22 February 2010

Favorite Crock Pot Recipe

I'm sure my regular readers are wondering whether I was permanently buried under 4 feet of snow. But no. Just trying to prioritize. And so this post might not make any sense. But I posted a link on another blog, and now I've got to post about what I have in my crock pot today. Good, since I actually do have something in the crock pot today! This is a recipe that I originally got from Cooking Light Magazine probably about 6 years ago when I was a subscriber. But this is from memory:

Crock Pot White Beans and Sausage

1. Dump 1 bag of dried white beans into the crock pot. (Discard any yucky looking ones or foreign objects that made their way into the bag)

2. Brown 1-inch sausage pieces in a large skillet, and add to the crock pot. (Amounts of meat varies based on your family's needs. We like spicy Italian sausage, but non-spicy also works well.)

3. While meat is browning (if you didn't mince shallots and garlic ahead of time), mince 6-8 shallots and 1-3 cloves garlic. These will go in the pan after you remove the meat and wipe out excess grease. (If you don't have shallots, use any variety of onion you have on hand, about 1/2 cup or so.)

4. Add the "aromatics" (shallots/garlic) to the pan, but turn off heat. The residual heat will soften these a little before you add them to the crock pot, and will help soak up the tasty brown bits in the pan. You can also add a little water or chicken stock before dumping it into the crock pot.

5. Add thyme, celery seed, and salt and pepper to taste. (Fresh thyme is preferred, but use what you have!)

6. Add enough chicken stock (or water) to cover the meat with about 1 inch liquid over the top of the meat.

7. Turn on crock pot to desired setting and plan to have a lovely meal! Serve in soup bowls with crusty bread and a green salad.

03 February 2010

My Little Secret

Before I could finish my oatmeal, I had to take him upstairs to change a smelly diaper. Then I came across a potato (yes, that's right) in the hallway that he had been playing with like a ball. While I was returning it to it's rightful place, he took all the books off the bookshelf and piled them on the floor. While I was picking up the books, he was in the kitchen pouring dish detergent into the dishwasher and on the floor. While I was sweeping it up, he had found a bowl of popcorn and was throwing it like confetti in the dining room. Before I could finish cleaning that up, he had opened the floor puzzle box, emptied it, and was standing on the lid until it broke. People wonder how a woman with four kids can be as thin as I am. I have a toddler.

02 February 2010

Finally

I wish I had more to write this morning, but I don't. On this rare opportunity that I have to sit and write uninterrupted by my own children, I find that I provide my own mental distraction. And there's nothing I can think of to write that doesn't merit the delete button. Including all that I've written so far.

So instead I finally took down the Christmas tree on my sidebar and changed the blog colors. At least its something. I'd like to take on a whole new look, but that will be my reward for actually writing consistently for a while. (And in case you're wondering, no, I did not just remove the Christmas tree in my home. It's been down for quite some time now.)

This morning I found a new favorite website that I hope to visit often in order to get myself more in the right mindset for writing. It's called Encouraging Words for Writers. I'm thinking about attending a conference this fall where Bonita Lillie will be speaking. Again, it might be a good reward for actually writing consistently for a while, and I already have some money put aside for it, which makes me more excited.

But it's going to take more than just re-arranging the virtual frosting. It's going to require that I wake up earlier, read more, and write more. But that's what I think I want to do. Stay tuned.