The Slow Cooker :: A Mother’s Best Friend

Before I start in on my Ode to the Slow Cooker, I will check in with you all and let you know that I am, in fact, still running. NOT as often as I would like, but I am doing it nonetheless. It is still hard, but getting a touch easier every time. And I *think* I am going a little faster, but to be honest I don’t really care too much about speed, considering when I run I am pushing what feels like 75 pounds of baby and stroller.

On to my latest best friend : The Slow Cooker.

I have an older slow cooker. Crock Pot brand. Given to me by a friend when hers was upgraded. It is revolutionizing dinner in our house, especially now that it’s hot and River is a wild 11 month old man.

I honestly can’t remember the last time we picked up Jorge’s instead of making dinner at home. But now that I mention it, I could really go for a crispy beef taco and soup.

My favorite thing about the slow cooker is that you do all the prep work HOURS before you eat. Which means that even when you are slaving away over dinner, you don’t have hungry people or a grumbly belly staring at you, waiting to be fed. Victory!

I tend to gravitate toward slow cooker recipes that still require a little legwork, but not too much. I find things end up tasting a lot better when you do more prep/sauteeing before putting it all into the giant pot.

Here are a few recipes I have made recently and been very pleased with. As I type, I have some salisbury-steak meatballs cooking in there, but I haven’t tasted them yet so I will have to wait to tell you if they are good. 🙂 Let me know if you have others I should try!

Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili

Copycat Chipotle Barbacoa

Moroccan Chickpea and Turkey Stew

Kristin

Proverbs 31:15 “She gets up while it is still night, she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants.”

 

Current Internet Faves

Some of my favorite things this week, found on the world wide web:

this Pea Salad :  I know, I know, pea salad sounds weird. But it also kinda looks amazing. Adding this to the menu for next week!

a navy blue skirt : navy! skirts! is it spring?! I am in love with this swingy thing.

ummm… carrot cake with nutella frosting? ok.

the ultimate how-to when it comes to selecting fruit at the store 

on losing and gaining weight : by my favorite Andie Mitchell, whose book I think you should all read. This is an older post that I may have linked to months ago, but it deserves another link. So good.

Hope you are all having a lovely Tuesday!

~Kristin

Favorite Things — August 2013

In the midst of the strangeness that is my life right now, I have decided that a little bit of “normal” is probably good from time to time. Therefore, I am welcoming Favorite Things back onto the blog, at least for the time being.

1. Gap Maternity

I don’t know what I would do without this store. There is only one in all of San Diego county, and I find every excuse to go several times a month.  WHO KNEW finding maternity clothes would be such a hassle? Here are the options, as I see them: awkward and unflattering for a reasonable price OR fashion forward and stunning for $200 per piece. Enter Gap Maternity, where, thank goodness, things are in a somewhat normal price range, go on sale often, and still actually look good.

2. Disneyland

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Disneyland has always been one of my favorite places, and I just love it more and more every time I go. We don’t live too far away, so we have annual passes and spend lots of mornings or afternoons just walking around, riding a couple of rides, and eating ice cream. I really love it.

3. Starbucks Green Tea Lemonade with Peach

Have you guys tried this? I get it with just one pump of the peach syrup and it is DEEELISH! Perfect summer treat.

4. Hunter Hays

Cheesy. Peppy. Country. Love Songs.

5. The Beach

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I have already talked about this in previous posts, but I LOVE the beach. We live much closer than we ever have before, and I have truly been taking advantage of it. All I need is a huge Chick-fil-A ice water, my sun hat, and a beach chair to make any day just a little bit better.

Happy Thursday!

~Kristin

Currently Obsessing Over

These are a few of my favorite things.

1. Downton Abbey.

Who isn’t obsessed with this show? I don’t know. What I do know is I LOVE every second!

2. Crushed ice.

It’s just plain better than regular ice. Come to Chick-fil-A Encinitas and you will get all the crushed ice you could ever want.

