…  You will fall in love with this site.  They have insanely cool stuff, and there’s something for everyone.  Not kidding – I visit Sneakpeeq every day.  I’ve earned several dollars-off, percent-off, and free shipping credits (called “badges”) just for “peeqing” at the prices of the items I like.

I’ve already ordered 26 items (seriously!) from Sneakpeeq, all for little to no money out of my pocket…  And I love them all.  I choose to store my freebies and purchases away to give as Christmas presents at the end of the year.  Very excited to give such great gifts that cost me little to nothing.

TIP:  If you have multiple Facebook accounts, you can have multiple Sneakpeeq accounts.  This means you can receive multiple freebies and discount badges.  Score!!

Remember, you are never obligated to purchase anything.  But you should never turn down freebies this cute!

Happy peeqing!!

Dirt Pie: Success

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Attempted my first recipe for my Pinterest Challenge today, and I’m declaring it a total success.

I refer to myself as a “novice chef.”  Translation:  “I can’t cook.”  (Not to deter you from trying this recipe.  I can’t cook because I’ve made dew attempts to do so.  But most of the recipes I’ve attempted so far have been successful!)  So I’m all about quick and easy directions.

Crystal Paine’s 15-Minute Oreo Pie, which I’ve always known as “Dirt Pie,” is just that – quick and easy.  So if you ever have to whip up a dessert in a hurry, I suggest trying this one.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Package Oreos
  • 1/2 Stick of Butter/Margarine
  • 2 Boxes Vanilla Pudding (4 serving size)
  • 1 1/2 Cups Cold Milk
  • 8 oz. Cool Whip (other brands or homemade will work, too)

Directions:

  • Crush 24-30 Oreos.  (Crystal recommends using a blender or food processor; but since I don’t have one, I used a gallon-sized Ziploc bag and a rolling pin.  I totally agree that you should use the blender!  Oy…)
  • Mix crushed Oreos with melted butter, and press onto bottom and sides of 9″ pie plate.
  • Blend milk and pudding mix until thick.  Took about 30-ish seconds with my hand mixer.
  • Beat Cool Whip into pudding with hand mixer until you reach your desired consistency.  (Crystal advised that you use thawed whipped cream, but I forgot to take mine out of the freezer.  Fortunately, it was easy to blend anyway.)
  • Stir about 12 crushed Oreos into pudding/whipped cream mixture.
  • Spoon mixture onto crust on pie plate.
  • Garnish with Oreos.  (I used whole Oreos, but you could use halves or pieces.)
  • Refrigerate for “at least four hours.”

I put quotation marks around “at least four hours” for a reason:  Because I couldn’t wait that long.  I tasted the mixture after I spooned it onto the crust… Delish!!  And that accounts for the same reason that I “garnished” my pie with tons of whole Oreos.  I pretty much used them to scoop it like a dip every single time I passed the fridge.  (Crystal’s finished product is much prettier.  Mine will be next time, too, if I acquire the proper equipment and a shred of self-control.)

But after the four-hour mark, I tried my treat as an actual pie.  The result:  thicker and more firm, but just as tasty!  My parents both ate a slice, and said it was “very rich,” which was their polite way of saying it wasn’t for them.  But my mom is a constant dieter and my stepdad is diabetic, so…  What do they know, anyway?  Joshy and I don’t count calories or carbs, so we absolutely loved it!!

‘Why Didn’t I Think of That?’ Moment of the Day: What to Do with Excess Grease from Cooking

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A few weeks ago, I challenged myself to use my Pinterest addiction to my benefit by implementing at least one pin per week in real life.  So far, so good.  Not all of my endeavors are worth sharing (and I forgot to take pictures of two others that were), but this is one that I just have to pass on to you.  I’ve used it multiple times in the past three weeks, and am so happy to have stumbled upon it. I’d share the original link if it were attached to the pin, but there wasn’t one.

But I had quite the “Why didn’t I think of that?” kind of moment when I read the instructions, and I think you might, too.  (Or does everyone already do this?  I’m not domestically inclined by nature, so I wouldn’t know.)

What to Do with Excess Grease from Cooking

What You Need:

  • Bowl
  • Aluminum Foil

Directions:

Line inside of bowl with aluminum foil.

Pour in excess grease.

Let sit until hardened.

Remove foil.

Ball it up, and toss it!

That’s it.  Genius, right?

I used to pour grease down the sink drain (seriously!), never considering what an absolutely terrible idea it was.  Then I started flushing it down the toilet, thinking that might be a better idea.  (Have I mentioned how not naturally domesticated I am??)  And then, after a family member freaked out upon seeing my grease disposal methods, I started to pour it into an old soup can.  But I don’t always have an empty one on hand.  So this, I’ve decided, is the perfect solution.

I heart Pinterest.

Eternal Summer Bracelet by Bohemian Fantasy: New Sneakpeeq FREEBIE!!

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Sneakpeeq, my favorite daily deals site, frequently offers high-value freebies to new users.  In the past, they’ve given away real pearl rings and earrings, expensive silk scarves, stylish silver charms, and pretty friendship bracelets.  (There may have been other items as well, but these are the five that I know of for sure.)

Now, the Eternal Summer Bracelet by Bohemian Fantasy (pictured above, retail $60) is the current freebie.  Different flowers set in amber, these bracelets are gorgeous and oh-so-summery.  I’d absolutely love to snag one for myself, but I already received my freebies for signing up a few months ago.  Boo!

