Monday, December 30, 2013

Granddad's Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Josh came home from work today with a stuffy nose. Ugh. We can't get sick. Especially with the flu going around.

Four years ago, almost exactly, I came down with swine flu, H1N1. It was the worst three months of my life. I was a freshman at UNR. There were about five of us that came down with it, and we were quarantined to our rooms, only able to leave for the doctor. I remember being up all night long shaking and shivering. I couldn't get warm. Nothing I ate would stay down. I coughed so much that my lungs would just ache. I kid you not, I have never been so sick in my life. I remember calling my mom in the middle of the night and begging her to make the eight hour drive to come get me, not that there was anything she could have done to help. And now, it's back. I saw on the news yesterday that five people have already died from it this year. We cannot get sick!

I'm sure what Josh has is just a cold or allergies because he has no fever, but I'm not taking any chances! We've loaded up on vitamin c and echinacea, I've got him drinking Gatorade and Pedialyte to keep hydrated, and I made a giant batch of granddad's homemade chicken noodle soup. This thing does the trick, let me tell you. We grew up eating this soup. Anytime anyone felt sick, granddad made us soup. I recently asked him to teach me how to make it, and now it is one of my favorite recipes, probably because it brings back so many memories.

On of the best things about this soup is that it is super easy. Besides cutting the vegetables and chicken, you really just sit back and wait for it all to come together. The other great thing is that it is very inexpensive to make. I made ten servings of soup today and spent less than five dollars!! That is $.50 a serving! The other great thing about this soup--I know, it keeps getting better :) --is that it freezes very well. I put the leftover soup in individual bags and freeze them so that we always have some on hand for a quick lunch or supper. The last thing I love about this soup is that it is homemade. Have you seen the label of these canned soups? Granddad has been watching his salt intake lately because he has high blood pressure, and these canned soups have like 900mg of sodium in them!! I make the broth from scratch. I cook the chicken myself, though you could use like a rotisserie if you wanted to. I chop all the veggies myself. The only thing I don't make myself is the noodles.

Okay, enough blabbing, let's get to the recipe, shall we.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Smoky Chicken and Bacon Tostadas

Hello!!! How was your Christmas? I hope you had a great time with your friends and family! We had a relaxing morning and went out for supper with my granddad in the evening. It was a nice day. No cooking, no cleaning.

The food was AH-mazing. We went to Don Vito's at the South Point.  I haven't been there since my grandma was alive, so that was interesting. The food was so good, I can't even tell you. Granddad and I had the turkey dinner and Josh had a steak. For dessert, Josh had a cappuccino cheesecake and I had an eggnog cannoli. Yum!!! If you are ever in Vegas, I highly recommend it. Our supper was $30 per person and included wine, bread, salad, the meal, dessert and coffee. Oh, and did I mention, it was AH-mazing! Totally worth every penny!

Not to be a Debbie downer, but I never got into the holiday spirit this year. I felt like I was going through the motions of the holidays, but never really felt the holiday spirit. I even took my tree and decorations down the day after Christmas. I really missed my family this year. Everyone lives so far away. I think that's why I never felt the spirit this year. We spent Thanksgiving with Josh's family. It was the first time in awhile that we were able to be with extended family for the holidays. After that, it just wasn't the same to spend the holidays by ourselves.

I took a little time off from writing for some much needed relaxation, but now I'm let's start things off with a bang!

I completely forgot about this recipe! This recipe comes from Pampered Chef. I made it about a year ago, and then put the cookbook on the shelf and forgot about it. The other day I was looking for something new to make for supper and stumbled across it. So exciting!

And let me tell you, this is to die for...literally. It is not a very healthy recipe, unfortunately. Between the bacon and the dressing made out of its grease, you are definitely going to need some Pepto before bed. It is totally worth it. It isn't something I could eat everyday, but it makes a great treat.

My granddad got us a toaster oven for Christmas, and I am thoroughly enjoying it! We cooked our chicken in it tonight and honestly, any chicken we've cooked in it has turned out absolutely amazing. It is so juicy and delicious. I'm sure there will be more recipes to come done in our oven, because I have used it like a hundred times since we got it.

Side note, this is what my kitchen looks like when bacon is being cooked.  Mommy has a bad habit of giving the boys people food so they are always ready and waiting for some bacon to come their way.  

Hubby's Opinion:
"It was a mix of sweet and savory. The chicken was very juicy."

