Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Try-It Tuesdays: Chicken Tamale Casserole

Their picture...

Hey, it's Tuesday! And I cooked dinner and the recipe involves chicken... again. So I like chicken... Back off! Tonight's recipe was a first for Try-It Tuesdays though... It was *drum roll please* ... a casserole! Yay for casseroles! Ok, I've got to be honest. I was kind of a casserole snob. When I thought of the word "casserole" I thought of luke warm, shady-looking, church potluck casserole. I don't know why. But I did. But then I when I thought again, and tried to believe the best about casseroles like I strive to do in life ("believe the best", that is, not "think about casseroles") all of these amazing casseroles that my mom makes gradually made their way to the surface of my forgetful brain (e.g. chicken enchilada casserole, mmmm) so I decided, "Abby, it's time to give casseroles another chance." And that's what I did. Tonight, on Tryyyyy-It Tuesday! (I said that in my head just like Ryan Seacreast says, "Tonight, on Aaaaamerican Idol!" Just sayin'.)

ANYWAY, one night a couple of weeks ago I went through Cooking Light's 100 Easy Chicken Recipes and found quite a few that seemed Try-It Tuesday worthy. When I came across this recipe I thought, "Well, it has the potential to be really great or really weird." And because that's probably the same thing that people think about me :) I decided to give it a try. Chicken Tamale Casserole. It had easy ingredients (no chopping required! Well, I suppose I shredded the chicken...) It took no time to prepare (I got home, started whipping it up, and was done in 5 minutes when I had allotted 30.) It was reasonably healthy (lots of substitutions for things that could have made it real bad for you). And the best part of all... it was delicious! I'd recommend it, fo sho.

Try-It Tuesday: Chicken Tamale Casserole? Success!
My picture. Not so appealing. But I'm telling you it was gooood.

P.S. Sorry if this post is a little out there. We've had 60 degree weather the last two days and it's made me a bit... silly.

P.S.S. Shout out to my friend Alan who unofficially inspired this post because he said I should enter a casserole contest.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


My Etsy-studded cubicle.
Today was just one of those days... work stunk. And I'm sure I'll go in tomorrow, and it'll be fine, and it'll be like today never happened. But today stunk. At one point in the day, I was looking at a blog on my break and my co-worker said, "What are you looking at this time?" (Because I am always looking at sites to remind me that there is a life outside of 401(k)-land...) And my answer was this really dramatic (yes, I'm a bit of a drama queen...), "Looking at something creative. Because I need to do a craft, or sing a song, or bake something, to remind myself of the things I'm actually kind of good at." Yes, the guys that sit around me are good sports to put up with me and my feelings. REALLY good sports, actually. But the day finally ended, and I came home and my parents took me out to Chipotle, and I baked this cake, and I'm feeling better. :)

I thought I'd compile a list of all of the blogs that get me through days like today and remind me of the "artist" that I am deep down when the finance person doesn't feel adequate....

Baking Blogs:

Crafty Blogs:

Other Websites That Make Me Feel Creative:
Pinterest (I have to get it from my phone though because they blocked it at work.)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Try-It Tuesdays: Chicken Satay Stir-Fry

So, today's Try-It Tuesday is not actually the first time I've tried this recipe. It may be... the fifth. BUT my brother Kyle was having his new lady friend over to meet the family and I wasn't about to have another Southwest Chicken and Corn Chowder incident (yuck) on my hands. So I went with a tried and true recipe that has always guaranteed me success.

It's a Rachael Ray recipe that my friend Corrie made for me a few years ago. I tracked the recipe down and have made it a few times, and it's great. It's long, fancy name is Chicken Satay Stir-Fry with Orange Scented Jasmine Rice. The rice is delicious (although my dad always says he'd prefer it not have orange in it, but what does he know... (kidding, Daddy!)) The chicken and vegetables are tasty and fresh. And the peanut sauce is to die for (unfortunately it's also the least healthy part of this meal...) Thankfully the recipe was a hit yet again, and I think Kyle's lady friend (I don't know what their "status" is yet, because he freaks out any time you ask, so I'm referring to her as that) thought it was decent enough.

I also made a red velvet cake because Kyle said she liked anything with cream cheese frosting. I cheated with the cake and just made a box mix but I went with Joy the Baker's cream cheese frosting recipe, here. Overall: a successful night. Hopefully the lady friend would agree. (PS My mom did try out a new recipe last night and it was amaaaazing. Chicken and Sweet Potato Chili. Check it out!)
Dessert, before.
Dessert, after.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Another one bites the dust...

