Friday, March 26, 2010

Happy Friday (times two)

Well, I forgot to post for Friday happy last week! I had happiness to share, but just forgot about writing it out! (see more happiness here).

So - today, I'll share two happy things!

First off, I'm so excited to have a new printer/scanner combo! I have many old photos that I have wanted to get onto my computer, and now I can do that!! YAY! The scanner is also a color photo printer, so I can make prints of photos as I go along! I had initially ordered just a scanner, but it didn't work. I was so frustrated, but in the end, it worked out better. For just a few dollars more, I got this combo, and it is working just great!! (It is an HP Photosmart, All-in-one C4780 for anyone who wants to know!)

I am working on a fun project (which I'll keep secret for now) and this new equipment is going to help that along! I've had fun this week scanning in old photos! I'll share some of them later.

For my second bit of happiness, my husband showed up at home yesterday after running some errands with flowers for me!! I love flowers! He doesn't bring them home often, but when he does, I love it!! yay! The bouquet was big, and I didn't have a vase big enough for it, so I split the flowers into two batches! So pretty!

What made you happy this week?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Brunswick Stew

For this week's happy, I'm posting a recipe that I made the other night for dinner. I love to cook, and having a recipe turn out well is a very good happy! (See more happy here.)

When we were visiting North Carolina a couple years ago, we had a fabulous dinner at a BBQ place called Smithfields. YUMMY! One of the sides they offer is Brunswick Stew. I had never heard of it, but it was fantastic. Turns out, it is a very common side in the south. Every place has a different version of the recipe!

I went looking for a recipe recently, and kept finding recipes for HUGE amounts of this stew (think three whole chickens, a pound of potatoes, etc.) I decided to just take bits and pieces from these recipes and make up my own in order to make a more reasonable amount of stew.
About two weeks ago, my husband made pulled pork. He got this recipe from someone in the south also, and he has perfected it. It is super tasty! We saved out a portion and froze it to put into our stew. (We will be doing this from now on!)
OK - on to the recipe.

Brunswick Stew (My way)
1 yellow onion, diced
3 potatoes, diced (I used yukon gold)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can whole tomatoes (28 oz)
1 can cream corn
1 bag frozen lima beans
1 bag frozen corn
3 chicken breasts (cooked, diced)
1/2-1 pound cooked, pulled pork
s&p to taste
Herbs - rosemary, oregano... I used dried - big pinches of each and a couple bay leaves
Dash of worcestershire sauce
4 cups chicken broth, 4 cups water

First - saute the onion and garlic in a little oil. I did this right in my big stock pot. Add in the diced potatoes. I added a bit of salt and pepper at this point. Dump in the juice from the canned tomatoes, and break apart the whole tomatoes - add. Stir in your broth and water at this point and get the soup simmering. Add in your herbs and worcestershire sauce. Taste for saltiness. I didn't need to add much more because of the broth.

Add in the pork, chicken, and all veggies, except the cream corn. Let everything simmer for about 45 minutes-1 hour, until the potatoes are done. Add in the cream corn and let it all get heated up again. Serve.

You can also add some heat with a few red chile flakes. Many recipes I saw also called for added sugar. I skipped that. The cream corn is pretty sweet and added enough sweet for me. You can really vary this how you like it. I wanted to add okra also, but couldn't find frozen in our little local grocery. If you don't like lima beans, use something else. You could also do this with just chicken if you don't have leftover pulled pork. I think you would want to add in some spice though. (The pork has cumin, chipotle, brown sugar, etc. on it.)
This was an amazingly yummy stew! We ate it for dinner last night, and have a huge amount leftover. Yay! We have a frozen pork shoulder and Mike will be making pulled pork again soon. There will be a portion placed in the freezer for another round of Brunswick stew! :)

Friday, March 5, 2010


It's Friday and that means time for my happy for the week. (See the Happy Book here.)

Yep. This week taxes actually made me happy.

I have been fretting about our taxes this year. Normally, they have been quite easy and uncomplicated. Enough so, that I've been able to do them on my own. Even the year we got married, I did them with no trouble.

This year, however, we moved to Oregon. I became self-employed, and Mike became unemployed. It got complicated! I hired an accountant, and boy am I glad I did! Living part year in one state, part in another is hard enough, but throw the self-employed bit in there too. Pshew! Too much for me.

I got word earlier in the week that our paperwork was ready for filing. We are getting a refund from Colorado, and we owe Oregon - that pretty much washes each other out. We will also get a decent sized federal refund! YAY! And my estimated returns for the rest of the year are ready too! Pshew!

Talk about a load of worry off of my mind!

Now, we can have a free and clear weekend. Tomorrow, we are heading for Multnomah Falls. It is about three hours away from us. And there is an amazing Mexican restaurant that we know near there, so we're looking forward to that as well!

What are your weekend plans? What made you happy this week?