It’s Gettin’ Hot in Hurr

You’d never know it based on yesterday’s gorgeous Colorado (and everywhere else in the country?) weather, but it was freezing earlier this week! Inspired by chilly weather and lots of cooked turkey, I decided to do a crock-pot turkey chili. I was really impressed with how it came out and definitely plan to make it again. Maybe with the second turkey I picked up after seeing how cheap they were… eh. We’ll see, I think we are both getting a little turkey-ed out.

To start, I made a turkey stock using the leftover bones and skin from the turkey I had already roasted. I had kept the carcass in the pan and covered in the fridge for a couple of days so all the fat got cold and was super easy to skim off! So that meant I got to use the drippings from the turkey as well which I assume made a big difference in the flavor.

Yes, I used all of those tools for carving... it is harder than it looks!

Turkey Stock

Ingredients

Leftover turkey carcass

5 stalks celery + ends & leaves

1 whole yellow onion

2 carrots

4 cloves garlic

Directions

Cover all ingredients with cold water, bring to boil and then simmer for 6 hours (or longer to deepen flavor)

I let the stock cool and then put it into bowls to be stored in the freezer. I don’t know what I will use it for, it doesn’t seem quite as versatile as chicken stock, but we’ll see. Maybe a turkey stew or soup?

And now, for the pièce de résistance!

Bahaha!

(Source)

Katie’s Red Turkey Chili

Ingredients

1 cup of aforementioned turkey stock

2 cans diced tomatoes (I used whole and had to cut them up)

1 large green pepper

1 large yellow onion

4 cloves garlic

1 can tomato paste

3 tbsp leftover puréed vegetables and meat from stock – looks like barf, tastes nothing like it.

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. pepper

2 tbsp. chili powder

1 tsp. ground cayenne red pepper

2 tsp. oregano

3 – 4 cups chopped, cooked turkey

2 cups beans (combo of red kidney, black, pinto and garbanzo)

5 cloves

Directions

1. Sauté green pepper, onion and garlic until browned

2. Toss all ingredients into crock pot. Set it and for get it! (On low for about 3-4 hours. On high for about 1 1/2 – 2 hours)

3. Top with sour cream, cheese, crackers, etc.

What I’d do differently next time:

1. Less heat! I’m not a huge wimp when it comes to spicy, but this chili was hot! Nose runnin’ hot… probably use 1/2 tsp red pepper and maybe 1 1/2 Tbsp. chili powder.

 

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Gobble, Gobble: My New Favorite Fowl!

So I’ve mentioned before that I’m currently experiencing a chicken aversion. A bout of salmonella poisoning has left me hating the smell and very thought of America’s favorite poultry. Blech! Frank requested a trip to KFC the other day and I just about lost my biscuits, I had to bolt!

Taking advantage of the budget friendly, after-holiday meat sales has been a lifesaver. We picked up a 13 lb turkey for under $10.

And I didn’t even have to pull an “Extreme Couponing”

Whaaaaat???!!! I had no idea what to do with it, I’ve never even made a turkey before, thanks mostly to the fact that my brother is a fantastic chef and he and his wife always do the holiday cooking! I had plenty of time to plan though, that sucker was still a bit frozen after 4 days in the refrigerator…

Inspiration struck after a couple of Google searches. I think I’ve mentioned before, I’m not much for recipes. I like to get an idea of what could be done and then wing it in the kitchen!

Here is what I did:

I followed the directions on the back of the bird: let it thaw, removed the neck (::gag::, it was still a bit frozen to the inside of the body and it was seriously disgusting hearing it rip!). I missed the giblets (t0 be found later after roasting) which are stuffed in a bag where the neck originated. No harm, no fowl. Ha!!

Then:

1. Rinse bird from neck hole to…other hole.

2. Mash 1/4 stick butter with 2 tsp. each (ish) of paprika, oregano, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder

3. Place butter mix randomly between skin and meat

4. Rub ‘er down with olive oil and sprinkle seasonings all over the skin

5. Roast according to package instructions, mine recommended 325* oven at approximately 20 minutes per pound, or about 4 hours.

I get my kicks where I can

Crispy!

For next time:

Remove turkey at 165* instead of the suggested 180*. A chef friend made this recommendation, but I was in fear of ruining another white meat for myself. The meat was a tad dry. Any insight?

After roasting, I carved (er… I use that term loosely, it is a lot harder than it looks!) the turkey to be used atop salads, in a sandwich and eaten straight out to the bowl. I also held on to the naked carcass to be further employed in another recipe. Keep an eye out in a future post ‘cuz it was the bomb diggity!

Last Week’s Laughs (First Edition)

I’ve got an obnoxious laugh. Sometimes I throw my head back in uncontrollable giggles.

Sometimes it's caught on camera

Sometimes I fall to the floor, literally rolling around in stitches. Sometimes, I snort.

