Crock Pottin’ 2.0

I enjoy cooking and by cooking, [lately] I mean making a fabulous meal in the crock pot. Some people spend hour(s) in the kitchen after getting home from work to whip a meal for their dinner table. Me? I simply get up 15 minutes earlier (or go to work with wet hair if I want to sleep until normal wake up time) to throw everything in the crock pot when I am preparing a meal these days. I posted Crock Pottin’ in February which had some wonderful recipes I had recently tried…and tonight, I bring you Crock Potting 2.0! I am trying to remember to take better pictures..this time is better but I really need to do a better job in the future so the meals actually look good!

I had been on a chicken “kick” lately and heard a few complaints stories of the jokes between my dinner partner and some guys at work. Apparently, the other guy had gone out to eat with friends at a hamburger joint and my dinner buddy said, “I don’t think I will see a burger, or beef for that matter, in a long time! All she feeds me now is chicken or ground turkey! She makes me eat healthy!” I laughed and said, you want cow – I will give you cow…and that is just what he got!

Of course, my first stop that Sunday was ole faithful…Pintrest! After seeing the stews and cabbage and corn beef at the St Patrick’s Day party that Saturday and the weather still being a little chilly, I decided to look up crock pot beef stew. I found a recipe that looked simple yet tasty and decided to give it a try. I usually don’t read the reviews on a recipe but something that night made me keep scrolling past the recipe and was so glad that I did. I noticed that a lot people said they wouldn’t use as much ketchup if they made it again because it was overpowering. I decided not to use as much ketchup…in fact, for the first time in a long time, I didn’t bust out the measuring the cups…I just gave one big squirt of ketchup (probably 1/3 of what it calls for). I also added in a little of BBQ sauce (figured it might give a little sweetness to offset the ketchup) – again, didn’t measure, just a big squirt. When I got home from work, the house smelled so good – I jut knew the beef stew was going to be awesome. It made so much that we got to enjoy it for dinner Monday and lunch the next two days.

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Leftover beef stew and garlic bread for lunch

Due to our schedule that week, I decided to go ahead and cook another meal in the crock pot Tuesday so we could have dinner that night and the follow few nights. I usually cook Monday and Wednesday and just make it work leftover-wise. Tuesday I made a chicken dish (don’t worry, I made up for it later that week when he got more moo-moo)…crock pot creamy ranch chicken. I forgot to add the milk that morning so I put it in right when I got home…and I don’t think anyone would notice…but I will do it right next time :). I forgot to take a picture of that one…oopsie – it was just that good. During dinner, we talked about how good the meals had been and then I realized, they were from the same blog. I had not noticed it since I found them on Pintrest but I definitely go to the blog to search for things now 🙂

Those meals made so much food, we didn’t have to cook again until the weekend. We got take-out for dinner Friday (which is usually our night to go out to dinner) and thought about our plans for the weekend. The only thing I had planned was a coffee date with a friend I know from when I first started working in 2008 – Little did we know that we would both end up in Seattle years after meeting in San Antonio. Since I had been fighting getting whatever yucky-ness is going around, we decided to have a low-key, relaxing weekend. My dinner buddy kept mentioning making french dip sandwiches. He said we just needed bread, cheese, roast beef, and “juice”. Well, that wasn’t going to work for me. In typical me-fashion, I got on Pintrest and found a crock pot recipe for french dip sandwiches. We ran to the grocery, picked up our items, came home, and threw them in the crock pot. I was a little nervous about the recipe but let me tell you – it was delicious! We had them for dinner the Monday night and he enjoyed the meat with BBQ sauce on bread for lunch today. This is definitely a great recipe for the weekend – or really anytime!

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Night one…not sure why it keeps turning my picture!

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Night two…side of asparagus and a salad…again, not sure why it is rotating the picture!

I think it is safe to say that he has not had a shortage of cow, beef, moo moo lately so he can’t really complain about having chicken tonight…that recipe coming soon.

Until next time…xoxo…Julie

 

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A St Patty’s Day Plegge Party…

After spending a fabulous long weekend in Phoenix with Leana, sunshine, and baseball, I was having a hard time coming back to Seattle, rain clouds, and no baseball…BUT, I knew I had a wonderful weekend (Saturday night) to look forward to.

Unlike most weekends, I didn’t book tons of things to do…instead, I made a few plans and decided I would relax and unpack in between things planned. The fabulous, and relaxing weekend began with me sleeping in until 7:30 on Saturday! Yes, that is right, 7:30…and that is AM! I moved from my bed to my blue, comfy, reclining chair (that my awesome friend fixed for me a few months ago) and enjoyed not one, but two cups of coffee. After that, my friend took my to pick up my car (my 1st baby), Shaniqua, or SheShe for short. She had been dropped off before my vacation to get her recall taken care of and a few others things to get her feeling fabulous again. Since I was already up north, I decided to hit up Eddie Bauer for a new pair of jeans (a girl can never have too many, right?) and a new sweater (I had been eyeing it and it was 50% off plus another 10% off). Unfortunately (fortunately for my wallet), I didn’t have time to look anywhere else because I had to jet down to my friend house in Ballard for a skype call for Phi Mu. Little did I know, I was going to meet a Phi Mu who is from The University of Tennessee (woohoo Kappa chapter) but living up here in Seattle helping out the chapter during their first year back on University of Washington’s campus. Such a small world sometimes.

After that, I headed home to get ready for my wonderful friend’s St Patty’s Day party. I whipped up a delicious Bailey’s Irish Cream Dip…it went so nicely with the graham cracker sticks and was a big hit at the party. I even had a green bowl to put it all in (I know…such an adulting moment)!

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Bailey’s Irish Cream dip…yummy yummy!

