Friday, December 31, 2010

Chili & Scene It?

Have you ever played Scene It?  A few years back, Ben and I picked up a "The Simpsons" edition for an after Christmas sale.  We've only played a couple of times, but last night the game came out of hiding after another rousing game of Scattegories.  Unfortunately, I lost both.  Ben is better at games than me for the most part.  From time to time, I can beat him in word games, such as Scrabble.  I also almost always win at Guitar Hero, which seems to infuriate him.  I guess he believes that girls shouldn't be good at video games. 

I tired a new Chili recipe last night that was adapted from  I was looking for something new and saw that it used BEER as a liquid base!  How awesome!  The end result was a very hearty, very spicy chili.  I halved the original recipe for the two of us.  Enjoy! 

Spicy Chili
adapted from

2 lbs. ground beef chuck
1 lb. Italian sausage
3 (15 ounce) cans chili beans, drained
1 (15 ounce) can chili beans, in spicy sauce (undrained)
2 (28 ounce) cans diced tomatoes in juice (I used diced tomatoes with green chilis)
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 green chili peppers, seeded and chopped (I omitted these since the tomatoes had chilis)
1 T bacon bits
4 cubes beef bouillon
1/2 cup beer
1/4 cup chili powder
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. minced garlic
1 T. dried oregano
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. hot pepper sauce (Tabasco)
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. white sugar
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (for garnish)


Heat a large stockpot over medium-high heat.  Cook sausage and ground chuck until well browned.  Drain excess grease.  Pour in all ingredients (except cheese) and stir well.  Cover and simmer on low for 2 hours minimum stirring occasionally.  After 2 hours, taste and adjust spices as needed.  Remove from heat and serve with cheddar cheese.  Refrigerate leftovers.

I decided to start celebrating the end of 2010 by sleeping in this morning and skipping my workout.  My goal is to get a great workout in tomorrow to start off the new year right!  Ben and I are just staying in tonight and celebrating New Years Eve together.  Steak, mashed potatoes, and steamed green beans are on the menu.  We also may enjoy a couple bottles of wine/campaign.  Someone may also be turning 27 at midnight!  :)   Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Chicken Parmesan & New Bread Maker!

 As part of my goals for 2011, I would like to start blogging more.  I always start, post a few times, and then fall off the face of the Earth.  No more!  We had a wonderful Christmas with lots of family, food, and fun.  My little sister turned 21 on December 26th, and we were so happy to help her celebrate on Sunday!  Happy Birthday Angela!

We made it home on Tuesday with lots of loot! My parents gave us a bread-maker.  We have wanted one for quite some time, and I couldn't wait to try it out.  We made fresh whole-wheat bread yesterday afternoon.  It was so delicious.  Crunch on the outside and soft and warm on the inside.  This gift will definitely get lots of usage!
Ben's birthday was on the 27th actually, and we were able to spend the day with his family.  Even though it was two days later, he still wanted me to make him a birthday dinner.  I, of course, obliged with his favorite, Chicken Parmesan.  It turned out really, really good.  I found the recipe off about 6 months ago and tweaked it to our liking.  Enjoy!

Chicken Parmesan
adapted from
Serves:  4-6

1 1/3 c. Italian Bread Crumbs
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
4 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 egg whites
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. flour
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 jar marinara
1 c. mozzarella, shredded
2 T. Parmesan

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Mix bread crumbs with oregano, 1/4 tsp. garlic salt, paprika, 1/4 tsp. pepper.  Empty mixture into long shallow dish.

Whisk egg whites and milk.  Place in another long, shallow dish.  Mix flour and 1/4 tsp. garlic salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.  Place in a third long, shallow dish.  Line up flour, egg/milk, and then bread crumbs. 

Dip chicken in flour, then egg, then bread crumbs.  Spray each side of chicken with cooking
spray.  Place in a sprayed 9x13 inch pan.

Bake 15-20 minutes.  Remove and top with marinara, mozzarella and Parmesan.  Return to oven for another 10 minutes.

Serve over a little whole wheat spaghetti.  I also did a side of steam broccoli, a little lettuce, and a slice of homemade bread.  I jumped the gun and took a few bites before I snapped the picture.  Delicious!

Now, Ben's festivities could not be over last night.  He talked me into taking him to Buffalo Wild Wings today.  Believe me when I say "talked me into", I really mean that he just mentioned it once.  I love BWW!
My favorites are the boneless wings - Honey BBQ for me and HOT BBQ for Ben.  We also split the Asian Zing.  Yum!  I did manage to keep it to only 4 of the honey and 2 of the Asian Zing.  We got 18 total.  I ate 6 which means Ben do the math. :) He says he was hungry.

A few years ago, we went in Chanhassen, MN on our 1st anniversary.  They enticed us to sign up for the "Buffalo Club", and one of the perks a free dessert coupon for your birthday.  Ben enjoyed apple pie a la mode with caramel sauce.  I might have snuck a few bites.    

It was a great meal and a fun time.  It was a very good thing that I managed to start my day off with a good workout - Cathe's Basic Step.  After a month hiatus, it is about time I start working out again.  Here is to a happy and healthy New Year!  Homemade Chili is on the menu for tonight.  I better get started on that.  Hopefully it turns out!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Book:  Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Rating:  B
Genre:  Historical Fantasy
Age Appropriate:  Adult
The story begins with Claire Randall, a former army combat nurse, vacationing with her husband off the British Isles.  After touching an ancient stone structure she is transferred back in time to war torn 18th century Scotland.  She quickly becomes involved with James Fraser, a young Scottish warrior, who steals her heart and almost breaks it.  Claire finds herself torn between her old life back in 1945 and her new life in 1743.  No matter what (or who) she choose, Claire knows her life will never be the same again.

