Tuesday, November 19, 2013

My Love of the Rotisserie Chicken

I love the rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. There, I said it. I love the several functions it serves and the awesome feeling I have as a provider of deliciousness I get to serve to my family as a result of said amazing bird. That was a lot to say. Below is why I love these birds I hope you take advantage of these very soon!

First and foremost I get not 1 not 2 but 3 yes you read correctly 3 full meals out of one already cooked for you bird from your local grocery store! I will list the 3 recipes I used this week below.  Also, I have found that Costco or Sams club give you a much bigger bird that makes these 3 recipes easier to pull off. If you are shopping at a store that offers a smaller bird be safe and get 2, you will still be paying tons less and you will have 1/2 the work in preparing all of these meals! I must say though I have pulled off all 3 with an average sized bird I compensated a little and I mean little with extra veggies but it was still done and enjoyed by all!

 I hope that you enjoy them. It took me about 1.5 hours to make the first 2. The stock takes about 5 hours total, then to make the soup about another 45 minutes tops.

Chicken and Cheddar Souffle on the Food Network

I love Giada and I love her recipes they are good, easy to make and very crowd pleasing. I Hope to one day look like her as well because man she is a beautiful woman...who can cook! Lordy!


This was a pinterest find. I cook a ton from the recipes I find on pinterest.  This one is great without the chicken as well.

The recipe below is what I have scratched together from the catacombs of my brain. I am very much a throw it in a pot and see if it tastes good kind of cook. I fail A LOT but when I do good I do pretty well! 

Noodle of Chicken Soup

2tbs Olive Oil
2-3 Cloves Garlic
Salt and Pepper to taste
3-4 Good Sized Carrots
3-4 Stalks of Celery
1 Small Onion
2c Cooked Chicken
2c Egg Noodles
Homemade Chicken Stock to cover Veggies and Chicken

Start with a hot pan and cold oil. Sweat the onion in the olive oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes until the onion is approaching clear. Then add the carrot and celery. Sweat all three adding salt and pepper to taste. Then add the garlic and the chicken mixing with the other veggies. Let these mingle and sweat together for about 5 minutes stirring occasionally then add your homemade chicken stock. Bring to a simmer, then give it a taste. Add salt and pepper, I sometimes add a little celery salt at this point. Then put it over low heat and let it be for about 20 minutes. You could throw the noodles in now and enjoy it right away. I like to let the flavors intermingle and get to know one another. Then after at least 20 minutes, add your egg noodles. You can absolutely use any noodles I just prefer egg noodles.

Homemade Chicken Stock

Without a doubt the easiest most valuable thing I have ever learned by working in a professional kitchen. This is one of those comfort things for me. I love the smell of stock on the stove. It takes me back to my more recent days as a server when I was working at The Hummingbird Room in Mill Hall, PA. Chef Eric Sarnow and his wife, also a chef, Claudia Sarnow really took the time to teach me how to never let anything go to waste. This was one of their tricks.

Take all the meat off the chicken. Then raid your veggie drawer! Use those carrots that are starting to get soft, the peels from your onions, the spinach you used half of to make the soufflee, the peels from your garlic bulb, the stems from the celery you cut up. Throw all of that and EVERYTHING left over from your chicken in a pot. I mean everything, skin, bones, anything and everything left over nothing is really off limits here I have used all sorts of stuff! Then cover that with water. Put this on the stove over low heat and just leave it for about 3-4 hours at least. I leave mine on a very long time. Then turn it off and let it cool completely. After it is cool strain the stock into the container you are going to store it in. Absolutely delicious and homemade! LOVE IT!!

So here is my final little celebration over the pre-made so you don't have to cook it, rotisserie chicken. Have you ever noticed how much a chicken is? I ask you the next time you are at the store check out your poultry aisle and check it out. Then go look at the already “rotisseried” chickens. The fact is this is one of those things that grocery stores take a huge hit on to get you into the store! They actually loose a ton of money on these birds because they hope that you will buy more from their store. So you have that going for you as well.

Good luck with our feathered friend!

Be Well!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Confessions of Friendship

I can be very clingy. It’s not something I walk around and brag about for obvious reasons. How awful would it be to say:

 “Hi!, I have 5 kids, I am very outgoing and I will cling to our friendship like a life preserver on sunken ship. What’s your name again?”

However, it is something that I most definitely recognize about myself and it is something that I try to work on, now more then ever.  I am sure people wonder why I am this way; well I really do attribute it to being an only child.  When big stuff happened as a kid I really had no one to talk to. Sure you have your parents but there are some things that I really didn’t feel comfortable talking about with them.  When I was about 13 and things were awful, I mean because hell, 13 as an age is its own problem, I found my very first best friend. 

