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Monthly Archives: April 2018

Crunchy Bean Tacos

Leahs New Logo

 

 

Whenever I make refried beans I always make extra so we can make these tacos. Tacos are always a hit and these bean tacos are perfect for a meatless meal.  My 10 year old is a little carnivore and she doesn’t even notice the lack of meat.  Now that’s saying something!  Recently I tried making these tacos with canned refried beans and with a little additional seasoning they were great! Since that takes a 2 step meal to 1 that’s the recipe I’m sharing.

 

 

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Crunchy Bean Tacos

yield: 15 tacos

INGREDIENTS

1 (15oz) can Refried Black Beans

1/2 cup minced red onion

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp paprika

2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped

6 oz pepper jack cheese, shredded

2 Tbsp olive oil

pinch of salt and pepper

15 corn tortillas

avocado

hot sauce

salsa

sour cream

PREPARATION

  1. In a medium bowl, add beans along with red onion, cilantro, and spices.  Add a pinch of salt and mix all ingredients together.  Mix in your cheese.
  2. In a large, non-stick skillet, add a couple Tbsp of olive oil and heat over medium-high heat.
  3. Add one corn tortilla at a time and let each get hot in the oil for a few seconds.  Then add about 2 Tbsp of the bean filling to half of the tortilla.
  4. Fold the tortilla in half, forming a shell, and gently press down until it holds its shape.  Set aside.  Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.
  5. Add as many tacos back to the skillet as will fit.  You may need to add some more oil.  Cook about 3 minutes per side until they are nicely browned and crispy.
  6. When flipping the taco to cook on the other side use a spatula and flip the taco toward the fold so the fillling does’t fall out.
  7. Serve tacos with toppings like hot sauce, salsa, avocados, and sour cream.

Note:

Corn tortillas are resilient to heat.  Don’t worry about burning them.  They are very flexible.  Just be sure to cook them on each side long enough to get them really crispy.

Cheeky Pea

Gaming Logo

 

I hit SL’s Cheeky Pea’s recent sale when Seraphim’s blog announced it, just to take a peek, even though I seldom have enough lindens for their incredible decor and buildings.  The sale was actually jaw dropping affordable and I was able to get quite a few items.  I got really inspired to work on the landscape again when I found their awesome covered bridge with built in solo and PG couple animations.  I also got inspired to redo the dining room and living room, but the bridge makes a lot bigger impact, so that’s what I took more pictures of.  *grin*  (I’ll try to remember to show off my farmhouse inspired dining room.  I’ll just leave it at mason jar chandeliers.  Yeah, it’s that cute!)  And back to our regular programming…

 

Although I love the new Studio-Skye pond scene we incorporated into the landscape a few weeks ago, this bridge didn’t fit in with the brick and mossy area, so Z and I changed up the end of the property for the bridge.  We opened up the beginning of our stream from the Linden Ocean *grin*, and then I worked two days on getting the Happy Mood cliff hill pieces adjusted.  I either poked past the property line, had uneven land so land either came through the mesh landing or the landing hung in the air, or I accidentally sent chunks of mesh flying into other areas of the property.  *cracking up*  It was an interesting challenge.  

 

The animations aren’t actually bento, so there are definitely a few mesh body crossings with legs coming out the other person’s or arms landing in weird ways since it’s not based on the bento skeletons, but overall they are so sweet and fun.  I added in a few of the new Studio-Skye cliff rocks into the wider opening and I think this spot is now just as awesome as the pond.  Although I’d never have the nerve to sit on the edge like that, but that’s why it’s my indestructible avatar doing it!  *tries to smother an evil laugh*  What I really like is that the bridge looks incredible in all windlights, although I had a brain fart and forgot to turn on the lights when I decided to play with the evening WLs, and my internet connection will most likely show its anger if I try to put FS on while I’m blogging, so no evening pictures.  *facepalm*  Let’s blame it on Fibro Fog and skip along.

 

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The animations are set throughout the whole bridge, so you have a lot of options and can get some really sweet pictures, or just have a cute view if you decide to randomly sit with your MAlt or something.  You do you.  No judgement.  *grin* 

 

Although Luke was kind enough to try out all of the anims and was patient while I flipped through tons of WLs or waited for the facial moods to match well enough for the poses to make sense, I couldn’t resist taking a picture when my LeLutka’s Whimsy mood setting left Bre sticking her tongue out at him while his Catwa Neutral mood cycled on.  I have the most awesome and patient roommates.  If you’re reading, bonus kudos and I’ll hit the gacha resale for a gift for you if you mention this post.  *grin*  By the way, you probably can’t see unless you zoom, but I had Bre honor 420 with a necklace with the chemical compound.  *laugh* Yet again I have proven that 140K inventory has advantages, because I pretty much have something for anything.  (And yeah, I put the latest League skin on display, because the Alessa is so well done!  If you want a female avatar that looks a little more mature than the more common cute looks, try out League.  The Alessa version has the sassiest eyebrow shape, too.  But the shading and highlighting…yeah, even I stared for a bit at the smexy pixels.  *grin*)

