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Friday, October 16, 2009

King Ranch Chicken and Buttermilk Pie

I know that my goals over there read, blog at least 2x per week...still can't cross that one off of my list. Nor, can I cross off don't eat out for a week--eating is such a social activity. Maybe if I wasn't so social AND like eating so much, the number inside my jeans would be much smaller...that and beer is also a social activity...and I like beer and I am social...ANYWAY...

My dear friend Brandi asked for pie baking lessons. We arranged an evening to make said pie. Flavor: Buttermilk. She did very well. We made crust from scratch, and she rolled it out herself. Although, she did get to use the Cuisinart to do the crust. I really wanted to make her use a fork or a pastry blender thingy. She wasn't so much a fan of scooping the lard, but ooooo lard makes such lovely crust. Prior to pie baking she asked for a list of ingredients. I said lard...blah, blah... and she said, Crisco? And, I said no...LARD. Lard makes such amazing crust, but that's another day. Brandi's crust was lovely! She did a really good job and she didn't let me push her out of the way with my impatient take over nature. Yes, I had one of those holy crap I'm my mother moments! We put the pie in the oven and sat down to a supper of Black Box Wine and King Ranch Chicken and Grey's Anatomy....what a good evening! The custard got a little too brown on the top, the crust was a little to brown around the edges, and there was a hole in the middle, but the pie is pretty darn good! That's my least favorite part of a custard pie... you have to wait for it to cool. Needless to say, she had pie and milk for breakfast and I had a piece with my mid-morning coffee. YUMMO!!

King Ranch Chicken. I've still got it--the King Ranch Chicken Magic. You see, my KRC is famous in approximately 6 states. My original recipe came from a good friends mom, but I have amended and adjusted and added to and made it my own. I can't believe I'm doing this...

King Ranch Chicken

4 chicken breasts (or an equal equivalent of chicken)
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 can Rotel
1 small onion diced
Garlic or garlic powder
Crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper
1/3 large box of Velveeta cubed
Shredded cheddar
Corn tortillas
Jalapeno slices (optional)

Cook chicken and cut into small cubes. In a large bowl, mix cooked and cut chicken with soup, rotel, onion, spices (to taste), and cubed Velveta. Spray the bottom and sides of a 9x13 baking dish. Place a thin layer of chicken mixture on the bottom of the pan, cover with a layer of corn tortillas. Continue with another layer of chicken mixture, add a layer of shredded cheese and jalapeno slices (if desired), cover this layer with tortillas. Continue until all of the chicken mixture is used. Top with one final layer of corn tortillas. Bake at 350 F for about 45 minutes. Cover the top of the casserole with more shredded cheese and bake until melty.

**note this recipe is not for the faint at heart or the lactose intolerant**

Good luck! Have a great weekend! My weekend consists of a date with my dissertation (I can't get any other kind of date) and a Saturday full of football (the Big 12 has a great day laid out for me!!)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wednesday

Pisces
February 19 - March 20
Although it looks as if the next few months should be shaping up to be a great time for you business-wise, dear Pisces, today it might appear hopeless. Mundane, routine, unrewarding tasks may take up a lot of your time on the job today. Nevertheless, don't see this as being engraved in stone; don't let the frustration interfere with your outlook for the future. You are due for advancement in some way!

Let's hope that there's some truth to that!!

Inspiration on a Wednesday:
I don't know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Monday, Monday!

