Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tuesday at the Table - Chicken Taco/Tortilla type Soup

 Go over and visit our hostess Cole for even more Tuesday at the Table recipes!

It is finally cooling off a bit down here in South Central Texas and the season for soups and stews is upon us!!  Yesterday I started off the season by putting together a Chicken Taco soup! I used the chopped veggies and seasoning from a Chicken Tortilla Soup mix at a local grocery store and dressed it up a bit!

I started by putting 2 chicken thighs and one chicken breast in my crock pot with 1/2 envelope of taco seasoning and about 1/2 cup salsa (I used a cilantro based store brand). Because the chicken was frozen I let it cook for about 3 hours on high; for thawed chicken cook for 1.5-2hrs on high) . Then I pulled the chicken apart with two forks to shred it (I left mine in pretty big pieces). Turn the crockpot to low.

After finishing the chicken shredding I sauteed 1/2 cup chopped onion, 1/2 cup chopped green pepper, one clove of  garlic (chopped) and I had a little leftover corn I through in the skillet. Sauteed these until they are tender.

If you are one of those who like a bit of a KICK in your soup, chop up a Serrano pepper and put it in with the other veggies!

Chop one or two ripe tomatoes

Mix them with your onion and pepper mixture...

Add the veggie mixture to your chicken in the crock pot!

Add 48 oz chicken stock (6 cups)

Add another packet taco seasoning and about 1/2 cup refried beans (this will thicken it up a bit!)


You can heat it up fast on hi for about an hour, or let it simmer on low for a couple of until you are ready to eat !

Garnish with fresh lime, cilantro, cheese, avocado, tortilla strips, etc.. Last night I added about a cup of whole wheat bow ties (pasta)!

Serve with homemade (from the bread maker) bread and a salad for a nummy cold weather dinner AND lunches for the week!

Have a great week all!! Cookie recipes are on their way...I won't have time to bake until after my Thanksgiving next Sunday...Sooooooo much to do Sooooooooo little time!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Weekend Wishes

Where did the past week go?? Time is really starting to fly by as those holidays get closer!


The main thing on the "Weekend Wishes" list this weekend is getting the house both cleaned and decorated for Christmas. Yes, yes, I  know it is early but we do have good reasoning! Ed and I are headed to Las Vegas on Christmas Day this year. This is a joint my birthday, his birthday and Christmas gift to each other plus..have you SEEN the travel deals you can get in Vegas between Christmas and New Years!! I will be taking the decorations down the weekend before Christmas in order to have the house deep cleaned while we are on vacation (Dory and Bilbo's Nanny Ree is also my cleaning assistant). So I am putting the decorations up a week early..and taking them down a week early. So there...justification!

I will also be watching the Longhorns play Kansas State (and hopefully winning) their final home game!

There will be holiday card and digital scrapbook work along with some list being made of who has been naughty and who has been nice!

Not to mention a special cookie recipe that I will post over the weekend!!

May all your Weekend Wishes come true!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Searching for Warmer Climates


 The cooler weather is definitely here to stay in the Hill Country! You would be amazed by the number of monarch butterflies out in full force on their way to Mexico for the winter!

You can learn more about the migration here. It is a pretty interesting read if you have an extra couple of minutes.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tuesday at the Table - Shrimp Salad


I decided to use a bag of frozen shrimp in the freezer that I bought a couple of weeks ago to make a Shrimp Pasta Salad for lunches this week. There are many different ways that you can alter this recipe depending on your taste in herbs, dressing and veggies. I used what I had on hand, and kept it low fat/low cal for today's version!

Shrimp Pasta Salad - This will make 4 servings

1 pound frozen shrimp, thawed, rinsed and chopped
(this is also a GREAT recipe to use up leftover boiled shrimp)

Mix together 10-12 grape tomatoes halved, 2 scallions chopped, 1tsp Mrs. Dash Garlic, salt and pepper to taste. You can add cooked peas, cucumber, celery, olives or avocado to this mixture if you like.

Stir in shrimp and 1/4 cup Italian salad dressing, I used a fat free version. Refrigerate anywhere from 30 minutes to overnight. You can add mayo for a creamier texture, I skipped this..because, you know, the whole calorie thing

Cook 4 oz paste (I used whole wheat bow tie, but any other small pasta would work) as directed on package when you are ready to finish the salad (after marination). After cooking is complete rinse thoroughly with cold water.

Once the pasta has cooled, mix with the marinated shrimp mixture.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serve alone, or on a bed of lettuce.
 Garnish with your favorite fresh herb(s). Today I used freshly cut basil but plan to chop some cilantro for tomorrow's salad! I Feel free to mix it up! Later in the week I will garnish with 1T Gorgonzola one day and 1T walnuts.

