Sunday, January 30, 2011

Crock Pot Cookin: Turkey & Bean Chili

When stressed or upset some people shop.  Some people drink.  I cook.  Well, that’s what I’ve been doing a lot of these past two weeks anyway.  Searching for a new recipe, shopping for ingredients and getting lost in the business of cooking has been somewhat therapeutic for me.  I decided to try a chili recipe this weekend because I thought me and G could use some comfort food.  The dish tasted a lot like the chile they have at Wendy’s (which is delicious) only my version is much healthier!  This was my first Crock Pot creation that called for turkey meat and I would have to say it was a success.  For any of you who may be having a tough week or a bad day, roll up your sleeves and get cookin…it made me feel better.

The goods:

v  2 cans (14 ounces each) sodium-free peeled whole tomatoes, drained
v  2 cans (14 ounces each) sodium-free red kidney beans, rinsed & drained
v  1.5 pounds cooked 95% fat-free ground turkey
v  1 can (14 ounces) reduced-sodium black beans, rinsed & drained
v  1 can (12 ounces) sodium-free tomato sauce
v  1 ½ cups chopped yellow onion
v  1 ½ cups chopped celery
v  1 ½ cups chopped carrot
v  3 tablespoons chili powder
v  1 tablespoon reduced-sodium Worcestershire sauce
v  4 teaspoons ground cumin
v  2 teaspoons ground red pepper
v  2 teaspoons salt
v  ½ cup water

I decided to eat my chili with some reduced fat cheese “frito pie style”!  G ate her chili with crackers – great either way :)


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Crock Pot Cookin: Tex-Mex Beef Wraps

I’m not one to curse on my blog but I must say…this recipe was the shit!  For those of you that may not be hip to my urban lingo…being “the shit” is a good thing!  It was delicious – my favorite crock pot recipe so far. As we were chowing down I told G, “this would be a great Super Bowl dish” so I think I’m going to make it again for the big game.  The thing I appreciated about this recipe (aside from its deliciousness) was that it cooked for 9 hours!  This was a plus considering the fact that I’ve overcooked my last 2 crock pot creations…the ingredients were pretty basic, most of which I had around the house.  I promise you’ll love it!


·         1 tablespoon chili powder
·         2 teaspoons ground cumin
·         1 teaspoon salt
·         ¼ teaspoon ground red pepper
·         1 boneless beef pot roast lean (3 to 4 pounds), cut into 4 pieces
·         1 large onion, chopped
·         3 cloves garlic, minced
·         1 ½ cups salsa
·         1 ½ cups water

Wrap fixings’
·         10 (6 to 7 inch) flour tortillas, warmed
·         1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
·         1 cup chopped tomato
·         ¼ cup chopped cilantro
·         1 avocado, diced

What to do:

1. Blend chili powder, cumin, salt and red pepper.  Rub meat all over with spice mixture.  Place onion, garlic and water in bottom of 4 to 7 quart crock pot.  Top with meat.  Spoon salsa over meat.  Cover and cook on low 8 to 9 hours, or on high 3 ½ to 4 ½ hours.

2. Remove meat from slow cooker; place on plate and use 2 forks to shred meat.  Return meat to cooker and mix well.  Adjust seasonings to taste if needed.  Place meat on warm tortillas; top with cheese, tomato, cilantro and avocado.  Roll up to enclose filling.  Serve with remaining salsa.

Super Bowl here we come :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

No Rest for the Weary

I’m so jealous of Georgia.  She is the best sleeper ever and I suck at sleeping.  I was thinking about this last night as I lay awake at 1:30am staring at the ceiling fan (and you all know how I feel about that damn fan)!  I can literally be exhausted ALL DAY but come night it’s like my brain clicks into overdrive and there is no helping me.  I’ve tried it all…reading before bed, having an early dinner, cutting out caffeine after 11am, taking a warm bath, you name it – I’ve tried it.  About a year ago my sis suggested doing a breathing exercise in which you basically just take deep calming breaths in and out until you fall peacefully asleep.  In typical me fashion, I would end up thinking way too much about the breathing and that alone would keep me awake.  I’ve even counted sheep (which does work sometimes – just an FYI). 

When it’s time for bed the first thing I usually think about is work.  I then follow this up with going over my mental to do list.  I think about my goals, I think about politics and whatnot and then I think about ghosts and spirits and how they are going to float through my bedroom door at any moment and take me away!  Yes, you heard me right…I am terrified by paranormal activity.  All irony aside, I actually blame the movie – Paranormal Activity.  This horrible movie came out about 2 years ago and I made the mistake of watching it, not once but twice.  The thing that’s so ridiculous is that I can watch scary movies all day as long as they involve the living.  I’m truly not afraid of strangers, gangsters or any other creepy human beings.  The thing that scares me is the idea that there is some restless spirit or demon like ghost chillin in my house just waiting for G to fall asleep.

