Monday, September 10, 2012

Magical Crock Pot Chicken

Okay, look, I am LITERALLY blogging this so that I can share it easily. I'm not going all food blogger on you. Though I will still ALWAYS take pictures of my food at Chuy's. Y'all just need to get over that one.

So, magical isn't what you would normally associate with crock pot chicken but that is why I am sharing it. This is sort of one of those, "I saw a recipe, tweaked it a little and got THIS!!"

It is crazy easy AND you'll get to boast that you can make gravy. Win-win-win! Wait...I think I added an extra win in there......

frozen boneless, skinless chicken thighs (you can use breasts but why?)
red potatoes quartered
carrots (baby peeled are totally acceptable)
minced garlic
2 packets (or one box) Lipton herb seasoning (found by the onion soup mix)
1 can chicken broth

3-4 tablespoons butter
4-5 tablespoons flour

- Lay your potatoes on the bottom, then a solid layer of carrots.
- Sprinkle garlic and herb packet over the veggies.  
- Lay your chicken on top of it all. You should have enough potatoes and carrots to get the chicken about 1 inch from the top. Go ahead and put as many thighs as you can, since you can't mash frozen chicken you'll end up with enough breathing room. Unless they were frozen in a mashed together format. THEN you'll need to leave a little room to separate them later.
- Sprinkle some more garlic and the last herb packet over the chicken.

Cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-5.

MAGIC: Now you could eat this as is and I'm sure it is lovely. But you want it to be magical. SO, get yourself a skillet and some butter.
- Melt the butter in your skillet and then sprinkle about a tablespoon of flour in it. 
- Whisk it till incorporated
- Add another 2 or 3 tablespoons (one at a time) to your butter until it gets clumpy and sort of irritating.
- Now add about 1/4 cup of the liquids from the crock pot. Please don't try to take out the fats and be all weird. Just enjoy your flippin' gravy!
- Whisk that fluid until incorporated and continue adding fluids (1/4 of a cup at a time) until you have velvety gravy. You'll think you've ruined it at some point but at long as you go slow and steady, always whisking, you'll do awesome. Make it a little more watery than you really want it to be because it will thicken. Add salt and pepper to taste. And really, DO taste it! You'll be glad you did.
- Let it stay on heat, whisking lazily but constantly, until the pre-simmer point. Which is medium bubbles starting to make their way to the surface.

Eats the precious and be in awe of yourself, because you are The Kitchen Master!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Return of the ...uh.... Blogger

Huh, almost a year since my last post. Ima call that a record and BE PROUD!
So, I'm coming back to this here blog, because the life changes have been SO big that I need an outlet and a way for my loved ones to keep up with us. Mostly my mom, who just moved 1851 miles away. That's ridiculously far, by the way.

I don't do good with recaps on my life so, you get a bullet list. I'm good at those.

- Moved back to our house.

- Started a visual effects company.

- Dustin's mom was diagnosed with cervical cancer, stage 3b, and begins treatment.

- Dustin left to work on Mickey Matson, in Michigan, for 5 weeks.

- I went to Fantastic Fest (BY MYSELF!!!) for 10 days in Austin.

- Mickey Matson took over our lives and we attempted to figure out how to be a family, run a business, homeschool and also have fun.

- Dustin and I went to LA for 10 days, for Mickey Matson stuff.

- Dustin's mom has more cancer and starts more intense treatments.

- I broke my toe.

- We all had birthdays. It was.....intense.....

- We took the kids on their first flight, to Michigan, for the premiere of Mickey Matson.

- My brother Nick got married.

-We got cats.

- My parents moved to Washington state.

- I've fallen in love with making movies.

Busy suddenly feels like an understatement!

Friday, July 15, 2011

I'm coming Home

I'm coming Home
Tell the world I'm coming Home

I've got this song rolling around in my head, today, for obvious reasons. It is making me really thinky (the smoke alarms went off twice) and I feel I the need to get it out of my brain. An explanation for me and for anyone who cares.

Our decision to leave our Home was probably the hardest we've ever made. And I am glad we did! Our time in San Antonio has been epic. And not like, "OMG this hot dog is EPIC!!" but like, for real. Off the chart experiences that will define our family, forever.

