The Bottom of the Barrel

Today is grocery day….yay! That may not seem like a big deal but it really is. You see, the fridge was pretty empty when it came time for lunch yesterday so I did what I could, with what I had….here is the result.

Easy Jalapeno Chicken Nachos:

(That title makes it sound waaaaay fancier than it actually is. What is really is, is scraping the bottom of the barrel, and just using whatever I had on hand. It is crazy easy, and you can mix and match ingredients….you do not have to follow this completely.)

1.) I figured out what I had on hand, I happened to have a jalapeno and half and onion. I thinly sliced the pepper, and diced the onion,

I just wanted to get a little color on the onions and peppers, so I tossed them in a saute pan with some butter, and cranked up the heat on the burner. 

Get them nice and caramelized, but be CAREFUL they don’t burn! There is a fine line between caramelized and burnt….do not cross that line! Caramelizing gives great flavor, burning does not!
2.) Earlier in the morning, mom boiled some chicken breasts so that we could use them up. I took a now cooled chicken breast and shredded it. 
3.) After I shredded it, I tossed it in the saute pan with the onion/pepper mixture, and added another tablespoon or so of butter. 
4.) While that was heating up, I melted shredded cheese over some tortilla chips (I’m telling you, this is the easiest recipe ever!). 
5) When the chicken was at the temperature that I wanted it, I simply piled it all on top of my chips……See, crazy easy!
Top it off with your favorite salsa, or hot sauce. A dollop of sour cream, and may some cilantro if you have it on hand, and you have the easiest Jalapeno Chicken nachos. 
This is one of those dishes where, all I did was use what I have on hand. If you don’t have sour cream, thin out some plain greek yogurt with a little squeeze of lemon or lime. No jalapeno? No problem! You could use any kind of bell pepper, or don’t use any at all if don’t want to! You can do what ever you want with this dish. Mix and match ingredients, play around with it until it’s what you like! Have fun with it. 
This recipe (if you can call it that) probably isn’t blog worthy, but what the heck, here it is anyway. I was thinking that if you wrap it all up into tortillas, you could do enchiladas with a salsa verde, or grill it up in quesadillas. Who knows, I’ll have to test it out soon!


7 Quick Takes: 7/26/13

Happy Friday! I spent my morning garage sale hopping. There are a lot of subdivision sales going on right now, so mom and I spent the day together looking for really good deals! I love days like this, where there is nothing really important happening so we can just do whatever, and go wherever……but then I remembered that it’s Friday, and I hadn’t done my Quick Takes yet, so here they are.


I finished the back side of my quilt this week! I’m so excited that I’m almost done with it! 
2.) I mentioned in my opening that we went garage sale-ing today, but we also went to a new thrift store that just opened up in town. I found a pair of Nike running shoes BRAND freaking NEW! Never worn, for only fifteen dollars…..fifteen…..15….ONE FIVE…..15. I can’t believe it…I am going to put them to the test tonight! 
3.) I finished another book on my summer list: The Cherry Cola Book Club by Ashton Lee. It was a really cute story, and an easy read. It’s about a library in a small town where the city council is thinking of closing the library. The town pulls together, they form a book club, and do everything they can to save the library. I might do a full review later on. 
4.) I love this time of year, because I love to can! We have done lots of jam, and lots and lots of pickles! We made dill pickles, bread and butter pickles, rhubarb jam, blueberry jam, raspberry jam, cherry jam…….We freeze all the jam, and can using the water bath method….no pressure cookers around here. 
I couldn’t think of anything for this one so here is a picture of the squares I used for the back of my quilt. I used up most of my scraps, but still have enough left to make a quilted tote bag. 
6.) I’m heading out now to mow the lawn. I love mowing the lawn! I listen to the Big Boo Podcast from Big Mama and Boo Mama. I do a lot of my best thinking when I’m outside mowing the lawn, honestly I look forward to it every week. 
7.) That’s enough rambling for me today. Make sure you stop over to Conversion Diary and check out all of the rest of the Quick Takes! 
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! 

Quilting Without a Pattern….