On the nights (like last night) when all my sleeping tricks don’t work and I’m awake at 2:00am, I start to question every noise I hear…so naturally I wake up G.  She loves these nights ;)  I decided last night that I may be at a point in my life when I need to stop watching paranormal type scary movies.  This is somewhat sad and makes me feel a bit old kind of like adults that stop riding roller that next?!  Who knows?  It has been a tough couple of weeks which I’m sure is not helping the sleep situation.  You know the saying – when it rains, it pours.  I feel lucky that if nothing else, I have a partner by my side to walk with me through the tough stuff.  She sent me a prayer today to make me feel better.  I thought it was beautiful and it really did brighten my spirits so I wanted to share it with you all. 

Saint Theresa’s Prayer

May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be content knowing that you are a child of God.  Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.
It is there for each and every one of us.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

2011 DIY Projects!

A new year is here and that means it’s time to make a new DO IT YOURSELF list!  DIY projects have become one of my absolute favorite hobbies.  There is nothing better than taking something in your home that is old, damaged or just ugly and making it in to something beautiful! 

The plan is to start with a closet remodel!  

As you can see, our closet in the master is in need of some serious intervention.  It’s jammed with clothes (half of which we don’t wear), there is little to no organization…it’s just a mess!  I’ve starting converting the hangers from plastic to metal.  My ma-in-law turned me on to the new hangers and I love them!  They are much less bulky,  they're non-slip and really strong.  Thank goodness for the Home Shopping Network ;)

Next on the list is to install a storm door. 

We’ve been meaning to do this since last year when my mom’s house was burglarized.  Even though she lives in a really nice neighborhood some douche bag kicked in the front door and was in and out in minutes.  The cops said that this seems to be what’s happening with most home robberies these days.  Even though we have an alarm system I think it would give us both a little peace of mind!  It would also be nice to be able to leave the door open in the spring and summer months :)

I’m dying to get this 1970’s fan out of the house!  This is the only fan that we still need to replace and I’m tired of having to look at it every night before I go to bed…

We have one finishing touch in the guest bathroom.  I’m not sure how this thing got dented but we were planning to replace them both anyway.  I’m not a big fan of the shiny silver hardware.

I’m embarrassed to share this pic…but here goes…

The laundry room is our final frontier.  It’s a great little room – we just need to finish painting and organize it a bit.

I would love to replace our master bathroom vanity with granite but I’m not sure that’s going to happen this year.  When we actually get around to doing some of these DIY projects, I’ll be post some after pics!

Friday, January 14, 2011

More than Words

The song “More than Words” came on today as I was coming home from work!  Although it was written in 1990 It is so fantastically 80’s and I soooo love it (obviously…I named my blog after it) so I wanted to share it with all of you!  This is an oldie but goodie. 

Now without further ado, please allow me to present the vocalistic stylings of Extreme!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Our Doggie’s Getting Older…

When I met Georgia she was the “single mother” of a husky mix rescue dog named Samoya.  I’m not going to lie…for the first year or so, Samoya and I were not friends.  You see, before me, Samoya was SPOILED beyond belief!  She slept indoors (in the master bedroom).  She went on car rides everywhere, all the time.  She was an “only child” so she didn’t have to share anything with anyone, and for years she had G to herself…so naturally she didn’t like me either and the adjustments that soon followed my move-in didn’t help the situation.

In my defense, I want you all to know that I come from a dog loving family.  With that being said, I come from the school of – your dog belongs outside!  Growing up, our dogs were outdoors rain or shine.  They ate pretty basic food and NEVER went in the car.  So as you can imagine, moving in to a home where this little pooch had free rein came with its share of challenges.  Anyone who has ever had a husky knows they shed like crazy!  In my attempt to save our room from the attack of the husky hair and my eyes from their redness, we moved Samoya into a comfy little kennel in the garage.  Now before you judge me you should know that we went and rescued a second dog named Kenya (German Sheppard mix) and adopted a third dog name Rocco (black lab) to keep Samoya company.  Little did we know that she would rather have played on the freeway during rush hour than have siblings.  Again, this came with a whole new set of challenges…

For more than a year Samoya and me fought like we were siblings and G usually played the role of referee.  I hated that she barked all the time and she hated that I moved in.  It creeped me out that she had one blue eye and one brown eye and it creeped her out anytime I kissed her mom.  I didn’t like her sleeping in the bedroom and she didn’t like sleeping in the garage.  She was determined to be the alpha but so was I.  To put it plainly…it was me against the dog.

I’m not sure how it happened, or when it happened, but slowly our relationship began to change.  It was right around the time that G grew sick of the fighting, washed her hands of the whole mess and told us to hash it out ourselves that we began to get along.  I started to appreciate Samoya’s barking because it alerted us to visitors and made me feel safe.  I grew to love her crazy different colored eyes because it made her special and different.  I began to see the good in buying the more expensive dog food because it saved me from smelling her paint peeling farts, and I started to see the sweetness between her and her brother and sister.  I would catch the three of them giving each other kisses or playing in the sun and it warmed my heart.