In the leaving of our Home we had to harden ourselves a bit. Detach from the dream that was. Release it and allow it for others. So we came to the point where our new dream was so huge, so EPIC, so incredible!!! that we didn't want to return. Because we feared the loss of this new dream.

But still, we left a lot.

And it was really hard. And a part of us was always remembering, always longing for Home.

But you know, we were betting on the probability not the possibility that we could have both dreams. And funny, we Solomons don't seem to live in the world of the impossible.

So here we are, two dreams smashing into each other with awesome power and speed. And a little trepidation. This is huge. Can we do TWO major dreams?

So, if you ask if I am so happy to be back and I seem unsure, now you know. When Dustin says he will miss the "culture" of San Antonio, he is saying he will miss the simplicity of just one dream (okay, AND the culture). And we might complain that the store is, once again, 25 minutes away and a Walmart.

But it doesn't matter.

Because I'm coming Home.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Examiner can Examine THIS!

So, while poking around on Monster, I found a "job opportunity" involving writing for a website. They had an opening for Girl Gamer. Ooooh, pretty! So, I applied, got accepted and wrote my first article on the always lovable ToonTown. The first one had to be approved and I waited with bated breath but shouldn't have worried. My reviewer sent an email straight away saying I was published, good job and get another one out there in a couple of days.


Article number two was destined to be a review on Rift, thanks to a freebie, weekend shindig was handing out. That game is, well, not my favorite. It is a great game but just so much like WoW that I don't really see the need on a personal level. I wrote the article, posted it and went about my day.

A few hours later I get an email telling me that my article isn't locally relevant. Um, yeah..... Games are really hard to make locally relevant since they are, you know NOT. This means I will be dropped as a contributer if I don't make my content local enough.

I don't really know how the heck this is supposed to happen. Maybe something like: "So, I was playing LoTR online in SAN ANTONIO TEXAS..." Does that count? Probably not.

Bah. I really was getting into the whole thing, too! Mostly I think I will just tell them I am heading out and why. It seems very silly for them to have a local examiner for something that is so very not local. Like, at all. Or at least for San Antonio. Maybe if I lived in LA and I could be all, "So I was hanging out at this rad Blizzard party...."

I DID look at other websites to see about writing for them. You know, real gaming sites. But none are hiring currently and I'm not sure I am nerdy enough for them. I AM SO INTIMIDATED RIGHT NOW!!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Rollin' with my Homie

This weekend, Dustin and I split up with the kids and had dates with them. This isn't unusual but definitely special! Dustin and Jesse were going to spend the night at Dustin's parents' house and then play golf Saturday morning. Jesse was getting to drive the golf cart. This meant that I needed to bring my A-game to my date with Brea. We were competing with a GOLF CART, people!

I think we do some fun dates but I try to keep them low key. Case in point:

This was our last date. Coffee lovers will recognize this drink. It would be the hot chocolate from Seattle's Best. They put a chocolate stick in the perfect cloud of whipped cream! My kids think this is just short of heaven.

But what I mean is, this is the sort of thing we do. We go out, talk to each other, eat foods or go to places the kids like. Usually they like awesome things like Seattle's Best or ice cream. But my Brea had been recently talking about going to a restaurant (Chuy's but I think only because that is the restaurant in our family) and being dressed up.

She was particularly looking forward to people seeing how pretty she looked and commenting on it. Not to her, mind you. She hates to be told she is cute. But she wanted to hear the people talk about how pretty she looks TO EACH OTHER.

I will give you a moment to allow this all to sink in. Took me about 2 days.

I'm no dummy. I took the massive hints and started my planning.

We went to a "fancy restaurant" called Crumpets. The reviews all glowed with the fanciness of the place. They serve pate, y'all! (not that we ate it, cuz liver is so not my thing)

Part of the date was the getting ready process, done Girl Style. We bathed, painted our nails, curled our hair, put on make-up and fancy dresses, all while listening to music that made us dance and not hold still even when our mother had a hot curling iron uncomfortably close to our skull. IT WAS FUN!!!