I am always envious of people who have a holiday shirt/sweater but never invest in one for a party because I figure I will go straight up introvert and back out at the last minute – but not this time…I had a shirt and was ready to mingle at the party. The friends have the party are such sweet people that I figured anyone at their party was good people – or good enough 🙂

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Come on in!

The food at the party was delicious, the entertainment was fabulous, and the evening overall was wonderful! So wonderful, I even stayed until 9:45 (yeah, I normally go to bed between 8 and 9)!

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Twinsies with a Jr Host (one of my friend’s daughters)…proud of our holiday shirts

After a busy day Saturday, Sunday just had a few things planned and an afternoon nap was definitely on the list….especially during the big windstorm. Coming back from vacation is never easy, but knowing you have a weekend with friends, parties, and an afternoon nap makes it easier. What do you like to do get back into the swing of things after vacation?

Until next time…xoxo…Julie

 

Annual #PrettyGirls Trip to Phoenix: 2016

It feels so good…to sit in the sunshine (rays hitting my face) on the patio of Starbucks and enjoy a peach green tea. It is that time of year – in Phoenix…my annual trip for Phi Mu Founder’s Day and finally, a spring training baseball game!

Seattle is growing on me (gosh, I cannot believe I am saying that) but I cannot, no matter how hard I try, make it through those doom and gloom months without either going stir crazy or getting away for weekend. Clearly,I opt for the weekend getaway and that weekend getaway has now become a tradition…we shall call it…#prettygirlsweekend. I escape to Phoenix to spend the weekend with Leana and some other great people that I have met from previous trips and attend the sorority’s Founder’s Day and a spring training baseball game (which we actually got to go to this year). Those are the two “must do” items on the list and we fill the rest of the time with anything that seems fun and exciting at the time. Side note: I love visiting/traveling with Leana because she plans everything and I just book my flight (for those of you who know me, know how great this is for me).

This year’s trip has been just the weekend getaway that I needed. Seattle has had a few sunny days lately but I needed more and Phoenix has not disappointed! I landed in Phoenix early Saturday afternoon and was greeted with sunshine and smiles from Leana! We stopped at Chicken and Donuts on the way home – we split a donut since we weren’t that hungry and enjoyed a few hours of conversation. I definitely think this is going to be a place we stop by again when our appetites are hungry 🙂

That night we met up with some friends of Leana’s and mine (kind of, I have met them on other trips here and adore them so they count as mine too, right?) to go country dancing/two stepping. We danced a few times – you know, the older men couldn’t resist asking me to dance 🙂 A few times, I wasn’t in the mood so I kindly offered up Leana and they were thrilled! When we weren’t dancing, I was happily people watching and once again, Phoenix did not disappoint! Few photos from that night:

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Before heading out…Me and Leana

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Oh no…the po-po…don’t worry, they weren’t there for us 🙂

The next day was the sorority’s Founder’s Day celebration at Seasons 52. This was my second year to attend the celebration in Phoenix with their alumni chapter and was excited to see some of the wonderful women I had met the year before. I was also excited to be there because Leana was slated for Alumni Chapter President – yeah, we are total opposites when it comes to sorority stuff 🙂 The luncheon, once again, was fabulous and the women were so welcoming and wonderful – I feel so at home with this chapter 🙂

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Me and Leana – Founder’s Day 2016

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Me and sweet Patti – Founder’s Day 2016

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All of the women who could make it to Founder’s Day 2016

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Annual fountain picture – ignore my neck disfigurement – ever since my wreck it happens when the muscle is tight…

After Founder’ Day, we went home with full bellies and relaxed a little bit and worked on our evening plan. We weren’t hungry but I could always go for a glass of wine, people watching, and patio time so we went to the Biltmore…fabulous choice, I might add. The wine was good and the people watching was great! There was a conference shindig going on so we placed ourselves on the patio near the fire pit with an unblocked view of the party. There was an awesome string trio playing a lot of popular songs (top 40 anyone?) which added to the entertainment. A nice, Alaskan fisherman sat down by us and we enjoyed some good conversation with him. Hearing his stories about work/life balance and his love for his job really was eye-opening and thought provoking. He is actually from Port Townsend, Washington, which isn’t far from Seattle so we had lots to talk about.

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Our view from the patio – so pretty

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Our fisherman friend for the night with the trio in the back (one day, I might learn to close my mouth in pictures)

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This *might* have been when we moved in on the party and blended in 🙂

Monday – was the beginning of the my favorite season (actually started Saturday but for me, Monday) – BASEBALL! This year, we were smart and got our tickets ahead of time (yeah, last year we didn’t think about it being opening weekend and a weekend game and couldn’t get tickets) and headed to Salt River Fields to enjoy some baseball, boys in baseball pants, and my first hot dog of the year (always has to be at a baseball game). The weather was delightful, the hot dog so yummy, and the lawn seating a new adventure for me. I could not have asked for a better way to spend my first ever spring training game – except if my dad had been there. I know, shocking,  hat me, the huge lover or baseball, didn’t get to a spring training game until I was 30!

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Baseball…such a wonderful time of year

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Woohoo! First hot dog of the year…nothing like a stadium dog!

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Me and Leana at the game…#prettygirls

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Me in my happy place

After the game, we headed to Blanco Taco for catching up and conversation with some of Leana’s friends. I had a triple berry margarita (the berries make it healthy, right?) and we shared chips, salsa, and guacamole…all of which were delicious. I would definitely go back there for a full dinner sometime. We headed home after that and watched some tv until we fell asleep. I slept in this morning, packed up, and am now winding down my fantastic trip at Starbucks while Leana goes to a quick work meeting. I have thoroughly enjoyed this #prettygirls weekend and am already looking forward to coming back in May for tubing, sunshine, and friends.

Until next time…xoxo…Julie