Day 3: Crock Pot Balsamic Chicken

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I knew today would be a bit hectic, plus I’m pretty lazy, so I wanted to find something that wasn’t labour intensive or that took up a lot of my time.
Enter my favourite kitchen item: The Slow Cooker. To be able to put all your ingredients in one pot and let it cook for hours without having to do anything? Amazing. It’s the next best thing to a personal chef – and I know I won’t be having one of those in my kitchen any time soon.

There are a TON of recipes for Slow Cooker (Crock Pot) meal ideas on Pinterest. I found a recipe for Balsamic Chicken that contained (mostly) ingredients I already had on hand. (I try to avoid a trip to the grocery store with a tyrannical toddler when I can)
It took very little prep and it sounded pretty good.

Balsamic Chicken Ingredients:

1 tsp. garlic powder (I like to be generous with anything garlicky)
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. dried minced onion (I didn’t have this so I just left it out) 
4 garlic cloves, minced (I don’t usually keep fresh cloves on hand. I hate taking time to prep them, so I get jars of already minced garlic. This one was almost empty, so I just dumped in the rest of it)
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts (I only had two breasts, I still used the same amount of ingredients)
Fresh parsley (I don’t keep any of this stuff on hand either, so I just went without)

Instructions:

1. Combine the garlic powder, basil, salt, pepper, onion in a small bowl and season chicken on both sides with the mixture (I just shook the spices right onto the chicken out of the jar, I didn’t exactly measure any of them, just kind of eyed it out.)

2. Pour olive oil on the bottom of the crock pot and add garlic (The oil I definitely measured because I didn’t want my chicken swimming in it. However the garlic I most definitely did not. The more garlic the better in my opinion!)

3. Place the chicken on top of the oil and garlic

4. Pour the balsamic vinegar over the chicken (Don’t do this step really fast while wearing a white shirt. The splash back shot up farther than I anticipated.)

5. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours (I flipped the chicken over after about 3 hours because the tops weren’t covered in the vinegar and I wanted to make sure it all got a chance to cook thoroughly.)

6. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve (Obviously I didn’t complete this step.  It’s really only for a visual anyways and I’m not trying to impress anyone.)

I ended up just cooking for myself tonight, so I didn’t bother making up a side dish. Too much extra effort and I’d end up tossing half of it anyways. (we always pack up leftovers with such good intentions, but they just end up sitting in the back of the fridge till I honestly can’t tell what they are anymore)

So, here’s my amazing dinner:

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Good thing I was only cooking for myself. I can’t say I particularly enjoyed the fruits of my labour. It was pretty dry, even after cooking in liquid for the past almost 5 hours.
I probably screwed something up because I didn’t adjust the ingredient amounts to match up with the fact that I only had 1/3 of the amount of chicken that the recipe called for, but I still don’t think I’ll be adding this to our dinner rotation.
It might be better sliced in a salad or with an actual side dish and not as just a chunk of chicken washed down by some cheap wine, but I could only eat a couple bites of it.

Just sent hubby a text to pick me up some McDonalds on his way home.

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Day 2: Salt Dough Ornament

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Since I did a recipe yesterday I thought I would switch domestic gears and attempt to find my crafty side. It is in here somewhere…
Again, I didn’t want to jump the gun and overestimate my abilities, so I decided to try the salt dough Santa’s that are plastered all over Pinterest this time of year. I also had about 4 different Facebook friends post their versions today, so I thought I’d follow suit.
How hard could it be?

I found one of the thousands of pins for this idea (here is the one I used) and thankfully I checked it out early in the morning because these things take like 3+ hours to bake.

Salt Dough Ingredients:

1/2 cup of salt
1/2 cup flour (I didn’t have white so I used whole wheat)
1/4 cup of water

That’s it! This is what I loved about this Pin. The less ingredients the better.

Baking Instructions:

(Before you begin, please make sure your kids are exactly where you want them. I had to wrestle mine into his highchair with dough covered hands because he wouldn’t stop touching the preheating oven)

1. Knead ingredients together till a dough forms

2. Roll the dough out into a handprint sized patty
(I don’t have a rolling pin – SHOCKER – so I just smushed it down until it was a decent size, I had to do this a couple times due to step 3)

3. Press your kids hand in the dough
(All my little dude wanted to do was grab and squish it. He wouldn’t let me get his handprint in it.  Eventually, after about 10 minutes, I managed to get a decent one.

4. With something sharp, cut around the imprint and leave a small border.
(I just used a steak knife for this you can make other little ornaments with the extra or just toss it out)

5. Make a small hole in the bottom so it can be hung
(I completely forgot this step. Blonde moment. I may try drilling a hole into it, but that seems like a lot of effort. So for now it’ll just lean up on the mantle)

6. Put it on a cookie sheet and bake for 3 hours at 200 F (or 90 C)
(I had it in for longer than 3 hours. Probably closer to 4. I thought I was being smart by spraying the cookie sheet with Pam even though the recipe didn’t call for it, all it did was make the bottom not cook properly and take longer. So don’t do that)

Painting Necessities:

White Paint
Red Paint
Black Marker
Brushes

Painting Instructions:

1. Once it’s cooled, paint the whole ornament white. Let dry

2. Paint the santa hat part red. Let Dry

3. Mix up some light pink paint and paint the face. Let Dry
(I added the “Let dry” because I was really impatient and my colours kind of bled together)

4. AFTER ALL THE PAINT IS DRY. Use the black marker fill in the features of the face, beard and hat.
(Again my impatience got the best of me and my outlining didn’t turn out as nice as it could have if I had waited.)

Anyways that’s it! Done and it only took me all day.