If you like this bracelet as well, sign up for Sneakpeeq today!  In addition to this super cute freebie, new sign-ups will get a free $10 credit and free shipping on your first purchase.

To get your free bracelet and discount credits:

  • Click here to visit Sneakpeeq.
  • Click sign in.  (You need a Facebook account to access the site.)
  • Click the “Get Your Reward” button.
  • Click the “Use Your Badge” button.
  • Click the “Peeq for Your Price” button.  It will show that you are getting your bracelet for free!  (Shipping is also free.)
  • Click the “Buy Now” button.
  • Enter your shipping information (name and address).  They will NOT ask you for a credit card number or any payment information for free items.

Done!  It’s that simple.  Once you’ve claimed your freebie, feel free to look around.  You will still have your $10 credit and free shipping either way, as the freebie does not count as your first purchase.  Use them today; use them in a few days…  Doesn’t matter – it’s up to you.

But be prepared…  You will fall in love with this site.  They have insanely cool stuff, and there’s something for everyone.  Not kidding – I visit Sneakpeeq every day.  I’ve earned several dollars-off, percent-off, and free shipping credits (called “badges”) just for “peeqing” at the prices of the items I like.

I’ve already ordered and received 17 items (seriously!) from Sneakpeeq, all for little to no money out of my pocket…  And I love them all.  I choose to store my freebies and purchases away to give as Christmas presents this year.  Very excited to give such great gifts that cost me little to nothing.

TIP:  If you have multiple Facebook accounts, you can have multiple Sneakpeeq accounts.  This means you can receive multiple freebies and discount badges.  Score!!

Remember, you are never obligated to purchase anything.  But you should never turn down freebies this cute!

Happy peeqing!!

Pinterest Challenge

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I joined Pinterest a few weeks ago, and have since decided that it is the greatest Web site ever – surely the best idea generator I’ve encountered on the Internet.

I have also decided, however, that the site’s header should brandish a disclaimer, something that warns potential and existing users of its highly addictive nature.  Like all social media – not to mention the entire Internet and technology in general – Pinterest must be used responsibly (read:  in moderation) in order to be considered an effective and productive use of time.

For instance, I’ve created 55 boards, repinned 1,028 pins, and racked up 265 likes to date – all in just less than a month.  (Goodness gracious!!)  Of those 1,000+ pins, I’ve completed…..  around 15 of them.  Needless to say, I’ve stayed up way too late on way too many nights, filling my brain with way too many ideas.  And while I’m a huge fan of spreading such ideas, I’m going to have to actually implement many more of them at some point… or consider my time wasted.

That said, when used appropriately, Pinterest really does provide its users with a fantastic way to organize nearly all of their endeavors and ideas:  DIY projects, recipes, home remedies, tutorials, reading lists, fitness regimens, children’s activities, parenting, fashion, beauty, home decor, organizational tools, holidays, gifts, entertaining, words of wisdom, humor, and so much more.  Individuals can use the site for recreational, educational, or inspirational purposes.  Businesses can use it as a marketing tool.  There really is something for everyone.

(If you have never used Pinterest, and would like to know more about it, consider reading this USA Today article: “How to use Pinterest’s pin board for the Web.”  Or do a Google search on the topic.  There are tons of other great tips out there.)

In my case, the pins that get me most excited are recipes.  I’m a novice chef (read:  I can’t cook), so I’m always looking for new and easy ways to provide my family with some variety.  Because of Pinterest, I don’t think I’ll ever need to consult a cookbook again (as if I had ever done it before).  No, I’ve got a board (okay, like 10 boards) for that.

The trick now is to actually cook those recipes.  So I’m setting a small goal for myself to transfer at least one “pin,” or virtual idea, into my real life each week.  (At this rate, I could stop pinning today, and have years’ worth of material left to use!)

Trying new things is a general goal I set for myself this year, so I’m really looking forward to this challenge.  But I really need to spend less time doing research (read:  procrastinating) on the computer and more time praying, reading, exercising, cooking, cleaning the house, organizing my junk, and entertaining myself and my son in ways that people did before the Internet began monopolizing our time and our brains.

Of course, you can expect to read about my offline experiments – successes and failures – right here on this blog.  Not that I think that my ordinary attempts at other people’s great ideas are particularly newsworthy, but who knows?  You may be inspired to try a few new things for yourself.

In fact, you may already be a fellow Pinterest addict user.  If so (and even if not), consider reading Tip #3 in this article (that I just so happened to find while snooping around Pinterest).  The tip calls for us to “Make Pinterest Inspiration a Reality.”  Here’s a short excerpt:

“Now click to YOUR OWN Pinterest profile page and stay away from everyone else’s pins and choose something that you would like to DO to spend your time instead of being on Pinterest.

And then just do it!!  Attempt to make your reality as interesting and exciting as your Pinterest profile.  Turn your “Books I Want to Read” board into your “Books I’ve Read” board, your “Places I Want to Go” board into your “Places I’ve Been” board.  And so on.

However, since you’re still reading this on your computer right now anyway

Click the button above in order to get a general idea of the inspiration behind many of my future posts.  In the meantime, feel free to enjoy the mini (and pitiful-looking) Pinterest collage I’ve constructed below.  (It’s late – 3:28 a.m. – and I can’t sleep.  So this is how I chose to use my time.  Ridiculous.)

Happy Easter!

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It’s been a day filled with family, good food, baskets, eggs, presents, and more…  But the things I’m most thankful for are the reasons behind the holiday:  Jesus’ Resurrection and our salvation.  Happy Easter to everyone from Joshua and me! May we all remember and count our blessings today.