Cooking: Spicy Sausage Crockpot Soup

Published 9/28/13 by:


Screen Shot 2013-09-28 at 1.38.38 PM

 

I don’t really enjoy cooking. I’m more of a consumer. I am making attempts at cooking more this year in order to save money, and be able to take it to school for lunch throughout my week. My main resource for recipes is Pinterest because people are pretty honest about the amount of time each recipe takes as well as the difficulty level. As I become a future chef of America, I’m looking for tasty, low-maintenance options. The low-maintenance isn’t because I’m incapable (according to my brother I’m a “decent cook”), but because I haven’t invested a lot of money in cooking utensils or paraphernalia. For instance, last week, I was making BBQ Chicken Mac & Cheese and it called for freshly grated cheese, but I didn’t have a grater. This sort of issue comes up more often than you think and I have to compromise. I’m also big on compromising measurements and ingredients in recipes. If I have something that’s “close” to what the recipe calls for, I’m not picky, and will just throw in what I have. Sometimes this results in disgusting meals, but as time marches on I’m getting better at guesstimating and substituting ingredients. The recipe I’ve included below is a combination of four different soup recipes I found on Pinterest. As a result of not having a huge pot to cook soups in, I also changed the apparatus to a crockpot/slow cooker. I don’t know what the parameters are for calling a recipe your own, so I’m going to put the disclaimer out there that I combined a lot of other people’s ideas for this one. Chefs/Diners beware: it’s a little on the spicy side! Cheers!

 

 

Ingredients:

1 container (48 oz) of chicken broth

2 cans of Rotel diced tomatoes (flavor of your choice – I used lime cilantro)

1 package of chicken sausage diced  (flavor of your choice – I used Chorizo)

2 Tablespoons of minced garlic

2 peppers diced (color of your choice – I used yellow and orange)

1 box of pasta (shape and style of your choice – I used shells)

1 can of black beans drained (the beans didn’t add much to the mix, so use your best judgement)

1 red onion diced (optional – I didn’t use one and it was fine, but might add it in the future)

A dash of your favorite seasoning – I used taco seasoning.

 

Directions:

Combine all of the ingredients into your crockpot except the pasta. Cook on low for two hours.

Approximately 15 minutes before your two hours are up, boil water for your pasta, and when it’s cooked, add to each bowl you serve as you see fit.

*Serves 8*

 

 

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What My Hair Has Taught Me

Published 7/22/13 by:

Locks of Love

Hair

This is a picture of me in October 2006 right after chopping ten inches of my hair off for Locks Of Love. It was a great day because donating hair to this cause was something I hadn’t had the patience to do for many years, but I finally did it! Here’s the deal: I have very thick hair, and it weights a lot. It’s also very silky, which sounds like a blessing, but in reality my hair is greasier than a 13-year-old’s at a campout after one night of sleep. I honestly do love my hair. I think it’s one of my better attributes, but I’m constantly in a flux of cutting it and growing it out. I know most women who are reading this probably are nodding along in agreement, but here’s the rub: I cut my hair twice a year. I haven’t cut my hair more than twice a year probably since high school.  I realize this is fairly abnormal for a girl in her twenties. At 28, I’m finally realizing that my hair tendencies can teach me a few things about myself.

tattoo

tattoo

1. I cut my hair when a) it’s really hot out, b) my hair is damaged from being blow dried, c) when the pool has destroyed it, d) when I see a celeb with an adorable haircut that someone takes hours to coif before they shoot for their show/movie/music video (see Lena Dunham from the first season of “Girls” below). Bottom line: I need to take better care of my hair, and keep up with it more frequently so that I don’t have to take drastic measures.

