Saturday, September 21, 2013

Crock Pot Stuffed Peppers

I decided to do something new on this site.  I am going to post recipes I have tried and really liked.  

Not only does it give me a break from having to come up with witty antidotes about motherhood, but I can finally do something with all those Pinterest boards I have.  An who doesn't love a good recipe?  Especially one that is easy, doesn't have a million ingredients and you don't need a engineering degree and a bunch of free to time to make.

I am all about easy.   I have tried to follow recipes that have a bunch of crazy ingredients and usually I screw it up.   I either forget an ingredient and end up looking confused.  Sort of like when you put together a Christmas toy and have screws left over?

Or it requires too much multi-tasking and I lose track of time and something boils over or burns.

Or it just tastes disgusting and them I am really, really pissed because I just spent a shit load on a lot of fancy ingredients that I will never use again.

Most of the recipes I try are variations of the original recipes I have found.   I am always looking for easier, healthier ways to make something.  Sometimes it works out.  Sometimes it doesn't.

This time, it turned out pretty yummy.

And I am sharing it with you.

Wine In My Sippy Cup's Crock Pot Stuffed Peppers
Serves 4

Would I make it again:  Oh yeah!

What would I do different:  I would probably try and make it a little more "clean" but cutting up fresh tomatoes and using plain quinoa and then adding my own herbs.   But right now?  I don't got time for that.  Plus, I was able to empty out what I already had in the pantry.

  • Box of already seasoned quinoa mix (or rice mix if you want)
  • 4 good sized peppers (green is cheapest but I think yellow and red are yummier)
  • Package of Italian sausage (meat type and heat based on your preference)
  • 1 Can Hunt's No Salt Added - Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic, Oregano

Step 1:  Make the quinoa or rice using the instructions on the box.  I used Near East brand in Roasted Red Pepper and Basil because it was in the house already and it seemed like a good fit.  But you can use any flavor you think will taste good.

Step 2:   While quinoa is cooking, cook the sausage.   You can find ground sausage or ask that your butcher ground up links for you.  Me?  I just took home a package of Al Fresco brand Chicken Sausage Hot Italian.  Chicken sausage is healthier but it is hard to find it already ground up.  So, I squeezed them out of the casings and browned it up.   It worked just as well.   However, it is a slimy process.  It is like touching used condoms.   Oops, should I have not said that?

Step 3:  While the sausage and quinoa are cooking, cut the tops off of the peppers and remove the seeds.  Some people cut up the tops and add them to the sausage meat.  I like to feel all fancy and look like a better cook than I am, so I leave them intact and cook them in the crockpot.  But that is my preference.

Step 4:  After the sausage is browned and the quinoa is cooked, mix them together in the pan used for the sausage and stir in half the can of tomatoes.
Step 5:  Pour the other half of the can of tomatoes in the bottom of the crock pot.  Stuff the peppers with the mixture and sit them in the crock pot.   Put the crockpot on low and cook for approximately 6 hours or until the peppers are soft.

When done, it should look like this.

Nutrition information below was obtained by plugging in all the ingredients into My Fitness Pal.  This is also using the exact brands I used.  If you alter the recipe, it will be different.   I have no idea how accurate it is, but hopefully it is pretty close.   Don't blame me if it is not.  You were warned.
Per serving:

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Quirky DNA

As I watched my child make sure every door was shut (including his baby gate), that his cookies were lined up in a row and that his blankie was hanging on the back of the chair; I rolled my eyes and muttered "crazy kid" under my breath.   That is when my husband reminded me that I really shouldn't talk.

Hello pot?  Meet kettle.

I have often wondered if I have a bit of OCD in my veins.  I do have a few quirks.  Idiosyncrasies.  Odd habits, if you will.

I can hear my husband saying "a few?" right now as he reads this.

OK.  So maybe I am down right weird.   Is that hereditary? 

For example...

