Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Gimme back my purse!!!!!!!

Yesterday afternoon found me scrounging around our fridge looking for something to make for supper.  I had three big peppers that needed to be used so I decided on stuffed peppers, one of my favorites as a kid.  However if you look up recipes on the internet for stuffed peppers it usually calls for the same things.

Beef, rice, tomato paste, ketchup, cheese. 


I decided to make up my own version of this dinner with what I had on hand and sounded good to my family's taste.

Crystal's Stuffed Peppers

  • 3 peppers (although I probably could have used 4)
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 c cooked rice
  • 1 leek diced and washed thoroughly
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 carrot grated
  • 2 ribs celery diced
  • 1 14oz can diced tomatoes (I used the basil oregeno garlic flavored one)
  • 12 oz Spaghetti Sauce (this will be about 1/2 a regular sized jar)
  • Italian seasoning and pepper to taste 

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350
  2. Cut peppers in half length way.  Clean all the seeds and ribs out of the peppers.  Lay flat in a baking dish.
  3. Brown ground beef.  Drain excess fat and set aside in a mixing bowl.
  4. Saute the chopped leeks for about 4 minutes in a little bit of oil, (I use olive oil.)  Add the garlic and saute for about 3 minutes more.  Add to the ground beef.
  5. Add rice, carrots, celery, sauce and can of tomatoes (juice included) into the beef/onion mix and stir until mixed thoroughly.
  6. Add Italian seasoning and pepper to taste.  I probably added around a tablespoon of the Italian seasoning.  (If I am making up a recipe I will usually just add a little and them smell.  If it smells good it will taste good.) 
  7. Take your mixture and stuff the peppers well.  If you push it down inside the peppers and use a tablespoon you will be able to have a nice round mound on top of each pepper and no mix leftover.
  8. Bake, uncovered, for around 45 minutes.

If you like your peppers softer you can leave them in the oven for an hour.  My family likes to have them still a bit crisp!

This morning the kids have baffled me.  They keep fighting over this purse.  I have no idea why it is such prime real estate in play land today, but man oh man, they have been going at it.  (The purse is now in hiding.)

I hope everybody is enjoying this beautiful bleary Tuesday morning!  It is perfect Radiohead  and coffee weather!

Sunday, September 25, 2011


I usually try and keep this blog as family friendly as possible. So if certain language offends you just stop reading now.

We live in the "safest" neighborhood in Chicago, so why is it we were robbed for the third time in 5 months last night?

To the person who stole my Misters bike a back in April. You robbed us of one of our favorite pastimes and many nights trekking around the city together. However, it was our fault for not knowing where the lock was and chancing it for one night.

To the person who stole my awesome ashtray. I understand. It was really fucking awesome and perhaps you couldn't help yourself. I bet if you stayed the fuck off my deck it would help with your little kleptomania problem.

To the piece of shit asshole who came into my home last night while my family was sleeping.  FUCK YOU.   What the FUCK are you going to do with a CHILDS electric guitar?  Are you going to feel manly and cool and brag about it to your stupid piece of shit friends while you sit and play a CHILDS GUITAR???????

I would also like to thank you for stealing BOTH of my ipods.  Really, I obviously hate listening to music so taking them out of my life is really going to make my days go by so much quicker/better. 

Finally, thank you also for stealing my cheap laptop.  YOU FUCKING ASSHOLE.  It holds no value except for the years worth of family photos on it that mean nothing to you, I'm sure they are already erased and forever gone.  I hope you go straight to fucking hell.  But while I still have to coexist with you in this life do me a favor and  STAY THE FUCK AWAY FROM MY HOUSE.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


I'm not sure what shows more class, my roots.......

Or my familys eating habits.......

Friday, September 23, 2011

Moonshine, On My Shoulders....

I started wedding planning on Wednesday.  

I have found the venue, taken care of food and bar, hired a photographer and a dj.  

I have also gone through 3/4 of the budget.  

Fellow married folks out there, is this a normal place to be?  I have NO idea, (seeing as this is my first time.)  Should I reconfigure and find cheaper alternatives?

As I said earlier, My little sister and her boyfriend came to visit us last weekend.  I am so happy they are able to get away and come up to see me even if it is just once a year.  It seems like they are always working!

Her boyfriend is a farmer and so it is not easy for them to get away.  This year when she came she brought me a pumpkin cheesecake, a bottle of apple pie moonshine and a 5 gallon bucket of potatoes from her garden.  Woo-hoo!!!!

We decided to take a walk to the zoo which, of course, had to start with a carousel ride!!

After our ride (which made the Mister and I a bit nauseous) we headed into the monkey house.  Rhiannon walked up to the glass of one of the cages.  The monkey in this cage did NOT like her at all!  He jumped at her with his mouth wide open, baring all of his fangs.  It scared the crap out of all of us.  Then he sat there staring at her while sucking his thumb.  I guess she startled him.  I can't say

I don't blame him for being salty.  If I were stuck in a cage I would be pretty pissed off too. 