(Awkward foot picture. Got a pedicure today and chose this green
in honor of my friend who loves crazy colors. Especially green.)
So, you remember this spring/fall when I was in a big funk because all of my friends were moving away? But I kept on saying, "At least Jessie's still here. I still have Jessie." Guess who's moving away tomorrow? That'd be Jessie...

My dear friend Jessie and her lovely family are moving to Austin, Texas tomorrow. I haven't really let myself think about it much, but I suppose it's time. I'm going to miss her. A lot. Instead of getting in a funk for the next 3 months about it (like I so maturely handled it last time), I've decided to take the "thankful" route. I'm thankful for the last 6 years that I've known Jessie. I'm thankful for the dance parties, the period piece watch parties, the book discussions, the heart to hearts, the tear fests, the crafternoons, the baking sessions, the game nights, and more... She's a pretty great friend. And I'm thankful.

I went to Facebook to find a good picture of Jessie and I. And well... I found a lot of the following instead. So, you enjoy these, while I bake away my feelings and blow my nose. :) (Yep, I baked this Red Velvet Cheesecake, this Peanut Butter Pie, and this Salted Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie this afternoon. I had reason, it wasn't because I'm kind of sad. It sure did help though...)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Try-It Tuesdays: Jambalaya

I'm so excited to post something new. Not because I like to blog (because I do), but more importantly I'm pretty sure if anyone new came to my blog and saw that picture they probably thought, "Oh no, this is a gamer's blog." I suppose I like games (like is probably an understatement). But I wouldn't call this a gaming blog. Anyway, hooray for a new picture to greet you when you get here for the next couple of days.

Try-It Tuesday is back! Ok, so, I know, it's Wednesday, but the name is catchy and I intended this for Tuesday, but ended up going out to dinner with my momma instead. I've been trying out recipes from Cooking Light lately, and they've been great! Tonight I tried out their recipe for Jambalaya and it was delicious! (Am I allowed to say that something I made was delicious? The recipe was delicious, I just happened to follow the recipe well enough to mimic the deliciousness that was given to me.) I would totally recommend it. I left out the shrimp that it called for, and would give it a little bit more time to cook than it calls for. But it was wonderful!

Below is the before, above is the after. Hooray for Try-It Tuesday (a day late)!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Ticket to Ride.

Remember those days when I blogged about the little things that made me smile? I need to get back to that. So here I am.

Ticket to Ride. I love that board game. I think it's becoming one of my favorites. I even bought a nerdy expansion thing for it. I'm that cool, ya'll! You know what else I bought that I absolutely love? The Ticket to Ride app for my iPhone! Ohhh my gosh, it's so much fun. I've said it once and I'll say it again: the best 99 cents I've ever spent. You can play the computer. You can play people on the same wireless network as you. You can play while you're at work trying to help an 80-year-old lady get logged in to a website. "Did you enter your username and password? No, you can't just leave that blank and expect to get into your account. (Woohoo, I completed a destination!) You have to enter your username. U-ser-name. Yes, username. (Two wildcards, yes!)" It helps me get through the day. As well as messaging jokes back and forth with my co-worker. "Knock, knock. Who's there? Cash. Cash who? No, but I'll take a peanut."

Aaaaanyway, Ticket to Ride for your iPhone (and apparently they have an even cooler app for your iPad, but I don't have one of those...) Such a great time. If you're a fan of the board game, or a fan of your iPhone, or just a fan of me, you should get it. Best 99 cents you'll ever spend, I guarantee it. (I got my raspy, Men's Warehouse voice out on that one).) (And actually, I think it's $1.99 now, but it'll still be worth it, I guarantee it.)

And yet another hit...

Props to my brother Cory for another cool blog design. I'm pretty lucky to be able to say, "Hey, want to design another header for my blog that looks winter-y?" and 10 minutes later my blog looks like this. He's pretty talented. You should check out his blog. Here!!

He's pretty cute, too, isn't he? :) Sorry ladies, he's taken.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Try-It Tuesdays Returns... maybe?