Fortunately I dropped that nosh before the snort attack commenced

I don’t recall when it started, but it was definitely in my adulthood. My best friend in high school snorted and squeaked when she really got goin’. I was part of a team that worked hard to make sure her giggles quickly turned into convulsive laughter and animal noises. I’m pretty sure she hated it. I’m also pretty sure I’m getting my payback, as it is highly embarrassing. C’est la vie.

Anywho, on to my point. I’m starting a weekly post to share some of the things that have made me laugh over the last week or so . We all love to laugh right? Enjoy!

Guilty…

Derp.

 

My New Year's Eve

Source

Can not get over that grin! 

Are you a snorter? Share something that makes you laugh!

With the Best of Intentions

I mentioned New Years resolutions just briefly to Frank this morning, a conversation that was fleeting. We both admitted that we don’t generally get into that, my reason being that I know I will never follow through. However, after a little more consideration, I realized that a list had already been made of goals I have for myself. One of my professors gave us an assignment, a Strategic Plan for the next 10 years of my life. I will spare you the details, but would like to include some of the things I have planned for 2012 that I KNOW will get accomplished!

  • Find a job that will take me through the end of my semester (January 2012)
  • Track our spending and get our finances under control (January 2012)
  • Graduate College! (May 2012)
  • Find and move into our new home (May/June 2012)
  • Continue blogging consistently (3x/week +)
  • Workout and track it (3x/week +)
  • Find new hobbies that do not revolve around technology
  • Try Zumba

That’s all I’ve got for now. Might add more later, but I feel like that is a good, obtainable start.

This evenings Workout: Full Body Workout w/ Dumbbells 

     10 Minute Warm-Up: Literally danced around my livingroom for 10 minutes! I closed the blinds, cranked up Comcast’s Hit                           list and went to town. I’d be lying if I said I don’t do this when Frank is home… but I tend to spare him my most rump-shakin’ moves. Maybe I should give Zumba a try after all!

Followed by this short ab workout

     Abs: 30 reps of each 

Crunches

Side-Bends (each side)

Bench Leg Raises (our coffee table is a nice substitute for a weight bench)

Dinner

Dinner was simple and delicious! Like I’m sure many of you are, I’m trying to get more fruits and veggies worked back into my meals. I still did some candy snacking today, but I’m hoping the extra produce I ate today kind of cancels it out.

I sautéed some green peppers, onions and mushrooms in olive oil. Then I fried an egg and put everything on to a toasted english muffin with a little mustard and a mountain of greens! I also had a sliced banana on the side (I always tend to enjoy bananas more when they are sliced. Weird.) I washed everything down with a glass of chocolate milk. I’ve never been a fan of protein shakes and I heard that chocolate milk can substitute for a shake after a workout. Works for me and it is a lot cheaper than whey powder.

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Have you ever kept one? 

A Little Savory to Stave off the Sweet

We survived the holidays, high-fives all around! We are still waiting for Frank’s final gift to arrive, apparently the few flurries (okay, 9” of snow) that we got delayed UPS. I’m hoping it gets here in the next 30 minutes, it is killing me!

This is me enjoying one of my gifts... they all arrived on time

I really do wear that thing around the house. Frank talks a little smack, but it’s so cozy! I also tend to keep the thermostat at 60 when he isn’t home, so it gets a little chilly in the abode.

In other news… I don’t own a scale, so I have no idea how much poundage I’ve packed on in the last week of cookie devouring and no workouting. I tell you what though, every ounce was worth each meal, nosh and gorge I participated in. Damn this season ending… I’ve been walking around in a sugar coma (yes, I know you can’t walk around in a coma… but go with it), the more sweet I eat, the more my body needs it. At least that’s the excuse I’m going with.

I haven’t just been stuffing myself with sugar though, I’ve left plenty of room for the savory stuff.

Enter:

Somersault Sunflower Seed Snacks 

Hello, you little bag of scrumptious.

These were in my Christmas morning stocking, but I held off on eating them until Christmas night while I was up late, playing Words With Friends doing really important things. It was my first exposure to these little morsels and I opened the bag with every intention of just “sampling” them. Yeah, that didn’t happen. Bag was gone in 10 minutes!

So what is it? 

  • Basically, a Somersault is a sunflower seed-based snack baked with other toasted grains, sesame seeds and spices.
  • The package says they are all natural, contain no preservatives, GMO’s or trans fats.
  • The website tells us that one serving has the same amount of fiber as an apple and the same amount of protein as a handful of almonds
  • The product comes in a variety of flavors (I only tried the one): Pacific Sea Salt, Cinnamon Crunch, Salty Pepper, Dutch Cocoa, Santa Fe Salsa

My Overall Thoughts

This is a great snack. Easy to eat too many and worth every crunchy bite! My only critique is the amount of salt. I know the flavor is called “Pacific Sea Salt”, but it was a little much for me. I’d love to try the Salty Pepper and Santa Fe Salsa!

