Monthly Archives: June 2012

Leftover Wednesday – The Pioneer Woman’s White Chili

I actually had 2 leftover nights in a row this week, but I am only going to tell you about 1 today and I’ll save the other for later.  We had The Pioneer Woman’s White Chili.  I have wanted to make white chili for a few years now but the hubs discouraged me.  He is not a fan of chili at all.  I don’t blame him.  I never ate it growing up and it looked gross – all that ground beef and beans nobody eats except disguised in chili…  Well, I now make a yummy vegetarian chili that I can not get enough of, but the hubs still doesn’t want me to make it.  You see, his tummy cannot take cooked tomatoes.  And canned tomatoes are the staple for any home manager feeding a family on a budget!  *sigh*  Anywho, his need to stay away from tomatoes was the perfect reason, in my book, to make white chili, but he wasn’t having it.  Probably because we both thought it had to involve ground chicken or turkey which, let’s face it, is usually dry when cooked.
But Ree Drummond came to the rescue and provided me with a fairly simple White Chili recipe that uses pulled chicken meat, not ground.  And that’s not even the best part!  This recipe not only helped me clean out the fridge, but also clean out the pantry.  *insert angels singing, here*

I did not make White Chili with the intention of it being a Leftover Wednesday meal.  It had just been on my mind since watching Ree’s Food Network show over the weekend, on which she made regular chili.  I went looking for a recipe yesterday so I could get the necessary ingredients at our big, bi-weekly grocery shopping trip, which is tomorrow.  As I read through the ingredients list, I went on a hunt through the house to find out what I did and did not have.  Turns out I had it all in the house already and I didn’t even know it!  I don’t even know why I bothered looking, that’s how sure I was that I had nothing but I’m so glad I did.  I found the block of Monterey Jack cheese in the freezer (had no idea it was there!) and half a bag of Great Northern beans sitting on the pantry shelf in the basement along with a can of diced, green chilies.  3/4 of the remaining cilantro in the fridge was melting (if you buy cilantro regularly, you know what I’m talking about) but there was one handful’s worth completely untouched, so I ripped it off and used it.  Sill jalapeños in the fridge from the guacamole-that-never-was Memorial Day weekend and 1 onion and half a head of garlic left.  Chicken stock and chicken is always on hand and don’t ask me why I have Masa.  Don’t even remember why or when I bought it but I’m glad I did!  It was divine intervention that this dish came together this week, I’m tellin’ you!  I do have to say, the thawed chicken breasts sitting in the bowl in the picture, above, don’t look right.  I can identify a couple of body parts that are not fit for mixed company.  Moving along…

The original recipe said it made 8 servings.  I halved it and got 5, 1 cup servings, which was plenty to feed the adults in this house.  And if you are on Weight Watchers, 1 cup of this stuff = 8 points, with 4oz of cheese in the pot, no extra in your bowl.  The 3 of us had 2.5 cups total at dinner and then I froze the rest in a quart-size freezer bag for another night.

Ree’s chili is not as wet as mine and her beans are bigger.  The hubs loved the chili but did comment the beans seemed a little underdone because there was some firmness to them.  There totally was and I know why.  The beans were old.  I believe I bought the bag originally when we tried B on the Feingold Diet 4 years ago.  So, it will get added to the rotation and I will buy new beans!  Let me know if you try this one!


**Update – I don’t use dried beans when I make this chili anymore.  I use canned beans that I rinse off in a colander.  Makes this an easy, weeknight dinner!  :o)

Our Summer Bucket List

My friend, Julie, has a wonderful blog, Creekside Learning.  She is the put together blogger and homeschool mom that I aspire to be.  A couple of weeks ago, Julie and the Creekside Family came up with a Summer Bucket List, and I thought that was a fabulous idea.  The other night, while putting B to bed, we thought up all the things we’d love to do this Summer.  Our list is very ambitious (read – too long and unattainable) but that’s us!  I look at it this way – everything we don’t get done this Summer will carry over to next year so we won’t have to create a list then.  :o)  So here it is:

Our Summer Bucket List
  1. Drive-in movie
  2. Zoo
  3. Amusement or water park
  4. Beach
  5. Skateboarding camp
  6. Gymnastics camp
  7. Cartooning camp
  8. Get an Avengers LEGO set
  9. Free Summer movies
  10. Go out for ice cream
  11. Catch an ice cream truck
  12. Make our own ice cream
  13. Sleepover with best friend
  14. Sprayground
  15. Lay in the backyard and admire the stars
  16. Campout in the backyard
  17. Make s’mores
  18. Have friends over for a BBQ
  19. Whenever we want/need to go to the library, walk instead of drive
  20. Save a life
  21. Art classes at home
  22. Pick berries
  23. Go on a nature hike
  24. Make a new friend
  25. Scavenger hunt through the alphabet with a camera
  26. Get B to ride a bike
  27. Michael’s in-store passport crafts
  28. Vacation Bible School
  29. Minor league baseball game
Since we made the list, we have done #10 and #24.  Out of necessity (no car) we walked to the library twice in the week before making the list.  We enjoyed it so much, we put it on the list and committed ourselves to continue doing that.  He’s already signed up for VBS later this month and I am working on getting him signed up for the camps he’s interested in.  I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish from it this Summer!

