Archive | December, 2008

Recipe Sunday: Lazy Chicken Enchiladas

Shut up.  I KNOW it’s not Sunday.  But.. if I were to justify the title.. not that I have to, mind you, it’s my freakin’ blog and I can say what I want.. I would pontificate that today is almost like Sunday, what with tomorrow being a new era of time and all.

Time is really the essence of this dish.  I rarely get home on a weekday before five, and Bryan comes home ravenous at 6.  Also, I’m lazy.  I think that’s an important point here.  So this dish is often a savior for me.

It is not New Year’s themed, and contains no black-eyed peas or cabbage or ham or anything else typically associated with luck in the new year.  However, everyone in my house eats this.. happily, even.. and that, my friends, feels pretty damn lucky.

2 Cups of already-cooked chicken meat
1 Cup of Sour Cream
1 Cup of Salsa
1 Can of Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup
2 Cups of Grated Cheese
2 tsp of Chili Powder
10 Tortillas
Tomatoes/Peppers for garnish

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Get your chicken ready. (Lazy hint: I use frozen fajita meat. Tyson makes great grilled and sliced chicken breast, and you can get two of these recipes out of one frozen bag.  I have also used rotisserie chicken with great results.) In a large bowl, combine salsa, sour cream, condensed soup, and chilli powder. (Lazy hint #2: if you buy a small container of sour cream, it’s most often equal to a cup.  Dump the sour cream first and use that to measure the rest of your ingredients instead of dirtying a measuring cup.) (Lazy hint #3: If you don’t have salsa, like I thought I didn’t last night, you can use half a can of Rotel along with the juice.  I upped the heat by adding some extra chili powder as well.) Mix well.

In a slightly smaller bowl, dump 2 cups of the sour cream mixture in, and add the chicken and cheese. (Lazy hint #4: Most grocers offer bags of “mexican blend” cheeses that are – TA DA! – exactly 2 cups.  This also adds a great kick.) Combine well.

Spoon generous amounts of the chicken mixture down the center of each tortilla and wrap, laying them seam-side down in a 13×9 dish or a shallow baking pan. (Lazy hint #5: I add a touch of chicken stock along the bottom of the pan just to keep the tortillas from drying out as they cook.  Salsa verde would also be good for this.) (Not so much lazy, but a hint: “restaurant style” tortillas work better for this because of their smaller size.) Once the pan is full of rolled/filled tortillas, spoon the remaining sour cream mixture over the top. (It won’t be much, just enough for each tortilla to get a splash.) Cover with tin foil and bake in the 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.  

Remove the dish and the foil, and top with tomatoes/peppers and cheese for garnish, if desired.  I usually pop it back in the oven for a second or two, to heat up the veggies and melt the cheese.  But you can eat now, if you’re really hungry. (Lazy hint #6: if you used the half can of Rotel earlier as a salsa substitute, through the other half of the can on top to garnish.  It was GREAT.)

Again, this is a really quick dinner that makes enough for leftover lunch the next day, and it’s one of those dishes that seems to get better as leftovers.  Enjoy!

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2008 Wrap-Up

Yes, I promise; there will be a full post-Holiday report forthcoming.  Suffice it to say that I was SO READY for today to come, a day when I had the house to myself ALL FRICKIN’ DAY and yet the clutter and messiness inside of it is suffocating me.  When I can surface from the filth, you’ll hear back from me.

In the meantime, the glorious blogging queen of all things weight loss, Linda, has posted this great wrap-up for 2008.  I am a sheep (albeit a black one), so .. BAAHHHH.

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before? I bought a house.  Bryan and I searched all over this city for a fixer-upper we could spend the next few years customizing.. and by a twist of fate, we found one already fixed up exactly as we would’ve wanted it.  I love my house, and aside from just ONE MORE BEDROOM, there’s not much I would change about it.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I don’t think I made any last year, not in January, anyhow.  I did make resolutions throughout the year that I made pretty significant progress on.  This year?  I plan to make some pretty simple resolutions to start and then really pick up some harder ones come June.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Yes!  Miss Zoot and Aardvark both had fabulously precious babehs.

4. Did anyone close to you die? I’ve been very fortunate this year; I haven’t lost anyone close to me.

5. What countries did you visit? Bug Tussel.

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008? I think that it’s a given that we’ll have it, but I’d like us to have more control.  With a new baby in the house and moving into a new house and everything else that we did this year, it was easy to feel like we were losing control.  This year, I hope we stay more proactive instead of reactive.