A metaphor for life perhaps? Maybe…..

So, I had this idea that I was going to make a quilt. I didn’t have a pattern, or any fabric at all….but I wanted to make a quilt. I went out and bought a couple yards of black fabric, lot of fat quarter bundles, and tons of remnants on sale. Still no pattern, and no plan in sight.

This is where Pinterest came in and basically saved the day. I found this pin….

….and I figured that I could do a quilt, following the same basic idea that my final product should resemble a bookshelf filled with books. Easy peasy right?!

Finally, after about two months of cutting, and sewing and repeating that process 50 million  thousand (Hey! Don’t judge, that’s what it felt like to me!) times, the top of this quilt is done!

Next I decided that I didn’t want a boring back. I was going to use a single piece of fabric, sized to fit the front then assemble it all and quilt it….well, no one ever accused me of not being ambitious so I started to cut into all of my scraps…..once again–no plan. No pattern.  
On a non-quilt related note: I learned a lot about my self during this whole project 1.) I would not be able to ever quilt by hand….EVER! I love, love, love my machine and I think I’ve taken it for granted….never again! 2.) My seam ripper is my very best friend. I made lots of mistakes while sewing the books, and that seam ripper got lots and lots of use. 3.) I do lots of things on a whim….with nothing but a general idea in my head, and I think I need to do that more often. I can kind of be uptight about stuff, but if I can learn to just go with the flow, and not over analyze or over think….I can be happy with the outcome! 4.) I’m my own worst critic…and I really have to get over that. People look at the top and tell me how great it is and all I can see are imperfections. I’m still learning how to stop being so critical of my self…..
Anyway, back to the quilt. I just started cutting……4 1/4 inch squares to be exact. Lots of them. Two days it took me to cut all the scraps into the right size…for what? That I still didn’t know. Then I organized them by color Roy G. Biv style….cause that’s how I roll! After a day of thinking about it I started laying them out, again on a whim, no real though behind it…..or so I thought. Here you have it, the back of my quilt all sewn and ready to be assembled! 
There is is, I can’t wait to start assembling the whole thing. I have my batting, and I’m all set to go! I just have to finish the embroidery on the bookshelf portion and that is almost done. Hopefully sometime next week I’ll start the quilting!
Good night all, 

7 Quick Takes: 7/19/13

Happy Friday friends! I hope you had a wonderful week thus far! I had a few days off this week and am heading into the office this morning, so I’m going to get to the takes… goes nothin’

1.) I finally did it! I finished my quilt top! It took a while, but the hard part is finally over….now I can focus on doing the back. For the back, I’ll be using up all of my leftover fabrics and doing a patchwork for the back….but the point is, the front is FINALLY. FINISHED!!

Here is some proof!

