Monday, March 21, 2011

Chicken and Corn Chili

Yesterday at church, I was sharing my new favorite Crock-Pot recipe with a few friends, and I thought I'd jot it down here for anyone else that may like it.  It's a hot soup-y type meal, so that may sound strange to be sharing it now on the second day of spring, but I don't care.  It's that good.  And if you don't like to eat comfort foods in March, then just revisit this blog post late October!

I originally came across the recipe here, but I adapted it to what I had in my kitchen at 7:00 the next morning and haven't looked back since!  So here's my version:

2 to 3 (or 4) frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 16 oz jar salsa (I use On The Border mild)
1 15 oz can of pinto beans (probably any other type of beans would work too)
1 15 oz can of Mexican style corn
1 14.5 oz (I think?) can of diced tomatoes
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
Sprinkle sugar (to cut the acidity of the tomatoes)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Few generous shakes of dry ranch dressing mix*

Mix all together in Crock-Pot and cook on low for 8-10 hours.  Give it a healthy stir before serving, shredding chicken with a fork if necessary.

Seriously, that's it!  I've eaten it like a traditional soup/chili in a bowl with cheese and tortilla chips, and I've also used a slotted spoon to scoop onto a tortilla and eat like a soft taco.  Both ways are delicious.  Let me know if you try it!


*A note about the Ranch Dressing Mix: I buy it in this canister because I use it in several recipes and make dressing with it, and this is way more cost effective than buying the individual packets.  I think the canister is $5 or $6 bucks, but it is equivalent to like 20 of those packets which usually cost at least $1.25/each!

Saturday, March 19, 2011


In January, I introduced you to the newest Eason family member.  After living with us for about two weeks, Woody decided that he would rather live in the lap of luxury that is Country Ridge Bulldogs, so back to Rockwall he went.  And we are once again a one-dog family (for now).

However, we are now a one-hamster family as well.  Let me introduce you to GilVert (that's right... with a "V", not a "B").

He hides pretty much non-stop during daylight, so a full body shot is kind of hard to come by.
But he does have a head in there somewhere, I promise.
The backstory: out of the blue one day, Carter asked if he could have a hamster.  Not wanting to give in to his every whim, Nick and I told him we'd "think about it".  Parent code for: I-really-hope-you-forget-about-this-before-asking-again.  He was relentless in his requests so Nick and I decided that we really didn't have a problem with a hamster, per say, but the expense and minor-responsibility was something we wanted Carter to understand, as much as his four-year-old brain could.

Carter had an upcoming appointment with an Ear, Nose & Throat doctor (huge tonsils, enlarged adenoids) that we thought was going to be miserable for him, so we made a deal: if he did well at the doctor, he could have his hamster.  (As it turned out, he was a perfect peach at the appointment, and it was no big deal for him.  Of course, if/when his tonsils come out, I'm sure I'll take back that "no big deal" statement.)  Anyway, as soon as we got in the car after leaving the doctor's office, he asked if we could go get his hamster.  Since Nana & Jaja had SO GRACIOUSLY offered to take Carter to get his hamster, I told him he had to wait until Saturday.  By the time Saturday rolled around, Carter was beside himself with excitement, so Nana & Jaja came and got the kids and fulfilled their promise to get him his hamster.

[Side note to D & G: I know I've said thank you in person, but I hope y'all understand how truly thankful Nick and I are that you did this.  Hamsters sound cheap, but by the time you factor in the food, the cage, the shavings, the toys, etc., etc., I know they're not.  So again, thank you!]

Pretty sweet crib, little dude!
About his name: Carter, Nick and I discussed names for quite some time before Gilvert joined our family.  At first, he said he wanted a hamster named Elephant (is this from Little Bill?).  Then it was "Show-bee" or "Bow-bee" or whatever weird, fake name Carter could think of at the time.  Finally about five minutes before Nana & Jaja arrived to take him to the pet store, out of nowhere, he came up with Gilvert.  "GilBert?", I said, thinking I had heard him incorrectly. "No, mama, Gil-Vert."  So there you have it.

Yummy hamster food...
It's been a month now, and Carter still loves him just as much as the first day he brought him home.  He asks to pet him all the time, and I usually pawn that supervisory task on to Nick.  He also loves to give him carrots and apples for his nibbling pleasure.

Carter is sure to tell every new visitor to our home about Gilvert; he just loves him so much.  And honestly, so do I.

As much as one can "love" having a rat in their home, that is.


Friday, March 18, 2011


Last Saturday, Olivia went on our very first mother-daughter date.  I mean, we've definitely been places before just the two of us, but this was our first intentional, non-errand, no-ulterior-motives outing.  We went to the dollar theater to see Tangled!

Knowing that I wanted to get there a little early (since it was the first showing of a kids movie on a Saturday at the smaller-than-average dollar theaters), I had to do something to keep us occupied for a little bit before the movie started.  I stopped by Chick-fil-a on the way and I may or may not have smuggled chicken nuggets and french fries into the theater for a quick "lunch"/base meal for all that greasy popcorn.

Which Olivia loved, by the way.

We snapped a quick self-portrait before the movie started, then it was all hands on deck to keep this little spitfire in her seat and entertained.  She went through small periods of restlessness, but overall we had a great time and we've been talking about Rapunzel ever since.

I look forward to many more mother-daughter dates with this cutie in the future!


Thursday, March 17, 2011

My Own Personal Office Decorators

Carter and Olivia are spending this lovely Spring Break afternoon with their Aunt Mindi and cousins, Jackson and Grayson.  They all just stopped by our store/my office for a little hello.  Carter was in my office while I was in the store helping the nephews pick out a few new sporting goods.  After they left, I returned to my office to find this scene:

Apparently, he raided my stash of permanent! markers to create a small masterpiece.  I think it gives my desk a little character, no?

Oh and did I ever tell you about the time that I brought the kids up here on a Saturday to get some work done and I let Olivia play with my dry erase board?  Let's just say that white walls are not conducive to the whole "erase" part of that concept.

Perhaps instead of a Christmas bonus, I should ask for a gallon of paint and industrial strength marker remover.