Monday, March 31, 2014

Fashion Adventures: Pretty Much Spring (Almost)

Seeing as how the last time I posed for pictures in the dress, Chief was with me...I figured she should be with me in these pictures, too!  (Except I was carrying her in my belly at the time, not in my arms.)

I'm sure you don't need me to tell you how freaking ridiculous the weather has been the past few weeks.  A couple of feet of snow, then temperatures in the 50s and 60s, then another few inches of snow, then 60s again.  Go home, winter- you're drunk.

We're supposed to hit 70 next week, so maybe winter is finally over, and spring is finally here?

Looking through these pictures compared to the last set of outfit photos, I noticed that I'm definitely smiling more when I'm holding her.  And how could you not? 

I definitely look...better when I look happier.  Maybe I would feel better about the way my body looks if I smiled more?  Like I said a couple of weeks ago- approaching life from a more positive perspective makes for a better life!

So rather than drone on and on about how I still have too much pudge, I think I'll just let you enjoy some pictures of Chief being adorable.

On me:
earrings: gift
dress and belt: Calvin Klein via Ross
watch: Kohl's
sandals: gift
sweater: New York and Company

On her:
sweater and dress: Carter's via Kohl's

I mean seriously.  SO CUTE.
So, Chief is the cutest baby ever, right?


Glad we settled that :)

Much love,
The Geeks

Friday, March 28, 2014

Faithful Fridays: Awe and Wonder

Everything is amazing and wonderful to her.

I showed her how to make her newest toy sing the other day.  It's definitely designed just for a little one like her; just the lightest tap starts the music, and it doesn't require any finesse to get it going.  The lights started flashing and the music started playing and she froze, her eyes widening in amazement.  When it was over, she gazed up at me, her mouth forming a little 'O' as she started kicking her feet and flailing her arms before she erupted into an excited squeal.  I took that to mean, "Do it again, Mommy!" so I did it again and she offered the same excited reaction.  A few days later, she figured out the actions necessary to start the music, and she watched in amazement as her toy did this incredible thing at her command.  New sights, new sounds, and new people- all are met with her wide eyes and her big smile.

a teeny, tiny Chief staring in amazement at her own reflection above her // *personal photo*

It's easy to be jaded in a culture with such a short attention span.  "Trending topics" are short lived; by the time I get around to picking up the It shoe, it's out of style.  Nothing holds our attention for very long as we constantly search for new forms of entertainment.  Nothing seems impressive anymore.

But this world is full of signs of God's awesome love- the colors of a sunset, the sound of a bird's song, even Chief's toothless grin.  I need to remember to slow down and take a look around every now and then.  I need to unplug for a while and just appreciate the gifts I've been given.  I need to allow myself to be amazed again.

What have you learned from your infant lately?

Much love,
The Geeks

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Oh, Internet... {46}

Oh my goodness I'm TIRED.  It's amazing how Chief sleeps through the night but we still seem to be sleepy all the time.  Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawn.

So.  Anyway.  The internet.  Here it is.  (No pictures this week, boo.)

Allie from Everyday Adventures wrote an awesome post this week titled "I'm Not Going to Apologize for Food."  Amen!

Carrots for Michaelmas started a blogging advice series.  Her first post talks about how to encourage people to be nice in the comments section.  It's pretty much impossible to keep the trolls out, but I disagree with one of her pieces of advice- I don't think I would ever delete a comment, unless it was spam.  Although, that's easy to say now, when I have an average of LESS THAN ONE comment per post...

Lumosity is probably not actually helping your brain at all.  (From Quartz.)

Paper Towns is getting a movie adaptation!  Yay!  (I actually preferred this book to Looking for Alaska and apparently I'm in the minority?)

What happened on your internet this week?

Much love,
The Geeks

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Our Little Infinity

image via Hypable
If you're as excited about The Fault in Our Stars movie as I am, you should go check out the behind-the-scenes featurette on Hypable (unless you've seen it already.  Heck, even if you have, you should watch it again!) because it's faaaaaaaaaaaaaaantastic.

Are you a John Green fan, too?

Much love,
The Geeks

Monday, March 24, 2014

Crafting Adventures: Button-Embellished Onesie

It's been a while since I've gotten crafty around here!  A couple of weeks ago, I had an afternoon to myself and was able to pop into Jo-Ann to pick up some bits-and-bobs for some projects I want to work on.  While I was there, I took a look at the button aisle and so, of course, I left the store with another project :)  But hey, it was super freaking easy, and I finished it first!

Like I said- super freaking easy.  But if you'd like a "tutorial", here you go-

1. Acquire a onesie, some buttons, a needle, and thread.

2. Arrange the buttons in a pattern.  (I went with a flower.)

3. Stitch the buttons in place.

4. Marvel in the cuteness!

Have you done anything crafty lately?

Much love,
The Geeks

Friday, March 21, 2014

Faithful Fridays: Joy

"She's always so happy!"

That's what I hear from everyone who works in the infant room at the day care center when I pick her up in the afternoons.  She receives a "report card" every day- at least, that's what Mr. Geek and I call it- that details when she was fed, when she napped, when she was changed, a brief summary of her day, and her "overall disposition."  Her "overall disposition" is always "cheerful"- and she's almost always giggling when I say hello.

She greets every day with a smile on her face.  I have to break the cardinal rule of parenting every morning- I have to wake her up when she's sleeping soundly in order to feed her and get her dressed before I leave for work.  I open the door, turn off her humidifier, and softly call her name. 