I hope that the day is Great! I hope that I feel this spunky all day! My day didn't start just as I wanted. I had aspirations of waking up and working out. Ummm, no. I slept a little too late for that, but rather than rush I made and ate a good-for-me breakfast and started the iPod and it was tossing out good tunes right and left. A little Fergalicious will get any one's Monday going! Add to that texts messages from two of my absolute favorite people and a pot of good coffee, and it all kind of takes away form my frizzy hair on a humid as hell day and my self image dissatisfaction (note to self: working out this evening!)
Just bought a new CD on iTunes, I really need to quit that. I need to purchase the actual CD, but what to do with all of the plastic cases and liner notes??.... anyway...Ryan Bingham, you make me VERY happy! Ryan, I will be even happier when you play in town on October 30!! Although you are playing at my very least favorite concert venue, I'll handle it. Speaking of good tunes, two of my good friends are playing at a tiny bar this week. I love to listen to both of them play. Hopefully, someday, I can say "I knew them when".
Felt flu-ish over the weekend, but that allowed me to lay in a dark living room and catch up on DVR. I tried computing but reading a screen and a raging headache was a bad combo. Back to the stored shows on the DVR...I'm all caught up and here's what I found:
  • Cougar Town--HILARIOUS!!
  • Modern Family--NOT a MUST WATCH show
  • the forgotten--GOOD stuff, I really liked this show. Way to go Christian Slater
  • Flash Forward--midway through the first episode, I was thinking "no way". Now that I have watched both episodes, I'm hooked. I'm in. I need to make sure that this is set to record series.
The new washer and dryer work great! I so do not like making grown up purchases, but I do love my new Whirlpool W/D! The washer washes and spins all of the water out. I don't have to keep re-spinning like on the machine that was left by my landlord. The new dryer...it drys! It turns on. Unlike the one that was left behind by the landlord. If not for the semi-functional set left by the land lord I would have had to make this purchase, take this leap, three months ago. I am thankful that I'm not on a creek bank slapping my pants up against a rock and rubbing my drawers and my knuckles on a washboard!

Dissertation calls! Need to put all of this positive energy towards that dreaded paper!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Just read that it is World Vegetarian Day today, and that October is Vegetarian Month...its 7:45AM, I think I'll have steak!!!

Friday, October 2, 2009

My mother has self help books shipped to my door. Do we have a problem? I think maybe.

Weekend Recommendations (and Pre-Weekend Ramblings)

It's Friday!! Okay, so that really doesn't count when all I have looming ahead of me is DISSERTATION! However, I do I have some weekend recommendations brought about by recent experiences. **please note, any day of the week is fine**

1) Boxed Wine. A recent find is 'The Black Box' boxed wine. One box of wine is equal to 4 bottles of wine. At my local H.E.B. it worked out to $5 and some change/bottle! Score! I tried the Cabernet Sauvignon. Not too shabby. The box claims that wine will stay fresh for up to a month. I say, "Who keeps open wine around that long??!!"

2) Eggs. Eggs were my staple one week recently. I think I ate eggs at least 4x one week. Not just any ol' eggs--I made scrambled eggs with tomato, onion, feta, and basil...scrambled eggs with tomato, bacon, mushrooms, onion and blue cheese...scrambled eggs with pico de galo and cheddar and avocado. The eggs with tomato, basil, onion, and feta were by far my favorite. Don't go thinking I did this in the morning...this was supper! And, I paired it with red wine.

3) Potato Salad. I have mentioned the Pioneer Woman oodles of times on here. She has yet to fail me (knock on wood). A couple of weeks ago I was invited to some friends for a day of food and football. Needless to say, that day the food was much better than the football! They were making pork loin which was delicious, and I decided to make potato salad. I tried the Pioneer Woman's recipe that she posted a while back. It was that or attempt my Grandma Helen's recipe. Man, Helen could make potato salad, cake and sugar cookies...those were her three super kick ass things! I have yet to perfect any of the above. To avoid disappointment and take the opportunity to use my Cuisinart food processor. I am in love. I mean I L-O-V-E the machine. I have chopped veggies, sliced apples for pie, made pie crust, made gram cracker crust for cheesecake and then cheesecake filling, and grated potatoes for potato salad...I love that thing!! I just wish that it came with a setting to clean itself! Anyway, back to the potato salad....it was delicious and very easy. I recommend it! PW Potato Salad Recipe.