Little did I know then that she would be by my side for 26 years. You should feel sorry for her. She had a brother but he was just too old for her to confide in so that left me. She seriously was and still is like a sister to me. We laughed together, cried together, played pranks together, and we fought together.  In the end we always know that in times of crisis we would drop everything to be with the other. It was then and still is now a very wonderful comfort.
When we moved on to high school we expanded our group to 4.  The 4 of us we were like our own little family. We all had other friends but it all began and ended with the 4 of us, I loved it and it was perfect. The support and unconditional love we shared was really one of the biggest comforts of my life. They made me look at life differently, they molded and shaped me to who I am today (see girls it IS YOUR fault :P)! This was all going along fabulously until the summer of my senior year when I moved to South Carolina. I lost my little family, I lost my friendship, I lost my sisters. Mind you it wasn’t gone, gone, but when you live 14 hours away in the days before cell phones and face time, and everyone else is still within 3 hours of one another, you miss out and you miss out on a lot.  I would say that I probably spent 10 years trying to catch up on the 3/4 years I missed with them. This was beyond stupid, you can’t go back in time and participate in the stories that they share and you cannot be part of the camaraderie that they formed. It took me years and a shove from one of my girls extremely disgruntled ex- boyfriends to finally accept that.  I did let it go after a while and it was after I did that that we were able to create a new kind of circle. We are all grown up now, all with families and jobs and responsibilities of our own.  We see each other 1 time sometimes 2 times a year if we are lucky. Because of the unique and beautiful friendship we shared then it’s really hard not to expect the same kind of friendships from other people. However, in the end though these girls are not friends, they are family, and that is how I like to view my friendships, as members of my family.  Not everyone sees it that way though, and I completely understand that! I know I have been very spoiled not only by the friendships that I have had in the past but also because I was lucky enough to marry my best friend. Even though he is an absolute gem and listens and tries so hard at the end of the day he is a dude and just doesn’t get it sometimes!
Here I am an adult it’s time to make new friends right?  Well, I don’t know about you but me, its hard, really hard. You should just be able to walk into a social situation and pop out with 3 new BFF’s right? Wrong!  Now, there is Facebook and all of those other social Medias out there that really complicate things.  Not to mention now you have men to deal with. Your girlfriend’s husbands (or s/o) have to get along with your husband (or s/o)  or you just can’t spend the time together. Oh! And don’t even get me started on the whole kid dynamic!  You have so many different factors that play into creating friendships as an adult and time is your enemy. If your family is like mine you are running kids and yourself all week, then reserve a day on the weekend for family day that leaves the one day that you should be spending with your s/o to reconnect. It can be very hard and frankly, mentally exhausting to nurture those friendships and be there for our friends when they need us the most. As women I think it is very natural to close off. Submerge ourselves in our day to day and deal with our problems as best we can, even if that means dealing with them alone. 
We need our girlfriends, it really is as simple as that. In most every book you read the friends are the people the heroine/hero lean on for life changing advice. That is not a mistake, which is what friends are there for. Sure it’s fun to party and have a good time but the measure of a good friendship is their ability to see you break into pieces even when you are trying not to let the pieces fall in front of them.   The measure of a great friendship is when they stick around and help you put those pieces back together. Somewhere along the way of women’s evolution we began to think that we were weak if we shared our issues. It has become an embarrassment for us to say to another girlfriend “I have a problem .” Follow that with “I don’t know what to do.” Suddenly we feel that we are pathetic individuals that have burdened our poor, dear friend that is solely there to give us wine and makes us laugh, right?  How could we ever do such a thing?!  WRONG!  I would be furious with a girlfriend who thought I was only there to play with her and not be there when she needed me! Yet, that is exactly what I do, that is exactly what MOST of my girlfriends do, we pine and suffer through every one of our issues big or small, alone.  What really gets me though, when I have just reached my edge and I need to talk to someone is when they look at me and empathize OR when they say “Why didn’t you tell me sooner!  I can help!” 

Ladies! We have each other there is no reason to suffer through these big bad emotions alone, and yet we do. Why? I am guilty of it, I would rather listen then share.  Is it a matter of trust, are we afraid that we may seem less of a person, or are we afraid to show anyone, even ourselves our rawest vulnerabilities? Maybe.  I am hopeful that this trend ends someday and that women can once again not see their issues as weakness.

Even though it hasn’t been easy making friends as an adult it hasn’t been impossible. I have some beautiful friendships that I adore and I still have my girls from back in the day. Yes, people come in and out of my life and it used to be really hard to let them go. I felt like I wasn’t enough for them. Now, I realize that they were just trying to deal with life on their own and sort out their own issues, much as I do. It is always really fun to reconnect with someone and it gives me such a feeling of peace.  It isn’t always easy though and I am far from perfect, I am that “clingy” friend after all. At the end of the day though I just hope that the friends I do have know that I love them like family.  If we don’t talk for months or even if they move on with their lives in a direction that doesn’t include me, I will always be there for them. This is simply because at one point they made a difference in my life and I will always be grateful for them.

Life is hard but it is also beautiful and one of the many beauties and greatest celebrations of my life are my dear friends.

Be well.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Fake It Till' You Make It!