7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? Ah, the blessings and curses of having no memory to speak of.  Sure, I could go through my blog for the past YEAR, but honestly? Nothing really sticks out.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? I took a job that was a big step up from what I was doing, and it proved to be far more challenging than I was prepared for.  My biggest acheivement is that job; I finally made peace with what my calling is there and have found ways to better the environment around me.

9. What was your biggest failure? Money.  Always money.  But of course, I believe that if money is your biggest problem in life, it isn’t really that big of a problem.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Illness was rampant in our house for about six months, with a baby in daycare and The Boy bringing over new germs every other weekend.  But.. ::FEROCIOUSLY KNOCKING ON WOOD:: we seem to be okay now.  The baby has been A LOT less sick at the new daycare.

11. What was the best thing you bought? TiVo, hands down.  I can’t scream the praises of this device loudly enough.  Not only do we get to only watch shows we’re seriously interested in, we tend to not watch tv AT ALL if there’s nothing on or recorded we want to spend our time on.  TiVo has helped us watch LESS tv.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Wow, this one’s hard.  Not because I don’t know anyone who deserved celebration, but because I’m having a hard time narrowing it down.  Okay, so, there was a lady who won a $5K gift card to our luxury Bridge Street Town Centre shopping complex, and she donated the entire amount to a local charity.  I was just amazed.  Actually, come to think of it: I watched a teenage girl chase down an elderly lady on Christmas Eve because the lady had dropped a $20 while walking out of the store.  And Bryan witnessed a 10 year old boy turn in a wallet he found in the parking lot of Target that had (easily) $50 cash inside of it.  I think, as bad as our economy is, that humanity has come through in small doses, and those doses are what we should remember.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Sadly, I think this historic election brought out the worst in people, especially here in the south.  I learned how ugly and rampant ignorance can be, in people that often surprised me.

14. Where did most of your money go? Nestle’s Good Start and daycare.  The easiest question on this thing.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? I started a new job and bought a house within a week of eachother.  That was a big time in my life.

16. What song will always remind you of 2008? “The Way I Am” by Ingrid Michaelson.  When I started back at work, I played this song in the car when I dropped off/picked up Binja from Mom’s house.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?
b) thinner or fatter?
c) richer or poorer?

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Cooking.  I found cooking too late in the year, and it’s easy to get too busy to cook.  But so often, it is the savior of my sanity.. an hour or so, devoted to one thing, that allows for a finished product.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Deflecting compliments.  I don’t know why it’s in our nature to immediately think there’s an evil subtext behind every compliment, and I wish I had listened.. truly listened.. to more of the compliments I was paid.

20. How did you spend Christmas? Hauling ass.  That’s not very Jesus-friendly, is it?  But that’s what we did.  Haul ass from Southeast to Madison to Jasper to Hazel Green to Southeast.. and repeat.

21. Did you fall in love in 2008? Yes.  Again.

22. What was your favorite TV program? I think The Office is the most consistently fabulous show.  It allows for AH-MAY-ZING comic timing, a little improv, and there’s always some heartwrenching reality tied in there.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? Honestly? I’ve kind of let go of most of that.  There are still people that make me shake my head in disbelief/amusement/disgust, but there will always be.  Hate?  I just don’t have time for it.  I could be munching on Binja cheeks.

24. What was the best book you read? I really loved Water for Elephants and I’m just getting into the Sookie Stackhouse novels.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery? Duffy and Adele pretty much owned my rotation this year.

26. What did you want and get? A bike, a watch, a new house..

27. What did you want and not get? I really wanted a better camera.  But now we have a goal.

28. What was your favorite film of this year? I LOVED Quantum of Solace  and Tropic Thunder  and The Dark Knight and Quarantine.  Pretty much every movie except that Indiana Jones crap.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 28 this year.  For my birthday, I was treated to a weekend at my in-laws.  Yes.  I know.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? A 25th hour in the day.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008? Transitional.

32. What kept you sane? My friends, my husband, my blog, but mostly my child.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? This sounds odd, I know, but this year I really came to like Jim Carrey again.  He had kind of jumped the shark for me, but finding out about his passion for Jenny McCarthy’s autistic son (Jim and Jenny have been dating quite a while now) made him seem more.. human.  Also, I’ve really enjoyed his last few “serious” roles.  Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is still one of my faves.  And a TOTAL mindfuck.

34. What political issue stirred you the most? I was very into the presidential race this year, mainly because I feared the McCain/Palin ticket.  I feared McCain’s stance on female issues, and Palin.. well.. I would’ve voted for Tina Fey before I voted for her.

