Slow Cooker Sunday!-Beef Barley Soup

Holiday season is over. Valentine’s is over. Football is over……Wake me up in April. Seriously, I’ve added enough insulation to get me through until then.  Wait!!!  Fat Tuesday is coming.  Let me add another layer of gumbo and hurricanes.  Then hibernation begins!!  If I could I totally would. I’m kidding of course. Sort of.

How was everyone’s Valentine’s day?  I spent the day with the kids. I made pink pancakes for breakfast.  The ol’ man went to a movie with a friend who lost his wife a few years ago. We’ll hit the movies next weekend, when they aren’t so crowded; and you know how I feel about restaurants on Valentine’s.  I made mini chicken and waffles for all of us.  Doesn’t that scream romance!  I made something without vegetables in it.  The kids think that’s love. Win for Mom!

Mini Chicken and waffles!  No real recipe here.  I mean, you totally could make homemade waffles, and bread the chicken yourself.  I make this when we are running from work to soccer to the grocery store, ‘Oh shit it’s 7:30pm already’ what am I going to make for dinner?  Eggo mini waffles, and chicken strips.  Bake the chicken strips according to the directions on the package, pop the mini waffles in the toaster. I cut the strips in half, make a little sandwich, spear with a tooth pick to hold them together, drizzle with maple syrup.



So parenting challenge #14,864?  The 16yo wants to read 50 Shades of Grey. Some of you are thinking, where’s the parenting challenge? The answer is no. She’s 16, are you out of your mind? The ol’ man did say no.  But I’m not entirely against it.  I know I’m not going to make a lot of friends with my opinion of 50 Shades, so I’m going to just touch on it a little. She has friends who have read it.  She reads books from the “romance” section already. I mean she is 16,  I’ve played Cards Against Humanity with her, so I know not a whole lot in the series is going to be shocking to her. Ok, so there may be a little shock. I’m impressed that she even asked at all.  Easily, she could have purchased it to her tablet, and we would never know.  She didn’t ask permission to smoke her first cigarette, or do shots of cake batter vodka. Proof that she’s unsure why it’s wrong. I’m not entirely sure I disagree with her. I lived that lifestyle for a few years before I met the ol’ man, who is very vanilla. So I feel like if she reads it, we know she’s reading it, when she has questions she can ask, and we {I} can answer them. Real answers. If she reads it behind our back, she will ask her friends questions and goodness knows what the hell they will answer with. Part of me feels like 50 Shades is romanticizing S&M; just like Pretty Woman did for prostitution.  The reality of the lifestyles just isn’t as black and white has Hollywood and fiction makes it out to be. Probably one of the best things about fiction. Bottom line, I told her if I got written permission from her mom that it’s alright for her to read them, then she can borrow the books. She can duke it out with her father.

On to things that will get me in less trouble! Slow Cooker Sunday!  Today, in our -25°F, snowy weather, nothing sounds better than Beef and Barley Soup!  Straight from Betty Crocker 🙂 The kids liked it, although 2 of the 3 thought there was too many vegetables, and not enough beef.  Damn carnivores!

Slow Cooker Beef and Barley Soup

  • 2 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 Medium onion, chopped (about 1/2 C)
  • 2 tsp finely chopped garlic
  • 2 lbs Beef boneless chuck, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/8 tsp Pepper
  • 2 Medium carrots, cut lengthwise in half, then cut into 1/4″ slices
  • 1 C Pearl barley, uncooked
  • 8 C Beef broth
  • 1.5 C frozen sweet peas
  • 1 C frozen corn
  1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Cook onion, garlic, beef, salt and pepper in oil until beef is brown, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Spoon beef mixture into 6-quart slow cooker.  Stir in carrots, barley and broth.
  3. Cover and cook on low heat for 8-9 hours.
  4. Increase heat to high. Stir in frozen peas and corn. Cover and cook 8-10 minutes or until peas and corn are hot.





Who’s ready for some football?!

Who am I kidding?  WHO’S READY FOR SPRING?!  I’ve had it with white knuckle driving.  Ok. Good night friends!

Alright, alright.  It’s not really good night.  Although I’m very tired.  Monday’s always suck for me at work. And on top of that, guess who was up late last night doing her book report?  Yeah.  My parenting skills at their best.  I talk the best parenting game.  But the bottom line?  I suck.  I didn’t do any of it for her, like she wanted. But I did let her stay up to finish it, even though I had many many threats of “bed at 9”.  She didn’t like the feeling of being unprepared. I think the next time, there won’t be so much procrastination.  A parent can hope.

