Saturday, August 27, 2011


The Chipotle Chicken Tacos from Homesick Texan were amazing! So good that I took the chicken and salsa to work on Monday and shared with co-workers for two days. One co-worker, who is on a diet, was in heaven and was so pleased that there was not any added sugar.

The rest of the weeks menu got a little skewed. It was a tough week full of other people's problems that were a little more than what I could handle and it threw my desire to cook or be in the kitchen at all off.

This week we are going to try

Tex-Mex Stuffed Peppers  I think I will use seasoned ground chicken and some black beans and corn with a small amount of rice in the stuffing.

Greek Meatballs eaten in flat bread with homemade Tzatziki Sauce

My husband has requested taco casserole which is simple and easy to change to taste. It was inspired by an old Betty Crocker Recipe  out of a cookbook I have had since college, but has been changed over the years to be somewhat healthier and more nacho like. I prefer crunchy tortilla chips.

So here is my recipe

1 pound browned meat (beef, chicken, turkey)
1 14-16 oz can of Bush's Grillin' Beans or Seasoned Chili Beans
1 cup salsa
2-3 ripe tomatoes
2-3 green onions
Sour Cream
shredded cheese (experiment with what you like on tacos - Monterrey jack and Colby are great!)
Fresh Cilantro
13x9 inch baking dish

brown the meat and drain the grease
after the meat is drained add in the can of beans and 1 cup salsa
heat over medium low

meanwhile preheat oven to 350
chop tomatoes and green onions and a handful of Cilantro (if you like it) and mix them together

when the beans,salsa, and meat are hot add to the baking dish, spreading it out to make an even layer.
Top with the tomatoes and green onions. then sprinkle on cheese.
bake at 350 for 30 minutes

You could add the sour cream between the meat and tomato/green onion layer, but I have not had a lot of success with that so we add it to our dish after its cooked.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Sunday Dinner

For me the phrase 'Sunday Dinner' deserves to be capitalized, it's one of the big deals in my life. I love to go all out. Sure, there are The Holidays, but I think it's silly to shove all your affection and appreciation into a couple of stressful nights a year. So Sunday Dinner is my time to show my love.And this past Sunday I made something simple, something every American makes at least once..Good Ol' Yankee Pot Roast. It was so nice to slow roast a piece of meat in the oven all afternoon.

And I got my kitchen groove back! Thank God! I had been floundering in sandwiches and tacos. Once this Southwestern girl lost her taste for tacos she was quite desperate! I have found all sorts of new food blogs and recipes and am very excited to try them. So what's in store for this Sunday Dinner?

Sunday: Chipotle Chicken Tacos - I love Homesick Texan's Recipes! Try the Texas Sheet Cake sometime! Also her Migas recipe is so yummy! This is a blog I go to when I seriously need a true southwestern meal.

Monday: Baked Zitti - that recipe is in my head and its kind of a gut thing.

Tuesday: Orange Chicken

I think Wednesday and Thursday will be fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of nights. They are usually hazy and I generally abandon the menu for something simple like eggs or sandwiches just to save myself the dishes.

Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


I am sending in my withdrawal forms to ASU tomorrow. Ugh. As freeing as the decision was it still is sad. I have to admit I have always been nostalgic about my undergraduate years... I made some of the best friends that are still a large part of my life and learned so much about myself during that time, but that time is past. That time has been past for *cough* ten years.

I do wish the DBH could have been worth it, but I just don't see how going to school for a degree that will not really help me get a different license in my field or even a raise would help me.  Well the raise that I could get if the Holy Grail were to come through is ok, but it still doesn't make up for the $63,000 I'd be spending + the compounded interest + the stress of homework and working full time. All of this is based on "Ifs" and I am really tired of "ifs" when it concerns $63,000.00!

I feel really solid in my decision to pass it up and continue on my merry way just as I am. I really believe that right now I have enough. I don't need more or to be more than what I am. It's an amazing feeling. I wish everyone had this feeling.

Writing has been going well. I tend to write a lot of character journals, build them from the ground up and get the characters voice in my head. They get a psychology that way, childhood crap that shaped their personality and made them what they are or will be. I confess I like the growing character. The one who changes over the course of the book. I also really like the double agent and the evil ones. They are really fun. The more I work on these journals the clearer their voices and attitudes come through. Sticking to it can be hard, I get distracted and wander off or frustrated and stop.  I've never heard of or met a writer who thinks what they are writing is golden. Never. So I have decided to introduce the concept of "enough."

Ya know, Do I have enough info? Do I have enough descriptive words? Do I have enough screwed up shit that happens to propel my character forward? Is there enough tension to propel the plot forward? Have I taken out enough adverbs?

