Saturday, February 18, 2017

Food: Crock Pot Simply Salsa Chili

I made a chili today that was so awesome I felt a great urgency to share it with you. The most surprising thing about it... besides that I cooked... was the simplicity.  It's even simpler than the Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili recipe that I've shared with so many people.


CROCK POT SIMPLY SALSA CHILI

2-14.5 oz cans chili-style diced tomatoes
1 bag frozen corn
1 can black beans
1 package of chicken sausage, chopped into slices
2 TBSP Tastefully Simple Simply Salsa Mix
1 brick light cream cheese

Mix all of the ingredients, except for the cream cheese, in a medium sized Crock Pot. Throw the cream cheese on top. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. I usually stir it up a few hours after it's been cooking to stir in the cream cheese.

Serve with garlic bread. Eat like chili boss. Serves 4 good-sized dinner bowls.

NOTES
Diced Tomatoes - If you don't like heat, use plain, boring diced tomatoes.
Black Beans - I don't drain or rinse them. Waste of time. Besides, that "goo" is just salt and water. So if you're watching your sodium intake, then go ahead and rinse them.
Chicken Sausage -  I used precooked Italian Chicken Sausage from Save-A-Lot. And no, I'm not ashamed to say so. It was kick ass!!
Tastefully Simple Simply Salsa Mix - Yeah, I know. It's a Tastefully Simple product. My hubby sells it. "Did you just do this to promote him?" DO YOU KNOW ME? I DON'T DO ANYTHING I DON'T LIKE!! Seriously, this recipe was great. If you don't have the Fiesta Party Dip mix, then use something else. I don't know what. I'm not a cook. That's why I use Tastefully Simple items. I don't have to be a cook. It just makes me look like one.
If you want to order it, go here... DREW'S WEBSITE.
Light Cream Cheese - Light or full. It doesn't really matter in chili or soups.

I am considering doubling this recipe and bringing it to work for Hardware Support, because those b*tards appreciate my spicy cooking.

~Steph

Monday, January 9, 2017

Writing: Romance


SUBJECT:  ROMANCE

I have trouble writing romantic scenes.  And by romantic, I don't mean sex.  I have no problems writing those scenes anymore.  I'm not very good with romance.  I try and when I re-read it it sounds fake.  She's always giggling or pouting or blushing or something else that a pre-pubescent girl would do in front of her crush, and he's rich and handsome and buying wine and ordering dessert and adjusting his trousers.  It doesn't sound normal when you write it down and I hate it.

"Romance" in books and movies doesn't exist in the real world.  That's probably the main reason some people read romance novels and watch Lifetime.  It's fictional.  And that's great, but I can't write it.  I can put my characters in fictional situations, but usually they're going to act like a real person.

For example, I have several -- SEVERAL -- stories about a hot, rich executive.  He's a CEO, or CFO, or COOMG!!!  He could have it all!  Models!  Yacht!  Trips to Abiza that he actually paid for and didn't win on Wheel of Fortune!  But he doesn't ever go.  He works; he networks when he has to; he donates shitloads anonymously to charity; he stares out his skyrise condo bedroom window looking over the city below contemplating his lonely existence.  Why?  Because some super-hot blond bimbo who was once his assistant/fiance/college sweetheart with major league funbags broke his heart and stole his money and ran off with his former business partner/a Hollywood producer/her sleezeball ex who promised to take her to Paris/make her a movie star/help her save 15% on her car insurance only to have them both die in a brie/cocaine/Michelob Ultra-fueled parasailing accident.  Or some crap like that.

Moody. Little. Bitch.

Instead of bouncing back or getting over it or going to therapy, he broods.  He broods and eats microwave-cooked freezer meals between power lunches with far happier millionaires.

Then one day, he decides he needs to hire a new assistant.

She's brunette with soft curves and a softer smile.  She's calm, cool, and has a high Microsoft Excel proficiency rating.  She doesn't care what he does in his personal life, but between the hours of 8 and 5, her job is to serve and protect the man who signs her paychecks.  She will do anything -- anything! -- to make him the best C-whatever-O the business world has ever seen!  Or, at the very least, re-educate him on the importance of the well-balanced home-cooked meal.

Seriously? Do you know how much sodium is in those Lean Cuisine Chicken Enchiladas?

After weeks of working together and getting used to each other (and even a little fun, harmless flirting), he's asked to attend a conference in Maui at the last minute.  He agrees and offers a chance for the assistant to go with him.  It's currently winter in the Northeast, so of course she's going to go to Maui!

The conference is necessary but long and boring.  His fellow businessmen are a little too inquisitive about his assistant's relationship status.  The bagels are stale and rubbery.  Dinner with the other execs was overpriced and understaffed.  And as the hot exec and his beautiful assistant retire to their suite for the evening, he apologizes for his colleagues and she gives him the tidbits of gossip she picked up along the way.