You have heard it before, I am Strong, I am Invincible, I am Woman, I am Tired. Yes, I couldn't agree more, add being a stay at home mom or a working mom or even a working woman and you can add exhaustion, overwhelmed and completely out of your mind to that list. I believe that if you fake it, even a little bit, you will be a happier more well adjusted person. Simple things like when you are having a bad day slapping a smile on your face and getting through it. My go to fake it strategy is putting myself together, I believe if you feel good about the way you look you will feel good about yourself and that can do wonders when you have been awoken 6 times by 3 different children throughout the night!

I am constantly in search of the next skin care miracle. I watch infomercials, I read Dr. Oz and I go into department stores. I comb the web looking for the next big anti aging thing! I ask people all the time, what are you using on your skin? Its kind of a later in life obsession. I never really cared much when I was younger, because hell, I was younger, but now I am fast approaching “that age” and over the last few years I have really gotten serious about it. I thought I would share with you my findings and what I have used, what I use now and what I am going to try in the near future.

I am a firm believer that skin care expires, at least on me it does. After about 2-3 years my skin care regimen doesn't seem to produce the same results. Or maybe I just get bored with it it could go either way. When I first started this quest in my very early 30's I did what every Grandma and Mom did, I called my Mary Kay girl. Their Timeless Line served me well over about 5 years, but then I just stopped seeing results. So then I became a infomercial junkie and that is where this whole review begins.

I started out using Murad, http://www.murad.com. It was a great product but I think I may have been a little too early for it. They kept sending me “Age Spot” something as my freebie every other month. It gave me a complex! I even called and asked them to change it and I kept getting them! I loved the cleanser and the night cream. The night cream was really thick and I like it when night creams are thick, it makes me feel like they are doing something. The cleanser was light and made my skin feel amazing. One of my biggest issues are my eyes, I have darker circles and sometimes baggy looking eyes, so my eye cream is everything, it can make or break a regimen for me and this one unfortunately did it for me with Murad. The formula of their eye cream wasn't a good fit for me which was sad because I really did love the other products.

I then moved onto Meaningful Beauty, www.meaningfulbeauty.com. This is where I am now and frankly about to move away from, for now. This one has an eye cream that rocks. The formula lessens the darkness around my eyes and helps with wrinkles too. I really like the day moisturizing lotion as well, it light and not greasy at all. They have a new night cream but since I ordered mine prior to the new night cream being released, I unfortunately do not get it. Which really stinks because I tend to not use the night cream with this regimen. The cleanser is good, but I often wonder, “Is it doing anything?” It is very thin and doesn't foam or lather and that really took some getting used to. All in all I have really loved my Meaningful Beauty experience but again, I feel like maybe its not working as well as it did when I first started using it so maybe its time for a change?

Now, I mentioned that I don't really use the meaningful beauty night cream. Well that is because I have found an AWESOME substitute! St Ives Timeless Skin, you can get this at any Walmart, Rite Aid, Grocery Store anywhere that sells St Ives and its about $5 for a huge tub of it! I saw on my Pintrest feed that Dr. Oz first posted about this a few months back. I saw it one day and thought, “What the heck?” It has turned out to be one of my favorite facial creams of all time. It really does reduce lines and the collagen in it really works around the circles on my eyes. You definitely have to wash your face in the morning though but it is good, good stuff, give it a try!

What is in my skincare future? Well, let me tell you! I recently had a conversation with my friend Jessie who is starting a new business. I LOVE supporting businesses especially the home based businesses. I really feel that the home based businesses are amazing and wonderful things, not to mention if executed properly there is a whole lot of money to be made. I have friends who sell Pampered Chef, 31 Bags, Silpada and hell, I have a good friend who is making a FORTUNE in schlepping sex toys! All home based businesses, all helping people bring in a little extra money to help supplement their incomes. In talking with my friend Jessie I found out that she is starting one of these businesses, but this is skin care we are talking about and it is something that I take seriously so I did a little research on it and it sounds pretty good!

Rodan & Fields, https://jdilucia.myrandf.com/Home, is not a household name yet, but its sister product, Proactive, is. These are the same Drs that created Proactive and now they are helping people with all sorts of skin care issues. Sun damaged, Anti Aging, Adult Acne, you have it they seem to have a solution. In the world of the internet and shopping online you really have to go by poeples reputations. Proactive has an amazing reputation and the results are amazing, so why should this be any different?Check it out and if you try it let me know. I think I am going to give it a try over the summer. I need to finish out this Meaningful Beauty shipment I just got and then I will take the plunge. I will definitely let you know how it all works out!

One more thing I need to mention is that as a woman you MUST do the things that make you feel good. One of those things that serves 2 purposes is getting a facial. No matter what skin care regimen you use on a daily basis every now and then you need to get some deep pore cleaning done. Its important not only for the health of your skin but for your mental health as well. You walk out of there feeling like a million bucks! I usually go 2 times a year. I wish I could go more but financially this is what makes sense for me. If you can go more then go! I usually go to Designers Denn, http://www.designersdenn.com/. I go to Lori there although I have never had a bad experience with any other person at this spa. They have a great Signature Facial for $110 and it is worth every single penny.

You may be tired, you may be at the end of your rope, trust me I am on a daily basis, but the good news is there are products out there to help you look amazing! Best of luck and make sure you let me know what you try! I would love to hear what you think!