Monthly Archives: April 2013

Making Chicken Wraps and History

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So a few days ago I addressed the progress I was making on my New Year’s Resolutions.  April is still cruisin’ right on by and I’ve been trying new recipes in the kitchen.  And I have an update: the Crispy Southwest Chicken Wraps were so good!  Let me tell you though, I cannot make rice.  What the hell?  Who can’t make RICE?!  I tried to make rice unsupervised once before and it was disgusting.  And I tried again the other night.  Basically I figured out my problem: I ignore parts of the directions unintentionally.  My first attempt looked more like porridge- slushy, sloppy and crunchy on the inside.  Thankfully, D knows how to make rice.  So when he got home from work he corrected me on everything I was doing wrong, except for boiling water (that I can do on my own!).  But all in all:  PINTEREST WIN!  I made a few revisions so this recipe reflects that.

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Ingredients:

1 cup cooked rice, warm or at room temperature

1 cup cooked, shredded chicken seasoned with kosher salt and cracked black pepper

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 green onion, finely sliced (white and green parts)

1/2 red pepper, diced

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

juice of 1 lime

1/2 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

2 cups shredded cheese (I used a combination of pepperjack and sharp cheddar)

Sour cream

6 burrito-sized flour tortillas

Directions:

Mix rice together with chili powder, cumin and garlic powder. Mix the rice mixture with shredded chicken, diced peppers, black beans, cilantro, onions and lime juice. Sprinkle cheese over tortillas, leaving 1/2-inch border around edges, then arrange chicken and rice mixture down the center of each tortilla.  I dotted the cheese with sour cream dollops before adding the chicken/rice mixture.  It made it so great! Roll stuffed tortillas, leaving edges open.  Baste the rolled tortillas with olive oil and place seam-side down on a greased baking sheet.  Bake for 15 minutes or until golden at 350.  Serve warm!

But more exciting than a great new recipe is college football.  When I started as a freshman at Charlotte, I was missing the football experience a lot of new students want.  Little did I know, former and current Charlotte students were mounting a public push to bring their deep-rooted desire to field a football team into fruition.  It was a real movement of sorts happening right before my eyes.  The groundwork had been laid for a real difference to be made and for Charlotte as we knew it to be forever changed.  It was kind of cool, because it just felt like something bigger than one person was going on here.  And while I didn’t have the college kid football experience, maybe that’s okay.  It definitely seems like I’m getting something better in the end.  I have the satisfaction of knowing that no matter how big or small, I have had a part in this.  If you voted for tuition hikes, or marched to the SAC to receive news of football’s fate at our school, or helped recruit players, or donated to the AD, you’ve had a part in this and you should be proud.  It doesn’t even feel real at times, but it is and it’s amazing.

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Saturday was our first ever Spring Game.  We tailgated with our friends, we sat in our licensed lifetime seats, we cheered for our players, we even did the wave….and LIKED it.

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Cheerleaders threw commemorative footballs into the stands and our mascot, Norm, gave me my first picture EVER with him.

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That was 8 years in the making!

After the scrimmage was over, fans were allowed down on the field.  Kids were rolling around in the end zone, people stood in line for an hour to get autographs from our players,  alums that never thought this day would come stood in silence taking it all in.  It was a great day.  We’ve come a long way and its an awesome feeling to know that this is once in a lifetime stuff, and I got to be a part of history.

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My husbing.

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Front row. End zone. For life.

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So excited.

It’s a good day to be a Niner 🙂

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Maintaining Resolutions

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So I explained a few posts ago- I am actually excited to have New Year’s Resolutions and I plan to maintain them or die trying!  I’ve managed to do something new & something nice for someone else at least once a month.  To recap:

January:  I drove my first roadtrip alone AND I made and delivered Sarah’s “Creative Pay it Forward” gift.

February: I tried Sushi AND I made Valentine’s Day cupcakes for my coworkers and D’s coworkers.  Wife of the Year?  No?  Okay….

March:  I took my first Zipline Tour AND I prepared breakfast for the maids in Katie’s wedding.  I made sausage rolls and brought soft drinks, OJ, fruit, yogurt, etc (although all we did was drink Mimosas and eat sausage rolls!).

I selected my activities for the month of April (good thing since it’s like, half over.)

I’m choosing a brand new recipe at least once a week in an attempt to be more adventurous in the kitchen.  I’m butchering Pinterest recipes left and right.  Let’s be for real, half that shit does not turn out the way the picture appears.  First up was the ever popular Hawaiian Crockpot Chicken.  There are two primary recipes floating around:

This: 1 cup pineapple juice, 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, 1.3 cup soy sauce, 2 pounds of thawed chicken breast tenderloins all in the crock for 6-8 hrs.

AND

That:  4-6 chicken breasts, 16.5 oz crushed pineapple, 16.5 oz Hawaiian Barbecue sauce from Archer Farms (Target brand) all in the crock for 6 hrs.