4) The roast beef sandwich. I have perfected the grilled sandwich, the roast beef sandwich, the grilled roast beef and cheese sandwich. Picture it: deli roast beef with provolone and blue cheese between two pieces of wheat bread (would have been amazing on rye, but Sara Lee Light bread is my friend, I like rye better but my hiney needs Sara Lee Light) buttered on the outside. Toasted/grilled in the skillet. AMAZING! Served along side mushrooms in au jus. Don't be afraid to dunk in the mushroom juice, don't be afraid...do it...you will be happy that you did.

5) PW Mystery Rolls. Canned flaky biscuits, blue cheese, butter, and twenty minutes. That's all I'm saying about that besides...TRY IT NOW! Soooooo yummmy....even those who are not blue cheese lovers ate them like they were going out of style. Next time I make them, and yes, there will be a next time, I'm using more blue cheese.

6) Fall TV. There are so many new shows out this fall. There are so many good shows back this fall. My DVR is definitely earning its keep!
  • Castle. Love it! Mystery writer, cop, crazy random crime...pretty much makes my Monday!
  • NCIS Not so wild about the spin-off NCIS: LA, but I love the original!
  • The Good Wife I was in love with it before I watched it--Mr. Big from Sex and the City, Carol Hathaway from ER, and Grams from Dawson's Creek, really now....
  • Gray's Anatomy I'm very curious to see where this season takes us...there's a lot going on, lots of changes, I know where I'll be on Thursday nights from 8-9
  • Private Practice Oh my goodness!! The season premiere last night was intense!
I've watched a few other new shows this fall, but the jury's still out or I have yet to watch what's stored in the DVR. (Trauma, Modern Family, Cougartown, The Forgotten, Eastwick, and I know that I am forgetting some)

7) College football!!!! I love fall, it brings cooler temps, changing colors, and Kirk Herbstreet. Oh how I love having coffee every Saturday morning with Kirk and the boys on ESPN Game Day. Which reminds me, I need to check my "College Pick'Ems" and hopefully redeem myself from a lowly 22 pt performance last week. Let's all say something together now, GOOOO BIIIIGGG REEED!!! And now, WRECK 'EM TECH!!!


This post has gotten a lot longer than I had planned. It's Friday and I'm headed home for a little nap, only to wake up and digest some statistics and work on some dissertation. Oh how I long for the end to come. Energy. I need energy and inspiration. I can find both just not when it comes to this dissertation. Damn.

As I continue to forge onward with a dissertation and pray that the right job will come to me and that I don't stumble (too many times) on my chosen path, I leave you with this---what's inside your heart?? What is at your core? What do you love? What is your passion? What inspires you to be at your best?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Sorry to have stayed away so long....

Sorry to have stayed away so long! Life's been a crazy roller coaster as of late, and I told myself that we would only blog on "good" days and some days I let myself feel guilty that I was going to blog when I had other things to do. Well, I still have other things to do, but I have a lot of things to share...in fact, my list has outgrown a Post-It...time to get it on "Only Fern"!

For starters, the below horoscope is one that is for my sign, but I stole it from a friend's Facebook page. It's very applicable to my place in this life lately, and it made me go "hmmmm....".

Pisces (Feb. 19–March 20)

Sometimes I wish personality traits were something you could buy over the counter. If I were placing an order for you, I'd get an ounce of patience, a spoonful of confidence, and a maximum dose of perseverance. Those would yield success, whereas right now you're getting frustrated early, putting yourself down too much, and giving up long before you should. Luckily, these traits can be developed, even if you can't pick them up at the neighborhood drugstore. In some cases, it's as "easy" as pretending you have them already. If you can fake confidence, ignore your frustration, and just stick with this as if you were a stubborn Taurus instead of a flexible Pisces, you'll get to where you want to go—and consequently start acquiring those qualities for real.


