Friday, July 26, 2013

More crockpot...

Slow Cooker Sunday: Honey Garlic Chicken

Slow Cooker Sunday:  Honey Garlic Chicken

Sometimes there just isn’t time to go to the store. We need a recipe that we can throw together in a couple of minutes with things we already have in the house. This is that kind of recipe. Likely you already have everything you need to make it at home and it takes less than 5 minutes to get into the crockpot. Easy, peasy. Once it’s done there are endless serving possibilities – serve it over rice, stuff it into a sandwich, toss is on a salad, wrap it up in some lettuce, or add it to stir-fried vegetables. Since this recipe is so versatile, consider doubling up for leftovers during the week. It makes a terrific lunch or dinner.
Sunday Slow Cooker: Honey Garlic Chicken
Servings: 6 servings
Serving Size: about 2/3 cup
Nutritional Info: 153.4 calories, 3g of fat, 29.4g of carbohydrates, 6.2g of fiber, 14.3g of protein * 5 P+
  • 1.5 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into chunks
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • Bag of stir fry frozen vegetables
  1. Whisk together the garlic, basil, soy sauce, ketchup, and honey.
  2. Add the chicken to the crockpot.
  3. Pour the sauce over and mix everything together.
  4. Cook on low for 4 hours.
  5. For crispy outside, spread onto a baking sheet and broil for 3-5 minutes.

Sunday Slow Cooker: French Onion Soup

Sunday Slow Cooker:  French Onion Soup
It’s funny how you forget about food you really love sometimes. It sneaks off into some far expanse of your brain and until you see it, or in this case smell it, you forget about it entirely. This is what happened to me with French Onion soup until a few days ago when I smelled it emanating from a neighbor’s apartment, and then it all came back – the deep and rich onion flavor, crunchy bread, and melty cheese. Yum. I needed some immediately. However instead of immediately, I settled for about 8 hours later with this delicious crockpot version that’s perfect for a cold night.
Crockpot French Onion Soup
Servings: 8 cups
Serving Size: 1 cup
Nutritional Info: 74.1 calories, 3.7g of fat, 7.4g of carbohydrates, 1.1g of fiber, 3.2g of protein * 2 P+

  • 4 sweet onions onions, sliced
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 64 ounces beef, vegetable, or chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme
  • French bread, add points
  • Low fat Swiss cheese, add points
  1. Set your crockpot to high and add the onions, butter, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, garlic, brown sugar, salt, and pepper. Cook for 60 minutes until onions begin to brown and caramelize, stirring occasionally.
  2. Stir in the flour and let cook for 5 more minutes.
  3. Add the broth and thyme. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  4. To serve with bread and cheese, slice a small piece of french bread and place on top of the soup. Cover with one slice of Swiss cheese and broil for 3 minutes.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Easy Slow Cooker Recipes

I make no claims as to the tastiness of these recipes-- I just wanted to find some recipes that were TRULY "one pot" kind of dishes... none of this "brown this on the stove, bake this in the oven" etc. then add it to the crockpot type recipes. Ugh. If I wanted to do any of that, I would just cook on the stove or bake it in the oven!  So, I scoured the internet, and here are a few that I plan to try in the near future. I'll let you know if any of them are worth doing in the future.

Vegetable and Chickpea Curry

Vegetable and Chickpea Curry

Makes: 4 to 6 servings
3 cups cauliflower florets
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cup loose-pack frozen cut green beans
1 cup sliced carrots
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 14-ounce can vegetable broth
2-3 teaspoons curry powder
1 14-ounce can light coconut milk
1/4 cup shredded fresh basil leaves
Cooked brown rice (optional)
1. In a 3-1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker, combine cauliflower, chickpeas, green beans, carrots, and onion. Stir in broth and curry powder.
2. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 5 to 6 hours or on high-heat setting for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
3. Stir in coconut milk and shredded basil leaves. Spoon rice, if using, into bowls, and ladle curry over the top.
Nutrition facts per serving: 219 calories, 8g protein, 32g carbohydrate, 7g fat (4g saturated), 9g fiber