Num...Num...I'll be adding Progresso Light soup servings to this for healthy low cal lunches the rest of the week!!

Go over and visit Cole at All the Small Stuff to find more great recipes!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Weekend Wishes and an Award!

WooHoo Weekend!! Here are my weekend wishes!

Watch some UT Football!

Hook Em' Horns!!!

Getting the four major items in the photo below closer together and on film
in Christmas type decor!
You want us to what???
You want us to actually WEAR those costumes...Rrrrriiiiiggggghhhhht!

and finally get a good start on my Disney scrapbook!

Thanks to Tiffany over at Memoirs of a Munchkin Mommy for my first award...like Tiffany, my pooches have received many, but this is my first!

Here are the Rules for this award:

1. Thank the person who nominated you for this award.
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3. Link to the person who nominated you for this award.
4. Name 7 things about yourself that people may not know.
5. Nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers.
6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they've been nominated.

7 Things you may not know about me:
1. I am crazy for all things "Finding Nemo". You can find most anything Nemo somewhere in my house...
2. I have a port wine birthmark on my leg.
3. I watch the first two Godfather movies at least 4 times a year. I think I was Italian in my last life.
4. I could read the Stephen King Dark Tower series over and over and not get tired of it.
5. Austin Texas is the farthest I have ever lived from the ocean. I am used to living within a 60 minute drive AT THE MOST...here, it is about a 3 hour drive just to get to the Gulf of Mexico.
6. I have developed an addiction to Edemame beans in the shell microwaved with a bit of water and sea salt YUM.
7. My favorite Holiday drink is Bailey's Mint Irish Cream!

Now...I need to nominate seven other Kreativ Bloggers....I am pretty sure they have the award already tho...but I do love to spread the love!

1. Anne over at Comfort Food Warms Your Soul  is probably one of the most loving and friendly souls I have had the pleasure of meeting here in cyber land. If you haven't visited her yet please stop by and say hello!

2. Woolanthropy has been following me around the internet as I tried to find a home. She was reading my stuff before Dory even had a blog. Go visit her to get a mix of food (check out her brussel sprout recipes...YUM!), yarn and SoCal living!

3. Sunny, the hostess of Barnyards and Barnacles, is an awesome photographer and has a wonderful eye for all things New England.

4. Cole over at All the Small Stuff is a ray of sunlight here in blogland and is my link to the younger crowd! I believe I first met her throught Tiffany's blog (welll, Bentley and Lexus's). She is a breath of fresh air.

5. Gizzy's Mom is a photographer of all things classic including the point of view of her rescue pup Gizzy!

OK...I am reserving the last two slots for my next 2 followers!

Hope Everyone has a Awesome Weekend!!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Falling towards Christmas OR 'Tis the Season to go Nutso!

Fall has been happening here in Texas. The days have been growing shorter, the 100 degree days have passed and, much to my husbands dismay, the leaves are falling from our trees. Let's just say that leave raking, blowing, sucking and disposal are not "some of his favorite things" or mine either!

Fall Falling
This elm type tree is actually dwarfing the Maple type tree behind it that has lost most of it's leaves

Another sign of fall are the bushes heavy with red type holly berries


Berry Close up
Don't they just need some snow or ice to make you think Holidays!

These berries may be the only "hollyish" looking part of this bush, but it was enough to remind me that the holidays are on their way!! I am so excited and yes, maybe even a little stressed, when I think of all the things that I want to do...and what I need to decide to actually do this year. These are the only things that are on my "must do" list

Disney Digital Scrapbook
All of this for about $30!
This year in the family Christmas gift exchange we were lucky enough to have to buy for the family that we went to Disneyworld with! So I will be doing my first Digital Scrapbook including some of the 650 pictures that I took. Include a gift card for dinner on us and the gift is complete!

Pisces Evite 2009
This years Evite Image

For the past five years we have been hosting the Christmas Party for our dive club and this year is no exception. This is by far, the most wonderful gathering of the most wonderful and eclectic group of people I have ever had the honor to call friends.

Dog Outfits
I think Dory may be the reindeer and Bilbo the Elf
This should be ummmm interesting to say the least!

Most importantly, I need to get these outfits on the dogs to get pictures so I can get my Christmas cards ready!! This year I am doing two types....postcards for the D(ogs) W(ith) B(logs) mailing list, and regular cards for the rest.

I have lists and lists of the things I want to do. To keep from setting my self up for failure,** I will let you know them as I go along! 