Here’s the original blog’s pic:
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And here’s my awesome version:

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This one didn’t give me too much trouble and it is cute in an ugly kind of way. To me anyways!

Day 2 down!

*****However, I would like to add a serious notation here to let everyone know that salt dough is extremely toxic to animals. The amount of salt in this recipe is enough to cause serious harm and could be fatal to an animal depending on the size of the animal and the amount ingested.*****

Want to know how I know this? Because I have a Hoover for a dog. Our female dog eats ANYTHING that lands on the floor around the high chair. Normally this is a good thing, we call the dogs our “Canine Cleanup Crew”. It saves me from having to get out the vacuum or the mop after mealtimes.
Well, I thought I’d be a good mom and give my son a “sensory experience” by giving him the trimmings to play with. The thought crossed my mind that – worst case scenario – he may end up eating a bit of it, but technically its edible and I’m sure he wouldn’t like the taste anyways. I kind of overlooked the fact that my child loves to throw things across the room once he’s done with them. (Including – but not limited to – food, sippy cups, toys, keys, cell phones, iPads and apparently salt dough)
Not a second after it was launched, she found it and scarfed it down. After about 3 mins she ran into the living room and proceeded to throw it all up on our dining room area rug. I then googled it and sure enough, this isn’t something you want your dog eating.

She’s fine though! Eating, drinking and acting like normal and the vet says she’ll be good.

It was a pretty fun day.

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Day 1: Buffalo Chicken Balls

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I had to start things off easy. No need to shock my system with some crazy out of reach idea (like a whole four course meal) that would only serve to frustrate me and make me end this little blog project before it officially begins.

So, I chose to recreate a fairly simple recipe I found for Buffalo Chicken Balls with Blue Cheese.
(Click here for the original recipe link)

I knew hubby would be on board for this one, he really enjoys anything with the words “Buffalo Chicken” in it and the Blue Cheese was an added bonus for him (I hate the stuff) and since our son has the same eating habits as daddy I knew this wasn’t going to go to waste.

Chicken Ball Ingredients:

1lb of ground chicken (you could substitute this with any kind of ground meat I’m sure)
Butter (original recipe called for 4 tablespoons but I just eyed this stuff out)
1/2 cup of Frank’s Red Hot
1 tsp salt
1 stalk celery (diced)
1 egg
2 cup bread crumbs (original recipe only called for one, but stay with me…)

I’m not posting the ingredients to the blue cheese dressing because I cheated and just bought some. Can’t pull everything off from scratch on the first post 😉

Instructions: (If you want to be precise follow the original link!)

1. DICE CELERY
(This wasn’t the first instruction on the link and even though it called for diced celery I forgot to pre-dice it – which ended up setting everything back about 10 mins. So for all those other ditzy domestic divas I thought I should add this step.)

2. In a small pot melt butter and hot sauce and whisk together. Once butter is melted set the pot aside and let cool.
(It was recommended to do this on low heat, however I put it on the stove, cranked it and then left it for 10 mins because I forgot to dice the damn celery)

3. Grease whatever you want to use to bake them in.
(I just now while writing this post realized that the original link called for a 9×13 pan. I missed that completely and used a baking sheet)

4. In a bowl, combine chicken, salt, celery, egg, 1 cup of bread crumbs and hot sauce mixture. (Put the other cup of bread crumbs in a separate bowl)
Mix with hands until combined.

5. Roll the mixture into small packed balls.
(I know there’s a joke in here somewhere but I’ll leave it alone.)

6. Coat the meat balls with remaining bread crumbs
(I added in this whole coating business! BAM! I wanted them to be a bit crunchy)

7. Place the balls evenly in rows in whatever baking dish you decided to use.
(My mixture made about 22 balls)

8. Bake until the meatballs are firm and cooked through.
(The recipe said to cook for 20 mins, but I ended up doing almost 40. After 25 mins I flipped them to try and get them to bake evenly. It’s really hard to tell if they are cooked through because the colour of the chicken gets thrown off by the Frank’s. I certainly hope they were cooked through….)

9. Let em cool and serve em up with your dipping sauce of choice.
(Hubs had the blue cheese and I had ranch)

We had them with french fries (which I ended up burning in the toaster oven because I was too busy blogging about every step that I forgot I was even cooking a side dish.)

So this is the appealing and appetizing picture from the original blog:
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And since I don’t have super awesome bright kitchen lighting, or cute dinnerware, or an amazing camera, or a knack for visual presentation – this is what our dinner looked like:

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On the bright side it tasted pretty damn good (minus the fries) and I finally somewhat successfully completed a pin!

A Pin a Day

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Like most stay at home mom’s I feel like I have to be a great cook, housekeeper and early childhood educator. That’s a lot of pressure. If I had to rely on my instinct – let’s face it, I’d be screwed.

Thankfully there’s Pinterest.

Pinterest has an uncanny ability to make you feel inadequate as you scroll through all the picture perfect images pinned from blogs written by stay at home Supermom’s, but it is a treasure trove of ideas and inspiration.
I’ve spent a lot of time pinning cute DIY ideas, awesome recipes, ideas for activities to do with toddlers, decor inspiration and everything else under the sun, but I haven’t spend much time actually DOING any of it.

After a lot of wine and pin perusing one night, I decided I’d start a blog.
Because I’m not a Supermom, and I suck at this domestic stuff I thought it’d be fun to document a regular mom trying to live up to the “Pinterest Perfect” life.

It won’t be perfect and I suspect I’ll miss a day or two, but starting tomorrow I’ll begin my “Pin a Day” foray into domestication.

Should be interesting.

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