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Message from Dad

Sometimes he surprises me.... I got this message from my dad today:

Happy Birthday my precious number 1 child!  I remember the day well.  One of the happiest days of my life.  You are truly a special person.  You deserved better growing up. Despite your parents you turned out pretty darn good.  I think that you are getting close to having the life you want. [Jedi] is a great guy.  I think that he is perfect for you.  Love, respect, and treat each other well.  A good partner is hard to find.  Don't take it for granted.
You are living in a great town and have a great situation with your apartment.  You got the internship that you want.  You will have a very busy but I think fun year.  When it's over you will have even more to be proud of.  Maybe you will decide to stay in [your town].  If you continue on in school I know that you will be successful. Just be sure to define what your life goals are.  What will make you happy, take some stress off and make you fulfilled? You have special talents.  Sometimes being too smart is a curse.  

I love you very much.  I'm very proud of you and proud to be your Dad.  Thank you for your help and I look forward to times with you.  Happy Birthday.  Love, Dad

"You can't make this shit up"

I am not someone who typically delights in the misfortune of others-- however when that person is someone who has been absolutely vile, despicable, and underhanded... well, let's just say it's delightful to see the Karma Train of Sweet Sweet Justice roll into the station.

I'm just happy I'm around to see it...

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Makeup addiction

Before I met Jedi I used to wear makeup every day.  I actually enjoyed wearing make up, it was fun to find new products and colors... but it did take awhile to put on-- probably 15-20min a morning.  Not terrible but.... I admit, my desire for sleep won out over my need to look pretty.

Also, the biggest factor was how often Jedi would tell me I didn't NEED make up, and how pretty he found me wearing none (not true-- there is a HUGE difference between the makeup and non-makeup me,  but hey, who am I to argue?)

So, slowly by slowly, after we got together, I started wearing less make up and then finally none at all. That snooze button was just too enticing, and also, I was at that point working in an office where I saw very few "grown ups" throughout the day --(and the students certainly didn't care what I looked like.)  So, I got lax (ok, laaazy) and gave up make up all together for a couple years.

Jedi meanwhile came to regret his previous "no-makeup" stance and would complain that I no longer dressed up. Heh. Be careful what you wish for buddy!

Well, I'm about to embark on a new phase of my career at this point, and I'm going to be working in a professional hospital setting.  I figured I should probably look back into this whole "dress to impress' thing.  However, sleep will definitely be at a premium as I'm going to be driving several hours a day, and let's be real-- I'm not so great with time and I know I'll always be in a rush.

I needed a solution-- something to brighten my face, give me a pick-me-up (get rid of those dark circles, and hopefully be an all-in-one solution to my makeup dilemma.

Enter BB creams (Beauty Balm.)  I'd been hearing about these for awhile, but didn't really know too much about them  Evidently they were formulated in Germany to help burn victims-- it's a salve that is supposed to help heal skin and correct imperfections.  They have a very light (but dense) tint, which means it can act like a foundation, it's a moisturizer, concealer, and SPF 30... All in one!

These have been used in Korea since the 80's and they are apparently all the rage there.  They have slowly been making their way to this side of the pond in the last year (though apparently you can also order them from Korean sellers online.)

Sounds too good to be true? Right?

Well, there IS one small caveat-- that is that they are definitely lacking in options for darker-skinned people. Most of the shades are very pale (probably because they were developed in Korea? I don't know...)  But that is a bummer.

Howerver, I'm a super pale-almost-redhead myself, and I usually have trouble finding shades that are pale ENOUGH for my pasty skin.