35. Who did you miss? I know it’s weird: Tim Russert.  I so respected him and thought he was a brilliant, warm, and honest human being.  The journalism world is an empty place without him.

36. Who was the best new person you met? Again, I know this sounds funny, but .. my sister.  We had really drifted apart when she was in Los Angeles, and now that she’s home, it’s awesome to rediscover how much alike (and how different) we are.  So maybe she wasn’t new.  And maybe I didn’t just meet her.  Whatever.  What are you, the quiz nazi?

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008. “Ask. Desire. Believe. Receive.”

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. “When you’ve had an ‘and’ / and you’re back to ‘or’ / makes the ‘or’ mean more / than it did before”..

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Be Warned: Sappy Curves Ahead

About a year ago this time, Bryan and I visited a specialist to look at Binja’s foot.  More specifically, his lucky foot.   We were warned at that point that we had a long road ahead of us.

About the point Binja started crawling, we returned.  What had once been a “what if” scenario involving leg-lengthening and bone-stretching was now moved up to “when”.  Although the doc seemed to think it was unnecessary, I begged for Binja to have a brace made so that his foot could be stabilized and maybe the difference in length could be compensated.  The doc relented and we had one made.

When he first got the brace, he just stopped using that leg entirely.  It was hard to watch.  But as time went by, he relaxed and got used to it.  Then he was unstoppable.  He was EVERYWHERE.  In every room, at every bookcase, cruising at a speed that baffled me.

Everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) asks me, all the time, when I’m having another kid.  Kinda like my set isn’t complete until I’ve got a pair.  Which is silly, I know, but I’m not sure I can definitely say one way or the other.  And the big reason?  Binja gets my full attention until we can get the foot thing taken care of.  He deserves me fully-committed until the big issues are conquered.  I have, many times, said “not until this one’s potty trained”, but what I really mean is “not until this one is walking on the lucky foot”.

We’ve gotten through this marvelously well, I think.  We joke, perhaps wildly inappropriately, about his handicap.  Hell, the day after he was born, his Uncle Kevin visited him in the hospital and declared that he’s got the part of Tiny Tim wrapped up.  But behind our humor, there is always an ounce of fear and a pound of determination.  We WILL get through this, Binja.  You will NOT be alone in this.  I’ve learned to say “My son was born with a foot deformity” matter-of-factly and emotionlessly, maybe with a tinge of compassion that, yes, I know this is awkward to listen to but yet I don’t need your sympathy, we’re fine, thanks. 

And I can’t lie.  There are still a LOT of times that I fear for him.  Jesus.  It’s hard enough being a mom, but being a mom knowing that your child has a handicap to overcome?  And wanting to walk that line of tough love and letting him figure things out on his own but OHMYGOD wanting to protect him from all the evil and do it all for him?  There are just not words.  There aren’t.

My child (and my family) is blessed with having many extraordinary, loving people around him.  I know that it will probably read “It takes a village” on my tombstone because I preach it at every opportunity, but I do so because I’ve seen the product of it.  And it eases my mind tremendously to know that regardless of the world’s harsh climate, he’ll have a warm place to come home to.

And yes, in case you were wondering, there is guilt.  Stupid, unfounded guilt that shouldn’t exist and I know that and is irritating all the more because of it.  Guilt that I should’ve somehow known that his foot was growing wrong.  Or, more astutely, guilt that I DID know and just brushed it off.  I spent the last three months of my pregnancy pointing to one spot under my bra where I felt his feet never move.  Permanently glued to that rib.  And when I mentioned having another baby to Bryan over pillow talk the other night, he joked, “Why?  Another broken foot baby?”  And it wounded me terribly.  He didn’t mean it that harshly, obviously.. a side effect of us making inappropriate remarks to get through it is not knowing where the callouses end and the flesh begins.  But yes, I fear, beyond any science or reason, that it was a defect in ME that did this.

But enough of that.  Ask me what I want for Christmas.

What do you want for Christmas, Sarah?

Today, my child walked.  As if he’d been walking for months.  My father stopped by while running errands, and my child walked circles around him.  With grace and control and with two feet that worked the same way.

I am crying as I type this.  I got my Christmas wish.

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Monday Recap

I SO NEEDED THIS LAST WEEKEND.

Really.  I mean, seriously.  Really, truly needed this last weekend.  Oh Lord.  Even thinking back on it makes me feel better.

The festivities began Friday afternoon with my office’s “award fee discussion and roundtable”, which is always code for “meet me at the bar under this important calendar notice”.  We visited Phil Sandoval’s with our spouses for Mambo Taxis and stories, and then headed on our ways.  Most of us will not be back until January 5th.  I, however, am working today.

