Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Try-Tuesday: Thai Turkey Burgers

Yes, I've been a slacker about blogging lately. No, I am not trying to be a food blogger, I just happen to blog about food a lot. Yes, I will try to get better about blogging about things that aren't edible. Moving on...

It's Try-It Tuesday, guys! Last night, I sat down with a pile of food magazines and my laptop with the chore (if you could call it a chore) to find a recipe that didn't include chicken. One of the first blogs I visited was Iowa Girl Eats, and she had just posted this recipe for Thai Turkey Burgers with Peanut Sauce, and I knew I'd found a winner! The recipe brought a few firsts for me though:

1. First time ever cooking with ground turkey (NOT chicken, although ground turkey is just about the closest thing you can get to it.)
2. First time ever cooking a burger. (We may or may not have had to nuke them for a few minutes because they weren't done, but whatev...)
3. First time ever purchasing/washing/cutting broccoli.
4. First time ever trying to use a peeler to shred a baby carrot (I needed shredded carrots and I couldn't figure out how to use the food processor... let's just it wasn't a very good idea.)

Despite all those firsts, the recipe was delicious! I'd totally recommend it. It was healthy. Flavor packed. Unique (a thai turkey burger, who does that?) It was just flat out good.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Try-It Tuesday: Corn and Cheese Chowder

I don't know if you know this about me, but I like soup. A lot. You may even use a more intense word than like. I'd say love could probably be used. Yeah, it's for sure love.

So I made soup this week! I'll admit it: I DVR the Pioneer Woman's cheesy show on the Food Network. And on it she recently made this recipe for Corn and Cheese Chowder. Butter? Onions? Bacon? Peppers? Corn? Chicken broth? Sign me up! And ya'll... it was good! Incredibly flavorful! My dad adds salt to everything... and he didn't add salt. (I may or may not have challenged him to not add salt, so he may or may not have been proving a point, but still...) It was delicious. Warm and filling, but not too heavy. Try it out. Seriously. It's soup. And it's delicious. You can't really go wrong.
I also tried a new cookie recipe for one of my co-workers birthdays today. Chocolate cookies with Rolos inside. They were so easy and so good. You should try these, too. Just make a night of it. Make Cheese and Corn Chowder for the main course. Make Rolo Chocolate Cookies for dessert. Your family will be happy. I guarantee it.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Another concert...

I saw my favorite band MuteMath perform last night. They were amazing. That's just all there is to it. I thought I'd share a few pictures from the evening... To say I went a little Instagram-crazy would be an understatement.
(Pizza 51 before the show.)
(One of my favorite guys: my brother Cory.)
(The opening band: Canon Blue.)
(Darren: such an amazing drummer.)
(The bassist, Roy: he needs a hair cut.)
(The new guitarist: Todd. I didn't adjust this picture at all, this is just how it turns out. If
MuteMath doesn't work out, he could easily join the Blue Man Group. Ok, bad joke... I know.)
(Such a great show...)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Great List.

Today at work I was talking to with a friend and I found myself complaining about silly little things. I try to catch myself when I get in the habit of doing that, but once something's been said, it's out there. You can't take it back. It's just lingering, uncessary negativity. Then we talked about how, for some reason, it's easier, and more socially acceptable to complain, than to talk about things that are great. It's easier to say, "So, this guy that sits next to me keeps smacking his food in my ears..." than "Hey, so, I think cupcakes are great!" Why do we do that? That's just sad. Really sad. So you know what? Here is a list of things that I think are great. Feel free to make a list of your own. Seriously, do it. Right now.

1. The four seasons. (The actual seasons, not the hotel.)
2. Vacations.
3. Babies - seems like a lot of people I love are going to be having them soon.
4. Employment.
5. Pinterest.
6. Downton Abbey.
7. The other side of the pillow. (Not my idea, but I like it, a lot.)
8. iPhones.
9. The color chartreuse. (Pictured on those crazy walls above.)
10. Gap.
11. My three brothers.
12. Fashion magazines.
13. Puppies.
14. Cupcakes.
15. The fact that you are taking the time to read this right now.
16. Baking blogs.
17. My parents and their marriage.
18. New friends.
19. My bed.
20. Netflix.

