Crock Pot Tex-Mex Chicken and Beans


Last night my nephew Jackson made the Fox 4 news. It was so fitting that it was a story about the freezing cold weather that had blown in and he was out playing soccer in shorts.    He was a pro!

His Story….


Super quick and easy weeknight meal. Serve this alone or with chips or tortillas.

1 cup Dried Pinto Beans, rinsed
1-1/2 cups Salsa
2 tablespoons Canned Chipotle Chiles in Adobo Sauce, chopped
2 tablespoons Flour
1-1/2 pounds Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
1 medium Red Onion, chopped
1 Red Bell Pepper (ribs and seeds removed), chopped
1 cup Water
1/2 teaspoon Coarse Salt
1/2 teaspoon Ground Pepper

In crock pot, stir together beans, salsa, chiles, flour and water. Season chicken with salt and pepper; arrange on top of bean mixture. Place onion and bell pepper on top of chicken.
Cover and cook on low heat for 8 hours.
Remove chicken from stew; shred into large pieces and return to crock pot.

Adapted from Martha Stewart

Servings: 6
Calories 300
Total Fat 6.4g
Total Carbohydrates 29.7g
Dietary Fiber 7.2g
Protein 30.4g
Nutrition Grade A

Today’s Leopard Print Find: Kitty A GoGo Cat Litter Box – Leopard Print

Grilled Peanut Butter Banana Sandwich


You know how you sometimes meet someone who just really leaves a lasting impression on you? Many, many years ago when I was working at the Clinique counter, I met a lady who was one of those people. Turned out she was one of Revlon’s Most Unforgettable Women. I can’t even tell you what it was about her that made her unforgettable, she just was. Today it was a little girl who was about 2. Her name was Bellamia. She was wearing leopard pants. :) She approached me when I was in line at the grocery store and said “Hi, what’s your name?” I said “Beth” and she stuck out her hand to shake my hand and said “Nice to meet you, Beth. My name is Bellamia.” We had a nice little conversation and then she moved on to the next person. I’m guessing it must take her mom at least 30 minutes longer for each errand. She is destined for something big. I figure she has a future in acting, if not then definitely in politics.

2 slices Whole Grain Bread
1/2 Banana
2 Tbs Peanut Butter
2 Tbs Honey

Preheat panini grill.

Spread peanut butter evenly over 1 slice of bread. Cut banana lengthwise into 4 slices. Lay banana slices on top of peanut butter. Top with bread.

Coat outsides of sandwich with cooking spray. Cut in half and place on panini grill; cook 1 minute or until golden. Serve with honey.

Servings: 1
Calories 435
Total Fat 18.3g
Total Carbohydrates 62.0g
Dietary Fiber 7.5g
Protein 14.7g
Nutrition Grade B+

Today’s Leopard Print Find: Nomad Women’s Sunline Cowboy Boot

Fairy Brownies


Taylor wanted to make brownies today and Megan wanted to watch The Oscars. Taylor was a lot happier than Megan. Once they got to the “We Saw Your Boobs” song, Megan looked at me and said “I’m not impressed.” I have to say I wasn’t either.

Taylor found a recipe in her fairy cookbook for brownies. We changed them up a little bit, but she was happy. They aren’t really rich without the frosting, so it would make the perfect brownie sundae brownie.

1 cup Unsalted Butter, room temperature
1 cup Sugar
2 Eggs
2 teaspoons Vanilla
2 cups Flour
1/2 cup Powdered Cocoa

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line a 9″ x 13″ baking dish with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

In large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar.

Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each. Add vanilla.

In a separate bowl, combine flour and cocoa just until blended. Add to butter mixture and combine until free of lumps.

Spread batter into prepared baking dish.

Bake for 25 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before cutting.

2-1/2 Tablespoons Flour
1/2 cup Milk
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 cup Butter
1/2 cup Sugar

In a small saucepan over medium low heat, whisk flour and milk. Stir constantly, until it thickens. Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature. Stir in vanilla.

While the mixture is cooling, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy (and not grainy).

Add the milk mixture and beat until it resembles whipped cream.

Add to cooled brownies.

Servings: 12
Calories 316
Total Fat 18.6g
Total Carbohydrates 34.6g
Dietary Fiber 0.9g
Protein 3.4g
Nutrition Grade D-

Today’s Leopard Print Find: Leopard Bathtub Art Print Poster by Todd Williams, 12×12

Triple Chocolate Smoothies


I’ve been wrapped up in a Chicago Fire marathon all day. We had been DVR’ing them all season and just started watching it. Awesome show! But I got nothing done today. It was nice! Hardly cooked either. Juicer for breakfast, nachos for lunch, frozen pizza for dinner. :/

Perfect post-frozen pizza snack….