 

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As I hit the lavender WL for the final picture for the bridge, I caught one of my favorite pictures for our picture gallery in the living room. Although SL is via the internet, this is the perfect picture to represent our friendships in SL.  No matter how many miles separate us, we’re hanging out and having those incredibly deep conversations that the second life inspires, because we don’t have our walls up when we’re pixels.  It’s the bridge for some of the closest friendships I may ever experience and am so glad I have this new piece to remind me to be grateful every time I log in.

 

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Today I hope that you find a way to pamper your soul.

 

 

Barbecue Chicken Wrap Recipe by Leah

Leahs New Logo

 

Red Robin’s Whiskey River Barbecue Chicken Wrap© is wildly popular.  It’s certainly one of my favorite things to eat there and we long ago started making them at home.  They’re not complicated at all, which is exactly my kind of meal.  The only cooking required is the chicken, and if you happen to already have some chicken on hand, then you’re already set.  Remember my Everything Chicken?  Now is the perfect time to use it. My 10 year old always asks me if I’ll make extra so she’ll have a few to pack in her lunchbox.  You might want to make a few extra too 🙂

 

 

 

Barbecue Chicken Wrap

yield: 4 wraps

 

INGREDIENTS

4 spinach or flour tortillas

4 thighs of Everything Chicken (or grilled chicken), cut into strips

1/2 cup barbecue sauce

1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

1/4 cup ranch dressing

tortilla strips

2 cups shredded lettuce

 

PREPARATION

  1. If you’re chicken is cold from the refrigerator warm it.  Then, place the chicken in a medium-size bowl and toss with the barbecue sauce.
  2. Lay out your tortillas.  Divide the chicken among the 4 tortillas and place in a row down the center of the tortilla.
  3. Do the same with the cheese, covering the chicken.  Add the ranch, tortilla strips, and finally the lettuce.
  4. Fold down the edges at the top and the bottom of the row.  Then roll the other edges to form your wrap.

The “Get to Know Me” Tag

Thank you so much to Julie Beeks of Coffee, Crime, and a Whole Latte More for nominating me to do this! I’m excited to share a little about myself with my followers and think the original writers did so well, that I’m not changing the design. 🙂