The restaurant met our expectations, in that: 1) Everyone thought Brea was pretty but were far too fancy to tell her so to her face, 2) The food was served all fancy like, 3) We had a very good time.

We ate artichoke hearts stuffed with goat cheese and topped with toasted almonds. We shared a lovely green salad, but the server also was ridiculously kind to Brea and brought her a huge fruit cup. It was beautiful and she was openly delighted. We shared trout almondine, veggies and garlic toasts. And for dessert, a lemon chiffon cake with loads of strawberries.

The best part was the talking. I know each family is unique and one of the things I have found very different about my kids is that they talk to me. ALL. THE. TIME. But very often, it is real conversation. Okay, sure, it can be a conversation about nail polish or why people don't ride horses anymore but I have definitely had more difficult conversations before. With adults.

We also drew pictures on a small, fancy pad of paper with glittery pens. And read poetry. So what if the poetry was Shel Silverstein, IT STILL RHYMES.

I think it must have been a roaring success because when she woke me up Saturday morning, she said, "Can we go to the fancy restaurant for breakfast?!"

To which I replied, "Sorry kid. Mommy only has one fancy dress and now they've seen it. We're going to have to find ourselves a new restaurant!"

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Winter Wonderland...?

I had a realization while in the shower this morning. Am I the only one who gets her best ideas and thoughts in the bathroom? I often say, 'Let me go to the bathroom and think about it." And I return after a time, with an answer.

ANYWAY. So I was thinking about how I am all flumpy lately. That would be a family term to describe the way I drag myself around the house without any true direction. I am uninterested in cooking. Even food itself doesn't hold the allure it usually does. Getting house work done is more than a chore and all I want to do is read, game and drink copious amounts of coffee that my husband says is too much and I should stop drinking so much therefore I am on coffee consumption restriction regime. Yeah, that is not the coffee talking BECAUSE I HAVEN'T HAD ANY TODAY!!

Okay, I'm really not unhappy with Dustin about the coffee thing. Truly, we were spending too much money on coffee and my espresso machine just isn't creating the kind of espresso I want to drink. So, here I am.

But the coffee isn't the point, since it was just a very wonderful and fulfilling distraction that brought me simple joy with its scent and flavor. What? Who are we talking about? AGAIN, not coffee. I am trying to talk about my winter blues. Because I think that is what they are.

I hate the cold. And I get cold really easily. Ask my sister-in-law who insists on pointing out EVERY TIME I AM COLD WHEN SHE IS NOT. The number of times this has happed is best described as often.

Okay, again off topic, sorry.

Yeah, I think Winter and I just don't get along. That happens sometimes, right? I mean, when Spring comes around I will be filled with the desire to make fantastic foods with the produce available. Summer brings water adventures and sweet tea. Fall is the best time for tromping around in the great outdoors. But Winter? All I get is holidays. And, for the record, the other seasons ALSO give holidays. Just sayin'.

So, I have this knowledge that I am one of THOSE people. The kind that pretty much just shuts down when it gets cold and the sun's rays weaken. How do I fix it? I mean, for now I will just wait the very few weeks until Spring comes dancing in. But for the future?

Blah. This is starting to feel like work. Forget it! I'm off to find some coffee and read my book.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Place I Am

This picture seems to capture the basics of what is going on in our neck of the, um, subdivision.

Since kids grow like weeds, they get a new wardrobe every season (lucky!). While shopping, we came across Jesse's hat. He was smitten at first glance and I was feeling impracticable (as later evidenced in my buying sparkly silver shoes for Brea). We also found some super cheap doggie sweaters for our pup, Trillian. Who is small enough to dress in sweaters, cuddle and move anywhere you want without her being able to exert an opinion. Yay! Fun AND easy!

And Brea? Well, she recently outgrew her car seat and now travels in a booster seat. The first thing she did for her inaugural drive was to watch the traffic out the back windows. She had never been able to see that far back while moving and found it fascinating.

I am amazed every day how grown up my kids are becoming. Jesse is mature, responsible, brilliant and dang funny. While Brea is ever the happy, non-stop ball of curiosity who cries during the sad parts of movies.

And I have lots of grey hairs. I don't know if they are related...