Friday night, Binja headed to my parents’ house for the evening.  THE WHOLE EVENING.  AND NIGHT.  Bryan and I went to see Quantum of Solace at the Monaco, which  made for good people-watching.  And the movie was KICK ASS.  Seriously.  I didn’t see Casino Royale (Bryan rented it but I spent that evening sleeping cleaning), so I was unaware how kick-ass the new Bond is.  And HOTT.  Oh Lawdy, was that man attractive.

After the movie, we went home.  And slept.  UNTIL 9:30 A.M.

We brought the baby back home and played house for a little while, and then I got ready for my second night out.  TWO NIGHTS IN A ROW.  I felt like such a single woman.  I met the 451Press crowd at the Monaco for us to see Yes Man with Jim Carrey, and we all laughed until we cried.  Guys, there is a killer blowjob joke in there.  It was pretty awesome.  Then we all wandered over to Connor’s for a scrumptious dinner (AND WINE) and finished it up with dessert at Chocolate Crocodile.  My sister was a lovely date, and I didn’t even have to put out.  SCORE.

Sunday was GLORIOUS.  The sun was out for the first time in weeks, and we didn’t have a damn thing to do.  Seriously.  Not a THING.  Bryan and I kept putting shoes on and gathering coats and making juice bottles because SURELY we were running late for SOMETHING, right?  Nope.  Not a thing to do.

Which, of course, made us antsy as all get out, so we immediately left the house and shopped at every shopping center located around our house.  Hooray!

I had not really been feeling the holiday vibe since we had been so mind-numbingly busy recently, but this weekend really allowed me to slow down and enjoy what I really love about the holidays: fellowship and food and wine and laughing and fireplaces and lights and sleep. 

Today, I’m wrapping up office stuff so I can work from home tomorrow and then not think a single work-related thing until January 5th.  Like there’s a chance that will happen.

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Hard Candy Christmas

That title really has no bearing on anything, other than my husband INSISTS on making references about his “HARD candy Christmas” in the most inappropriate of places.  Baby Jeebus would not approve.

We’re just about done with shopping in my house, with the exception of a few last minute gifties that we’ll most likely grab this weekend.  Speaking of, can I just try and explain HOW FREAKIN’ EXCITED I AM?!

Bryan and I are having a date night.  Tonight.  We’re gonna be like grown-ups!!

We’re going to go see Seven Pounds in the plush, VIP section of the theatre that I hate.  I’m hoping wine and leather will make the theatre more bearable, but the tickets were free so we couldn’t justify going anywhere else.  Who knows what we’ll do after that?  We’ll be footloose and fancy-free!  We can do anything!

(We will most likely go home and go to bed.)

Random thought: I am not really sold on WordPress 2.7 yet.  It kind of just feels.. old.  Like we’ve already been here before. 

I made a double-batch of no-bake cookies last night and tucked them into little felt bags that were labeled “COAL”.  They were mucho cute gifts for peeps at work.  I’d never made no-bake cookies before and just dumped a bunch of stuff into a pot of boiling sugar, butter, and milk.  It all worked out okay.  I like recipes that make me feel like a culinary genius.  Top Chef,  here I come!

(Speaking of, I may have a little Italian crush on Fabio.)

I just have to share this with you.  It was enough to make me want to slip bamboo shoots up my toenails yesterday.

Among my thousands of responsibilities around the office, I am the person who sets up new employees with everything that they might need to do their job.  I had a new employee who would eventually report to a center not in this state, and wanted him to travel there with a computer that I had tested and laid hands on.  Well, the computer was not delivered in time for the employee to travel WITH it, so I agreed that I would FedEx it to him as soon as it was received.  Since Monday, when it was shipped, he has called me — on average — 15 times a day to ask me about this computer.  If I’m not at my desk, he will call other people.. sometimes, random people.. to query them about the location of his computer.  Finally, yesterday, I was able to provide him with a tracking number.  He, himself, could follow the computer and maybe that would alleviate the thousands of phone calls.  I also provided this tracking number to everyone else he had contacted about this computer.  Everyone had the same info.  Ta da!  One of the contacts “replied to all” that he had checked and the computer was currently in Minneapolis.

Not an hour after that email, the employee called me.  He wanted to know where the computer was.  I replied that, per that last email, it was currently at the Minneapolis FedEx branch.  He said, “No, I knew that.  But since I don’t have a computer to check, I was wondering if you could see where it is NOW.”

Seriously.

I have earned a holiday.

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