I decided to check out Clinique's BB cream (in light), and I can say that so far (2 days) I LOVE it! (I use Shade 1)

A little of this stuff goes a loooong way. Like, a pea-sized drop covers your whole face.  Which is good because it's pretty pricey (well, for my small budget anyway. $37)

It's very lightweight, makes my skin feel dewy, and gives me a nice, healthy, well-rested glow.  I like that I can also dab it on a bit thicker in places where I need extra coverage (like under eyes, zits...) to use as a concealer.  It makes a good eyelid primer too.

This is the kitchen sink of beauty products, quick application with my fingers after the shower and I'm good to go.  Then a bit of mascara, lipstick, and it almost looks like I made an effort! Awesome, right? LOVE IT. 

(I promise I was not paid or given a free sample to write this... but if anyone from clinique reading this would like to bribe me with a lifetime's supply, I'm more than happy to accept!)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Moving day!

So excited to have finally gotten the day we can move into our new apartment! April 2!  It will be so nice-- bigger, within walking distance to everything (my part-time job, and Jedi's job are literally in our backyard now.)  And... hopefully we can save a lot of money this way! We are basically rent-free, only paying a nominal amount towards utilities each month.  We really do need to save up as much as possible because when my student loans come due I will (with my current estimates) be paying $1100 a month. eeep! 

Our hope is to have Jedi's student loans paid off before mine come due, and the car payment should be done as well, which will also help.

It's somewhat scary-- going from previously having NO student loans to having one that is more than the mortgage payment on my small condo (that we now need to find a renter for.)  I have been intending to do the National Health Service Corps repayment option (which is AMAZING-- 2 years of service and they pay off $60k.)  At the same time, I can't do that until I'm licensed-- which is at least 2+ years after I graduate as I build up enough client hours to count towards certification.  As I think about it I go back and forth-- Once I start getting established with clients I think that I probably won't want to up and leave ... at the same time, being able to repay the loans in one big swoop like that is pretty enticing.   I know I shouldn't worry about it now, but I like to look ahead ... and I can't help but worry when I do that!

Right now though, I do feel like divine providence is looking down on us, and I'm very grateful for our new living situation!


I am so lucky to have Jedi in my life. He is so incredibly sweet, caring, thoughtful... I could go on and on using as many synonyms as possible, but I'm sure you get the idea.  He says things to me like, "I want to take you out, I want to show you off. I'm so proud you're my wife."

Nutty, right?  (First of all, let me assure you that I am nothing special. I'm shlumpy looking most days, and especially these days when the only other people to see me are my classmates (or my dog.)  And yet, he says this to me even when I haven't showered in 2 days because I'm working on a paper.

I think a big part of it is just that he sees me differently than the rest of the world (and I ) see me.  I keep waiting for his rose-colored glasses to come off, but no matter how many dirty dishes I leave in the sink or how many times I leave my clothes in a pile on the floor, he doesn't lose patience with me. (The only time he really does lose patience with me is when we're running late... And most of the time we're not even "running late" because we don't have an appointment, we're just "running late" because we haven't left by the time he decided in his mind that we needed to leave by.)

I got an apartment near my internship site (did I mention I got the internship at the state hospital? I'm glad I did, but it's 1h15 drive each way... long in our snowy winters.)  I got a great deal-- $200 w/all utilities included, only a few blocks from the hospital. Can't ask for anything better.  I also have a studio that I pay $30/night for near my school... But, that means I will be away from Jedi probably 3-4 days a week, which I know he doesn't like.  I don't like it either, but I'm more of an introvert than he is, and I don't really need to interact with people to be happy-- he does. It makes him nuts when I'm gone even just 1 day a week, as I am now.

I still find it mind-boggling that he misses me the way he does when I'm gone for such short periods.  I mean, I miss him-of course-- when I'm gone, but I don't feel completely bereft either.  It is nice to have someone miss me like that, I suppose, but I also worry about him.  I want him to get out and make friends, but that's not very easy to do where we live.

I still can't believe how amazing he is to me though-- every single day.  There isn't a day that goes by when he hasn't done or said something incredibly thoughtful, just to make sure I know how much he loves me.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Other families are weird

(ok, my family is weird too.)