We have two light switches in the living room that control one light.   It is very important to me that when the light is off, they are both in the down position.   The switches in the kitchen got messed up and now one is always up and one is always down, regardless if the light is on.  Have you ever tried to correct that?  You can't!  Once it is screwed up, it is screwed up.   And I will be damned if the same thing will happen in the living room.   It drives the husband nuts that I will walk across the room to turn the light off just so that both switches are in the off position.   Honestly, I am surprised he hasn't gotten up in the middle of the night and screwed them up just to end the insanity.

Then there is food.   I realized I have a lot of eating particularities.

I separate my candy by color.    I am talking about things like Skittles and M&Ms.   How I eat them depends on the candy.   Skittles are a rainbow of flavors.   I believe they should all get equal attention. Therefore, I make little piles with one color each in them (red, orange, yellow, green, purple).   If there is uneven number of colors, some piles may have less colors than others.  But still only one of each color.   I then start with the smallest pile and eat one at a time.  This way I am not left with a bunch of one flavor at the end.  Nothing is worse than getting to the end and having 3 greens left.  When possible, I try to always leave a purple for last.

M&Ms, on the other hand, all taste the same.  So I separate them by color and eat them in this order:  all of the browns, then yellows, then oranges, then reds and then greens.  Ugliest to prettiest.

Moving onto Oreos.   I must separate the chocolate cookies, making sure the cream stays intact on only one of the sides.  I then eat the side without creme before eating the other side.   I personally feel that the ratio of of two cookies to the filling doesn't taste right.  It hides the tastiness of the cream.  A one to one ration of cookie to cream?  Just right.  Double stuffed?  Even better!

Hostess Cupcakes?   I peel off the chocolate top, split the cupcake in two and lick out the filling.  I then eat the cake and save the yummy top for last.

Moving away from food, I love making lists.   I make them for everything.  However, if I do something that is not on my list?  I must add it to the list,  just to mark it off.  I have too.  It makes me feel more accomplished.

I can't stand all the notifications we have in our high tech world.  I have alerts for email, text, voicemail, missed phone calls, Facebook, Twitter and many more.   It drives me nuts.  I cannot leave a notification just sitting there.   All my emails must be read or deleted.   The SPAM and Trash must be emptied.  I must look at every Facebook alert just to get the number to go away.   I have been known to call myself and leave a voicemail message so I can go back in and delete it just to get the stuck voicemail icon to go away.    I can't wait until I get a legitimate voicemail from someone.  God knows, how long that would take while the little envelope just sat there at the top of the phone mocking me -- knowing all along I don't really have a new voicemail.

I could go on, but I think you get the picture.   I have a special way of doing things.  Life would be boring if we all could just eat a bowl of ice cream without swirling it with their spoon first until it becomes soft serve.

Leave a comment if there is something you do that others may find weird.

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Friday, September 13, 2013

Mommy Confessions

There came a point in my life that I looked around and realized at almost 40 years old, I had accumulated a lot of junk.  Knicknacks.  Magazines.  Receipts. You name it.  Fancy dust collectors, making me feel claustrophobic and imprisoned in my home.  OK.  Maybe that is a little exaggerated, but I did need to throw some things out.  

Then, just when I started de-clutter my life and simplify the amount of paper sitting around the house – I had a kid. 

I thought I would have years before having to even thinking about the amount of artwork that would come home.   The thought, honestly, didn’t even cross my mind as I changed diapers and spoon fed him applesauce.

Then he turned 1 year old and the daycare removed him from the infant room and placed him in the toddler room.

The first time something he made came home, I got teary eyed.   It was the most adorable giraffe and tree literally made with own two hands.  No, literally.  Really.  They used his hand prints for the legs and branches.

Then things started coming in fast and furious.  Xeroxed copies of coloring book pages with a few squiggly lines were stuffed in his backpack at the end of every week.  