Ok, the list could go on forever... I'm just as guilty as the next for being a complainer. But seriously, let's talk about the good stuff more, ok? Ok!

Happy Wednesday!

Try-It Tuesday: Santa Fe Chicken

(Here it is, folks!)
So, I had another first last night with Try-It Tuesday... I used a crock pot! I've never made anything in a crock pot before. Well, I've made Rotel cheese dip, but I don't really feel like that counts. Part of me, the part that likes to sleep, kind of resented this recipe at 6:00 in the morning when I was throwing it together. But the other part of me, the part that likes to be lazy after work, was thankful that the bulk of the work was done when I came home. Hooray for crock pots!

I found this recipe on, none other than, Pinterest. It's called Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken. My friend Jessie had told me about a recipe that her friend has made that's basically throwing chicken and salsa and other stuff in a slow cooker and letting it sit all day, and this kind of reminded me of that. It was really easy. It took me about 10 minutes to throw together. And it's healthy! Apparently it's only 4 points if you're a Weight Watchers kind of girl like I am (on a good day, that is...) The best news? It was delicious! I was afraid that because it was healthy it wouldn't have a lot of flavor, but it did. Hooray for that! I also accompanied it with the Chipotle-like Cilantro Lime Rice from Annie's Eats. I'd say it was a pretty fantastic pairing.
(Proof of my early morning prep.)
(Gotta have your fruits and vegetables, too!)
Slow cooker. Quick. Easy. Healthy. Delicious. A success in my book.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

(Red Velvet Cupcakes for my beloved co-workers...)
Happy Valentine's Day!

It's so easy to dwell on the superficial version of Valentine's Day. I've seen countless Facebook statuses today saying "Valentine's Day should really be called Single Awareness Day..." or something of the like. I almost let myself get in that funk, but then I didn't... because I had a great Valentine's Day. I woke up to a nice note from my parents. I was surrounded by my co-workers that even though no one would ever say it out loud, we really do care about each other. I got a call from my brother Kyle on the way home, just to tell me he loved me. I came home from work, put on a pair of sweatpants, and made dinner. (Try-It Tuesday! More on that tomorrow...) I had a lovely meal with my parents and Kyle ended up coming over, too. My dad ran out and picked up ice cream for us and I watched the most recent episode of Downton Abbey with my mom.

Not your typical Valentine's Day... but I'm thankful. For sure.
(My special Valentine's Day card right by the Keurig where they knew I'd see it.)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Gold sprinkles.

I was asked to bake some things for an engagement party: 2 dozen soft pretzels (strange, but fun!), 2 dozen cupcakes, and a cake.

I enjoy baking for other people. But it can get kind of difficult when they don't give me much direction in the decorating. Some people would love that freedom. But I'm a kind of person who is just like, "Alright, tell me what you want, and I'll do it. Or try to at least..." Anyway, I like to keep things simple, and I already knew that I wanted to use the chocolate from the cupcakes as the wording for the cake because that'll kind of tie them together. So I'm at Michael's (the craft store, not the man's house) on Thursday night. Trying to figure out how I'm going to do this and I see... gold sprinkles. I don't know why. But I guess they just spoke to me...

And now I love gold sprinkles! I sprinkled them on the cupcakes and embellished the cake with them a bit. And I think it added a little whimsy to the simplicity that I like to do with cakes. Not too Beyonce, over-the-top kind of gold. But simple, Abby's-baked-good kind of gold. Anyway, I think gold sprinkles may be new favorite way to decorate things.

That is all.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Retry-It Tuesday: Cajun Chicken Pasta

(In the process, the end result wasn't so appetizing.)
I just couldn't decide what to make for dinner this week. I scoured Pinterest, and Cooking Light, and a few of my favorite blogs, but nothing looked that good or it did look good but was too big of an endeavor for a Tuesday night. Without knowing of this frantic search that was going on, my mom said, "You know what I've been craving?" "Uh... no. What?" "That cajun chicken pasta that you made a while ago." Mom saved the day! I didn't have to come up with something new!