1 Banana
3-1/2 cups Low Fat Chocolate Sorbet
1 cup Chocolate Soy Milk
3 tablespoons Chocolate Syrup

Place banana on a plate in a single layer and freeze for 20 minutes.

Combine banana and remaining ingredients in blender until smooth.

Adapted from Cooking Light

Servings: 4
Calories 239
Total Fat 3.1g
Total Carbohydrates 51.2g
Dietary Fiber 3.3g
Protein 4.4g
Nutrition Grade B-

Today’s Leopard Print Find: Keep Calm and Carry On Leopard Print Poster

Chicken Bacon Mac and Cheese


Very productive day…finished up some book fair stuff, vented about a lot of things, movie night and tried to weed out some of the girls books. Taylor is a speed reader so we buy a ton of books. She has decided she doesn’t like her Nook, so that didn’t work out like I had planned. The books are multiplying like bunnies. Now I just need to get her to realize that we really don’t need to keep all of them.

I’ve never met a mac & cheese I didn’t love. This one was great.

8 ounces Elbow Macaroni Pasta
1 slice Bacon
8 ounces Chicken Breast, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon Canola Oil
1 tablespoon Flour
1-1/2 cups Fat Free Milk
1/3 cup Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
3/4 cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1/4 cup Colby Jack Cheese, shredded
1/4 cup Monterey Jack Cheese
1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/2 teaspoon Dill, chopped
1/8 teaspoon Salt

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving drippings in pan. Chop bacon and set aside. Increase heat to medium-high. Add chicken to drippings in pan; sauté for 6 minutes or until done.

Preheat broiler.

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat; sprinkle flour evenly into pan. Cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk. Combine milk and soup and gradually add to saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Add onion powder, garlic powder, dill, salt, monterey jack, colby cheese and 1/4 cup of the cheddar cheese. Stir until cheese melts. Mix in pasta and chicken.

Spray an 8″ x 8″ baking dish with cooking spray. Pour mixture into dish and sprinkle evenly with bacon and remaining cheddar cheese. Broil for 3 minutes or until cheese melts.

Servings: 6

Calories 347
Total Fat 14.9g
Total Carbohydrates 26.5g
Protein 26.1g
Nutrition Grade B-

Today’s Leopard Print Find:

My #1 Cleaning Discovery


Well it only took me about a year, but I finally figured out a system for keeping my house clean without the luxury of a maid (minus my 2 weeks of book fair that don’t count). I kept trying to focus on a room a day. By the time I got done with all 15 rooms and got back to the room I started with it was a complete mess. So then I tried doing one thing a day…dusting, floors, windows, etc… That was even worse.

So I finally figured it out. Although I still have 3 rooms to get through… I figured out that things were getting dusty really quickly. So completely clean one room from top to bottom each day (or almost every day), then the next day I quickly dust and vacuum that room and move on to the next room. So now each day I very quickly run a cloth over everything using Pledge Multi Surface, my new favorite product! (and no they didn’t pay me for this) Next I vacuum each room and then deep clean my one room for the day. To dust and vacuum everything only takes me about 30-45 minutes for a 3800 sq ft house. The difference is amazing! No more dust build up or dirty wood floors. Now I know why things got so dusty, this was from one day of vacuuming….


I have 2 Maltese that don’t shed at all, so I have no idea where all of that comes from!

Today’s Leopard Print Find: 2B Love Struck Leo Dress by Bebe

Oven Bacon


Megan loves, loves, loves bacon. She even asked for a “bag of bacon” as a snack once. But I hate, hate, hate cooking it. Especially since you can only cook a few pieces at a time. I saw this from Martha Stewart and now I will never fry bacon again.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Lay bacon flat, making sure the pieces do not overlap. Cook for 15-18 minutes. Transfer strips to a plate lined with paper towels.

So easy AND I didn’t get splattered with bacon grease!

Today’s Leopard Print Find: Tabitha & Angus British Fashion Leopard Print Portable Travel Hooded Rain Coat Dog Jacket Poncho – hahaha!!!

Chicken Divan


Megan has had a nagging cough for the last week and a half. I was going to take her to the doctor today but she begged me to wait until tomorrow so that she wouldn’t miss drama and choir. She’d rather miss tomorrow because she only has a test. She was relieved that she didn’t miss drama because they got their roles for their big play. Taylor got the lead and Megan got a mermaid. When Megan was little she always said she wanted to be a mermaid when she grows up. Looks like she got her wish.

One learning from today, Megan doesn’t have asthma but the pharmacist informed me that Delsym cough syrup can trigger an asthma attack if you have asthma. I didn’t get that just in case.