Here is to a Christmas Season full of Joy and Creativity!

**A WW term!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

So Much to Do....So Little Time

I keep on telling myself that I will pay more attention to this blog. My ups and downs, my interests and photos that don't include canines....well I keep telling myself anyway. The world of DWB (Dogs with Blogs) is fun and exciting, not to mention you can write ummm...as your dog (or one of your dogs) and that gives you a free reign to let yourself go.

It is much harder for me to write about myself and what is going on in my life...but this here would be the place to do it huh??

So let's consider this my "a bit about me" post and let me tell you a bit about myself and my family..

As I say in my profile...I was born in California, raised in NJ and am Texan by default...

Disneyland 1963

The first 7-8 years were spent in SoCal...the California I remember is full of Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm and maybe even Universal Studios or at least the "Dr Jekyl and Mr Hyde" dude...I still remember being scared to death of him!!!

The "scary Man" and me in1964

After a 2 year stint in Houston, TX , we were NJ bound, where I spent the next 11 years. This is where I spent the tween and teen years of my life. I went from 5th grade through high school in, what was then, the small town of Freehold. I missed going to high school with Bruce Springsteen by 10 or so years...But he did try to make an appearance at my 10th or 11th grade homecoming (he made it almost all the way to the football field before he was discovered). I am proud to have been a "Colonial" tho and made some of the best friends I ever had, not to mention the best memories!

Main Street in Freehold - 1980

The next 20 years was filled with three years in Houston in the early 80s and the other 17 years on the Jersey Shore. There was a marriage, a divorce and lots of work.

View of Coastline - Jersey Shore - 1997

In 1998 I moved to San Antonio, TX to take a job offer and be closer to a man I met "electronically", you know...O-N-L-I-N-E....

Happy Couple - 2001

 In 2001 I married to the love of my life (you know, the one I met online)! Although it took about 40 years to find him, it was well worth the wait.  We now live right outside the awesome Austin, Texas, home of the University of Texas and the Longhorns...HOOK 'EM HORNS! We both love to travel and scuba dive. He is an IT professional during the day and an dedicated SCUBA instructor whenever he can get a class.

Returning from a dive in Cozumel MX - 1999

He loves diving anywhere...I love diving anywhere where there is Blue WARM water...:-).

Bonaire - 2001

Bilbo - October 2009

In July of 2002 we got our first dog  Bilbo, an AKC Lhasa Apso, is both a joy and such a challenge!
 We believe he was most likely the runt of the litter and has multiple birth defects and has been diagnosed slightly hydrocephalic. He is very regimented, very schedule orientated. He is also very loving and protective! We love Bilbo just the way he is and he will always be our "first born". He is very much a Mama's dog and can be found trying to herd me at various points in his day. Last year Bilbo experienced his first seizure. He had them on and off for about three months and then they just stopped happening.  I think God just knows what a special dude he really is and has given him to us to keep us on our toes!!

Dory - October 2009

In February of 2004 we got our second dog Dory, a Lhasa mix. We are truly blessed with Dory. When we went to pick her up in Bryant Texas she was a MESS. Worms, very bad diarrhea, but the first time we saw her it was true love...I keep reading about "the  heart dog" that everyone has in their lifetime..The one that just "gets you" and you "get her/him"...Dory is that dog to me. She is my snuggle buddy, my confidant yet she is curious, independent and can be quite the bullhead sometimes. She is her Daddy's Little Girl...and has enough love to share with just about any ummm human....

As a childless couple,my dogs are a very big part our life.  They pretty much our kids and we love them as such, yet try to remember that Dory can only have a FEW Cheetos and we don't have to do EVERYTHING Bilbo wants!

There are other aspects of my life, which are pretty much the ones I want to share on this venue...I love photography, both above water and below it. I am also in charge of the family photos and have TONS of photos I am scanning. I hope to share some of the Vintage Photos that I have been entrusted with.

I am a crafting addict, anything craft I will try...and hopefully finish....

I love crocheting and have two BIG Work In Progresses.  I enjoy candlemaking, soap making or anything else aeromatic. I love to make my own cards...and this will be my third year making my own Christmas Cards. I will definitely be sharing the crafting element of my life in the next couple of months.

Travel is also a big love...whether it is Vegas, a dive destination, or just a drive to a nearby Texas town, I just love to have fun,new travel experiences!!

A foodie at heart, I have also had a love/hate relationship with my weight. I have recently re-joined that group with the WW. I will be fighting, whining and hopefully getting up a few great low fat  recipes  to share during my tenure here also!

So much to do...so little time...let's get started!!!