I still have to do some embroidery on a few books, add a few more quotes to the empty spaces, but other than that….DONE! I REALLY, Really, really hope that you can tell at a glance that it is supposed to be a bookshelf…………..? 
2.) I have really enjoyed having a few days off of work this week. Mom and I made jam, and pickles, and pies, and all kinds of other goodies! We have some wild black raspberries that grow in our yard, that we picked and made into about 4 pints of jam, and we still have lots more to pick!
3.) I have crossed a few books off of my summer reading list……but I’ve also added a few! I love finding great bargains, and if I can find bargain books, that is even better. On Monday I went up to Birch Run Outlets and was able to find a couple books for just a dollar each. So, while I’ve made progress on the reading list, the list grows each time I find a new book to read! Seems counter intuitive, but I like it that way! 
4.) Camp Meeting starts on Sunday, and it’s exactly what it sounds like. Church is held on our district campground. Our church Choir and Orchestra leads worship every year for the opening service of Camp Meeting, and this year is no different. We will be doing some of our best a biggest numbers from the year, along with lots of congregational worship songs. I love Camp Meeting, mostly because we don’t camp! We drive down for the services on the nights that we can, and that’s the way I like it. 
5.) Seriously though, this is a week that is pretty big in our denomination. Camp Meeting is like a week-long revival. We get amazing speakers, fabulous music, and you can really feel God at work during the services. We meet in a pole-barn turned tabernacle, in lawn chairs or folding chairs (pews if you want the front few rows.) and in true Nazarene fashion, there is usually something food related following a service. 
6.) Many will receive a call to ministry this week. Many will be saved this week. Many more will be Sanctified this week. In fact that is where I was sanctified. Saved in VBS as a child, Sanctified at Camp Meeting as a teen. God gave me all of Himself, as undeserving as I was…and years later I gave all of myself to God. Camp Meeting is life changing, and I expect this year to be no different. Please pray for us as we enter into this week, not just for me but for each and every person that steps foot on the campground this week, and in the weeks to come. God is doing big things! 
7.) I’m linking up at Conversion Diary, and on the off chance that Jen may read this, I’d like to say thank you! Thank you for hosting Quick Takes each week. I don’t even remember now how I found your blog, if it was through another blogger, or if I stumbled across it one day. I do remember the first time I added my link to Quick Takes though, and I was nervous as all get out, because number one, I’m not Catholic and that scared me. I don’t know what I thought, maybe I was afraid I’d be kicked out or something, I don’t know, that’s just me….I get nervous for no reason. Number two, I was afraid I’d never have anything to say, but I’m writing a couple times a week now, I’m actually keeping up this blog! That’s something I never thought would happen. Thank you for helping my find my voice! I have found so many wonderful blogs to read because of your weekly link-ups, and I’m not worried about that whole me-not-being-Catholic-thing, that’s the beauty of the body of Christ isn’t it?! So Jen, if you happen to read my little blog, THANK YOU! 
Have an awesome weekend everyone!



The Insomnia Strikes Back

I’m not going to lie….insomnia sucks! The last few nights, I’ve laid in bed staring at my ceiling unable to fall asleep….and on the rare occasion that I actually did fall asleep, I couldn’t stay asleep. I don’t know what is causing this, or why it is so sporadic when it does happen.

It’s the weirdest thing. I haven’t changed my eating habits, or introduced any new foods. My night-time routine is always the same. Normally I fall asleep to music, but not even that helps when insomnia strikes. I tried reading, watching re-runs of television shows on the iPad hoping and praying that something would put me to sleep. I tried completely clearing my mind, and not thinking about anything at all (which is nearly impossible for me.)

Finally, last night I was able to get a full eight hours of sleep, but that doesn’t happen very consistently. It gets really frustrating, because I have no idea what causes this, why it comes on the way it does.

Sorry for the random, rambling post….if anyone has any kind of advice for dealing with insomnia I’m open to it!



p.s. Please pray that I’m able to fall asleep tonight, and stay asleep! Thanks!

7 Quick Takes: 7/12/13

Thank God it’s Friday! I mean it too, this week has been C-R-A-Z-Y crazy! I normally write my QT posts on Thursday and publish on Friday. I also try to write something in between my QT posts so that’s not all I have, however, due to circumstances beyond my control (jury duty) my Thursday post didn’t make it, and neither did my early writing for QT’s. Anyway, enough about that. I’m here now, and ready to share some Quick Takes, so away we go! 