3. Picfx – the app.

You can add “light spots” and hearts and all sorts of fun things to photos. Here is our glamour shot from a wedding we attended a few months back. Fancy pants!

4. Navy blue.

My love affair with navy blue has been a constant since about tenth grade. It’s just so darn classy. If I could, I would wear something navy every day. I would probably also decorate my entire house in shades of blue, and maybe even paint all of my furniture blue. But then, if I did that, I would undoubtedly decide there was TOO much blue in my life, and have to pick another color to obsess over.

5. Making Things from Scratch

I spent a few hours on pizza dough last week, made a big batch of granola yesterday morning, tempted fate with Thomas Keller’s Chicken Mar i Muntanya last night, and turned a whole chicken into ten {not quite} perfect pieces. The Kristin that spends a lot of time in the kitchen is back!

6. And finally, something I am obsessed with but don’t own {yet}. Superga sneakers. I’ve had my eye on these for about a year and am finally pulling the trigger. I am debating between light pink or a neutral green. Which do you prefer?

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Talk to you soon — hopefully sooner than a month!

~Kristin

Catching Up

It’s been too long. Far too long.

I’m sorry, internet! There’s just so much going on, I simply can not stay on top of it all. And I want to share every. single. second with you but that is simply unrealistic and unhealthy. Oh, and you might not actually be interested in every moment of my life. SOOOO my friends, just like I did a while back in this post, here is an update from each category. And then some.

Arkansas – I am no longer there. If you didn’t know that, I am sorry. I would have thought the weekly posts about running on the beach would have given it away.If you want to read a little about the move, you can click here. If you want to read a little bit about our dreams coming true, you can click here.

Fashion – I have new running shoes. And new running clothes. Because all I do is run.

Ok that’s a lie, I work, I hang out, I sleep, I eat. But a lot of what I do is run, so all the new clothes I have purchased recently are super cool running clothes. Are you interested in a running/workout fashion post?

I am also *trying* to dress cute whenever I leave the house, especially if it’s for something professional. This is what we call “classing it up”. I will do my best to post pictures. Actually, here’s one of my outfit my first day of work. My favorite part of this outfit is that a stranger stopped me at the mall to tell me how much she loved my top and ask where I got it.  Goodwill. Awwww yea!

Work – I have a job! I started working right before we moved down to San Diego from LaLa Land. I am working at the University of San Diego again, different department but same division as before. I LOVE being back on campus. And I LOVE working part time. And I LOVE getting a paycheck. It’s been a while.

Favorite Things – Alright people, here’s the deal. Everyone is doing something favorite-thingsy. And even though like one of the basic definitions of life and human existence is that we are a strange combination of copy-cat and original — I am just not that into doing what every other blogger I read is doing. Or maybe I am. And maybe that’s why I’m blogging at all. Blurg. Bottom line: I need to get over myself. Favorite things post to come in the future.

Friends and Family – My baby sister is on crutches, #3 is moving out here at some point in the near future, the 2nd in command is dominating the hotel industry {and hooking me up with awesome hotels to stay at!}, and my parents are going on dinner dates where my Dad tells my Mom how he believes aliens are everywhere. As for the married-into family? I am living with them. And I like it. Keith-As-I-Live-And-Breathe {which is what I call my father in law} kills the spiders in my room, Janice makes me eggs. It’s awesome.

Los Angeles – I kind of miss it. Don’t crucify me. I am an eternal San Diegan and would never sell out for LA, but LA was fun! I loved driving 40 minutes to the coolest places on the West Coast. I loved meeting up with Matt and Sandy almost every weekend. I loved riding bikes in Santa Monica. I loved having 4 Lululemon shops within 20 miles. I loved that Ryan Seacrest was my local morning show. I seriously loved LA.

Personal – What does this category even mean?? The most personal things happening right now: my husband is gone and I really miss him, I have blisters on my toes and skin that’s been rubbed raw from all of my running, and I’m struggling with setting up healthy boundaries {ie. I say YES too often and NO, well, never}.