You'd think I'd know that since I'm studying to be a marriage and family therapist, right? Eh, my supervisor says you can't do therapy with your own family, you're just too close to them.

Take for example, my in-laws-- who are great 99% of the time.  But they are a family of "brush problems under the rug and let's never speak about them" type of people.  Which is interesting, because Jedi is such a talker-- with me.  With me, he is open, and every subject is up for discussion, and we can talk and debate about anything... with his parents he just totally shuts down. (Well, I say his parents, but mostly his dad-- but often his mom too.)

They just all run, run, run, from confrontation-- or anything that looks like it might even potentially have any type of anything that could possibly have anything to do with confrontation-- But instead things just fester, and get weird and uncomfortable, and no one talks about stuff, until hopefully everyone forgets about it.  (In my family people just scream and shout and let it all out, which I know other people find equally uncomfortable, but hey! That's home to me... and at least you don't get that weird uncomfortable tension because of all the things that are left unsaid.)

I've learned to stay far out of it-- the last time I encouraged Jedi to talk to his parents, or my Mother in Law to stand up for herself, for example (way before we were married) it turned into a disaster, so I just keep my mouth shut these days and try to ignore it, even though it is super grating.

It's hard to know how to deal with it though-- Right now, for example, Jedi is pretty upset with his parents-- but he'll never say anything about it in a million years.

It started because we asked Jedi's parents to pick us up tickets to his sister's theater production (in which she is staring.)  He specifically said that we would pay for the tickets, we just needed his mom to pick them up.

Well, his mother said "Don't be silly, we'll cover the tickets." He said, "you don't have to do that." She said, "It's fine."

They have covered the tickets for previous theater productions in the past, but we do always offer (genuinely) to pay for them.

Well, the show is coming up, and she touched base with Jedi this week,and when she did she  said to him, "You know you're going to have to pay us back for the tickets, right?"  He told me he responded by saying, "We were always planning to."

He came back home livid-- "Can you believe it? How rude was that? Why did she say it like that? When she knew we were planning on paying, and then she just took back her offer in such a mean tone-- Like we were never planning to pay, like we're deadbeats, etc etc..."  He's still mad, a week later.

Now, what is that about? I have no freaking clue. Could it be solved with a simple conversation? Yes, yes it could. Will it? No, of course not-- because my husband and my inlaws prefer uncomfortable and tension filled silences to actually having a conversation that might go like this:

MIL: Jedi, I know we said we would pay for your tickets, but money is tight right now so we can't.  (Or, alternately and perhaps even more likely-- Jedi, I know we said we would pay for your tickets because we thought you have no money since you're poor students, but we noticed Hypatia bought herself a new Coach purse, and your dad got mad about how you choose to spend your money (and didn't realize that you had used some gift money for that purpose) and so instead of actually telling you that fact we will passive-aggresively punish you in this manner.)  {And that Alternative conversation could be had in a non-passive aggressive type way too if they were truly concerned about that-- as in, MIL: Hey Jedi, We're concerned about your spending habits-- we know it's none of our business, but we know students can sometimes have trouble with budgeting. We'd be happy to help with some resources if you think that could be useful.... (but we're actually fine with money in that realm)}

Jedi: No problem mom, we were planning on paying for our tickets anyway. But we appreciate the offer.

Simple conversation, solves stuff right?  But instead Jedi is going to be all worked up at his sister's play this weekend and isn't going to enjoy it and there will be weirdness between them all.

Don't worry, I'm staying far out of it-- but it is super frustrating to think I have another 50+ years of weird silences and tension filled events to deal with because these family members who love each other don't feel safe enough with each other to trust that they can have real, open, and honest conversations.

(And this small example is the tip of the ice berg, believe me. If my inlaws only knew how often Jedi comes home hurt by something that he will never talk to them about... *sigh*...)