I chose the first so I could be a little more authentic and not take a short cut with a pre-made sauce.  I wanted the satisfaction of actually “doing it myself” and all.  Fail.  My Hawaiian sauce was more like a marinade and it never thickened up.  The flavor was good, but the end result was not what I thought.  I found two other dinner recipes to try:  These Crispy Southwest Chicken Wraps and a Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken with rice, veggies and white sauce (fat kid over here, hello).  And then my Grandma’s well-loved blueberry coffeecake.  If any of you fine folks has a fool-proof recipe suggestion, I would be appreciative.
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For my something nice I’ve decided to finally part ways with all 27 of my bridesmaid’s dresses and my old prom dresses.  Joking, there’s only 6 here.   I had all these fine intentions of having them altered to become fabulous new dresses that I could “wear again” but I realize now that THAT is a pipe dream.  I’m donating them to a local organization that collects evening dresses for girls that need help making their prom dreams come true.  Have at it honey!  I know I’ve made lots of memories in those dresses, I hope the next owner does too.

Cracker Candy with Hilduh

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When I was growing up, I spent countless hours at Grandma and Papa’s house.

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In their Sunday best

They took care of me during the day before I was old enough to go to school.  They took me on annual beach trips.  Grandma helped me catch frogs in her yard.  Papa drove me around on his Cub Cadet lawn mower for kicks.  Grandma convinced me that washing dishes was fun (nice one).  Papa used to buy us each a bag of Raisinets at the store so we could sit on the porch swing and talk and snack in the late afternoons when I came for a sleepover.

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You would want to buy me Raisinets too. I can tell.

Grandma would put me in my little red wagon and pull me up and down her street to visit the neighbors.  Papa used to give me a five dollar bill and make me promise not to tell anybody.  Grandma used to give me a five dollar bill and make me promise not to tell anybody.  There I learned the value of being trustworthy, keeping good secrets, and listening to your elders.  Grandma never blew my spot up, either, when I was the Rockstar making $100,000 per year and living in the Victorian cottage I so loved each time we played The Game of Life. Grandma and Papa used to taunt their dog, Marcy, by putting me in her bed and watching her lose her mind.  She would bark and run in circles around her bed, it was very annoying I guess.  It became a game, and until the day she died you could tell Marcy that you were GOING to get in her bed and she would run down the hall as quick as her legs would carry her to protect her throne.  And if you dared to come down the hall to see where she was, there she would sit, in her bed, gnashing her teeth for battle.  My relationship with Marcy never recovered.

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Just an unsuspecting pawn in their cruel game!

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Not so fun with that beast around. She was nasty in her old age.

Grandma and Papa always supported me too, and told me I was the “apple of their eye.”  There are serious perks to being the only granddaughter and first grandchild.

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My Junior Prom

Hilda is my grandma. But more specifically “Hilduh” is an alter ego of sorts, created years ago for times when she does not behave like a regular Hilda would.  Hilda loves Survivor, even season 84,923,479 of Survivor.  But Hilduh loves Survivor enough to put her wicker chair 14 inches from the TV to make sure she doesn’t miss one second of the new episode on our family vacation.

Remote control in hand.

Remote control in hand.

Hilda once told me she was going to teach me to sew.  But when I got to her house, Hilduh informed me that I “did not need to try.”  And when I told her that she would not always be around to help me with sewing projects she told me that my mother would help me when she died.  I have never learned to sew.  Hilda was very upset to hear that D and I were having wine and beer at our wedding reception, and she made no bones about it.  But Hilduh was caught with a glass of wine at said wedding reception and let me know that it was “good but it needed a little Splenda.”  Hilda loves to work puzzles.  Hilduh likes to keep a puzzle piece hidden for herself so that she can be the person that completes the puzzle.  Basically, she’s the best.  She’s quirky without realizing it, and she has been more of an influence than I could explain in a blog.  And she wouldn’t approve of this anyway, she would think it’s silly that I’m talking about her here.

Aside from all those funny things that make me laugh, I look at my Grandma with a lot of admiration and adoration.  Back then, my grandmother was a housewife in every sense of the word.  She quit nurses training when she married Papa.  She made clothes for her children.  She made the best cookies on the block.  And although her children have long left her home, she is still a housewife.  She cleans the rooms in her house on a rotating weekly schedule.  She grows her own vegetables and cans them.  She goes to church every Sunday and visits the “shut-ins” regularly.  She bakes up a storm and she’s one hell of a cook.   And my Papa has always told me that I need to learn all her tricks so that they live on after she’s gone.  I’m learning everyday.

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But one of my fondest memories is making cracker candy with Grandma.  To this day, I remember the ingredients and ratios because we made it so frequently.  And if we didn’t have the ingredients (rare, because Grandmas are always ready) she would send Papa to the store for whatever we lacked.  I used to stand on this little wooden stool that had been painted red so I could watch until we were ready to add the next ingredient.  I learned today that this little worn-out stool I am quite sentimental about came from a trashcan at the old cigarette factory where my Papa used to work.  One man’s trash is another man’s treasure I guess.  When the cracker candy was mixed up, Grandma would leave some of that warm, chocolately, peanut-buttery deliciousness in the pot for me to eat with a spoon.  Then my brother was born, and I had to share whatever portion was left in the pot.  Of course I was in charge of deciding what was a fair split and it was always grossly uneven if I had my way.  What can I say?  I love sweets and old habits die hard.