Recipes – I have not cooked in months. I can not WAIT to get all my stuff back and cook up a storm! I recently acquired two new cookbooks and I’m reading through them eagerly. This weekend I came up with a recipe for a tangerine margarita. Here’s a teaser photo.

Restaurants – Are my second home.

Running – I completed The Five Experiment! It was great! I ran 100 miles in a month and I enjoyed {almost} every mile. I am keeping up my 5 runs a week, but am not being as nitpicky about the distance. Last week, for example, I ran 3.5 miles one day. I have decided I really like the 5 mile distance, though. It’s long enough to be a good workout no matter what, and short enough that you don’t feel like you can’t make plans at night.

San Diego – Love it. It’s as good, if not better, than I remember. May Grey is in full swing, and is a great reminder of the Ah-mazing climate we have and the fact that this blessed marine layer keeps our temperatures so moderate all year long. Last night I practiced skateboarding at the bay with the fam, and then we ate fresh fish at Point Loma Seafoods. How could I complain when this is just an average Sunday afternoon in San Diego?

Travel – Here’s what is coming up this summer: a trip to the ATL next week to celebrate the completion of Glenn’s Operator training — aaaand to celebrate the fabulous Kelly Reynolds’ birthday. BAAAH! I can hardly wait!

In mid June we are going on a Murdock Extravaganza to Las Vegas. I am pretty sure we are going to try to all fit into one car, and I know for a fact we will be eating at some serious buffets. Then later in June, Glenn and I are going to Scottsdale, AZ for a Family Life conference called Weekend to Remember. We will be staying at the Firesky Resort and I’m puuumped.

Weight Loss – I lost 1 pound during the Five Experiment, and have lost another pound since. Two pounds. Boo ya!

Phew. I’m exhausted.

Happy Monday my friends!

~Kristin

 

An Update from each Category

Arkansas: Yep, we’re still here! The weather is crazy, the people are chatty, Boulevard Bread is still my favorite, and we have made some fun friends, which we are so grateful for.

Fashion: It is difficult to take stunning fashion photos of yourself. It is especially difficult to take stunning fashion photos of yourself when all you have been wearing lately is running clothes or a mummy-bag winter jacket. I will try to get into something blog-worthy soon.

Favorite Things: My favorite things have all come from the thrift store or the Dillards clearance rack this past month, and sometimes I feel bad blogging about things I have that are awesome but were just lucky finds at Goodwill, because what if YOU want to buy it for yourself and can’t??!! Argh, these are the things that keep me up at night, people!

Friends and Family: I love my friends. I love my family. I love that I have friends and family all over the place. Sometimes its sad, like when you want to see them and can’t, but more often its awesome.

Personal: My sister told me the other day that I had bad breath, and now I’m totally self conscious about constantly having bad breath. I would just pop in a piece of gum, but my Costco box of Orbit Wintermint just ran out. Woof.

Recipes: Fruit Tart, Bran Muffins, and Thomas Keller’s vegetable soup have been my latest kitchen creations. Mmmm.

Restaurants: Tomorrow night I am going to a new one! In Memphis! For steak! I am really excited! I will tell you all about it when I get back!

Running: OH EM GEE I love my Little Rock running buddy Keri. I don’t really understand how God or His timing work, but I am just grateful that I get to be Keri’s running partner even if its only for a short season. We meet 2-4 times a week in the wee small hours of the morning and run and talk together. I love basically everything about it, except for the time when my jacket was stolen.

San Diego: Two of my closest friends at home are having babies like RIGHT NOW {or very soon! Hi Jess and Sheri!} and its sooo weird for me to think that I won’t be there to meet the little munchkins right away, let alone that I will never live in the same city as them again without them having children. I am, however, VERY excited for the baby boom that has taken over my social circle back home, and can’t wait to hold all the little bambinos.

Travel: We head to Memphis tomorrow to celebrate our anniversary, then next weekend we are grabbing Kimberly and meeting up with the Reynolds in Nashville where I will turn 30! AAAAH! I! AM! SO! EXCITED!