We ended our outdoor excursion by walking down to the beach.  We took turns skipping rock, (or just throwing them and collecting them if you were under the age of 12.)

 That night we had Italian Beef for dinner.  It really is the easiest thing in the world to make and it feeds a crowd!

Italian Beef

  • Large piece of roast 4-5 lbs (The only meat I have failed this recipe with is brisket.  Since it is in the cooker for hours you can use a cheap, tougher piece of meat and it will still turn out delicious.)
  • One can of beef broth (Beef broth in a can really grosses me out.  Instead I use half of a carton of beef broth.)
  • One packet of Italian seasoning
  •   One bottle of giordano peppers (This is crucial.  Only get the peppers that are packed in water NOT OIL!!!!!  I made this mistake once.  It resulted in a crock pot full of inedible beef.  If all you can find is the kind packed in oil rinse them off well.  In the pickle aisle you will be able to find lots of peppers and veges packed in water.)

This is the kind I buy

  1. The night before (or in the early morning) put everything in your crockpot.
  2. Turn it on low.  I always throw this together the night before whether it is for a game day lunch or dinner the next night.  It is always good and always goes fast.  If you want to cut down on sodium, only put in half a packet of the italian seasoning and/or the beef broth.  If you cut out the broth make sure you add extra water!

The apple pie moonshine my sister made was gone before the weekend was over.  It was SOOOOOO good!!!  She was sweet enough to share the recipe with me.

Rebekah's Apple Pie Moonshine

  • One gallon Apple Cider
  • 1/2 gallon apple juice
  • 7 cinnamon sticks (make sure you get a good brand otherwise they wont have any flavor)
  • 1 L everclear
  1. In a large pot bring the cider, juice and cinnamon sticks to almost a boil. 
  2. Shut off heat and let cool.
  3. Remove cinnamon sticks and add everclear.
  4. Chill and enjoy!!
Since I am leaving you with a homemade "moonshine" recipe today I feel it is only appropriate to also leave you with this picture........

Here I am (four months pregnant) in the Appalachian mountains.

Happy Friday to you all!


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Lovers Paradise

We had a fabulous weekend.  In fact, it was so good I had to spend ALL DAY yesterday cleaning up after our fun.

Would you like to know what oyster eating, rock skipping and a vat of moonshine all have in common?  You will find out tomorrow!

Today I am looking into where we should spend our honeymoon and I have a question for anyone who has ever traveled.

Where did you/would you want to travel for a honeymoon/romantic getaway/kick ass vacation for two?  

We aren't even sure where we would like to go yet.  (We have already been to Hawaii so I think that one is out.)  Trying to find advice on the internet is like throwing a dart at the map.  Any and every opinion is welcomed and appreciated!!!!  If you feel more comfortable sending your response via email you can do that here  

I hope everyone is having a wonderful week!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Cute Cuddly Unicorns

This just in!!!!  And Right in time for the upcoming season..........

In other news, you will never hear me complain about cleaning the kitchen again!  Having my dishwasher back has made me one happy lady!!!!!!!!

(It really is the small things, folks.)

Happy Weekend To You!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Smokin' banana peels sound like this

Why Today Is Bad

  • Fell asleep on the couch and didn't plug my phone in==Rhiannon was late to school
  • Have to look at the beautiful fall day while waiting inside for a repair man to come

Why Today Is Good

  • After a week and a half of doing dishes by hand the machine is finally getting fixed.  (fingers crossed)
  • It is almost Friday which means in a few short days my house will be filled with wonderful friends and family for the weekend!

One of those amazing people that are coming is this girl above.  Her name is Amanda.  She is not only an amazing friend, she is also a nurse, sister, aunt and dog lover.  She is by far my favorite person on earth.  

Once upon a time, 16 years ago, I walked into my brand new, stupid, didn't want to go to it, everyone was going to be mean, i don't need any new friends junior high.  I was hell bent on not smiling or talking to anyone.

Out of NOWHERE I was ambushed by this RIDICULOUSLY bubbly, fun and happy girl.  I remember it clearly, (you know, like it was yesterday instead of almost TWO DECADES AGE....) 

"Oh my god!!!  I LOVE your shoes!!!  Wow that's such a COOL shirt!!!  Are you new???  Come on!!!  We HAVE to be friends!!!"  

She then grabbed my arm and introduced me to about 75 more people.  

I really had no choice but to become friends with her.  

Since that day she has proven to be the truest friend any girl could ever ask for.  11 years ago, she was the only person who remained by my side and was my total rock throughout my pregnancy with my oldest daughter Rhiannon.  Throughout the years we have always proven to be there for each other and we have also lived with each other more times then I can even remember.  

She is beautiful inside and out.  I'm proud to call her my best friend and I am beyond excited to see her again.  

(That last picture had to be extra large because it is just that awesome.)

Sometime over the years I managed to acquire her amazing Banana Bread recipe.  It is the easiest, tastiest and my favorite of breads to make, ever.  I will share it with you now.  

