Thursday, September 29, 2011

Speedy "Enchiladas"

I have to admit, I have never made actual enchiladas before.

These were a huge success, so I had to share my recipe.

This is the filling:

1/2 pouch of taco (or 'burrito') seasoning
1/4 cup water
4 chicken breasts (even if they are frozen)
1 (15oz) can Hormel chili w/beans
3/4 cup salsa
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used cheddar)

PLACE chicken in a big pot. I believe they are called dutch ovens. Fill with enough water to cover the chicken.

BOIL the chicken until cooked thoroughly. (Trust me!) Takes about 20 minutes. It's ok to cut one in half to check. ☺

DRAIN chicken, and put chicken on a cutting board. Rinse out your big pot and put it to the side - you're going to use it again in a minute.

SHRED chicken, using two forks to rip it apart - hold the chicken still with one fork, and pull chicken away in short movements with the other fork. 

PLACE chicken back in your big pot. 

SPRINKLE taco seasoning and water over chicken.

HEAT, while stirring, until the taco seasoning is fully distributed through the chicken.

ADD chili, salsa, sour cream, and cheese. (Everything else)

STIR ingredients together until heated to desired temperature and the cheese has melted.

SERVE as a burrito filling,


STUFF tortillas with filling, and place in 9x13" pan.

SPRINKLE tortillas with shredded cheese.

BROIL for approximately 5 minutes. (Until cheese is melted)

SERVE and enjjjjooooy!

When I made this it took me less than ... 40 minutes? 
From boiling the chicken all the way to getting it on the table.
Fast, delicious, flexible... add what you want!

Let me know if you make this, please.
My family is biased.


Monster Cookies ∙-(σ益σ)-∙


I saw a cookie similar to this online, but I had to alter it.

(Hey - how can I stray from the most perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe? - Thanks Keeley, for ruining every other chocolate chip cookie on Earth. 
They don't know what they're missing.)

Especially with Halloween right around the corner...

Here's how to make these frightfully delish monster cookies:

∙-(σ益σ)-∙ MONSTER COOKIES ∙-(σ益σ)-∙ 

Prep time - approx 25 mins | Cooking time - 10 min | Cooling time - 15-20 min

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (12oz pkg) chocolate chips
green food coloring (or purple)
1 package Halloween Oreos

PREHEAT your oven to 375ºF.

COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl.

CREAM butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla extract and food coloring (use to your own judgment) in a large mixing bowl.

BEAT in eggs, one at a time, until well blended.

GRADUALLY beat in flour mixture. (I use my Kitchenaid mixer for everything up to this point, when I am at about 3/4 of the flour, and then take over and do the rest by hand.)

STIR in chocolate chips. (It is perfect if you are unsure if the dough will hold on to all of those chocolate chips.)

SMUSH cookie dough on either side of your oreo - just enough to cover - pinching it around the sides to make sure it is totally covered.

PLACE on an ungreased cookie sheet.

REPEAT until you have used all your cookie dough to cover the oreos.

BAKE for 10-11 minutes until they are golden brown. Er.... golden green. Once removed from the oven, wait  5-10 minutes before removing them from the cookie sheets so they hold their shape. 

COOL completely on wire racks.

I find these bad boys are the best the day after you make them. 
Not that I expect you to wait that long, of course. 
I just loved the idea of a fun treat to pass around for Halloween that wasn't... 
well... candy corn. 


Friday, September 23, 2011

Confession #35 - Swimming

Ok, this is an easy one.


Tell me you saw it coming...

Just... I just love everything about it. 
There is something really wonderful about climbing into the pool...

And being in that super magical ripple water.

Now don't get me wrong - I still fear water just like the next shmoe!

I mean seriously, drowning... not a daydream of mine.

But I do love to be underwater.

It's a whole other world in there.

It just makes me want to explore.

What's around that corner?

It gets me thinking... what if there was a whole city under here?

(Like in the little mermaid)

As a kid/teenager/me, I am always very little fun at the pool - all I ever wanted to do was see how much I could sit on the bottom. I so wished there had been handles so I could have stayed there. It was so fun for me. So peaceful under there.

And something is just plain silly about sitting with your legs crossed,

Maybe it's just me. :o)

In high school, the year I graduated, I was lucky enough to be on the swim team. It was hard sometimes (I lost 60lbs from it), and I wasn't even close to the hardest working swimmer out there!

One thing I do remember was the swim meets.

This picture gives me butterflies:

It was so fun. I wanted to swim well, so badly.

One day when I have a few thousand dollars to throw away, I will get one of those endless pools - the little pools that go in your home, in a patio or some such - where you can do non stop laps in a small amount of space. 


I think my love of water is what draws me to Tahiti so badly.

I just love the idea of staying in a little hut, in the water - or having this waist-deep water all over the place - crystal clear, wonderful, beautiful water...

It just seems the most peaceful thing to me.

One day! day.

Um, so as a footnote here, you'll notice my topic is mainly:
"I love swimming - in clear water, mostly found in pools."

Let me clarify why this is so.
(Quickly, I promise.)

I do NOT like swimming in lakes, or oceans.
Because they have living things in them, that I can't see?