End of Year Testing

B and I finished up his end of year test this week because our state requires proof of progress from homeschoolers each Summer.  Wednesday B had a meltdown during one section of his Math test because the problem did not look exactly like problems he’d done before.  The problem looked like this:

+  7
He flipped out because the number of digits on the bottom were not the same as the number of digits on the top, i.e.,

104          6          33
+456        +9       +88

*sigh*  His, I don’t-know-how-to-do-it-so-I’m-sure-I-will-get-it-wrong-so-I’m-not-going-to-do-it’s ugly head reared up.  We had to visit the safety corner, let it out, regroup, explain the situation and go over the inappropriate reaction to it.  For all his anxiety, he got 3 out of 40 Math questions wrong, a 93%, and none of those 3 were anything like the problem he flipped out over.  He got 5 out of 81 wrong in Language Arts, a 94%.  Two of those 5 he really knew the answer to; he accidentally filled in the wrong bubble.  But I wouldn’t let him change his answers.  It is so hard to take the “mom” hat off and just be a teacher during testing!  He asks me questions and I want to help”guide” him to the correct answer or I’m at the table with him, heard him say the correct answer out loud and then watched him fill in the wrong bubble.  However, that defeats the purpose of testing, which is to see how much he actually retained and to teach him a lesson to be careful with each question.

One of the many things I love and admire about B is his common sense, his ability to reason himself to an answer even when he doesn’t have the knowledge or isn’t sure of something.  He talked his way through some questions he didn’t know the answers to, connecting the dots like Six Degrees of Separation, until he came up with an answer that seemed logical enough to choose.  And he was right.  He continues to amaze us and make us proud.

Leftover Wednesday – Breakfast Dinner

I know, I know; it’s Saturday.  I’m sorry I was unable to get this post up Wednesday night.  B was preparing to take his brown belt test in Tae Kwon Do today (which he passed) and B and I were finishing up his end of year test because our state requires proof of progress from homeschoolers each Summer.  But I did use up some leftovers to make a great Breakfast-Dinner (that’s what we call it when we have breakfast foods for dinner).

Last Saturday we went to a local farmer’s market and the hubs bought a loaf of cinnamon apple bread because it, “…smells so gooooood!”  By Wednesday, the loaf was still sitting on the counter, unwrapped.  The cinnamon sugar covering the outside of the bread was starting to liquify.  So I sliced it up and made fabulous French toast with it.  I also made my favorite chiffonade (cut into ribbons) of ham luncheon meat that was at it’s use-or-lose date and half an orange I found in the fridge.

Look at the swirling cinnamon in this slice…
…and the chunks of apple in this one!
The bread was so filling, none of us could eat more than 1 slice.  So I cut up the rest of the loaf, wrapped each slice in plastic wrap and then put 3 slices each into 2 freezer bags.  Now the bread won’t go to waste, and I can pull it out the next time I was to make a hearty, filling French toast, regular toast with butter or maybe a bread pudding.  Will have to look into that last suggestion…

I’m Sorry I Have Been Remiss About Posting, Especially Leftover Wednesday…

…but this week has been full of finishing up B’s state required end of year testing, preparing him for his brown belt test in Tae Kwon Do and me watching The History Channel’s mini-series on The Hatfields & McCoys.  Lots of tears this week – from B during his end of year test and from me while watching the mini-series.  If you did not watch it this week, I highly recommend it!  It was mos def not appropriate for B, but something for adults to watch after kids are in bed.

Please be patient with me while I catch up.  Thanks!

Getting Hit in the Head With a Vacuum Was Just the Beginning…

I had quite the weekend.  On Saturday afternoon, I was on the landing of the stairs from the main floor to the top floor and our 2004 (read: older, bigger, heavier) Dyson vacuum cleaner was on the top floor.  I was on my hands and knees, cleaning, when the Dyson fell down the stairs and slammed into the top of my head.  I don't know how my head did not receive a laceration because the part that hit me was as close to "sharp" as you can get.  The reason I know what part of the vacuum hit me is because the impact caused it to break off.  It scared the bejesus out of me, hurt like Hell and I cried for an hour (all the while continuing to clean.  This is a huge breakthrough because I HATE to clean but have recently found a new system that seems to be working.  I don't want to jinx myself by blogging about it, so stay tuned…).  Then the hubs and B came home and I flew into the hubs' arms and started sobbing as he repeatedly asked me, "Why didn't you call me so we could come home?" and picked through my hair in search of blood.

After my housework, the hubs and I went outside to do some yard work while B and his "brotha from anotha motha" (B's words, not mine! What the Hell were the hubs and B watching/doing during my stint as a WOHM at nights?!) played in the street. (Don't worry, we live on a dead end street with no traffic except for the residents, who expect kids and parties in the street because it is nicely shaded.)  Anywho, during this yard work, I managed to crack myself in the forehead with a rake handle and whack myself in the left ear with a broom handle hard enough that I have 2 red lumps that hurt like Hell (the vacuum and the broom left painful lumps; luckily, the rake did not and I am good with that).  Luckily, I had a mom's night out planned with one of my fav girlfriends last night.  The restaurant she picked served awesome food, cheap drinks and we had a great time.
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