When Samoya and I were first introduced 5 years ago she was a 3 year old pup.  Now as we enter the new year, I can hardly believe that she is coming up on 8 years old!  As the years have passed and I’ve grown to love and accept her for exactly who she is, the thought of her no longer being a part of our family is not something I’ve allowed myself to think about.  Sure she’s slowed down a bit.  Sure it takes her a little longer to get up off the ground and yes, she has begun to lose some teeth.  I don’t think I truly realized her age until this past weekend when the doggies came in for some quality time.  As the babies were laying around my chair I glanced over at Samoya and noticed a little pink spot on her right paw.  When I got up to get a closer look I was shocked to see that her mouth was bleeding pretty badly.  After G and I took a closer look we realized that she was ok and that she was bleeding simply because her little gums and teeth can’t handle hard bones and treats anymore.  I know we all grow older and that it’s just a part of life but it still made me so very sad. 

Knowing our bossy, alpha girl, she will probably live to be a hundred!  I sure hope she does because for all it took to learn to love her, I can’t imagine what it would take to learn to live without her.      


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Lovin my tech savvy wife!

It pays to be married to someone with their MIS degree.  G is a communications manager and her day to day job is to manage the social media and internal/external web content for the entire state for our company.  She knows the ins and outs of how to do technical computer design type stuff.  This is something that I know VERY little to nothing about…so when I wanted to give my blog a little face lift and a fancier header I told Georgia…

I want something like this…

Or a little like this…

The only special request I had was to incorporate pictures of the two places we exchanged vows and to use the color orange in some way (my favorite color) and literally within 5 minutes she made me this…

To me, having the know-how to design and put something like this together is very artistic!  So yes lady, I’m bragging about you – my modern day tech artist!  I’m totally surprised that I got this far without utilizing G’s skills…could this mean that I’m actually capable of teaching myself some of this tech design stuff?!  I think it does!

The two blogs that inspired the design have some great recipes!  I would encourage you all to check’em out :)

Thanks for my new header babe! 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Crock Pot Cookin: Lemon Chicken and Rice

It’s a new year and like most of America, the Roybal’s are looking to get a little healthier.  I’m not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions however; I’ve always said that it’s good to have goals (which are basically the same thing just less pressure)!  My goal for 2011 is to be more heart healthy.  To do this – eating healthier is a must.  G and I are definitely carnivores but we are going to make a consorted effort to eat more chicken, fish and turkey and a little less red meat. 

For years we had this favorite lemon chicken dish that I made from a box recipe...yes a box…just add chicken :)  The recipe was quick, easy and delicious but unfortunately I’ve been unable to find it in over a year.  I decided I would take matters in to my own hands and make the scrumptious meal from scratch…it came out pretty good but I let it cook a little longer than I should have.  The recipe called for 6 to 7 hours…I decided to go to the gym after work and it ended up cooking for about 9 to 10 hours.  I know – not the smartest.  In any case, it was still really good so here it is.   

What you’ll need:

- 3 cans (10¾ ounces each) condensed fat free cream of chicken soup, undiluted
- 2 cups regular rice (not instant) I used brown and white rice to add some color and a little whole grain
- 2 cups water
- 1 to 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup diced celery
- ½ cup lemon juice

Cookin time!

1. Combine soup, rice and water in the Crock Pot.  Add chicken; sprinkle with salt, paprika and pepper.  Sprinkle celery over chicken.

2. Cover; cook on low 6 to 7 hours, or on high 3 to 4 hours

3. Eat!

Oh, and a quick question…whose wife went to the market for her at 9pm on a work night because she was missing one ingredient from her crock pot recipe?  Mine did!  She’s a keeper!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2010: Year At A Glance

Happy New Year!  I hope that you all had an exciting new year’s eve.  This year NYE was pretty low key for G and me.  For weeks we mauled over what we were going to do.  There was talk of going on a little road trip, staying in a hotel for the evening or going the traditional route and hanging with friends.  We ended up opting for an evening at home.  Together we rang in the New Year watching movies and enjoying some AMAZING take-out sushi.  This was the first NYE in a decade that I didn’t drink my night away and wake up with a wicked hang-over.  I must say, it’s nice to start my year with a clear head :) 

2010 was an okay year.  I say that because there was no way it could have compared with 2009 (the year we were married, bachelorette parties, bridal shower, vacations and more celebration…you get the idea).  In 2010 our focus was very much on DIY projects and home improvements.  We both learned a lot and now the house is looking great.  Some highlights from this past year include; the celebration of our first wedding anniversary, the beginning of our journey to become parents, we were both promoted at work, my cousin Jeanine gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, we added a Jeep Commander to the vehicle family, we FINALLY made it out to Vancouver to visit sister bear, I had my 10 year HS reunion, my BF Elena welcomed a gorgeous baby girl in to the world, we purchased a 2007 camper (which we love), our niece Olivia turned 1 year old and last but not least – I started a blog!   

I’m grateful for all we were blessed with this past year and I’m looking forward to 2011 and everything it has in store for us.  I pray that this is the year we get pregnant and if you’re the praying kind, please say a little prayer for us too.    

Cheers to 2011!  Many blessings to all of you!

The family at our Wii dance party…hilarious video of this night to come :)
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