Below are questions & answers for all of the nominees  

  • What are my strengths?
    • I am very loyal and love wholeheartedly if you become part of my “family”. 
    • I try to have a good impact on someone, in some way, each day.  
    • I can laugh at the strange and stupid things that my illness causes, even when my illness makes life incredibly difficult or I’m scared of being judged as being “less than”.
    • I absolutely love to learn new things.  Too bad they’ve never been really practical things, like how to change a tire or something.  🙂  I can give you a list of natural uses and benefits for honey or vinegar, though.
  • What are my short term goals?
    • To continue to blog regularly.  I need to keep pushing to share about the things that matter to me.
    • To find and meet Kiddo, even when the path is hard.
    • Get back to making product and utilizing that creative outlet.
  • What are my long term goals?
    • To adopt and advocate for adoption.
    • To go on adventures with L and Kiddo.
    • To learn to accept progression of my illness with grace instead of anger.  I need to finish grieving the abilities and life I had before my relapse, and focus on accepting my new self without fear of judgement.  
  • Who matters the most to me?
    • God
    • My husband
    • My “family”, the biological and the emotionally connected
    • My fur babies
    • The shadow of a future daughter.  Once I finally get a chance to love the real her, this will be a harder question of ranking.
  • What am I ashamed of?
    • That I forgot to focus on my character instead of my looks.  I allowed the weight gain from my illness to mean more to me than being a good person.
    • That I get lost in my emotions and have trouble handling them sometimes.
  • What do I like to do for fun?
    • I love hanging out with my family, in person or online, whether we are watching television, playing games, finding adventures across the grid online, or sitting in camp chairs late into the summer night while remembering the “crazy old days” of our youth.
    • I am a massive nerd, so I love researching, reading, using gadgets, and exploring the wide variety available on streaming media (movies, clips, podcasts; you name it).  It’s most fun when I can bring L over to the nerd side.  The days he joined the Eureka™ fandom and became a partial Mythical Beast both made me so happy.
    • Being creative – writing, creating bath products, painting, or even decorating my fairy garden.
  • What new activities am I willing to try?
    • Parenting.  
    • Zip lining
    • Riding in a Zorb™
  • What am I worried about?
    • My illness progressing aggressively before we are able to be parents.
  • What are my values?
    • I’m a hodgepodge of faith, The Golden Rule, empathy, and trying to help anyone or anything that is in need when I am able to.
  • If I had one wish, it would be…?
    • to have a home filled with biological and chosen children.
  • Where do I feel the safest?
    • with L and/or my mom
    • in our little town.  After growing up in the Bay Area it’s amazing to be able to sit on the back deck at night, just watching the sky and thinking, without worrying about my safety.
  • What or who gives me comfort?
    • I am a practical person, so I have to admit that it depends on the situation.  L, my mom, my SL family, my therapist…they all do, but in different situations.
    • Being informed and in control, even when it’s out of my hands.
  • If I was afraid, I would…?
    • Go to L
    • If he’s unavailable, I’d grab the closest weapon and protect my family.  I’d give my life to prevent them from ever being victimized.
  • What is my proudest accomplishment?
    • My Presidential Literary Excellence Award.
    • Surviving attempted murder and learning how to stop being a victim.
    • My Victim’s Advocacy Certification.
    • Being able to use my careers or knowledge to help others.  I was able to help some amazing patients as a Medical Billing Clerk and as a Spoonie I was able to help a few people.
  • Am I a night owl or early bird?
    • A night owl all the way.  I may have a few one-sided feuds with groups that wake me while I’m trying to sleep vampire hours. *grin*
  • What does my inner critic tell me?
    • That I am a failure.  I lost a lot of my physical abilities, my career, and some of my identity due to becoming disabled.  I don’t make nearly as much money as I used to, so I feel like a financial drain for L.  When you vow in sickness and in health, you don’t think you’ll have to hold them to the sickness part until you’re in the later seasons of life, so I feel like it was unfair, when I’m being most critical.  *Please note that this is also part of my current topic of therapy.  I’m learning to let go of and grieve my former life, so it’s not as bad as it sounds.  I’ve always been my harshest critic, but I’m learning how to cut myself some slack.  🙂
  • What do I do to show myself self-care?
    • A bath with a good book or Pinterest™, with floating candles and anti inflammatory bath salts.
    • I love losing myself in a book or SL.
  • Am I an introvert or extrovert?
    • I am a massive introvert, but if you hurt my family, I’ll step outside of my comfort zone and you’ll see the dark side of a Virgo.  😉
  • What am I passionate about?
    • helping and raising awareness for Spoonies, our adoption journey, and advocating for adoption.
  • What do my dreams tell me?
    • That I could make a lot of money if I could make them into a Eureka-type show.  They’re weird enough to fill that niche very well.  
  • What is my favorite non-fiction book?
    • Rhett and Link’s Book of Mythicality
  • What is my favorite fiction book?
    • It depends on the genre.  lol I will re-read Kristen Painter’s Miss Frost Solves a Cold Case: A Nocturne Falls Mystery© and Julie Garwood’s The Secret© and Ransom©.  Pies and Prejudice© by Ellery Adams will always have a special place in my heart, because I got to actually chat with her after reading that.
  • What is my favorite movie?
    • Sleeping Beauty© for Disney®, Robin Hood: Men in Tights© for comedy, and Phantom of the Opera© for romantic.
  • What is my favorite band?
    • Celtic Thunder™, Elvis™, or Rhett & Link’s Song Biscuits©, depending on the mood
  • What is my favorite food?
    • Most anything chocolate or sweet, although fried shredded beef tacos and Mei Fun are pretty high up there, too.
  • What is my favorite color?
    • Glittery Hot Pink
  • What am I grateful for?
    • That L loved me enough to get a ring tattoo.  My disability after coming into the marriage relatively healthy wasn’t a deal breaker for him and he decided to show me for the rest of his life that he’s committed to loving me.
    • That I was helped to escape, so I could then survive and have an incredible “family” across the nation. 
    • My Faith
    • The support during our adoption journey and the opportunity to take this journey.
  • When I am feeling down, I like to?
    • Listen to Damian McGinty or Celtic Thunder™
    • Boxing
    • Organize something.  It’s oddly therapeutic for me to sort and label things.  *laugh*
  • I know I am stressed when?
    • My shoulder trigger points tighten into hard knots
    • I suddenly start to cry while watching a sappy commercial or video

 

 

Thanks for nominating me Julie Beeks of Coffee, Crime, and a Whole Latte More!

