Monthly Archives: March 2013

Warm Dinner on Windstorm Wednesday

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If you are unfamiliar with North Carolina weather….let me enlighten you.  It’s going to be sunny Monday morning; it’s going to call for snow Monday night.  You will have to go to Wal-Mart before snowmageddon hits and fight every yokel in town for “staple” groceries so you don’t starve.  Everyone will drive like they’ve got no good sense and it will be a feat if you make it there and back in one piece.  On Tuesday the snow will be gone.  You might even be wearing shorts come Wednesday.  Its a little ridiculous and always unpredictable.  My Grandma says that’s, “end times weather.”  But I don’t mind it much really…until Mother Nature blows my privacy fence down.  For the third time in three years.  And this is what I posted on Facebook:

“Thanks windstorm for blowing my fence gate to smithereens, releasing my hounds into the wild blue yonder, so that I could run after them in my sock feet with a turban-towel wrapped around my shower-soaked hair.  Tuesdays were always my favorite!”

Make no mistake, I looked like a patient fresh out of the Psych Ward that was NOT granted permission to wear shoes due to elopement risks.  I was wearing pajamas.  And I was getting tossed around by the wind like a belligerent drunk spatting obscenities while my dogs ran free as if this was all some new game.

Then my sweet friend gently reminded me that it was Wednesday, not at ALL Tuesday.  SWING…and a miss for this girl.  All I knew is that I had to go to work, and I couldn’t leave Bella and Roscoe in the house alone until D came home.  The havoc…I can only imagine the destruction.  So D left work early, so I could get to work late…but to GET there nonetheless.  And after all the commotion I was thankful that I had prepared dinner in advance.  Pretty housewifey of me, don’t you think?  And it was delicious and I’m going to share…since it was shared with me (thanks Kristen!) months ago.  Totally a new favorite in our house.

Chicken Enchiladas

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Ingredients:

2 cloves minced garlic

20 oz  canned enchilada sauce

Kosher salt

Ground black pepper

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided

1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese, divided

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped, divided

6 12 inch tortillas

Cooking Spray or oil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425.  Add minced garlic and enchilada sauce in a pan and bring to a boil.  Sprinkle thawed chicken breasts with kosher salt and black pepper on both sides and nestle into boiling sauce.  Reduce heat to low setting and cover, allowing chicken to cook for 20 minutes.  Remove from heat, and shred chicken with forks or with the paddle attachment to your Kitchenaid mixer (Thanks for the tip, Jenn!).  Add half of the cheddar, half of the pepper jack , half of the cooled enchilada sauce, and half of the cilantro to the shredded chicken and mix until uniform.

Heat tortillas until warm in microwave (about 20 seconds).  Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray.  Spoon the chicken mixture into the center of each tortilla and roll the tortilla around the mixture and place seam-side down in the casserole dish.  Lightly spray or rub oil on the tops of the tortillas before placing in the oven, this will help them to turn golden and keep from cracking.  Bake at 425 for 8 minutes.  Reduce the oven temperature to 400.  Remove tortillas from oven and cover with remaining enchilada sauce.  Then top with remaining pepper jack and cheddar cheeses.  Lightly sprinkle with remaining cilantro.  Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes.  Then remove foil and bake uncovered for an additional 5 minutes.  Remove from oven and let stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Middle School Reminiscing and a Baby Shower

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I hope you are as blessed as me.   My friends are lifers, friends that I KNOW are always going to be around.  The girls I grew up with are unlike anything else.

We suffered through braces.  We crushed on boys and sometimes on the same ones (oops).   We went to prom together, and took our dates along.  We experimented with plucking our eyebrows and learned the valuable lesson of what was “too much.”  We put on an hour’s worth of makeup just to walk on the beach in the dark in the hopes meeting awkward teenage boys trolling the dunes for prime specimens like ourselves.  We laughed when our friend, Michael, fell off the dock into the lake on our 8th Grade field trip.  We bought coordinating clothes and wore them at the same time.  We listened to “Porcelain” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers on repeat.