2 (10-ounce) packages Frozen Broccoli, chopped
6 cups Shredded Chicken, cooked
2 (10 3/4-ounce) cans Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
3/4 cup Mayonnaise
3/4 cup Sour Cream
1 cup Sharp Cheddar, grated
1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
1/2 cup White Wine
1/2 cup Parmesan, shredded
1/2 cup Bread Crumbs
2 tablespoons Butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9″ x 13″ baking dish with cooking spray.

Thaw broccoli in microwave. Drain the broccoli and put into a casserole dish. Add the shredded chicken.

In medium bowl, combine soup, mayonnaise, sour cream, Cheddar, lemon juice, salt, pepper and wine. Whisk together to make sauce. Pour sauce over broccoli and chicken. Mix well.

Pat down evenly. Combine the Parmesan, bread crumbs and butter and sprinkle over the top.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Adapted from Paula Deen

Servings: 8
Calories 525
Total Fat 29.5g
Total Carbohydrates 20.9g
Dietary Fiber 2.2g
Protein 41.6g
Nutrition Grade D+

Today’s Leopard Print Find: GRANDEUR LEOPARD RADIANT Tyler Mixer Melter – Fragrance Warmer

Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies


I haven’t blogged for awhile because I was still recovering from book fair. It was a huge success but I was completely wiped out. I didn’t do a lot of cooking for those 2 weeks. These were our Super Bowl Brownies, per Taylor’s request. She loves anything with chocolate and peanut butter.

2 cups Unsalted Butter
4 cups Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
6 ounces Unsweetened Chocolate
6 Eggs
3 tablespoons Instant Coffee Granules
2 tablespoons Pure Vanilla Extract
2-1/4 cups Sugar
1 & 1/4 cup Flour, divided
1 tablespoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
3/4 cup Peanut Butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour (or use non-stick cooking spray for baking) a 13″ x 9″ baking dish.

Melt the butter, 2 & 1/2 cups of chocolate chips, and the unsweetened chocolate in a medium bowl over simmering water (or double boiler). Allow to cool slightly. In a large bowl, combine (do not use mixer) the eggs, coffee, vanilla and sugar. Stir the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and allow to cool to room temperature.

In a medium bowl, sift together 1 cup of flour, the baking powder, and salt. Add to the cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the remaining 12 ounces of chocolate chips in a medium bowl with 1/4 cup of flour, then add them to the chocolate batter. Pour into the prepared pan. Spoon the peanut butter over the top of the chocolate mixture and swirl through it with a knife.

Bake for 20 minutes, then tap the baking sheet against the oven shelf to force the air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes more or until a toothpick comes out clean. Do not over bake. Allow to cool thoroughly, refrigerate, and cut into large squares.

Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa

Servings: 20
Calories 494
Total Fat 34.6g
Total Carbohydrates 44.2g
Dietary Fiber 2.9g
Protein 7.0g
Nutrition Grade D-

Today’s Leopard Print Find: It?s Exciting Lighting 002518G Battery Powered Indoor/Outdoor Leopard LED Wall Sconce

Tex-Mex Chicken and Bean Stew


Megan went grocery shopping with me today. First stop, Costco. She really, really needs the $4000 massage chair that they have this month. Then on the way to Target, she let me know that she wants to broaden her shopping horizons. She’s getting tired of just shopping at Justice. She wants to shop the entire mall. THANK GOODNESS she can’t fit into the clothes in most of the mall stores yet. I have a few more years. But I have a feeling that her expectations are going to be through the roof tomorrow when she watches the Grammy’s she recorded and sees Carrie Underwood’s light up dress.

This stew is great alone, with chips or with tortillas.  You can top with cheese or sour cream.

2 cups Dried Pinto Beans, rinsed
3 cups Salsa
1/4 cup Canned Chopped Chipotle Chiles in Adobo Sauce
1/4 cup Flour
2 cups Water
3 pounds Chicken Breasts
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
1 medium Red Onion, sliced
1 Red Bell Pepper, sliced (ribs and seeds removed)
1/2 cup Cilantro, chopped

Mix beans, salsa, chiles, flour and water in slow cooker. Season chicken with salt and pepper; arrange on top of beans. Place onion and bell pepper on top of chicken.

Cover and cook on low heat for 8 hours.

Shred chicken into large pieces and return to stew. Serve topped cilantro.

Adapted from Martha Stewart

Servings: 12
Calories 361
Total Fat 9.0g
Total Carbohydrates 27.7g
Dietary Fiber 6.5g
Protein 41.2g
Nutrition Grade A

Today’s Leopard Print Find: Mud Pie Leopard Soft Headband Mud Pie Leopard Soft Headband (White)