I nominate:

Andrea from Cooking with a Wallflower

Harsh Reality

Cooking Adventures

Sauce Box

Damian McGinty’s The Slow Dance™ Tour

Slow Dance poster

 

 

Confession time…I’m obsessed with Celtic Thunder™ and Damian McGinty.  I have all of their songs, literally, and even a few concert DVDs.  *grin* I’m a fan of most Celtic things, since I embrace and enjoy that part of my ancestral heritage.  This goes all the way into fangirling though, regardless of age.  He’s kind of like Sean Connery – he’s so cute no matter how old you are.  *laugh*

 

If you’re not familiar with Damian, here is his background via his website: “Singer/songwriter/actor Damian McGinty was born in Derry, Northern Ireland. His career began at the age of 13 when he recorded a charity CD, and his unmistakable talent and charisma quickly catapulted him into fame and success. Selected in 2007 by producer Sharon Browne and musical director Phil Coulter to join the inaugural cast of Celtic Thunder, Damian quickly became a fan favorite for his friendly charm and his deep baritone voice. Following his own advice to “Dream Big,” Damian took his career to the next level by auditioning for the Oxygen network’s The Glee Project in 2011. Out of 40,000 auditioners, Damian was chosen to appear on the show with only eleven other hopefuls. Extreme dedication and an intense work ethic took him to the final four, and ultimately he was chosen as one of two winners. As a winner of the project, Damian landed a guest star role in Fox’s hit television series Glee, as foreign exchange student Rory Flanagan. Initially slated to appear in just seven episodes, Damian was so popular his role was extended to finish out the rest of season three.”

 

Although I had lost interest in the show I came back to it when I caught his audition and stayed while he was on the show.  He mentioned during the audition show about being in Celtic Thunder™ (CT) and me being me I immediately hit YouTube.  After he was no longer on the show he showed back up on YT as a guest singer with CT and after many hours of playing the concerts (and playing so many times that even L learned some of the lyrics *laugh*), I shared the videos with my mom.  

 

I started showing some of the YouTube concert videos to my mom (and L suffered through many hours of it as well LOL).  I got her hooked on the band and we had a “once in a lifetime” chance to go to their Legacy Volume Two™ tour concert; the first Kansas concert in 5 years, in October of 2016.  While buying merchandise during the intermission we found out that Damian had released his first solo full album, This Christmas Time©, just over a week prior to the concert.  I bought and downloaded the concert while waiting in line.  Yep, I’m that into CT.  *grin* It was an incredible concert and when we found out that Damian would be doing a small solo tour near Christmas, I bought those tickets immediately.  (Damian is the middle kilted man.)

 

Kilts!

 

 

The Christmas concert was absolutely magical!  It was in a Kansas City Public Broadcast studio with probably 40 people.  There were a few original songs, plus the nostalgic traditional Christmas songs.  The producers apparently weren’t sure how well his first tour would go and priced it so affordably that nearly every person had a meet & greet ticket.  The poor guy had been delayed by a storm, had to take a night flight after the concert to get to the next location before another snowstorm hit, so the meet & greet was a bit abbreviated.  Mom and I were last in line and when he asked my name to autograph my ticket he actually sang a bit of a song with my name in it.  I totally fangirled and there’s an extremely cheesy grin on my face when we had our picture taken with him.  I got picked on for my name for years, so it took me by complete surprise to here my name sound beautiful when said with an Irish accent.  See, I’m still fangirling.  *laugh*

 

 

damian Christmas

 

 

We figured that was an amazing year of momentous opportunities, but then I learned about his new tour starting in 2018.  Mom got a copy of her ticket in her Christmas stocking.  (Christmas stockings have no age limit in my family.)  We had bought four tickets, hoping that we would be able to take Kiddo to the concert, but yet again I had jumped the gun on hoping to have Kiddo in time.  Anyway, on Sunday, the 22nd, L, my mom, and I got to see Damian in concert up in Kansas City, MO.  He is currently on a solo tour to promote his EP of No More Time™; his first EP of his own original songs (which I had on pre-order for a month and had some songs memorized in the couple of weeks between the release and his concert *grin*).  His song Unbelievable © is a nod to country music and is the most smile inducing ear worm I’ve ever heard.  

 

 

I couldn’t resist taking pictures of the church (I’m not going to bore you with a complete panorama of it lol).  While waiting outside I made them take a selfie with me, to put in this year’s scrapbook; you can tell L is so happy to have his picture taken *grin*.  While waiting inside I had to take a picture of the set up, since it would be my only chance to get a picture of his performance.  The ticket said no photography or videography allowed and we all know how hard it is for me to color outside of the lines.  The church’s choir came in and opened for him with a variety of songs from famous musicals.  When Damian came onto the stage afterward I was pretty sure we were all going to be deaf between the cheering, clapping, and echoing of all of the noises.  

