Saturday, April 26, 2014

Family Fun Night: Frozen (and a recipe!)

When our family went from "Just the Two of Us" to "And Then There Were Three", we decided we wanted to establish a family tradition, so we came up with "Family Fun Night", which happens almost every Friday night.

Sometimes we watch a movie. Sometimes we play a game or do an activity outdoors together. The point is, we're doing something together as a family. As we continue adding on to the family and the kids get older, we'll let them start taking turns choosing the family activity.

Granted, Ry Guy doesn't actually watch TV yet - he's too little. But, we include him in the dinner (and sometimes a portion for the activity) part of our fun night, then M and I continue the fun without him after he goes to bed. So, it's sort of Family Fun Night/Date Night. Ish.

Ry Guy {10 months old} out for a walk with the fam.

Anyway, we try to do something fun or different. We usually eat pizza (family favorite!!), but depending on the activity, we may make it a theme night where the meal or dessert somehow ties into the activity/movie.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Ry Guy Report: 10 Months

Weight  19 lbs

Length  27 inches

  • Teeth! (First tooth on March 16, quickly followed by two more)
  • Claps his hands
  • Understands "No"
  • Understands the sign for "Milk", although he doesn't sign back yet
  • Scoots forward and backward while sitting upright
  • Attempts to pull himself up, succeeds with a little help from Mom or Dad

  • Taking things out of containers
  • Blueberries!
  • Chewing
  • Music
  • Pictures, especially of himself or Mom & Dad
  • The feel of new grass on his hands

  • Lying still to have his diaper or clothes changed
  • Being spoon fed (he wants to do it himself!)
  • Teething (bottom center tooth and bicuspids coming next)
  • The feel of new grass on his feet
  • Nap transitions

The Quotable Ry Guy  "Mama" and "Dada" (although we're not completely sure he knows which word goes with which person yet)

Monday, April 7, 2014

Slow Cooker Chicken Chili Recipe

I made this awesome chili last week for a church supper. Yummy stuff!

While it's not exactly a "Fix It and Forget It" recipe, it's totally worth the little bit of effort during the final hour. And, it's great for those folks who don't like tomatoes (I know! Those people really do exist!)

This is a pretty frugal dish that feeds a crowd (16 servings!) on the cheap. Depending on whether you make the entire thing from scratch or take a more 'convenient' approach, it can cost as little as 55 cents a serving. See below.

Cost breakdown:
  • Homemade chicken stock - nigh unto free!
  • Storebought chicken stock - $5.38
  • 1 cans kidney beans - $4.38
  • 1/2 lb dry kidney beans - $.75
  • 1 (16 oz) jar tomatillo salsa - $3.59
  • 1 bunch scallions - $.69
  • 1 yellow onion - $.32
  • 1/2 bag tortilla chips (approx. 10 oz) - $1.50
  • 1/2 lb masa harina - $.33
  • spices - on hand
  • boneless, skinless chicken breast - $4.61
  • bone-in chicken breast w/ skin (I remove the skin and bones myself) - $3.88 (bonus - I save the skin and bones for chicken stock later)

Total cost --- $8.87 (using homemade chicken stock, dry beans, yellow onion, masa and bone in chicken breast) to $20.15 (using all storebought/canned/etc. items)

Total cost per serving --- $.55 to $1.25

This calculation does not take into account the cost for any optional toppings, such as sour cream, cheese, or additional tortilla chips. Those toppings up the yum factor, but also up the price. Your call! This chili is good either way.

Note, if you've never heard of masa harina, it's a corn flour used to make corn tortillas. You can usually find it in the ethnic foods section of the grocery store. I personally prefer the tortilla chip route because then I have a half bag of chips leftover to serve on the side. I'm pretty much IN LOVE with tortilla chips. Don't tell M.

16 servings a little much for you? 
Simply halve the recipe, then save the leftovers (tightly covered) in the fridge for up to a week. It reheats well and is great for lunches throughout the week. Or, you can portion it out and freeze in zip top freezer bags or jars. Just thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat when you're ready.

Chicken Chili
by Raye
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Keywords: slow-cooker chicken Southwest
Ingredients (16 servings)
  • 2 quarts (8 cups) chicken stock
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 (16 oz) jar green tomatillo salsa (sometimes called salsa verde or green salsa)
  • 2 cans (or 2-3 c.) red beans or kidney beans
  • small bunch scallions (or 1 medium yellow onion, diced)
  • 2 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 Tbsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 bag corn tortilla chips*
  • salt, to taste
  • Add chicken stock, chicken breast, beans, yellow onion (if using) and salsa to crockpot. Turn on low and leave it for about 7 hours.
  • After 7 or so hours, crush 1/2 bag of tortilla chips in a blender or food processor. Dip out 2 cups of hot chicken stock and pour it over the tortilla crumbs. Let the crumbs soak for 5 minutes, then process or blend to a smooth paste.
  • Remove chicken breast from crockpot to a cutting board. Whisk the tortilla chip paste into the broth mix in the crockpot so that can start thickening up while you continue with the next steps.
  • Shred the chicken breast on a cutting board. Add back into the crockpot, along with the garlic, cumin, poultry seasoning, oregano and chopped scallions (if using). Stir and cover. Allow to continue cooking (and thickening!) for another hour.
  • Serve warm with your choice of toppings. Refrigerate any leftovers for up to 5 days.
  • *Note, you can use 1 c. masa harina (corn tortilla mix) in place of the crushed tortilla chips, if desired. Just mix the 1 c. masa harina with the 2 c. hot chicken stock and proceed as mentioned above.
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