But I digress

This  is a concept I introduced to my life years ago, I think it came from an email about a father wishing his daughter "enough" you have probably seen it...

I find as I get older and more content with my life (angst less?)  I am really happy with what I do have. I feel that I have enough and am enough. Bizarre! In my early 30's I had the concept of "enough" but it was not really applying to me. In my early 30's I didn't really have enough and certainly did not feel like enough. But now I am enough. I can feel that each day even when I have a crap day when nothing went right. I can still feel like I am enough and that whatever crap that the day had brought I did the best I could for that day.

That and the Marmoset song helps :)

I wish you enough!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Its bizarre how free I feel after making the decision not to continue school. I hadn't even started, but it had always been on my mind. For years it was on my mind. I work with a lot of psychologists and psychiatrists. To them school is a necessity. To me? I can learn what I need from books now and trainings. I don't think I need to enter into school to still be on a level playing field with them.

So what is it I am going to do with all this "free time" Live, be me, knit. crochet, and write.

I write from time to time and have been slowly building a world for a fantasy novel I have had in my head for years. So I will dive back in and see how far I get. I'd like to find a writers group of like minded folks and in the past have found some folks, but people have lives. People have emotions and frustration seems to be a nig one for me when I get stuck in my writing. So we shall see this time if I find a group of other like minded folks. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

My Holy Grail

I think everyone has a Holy Grail that they aspire to get sometime in their lives. Mine just happens to be a piece of paper and acceptance into the Licensed Professional Counselor club. I am a Substance Abuse counselor, not by choice, but by necessity. In 2006 after I graduated from my Master's program at Prescott College I applied for the LAC. They lost my application and money order. I reapplied. They found me deficient. I appealed with all my supporting documentation I could muster. They still found me deficient.

I took out private student loans and took most of the classes that I was deficient in then ran out of money and did not have the heart to re-apply for more private student loans. It was exhausting keeping up with Satan's own lender, working full time, going to classes 2 nights a week for 6 hours a night and doing homework. I also was really irritated with the other students. So I applied for the substance abuse license. I took the test, passed, and got a nice piece of paper with my name and license number on it.

I was satisfied for a time.

So this past fall I made the decision to return to school and get those damned classes I am deficient in. I was accepted into a Doctorate and celebrated.  I now have a major case of sticker shock. The school I was accepted into is charging me $370 per credit hour in fees. I guess this is paying for the fancy new buildings they have built or will build. Who knows! They say its for contracts and supervisors....Maybe, but I don't feel that that is my responsibility to pay their contracts when I am not going to be a part of said contracts and I have my own damned supervisor.

So I went on the hunt for a school that had minimal fees. There are 2 online schools that do, they are CACREP accredited, the tuition is a good price. Yipppe! Then a dear friend of mine slaped some sense into me....She suggested I  sit down and total out the length of time it will take to get this shiny new degree and the Holy Grail. What do I want it to do for me? Where do I think or want it to take me? Is it going to be better than what I have now? Am I going to be moving to another state?

Their programs take 3-4 years to complete, then I apply for the Associate Holy Grail. I then work another 2 years as an associate and then I actually am worthy enough to have my own Professional Holy Grail.  The amount of time it would take just for that is approximately 6 years. It will not help me to move up in the company or in life. Only time and good decisions do that. The Holy Grail itself will give me a 6% increase at work. I don't plan on moving anywhere although I do fantasize about it often.  My life will be no better after this new degree then it is now. Hell, it could be worse...I'd have more debt and perhaps struggle to find a job in the National Health Service Corps.

This brought some clarity to my self imposed crazy making.

I am not 20! I am not a kid anymore. I haven't even really given a real thought to having kids because I never thought I'd stop trying to reach this stupid goal.  Who the hell cares what kind of license I have as long as I have one! I have been practicing as a counselor in a community mental health setting for 6 years. I love what I do even if sometimes the clients scare the bejeezus out of me. I owe a shitton of money to student loans as it is, why on God's green earth do I want to spend more money and time on this when I have a life to live. I am not going to live forever and I don't want to waste my life seeking out this Holy Grail . It is not going to get me the corner office and it sure as hell is not going to get me any closer to paying off my debts I already owe. So I am doing something drastic (for me) I decided to get real and cough up the money every month to pay my student loans debt off and forget about the Doctorate.

I have not ruled out taking those 2 classes and applying to get said Holy Grail one last time . But I am not going to enter into a program and waste another 5-7 years of my life on this craziness. It really is not worth it.