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.

2014-07-14 18.08.53

 

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:

2014-07-07 10.12.26

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.

2014-07-07 10.14.41

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!

2014-07-14 18.08.53

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.

 

My Famous Slow-Cooker Ribs

I never thought I liked ribs until I found this recipe. In fact, Derek says these are the best ribs he’s ever had! I took a few different ribs recipes and combined them into this delicious offering. The best part is that they cook in the slower cooker all day, so they’re ready when you get home from work! :-)

As a stay-at-home wife, this is my favorite way of cooking. I can throw something together in the morning, work on errands & freelance writing all day, and have a meal ready when Derek gets home!

photo 1

 

Trust the recipe, not the picture above. ;) I’m not a good food photographer! Oh, and did I mention this meal serves 2 and comes out to about 600 calories a person? Not too shabby!

Here are two recommendations to get you started:

slow cooker

Derek uses the Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget 6-Quart Programmable Cooker. It’s AMAZING. Allows you to program cooking times, even based on food temperature, and has a removable liner for easy cleaning.

To get this recipe right, you must also buy Garland Jack’s Secret Six Original Recipe BBQ sauce. This is key to the recipe and the taste just won’t be right without this brand:

photo

If you can’t find it, you can buy it on Amazon here. And yes, there is a package of “Tums” in the back of this photo, haha. You won’t need it for these ribs! :D Without further adieu:

Slow-Cooker Ribs

Ingredients: 

  • 3 pounds of beef short ribs
  • Minced garlic (or minced roasted garlic)
  • Salt & pepper
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Liquid smoke
  • Soy Sauce
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • BBQ sauce (I recommend Garland Jack’s Original Recipe)
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Red pepper flakes

Instructions: 

Put the ribs in the slow cooker. Cover with minced garlic or minced roasted garlic (however much you want to use), pepper, salt, and red pepper flakes, all to taste.
In a separate bowl, mix 1/2 cup water, about 1/2 cup red wine vinegar, a bunch of Worcestershire sauce, about a tablespoon or so of soy sauce, a tablespoon or so of liquid smoke, and 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard. Mix together and pour over the ribs in the slow cooker.
Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
Preheat oven to 375. When slow cooker’s done, transfer ribs to a baking sheet. Cut off the fat to save calories. Coat ribs on all sides with BBQ sauce. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes (until sauce caramelizes and sticks to the ribs.) :)
Eat delicious ribs! :)
****
Edited to Add:
I’ve been asked where to get Liquid Smoke. You can get it at the grocery store, where other stuff like Worcestershire is sold. I use Colgin’s brand Natural Mesquite flavor in the recipe. If you can’t find it, here’s a link to get it on Amazon or a larger size (or even a two-flavor pack). :D
2014-06-30 13.05.37

Low-Calorie Baked Pasta — Husband Approved!

I recently combined a few recipes to create what I just call “Baked Pasta.” It’s low calorie and my husband LOVES the dish! When it comes to baked pasta dishes, he can be tough to please. So I take this as a resounding win! :-) The recipe is a combo of cheese, pasta and hamburger, with some good spices mixed in. Here’s a photo of my plate before I ate it. I’m not a great photographer, so this may only look semi-appetizing:

2014-06-12 19.30.32

It makes four servings, and each serving is less than 600 calories (depending on whether you choose the lean and low-fat ingredients, like I do, or not.) I bake it in a small round casserole dish (about this size) because I’m just making a small amount for my husband and me.

Baked Pasta

Ingredients: 

  • 1 pound extra lean ground beef (try for 97% lean or higher)
  • 1.5 to 2 cups of macaroni (I use whole grain macaroni)
  • 1 tablespoon red wine
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (I use low-fat or fat-free sour cream)
  • black olives
  • 1 teaspoon or so of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon or so of tomato paste
  • 28 oz tomato sauce
  • half a can of cream of mushroom soup (I use the 98% fat free kind)
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese (I use the low-fat or skim-milk cheddar to cut calories) (you can substitute or add in mozzarella if you prefer)
  • garlic
  • salt & pepper
  • Montreal steak seasoning (optional)

Instructions: 

Boil the macaroni so it is “al dente.”

Cook the hamburger meat until it’s very well done. While cooking, add garlic and salt & pepper to taste. Throw in some Montreal steak seasoning if you want it a little more flavorful. After the hamburger’s cooked, drain and add the tomato sauce, red wine, and enough tomato paste to get it to a nice consistency (it won’t take much.) Add more spices if you’d like it more flavorful (like oregano, basil, parsley, etc.) Add the sugar to cut the tartness of the tomatoes. Add the dijon mustard. Mix well and let it simmer until you’re ready for it.

In a separate bowl, mix the sour cream, cream of mushroom soup and more garlic.

Layer the ingredients into a small round baking dish. Start with just a small layer of sauce to keep the pasta from sticking. Then add a layer of pasta, a layer of sour cream mix, some cheddar cheese, then more pasta. Repeat. Sprinkle a little extra cheddar on top. Top with sliced black olives.

Bake on 350 for about 30 to 40 minutes. The dish should be bubbling when you take it out.

Bonus Note: Pink Bakeware Links

I used to have a super cute collection of pink (officially “cranberry”) glass bakeware. The glass dish I use is the last of it. If you’d like to buy your own pink bakeware, you can still find a few items on Amazon. I’ve put some examples in my “pink bakeware” Amazon store, along with a list of other recommended pink cooking products. Visit my store and check it out! :-)

Remove Personal Information Before Sending a Word Document

Just a little “FYI” before you email that paper to your professor or send a resume to a potential new employer… Inspect your Word document to make sure it doesn’t have any personal information. Just to be safe, I like to remove the “author” information and the “last modified” version. Do you really want your professor to see that you last modified your paper 5 minutes before turning it in? Or do you want your potential employer to see the “author” of your resume is your parents, because they own the software?

In Microsoft 2010, it’s easy to change. Just click on “File,” and you’ll see a page that includes Related Dates and Related People. Click on “Check for Issues” next to “Inspect Document” right before you send it. You’ll get a dropdown menu with “Inspect Document” as an option. From there, you can check for and remove whatever items you want, such as “Comments, Revisions, and Annotations” or “Document Properties and Personal Information.”

Want to Promote Your Pins on Pinterest? Apply Here!

You may not know this, but Pinterest now lets some users promote their pins, similarly to how you can promote posts on Facebook. Promoted pins can be a great way to tell more people about your business, if you use the feature wisely. Don’t spam people and only pin webpages with eye-catching photos and useful information. The feature is being slowly rolled out, but Pinterest has an application form that you can fill out if you’d like to be apply to be one of the first people to promote pins. The application is here.

« Older Entries