My family is messed up in many ways, but I think that was one thing that was always reassuring about our BIG MASSIVE BLOWUPS-- we knew that no matter how much yelling, stomping, screaming occurred (note: I'm not saying that's better than a conversation either but at least it is honest and real feelings got shared) we knew that at the end of that argument we still loved each other.

One of the absolute saddest things I have experienced in my relationship with Jedi is that he thinks that after we have an argument my love for him is gone-- poof! Withdrawn! finito! The End!

I can't help but think that is the outcome of this "we never talk/so we never have to argue" dynamic. I think they all think that dynamic is better because it's peaceful, and more "polite" and genteel, and presentable to the outside world but... It's just not good to let things fester with years of untold resentment either.

For example, it doesn't matter how many times I reassure Jedi that I love him, I will always love him, I have never stopped loving him-- he is convinced each fight means the absolute end of my love. (And I have never given him cause to think that-- I am not one of those people who yells "I hate you" in the heat of an argument or anything.) I think that comes from this very dynamic-- I believe Jedi internalized the idea that if he argued or displayed unhappiness, his parents' love for him would be withdrawn.

 How sad and tragic is it to think that is what expressing non-happy emotions means to him! Those emotions need an outlet too, and he has to know that there has to be a safe place for them.  I hope, that over time, Jedi will at least learn that with me he will always be safe to express them.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

What a girl wants

Well, I got offers at both internship sites! It wasn't difficult to make a decision though because internship site B practically had me heaving in the parking lot with PTSD symptoms, it reminded me so much of my former workplace.  Basically, the person who interviewed me was describing a particular case management meeting she'd just come from that she described as "full of in-fighting, hidden agendas, petty territorial squabbles..."

EEP. GOOD LORD. Take me 10,000 miles away from another workplace like that. Sounds like I dodged a bullet too because after having lunch with a couple of friends this week who are 'in the field' they said that the particular site I'd interviewed at has a terrible reputation amongst the local practitioners.

So, I've ended up at the State Hospital, which is where I wanted to be in the first place (though the drive is kind of a killer.)  I think it will be a great learning experience.  I also have a second phone call with the head of the phD program I think I want to transfer into once I'm done with the MA portion where I'm at. She seems enthusiastic to talk to me, which is always a hopeful sign!

I also have some new clients coming up this week, which I'm excited about-- a couple coming in for pre-marital counseling. Right now I've been seeing individuals for various presenting issues, and families with young kids (not my ballgame! I have a lot of ethical issues with the way kids have few confidential rights in the counseling process).  I want to work with couples when I have my own practice someday, so this should be a good way to get my feet wet.

I start my internship in May, but I do wonder how I will fit it all in. Some of my classmates have lightened their courseload and are planning taking 3 years to complete the program. No way do I want to do that-- I just have to power through, but it will basically be 2 days/week @ school, 3 days/week at the internship site, and 3days/week @ my part time job.... Does that seem like more days than there are in the week?  Um, yeah!  The biggest obstacle is really the driving-- I'm not one of those people who gets relaxed while driving, I just get tense-- and now I'm basically going to have an 1h30 commute 2x a day, 5 days a week... yuck.  I already have an apartment share for one day a week down at school, and I'm looking into it for when I work at the hospital, but I know Jedi is not thrilled with the idea-- he feels like he hardly sees me as it is, which is pretty accurate.

I do need to give Jedi some extra attention these days-- he does so much, and I'm often running to and fro and I don't give him as much affection as he needs. I need to be reminded to give him hugs and to kiss him before I leave for the day-- not because I don't love him, but because I just tend not to need as much physical affection and demonstrations of love as he does. However, I certainly would not be much of a marriage therapist if, while I'm getting my degree in marriage therapy, I neglect my own marriage, now would I! I have to keep working on this and making him a priority.

Friday, February 1, 2013

A fork stuck in the road

   I have two interviews lined up next week for clinical internships.  I think I have a shot at both of them (knock on wood!), but they are both very different and could potentially lead to me leading 2 quite different lives in the next few years.