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And then we grew up… but not apart.  It seems like so long ago that we did all those things.  But when we stand side by side at a wedding or when we celebrate the birth of someone’s first child, it all comes rushing back.

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Our friend Derin got married first, and had a baby first too.  Unfortunately, Jess was out of state so Lauren and I set out to throw a damn fine baby shower.

Let me tell you a little about my co-host, Lauren.  She’s been dubbed as my “different friend” for as long as I can remember.  And while she pretends to be offended,  she knows it’s all for good reason.  Lauren moves to the beat of her own drum.  She takes cross-country roadtrips in a van that she lives in.  She’s gets my mean humor, but knows I’m not really mean.  All those gasp-worthy things you didn’t have the guts to do, she’s done them…twice…and liked it.  She’s effortlessly pretty and hysterical, rolling down the street in a dumptruck of a Ford Taurus.  Basically, she’s kicking ass and taking names.  And here we are planning a baby shower together, and she doesn’t even “prefer” children.  When I have kids, I’m going to pay them to touch Lauren with their sticky fingers.  And I’ll let them stay up past their bedtime if they beg Lauren to let them spend the night with her.  And I’ll give them candy if they mock everything Lauren says.  And I’ll let them dress themselves in whatever they want if they sing “Jesus Loves Me” to Aunt Lauren whenever she comes around.  And she can’t really be mad because that’s very similar to some antics she pulls with her own nephews to torment her family.  And maybe if I’m lucky, she will teach my children what its like to be your own person and what it means to be true, to yourself and your loved ones.

We wanted the shower to be kind of rustic, and we wanted to avoid the blue/brown baby boy color trap.  So we ventured into green, orange and gray.  We started with customized, foresty invitations from tinyprints and used an extra for display.  We completed the vignette with wood slices, faux moss stones,  and flowers.

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We used gray cups, green and orange plates, and alternating orange and bunting-covered napkins.

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We made these tissue paper poofs and suspended them from the chandelier.  We also used crepe paper streamers and twisted them from the poofs to the underside of the table.

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A a simple burlap runner grounds our tablescape.  We used more wood slices and stumps to create a forest.  Apothecary jars housed independent wildlife scenes like a bird in her nest with eggs, flowers and lady bugs with moss stones.  Real ivy curls around the centerpiece.

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We elevated our cake to make sure it was the focus of the centerpiece.  Keeping with our forest theme, we made a Dirt Cake.  We topped it with a nest holding the letter “G” and a solitary egg.  Above, we made a small bunting banner out of scrapbook paper, baker’s twine and wooden skewers.

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We made picnic ham & cheese sandwiches, rainbow fruit kabobs with brown sugar fruit dip, rabbit food in the form of a vegetable tray, trail mix for the forest explorer…

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…acorn cookies from mini Nutter Butter cookies and Hersey’s Kisses, and sausage rolls.  Okay, the last one doesn’t have a theme but they are delicious and don’t require it.

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 We filled an apothecary jar with pine cones and topped it with a raffia bow.  We used a ceramic owls, wood slices, and moss to continue the theme into the foyer.

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One last spot around the party favors:  Again, we repeated the wood stumps, moss, and an apothecary jar filled with a wildlife scene.  We wrapped the letter “G” in gray yarn and affixed a butterfly.  We used a DIY chalkboard platter to explain our parting gift.  Inside each favor box (an upcycled toilet paper roll decorated with a paper doily, baker’s twine, scrapbook paper and stamping) were bulbs to be planted in Baby G’s honor.

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During the shower we played multiple games.  The first game required each guest to cut a piece of yarn long enough to circle the mom’s baby bump without much excess.  The second was BINGO, each square containing prospective shower gifts for the mother-to-be.  You can make your own bingo cards here.  The third game was the tried and true baby food tasting, complete with a lightening round for our lucky guessers as a tie breaker.  We gave prizes to our winners.  Go big or go home.

Most importantly, Derin got to celebrate this new chapter in her life with her friends and family.  And presents, lots of presents.

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Ride or die homies!

I will post recipes, and tutorials under the Good Eats and Party sections in the coming days.  Have a great week yall!