Life Update + “Cheap Stroganoff”

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Exciting news! We’re moving into a new apartment next month! It’s been an adventure the last couple of days trying to figure out what to keep, donate, and get for the new place. We bought the comfiest, most beautiful emerald reading chair a couple days ago and have basically been showing strangers pictures of it in grocery store check out lines ever since, like proud parents. We feel like such adults. As excited as I am about the big move, it’s a double edged sword because it is another thing added on top of the chaos we already have going on, so it’s made our already hectic schedules that much more crazy. Tonight we threw together a quick dinner I was pretty proud of (we’ve affectionately dubbed it Cheap Stroganoff), so I knew right away I wanted to share it with y’all. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS: 2 thawed chicken breasts (diced), 1 can of Cream of Mushroom soup, 2 garlic cloves (diced), pinch of dried oregano, tarragon, basil, and parsley, salt and pepper to taste, 2 cups of pasta of your choice (We used penne, in hindsight egg noodles would probably make a more appropriate Stroganoff, but we work with what we have!)

DIRECTIONS:

  • Add pasta to boiling water with a pinch of salt
  • In a large pan over Medium-High heat, add diced garlic and cook for about a minute, add thawed chicken
  • Once chicken has cooked (approximately 6 minutes each side), add can of Cream of Mushroom soup to large pan, along with all seasonings. Cook for 2-3 minutes
  • After pasta has boiled to desired texture, drain and combine ingredients in large pan. Let ingrdients mix well and serve warm.

Senioritis + White Chicken Chili.

Am I the only one that was dreading going back to school this semester? I feel like this is the first term since I’ve been in college that I really just didn’t want classes to begin. Sam and all my friends were so excited, but it’s taken me a little while to warm up to going back. Getting some new school supplies helped, and we got most of the wedding preparations done over winter break so I have less to worry about on top of classes and work. Unfortunately, poor Sam has caught the flu, so I’ve been spending the last couple of days nursing him back to health.  I’ve finally gotten sick of grilled cheese and tomato soup, so I pulled out some recipes from my Aunt Sharon and decided to try one I’ve had stored away for a while, it was so simple and came out even better than I expected so I knew I had to share with you guys, enjoy!

WHITE CHICKEN CHILI

INGREDIENTS: 4 cups cubed cooked chicken, 3 cups chicken broth, one cup of salsa, one small can of green chili, 1/2 large white onion chopped, 3 minced garlic cloves, 2 cans of Northern Beans, 1 can of Northern Beans blended in blender (for thickness), 1 teaspoon cumin, 2 teaspoon dried basil, 3 tablespoons of butter

DIRECTIONS: 

  • Melt butter in a large pot, add garlic and onions, cook for about 2 minutes.
  • Add remaining ingredients, simmer on medium heat for 25-30 minutes.
  • Serve warm. (We added a little shredded cheese and sour cream after dishing it up, optional but highly recommended)

 

Slow Cooker Gumbo + Bloody Beer Mary.

cookingToday is our last day of classes for the semester! I still have three final papers due after today, but at least don’t have class now too. I recently discovered a documentary channel on YouTube called Real Stories, and in the last couple of days I’ve watched videos on young nuns, bipolar disorder, unusual marriages, anorexia, transgender kids, and childhood obesity. I feel like I have too much information in my brain and I need to watch some New Girl to cleanse my mind.

We made slow cooker gumbo and a lager version of a Bloody Mary for dinner tonight to celebrate, and it was so good. Traditional gumbo has okra and roux, but our grocery store in Salt Lake doesn’t really carry okra and we’re trying to eat cleaner so we went roux-less, but they’re both delicious in it so if you want to add them, you won’t be disappointed.

SLOW COOKER GUMBO

INGREDIENTS: One pound of chicken breast cut into small pieces, one pound raw shrimp without shells and tails, one pound of andouille smoked sausage, one and one third cup of cooked rice, half of an onion diced, one diced green pepper, one diced jalapeno pepper, three ribs of diced celery, one 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes, two cups of chicken broth, three teaspoon of minced garlic, one tablespoon of Cajun spice, one teaspoon thyme, one teaspoon oregano, french bread (optional)

DIRECTIONS: 

  • In the slow cooker, combine all ingredients except rice and shrimp.
  • Cook on high 4-6 hours.
  • The last hour of cooking, salt shrimp lightly and add to slow cooker. In the last half hour, cooked rice and set aside.
  • Serve gumbo warm over rice with french bread.

BLOODY BEER MARY

INGREDIENTS: Bloody Mary mix, Uinta Lime pilsner, sea salt, Cajun seasoning, pickles, one lemon

DIRECTIONS:

  • Dampen rim of Mason jar and roll across sea salt and Cajun seasoning.
  • Mix one cup Bloody Mary mix with one cup beer (can vary depending on the ratio you like)
  • Top with pickles and lemon slice.

Take care,
The Wiesenbears

Giving Thanks + the Great Pumpkin Cheesecake.

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Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! We hope you  had a beautiful day with the ones you love. We had a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with Sam’s family, ate pie and played games. Thanksgiving always reminds me how lucky I am, I know that sounds like bragging, but maybe just today showing gratitude for what we have is okay. My life isn’t perfect, it never will be, but when I think back to how lost I felt a few years ago, it makes me realize how grounded and whole I’ve become, and I have to give some credit the boy passed out in a carb coma beside me for that. I’m so filled with love for everyone the universe has brought my way. There’s so much to be thankful for.