I really enjoyed the unique mix of history and fantasy.  It was really what saved this book for me.  It had a really slow, steady moving pace. I would never classify it as "boring", but it also never got to the point where I just couldn't put it down.  Anyway, it was just good enough that I will eventually continue on with the series.  

Question:  What did you like or dislike about Claire as the "heroine" in the story?     
 See the comments for my opinion.  I had some major issues with her, but I don't want to post any spoilers here!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Tick Tock

I would like to share something that I am thankful for. I usually get very busy and don't have very much opportunity to think of this thing or its utility. The less of it that I have, the more thankful I become that I have it at all. If I have too much, I start to get a little bonkers.

So today I am thankful for my spare time. Without it, I would not be able to write on a blog, watch the television, or read the newspaper on the toilet. Here's to "spare time," may we all have enough, but not too much.

I am here

I'm Ben, Lindsey's husband and co-contributor.

Lindsey says I'm funny. I'm actually more geeky-nerdy than funny. I suppose geeky-nerdy is kinda funny to make fun of. I'm a student, hopefully only for another seven months. I'm an avid indoorsman. My hobbies include:
  • Eating Lindsey's food
  • Reading books
  • Watching the television
  • ~Exercising
I will be posting from time to time on books, foods, or whatever else I fancy.

Green Bean Tater Tot Casserole

This recipe has been a favorite of my family for years.  My mom started making this for me as a little girl, and I still enjoy it from time to time.  Not only that, but I have gotten my hubby hooked! I'm not sure where she got the recipe from.  My guess would be a church cookbook.  The best part about this recipe is the simpleness of it all.  Very easy.  Very delicious.  Enjoy!

Green Bean Tater Tot Casserole
Source:  Dear Mom
Servings:  4-5

1 lb. hamburger
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 c. milk
1 can green beans, drained
tater tots
small onion, chopped
crushed red pepper, optional

#1)  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Brown hamburger and onion over medium high heat.  Add a pinch of red pepper, if desired.

#2)  Drain grease from ground beef.  Put in the bottom of sprayed (greased) round casserole dish.  (Round or 8x8)

#3) Drain beans and spread on top of ground beef.  Note:  I use no added salt canned vegetables.

#4)  Spread tater tots on top of beans.  Make sure to place them very close together. 

#5) Mix milk and soup REALLY well in a small bowl with a whisk.  I've noticed that fat free milk adds to the hot dish being watery.  I always use 2%.  Pour over the casserole.  Add salt/pepper, if desired.  Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees until bubbly and brown. 
#6)  Remove and let set for a minimum of 5 minutes.  I usually serve with bread and salad.  Enjoy!

Well...Hello There

After spending numerous days, hours, and even weeks looking at other people's blogs, I have decided it is time for me to start my own.  I have an interesting life, right?  Okay, maybe not so much, but I am INSANELY jealous of people who can blog about their lives as a full-time job.  I have three loves in my life - my husband (who will also contribute from time to time!), reading, and cooking.  This blog will be about all those things.  Well, that and something that I don't love loathe, but that is absolutely necessary to my sanity and health - running.  I also love teaching (most of the time), but might have to keep my students out of this.  Wouldn't want to lose my job!

I love cooking and baking, and my husband loves eating.  We are the perfect pair!  Unfortunately, I also love to eat (especially sweets).  Most of the food that I cook is fairly healthy but not always, of course!  Look for posts about the recipes I attempt (good or bad).  Whole wheat, fresh, non-artificial foods fill my kitchen.  Over the last few weeks, I've transitioned from artificial sweeteners to the real thing.  Those chemicals just can't be good for our bodies.  We've also failed many attempts at vegetarianism and veganism (is that what it would be called?)   My hubby and I both grew up in small farming communities.  Meat is essential, and I love to cook with it!  Mind you, I do try to stick with Smart Chicken. 

When I'm on a roll, I'll also read about a book a week.  Discussing books has quickly become a passion of mine.  Love them so much!   

As with everything else, this blog is a work in progress.  The best way I can think to grow my "fan-base" is to become fans of others.  If I've made a comment on your wall, I REALLY appreciate you checking this out.  Stop back often!


Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Hunger Games Series #1)

"Winning means fame and fortune.  Losing means certain death.  
The Hunger Games have begun...." 

Book:  The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Rating:  A+ 
Genre:  YA Science Fiction, Post-Apocalyptic
Age Appropriate:  7th Grade - Adult 

Here we go!  This is my very first (of many) book reviews.  I am an avid reader and want to share my love of books with the world.  About a month ago, I finished The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.  This was a can't eat, can't sleep, can't-put-down-until-I-finish book! 

Forever fascinated by the post-apocalyptic genre, I could not pass up this book once I started getting word of the constant raving.  It is an action-packed story about a young gladiator thrown into an arena and forced to fight to the death.  Katniss Everdeen, the young protagonist, struck me as completely unforgettable.  Her strength, determination, and love of her sister, Prim, makes her hard not to become attached too.  Although, love triangles never seem to disappoint me either! ;)

This book only took me a couple days to finish, and I've managed to hook others onto the Hunger Games craze!  My hubby loved the book, and I'm currently reading it to my 7th and 8th grade English class.  The kids are obsessed; they're begging me on a daily basis to read to them, even passing up a movie the other day!

Please leave some comments!
What did you think of the book?  What was your favorite part?  Favorite character? 

"Happy Hunger Games!  And may the odds be ever in your favor!" - Effie Trinket