1.) I was checking back on some of my posts early this week just for fun, and I came across a QT post about spring training, and the start of the Baseball season. I realized that I hadn’t posted anything baseball related since, so…..if you are not a baseball fan you can either 1.) Skip this post entirely, 2.) Read on, (it won’t be ALL baseball I promise). or 3.) if you are a fan, I’d love to hear from you in the comments! Who’s your favorite team? What is your opinion on the Designated Hitter? Do you have a favorite Stadium to visit? Favorite ballpark food? 
2.) So, we are about a week out from the All-Star break….there is a lot going on right now in the world of Major League Baseball. One thing that really stands out to me is Miguel Cabrera (and not just because he plays for my Detroit Tigers, although that does help!). Coming into the All-Star break Cabby has 30 home runs, and 90 RBI. That may not seem significant, but he has done this for 9 of his 11 seasons playing big-league ball. He is making history in our ball club….these numbers would seem even more remarkable if not for Chris Davis of the Baltimore Oriels. 
3.) Chris Davis is leading Major League Baseball, not just the American League but ALL of baseball with 34 homers. Cabrera is closing the gap, but Davis is unstoppable! Baltimore is tow games out of first place in the American League East, Boston and Tampa are tied for first place. 
4.) My National League team is the Pittsburgh Pirates. I fell in love with the Pirates last summer when I visited the city, and was able to attend a few games! They are one game behind the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central, and my Tigers are FIRST PLACE in the AL Central! 
5.) So, enough about baseball…..for now anyway. I had to serve my first ever jury duty on Thursday. I didn’t actually get seated on a jury, but I did make it into the court room and had to sit through jury selection. I got all of the background on the case, and almost wish I had been selected to the jury. It was a much better experience than what I anticipated. 
6.) After serving my term of jury duty, a group of about 50 from our church headed up to Midland, MI to the Dow Diamond to watch the Great Lakes Loons baseball team. The Loons are a single A affiliate of the LA Dodgers. The game was scoreless going into the 5th inning when the Burlington Bees took off with a three run lead. The Loons tied it up in the ninth sending the game into extra inning. The Bees answered with a two run homer in the 10th, and the Loons were unable to make up the deficit. It may have been a loss, but it was still a really fun game. 
Mom and Dad, Uncle John and Aunt Ginger. (mom and dad are closest to the camera, Uncle John is in the Red’s Cap….my Pirates biggest rival, that made for interesting discussion on the way up!) 
7.) I was able to get a lot of reading done while I was waiting to co into the courtroom. I started reading Boo Mama’s (absolutely fabulous) book, A Little Salty to Cut The Sweet: Stories of Faith, Family, and 15 Pound of Bacon. I was immediately drawn in by the title, and I read many wonderful reviews of this book. Guys, I was literally laughing out loud! OUT. LOUD! While sitting in a room with about 50 other potential jurors. I probably looked like a fool, but holy cow is this book GOOD! Check it out, you won’t regret it. 
So there you go, 7 Quick takes! Go check out the rest over at Conversion Diary!

7 Quick Takes: 7/5/13

Happy Friday! Let me be honest, I hadn’t planned on posting Quick Takes today, because my week was so uneventful there wasn’t really anything worth posting. Well, that plan went down the drain and here I am…..let’s see what I can come with!

1.) Last Saturday my Grandma called me up and asked for my help. She decided to take two of the neighborhood kids, and her great niece to go see Monsters University. She wanted me help because the kids are pretty young, and well she isn’t! So I went with her and the kids, and let me tell you……that movie was AWESOME! I was pretty excited to see it….mostly because it’s Disney, and I love the first one SO.MUCH! I really loved this movie!

2.) I finished reading While We Were Watching Downton Abbey. It was a great book. I would recommend it, however the ending is a little……disappointing. The book focuses on the lives of four different people, and how their lives intersect, the troubles they have, and the friendships that develop. I feel like the author got to the end, and rushed to finish. Only one of the stories was really resolved, and even then it was pretty fast. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the book, but the ending really left me wanting more….which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just felt very rushed to me.

3.) I Finally started Code Name Verity. So far, I LOVE IT! Check out Janssen’s review of it here.

4.) I have two panels left to put on my quilt! I’m so excited, because this was part of my summer bucket list, and the fact that it is going up as fast as it is, and that I’m SO SO close to finishing is a really great feeling! 
5.) I just started listening to “The Big Boo Cast”. This is the podcast that Big Mama and Boo Mama. I listened to the most recent one, and I was hooked! I subscribed to their podcast, and downloaded every episode and I’m working my way through all of them! I love these two….they are so funny, faithful, and by the end I feel like I’m talking to two good friends! 
6.) I hope everyone had a great time celebrating the 4th of July! I know I did. We cooked out, ate great food, and spent time with great friends! What are your 4th of July traditions? Cook outs? Fireworks? Going to the beach?
7.) As always, I’m linking up with Jen….go visit her to see more (better) Quick Takes.