Amanda's Banana Bread

  • 1 1/2 C Flour
  • 1 C Sugar
  • 1 tsp Baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 C ripe Banana's (about 2 bananas)
  • 1/2 C Butter
  • 1/2 C Milk
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Blend all ingredients for two minutes
  3. Bake in greased loaf pan for one hour.  

This recipe is SO easy it only takes a total of 5 minutes of work time out of your day.  It usually disappears in  the same day its made in my house.  For about seven years I was a pretty strict vegetarian.  I was able to easily convert this recipe to vegan bread.  To do that I Flax seed for the egg (1 tbsp of ground flax seed and 3 tbsp of water=1 egg), subbed applesauce for the butter (4-3 ratio) and used soy milk.  Rhiannon couldn't taste the difference!  

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Its Good To Be Loved

I was having a really rough and sleep deprived day yesterday.  So before the Mister came home he decided to help feed my biggest addiction and he went and surprised me with this delicious beauty......

He also picked up something easy for our dinner.  He was going to pick up pizza but didn't (because of the dairy allergies) and instead brought home lasagna.  

Oh, sweet and loving Mister you have so much to learn.  First one being:  

Lasagna is an Italian dish that consists of layers of noodles, tomato sauce and CHEESE. 

 I love you sweet Mister.

In other news.,.,.,.,.,.,.,Rhiannon has her first volleyball practice tonight because SHE MADE THE TEAM!!!


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Goosie Goosie Gander, Where Shall I wander......

Every Monday and Tuesday Clara and Sean share their days together.  They look something like this.....

Art Time and bubbles on the walk... 

Stroller rides around the house..........

Watching movies and eating snacks.........

Sometimes sharing the same seat.....

Wagon rides around the hood......

Lunch time gab fests......

That continue on the floor......

Teeter-tottering together.....

& Learning to share their favorite toys.......

We hope you feel better soon Natalie and Sean!  Clara misses her little love bug today!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Da Bears

We had a weekend full of Art Festivals, Rummage sale going, bears watching and of course, delicious food eating.

The Lakeview Art Festival is by far my favorite one in the city.

Pluses of this year's festival

  • No rain!  This year the festival was blessed with the good fortune of beautiful perfect festival going weather.  It was breeze with only a few clouds in the sky and perfect shorts and a t shirt weather.
  • Lots of good new artists.  After going to festivals for a few years, you find that a lot of the same people come back year after year with the EXACT SAME ARTWORK!!!!!  Boooooring!  This year I was pleased to find a lot of new artists there.
  • The mimosa were a flowing and they were not only delicious they were needed and welcomed (by me!)
  • A ton of really good bluesy bands played while we were there.

Negatives of this years festival

  • They charged.  Every year this was the one festival that didn't make you pay a *donation fee.  I guess they lost some funding.  (The festival runners in chicago need to read and learn the true definition of a donation.  It is a gift.  Not a required payment for entry.)

They had a make-your-own zine tent.  The girls enjoyed it.  Clara decided her legs made for a better canvas.

This is my new favorite awesome find I got for a buck at a rummage sale by our house.....

(Don't be jealous.)

The rest of the weekend was completely overtaken by Bears Football Madness.  We decided to throw a huge shindig at our place to start off the new season.  The mister got a "new girlfriend" for the occasion. 

(Her name is Ladybird and she smokes meat.  Insert as many dirty jokes as you want here___________________________________________________)

He got up at 4 in the morning and smoked some delicious garlic, sage and rosemary crusted pork tenderloins and then made two different kinds of pulled pork.  I would go into more detail on how these were prepared except I don't have a clue.  I can tell you that they were incredibly delicious.  Here is the Mister posing with his new girlfriend.  

(Isn't his game day attire the most amazing outfit EVER?  Once again, don't be jealous......)  

I finally finished his Chicago Bears rawr face.  

I believe the party was a huge success.  All the babies that came got along perfectly.  We had more then enough food for every one and we were able to watch a Bears Win!

For one of the side dips I made a really yummy super easy BLT dip.  If you need to throw something together last minute you should definitely consider using this.

BLT dip

  • 1/2 package of cream cheese
  • 1 C Mayo
  • 1 C sour cream
  • 1 lb Bacon
  • 3 Scallions (chopped)
  • 3 fresh tomatoes chopped OR 1 can of petite diced tomatoes without the juice

  1. Cook your bacon however you want.  I put mine in a 400 degree oven for 25 minutes to cut down on the grease splatter.  If you are in a hurry you can also just use your microwave.
  2. Mix the sour cream, mayo and cream cheese well.  You can do this by hand if your cream cheese is soft (or if you have big arm muscles).  I used my kitchen aid and it took about two minutes.
  3. Crumble the bacon.  Add the bacon, scallions and tomatoes.  Mix well.

I served this with chips and pieces of cut up bread.  The final end result was good, but if I decide to make this again I will definitely play around with the ingredients and something more to give it that extra kick.  

Enjoy and Happy football season to you all!!!!!!