2. I inevitably grow my hair out when a) I can’t get it into a ponytail without a million clips/bobby-pins or b) I see some fabulous post on a social media website of someone doing something absurdly fabulous with their LONG hair (see below). Bottom line: my hair is half way down my back right now and I haven’t tried any new styles since Thanksgiving.

fancy

fancy

What I’ve learned from my hair is that it’s not the length, thickness, or color that’s holding me back. I’m holding me back. I don’t afford myself enough time, product or equipment to do anything really elaborate with my hair. The times that I’ve given it a shot I’ve thought it looked “forced” and thrown it up in a ponytail or straightened it to un-do whatever monstrosity I created. I don’t trust myself with my hair, and I’m not sure I ever will. Since I was a little girl I haven’t liked anything to be “loose.” This can be applied to pants, socks, hair styles, shoelaces etc. It’s taken a long time for me to accept the fact that I’m never going to have beautiful flowing inside-out braids like Spencer on “Pretty Little Liars” and I’m finally okay with that. It looks so amazing, but I’d rather spend my time elsewhere. In the coming year I will make an effort to cut my hair more frequently, take some risks, and not be so concerned with being able to pull off styles that I’m unable to create and endure. I have nice hair, and I don’t need to fuss with it. It’s like my brother always tells me about mani/pedis: “boys don’t even notice stuff like that.” Sigh.

Has your hair ever taught you something about yourself?

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Etymology of a Blog Name

Published 7/22/13 by:

This is the band Blind Pilot performing the title track of their sophomore album: We Are The Tide. It’s a song that brings to my mind a lot of images, as well as memories. In a swift move that is way beyond my musical capabilities or wherewithal, Blind Pilot is able to conjure pictures of waves crashing, cool blue swirls and a breeze. This song is able to translocate me to a beach, whether it be December or July. I don’t have the verbal ability to explain how that is possible, whether metaphysically it is possible, or how they made it possible, but I do know that I’m not alone, and that they very aptly titled this track. This song invokes in me a sense of whimsy, and a lull like the waves that crash continually without anyone but the moon controlling them.

I have sentimentality problems. This will become abundantly clear if you read this blog on the regular (which I certainly hope you do!). When I discovered Blind Pilot, thanks to the brilliant samplers that Paste Magazine provides to its blog readers (fo’ free!), I was in the midst of my parents selling my childhood home, and moving into my own apartment for the first time at the ripe age of 27. No, I am not a loser. I like to think of myself as a savvy, suffering Gen Y’er who graduated college a year before the stock market crashed. It’s a long, winding road that got me to the current middle school English teaching gig I have now, but the gist is: I went to grad school to get my masters in education immediately following my undergrad and fumbled my way through being a teaching assistant as well as a reading tutor before getting my own classroom. That’s the suffering part of my Gen Y existence. The savvy part is that I didn’t take out any loans, and had the good blessings to be able to live at home rent free. Thus, in July 2012, I was moving into my very own apartment, and I simultaneously discovered this marvelous song. I associate We Are The Tide with feelings of abandonment, independence, nostalgia, responsibility, adventure, and sweat. Every time I’ve moved it has been a sweaty ordeal. So things go.

The etymology of this blog’s name is a combination of all the feelings I felt when I encountered this song, and specifically, the timing of when this song entered my life. In Cameron Crowe’s most wonderful and autobiographical film, “Almost Famous,” he wrote a line for lead singer Jeff Bebe in which he’s trying to explain to a fifteen-year-old Rolling Stone reporter how he defines Rock ‘n’ Roll:

“But what it all comes down to is that thing. The indefinable thing when people catch something in your music.”

I caught a lot in this music, and part of me blames the frame in which this song was dealt to me, but another part of me attaches myself to this song for what it represents, and how far I’ve come from last summer. I am a woman who teaches, reminisces, laughs, sings, chants, roots, and writes. I am a woman who is infatuated with pop culture and how its trends twirl and wind in America. I am folksy. I am honest. I am relentless. I hope that people don’t see this as just a “lifestyle blog” because I really don’t ever see myself adhering to any particular lifestyle. I want to surround myself with people (both in real life and in social media contexts) that share a lot of my loves (Friday Night Lights, Chuck Klosterman, Marc Jacobs), while engaging me in new ideas that challenge things I already thought. If you can relate to anything I said, or are intrigued, please join me at We Are The Tide. I think it could very well be my most honest endeavor yet.

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