Bread and Chicken

Tonight we had Crockpot Sweet and Sour Chicken for dinner.
It was not great. Not sure if it was me or the recipe to blame!
I didn’t write down where I got the recipe, but I’ll share it here anyway!

Crockpot Sweet & Sour Chicken… EASY!

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 2 hours
Number of servings:
4

Ingredients:

  • 1 – 1 1/2 pounds chicken, boneless, cut into one inch, bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 cup orange marmalade
  • 1 envelope Lipton Onion Soup Recipe Secrets mix

Directions:

  • Mix the orange marmalade with the dry soup mix. Toss chicken pieces with marmalade mixture and place all in slow-cooker or crock pot for 1 1/2 to 2 hours (or longer) until chicken is cooked.
  • Serve over cooked rice.
  • *I like to double up on the marmalade & add in some grated carrot, onions,
  • green pepper and about a teaspoon of thai chili sauce

First of all, the bottom notes were from the original recipe – not mine! And well, what happened with ours was, first of all, I didn’t plan ahead so the chicken was still frozen when we started. We couldn’t get it apart so we let it sit out for a while until my husband could get the pieces apart. Then we had to let it sit out longer so I could get a knife through to cut into pieces! Finally when that was all done I put the chicken in first – oops? Then added the marmalade and onion mix. However, I put a whole 18 oz jar of the marmalade in :p  I think that may have overpowered the onion mix making it too sweet and not sour enough (and really, to me, it was just kind of bland!)

Toward the end, my husband dumped in a bag of the frozen veggies I had prepared. I’m not sure a whole bag is what I wanted in there, but oh well. He also added water chestnuts – again, didn’t really want to add a whole can but I didn’t tell him until it was too late!!!

My husband also cooked some rice because, while I don’t care, he feels that a meal like this needs to be served on rice!

In the end, it looked pretty!

Allison really liked it as well! Check out how she’s chowing down in the background!!!

In other domestic news, yesterday I spent 8 hours at my in-laws house. We baked bread! It was so much fun! I’m getting the hang of it and I’m hoping to bake some of my own bread this week. The only trouble with baking bread, aside from the fact that it takes quite some time to actually do, is the fact that once it’s baked it’s only good for a few days! There are perks to the preservative filled grocery store bread – but it just doesn’t taste as good! (Mmm…. I’m thinking a turkey sandwich on my bread is in the cards for tonight!)

Anyway, I took some photos from the day to share!

Savana (my sister-in-law's BFF) making cinnamon bread! Spreading the butter around the dough with her hands. (She's a riot! She makes this face in nearly every photo!) Oh yeah, and that's my mother in law on the left.

Rolling up the cinnamon dough into a loaf. You have to be careful not to tear holes in the thin dough or risk your cinnamon spilling out! See the butter still coating her hands? That's used to slather around the outside of the bread after it is rolled up and "sealed" shut.

Jennifer (my sister-in-law) is scraping the sticky dough off the counter so that we can begin our next bread project!

One of the bread loaves that Jennifer made was Wild Rice. Looks like bugs to me! I didn't get a chance to try a slice of this bread. 😦

After the bread has spent about an hour rising comes the best part! Punching the dough! Because I'm such a nice mommy, I let Allison do the punching for me. Grandma helped her while I took the photo. (She was going for her second punch when I took this particular photo)

Ta-Da! Fresh bread! The left is basic white bread. On the right is my cinnamon bread. I went for the fancy "S" shape (literally, fold the dough into an S shape when you put it in the bread pan!) Because the kitchen was so warm and we were baking so much the dough rose an insane amount! So delish though! (Next time I plan on attempting to make braided cinnamon bread!)

In addition to the loaves of bread, my mother in law helped me make a batch of pizza dough and we made personal pizzas with home made sauce!

Yum! Here is my finished pizza! Because I like thick crust I used the smaller pan and made mine more of a deep dish pizza. It's mostly just cheese (Mozarella/provolone mix with a bit of cheddar.) The top section has a bit of green bell pepper and onion. It was soooo good now I want another.... Maybe we'll make pizzas for dinner again later this week!

And that was my day of bread! In the end I ended up with a loaf of white bread and a loaf of cinnamon. Jennifer had her wild rice bread as well as, I believe, Swedish Dill Bread. I wish I could have tried hers but I had to leave. Savana had a loaf of white and cinnamon. We all ended up with personal pizzas, most of Allison’s came home with us!

