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26 December 2015

Poor Man's Stew

I hope you all are having a wonderful holiday break. The hubby and I have been thoroughly enjoying our Christmas stay-cation. Do not get me wrong, it's always wonderful to be around family this time of year. But sometimes there is something so gratifying about staying put and having a cozy Christmas with your hubby and fur baby. I've realized having a Christmas stay-cation has other perks: 
  1. Instead of hemorrhaging money you end up saving money, or at least spending all the money on things for you! :) 
  2. Instead of stressing over what presents to put under the tree and what to stuff the stockings with ... you get to sleep in and binge watch Netflix and Hulu (fyi: Hulu now has a commercial free option #winning) 
  3. And best of all ... all those Christmas goodies that you make to share, you now get to eat all of it
I would love to say that I get to be lazy and do that ever glorious NOTHING this entire break, but sadly, I have postdoctoral applications to submit. I'll explain since this is a complicated field. After completing 5 years at my doctoral program, I had to apply and match to an internship. After I finish this internship in June, I am officially a "doctor." Although I would like to become a professor, to increase my "marketability," I want to get my license. Which means, postdoctoral supervised hours. Yes ... that basically means more school ... or shall I say "training." Translation: more applications. I would love to stay where I am. I am super happy here. Happier than I've ever been at any other place. But if I cannot stay here, I have decided to only apply in California. It may just be time to go home #homesweethome. I'll find out in Febuary/March.

To welcome winter and accept this cooler weather, I wanted to share this delicious and easy to make crockpot stew recipe. A stew to dump into the Crockpot while your at work and to enjoy while wearing fuzzy toe socks, cuddled up on the couch under a soft throw all while binging on TV. This stew does thicken if refrigerated overnight (and with just the hubby and I, this recipe fed us for days). I like thick stews, so I was fine with it. For the hubby, I thinned it out with some broth. So feel free to do what works best for you :) 

Adapted slightly from The Magical Slow Cooker 


1 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. minced garlic
1 onion diced (1 c. frozen diced onion)
1 lb ground meat (I use ground turkey)
6 oz. can of tomato paste
2.5 c. vegetable broth or chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste
1.5 - 2 lbs diced red potatoes 
2 c. baby carrots (cut in half)


In a large wok or skillet heat oil over medium heat. Saute garlic and onion until fragrant and onions are translucent. Add in ground meat and cook till browned. While ground meat is cooking, in a medium bowl whisk together tomato paste, broth, salt and pepper. Combine ground meat, potatoes, carrots and sauce in Crockpot. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. 

Note: If you would like a more "soupy" texture, add in more broth. 


20 December 2015

White Chocolate Chip Cranberry Pudding Cookies

The hubby and I have been dreading winter since we drove our little Penske truck up here. And now ... winter is here. Thankfully, I have to say that this winter has been pretty darn kind to us. Both the hubby and I have been told several times that the winter season has been unusually warm this year. Apparently by this time of year, there has already been a little snow and the temperature is close, if not already, freezing. Last week, we were in the 60s :) -- insert happy dance -- Though, the hubby and I are prepared. We went winter coat shopping, and the cutest corniest part ... we got matching jackets. Ok ... pause ... by no means did I mean to get matching jackets. Each of us wanted the warmest jacket we could find. And it happened to be the same jacket, from the same brand but tailored to each gender. Twinning!

I have really loved moving to Rhode Island, more than I even thought I could. I love the city vibe without the big city feel. I love our little home. I love where I work and the people I work with. I definitely am enjoying living in Rhode Island more than Texas. BUT, although it is not freezing, it is cold here. And it is these cold times, when I really miss Texas. Don't get me wrong, Texas holds a very special place in my heart since that is where I met, fell in love with and got engaged to the hubby. It's also where I got Ninja face! So, when my Texas friends tell me about the wonderful weather they are still experiencing, that oh so lovely 70 degrees in December ... I start thinking more about sweet ol' Tejas. And so for some Texas throw back, I share with you some photos the hubby and I took of our last few days at Texas A&M. Whoop! 

In keeping with Christmas ... and the sweet train ... because you know me and my sweet tooth. I wanted to share this cookie recipe I made for the hubby. I was scrolling through Pinterest, which now has "recommended for you" on the main feed, and I saw these cookies. I immediately thought of the hubby for a two reasons. 1. It is a recipe that doesn't have "chocolate" -- I am not a person who thinks white chocolate is "chocolate." The hubby always tells me, I keep making desserts with chocolate and should try something different. 2. The recipe included cranberries, which the hubby loves. I decided to go out of my "box" because I knew the hubby was going to love it. And he sure did. Surprisingly, I did too. This cookie was originally not a pudding cookie, but we also know my deep love for pudding cookies

 Inspired by The Domestic Rebel


Preheat over to 350F Degrees
Makes about 4 dozen cookies

2 1/2 c. all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 (3.4-3.56 oz) box of vanilla pudding
1 1/2 stick of butter, softened
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 c. brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. honey
3/4 c. white chocolate chips (+ 1/4 c. for sprinkling on top)
3/4 c. dried cranberries (+ 1/4 c. for sprinkling on top)


In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and vanilla pudding- set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with paddle attachment, cream together (on medium speed) butter and both sugars until fluffy (about 5 minutes). Then add eggs, one at time, vanilla and honey. Scrape down sides. Then reduce to low speed and add flour mixture (dry ingredients). Combine until just incorporated. Finally add white chocolate chips and dried cranberries.

Line baking sheet with baking mat, aluminum foil, parchment or wax paper. Scoop out 1 inch, large cookie dough balls onto sheet (roll between the palm of your hands for a nice round shape). Press a few extra chips and cranberries on to top of cookie dough balls. Pressing down slightly to flatten. Space the cookies 2 inches apart and bake for 8-10 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack. Store in air tight container.


19 December 2015

12 Days of Christmas Desserts

::queue music:: "Christmas time is here". I meant to post this close to a week ago, but in true style, I am late. ::insert guilty face: #wherearetheemojis :) After all the moving and traveling this summer and the busy first 6 months of internship ... The hubby and I wanted to stay put, and spend the holidays just the the three of us (can't forget Ninja!).

We have a little less than one week before Christmas. And I know many of us are searching high and low on Pinterest (because really where else would we look) for holiday inspired recipes. Hopefully I did not miss too many holiday parties ... but for sure, I did not miss the big day. Here are some Christmas-Holiday inspired desserts that you may want to make for you and your family to enjoy! Trust me, these are definitely worth making.

1. Chocolate-Gingerbread Twix Brownies

2. Cinnamon Pecan Pudding Cookies

3. Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Bites  

4. Gingerbread M&M Pudding Cookies

5. Hot Chocolate 3 Muskateer Fudge Brownies

6. Mint M&M Cake Mix Bars

7. Mint Oreo Brookies

8. Mint Truffle Crinkle Blossoms

9. Mint Oreo Crunch Cookies

10. Peppermint Cake Balls

11. Red Velvet Peppermint Thumbprint Cookies

12. Snickers Brownie Bombs

13. (I just made these ... lets consider this a baker's dozen ;): White Chocolate Chip Cranberry Pudding Cookies  

Happy Holidays Y'all,