For reals. What is that thing??
UUuuuuuhhhhhhhghhh.... what just touched my leg?!

*deep breath*
When I was a kid, I loved to swim in the lake by my grandparents' cottage.
I would probably swim in it again, just because it is the lake.
It is a man-made lake, which means it was flooded... which means it was full of trees.

Are you starting to get where my fears are coming from?!
Ok maybe I am over-reacting.

One year, they drained the lake - and Grampy went down into the lake and chainsawed down all the trees/stumps into tiny stumps.

(Look at this newfangled doohicky they have to do that now!)

But even when there were tiny stumps everywhere, it still weirded me out. 
Not only were they always slimy, but they still just...
Trees underwater = creepy in my book.

That lake was great for watching pollywogs and exploring though. 
Mmm I can almost smell it!

For now though, I think I will work out my swimming love in clearer waters.

Swim on!


Monday, September 12, 2011

Confession #34 - Artistic


I love to be artistic, and I love other people who are artists!

I love to admire their work - every one unique and captivating.

Once upon a time, I dreamed of being an artist as a career.
I had someone inform me that to be an artist is to live poor.

Sooo... I moved on.

But I do love to dabble in a few mediums.

One being cake.

This is one of my favorites I made:

I can't help but do SOMETHING. I've heard from a few people about my wall, but sometimes I wish I could just explain that sometimes I must do something artistic, simply because it is my way of answering the little "voices" in my head!! ;o)

I love Halloween costumes (almost time!)... I always have mine ready early because I'm allergic to waiting. We talk and assemble our costumes into reality between August and the middle of September around here. 


I love to make things out of anything.

I love to take pictures.

(All of you know that! Lol)
This was after watching "The Testaments" on a temple trip in 2003:

(This was on our Pioneer Trek in April 2004:)

(This was in Newfoundland, in 2004, at the most eastern point:)

How amazing and fantastical is it that an artist can sweep us away to another universe?
I loved to read when I was younger because books do this.
Fairytales are my favorite.

I am amazed by all artists.
And at what they can accomplish!

I love to work with cake - and it makes me happy to talk about cake with other people, and give advice to help them explore working with cake too.
(This cake was made by Cake Central, I believe:)

Makeup artists... blow my mind! 
Ok this is totally gross to me, but (from Pirates of the Caribbean)  what talent.

There are so many artists that need a good standing ovation.
I am very blessed to have quite a few friends who are artists.
I don't want to be weird about it, so I won't name names.
Well, too many. :o)

(Below, from Star Trek:)

Hair stylists... artists with a complex ever-changing medium I think.
(I stole this picture from one of my cousin's friends who does hair:)

(Everything she does is impressive!)

It's fun to see the different outlets for artistic abilities. 

I love to be shown something new - and be amazed by it.

Paper! Just paper:

Paper in a way I never saw it, but in a way someone else saw it.

Something about an artist being able to capture something we love in a way that we could not describe it with words is what makes art so magical in the first place.


"I love fall because of the leaves" doesn't ring the same as this:

Or art that makes us double-take:

This piece was done by my friend Kristina - so supremely talented in so many things, just as the rest of her family is ridiculously talented (one brother, also an amazing artist, one is a crazy guitarist!):

I love being surprised by art. Yes, it's a banana:

Or jealous of art.
Oh it's so easy for me to be jealous of an artist!
But we must learn to love what we have... right? :o)
I think Martha Stewart is definitely an artist:

I love inspiring art. 

I have a friend who is a decorator, and not to name names or anything,
But she is modestly amazing.

Decorators... are true artists! Bringing together so many elements... to meld them, and blend them - to highlight, and encase you in the theme... truly a gift.

Photographers. Another group of amazing artists!
(I love you photo friends! Skye, Allie, Erin, Jennie...)
I love the way a picture can take something everyday, and make you look at it in a way you never imagined. Or something simple and make it suddenly complex, and deep.

When a picture tells a story, or asks a thousand questions.

Or sweeps us away to a dream world.

Capturing beauty...

Creating moments.

Playing in a fantasy world of imagination brought to life.

This is why I love art.

The greatest artist of all time... our Savior.
Proof by the true mind-baffling beauty all around us.

How I love what beauty is found in nature.

I have a friend, Ashley, and boy that girl can coordinate a quilt like nobody else! The fabrics pulled together to make her quilts I would have never assembled on my own. Talent!

And Barbara, a friend of mine who helped me alter BOTH my wedding reception dresses in a world record time - she is an artist of experience and talent. 


The crocheters! The knitters!
I know a few crocheting friends of mine who blow off compliments with something stating that they only know how to do something because they have had the experience and time to do it. 
Do they realize you have to have the desire to pursue perfection in it?
That's what they had! They're artists. Talented artists.

I am thankful to my friend Keeley ♥ - who taught me how to crochet enough that I can put out a mostly-decent baby blanket now. Although how it is accomplished is still totally lost on me. :o)

Or my friend Tami! Who is constantly crocheting things in 3D, which blows my mind. 
The most adorable? 
A tiny octopus. 
(I know, right?!)

Art on, artists.
Whatever medium you use.

Be happy, and create... it makes the rest of us happy by proxy.

And I will continue to admire.