Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Easy but Delicious!

A couple of years ago, my good friend, Molly gave me a recipe that is so easy to make, it shouldn't taste anywhere near as good as it does: White Bean Chicken Chili. I haven't made anything at home (other than sandwiches or other simple items) in quite some time, so today seemed like a great day for this easy and tasty crock pot meal.

Molly's White Bean Chicken Chili:

  • One whole roasted rotisserie chicken (I prefer the unseasoned variety)
  • One large jar (48 oz) of Northern white beans OR "mixed beans" (personal preference)
  • One jar (24 oz) of Northern white beans
  • Two jars (16 oz each) of any brand salsa you like. I usually use one jar of a typical medium salsa, and one jar of "black bean and corn" salsa. I find this gives a nice, yet simple variety, but you can mix it up any way you like!
  • Three 8 oz packages of shredded cheese. I use sharp and Mexican-style, mixed evenly
  • Combine all ingredients except chicken into a large (6 Qt.) crock pot and turn on "high."
  • Stir in a little water if needed, depending on desired consistency. The mixture should look like chili or thick soup.
  • Remove all bones and skin from chicken, (my dogs LOVE this part because they get to eat the skin) placing bite-sized pieces of chicken into the crock pot as you go. This procedure is messy and a little gross, but worth the effort. I usually shred the chicken (by hand) as I'm placing it into the pot.
  • Heat on high for 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally.
  • As with most soup/chili, we find this is better on day 2, and it also works well as a baked potato topper for left-overs.
  • This makes a very large pot that we eat for several days. You can modify the recipe to make as much or as little as you want, just be sure your bean/salsa ratio stays ~ the same.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Just in time for "spring" break...

we are having another big snowfall today, 4-8" expected, which will be nowhere near the actual amount we end up with! Still, it IS only February in Michigan and the news media people are really making a big deal out of this storm, funny!

Ironically, my "spring break" began today as well. Of course, they have now conveniently changed the name of this mid-semester break to "winter recess," but it will always be spring break to me since that's what I grew up hearing. I would love to be spending my break somewhere warm without snow, but I'm also happy to just have some time to do something other than homework for a change. First on my list is catching up with family and friends, closely followed by some TLC for my poor, neglected home!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Worms are Confused (again!)

We've had an extremely unusual warm streak here in Michigan these past few days. On Tuesday it was sunny and in the 50's. The last couple days it's been rainy but still warm, very odd for early February. Mind you, this winter has been brutal up until this point, with record snow fall and many frigid days where the temperature lingers around zero. I've enjoyed the warm streak, but last night when I left school (sometime after 9:00,) I noticed a whole bunch of earthworms crawling around on the sidewalk. Apparently they are confused and think spring is here. I feel badly for them, because many will get squished by unobservant pedestrians. I spent a minute or two rescuing a few of them and transporting them back to the grassy area (weird, I know) but then I gave up because there were too many and I was getting cold. The same thing happened last year and I also reacted similarly, but that was in April rather than February...weird!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Bella & Tara

I am in love with this video...we humans could learn something from this awesome odd couple!

A Fellow "Greenie"

I'm not normally the type to strike up conversations with random strangers, but the other day at school the lounge where I normally eat my lunch was crammed full. I contemplated leaving and going somewhere else to eat my lunch in solitude, but then I thought better if that idea. I asked someone who was sitting alone at a table if I could share her space. She was friendly and more than happy to let me sit down, but we were both engrossed in our own activities. That is...until I removed my treasured wrap-n-mat reusable sandwich bag, one of the ones I talked about in this post. Her eyes grew wide and she gasped, saying, "Oh my gosh, that is the coolest thing I've ever seen!" She reached out her hand and then looked at me tentatively, "Can I touch it?" she asked. I smiled and nodded and she gingerly felt the shiny plastic part of my wrap-n-mat. She asked where I got it and then examined the mat even more closely to see how it was made.

That one small encounter turned out to be the beginning of a welcome lunch break conversation. From the discussion of the wrap-n-mats, we moved on to reusable grocery bags, and the whole idea of "going green," in which we were both interested, became a frame for a broader discussion that included life at school, our chosen majors, heavy backpacks, stressful professors, and our families. For the first time in a while, I enjoyed my lunch without feeling lonely. Don't get me wrong, I have my fair share of hallway acquaintances and class buddies here at Eastern, but the truth is that while I am happy here most of the time, I also often feel somewhat isolated. Maybe isolated is the wrong word...maybe I feel different. The fact is, I am different from the vast majority of my classmates. I'm no longer the young woman whose chief concerns are men and what she should wear. I'm glad I'm no longer that girl, because my life has a richness to it now that wasn't there before, but still...this does set me apart from the majority of people with whom I attend classes, and sometimes that can be hard.

All in all, solitude...and even loneliness to a degree aren't the end of the world. I may not make any lifetime friends during my time here at school, but at least I can have meaningful and memorable conversations over a shared lunch table!