Monthly Archives: July 2014

For #TBT: My top post of all time: Top Ten Annoying Things About Lost

In honor of Throwback Thursday, I’m looking back on some of my “all-time” top posts from my older blog, Dube’s World. This one from 2008 was the all-time most popular, with 33,000 hits in one day, front-paged on the old Digg, and almost 100 comments. Since then, another LOST post took its place as the top-visited post, but it never achieved quite the same fame.

Here’s the post: Top 10 Most Annoying Things About LOST

I love LOST and it’s one of my all-time favorite TV shows. This was a tongue-in-cheek post about a few things that were annoying. :D Believe it or not, that post actually ended up getting me a few writing and marketing job offers too!

Wine Chicken – Another Great Slow-Cooker Recipe!

This recipe is SUPER yummy, if I do say so myself. I started out making the regular slow cooker chicken recipe that most people use – the one with cream cheese and cream of chicken. But Derek thought it was too creamy and asked that I make something without those ingredients. I was stumped! The cream cheese chicken recipe is a longtime favorite of mine and I couldn’t imagine finding something that tasted as good. Although, it certainly would help to cut down on a few calories!

The answer is a new recipe I made by combining a couple different slow cooker chicken recipes that I found online. It’s SUPER simple, low calorie and very tasty.

I introduce to you… Wine Chicken.

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Looks good, right? :D

Here’s another tip: Derek prefers chicken thighs and I prefer chicken breasts. So I just make it with both! You can buy boneless, skinless thighs and breasts at the grocery store, half on one side of the crockpot and half on the other. If you’re cooking thighs, just make sure that you trim off all the fat before you put it in, or you’ll add lots of calories that you don’t need to your meal!

This recipe is for 2 servings. Unless you add a lot of side dishes, in which case it might be four servings. We usually just eat the chicken and sometimes add a little rice.

Ingredients

  • Half a package of chicken breasts and half a package of chicken thighs
  • One package of Italian dressing mix — I like the “Good Seasons” brand
  • Lots of fresh, minced garlic
  • Salt & Pepper
  • A little more than 1 cup of white wine
  • 3/4 cup water + 1 large chicken bouillon cube OR 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/6 cup of flour
  • Spices to taste: rosemary, thyme, oregano

Directions

Trim ALL the fat off the chicken! The less fat, the better, as you’ll want your dish to be healthy. :) Put the chicken in the slower cooker and cover it with the package of Italian seasoning mix. Then add lots of fresh, minced garlic. It will look something like this:

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Note: Some people like to sear the chicken in a pan before putting it in the slow cooker. I’ve never done this because, well, it’s extra work. ;) If you want to, give it a shot!

I rarely have fresh herbs on hand, so at this point I just add a little dried rosemary, thyme, oregano, salt, etc. to the top of the chicken, if I want a little extra flavor. My husband doesn’t like onions, but if you do then this would be a good time to chop some onion and toss it on top of the chicken.

In a separate bowl, mix the wine, chicken broth, and flour until the flour is dissolved. I like to use this kind of white wine for cooking. It has more flavor and you can get it at Walmart in these small sizes, perfect for cooking.

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The sauce will be pretty thin when the dish is finished, which is good for pouring over rice. But if you want a thicker sauce, add more flour. You may have to experiment a few times to figure out how much flour you need. If you want a little extra flavor, you can add some garlic powder, salt or pepper to the sauce too.

Pour the sauce over the chicken. It’ll look like this:

broth

 

Cook on the slow cooker for 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high.

Voila! You have a delicious dish! :-) Here’s a look at the finished product again. Yum!

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Butter Beef: A Delicious Slow Cooker Recipe

This week’s new recipe is “Butter Beef.” The name may sound odd, but it’s actually quite delicious. In fact, it’s one of my husband’s favorite dishes! You’ll note that it has onion seasoning in it. My husband can’t stand onions, but he loves this dish — it has a little onion flavor without the texture of onions. I reworked it a bit to make it lower in calories than the traditional recipe and added a few extra touches. It comes out to less than 600 calories per serving and this recipe serves two people! butter beef   Ingredients: 

  • One package of cubed beef stew meat (I think this is about 1.5 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons butter (You’re not using much, so go ahead and go all out and use Country Crock!)
  • 1 envelope dry onion soup mix – I prefer Lipton Recipe Secrets: Onion flavor
  • 1 cup of red wine
  • 1 large beef bouillon cube + 1 cup water OR 1 cup of beef broth
  • Tons of minced roasted garlic — Yes, I mean a lot! :D
  • 1/8 cup flour (You may need more if you want a thicker sauce. This version comes out thinner)
  • Monterrey steak seasoning or another beef seasoning packet for extra flavor. Use to taste.
  • Cumin
  • Salt & pepper
  • (Other spices if desired. You can choose from a dash of Worcestershire, a dash of nutmeg, real onions, etc.)

Instructions Put the beef in your slow cooker. Cover it with the onion seasoning, butter, steak seasoning, salt & pepper. Throw all the minced garlic that you want on top. Remember: using roasted minced garlic yields better results! In a separate bowl, mix the red wine, beef broth, cumin, and flour. Mix well until the flour is dissolved. Pour over the beef. Cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours. You can serve this over rice or noodles (I used whole grain noodles in the picture above.) But that will add to your calorie count. My husband prefers the dish on its own. If you want to be fancy, you can try lightly browning the beef first and deglazing the pan with the red wine for extra flavor. And if you don’t like dishes too salty, you may not need the salt because of the onion soup mix. —- Bonus:  Want to buy the same slow cooker that we use? Just go here!

My First Wacom Tablet Cartoon

I made my first digital cartoon today. Here is the beautiful work of art in all its glory:

First Drawing

That’s me and one of my cats, outside. I believe the cartoon has a special whimsical, nostalgic quality, don’t you agree? ;)

How did this come about? Well, Amazon had a sale on Wacom tablets and I had a gift card. The result? I now own the Wacom Intuos Pen and Touch Small Tablet (CTH 480). Want one too? You can buy it here.

2014-07-03 10.04.18If you’re familiar with the Bamboo line for Wacom, Intuos is just the new name for the line. Wacom doesn’t brand its new products “Bamboo” anymore. This is the smallest sized tablet, which is perfect for a laptop. The pen is the size of a regular pen, so that gives you an idea of the scale of this picture. If you’re working with a larger monitor, you might want the medium size, even though it’s more expensive.

The tablet’s a great investment. It comes with a software bundle to help get your projects out fast. There’s even a “manga version,” if you draw real comics. I bought my tablet for a future marketing project. But you can use it as a mouse replacement if you prefer.

This tablet is FAST to set up and FAST to learn how to use. I just got the drivers from the Wacom website, plugged the tablet into my USB port, and it worked like a charm! It feels like a regular pen and the tablet’s pressure sensitive. My first drawing took about 15 minutes to make, including driver and software installation time.