So I made Pioneer Woman's Cajun Chicken Pasta that I made back in September but I made a few revisions that I suggested to myself back then:
1. I used whole wheat penne pasta instead of fettuccine.
2. I used a little flour to thicken the sauce.
3. I diced the vegetables instead of sliced them.

I know those all seem very minor but they made it better than it was before. Yay for improvements! Yay for Retry-It Tuesday! I promise I'll be back with a new recipe next week.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Smiles on a Monday.

Last night I went to bed feeling sick because I ate too much at a Super Bowl party. This morning I woke up sick of myself after stepping on the scale and not seeing what I wanted to see. Then I hopped in my car to leave at 6:08, yep, I said 6:08, and headed to work. Oh, Mondays... But guess what? Mondays don't have to suck. My Monday didn't suck at all. After making it out of bed and in to work, and refocusing myself, it was quite a swell one indeed. Want to know what made me smile throughout the day? Ok, fine, I'll tell you.

1. I sang my heart out on the way to work. I pretty much do every morning but this morning I sang along with David Crowder's new album. I've got to be honest, I can be a bit of a contemporary Christian music snob (as in I don't really listen to it...) but this album is good. And it was the perfect thing to sing to this morning.
2. I got free lunch at work. Apparently we had a good month last month so they brought in Jimmy John's. Half a Turkey Tom and half a Vito and I was one happy camper. I love Jimmy John's.
3. I gave someone a free dinner. It was just me for dinner tonight so I stopped by Chipotle on the way home. As I was paying, the woman behind me told the cashier that she forgot her wallet in her car and that she was going to run out and get it. I've been working on being more generous so I told the cashier, "Actually, will you add her dinner on with mine. I'd like to pay for hers, too." The cashier looked at me like I was crazy but did it. Then I left. I didn't get to see the woman's reaction but hopefully it made her night. If nothing else, the opportunity to be generous made mine.
4. I got to bake for my small group. I've started going to a new church and recently joined a small group and tonight was my first night to bring snacks. I brought Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting and Homemade Soft Pretzels. They were all very kind and said they were fans. I love baking for people.
5. My cousin Brad posted something funny on my Facebook wall and it reminded me of two things: 1. That I love and miss Brad (he is studying abroad in Spain this semester.) 2. That I am going to a MuteMath concert next week! (His comment had something to do with MuteMath. I didn't just randomly think of them...)

Alright, this is a random post. I just thought I'd give a little shout out to the things that made me smile on this Monday that turned out to be not so Monday-like at all.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

On the side.

Baking makes me happy. I smile a lot when I bake. I smile a lot when it turns out pretty. I smile a lot when it tastes good. I smile a lot when someone else eats what I bake. And I smile even more when they enjoy it. Somedays (most days) I wish I could bake for a living. A lot of people say "Once you start baking for a living, you won't enjoy it anymore." That may be true. So for now, I will stick to 401(k)s for a living and baking on the side. Because it makes me happy. Really happy.

Here is what I've been baking lately... (Stealing the pictures from the people I stole the recipes from. Because they make them look prettier than I can.)

Brownie Cookie Dough Sandwich Cookies. (Pictured above. I baked this today.)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Jayhawk Love...

Tonight the Kansas Jayhawks play the Missouri Tigers in basketball. I graduated from MU. But I will be cheering for the Jayhawks. "What? Is she crazy?" Nope. I'm not crazy. I'm brilliant. For cheering for the better team. "Wait... you went to Mizzou... what's wrong with you?" I grew up a Jayhawk fan. I was born in Kansas. All of my family lives in Kansas. I love Kansas. I love the Jayhawks. My brother Joel went to MU and is also a KU fan and I feel like I remember him saying one time, "Why would I throw away a lifetime of allegiance for 4 years of college?" Amen, brotha! Jayhawks for life...

Go Jayhawks! May you win, so:
1. We get a victory.
2. The MU fans, I mean KU haters (because they cheer against KU more than they cheer for their own team), will shut up and move on with their lives...

(Yes, I realize, if the Jayhawks lose I will have to eat my words tomorrow. And I'm ok with that.)