The first internship is at a clinic affiliated with the state hospital, and it is probably my top choice in terms of actual work I'd be doing. I wouldn't be working with committed psychiatric cases or anything of that sort (what most people think of when I talk about the state hospital.) I'd be doing  a subset therapy specialty, and one which is relatively new and which interests me.  At the hospital the therapists and doctors work on teams to treat patients who have chronic illnesses or continuing concerns... e.g. postpartum depression, MS, cancer, etc.  to provide holistic patient-centered care.

One thing in particular that is appealing about this particular internship, in addition to the fact that the work itself interests me, is that many of their interns have gone on to a pretty prestigious PhD program that is affiliated with the hospital. I admit that I am considering applying/transferring to that PhD program, and the benefits are phenomenal-- full tuition remission, $40k stipend, health insurance, great research support, etc. They only take 2-3 students on a year, so I'm not counting any chickens or anything, but I've talked to the director of the program and she mentioned if I got this internship I'd be on the right track to get into the program.

At the same time though, if I got this internship it would mean that I would likely be away from Jedi/home 4 nights per week.... which is A LOT. And exhausting. But, I tell myself, it would only be for a year.... but still. It's a lot.

The second internship has the benefit of being closer to home-- it's only 40 minutes away, but they have a satellite clinic I could potentially work at that is only 5 minutes from where I live. The downside is that the work is less interesting to me--it's a lot of court-mandated cases and home visits (and given our catchment area I anticipate that could entail a lot of driving on back country roads in bad weather and could potentially end up being almost as much driving as if I were going to the State hospital.)

The plus side of this internship, in addition to it being closer to home, is that they are often hiring. Whether I were to decide that I wanted to be done with my program after the MA portion or continue on to do the PhD at the school I'm currently at (I'm debating... the cost is nothing to sneeze at), if Jedi and I decide to stay in this area I would likely have to work under the license of someone else in an agency setting for 2 years before I can practice independently.  This internship site is the closest to where we live that would offer that possibility, and part of me thinks it would be good to start working for them as an intern and then have a leg up if/when the time came to apply for a position with them.

Both are good options and I'm lucky/glad I have them. Most of my classmates don't have interviews lined up or anything yet, which would leave me panicked!  Our cohort is very large this year and we are competing with students from the state university for the few internship slots-- it's entirely possible that some of us won't end up with internships (the school says this is unlikely, but there are at least 2 students from the smallish 2013 class that didn't get their internships until November and internship placements are supposed to happen by April/May... so early bird gets the worm!)

I do like to try to plan everything out ahead of time though-- I know that one internship over another is no guarantee of an admissions letter or a job offer in either case and I should be more focused on what I'll be learning--but my mind can't help wandering to the "what if" scenarios and trying to play them all out in my head!

I guess by this time next week it will be a little more clear depending on which internship I get offered, if in fact, I get offered ANY of them...! (horrors!)

I also have another application out to a third clinic so that is also a possibility if neither of these works out.  Que sera, sera...

He said

"Just cherish me," Jedi said, "And I will do anything in my power to make you happy."

How could a girl not fall in love with him?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Reason # 8793663 I love him

Jedi: Did you ever read Lord of the Rings when you were a kid?

Me: No, I could never get into that series.

Jedi: Why not?

Me: There are hardly any women in those books.

Jedi: Huh. I guess you're right.

Me: It just annoyed me.  If you don't have characters like me in your universe, I'll assume your universe is not for me.

Jedi: Huh.

 a few days later

Jedi: So... do you think you could point me towards some kids or young adult books with strong female characters?

Me: Sure, why?

Jedi: Because I figure if we have a daughter someday I should know which books I should read to her.

Me: {warm fuzzies}


So, I'm starting him off with The Hero and The Crown and basically anything by Robin McKinley.  Any "must read" suggestions?