Monday, November 30, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Apple cider—I cannot believe I spent the first 23 years of my life without this drink. It is amazing.
Babies—I love teaching Cradle Roll at church. It's so fun to see how much the babies change from the time they enter at 5 or 6 months to the time they leave at 2 years.
Young Marrieds—This group at our church meets once a month, and it's always a lot of fun.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Last night I made chicken chili for Darby and me. This has been a favorite of ours since I first made it two years ago. It is so easy. It takes a while because of the amount of time it simmers, but most of that time is hands-off. The recipe calls for shredded rotisserie chicken. I normally don't buy rotisserie chicken, but I think I might start doing it more often. Darby and I can get 3 meals plus leftovers and 3 cans of chicken broth from one $5 chicken. It's a pretty good deal. Now, roasting my own chicken would be even more economical, but I haven't gotten that brave yet. In case you're interested, below is the process I used to squeeze every last cent out of that chicken. That sounds weird.
For the first meal, eat whatever pieces of chicken you want plain. After eating, pick off all remaining meat and place in container. At this point, it can be frozen for 1–2 other meals (such as the chili below). We can get 2 casseroles from the leftover meat, if I keep a pretty low meat-to-other-ingredients ratio, which I usually do.
Place chicken carcass (along with skin and fatty pieces) in Crock-pot along with roughly chopped carrots, celery, and yellow onion, a few peeled garlic cloves, and spices such as bay leaves, sage, thyme, and peppercorns. Pour 1-1/2 to 2 qts. COLD water over ingredients. (For a small rotisserie chicken, I'd stick with 1-1/2 qts.) Cook on low at least 10 hours. Let cool slightly, then strain into large bowl. Chill in the refrigerator several hours; then, skim the fat off the top. Divide among 2–3 freezer bags, lay flat, and freeze. This should yield close to 6 cups broth, about 3-1/2 cans worth. It might not seem like a lot but considering you would just throw the chicken bones away anyway, it's not too bad. Plus, you can use the leafy parts of celery and the tops of carrots. Next time you're using those vegetables, toss the scraps in a freezer bag and save until you want to make broth. Not to mention, homemade broth is much healthier and far lower in sodium than canned, and you can bask in your self-sufficiency and resourcefulness for days. ;)
I let the broth cook while I was sleeping, and—although convenient—waking up to the smell of chicken broth is not that pleasant. Neither is straining the broth and discarding the carcass before breakfast. Just FYI :)
Now for the chili recipe. Hope you enjoy!
Smoky Chicken Chili
From Southern Living (I think?)
3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken (I'm sure you could substitute boiled shredded chicken, but it wouldn't have as much flavor.)
2 poblano peppers, seeded and diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2–3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cans chili-style diced tomatoes
2 cans beans (black, navy, or both), drained and rinsed
12-oz. beer (Any kind. If you are opposed to buying beer, you could probably substitute chicken broth, but again, it wouldn't be as flavorful.)
1 pkg. McCormick white chicken chili seasoning mix
Saute the peppers, onion, and garlic in hot oil over medium-high heat about 8 mins. Stir in tomatoes, beans, beer, chicken, and seasoning. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Serve with shredded cheese.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
On Friday I went grocery shopping after work. We needed milk, but the price was higher than I normally pay, so I decided to wait and try a different store. When I checked out, I got one of those coupons that sometimes prints with your receipt. (I love those; they're always such a surprise.) It was for a free gallon of milk! I looked at it and my jaw literally dropped in disbelief and excitement. I am a huge dork.
I brought in our Christmas decorations from the garage this weekend because I wanted to see if I had any Christmas cards leftover from years past (I did---3 different kinds!). Darby and I are going to put up our decorations next weekend or early next week since he'll be off for Thanksgiving. I'm so excited!! I've bought several gifts already, so I feel ahead of the game. I'm also very excited because I know what Darby's getting me for Christmas (he told me): a massaging seat cover (one that has the little balls in it)! I've wanted one of those for a long time, but I teased Darby that the only reason he's getting it is so he doesn't have to give me backrubs anymore. He admitted that was partially true. :)
Thursday, November 12, 2009
I had a frustrating experience with voicemail today at work. I was trying to call an organization to follow up on a request I sent to them for permission to reprint their standards in a textbook. I get very nervous when I make phone calls, so I always have a script carefully prepared. I was transferred to voicemail, so I began:
"Hi, this is Kayla Hewitt with ______ _______. I am calling to follow up on the status of a permission request I sent in September. It was for the ______ standards to be printed in a textbook, [title of textbook], by . . . "
The machine cut me off and asked if I wanted to add to my message or re-record. I opted to re-record, as I wasn't sure exactly where I had left off. I decided to abridge for my second attempt:
"Hi, this is Kayla Hewitt with ______ _______. I am calling to follow up on the status of a permission request I sent in September. My phone number is xxx-xx . . . "
The machine cut me off again! This time I opted to add on since it was looking like I'd never be able to record a full message.
"Hi. I got cut off. My phone number is xxx-xxx-xxxx, and again my name is Kayla Hew. . ."
Cut off again! At this point I just gave up. I don't understand the point of voicemail if it's going to be that short. I understand that people don't want to listen to long messages, but wouldn't they like to know what you're calling about so they can gather the necessary information before calling you back? I sent an e-mail to the organization explaining what had happened (although the whole point of calling was because I hadn't received a response via e-mail). I felt like a huge idiot. It doesn't help that we have a community phone at work, so basically the whole office heard my 3 failed attempts.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
When the guy came to shut the cable off, he took the box, but he also had to go disconnect something from the pole. The pole is behind our fence and the fence is padlocked. Neither we nor the owners of the house have the key to the lock. (I'm not really sure how it got there, but we don't ever use that gate anyway.) The guy who had set up the cable climbed over the fence to get to the pole. Well, this guy didn't want to do that. He said he was going to put a work order in and that it would probably be a couple of weeks before it got done, but he would go ahead and mark us down as disconnected.
That was in August, and we still have cable! We can't access OnDemand or the special cable TV guide, but we still have all of the cable channels. It's been awesome, but I'm starting to feel kind of bad about it. I mean, I know it wasn't our fault, but I still think we probably ought to tell Comcast. I didn't even consider this before the Mad Men season ended on Sunday. No way was I giving up cable before then! :)
What do you think—to tell or not to tell? I'm pretty sure I know the answer; I just need a shove in the right direction.
Thursday, November 05, 2009
- I don't have to feel bad about being lazy after work. I mean, it's dark anyway. Might as well just go to bed.
- It is light when I get up in the morning.
That is all I could think of. This is very depressing.
On a happier subject, it is now the holiday season! I know this because Starbucks has their Christmas drinks available. Starbucks is my official calendar. And three weeks from today I will be in Texas enjoying the SUNLIGHT! (And family and friends, but seriously, the sun might be the most important thing to me right now; if it's rainy, I cannot be held responsible for my actions.)