Weight Loss: I lost the 5 pounds that I had gained over the holidays, and am working on more. Yippee! I have also been drinking an EXCESSIVE amount of water. I always thought I drank a lot of water, but wow, now I really drink a lot of water.

The end. Bless you for reading all of this. I love your face. F’real.

~Kristin

Favorite Things October 2011

1. Graphic Image Weekly Planners.

I have been uhb-sessed with Graphic Image ever since I first laid eyes on them in a fancy stationary/book store back home called Warwick’s. I have typically purchased silver or gold, as I’m a sucker for metallic, but was having a hard time choosing between them this year.  As I stood in the middle of Warwick’s, surrounded by rich people, I decided 2012 was going to be a good year. A great year, in fact. And so Kristin’s 2012 planner is the greatest of all colors: purple.

2. Lost and Found and Women, Food, and God by Geneen Roth.

I have the FABULOUS Andie over at Can You Stay for Dinner {I kind of feel like she and I should be blogging bff’s} to thank for referring me to Geneen Roth’s books. A woman who writes about freedom, spirituality, and food? Yes please! I zipped myself over to the library and promptly checked out both of the books mentioned above. You should do the same. Seriously. Go.

There are some “spiritual” elements to these books that are a little too ‘touchy-feely/be your own god’ for my Jesus is the Way, Truth, and Life heart, but there are also serious truths spoken. And since I believe God speaks to us in all sorts of ways, whether His name is directly linked to it or not, I believe God used Women, Food, and God to speak Truth to me about fear, freedom, feelings, and food. Those words all started with F. Hmm.

I am sure I will write more about this in the coming months as I learn how to be fully me in these areas and not let fear control my life {a recent revelation!}… but for now, you should really just read the books. Then we’ll be on the same page. Mmm-k?

3. Barkeeper’s Friend.

I have used Barkeeper’s Friend before, but never the way I saw it used last week when I was home. Jessica had, as many of us do, crisped one of her All Clad Stainless Steel pans until it was completely coated in black. As you know if you have stainless steel pans, they are awesome, but no amount of soaking or scrubbing will get that black gunk completely off. Unless you use Barkeeper’s Friend. It has made my stainless steel pans, my sink, and my white Le Creuset that was covered in a rainbow of splotches SPOTLESS. It takes a little elbow grease, but it’s worth it to see my reflection when I’m sauteeing onions.

4. Coin Collecting.

Nerd Alert! I have recently started collecting the State Quarters and it makes me beyond giddy. I refuse to cheat and trade in dollar bills for bunches of quarters at Chick-fil-A. I also have never seen the Guam quarter so if you have, call me. I can get you a free chicken sandwich. I have connections, people. Big time.

5. Southwest Airlines.

There are many things I am grateful to Southwest Airlines for, but this month it was having a hugely massive sale, inspiring my mother to call me out of the blue and offer to fly me to DC for a visit. This prompted me to call my best friend/college roomie out of the blue and convince her to meet me in DC while I’m visiting. There is going to be nothing but love and fun happening the second weekend in December in the Washington DC area, and its all thanks to Southwest Airlines.

Happy November, friends. Can you believe it’s here??!!

~Kristin

Favorite Things :: September 2011

Pumpkin spice lattes are being served at every coffeehouse in town.

Shop windows showcase capes, coats, boots, and hats.

October officially begins tomorrow.

So why is it still 90 degrees in Little Rock? Weatherman? Hello? Answer me!

I am learning that fall in this part of the country looks a little different from fall in New England. You would think it wouldn’t matter to me. That a Southern California girl who doesn’t even have “seasons” as they are traditionally known, wouldn’t care.

Oh, I care.

Somebody bring the 50 degrees and ice cold winds stat. And don’t tell me that I’ll be complaining and wishing for 90 when the temperature hovers around 22. I won’t. I have promised myself that I will NEVER complain about Little Rock being too cold again. I’m serious. I might state facts, like : “Oh wow it’s cold!” or “Look, my breath just froze!” but I will HANDS DOWN take 20 degrees over 110 and muggy every! day! of! my! life! Move me to Alaska. I’ll live next to the Palin’s and kill my own caribou.