Football!!!  Every year Autumn and I have a Superbowl party.  It’s usually just us. And it’s fun 🙂  We’ve been trying various recipes over the past few weeks, just to change up our party menu. We seriously make enough food to eat leftovers for a week.  I’m not entirely convinced that there will even be a Super Bowl this year, but we are going to party like there will be.  And our decorative balls will be inflated!

If you have read any of my previous posts, you know how I feel about meatballs, Oreo balls, cookie balls etc. When I saw these Chicken Parmesan Meatballs from Rachel Ray, it was game on.  I knew this would be on the menu. Next time I make them, I may try baking them.  The kids LOVED these. Let’s focus on what’s important.. I loved them!! Feeding a real crowd?  Like more than just 2 people?  Double the recipe!

Chicken Parm Meatballs

  • 1lb Ground Chicken
  • 1/2 C Grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 C Panko
  • 2 Tbsp Italian Seasoning
  • 1 Egg
  • 16 cubes Mozzarella
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 C jarred arrabiatta sauce, warmed (I used regular spaghetti sauce)
  1. In a bowl, mix chicken, Parmesan, panko, Italian seasoning and egg.
  2. Gently form meat around cheese into 1.5-inch balls.
  3. In a nonstick skillet, cook in olive oil over medium-high heat, turning. About 8 minutes.
  4. Serve with sauce.


A Little Something New….

During my “laid up” period, (currently ongoing since I have no clue how to slow down), I’ve had a moment or two to browse through other blogs, check out their face book pages etc.  Last week I changed the look of my blog, was accepted into the Top Mommy’s Blog network (feel free to click on the link on my main page to give me a vote!!), and was thinking about themes.  So, heads up my friends! I’m going to be making changes to A Little of This and That! Small ones, but ones that I hoping will increase readers and maybe get some affiliate links.  Yeah, still trying to figure all that out. changes. First and foremost, I should explain I do NOT do well with change. It took a lot of effort to change the look of it last week. So much indecision! I hope you like the final product!! Back to my point. I thought I would do Slow-Cooker Sundays, and “It’s 5 O’clock Somewhere” Thursdays.  OOOOOO and a Scrapbook page.  The Scrapbook page would just have pictures posted to it, for ideas.  Scrapbooking is personal, so to give instructions like a recipe is not where I want to head with that. Place a strip of paper 3/4″ of the edge of the 12×12..tooooo much

Mommy moment of the week?  Explaining how lesbians get pregnant to a 10 year old. Not a great achievement  in my mommy career; as I used the words “baby making stuff” to describe sperm.  Luckily for me, she is not as versed in the whole “how baby’s are made” as I was at her age.  I mean, I think she has a clue, but no specifics.  So when it came to how did Kimmy get pregnant? It was a little difficult.  In the end?  She looked at me funny and she didn’t care about the words out of my mouth, she’s just so excited for the baby to be here!

Slow-cooker Sunday’s you say?  We start today!  I’m playing it out to see how it goes. This recipe is from Betty Crocker.  I did make a change or two, just to lighten it up a little.  It was delicious, even with the bacon!  I don’t like bacon, so the next time I make it, I’m going to try it without it.  Kid-approved, ol’ man approved.  Definitely worth a try!!

Slow-Cooker Ranch Chicken and Pasta

  • 1lb Chicken breasts
  • 6 Slices bacon, cooked and diced
  • 2-3 Cloves of Garlic (admittedly, I used like 5 cloves, but they were small!!)
  • 1 pkg Ranch dressing and seasoning mix
  • 1 Can Condensed cream of chicken soup, 10.75 oz (I used Campbell’s Healthy Request)
  • 1 Cup Sour Cream ( I used plain Greek yogurt)
  • 1/2 tsp Pepper
  • 1/2 C Water
  • 8 oz Spaghetti
  1. Spray 4-quart slow cooker with cooking spray; place chicken breasts in cooker.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix remaining ingredients except spaghetti. Pour over the top of chicken.
  3. Cover and cook on Low heat 6 hours or on High heat for 3-4 hours.
  4. When about 15 minutes are left, cook and drain spaghetti as stated on package.
  5. Just before serving, shred chicken with 2 forks, and toss creamy chicken mixture with cooked pasta.


Alfredo, Anacondas and such.