As the pile grew and I filled one box, I started to wonder:  what exactly do I keep and what do I throw away?  He was only 12 months old.   At this point, I am bound to be on the A&E show “Hoarders” by the time he is 3.    

Then they sent home something made of glitter.   I have my limitations.  Glitter is one of them.  I am a glitter magnet.  Somehow those little speckles get stuck to me for days.  They get in places no glitter should ever be.  That is when I knew it was time to start trashing some things.

I also realized that I needed to devise a plan before he was old enough to realize what was going on.   His self-esteem could be crushed if he knew I kept losing lottery tickets, gas receipts and toy manuals longer than I kept his artwork.  

I felt so guilty the first time I trashed something; I decided I needed to put more effort into being the perfect mom.   So, I did what every non-perfect mom does.   I went on Pinterest to see what perfect moms do. As I scrolled past decoupage Ikea tables, binders, decorated Rubbermaid bins, frames that store 100 pieces of art, and various keepsakes you can get made from pictures of his creations; I started to have an anxiety attack.

I had a choice to make.  I could waste another hour of my time looking at this Martha Stewart wanna be crap that I would pin on a board and then never look at again, much less do, or I could spend that time thinking of excuses of why his orange elephant isn’t on the refrigerator.

I picked excuses.  

I could say the art fairy took it to her castle to share with her kingdom.  That sounds believable, right? Especially the glitter infested crap.   Fairies like glitter.

I could tell him I recycled them to make the Earth a better place.   I could actually put them in our recycle bin, thus making me a good person and balancing out the bad karma of throwing my child’s artwork away.

I could give them to Grandma, instead of throwing them away, and dare her not to be over joyed about it. 

I guess I also could get the digital camera and take a picture before throwing it away.   But that requires me to actually download it and burn it to a disc at some point and that is almost as stressful as Pinterest – especially if I get the “disk full” error and have a conundrum on my hands about what to delete.

Whatever I do, I probably shouldn’t submit any of it to the many websites I found dedicated to making fun of kids’ drawings.   You think school bullying is the cause of low self-esteem?  Wait until little Johnny finds the picture he drew in the 2nd grade on the Internet with his dad commenting that his talentless son’s Tyrannosaurus Rex looks like a drunk dog wearing a dress.   Yes.  These websites really do exist.

I don’t look so bad now, do I? 

In the end, I decided to keep anything with hand and foot prints or anything made for special occasions, like Mother’s Day.   Anything that depicted a special moment in time would stay.

Of course, they will remain in a box.   You know, until I finally get around to all those awesome perfect mommy Pinterest projects I pinned.

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Blogger Idol 2013

Ugh!   I am so nervous! I just applied for Blogger Idol 2013!   If I don't make the top 12, I might stick my head in my oven or eat myself to death.   Death by ice cream isn't a bad way to go.

If I do make it?   I think I will give myself an anxiety attack every week trying to meet the assignments.   Either way, this doesn't look good for me.   But hey!  You have to try new things in life!

What exactly is Blogger Idol?  Follow the link above to find out.

But if you are lazy like me:

It is blogging contest for bloggers. Based on the popular singing reality show, American Idol, the contestants audition by submitting previous blog posts and then narrowed down to a Top 12 by judges. If chosen, they compete weekly, using writing assignments created by the panel of judges. Each week, someone is eliminated. The final contestant is crowned the ‘Blogger Idol’, and wins the Grand Prize.

What can I win?

Gift certificates to some really cool services to improve my blog.

But most importantly, I could get more readers for my blog, discovered by a agent, have a movie written about me, get Meg Ryan to play me (without her lips inflated) in the movie and become rich and famous.

Or, I could just get a few more readers for my blog.

Follow the progress of the contest on Blogger Idol's Facebook and Twitter!

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Back to School, Back to Flu

It is that time of year again.   I can close my eyes and smell the newly sharpened pencils and remember the feel of unwrinkled wide ruled paper.  I can see the markers, crayons, folders and backpacks.