They laugh.  They sigh.  They look longingly into each other's eyes.  As they draw closer, both wonder the same thing...

Was that your stomach that just made that noise or mine?

The question is answered when the hot exec darts into the bathroom which will bare witness to his 36 hour bout of food poisoning.

*Sigh* "I told him not to order the duck."

His assistant will pity him, care for him, wipe his brow, change his shirts, switch out trash cans, ask the concierge for more toilet paper, order carafes of hot water from room service, beg the cleaning lady for more towels, force him to drink lots of water, find a football game on his iPad for him to watch, cancel their flight, extend their hotel stay, reschedule the next day's appointments, and tip the bellboy handsomely to go buy a box of Imodium.  The one thing she will not do is probably the most romantic thing of all --- leave him alone.  And as much as he hates her being there to see him in the most vulnerable and disgusting of states, he's falling in love with her more and more every second.

Yeah.  That really happened in a story I wrote.  And if you're wondering how in the hell is that romantic, ask yourself --- at your lowest point in your life, think about who was there to pick you up and see you through it.  At some point, did you turn to that person and say, "I love you for this."  And maybe it was a spouse or partner or parent or sibling or best friend or the cop at the State Fair who kept your ass from falling face first in the parking lot.  But it was still love and you meant it.

Any jerk can buy a bottle of wine when you're having a good day.  Any lush can screw a guy in an Armani suit after a lobster dinner.

But when she's in pain from having had a mammogram that day and doesn't want to see him, but he shows up and makes her frozen daiquiris anyway?  That's romantic.  And maybe the motor on the blender starts to smoke and it sets the curtains on fire and his plans to be her hero have gone to hell. But she doesn't care because he looks cute in the kitchen and she never liked those stupid curtains, so they eat the strawberries and do shots while watching a hockey game.  And never once does he try to grab her sore boobies.  That's romantic.

Him: Hey doll, I loaded the dishwasher, turned on the coffeepot, and scooped the cat litter. 
Here's a heating pad for your cramps. You sleep in this morning.
Her: You are totally getting a blowjob tonight.

Sometimes it's nice to dress up and go out and be treated to the wine and candles and dessert.  There's nothing wrong with that.  I just don't think it's romantic.  Not unless she's a chemo patient who's lost all her hair and he wants her to understand she's still the most beautiful woman in the world to him.  Now that's romantic!

Romance happens at the least likely moments in your life and makes them a whole lot better.

Or maybe that's beer.  I get the two confused.

~Steph

Monday, January 2, 2017

Crafting: Homemade Christmas Cards!

I wasn't in the mood to make Christmas cards this year.  But I decided to print some off for my family in Tennessee.  The cats helped me.  Below are what we came up with and the message on the inside.



Ah, isn't that sweet?  Sweetpea looks a little sad in the window though.  Probably because she hates snow.  Snow does suck.



Don't worry.  We didn't really ship him anywhere.  Drew stopped me.



What?!  He is!



Deadly.



Sasha and Fuzzy are brother and sisters.  Assholery must run in the family.

And probably my favorite card went to my sister's boyfriend Steve.  Apparently he calls me the Mad Shitter because of my "I Pooped Today" sticker obsession.  I'm quite honored.




I love Christmas!!!

~Steph


Sunday, October 23, 2016

Crafty: Cards and a Halloween Cat Swag!

Hello, my peeps!  Welcome back!

Today's post is just a few items I made in the past couple weeks. You can click on the pictures to see the original, larger size.


This card was commissioned by my co-worker, friend, and fellow wine connoisseur Julie. Her neighbor was moving to Venice Beach, FL and she asked for a going away card. This might be my most favorite card. I loved stamping it, coloring it, and designing the little sign post. I even looked up the mileage from Auburn to Venice Beach.

Car, Luggage & Phrase: Beautiful Ride stamp set from Stampin' Up (retired)
Fence: Halloween Scene Framelit from Stampin' Up (Current 2016-17 Holiday Catalog!)
Background: Happy Home from Stampin' Up (retired)
Ink & Paper: Don't remember. Stuff I've got laying around.

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This is the card I made for the last Stampin' Up workshop at Teresa's house. 

White background: Some embossing folder. I have a bazillion. And it was cut out using a framelit I got from SpellBinders years ago. They don't make it any more. :(
Flowers: Botanical Builder framelits from Stampin' Up (Current 2016-17 Annual Catalog)
Other Stuff: It's just other stuff. I don't know where it came from. My house???