So, with that, let's get to the recipe!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Crockpot Chili and Cornbread Waffles

Josh and I have been trying to eat clean since coming home from vacation. We haven't been eating fast food and have been trying to cut out processed foods. Usually when I make chili, I use one of those seasoning packets you get at the grocery store. I recently read that those packets are filled with salt and unhealthy chemicals, so I decided to try and make my own chili seasoning. It turned out better than I planned and I am so excited to share it with you!!

I like making crockpot meals on the nights that I work until 9pm so that I can come home and not have to worry about what to make for supper. The crockpot is like the greatest invention ever!

We also made cornbread waffles. I learned this trick on Pinterest. Any batter can be cooked in a waffle iron instead of the oven. Everything turns out crispy and yummy, and best of all, it only takes a couple minutes! We made our Cinnamon Roll Waffles this way as well.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Our Christmas Decorations

Yea!! It is December. Christmas is my favorite time of the year, probably because it is the only time in Las Vegas that it is not super hot here! I really don't do much decorating for the holidays. This is the first year that I have decorated a little bit in almost every room. Usually, I just put up the tree and call it a day. This year, I really wanted to get into the holiday spirit and decorate more.

I try to use only red and gold decorations, I know, I have mild OCD. I just really like everything to look cohesive and match. This year, my granddad gave me some of my grandma's decorations that are blue and white, so I have incorporated that into the decor.

Today I'll show you the inside of the house, and next week I'll show you the outside. The one thing you will not see today is my kitchen table. One of the things my granddad gave me were these little blue and white snowman plates that I have on the chargers on my kitchen table. One of them got knocked over the other day on accident. I have been looking everywhere a replacement, but they were something my grandma won at Station Casinos from gambling, so I am not finding it anywhere. :[ So, I am going to find something else to put on two of the four chargers and will show you that next week with the outside decor.

So, with that said, let's hop right in!

The most logical start of this tour is the front door! This is our entryway. On the left side of the entry, we have a shelf for our keys and a mirror. I added a little snow-globe a coworker gave me last year and a red and gold tree that I bought from Target my very first Christmas in my own house.

On the right side of the entry we have our entry table that Josh built for me. If you would like to see it in full, I can do a post on that. Josh originally built it as an island in our old house, but when we moved, I decoupaged it as an entry table. Anyways, that was a long introduction to the table. I usually just have a little Bath and Body candle on the right side of the table.  For the holidays I bought this little snowman candle holder from Goodwill and put a little pillar candle inside of it. We also have our box of mail and a little flower bouquet. I just bought this vase at Michael's over the weekend because little Oliver broke the other one while we were in California on vacation for Thanksgiving.

This is our coffee table and stockings. Yes, we do have stockings for our pets, and yes, there are already things in that's that. I made the candle holders on the right hand side of the table. I can do a tutorial on that if you are interested, they are pretty easy to make. The nativity set I bought at the dollar store actually. It is a pretty cute set. The lantern on the left usually has green and brown decorative balls in it, but for the holidays I thought I'd put some Christmas balls in there. I got the lantern at Fallas. Oh, and the stockings are from the dollar store as well.

Here is a closeup of the lantern. I hadn't put up the nativity set yet in this photo, but we usually have this little basket for the TV remotes in the center of the table.

On the couch we have a little snowman pillow that I got from Goodwill this year. It is super cute. I also have a snowflake blanket that I got a few years ago from Target.

Of course I had to save the best for last, the tree!!! We just bought this tree before we left for vacation from Lowe's. It was $120, but it looks so much like a real tree so it was worth the money! The tree we had before we purchased the first year that Josh and I lived together. It was like $20 from Big Lots and was super thin and crappy, but we've had it for three years so it was time for something new. I love this tree because the needles are plastic and actually look real, unlike most fake trees with the papery needles, if that makes sense. I love it, it makes me happy. I also love that you can't see the pole in the center, because that is my biggest Christmas pet-peeve. Oh, and it is a pre-lit tree which makes life much easier, let me tell you.

Here it is in full. I love it. The ornaments have just been collected over the years from Target, the dollar store and Walmart. I added the ribbon to the tree this year because I have seen it on all of the professionally done Christmas trees, so I had to copy them.

So, that is it. Make sure you come back to see the dining room table and the outdoor decorations!! Have a good Thursday! (Sorry all of my posts have been a day late this week, it is finals week at school!)