On that note, let’s get to the September installment of Favorite Things.

1. Fall/Autumn.

One year ago in Deer Valley, Utah. Look at those colors!

Despite the fact that fall in Little Rock is nowhere near chilly and I certainly don’t need to wear a sweater, the weather HAS cooled off quite a bit and it’s making everything a little more bearable. One day it was even 65! I shivered! Oh, glorious shiver. Plus, Glenn spent last weekend in Boston celebrating a college buddy’s wedding, and I feel like I lived vicariously through his apple picking, cider drinking, jacket wearing days.

2. Truvia.

Zero calorie. Natural. Used by Hannah and Olivia of Biggest Loser fame. Sign me up! I have been mixing about a quarter of a packet into my plain greek yogurt and it makes it taste a lot less like sour cream. Mmmm.

3. Isaiah.

Yes, the book in the Bible. My ladies Precept Bible Study just started up again and we are diving into Isaiah. I am LOVING it. What an incredible message of repentance and redemption. I honestly feel like I’m learning more about God and His character and glory every day of the study.

4. Pork.

I’m a little late to the pork bandwagon, but I don’t care. I like it! I never realized how versatile and low-fat it can be. AND inexpensive. Schnitzel, Saltimbocca, Pulled Pork; you name it, I want to make it. I am beginning to see just exactly how “the other white meat” pork is. Side note: you should make Amanda’s Pulled Pork immediately. It’s kind of life changing.

5. Running.

Glenn and I enjoying a post-run meal at Boulevard Bread Company. Oh how I love Boulevard Bread Company. 

I am falling back in love with running! Taking 7 months off was one of the best things I could have done for my body and for my passion for the sport. I am, as an old man crossing the bridge the other day pointed out, a “real athlete”, and am happy to be enjoying running again.

Happy Friday, my lovelies. Thank you for reading and commenting, I am seriously BLESSED to get to share life with all of you: those I have met and those I have not, I cherish you all.

~Kristin

Friday Ramblings

First up, I totally forgot to do an August Favorite Things and I am so saddened by this fact that I might just have to include a couple favorite things in this rambling sesh. Let’s begin with a photo of me with my littlest sister. I wish she were here with me for a few reasons, but mostly because I love her and she’s fun to watch Bachelor Pad with.

Now for the ramblings. In list form, as most great Kristin moments come out in lists.

1. Love on Top by Beyonce is awesome. I’m slightly obsessed with this song and I’m pretty sure the late Michael Jackson would have completely approved. I also really did think it was sweet that she revealed her prego eggo to the world to this tune. She sings, she dances, AND she can conceive? Wow. Beyonce really IS wonder-woman.

2. My go-to meal this week has been a salad from Chipotle with chicken, grilled veggies, corn salsa, tomatillo salsa, and some sour cream. It’s so good, and with the exception of the sour cream, totally good for you. You don’t even need to use the dressing.

3. Late night TV commercials are absolutely horrifying. Why was there a commercial involving bodies being chopped up in the middle of E!’s Snooki special?? I changed the channel immediately but still had nightmares. Someone should invent a parental control for commercials. Ick!

4. When the cat’s away, the mouse plays. This phrase is so weird to me. I am not really sure if it’s talking about just having fun, or if it’s talking about inappropriate relations, but either way it’s bizarre. In the cat and mouse world I live in, Glenn being away means I hit the shops. This week’s finds include two super cute tops from Anthropologie as well as a great pink skinny belt from Banana Republic. All on sale, my friends. All on sale.

5. I am totally loving this book. If you’re into food or wine or France {what? you love all three just like me? awesome.} I would highly recommend it. Actually, it’s an entertaining read even if you aren’t into those things so you should probably go check it out at your local library immediately.

Happy Weekend, friends! Hubby comes home tonight! He has been gone on business for a few days and I can’t wait to have someone to share the apartment with again.

~Kristin