 

He did a few fan favorites (I was absolutely tickled that he covered Galway Girl © by Ed Sheeran, although Sheeran’s is a new take on the classic by the same name), then he did a musical version of a timeline that led up to his new, original songs.  He sang some Oldies, which got a lot of people dancing and clapping.  By the time the last few songs were sung I had L take some pictures for me (it sucks to be fun sized when people stand in front of me *laugh*).  I had noticed some people recording or taking pictures throughout the whole concert, so I broke the rules.  

 

Singing 2

 

Close up of Concert

 

It was such an awesome concert and my cheeks hurt from cheesy grinning for so long.  *laugh* Toward the end he announced that he was in a movie that will air this winter and that he will have a full album next year, so he will be back to KC during that tour.  *happy dance* I may have gone hoarse from cheering so loud after hearing that he is coming back.  Maybe I’ll get to share the new concert with Kiddo.  *crossing fingers*  And to top it all off, Mom and I have tickets to CT’s concert in October!  

 

So if you’re interested in checking CT or Damian out, I embedded links for you, so you can listen to samples or purchase if you enjoy them too.  I definitely recommend watching the videos for Seven Drunken Nights, Young Love, Breaking Up Is Hard to Do, and A Place in the Choir (all copyrighted by Celtic Thunder).  If you’re an Amazon Prime Music Member almost all of their music is on prime streaming, too!  Now pardon me as I go watch Galway again…

Everything Chicken Recipe by Leah

Leahs New Logo

 

If I was choosing recipes to share with you based on frequency of use this chicken would have been one of the first.  I make it all the time.  Most often I use it for lunchtime salads with lettuce, shredded cheddar cheese, sunflower seeds, tomatoes, and ranch dressing.  I serve it as is with some tasty sides like mashed potatoes; I use it in tacos, wraps, quesadillas, pastas, and more!  It is almost always in my fridge.  This chicken is basically my go to and it’s so simple it’s embarrassing.

We call it Everything Chicken because we put it on…EVERYTHING!  I know, I know.  It’s not that creative but it was named by accident when my husband was asking where the chicken was as he dug through the fridge.  I asked what chicken he was talking about and his response was “You know. That chicken we put on everything.”  Thus the name was born.

 

Everything Chicken

 

 

Everything Chicken 

 

INGREDIENTS

canola oil

boneless, skinless chicken thighs

Red Robin seasoning© (Yes, the seasoning from the restaurant.  You can buy it from the restaurant, order online, and even occasionally find it in your local grocery)

 

PREPARATION

  1. Heat a couple Tablepoons of oil in a saute pan over medium heat.  Depending on how much chicken you’re making you may need to add more oil to the pot as you cook the chicken pieces.
  2. Lay your chicken out and sprinkle generously on both sides with Red Robin Seasoning©.
  3. Place the chicken gently into the pan to avoid splashing the hot oil.
  4. Allow the chicken to cook for 5 to 6 minutes on each side.
  5. Remove the chicken and allow to rest about 5 minutes before slicing.

Tuscan Vegetable Soup Recipe by Leah

Leahs New Logo

 

A simple and fantastic soup for a chilly day.  Tuscan Vegetable Soup is a pretty quick meal.  All you do is chop your vegetables and then you’re just throwing ingredients in the pot for a quick cook time.  This soup is definitely what you’d call heart-healthy and yet is flavorful enough that my entire family goes back for seconds.  It’s my go to when taking dinner to our shut-ins from church and is always well received.

 

 

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Tuscan Vegetable Soup

yield: approx. 4 quarts

 

INGREDIENTS

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 onion, diced

2 cups kale, chopped

2 cups celery, diced (about 4 stalks)

2 cups zucchini, chopped (about 2 medium)

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp dried sage

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper

2 quarts chicken broth (fat free & low sodium)

2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes with juice

4 handfuls spinach (about 4 cups packed)

 

If you’re looking for some more protein add

2 (15 oz) cans low sodium canellini beans, drained, rinsed and smashed

3 cups shredded or diced chicken

 

 

PREPARATION

  1. Heat oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat.  Add onion, kale, celery, zucchini, garlic, thyme, sage, salt, pepper.  Cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add chicken broth and tomatoes (and chicken if adding) and bring to a boil.
  3. Add spinach leaves (and beans if adding) and cook until the spinach is wilted, about 3 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasoning to your preference.

 

 

Note: Many people I make this for can’t have Parmesan cheese but we think it’s excellent in the soup so I add fresh Parmesan to the individual bowls.

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