More importantly...I've set a new personal goal...I'm outta this place at semester's end. I needed to give myself a deadline, I hope and pray to be employed by then, and I'm really, really tired of paying tuition. On the subject of goals, I've added a new box on the left of "Only Fern". I've titled it My 101 in 1001. I found a similar list on a blog that I follow and found a website that I think I have mentioned before--Day Zero. The objective is to create a list of 101 things (goals) that you would like to accomplish in 1001 days (approx. 2.75 years). I have until Thursday, June 28, 2012 to cross off my entire list. I don't have 101 things listed, but I have started. Which is farther along than I am at my attempt to become more physically active. A friend of mine has taken up running. She is doing the Couch to 5k running plan. I checked it out, and it didn't seem all that hard on paper, yes, I printed it out, hung it on the fridge, and that is as far as I've gotten folks. Minor disclaimer (okay, big line of B.S.)--it rained here for days on end). Initially I was impressed with my meager effort, but now it's time to get movin'!

Onto the list on the Post-It...as things have happened that I have found blog worthy, I have made notes on scraps of paper, in my phone, on pages of analysis for this darn dissertation and I condensed most of those I found on a Post-It last week. I have a penchant for Post-Its and should own stock in the company! I love them. I prefer the bright colored ones, but at this point I should also add that the actual Post-It ones are best. The bright colored generic ones don't stick as well to a variety of surfaces....necessary!
  • Hullabaloos Diner, Wellborn, TX. One word: DELICIOUS!!! It is a restored dining car with amazing food! A group of friends and I have taken to meeting there for brunch most weekends. We had stuck with Breakfast until this past weekend branching out into the Lunch menu, which was also yummy. I had the "train wreck fries" and oh my, sooo good. Picture it: french fries, cheddar cheese, bacon, green onions, and blue cheese crumbles with ranch dressing and/or catsup for dipping...oh yeah baby! It was a giant pile of fries, and I failed to eat them all. That is not saying much, as I don't know if we have ever finished anything there in one sitting. The "kitchen sink omelet" is my other fave--3 egg omelet with cheese, mushrooms, onions, jalapenos, bacon, sausage, ham, tomatoes; a side of home fries; and a biscuit---that has kept me fed for 2 days. Anyway, this fantastic little place has been featured on The Food Network's 'Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives' (click on that link for video)
  • A few weeks ago now, some friends and I travelled to a neighboring county fair to catch some great Texas Country and buy beer with poker chips...what can I say, it was a great Saturday night! Pat Green was playing. It was outside. He played some of my favorite "Old School Pat" songs from his early Pre-Nashville albums. Oh a happy place. We had a great place to stand, great view of the stage, out of the crowd, until....some woman climbs onto the wooden platform in front of us next to the guy with all the sound and lights controls and starts shaking her ass....I tried very hard to not let my new view take away from my happy place. I also discovered something about myself that night...I've gotten old. I went there to see Pat and listen to him play not watch rednecks dance and B.S. and try to find others of their kind to procreate with...seriously people--calm down and let the music move you! While on our county fair adventure, the only option for a rest room was a Portapotty...I don't think I've set foot in one of those fiberglass danger zones in like 3-4 years, and I remembered why....EWWWWWWWW!!!! I left the fair grounds thinking that I need a belt buckle with an eagle on it or maybe one that says Bodacious!
  • The coffee at school sucks. There's a coffee pot in the faculty lounge and the coffee tastes terrible! It plain red Folgers grounds, but there's something about it after its brewed with the water here through that coffee system that does it no justice. I try to get my coffee in before I get here and bring a to-go cup for good measure, but some days a trip downstairs is necessary and I am then met with the reminder as to why I don't go there.
  • I love the book "Lonesome Dove" and the movie "Lonesome Dove" and all things "Lonesome Dove"...I have a dog named Newt, I have pencil sketches of Gus and Call hanging on my walls, and I have recently discovered that I have a couple of friends with whom I can have a texting "conversation" that lasts for days that consists solely of "Lonesome Dove" quotations. It makes my heart so happy! Right now on iTunes---the "Lonesome Dove" soundtrack. Happy, happy, happy!
I have lots more, but this is enough for now....stay tuned for Fall TV, Cooking with Fern, and a little Fern Philosophy....