Yes.   When the kids go back to school, germs spread.  How does school affect someone with a one year old?  Those school aged kids have daycare aged siblings.  And my child’s daycare once again becomes a huge petri dish.

After a relatively sickness-free summer, I can almost guarantee my little one will get sick within a week.  With parents going back to work, the center is packed to capacity.  Dozens of new pre-K germ monsters doesn’t help.  Add the afterschool program, and you have a bubbling cesspool.
That dreaded call from the daycare is what every mom fears.   And rightfully so!  If your child is sick too often, your employer may not be sympathetic that you need to leave work early. 

If your boss is unsympathetic, you may lose your job.  If you lose your job, you may lose your house.  If you lose your house, you may need to live under an underpass.   You won’t even be able to call one overpass “home” because you will have to keep moving to prevent your car from being repossessed.    To buy food, you will have to make flowers from palm leaves and pass them out on street corners for donations.  You will only be able to afford $.99 burgers and your teeth will fall out. 
See, there is a lot to worry about when you think your child is getting sick.  

On the plus side, you won’t have to pay for daycare if you lose your job!

Some say I am fortunate since I work from home.  I say that just means I am doubly screwed.   That means everyone thinks I can do it all.  They think I can run a conference call, take him to the doctor, finish that TPS report by 3pm and clean up puke -- all at the same time.   Oh, and while I am at it, do the laundry and start dinner.
There is a reason he is daycare, folks.

But yes, I suppose I am lucky.  It also helps to have his retired Grandma living only 10 minutes away and willing to watch him while I work in the other room.
But what if you don’t work from home, nor have family members close by that can help?

You take them to daycare anyhow and hope you don’t get caught.
Every time I find out a parent dropped off a highly contagious kid, my childless friends are appalled.  They blame the daycare for allowing it.  What they don’t realize is moms get desperate when it comes to choosing between living under an overpass without teeth and staying home with their sick kid. 

So how can you get away with dropping your sick kid off at daycare?
  1. Tylenol (or Motrin) is the daycare’s nemesis.  You can take your child into daycare and honestly say he doesn’t have a fever.   You aren’t lying.  He doesn’t.  At that moment in time.  It buys you at least around 6 hours before the fever returns and they know something is wrong.  But by then, you have put in almost a full work day.  Score!
  2. Know your daycare’s busy drop off period.  Strive to avoid it 99% of the time, but use it as your ally when you need it.  With all the commotion, you can easily sneak in, do a drive by drop off and leave before they see that mysterious “rash” on Johnny’s arm.
  3. Once you have passed the hardest hurdle, getting them to accept your child, you aren’t home free.   They could still figure it out and call you to come back and pick him up.  This is why you never answer the first call.   EVER! Now here is where it gets a little sticky.  They may call other people on your emergency contact list if you do not answer.  It is important those people do not know your child is sick.  They need to sound genuinely shocked and either agree to pick up the kid in your absence or offer to try and get a hold of you.  Either way, it buys you more time.
  4. If you do have to eventually go pick up your child, it is imperative that you play dumb.  If they feel you have purposely done it too many times, you could be banned from the establishment.   You need to think of alternative reasons for the symptoms.   Vomit?  Maybe food poison.  A rash?  Perhaps it is just the heat.  Fever?  Teething.  Runny Nose?  Teething.  Cough?  Teething.   Deny everything!
Now, please do not think I am condoning this practice.  I am not.  But I understand it. 

It is hard being a working mom.  You have put up with judging looks from your childless co-workers. 
If you lose your job, not only are you hurting your family, you are hurting the economy.  That is a lot of pressure!

Furthermore, some other kid probably gave it to your kid.  All you are doing is paying it forward.  Besides, you are helping them build their little immune systems.  That is a good thing, right?
But let me make one thing clear.  If I find out you purposely dropped your sick child off at daycare and he gets my child sick?   I will lick your child each and every time I have the sniffles.  

Karma is hell douche bags.
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