If you’re looking for a good book on bread making, the one I have that I purchased on the recommendation of my mother-in-law is:


There is another book simly titled “Bread” which is the exact same book, just with a different cover. You can find it here:

Until next time! 😉

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Introduction

EDIT: Forgot to give props to the girls who helped me name this blog!
Thanks to Teresa B. for the exact name and Claire T. for an amazingly similar suggestion.

This is the third blog I’ve started. That’s right. THIRD.
My first blog had 2 posts. I think my second may have had 3.
This time I’m determined to stick with it!!!

What is the purpose of this blog, you my ask?
Well, let me begin by telling you a bit about myself.
I am a 27 year old married mother of two precious little girls.
My Allison will be turning 5 very soon and my little Miranda is just about 6 months old.

When I was pregnant with Miranda I joined an online baby group. Those amazing ladies are my peer pressure. They’ve introduced me to concepts that I’ve thought were neat but chose not to do (cloth diapering – no thanks! I cleaned up enough poop potty training Allison!) and ideas that I loved and have introduced to my lifestyle (making my own baby food, using the crock pot!)

Here’s a fact: I am one of the least domestic people you will EVER meet! We joke that I can’t cook unless it comes out of a can or a box – or it’s cooked in the toaster! The microwave has been my best friend for years.

Until now.

I still use the microwave, but I’m working on ways to make my life more….. traditional and just downright better!

The number of family dinner’s my husband and I have had in the almost 5 years we’ve been married? Before 2012 you could probably count them on one hand! That’s changing. When my husband is not working evenings we are having some sort of hot meal at the table as a family. Not only that, we will all be eating the same meal! We’ve always been a “fend for yourself” kind of family. I’m an extremely picky eater so this will be a challenge, my husband eats everything (I call him my personal garbage disposal!) and Allison is fairly picky. Miranda just sits in her high chair or on one of our laps and whines because she wants real food, too!

Fruits and veggies? In the past they’ve been virtually non-existent in my house! (Did I mention I was a picky eater???) The trouble is, they’re expensive and when you buy them and then forget about them it’s just like throwing your money away! As of two days ago I’ve gotten into freezing bags of fresh veggies for later use! The bell peppers in the photo here? I got those for a steal at Aldi! I think they were $165 for the 3 pack of green, red and orange! At the regular grocery store the green ones are typically about 65 cents and the colored are at least $2 / lb!

Lately, I’ve been scouring the internet for recipes as well – specifically for the crock pot! We had a crock pot that we never used. While moving it one day, my husband picked up the box (yep, it was still in it’s original packaging!) and CRACK! The box bottomed out and the crock pot hit the floor! The stoneware inside of the heating mechanism was cracked beyond repair. We trashed it and, after moving into our house, purchased one on clearance at Target. It sat in the cupboard, gathering dust until I was encouraged by people on the internet to pull it out and give it a shot!

Our first meal in the crock pot was delish! I made Spinach Pesto Lasagna courtesy of The Crockin’ Girls.

The photo doesn’t really do it justice, it wasn’t cooked yet and I kinda sorta forgot to put sauce in most of the layers!!! It was still edible in the end, however the bottom and one side did get a bit burnt. My husband ate those parts 😉 The second time I made it I overcompensated for the previous fiasco and added too much pasta sauce! Oh well, it was runny but still delish!
And did you notice that this has spinach in it? Picky eater! Couldn’t even taste it. Soooo good! I’m a quarter Italian so I love me some pasta!

So that’s it! That’s what this is all about! Trying to do better for my family and myself in the kitchen and in life.

Outside of the kitchen we’ve got other things going on. I signed Allison up for parent/child swimming lessons because my in-laws have a pool and Allison is terrified to get in! She needs to learn to swim! I also wanted her to take a child cooking class, however that conflicts with preschool.  Allison has never taken a class before of any type – aside from her preschool education (she started her first year last September and loves it!) Soon enough I plan on getting her started in dance to see how she likes that as well as piano lessons!k

I’m also a big reader, mostly young adult fiction, so I plan on keeping the girls on track with reading. Every  night we read between one and three bedtime stories. If my husband is home, he’ll often read to Allison on her bed while I rock Miranda in the glider nearby. When my husband is working I’ll sit or lay on the bed with both the girls and read to them. So far they both seem to love books so I must be doing something right!

To continue the reading as well as get the girls out of the house, I’m going to attempt to bring them both to story time at the local library.

Some of our favorite books to read right now are:

And of course we sometimes fall back on the classics:

And we love anything by Sandra Boynton!

Currently I am reading “Envy” by Anna Godbersen – book 3 in “The Luxe” series. I like to refer to them as Gossip Girl… if it took place in 1899-1900!!!

I think that’s plenty for now! I’ll leave you with an image of what we had for an after dinner snack tonight!