Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Dinner Tonight: Barbecue Chicken in the Slow Cooker


I love my slow cooker. It was a rough start when I first got it as a wedding shower gift several years ago. I attempted a slow cooker lasagna recipe, and unless you like your lasagna “blackened”, it was an epic failure. It took a while, but I eventually got brave enough to try new recipes in it. Now I don’t know what I’d do without it!


I'm sorry the coloring is so weird--I'm having some issues with that! 

My most recent adventure in slow cooking was a simple barbecue chicken recipe I got from the food section of my local newspaper, the Kansas City Star. (The printable version, which is modified slightly from the original, is here.) The chicken was tender and full of flavor, and it tasted great on a toasted bun for dinner as well as in a tortilla for lunch the next day. 


This recipe gave me a chance to try out this Snapi server I recently received in the mail. It was a fun, easy way to serve the barbecue chicken, and I look forward to using it with pasta and salads as well. I got the yellow one, but they come in several different colors, like the red one below. For more information, email smiles@kitchenhappy.com. 




Do you make a lot of meals in the slow cooker? 
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Monday, February 27, 2012

Drew Cool


I’ve always liked Drew Barrymore. So when she was the inspiration behind this week’s Inspiration Monday at Two Birds blog, I knew I had to participate. She looks like she dresses for herself, and not to please some stylist or the media. Sometimes that means she puts together some pretty crazy looks, but most of the time it just means she looks extremely cool.


Jacket: Converse One Star for Target; t-shirt: Forever 21; jeans: Gap; necklace: Towne & Reese via Walk of Fashion giveaway; boots: Target

I’m sure I’m not quite as high on the cool-o-meter, but I think I went up a few notches dressing like her today. Besides, I’ll take any excuse to incorporate my favorite Beatles t-shirt into an outfit. 



Now all I want to do is watch Never Been Kissed or The Wedding Singer, maybe even E.T. Are you a Drew Barrymore fan? What’s your favorite Drew flick?


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Friday, February 24, 2012

Sweet Treat: No Bake Nutella Cheesecakes


My routine has been so out of whack these past few weeks. Some things, like having extra days off school, have been good. Other things, like late nights at school and getting sick, have not been so good. Although I’m certainly in no hurry for the weekend to go by, I’m looking forward to things getting back to normal. I like my routines!

Last weekend while I had extra time on my hands (a luxury that seems rare) I had the urge to whip up something sweet. After browsing Pinterest for a while (yes, quite a while) I decided on No Bake Nutella Cheesecakes, from the blog MyBaking Addiction




These little cheesecakes were easy to make, and they made a wonderfully indulgent dessert for date night. The texture falls somewhere between a dense cheesecake and a light mousse, which contrasts perfectly the Oreo crust and whipped cream topping.

{I did make one change to the original recipe, which added an extra step. Instead of using frozen whipped topping, I whipped up 8 oz. of heavy whipping cream to fold into the Nutella mixture. Then I whipped additional cream for the topping. When it comes to whipped cream, nothing beats the real deal!}

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I Don't Have the Blues, But I Want Them


Yesterday went about like I thought it would: very slowly. The first day back after a long weekend is always rough. Since we missed parent teacher conferences last Monday due to the snow day, we’re making them up this week, making the short week feel very long.  


Button-up: Gap; sequin tank: J. Crew; cords: Loft; shoes: Naturalizer

This week, I’ve been daydreaming about getting a shot of cobalt blue into my wardrobe. It’s a color that looks good with so many others: neon shades, black, camel, red, you name it. However, it’s a color that I have very little of in my closet.


Although I’d take cobalt in just about any form right now, what I’m really craving is a pair of pants or jeans. I love that they could take the place of my regular, worn-to-death, skinnies in a variety of outfits. They could also easily be swapped with a pair of slacks (like the cords I’m wearing today) for a brighter, more casual look.  



Do you have any cobalt in your closet? 
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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Dinner Tonight: Chicken Parmesan


After the blissfully long weekend, it’s back to real life once again. Sigh. I’ve been quite lazy about having Aaron take my outfit pictures lately, but I did manage to get some food photos in.