(Their picture.)
I thought I was done with Try-It Tuesdays. I was going to just start repeating the recipes that were hits. There's just one problem: most of those recipes aren't very healthy (Cajun Chicken Pasta, Golden Potato Soup, to name a few....) And I went back on the ol' Weight Watchers on Monday, so... I need to find healthy recipes. So I think that's what I'm going to do. The other night I saw my cousin post a recipe on Facebook for Spicy Honey-Brushed Chicken Thighs and it looked delicious AND it was a Cooking Light recipe. Then I got on the Cooking Light site and it had all these yummy recipes (they even have 100 Easy Chicken Recipes, and I mean... that's pretty much perfect for me.) So I thought, "Man, I can't give up on Try-It Tuesdays now!" So I'm not gonna.

So tonight I tried out my cousin's recipe. He recommended using half the amount of honey, and I choose to use chicken breasts instead of thighs. I served it with their recipe for Garlic Mashed Red Potatoes. Both were hits, for sure. One of my favorite recipes I've made for Try-It Tuesdays. But stay away fellas, I've got some wicked garlic breath...
(My picture.)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A cookie plate kind of life...

Now bare with me... this may be a bit cheesy... but tonight I had a thought. Let me tell you about this thought. I went over to a friend's house to play games (side note: there are few things that I love more than playing games with friend's) and I brought over a plate of cookies. I bring baked goods when I go over to this friend's house. I'm actually making it a habit that whenever I go to anyone's house for an evening of fun I bring baked goods. I've also made it a habit that I bring enough to pass the evening and then a few more so that I can leave some with the people. And it makes me happy. It makes me happy to bake for people. And to walk in someone's house with a fresh plate of cookies. And for them to enjoy them. And then for me to say, "Hey, can I leave the rest here?" at the end of the night. Just plain happy.

And I was thinking, the image of an empty cookie plate at the end of an evening... that's how I want to live. That's the way I want to interact with people. I want to go out of my way to love on them and leave them with more love than when I came in the door.

So basically, I want my life to be a full, then an empty cookie plate. The end.
P.S. Hopefully this thought makes sense. I thought of it when I was driving home at 11:30 at night, so it might not be as coherent as I think it is. :)

Monday, January 2, 2012


Resolutions for Artists by CitrusTreeDesigns on Etsy
It's that time of the year, when everyone is making resolutions. I'm always hesitant to make a list of resolutions. I'm especially hesitant to tell other people what's on my list... Some years I don't even make a list because I know that I will fail. But that's silly, and pessimistic, and not the person I want to be. I'm human, I likely will fail, especially if I try to do it all by myself, but I might as well strive for something, right? Because 2 weeks, or 7 months, or a full year of trying is better than not trying at all. So here is my list of Resolutions For 2012:

1. Lose 50 pounds. Yikes, this is a scary one. But it needs to happen. I've done it before... I can do it again.

2. Learn how to play the guitar. I started this this summer and really enjoyed it. I need to start at it again.

3. Make a business plan for my bakery. I keep saying I want to open one, I will never get there if I don't start planning for it.

4. Be more adventurous. I'm pretty safe... pretty practical. I want to be responsible, but I could use a little bit more adventure in my life.

5. Take more people out for coffee. I used to do this all the time in college, I want to get back to that. Being intentional about setting aside time to invest in people.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Calendars: The Decision.

Just in case you were dying to know which calendar I went with (ok, so I know you don't really care much at all...), I decided to go with the above design. (I bought it from this Etsy artist, pretty cute stuff if you ask me!) I didn't actually write to just tell you about the calendar that I bought though, I am writing to show you some pretty stinking cool photography that I found on Etsy during my calendar search. I wanted to get this calendar because I liked this photographer's work so much, but I decided to purchase some prints from her and get a different (less expensive) calendar (above) instead. The best of both worlds, right? Right!

Eye Poetry Photography, aka Irene Suchocki, is based out of Quebec, Canada. (Man, Canada has a lot going for them: Ryan Gosling, Michael Buble, Evangeline Lily, that one tall guy from Glee...) I really like her use of light. She also takes quite a few pictures of city scapes and trees, two things I love, so you really can't go wrong. Her work is just beautiful. I encourage you to check out her blog or her Etsy page. Below are the prints that I bought from her. (Four 5x7s for $30.) My cubicle is going to be a more beautiful place thanks to these puppies.
Fairytale of New York, by Irene Suchocki.
The Invention of Light, by Irene Suchocki.
The Music of Chance, by Irene Suchocki.
Sparkle and Dance, by Irene Suchocki.