Okay enough with the sappy, on to the food! As usual, we completely stuffed ourselves. Me with stuffing, Sam with corn casserole. Now, I have a confession, I don’t like pumpkin pie. As much as I love all things fall, I’ve never been able to actually enjoy one of the staple autumn foods, until Sam made pumpkin cheesecake. I think part of what makes me dislike traditional pumpkin pie is the texture, but with pumpkin cheesecake, it’s the same flavor with a more appealing feel to me. We made some tonight and I loved it just as much this time as I did the last so I’ll post the recipe below. Enjoy! 

INGREDIENTS: For the crust: 30 graham crackers, 5 tablespoons of melted butter,  2 tablespoons of white sugar. For the cheesecake: 16 ounces of softened cream cheese, 1/2 cup of white sugar, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, one 15 ounce can of pumpkin puree, 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice, 16 ounces of heavy whipping cream

DIRECTIONS: 

  • Crush graham crackers, then stir in melted butter and sugar.
  • Grease a 9 inch springform pan. Press crust mix into the bottom, then refrigerate for half an hour.
  • In a large bowl, mix cream cheese, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth.
  • Stir in pumpkin puree, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice.
  • Whip heavy cream until stiff peaks form.
  • Fold into pumpkin cheesecake mixture, spreading evenly into graham cracker crust.
  • Refrigerate until solid, approximately two hours.
  • Top with plenty of whipped cream!

Take care,
The Wiesenbears

Winter Is Coming.

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One of our favorite games to play when we step outside in the morning is deciding which season the air feels like that day, sometimes a spring day will surprise us in winter, or summer will put up a fight before giving over to fall. I love November’s transitional period between autumn and winter. The leaves are the same orange and brown, but there’s a little more nip in the air making everyone’s noses turn cherry apple red. Bundles get a little thicker and eating on the patio is no longer an option. It’s been rainy and cold here the last couple of days, and I can tell it’s going to snow soon.

I can’t believe the semester is almost over, I’m really going to miss my classes and professors I currently have. It’s the most bittersweet part of this time of year for me. I’ve decided to take a gap year in between graduating this spring and either going on to a master’s degree or doing a Montessori certification. When I was a ballet dancer, I felt like I was always in such a rush, because if I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do and was actively working towards it, I felt like I was falling behind. It’s taken a long time for me to get out of that mentality, I still haven’t completely, so I think a break would give me some time to just enjoy finishing my bachelor’s.

I’ve been meaning to write about the pot roast recipe my mom gave us that we tried several weeks ago, it came out perfectly, with plenty of left overs for the rest of the week, so I’ll post it below if you want to try it out!

INGREDIENTS: 3 pounds of beef roast, 2 medium sized onions cut into half moons, 2 garlic minced cloves, 6 red potatoes sliced into wedges, one bag of baby carrots, 2 packages of brown gravy mix, one cup of water, a pinch of Italian seasoning, salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS: 

  • Coat slow cooker with olive oil.
  • Place roast in slow cooker and surround by halved onions, baby carrots, minced garlic, and potato wedges.
  • Mix one package of gravy with a cup of cold water, then pour on roast and vegetables. Add Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
  • Cover, and cook on high for 6 hours.
  • One hour before serving, add second gravy package, mix well.
  • Cover, and cook for one hour.

Take care,
The Wiesenbears

First Day of Fall + Vegetarian Chili.

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I live for this time of year, between September and January. I can already fantasize about the smell of pumpkin candles, taste of apple butter, and watching the leaves change color day by day. Like Lorelai Gilmore’s “I smell snow”, I feel fall. It’s the only time of year I’m completely comfortable. The heat makes me lethargic, and the cold makes me want to bundle up indoors, so autumn is the perfect mix. Plus I love seeing everyone decked out in plaid flannels, scarfs, and beanies.

We decided to start the day by going to see Darren Aronofsky’s Mother!, which gave us plenty to talk about for the rest of the afternoon. After, we stopped at Nostalgia Cafe for some London Fog and drove around town. Before heading home, we picked up our annual fall candle, some yarn to knit a new scarf, and ingredients to make chili. We had a little get together with some close friends who are vegan and vegetarian so we tried our usual chili recipe without meat, I’ll post it below. We hope you had a great autumn equinox and had a chance to get outside and enjoy this beautiful weather!

INGREDIENTS: Two 15 oz. cans of black beans, one 15 oz. can of pinto beans, two 15 oz. cans of diced tomatoes, 2 cups of vegetable broth, 1 cup of corn, 4 chopped celery sticks, 1 diced onion, 2 diced garlic cloves, juice of one lime, one package of chili seasoning mix, salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS:

  • Coat large pot with olive oil, add chopped celery, onions and garlic cook until tender over medium heat.
  • Add black beans, pinto beans, corn, tomatoes (with its juice), and vegetable broth. Stir in chili seasoning and lime juice, add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Bring to a boil, then simmer on low for 15 minutes.

Take care,
The Wiesenbears