For dinner a few nights ago, I decided to make Chicken Parmesan (from this recipe at allrecipes.com). Breaded chicken, mozzarella and parmesan cheeses, marinara sauce and pasta… what’s not to love? This version was easy to make, and not to mention warm and comforting to eat. 
 

Chicken cutlets are breaded and pan-fried, then topped with cheese and broiled. While the chicken cooked, I made the marinara sauce and cooked the pasta so that everything would come together at about the same time. I served this with a crusty loaf of Italian bread and some red wine. Sunday supper, anyone? 

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Good Reads: Cutting for Stone


In the spirit of my 2012 blogging schedule, I’ve created a new feature: Good Reads Thursdays. I already talk about books I love fairly often; I’m just being more organized about it now. And if you know me, I like organization. I wish that I had so much time to read that this could be a weekly occurrence, but it will more likely be more of a monthly thing. 


Cardigan: Target; much-loved blouse: Tucker for Target; jeans: Gap; earrings: Kohl's; necklace: Target; oxfords: Aldo

Following in the footsteps of awesome ladies who have done this before (E. from Academichic, Emily of Academia Sartorial, and Katie of Interrobangs Anonymous, to name a few), I based my outfit on the book I recently finished, Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese



Cutting for Stone wasn’t love at first read, let me tell you. It took me a while (a long while) to get into it, but once I did I could hardly put it down. A fellow reader I trust (Victoria) mentioned that while she loved it from the start, she’d heard others say the first hundred pages or so were slow-going. That gave me the resolve to power through, and I’m so glad I did. 



I wish I could give you a beautiful, concise plot synopsis, but anything I say won’t be enough. Yes, it is the story of twin boys, conjoined at the head at birth, born in Ethiopia. It is the story of their birth mother, an Indian nun, and her love for an English doctor. It is also the story of how the two brothers follow in their parents’—both birth and adoptive—footsteps to pursue careers as doctors. Yet what I loved most was simply the dynamic between Marion and Shiva (the twins), as well as the other family members. This was a truly beautiful book.  



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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Pink, Red, Love


Thanks to all of your snow-day wishes yesterday—I did end up miraculously having one. Aaron, however, wasn’t as lucky; his school did not close. I felt a little bad going back to bed after he left for work, but not bad enough to stay up.


Sweater: Gap; button-up: J. Crew Outlet; cords: Gap; earrings: Kohl's; boots: Sorel Tivoli, gift

I spent the day reading and relaxing, and finally getting some use out of one of my favorite Christmas presents, a pair of snow boots. (Well, I wore them every day in Quebec, but I figured they’d get much more wear than that!) While I’m sure a cute pair of flats would have been more stylish, I couldn’t help but take advantage of the weather and show off my boots. 


Today I’m wearing pink and red for Every Body Every Wear’s pink and red Valentine’s Day challenge. Since Pretty Shiny Sparkly’s Blogger’s Do It Better challenge this time around is red, I’m going to join in with that as well. Be sure to head to both sites to check out lots of Valentine’s Day inspiration.



Pink + Red | Everybody, Everywear

Speaking of Valentine's Day, Aaron and I are keeping it fairly simple tonight. We're staying in, and he's cooking me a steak dinner, yum! I'm really looking forward to a nice cozy evening. I hope you enjoy your day and have a chance to spend some time with people you love. 

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Snow Day Dance Diva


As I write this post, it’s Sunday night, and the Kansas City area is anticipating its first snowstorm of the year. As a teacher, naturally I’m hoping for a snow day tomorrow. The chances of that happening are very slim, but that doesn’t mean I’m not hopeful.


Coat: Loft; sweater: Target; jeans: Gap; scarf: Old Navy; shoes: Sam Edelmen, Hemline Boutique

I thought about doing a “snow day dance”, but I realized I don’t really remember what all that entails. I’m pretty certain it involved turning my pajamas inside out and spinning around in a few circles, but beyond that the details are fuzzy, at best. I have no doubt that all the snow-crazed students in the area will pick up my slack. Here’s hoping it works!



Today’s Inspiration Monday from the Two Birds blog is the photo above of Beyonce. I don’t own any red outerwear, so I mixed up the color scheme a little. I also swapped the leopard spots for polka dots. I wore this out to dinner with family, and my only regret was that my pants weren’t stretchier. I ate way too much!



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