Sometimes You Just Need To Be Random

Well, it’s been quite a busy few days for me so this update is going to be quite random.  There’s so much I want to share! First, the bake sale was a huge success at work – we made almost $300! Go us!

Earlier in the week I had my performance evaluation with the director of my floor – all good reviews, a 2% raise (not much, but eh), signed up for an ACLS class, agreed to start training for charge nurse AND I agreed to be a preceptor to a senior nursing student for a whole semester starting in a few weeks. 2013 is sounding like it’s going to be awesome!

Then I forgot to share a recipe for a super delicious slow cooker chicken taco soup that I made last week. Surprisingly, this recipe did NOT come from Pinterest. I know, I know.. recipes from other websites?! How old fashioned of me! But seriously, I didn’t really change this recipe at all – I just used an extra can of black beans and I used a can of chicken broth instead of beer because we didn’t have any in the fridge. And it was SO SO SO GOOD! I added tons of cilantro because I’m obsessed and it was amazing. It didn’t even need sour cream or cheese but that’s up to you.

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NOMS!!

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This is what I added on top.. Sooo yummy. Try them with fajitas too!

Friday night at work was TERRIBLE so I went out for some early morning drinks and breakfast with one of my coworkers (when you work night shift, it’s totally acceptable to drink alcohol at 8am – right?). There’s not really a story here, I just wanted to show some pictures of FALSE ADVERTISING and everyone can realize how upset I was when I paid $7 for this piece of cheesecake that was not at all what I was expecting.

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This is what I thought I was ordering..

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This is what I got.. uh.. no.

Saturday night I went out with some friends – which resulted in me being hungover all day Sunday. Which resulted in me not cooking, cleaning, doing laundry or grocery shopping like I was supposed to. Bad decision making skills. Ugh. When will I ever realize I can’t party like I’m 21 anymore?

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All cute and ready to go!

And then last and most importantly, Sunday was my Princess Roxie’s 3rd birthday! I can’t believe how big she’s gotten! When I think about when we brought home this cute little 2 1/2 pound black and white ball of fur.. I can’t believe it’s the same dog that we have right now!

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Surprise presents!

Anyway, that’s it for now. Talk about being random and babbling nonsense – but that’s the way my life is so I feel like it’s only appropriate to update in the same manner. Happy Monday everyone!

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How I Discovered Wax Paper Is Not The Same As Parchment Paper

While as I mentioned in yesterday’s post, my work is having a bake sale today for the National Kidney Foundation – I work on a renal floor, so yeah. I found this recipe on Pinterest for cookies with chocolate chips, peanut butter chips and pretzels – and it looked awesome!

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Mine did not look like this.

Now as I also mentioned, I’ve been fighting off an annoying cold for almost 2 weeks now and my mind has been a little bit scattered. So my baking adventure yesterday started off a little bit shaky when I realized I didn’t have baking soda – I only had baking powder. Thanks to Google, I managed to solve that problem. After I got my cookies in the oven, I started working on yesterday’s post when I realized I smelled something burning.. and when I went to check on my cookies, I realized smoke was rapidly filling up inside my oven!!

APPARENTLY wax paper is not the same as parchment paper. I have no idea how I’ve never discovered this before. I’m not even sure why I have wax paper if it can’t be put in the oven?? But thank goodness it didn’t actually catch on fire – which is what terrified me because I was home alone and scared of disaster – but it seriously almost made my whole downstairs fill up with smoke. Obviously I didn’t think to take a picture, but use your imagination.

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Anyway, the cookies managed to turn out awesome! They don’t look as perfect as the cookies from the original website (and I’m definitely not a professional food photographer!), but my dear hubby said they tasted super yummy!

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My little sidekick in the background.

Thanks again to Pinterest for yet another winning recipe!

Recipe: Baked Ziti

So this week I work Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday nights. I also have a bake sale to prepare for on Friday and I’m still fighting an annoying cold.. so I needed some simple meals to make that would give my beloved hubby lots of leftovers for work for the week (and to eat Thursday night while I bake my cookies). I’ll try to eventually post all the recipes – because seriously, I picked some winners – but I’ll start with Tuesday.

Tuesday night was Baked Ziti. It’s the second ziti recipe I’ve tried and it’s definitely the winner. Soo yummy! I can’t say it was the quickest meal because of browning the meat, making the sauce, making the pasta, and then baking the whole thing in the oven – but it was definitely easy and I was able to get some other stuff done while it was cooking in the oven.

I made the following variations and/or additions:

  • I used ground turkey instead of ground beef or sausage because it’s healthier for you and once you add the seasonings and the sauce, you seriously can’t tell the difference. I promise! It might even be a little cheaper to use.
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Add your herbs and garlic before you add the sauce.

  • I made my own sauce – I used a 32oz can of tomato sauce and a 12oz can of tomato sauce with Italian seasonings already added, fresh basil and fresh oregano, salt and pepper, and garlic powder. It’s super easy and super yummy! It tastes even better the more you can let it simmer.
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Simmering sauce.

  • I like adding fresh herbs to the ricotta cheese to give it more flavor. I also added about half a cup of mozzarella cheese to the ricotta to make it extra cheesy and gooey. And I used the whole 16oz container of ricotta instead of only 1 cup.
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Ricotta with basil and oregano.

  • I also used extra mozzarella cheese (more cheesy and more gooey!). I added it on top of the first layer of pasta and then I added it at the end like the recipe states. I sprinkled a little fresh Parmesan on the top, but that’s pretty much it.
  • Lastly – I let it bake for like 30-40 minutes instead of 20 minutes. I wanted the cheese to be more melted because I added so much extra.
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Never thought to do this – Add sauce to the pasta before layering. Adds more flavor!

I didn’t make any drastic changes and I think the recipe would probably be equally delicious without them, but I just went with what I felt sounded yummy. I think it’s okay to play around with layered dishes like this because you can alter the order of the ingredients or you could add extra ingredients in between some of the layers. Next time maybe I’ll add mushrooms for my husband (they’re his favorite!).

Anyway I posted the link above and seriously, give it a try! It was delicious! What other variations could be done?

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All ready to go in the oven.

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Finished product – NOMS!

Pickle Dip.. Seriously!

Yes, I’m a Pinterest addict. The other day I pinned this recipe for something called Pickle Dip. Now I love pickles and at first I thought this recipe sounded a little iffy – and maybe a little gross – but I made it and I loved it! I added at least double the amount of minced pickles, but like I said, I LOVE pickles. So here’s the recipe for you. Take a risk and try it! 🙂

Ingredients

  • 8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 to 1 cup dill pickles (I did about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Pickle juice (I used about 1 tablespoon, maybe 2)
  • Dill, for garnish (I didn’t use any because I didn’t have any)

Instructions

  1. Chop the pickles into very small pieces.
  2. Combine the cream cheese and Worcestershire sauce until well mixed.
  3. Splash in a bit of pickle juice to thin it out.
  4. Serve cold with chips.

Not my picture