My 2 Oz package came from a coffee shop, so I’m not sure how much they cost. The website says a 2 Oz bag will set you back $1.79 and the 6 Oz bag (the one I’d be most likely to purchase) costs $3.99 before tax. It’s a little more than my average snack (crackers and the like), but I don’t often purchase those unless they are on sale. I think I have seen them in the grocery chain we frequent, but didn’t give them much thought. I will keep an eye out for them and do some price comparison!

Source

Have you tried Somersault Sunflower Seed Snacks? What is your favorite flavor? If not, what is your favorite savory snack? 

**I was in no way compensated for this review. The product was a gift from my fiancé and I’m pretty certain the Somersault folks have never even heard of me or my blog**

A Very Berry Christmas

Merry Christmas!

I have finally put the fork down, the lid back on the cookie bowl and shoved the candy far from my reach, well… it’s at least more than leaning over-distance.

Christmas this year was wonderful! Frank and I celebrated our second Christmas Eve much like our first last year: with BBQ smokies, Lambrusco and cheese and crackers. I also hooked him up with a pint of Phish Food, his favorite.

He also let me open a gift last night!

I Needed one of these

Before curling up for the night, I boiled some eggs for deviled eggs and prepped the dough for probably the most amazing cookies on the planet! Recipes to follow.

Christmas Day was incredible. Indescribable. Wonderful! My folks made it out for a few days which made it even more special. My little brother had to work this year, so he wasn’t able to make the trip, missed him! Words cannot describe how grateful I am for my wonderful family. Hope you had the opportunity to spend it with yours!!

Merry Christmas from me and mine to your and yours! 

Liberal vs Conservative

My paternal grandfather is a wonderful man. I don’t call him enough, or tell him often enough how much I appreciate him and how much I will miss him when I can’t call him and tell him those things. Frank and I have been together for a little over a year and he has never met my Iowa family (except a quick visit with my folks when they were out here last year). Even so, when I checked the mail this afternoon, I had a card from Grandpa and inside was a money envelope for each of us. It may seem like a small thing, but it was really special to see that my granddad thought of my fiance when he thought of me.

Buckle up for safety!

The extra funds led to a date night, which in turn inspired this post. Frank asked me to list the differences between a Liberal and a Conservative. In light of all of the Occupy-yours’ mine and our cities, political debates and accusations of scandalous behavior amongst some of the prospective candidates, (I’m looking at you Herman Cain) my definition of both have become rather distorted.

Here is my basic breakdown:

Liberal = you believe it is the government’s responsibility to preserve individual human rights. That the government is accountable for ensuring that citizens do not go without their basic needs being met (housing, medical care, food, etc.). Long story short, the government should fix the people’s problems and protect their civil liberties through peaceful and socialism-based methods.

Conservative = You believe in personal responsibility. Limited government ensures free markets, individual liberties and the opportunity to pursue your own goals, free of the burden of social responsibility. You favor the success of the individual over the success of the group and emphasize personal empowerment. This group also puts high value on national defense and the protection of the country by all means necessary.

(Source)

A few years ago, I touted myself as a die-hard liberal…and wore the badge proudly.

Along with the basic beliefs mentioned above, the left and right wings also often have very different views about the “big issues” which is why there is so much bickering going on between the two groups. Abortion, capital punishment, the economy, education, gun control, healthcare… just to name a few. However, the underlying questions for all of these issues is “but what if it were happening to me?” People’s opinions seem to change pretty quickly when it’s their own rights at stake.

My opinions have definitely fluctuated over the years and continue to do so. I’m pro-choice, but  don’t mind if you aren’t. I see the other side and understand that stance as well. Likewise, while I am anti-capital punishment, I could never look at the family of a murder victim and not empathize with their need to see justice. If it were my loved one taken from me? “Off with his head!” is probably what I’d be chanting.

Yeeeeeeessss your majesty

I’m anti-war, but I’m pro-military. Unfortunately, I think it is necessary at this point for the U.S. We’ve made a lot of enemies over the years and while I wish we didn’t have the overwhelming presence that we do across the world, we would be F-ed without it. I feel that healthcare and education are rights not privileges and without either one, the future of our nation is bleak. Finally, I don’t want a gun and I wish you didn’t feel like you needed one either… but I realize I’m in the minority here and accept that its one of those pain-in-the-ass rights that was built into our society long before me and will not likely be taken away anytime soon.

Bottom line: (and Frank and I agreed on this) It is not Liberal versus Conservative,  but self-interest versus self-interest. What is going to benefit me? “Me-me” and the figurative “you-me” because I know we’re not the only ones thinking this way. I no longer have stars in my eyes when I think of the future of my country and all of its possibilities. Instead, I have come to terms with the fact that some people will just never agree, to keep my mouth shut when it is conducive to keeping the peace and appreciating that I’m still allowed to have my own opinion… at least for now.

Are you liberal or conservative? What do you think separates the two?