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This wreath is all Peggy's fault! One afternoon on break, Peggster was checking out wreaths on Etsy. There were a number of them that cost a lot of money. One in particular didn't look too special, but it had a $220 price tag! Of course, I immediately opened my mouth and said, "I could make that!" So, I tried. I won't lie. My wreath is not as nice as the ones on Etsy. But it's not bad! Especially since it only cost me about $6. Most of the items are from the clearance rack or the Dollar Store. It's a lot more colorful and sparkly than the pictures shows. This thing was a byotch to photograph!

Skeleton: Dug it up in my backyard. What a find! (aka Dollar Tree)
Crow: They're a dime a dozen in this town! Especially at the Dollar Tree.
Hat: China! Seriously, I order my mini hats directly from China. I cannot find anyone that makes or sells them in the US. If they do, they're already decorated and cost about $20. Furgit it!
Pumpkins, ribbon, wreath: craft store clearance racks
Boo!: My mother. She gave me a beat-up clearance rack Halloween decoration with the intention that I could pilfer it for parts. And oh, I have! There's some black flowers on this thing (that you can't friggin' see) that also came from the decoration.

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Yesterday, I hung out with my friend Teena and her mother Sharon. Like me, Sharon is a Halloween freak and a serious crafter. I thought we'd just be drinking wine and checking out all the really cool Halloween decorations Sharon has. To my surprise, I was told we'd be making a Halloween swag. 

I gathered up everything I thought I might need.


As usual, I went overboard. But surprise! Surprise! I used something from each of these boxes. The ribbon, tulle, bobbles, bats, and balls all came from these boxes. There are some black mesh bows on the swag which came from Sharon, along with that fabulous cat face. As soon as she showed it to me, I knew I had to have it! KITTY! 

Sharon also shared her wire and the base to make the swag. She even took pity on me and made the bow at the top. In return, I let her take whatever she wanted of mine, including the large spool of pink ribbon that both she and Teena fell in love with. (I'm pretty sure I have another one around here somewhere.) Crafters love to share! The finished product is the ultimate goal, after all. :)

So, that's it for this week! Happy Crafting!

Steph


Saturday, October 1, 2016

Crafty: World Card Making Day!

Today is World Card Making Day! Bet you didn't know that was a thing!

Am I making cards today? Probably not. Got too many other things to do. Shows to watch. Cats to pet. Toilets to pee in. My schedule is full! So is my bladder.

Anyhoo, here's some cards I made in the past couple weeks to share with you.


This is a beauty! The background is made using cardstock, ink, and a large stamp.

Flower: Stampin' Up Flourish Thinlit
Saying: Stampin' Up Banners for You & Bunch of Banners Framelits
Background Cardstock & Ink: Stampin' Up Emerald Envy (2016-2018 In Color)
Background stamp: Stampin' Up Floral Background Stamp (retired item)

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This is a Sophia the First card. I had no idea who Sophia the First was, so I googled it. I now know way too much about this little Disney princess. Waaaay too much. I started to ask questions, like, what happened to her Dad? How did he die? Were there witnesses? It's very suspicious. And I'm pretty sure that amulet is a euphemism for the heroin addiction in America.

The card was commissioned by my daughter Abby.
You have a daughter???
Chillax. She's a co-worker who sort of adopted herself to me.
The card is for her niece Madeleine. Yes. Madeleine. The name is misspelled and the typo was totally not my fault.
Nice going, Aunt Abby.
Next time Aebiegaile needs a card, I'm going to stick in extra E's all over the place... just in case.

Cutout: Some retired nestabilities framelit set from Sizzix I've had for years
Image: Totally swiped off the internet. Come at me, Disney!

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This card was inspired by another card I saw on the internet. I'd put a link to it here, but I'm feeling lazy. Besides, I changed enough elements that it's not an exact copy. I like it. Much better in person. This picture really sucks.

Background: Houndstooth embossing folder
Swirl: Stampin' Up Swirly Scribbles Thinlit
Saying: Stampin' Up Itty Bitty Banners & Bitty Banner Framelit
Pumpkin: Stampin' Up - 5 Large Oval punches (retired), leaf from Bird Builder (retired)
Twine: Something I found on the floor of my house???

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Ah, now this is nice. We learned to make this card at a card party. It was taught to us by our lovely Stampin' Up Rep Jessica Brigden. As a thanks, here is a free plug...

jessb.stampinup.net

Flower: Stampin' Up Thoughtful Branches Bundle (August 2016 Special)
Ink and Paper : Um, I don't remember. I like to have a drink or two when I craft. 
Sounds like you have a problem.
It's not a problem! 
That's what all addicts say.
I can stop crafting whenever I want!

Here's one for my card making homies...

Happy World Card Making Day! 

XOX Steph