It’s official.  The 2014  Halloween season has arrived.  I’m fully aware that the candy displays have been up since July, but It’s a Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown was on this evening, and that makes everything official.  Officially, “one holiday into another until I can’t fit into my winter pants anymore” official. Must. Join. The. Gym. On that note, I have a few little Halloween treats to share over the upcoming weeks!  I can’t wait 🙂

Disturbing/heart stopping moment of the week?  Over hearing my 9 yo singing, “my anaconda don’t, my anaconda don’t want none unless you got buns hun”.  WTF?  I’M NOT READY FOR THAT  YET.  I could only muster a “Autumn Victoria, that song is NOT appropriate for you.”  Where did she hear this you ask?  The bus.  The bus.  Are you kidding me?  I’m going to start homeschooling.  Wait!  I can’t home school, for two reasons.  One, I’m not ever at home.  Two, I can’t play the French horn.

I’m getting straight to the Chicken Alfredo recipe.  I’m tired.  And I don’t have much to say really.  HAHAHAHA!!   Ok, I’m just tired.  So, I had leftover rotisserie chicken. And I was tight for time.  This was perfect.  Not the homemade recipe that I like to make, but is a fantastic substitute on busy  nights. And again, I can’t express enough, like most of the recipes posted; these can be altered to your taste.  If you don’t like white pepper, by all means, don’t add it!  Like more cheese?  Throw it on in there!  It’s not going to hurt!  I like peas in there too, but didn’t do it this time.  Just a lil something to think about!

Throw Together Chicken Alfredo

  • 1lb                    Pasta, cooked and drained
  • 2 jars               Alfredo Sauce (I like the garlic and the 4 cheese, but whatever Alfredo floats your boat!)
  • 1/4 tsp            White pepper
  • 1/4 tsp            Garlic powder
  • Dash               Regular black pepper
  • Chicken         As much or as little as you like
  • Sprinkle        Shredded Parmesan Cheese
  1. In a large sauce pan, throw the first 6 ingredients together, and heat through.  Make sure to taste along the way to see if you want to add any more pepper, or garlic powder etc.  You will know when it’s good when you’re  like “damn that’s good”.
  2. Serve and sprinkle with a “little” Parmesan cheese.  Your version of little and mine are probably a little different. We love love love cheese in this house.






Gah! The weekend is over already!

Where did it go?  It seems like yesterday was Friday. Seriously, I need more time off of work.  Unlike the shenanigans of last weekend, this one was relatively uneventful. What happened last weekend you ask?  Good times with some great family.  Oh and a speeding ticket.  And not for me :).  NOT MY FAULT!!  Well, sort of my fault.  When the ol’ man rolled the the window, and the first thing the trooper asks “Who has been drinking?”….you know it was a good time!  FOR THE RECORD: THE DRIVER OF THE VEHICLE HAD NOT BEEN DRINKING!! Not my fault he was speeding.

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The Piccata of Chicken (or Chicken Piccata for real)

It’s been a nutty week and it’s only Wednesday! Not surprisingly, the ol’ man gave me the “sniffles”.  The kids have mid-terms this week, so everyone is grumpy.  It doesn’t help all of our brains are on the frosty side since the temperatures can seem to even get to zero.  I’m pretty sure I would’ve been dead without coffee. But hey, on the bright side, the sun was out today!

This past weekend, along with the previously posted, seriously delicious applesauce, I also made Chicken Piccata. I’ve never made it before, but I have had it in a restaurant. It was pretty close.  Enjoy!

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, pounded down to about 1/2 inch thickness  (I placed the chicken between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and used the side of a mallet, pretended the chicken was the face of  my ex.) It makes the chicken thin but mother big.
  • 1/3 C       All purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp   White pepper
  • Dash of salt
  • 2tsp        Olive Oil
  • 1/2 C      Chicken broth
  • 1 med     Onion, sliced, separated into rings
  • 1Tbs       Dried parsley flakes
  • 1/4C       Capers
  • 1/4C       Fresh lemon juice
  • Lemon slices, if you want to make it fancy

1. In a small bag, combine flour, pepper and salt; mix it up. Place one chicken breast into the flour bag, shake until completely coated. Repeat x5.

2. Heat 1 teaspoon of the olive oil in a large skillet. Cook 1/2 of the chicken breast halves (you know, 3 chickens) until brown on both sides and no longer pink in the center. Remove from skillet; cover to keep warm. Repeat with the rest of the chicken.

3. When chicken is finished cooking, and is chilling off the side keeping warm, add broth to the skillet. Bring to a boil, add onions. Cook about 8 minutes until liquid evaporates, stirring occasionally. Add parsley, capers, lemon juice and chicken. Cook until thoroughly heated.  Garnish with lemon slices, ya know, if you want to be fancy. We aren’t fancy.

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