Maybe you could try this recipe out and make some memories of your own 🙂

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Cracker Candy

Ingredients:

14 oz evaporated milk

2 cups sugar

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 heaping tablespoons (and when Grandma says heaping, she means it) creamy peanut butter

32 (very precise, Grandma) finely crushed saltine crackers

1 cup coconut

Directions:

Pour sugar and milk into a pot.  Separate all other ingredients for easy access for the quick mixing later.  Bring milk and sugar to full rolling boil, then stir for three minutes.  Add chocolate chips and stir until uniform.  Add ingredients, one at a time over heat, until well incorporated.  Make sure to thoroughly mix before adding next ingredient.  While “batter” is hot pour into a casserole dish and slice like fudge and let cool OR drop teaspoonfuls onto wax paper to make cookies.  And make sure to save yourself a spoonful of the batter while its warm in the bottom of your pot.  It’s worth it 🙂

Marching Right Along

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So I have realized that maintaining a blog is harder than I thought it would be.  All the typing, proofing, posting, REproofing when you find errors, compulsively checking to see if anyone visited my silly little page, taking pictures of everything so people will know what the heck I’m rambling about.  I have found myself more obsessed with typing up a post than acknowledging that there was not one square of toilet paper left in this house.  I have spent ungodly amounts of energy trying to find the right picture for a post while my bathroom sat in such disarray that it rivaled the inside of an all boys bathroom in a freshman dorm.  I’m squinching my face in disgust just thinking about it.  HOUSEWIFE FAIL.  I ain’t proud….but at least I’m honest.  March has come and gone.

I’m also finding it hard to keep up my New Year’s Resolutions.  Pretty lame since it is only April, but I have managed to try something new for March.  My friend Kristen suggested a Zipline tour, and I was super excited to go.  If you live in North Cackalack I suggest visiting these fine folks.  Carolina Ziplines Canopy Tour was awesome, our guides were funny and patient (considering that I zipline like I drive-go fast and brake late), and their dogs followed us through the woods for two solid hours until our tour was over.  Cuuuuuuuute.

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Kristen and Drew before the tour

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So excited!

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There she goes!

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Drew coming across the ravine

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K1 and K2

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Preparing to jump off the ledge…backwards!

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Backwards leap of faith off the railing to get me to my next stop 1000 yards away!

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Bear with her Uno card she found in the woods. It was a SKIP TWO if you’re wondering.

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Sweet Roxanne

I entertained D’s bandmates while they recorded their original music and cooked a mid-morning breakfast feast all together.  If they ever make it big, I’ll remember stuff like that: screaming when you’re hit with bacon grease, fighting over the 1st waffle, and making a big fat mess at 2am because we’re young and we can.  I’ve also entertained the Norovirus which may or may not have been the worst week of my life.  Onto something more pleasant…

Weddings!  I love them and I am over the moon excited when I get to be IN them.  My girl, Katie, tied the knot over the weekend.  We had a beautiful bridesmaid brunch on Friday morning, and all the girls got to spend the whole day together before we went to the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner where we stuffed our faces that evening.

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Beautiful Friday morning with fabulous women, amazing food, and a perfect setting.

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Love him!

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Last single kiss!

We spent the night together in a hotel and got up far too early on Weddingday morning 🙂  Our breakfast was interrupted by the shrill screeching of fire alarms.  Is it bad that I never take fire alarms seriously?!  When you’re familiar with hospital culture it just becomes “one of those things” that you don’t have to really DO anything about.  You roll your eyes, close all doors, inform your patients that it’s not an issue, clear the halls, and go about your business.  I’m totally desensitized, and Katie would be normally since she’s in the same boat as me.  But not on your wedding day.  Her face dropped, we filed out of the building and she stood in the parking lot with her hands over her mouth in disbelief.  We were on a tight schedule, and the thought of our hotel going up in flames really had our bride worried.   The sweetest lady must have overheard our ineffective reassurance efforts.  She walked over to Katie and simply stated, “Don’t be worried, everything is fine.  Today is my seventeenth wedding anniversary.  SOMETHING is going to go wrong today, just let this be the thing that goes wrong and have a beautiful day.”  Done and done.  We were allowed back inside and we got to work.  We were pampered with hair and makeup, we drank champagne, and pranced around in our robes while the bellhop packed our things.  I’ve decided that is something every girl should enjoy.  It’s totally not my thing; I’ve never had someone do that for me but it was perfect.

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Flawless

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Best Frand!

We gave Katie one last gift before she walked down the aisle.  Katie is crafty and so are the rest of us so it was only appropriate to present her with a little handmade something.  I’ll post a how-to page later right now!

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We added a personal message on the back and placed a picture of all of us in the frame

The day flew by because we were having fun.  I spent the night with some of my favorite people in the world dancing like fools and laughing and taking pictures.  And for the record, the fire alarm was the only thing that went wrong 🙂

Hope you have a great Monday and that all your April Fool’s jokes are successful and well-received! HAHA!