"Wake uuuuuuup," I sing as I lean over her crib.  "Wake uuuuuuuuuuuuup!"  She starts to squirm and shake her head, then finally squint her eyes open- and that's when I turn on the light.  She throws up her hands to defend against the bright light and I laugh as I lean over to scoop her up.  She blinks her bleary eyes at me- and smiles.

playing with Henry, the "horse of the sea", on Ash Wednesday // *personal photo*

I don't know about you, but if someone were to wake me up before I was ready, or turn the light on in my room while I was still asleep, I would certainly not smile at them.  I would probably grunt unintelligibly and maybe throw a pillow at them.

She could be entertaining herself, babbling at her sock monkey, and if I call her name, she'll look at me and smile so wide, like I'm the most important person in her world, and seeing me is the best part of her day.

I often find myself feeling pretty negative about things.  I could complain about anything- even things that normally make me happy- if I'm in a poor enough mood.  I need to remember how very blessed I am- to have a good job, to live in a nice house, to have plenty to eat, to have a beautiful, loving family- and show my appreciation by being content with this life.  If I smiled as often as Chief smiles, my face would probably hurt!  I'm slowly learning to live joyfully the way she does, and I've got to say- life looks better when you're smiling.

What have you learned from your infant lately?

Much love,
The Geeks

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Oh, Internet... {45}

Is it Friday yet?  Even with Monday's snow day, this has been a crazy busy week.  I need a day to nap with Chief and maybe stay in my pj's all day.  (Yes, I did this Monday...)  Between all the busy, I did run across some awesome things on the internet this week- and here they are!

I think I might make this chipboard album with pictures of Chief! // via A Beautiful Mess
I  love this "Mini Me" outfit inspiration...maybe I'll start a new series like this... // via Oh Joy!
I am SO PUMPED for this movie // image via Hypable

Carrots for Michaelmas shared her A - Z list of her favorite children's book authors.

Pink Parsley shared an overview of her toddlers' favorite foods, and a bit of a discussion on baby-led weaning.  We're still a couple of months away from introducing solid foods to Chief, but the more I read about it, the less I want to buy baby food, if we can help it.

Catholic Vote shared the definitive list of Church teachings that Pope Francis changed this year.  (Hint: it's a short list.)

Miranda Writes started a series called One Thousand Gifts that sounds really lovely- maybe I'll do my own!

What awesome things did you find on your internet this week?

Much love,
The Geeks

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Flowers and Gardens

just outside the Mad Tea Party at Magic Kingdom // *personal photo*
Today I'm linking up over at Focused on the Magic for the Wordless Wednesday Disney blog hop!  Today's theme is Flowers and Gardens.  Click the button below to join in on the blog hop!

Much love,
The Geeks

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Fashion Adventures: Progress and Purple Pants

I feel like I'm making some progress lately when it comes to the size and shape of my body.  I've been making an effort to eat healthier (and I gave up desserts for Lent, though that's not intended to be a diet plan).  I do still want seconds (or thirds!) at dinner time, and I'm snacking constantly throughout the day, but these are side effects of breastfeeding.  I'm trying to keep my snacking to the realm of foods that promote the formation of breast milk- mainly oatmeal and granola bars.  I also drink tons of water every day, with the occasional cup of Mother's Milk tea for good measure (though I realize I should drink 4-6 cups for it to be truly effective). 

On the exercise front, we've taken advantage of the spurts of warm weather to put Chief in her stroller and go for a walk around the block.  Of course, it got cold again this weekend and snowed yesterday, so going outside was out of the question, but it's supposed to get warm again by the end of the week so we'll venture out some more.  Chief is really starting to get heavy- 13lbs 12oz at her last check-up last week- so just carrying her around is a workout.  She thinks it's funny to be "bench pressed" (and get a kiss each time she comes back down) so that little game helps me work on my arms.  Real cardio workouts are going to have to wait, I'm afraid.  I'm too scared to wear a sports bra or otherwise tight-fitting tops because they can cause plugged ducts or otherwise interfere with milk production and besides, depending on how long it's been since I've pumped or nursed her, just walking quickly can be painful.  So, for now, my workout plan is just being a mom- breastfeeding, carrying Chief around, and playing with her.

I'm measuring my progress based on how my clothing fits, and these purple corduroy pants finally fit again!  These pictures were taken just over a week ago, the day before Chief turned 4 months old.  I still have days where I'm overwhelmingly frustrated by how much farther I have to go to reach normal again- days where I wish I could stop feeling so hungry all the time, or that I had the time to whip out an old Pilates dvd and actually finish it, or that jogging wasn't so painful for my chest.  But then another pair of pants will finally button, and I get a little confidence boost.  Nine months on, nine months off.


Earrings: gift
Necklace: Francesca's
Sweater: Chadwick's
Watch, Corduroys: Kohl's
Boots: Target

How do you define progress when it comes to your body image?

Much love,
The Geeks

Monday, March 17, 2014

Culinary Adventures: Stuffed Peppers

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

I bet you're expecting some sort of Irish recipe today...

Oops.  Sorry to disappoint you...

However, today's recipe is really tasty!  Tastier than corned beef, in my opinion, but I've never really liked corned beef anyway.

*personal photo*
Stuffed Peppers
Adapted from Grace Before Meals by Father Leo Patalinghug

-4 bell peppers
-1lb ground pork
-1 white onion, minced
-8oz can tomato sauce
-2 eggs
-1/2 C bread crumbs
-1/4 C fresh parsley, chopped
-1/4 C freshly grated Romano cheese
-1tsp garlic powder
-4 slices provolone cheese
-salt and pepper to taste

-Preheat oven to 375F.  Set aside 4Tbsp of the tomato sauce for the end of the cooking process.

-Prepare the peppers for stuffing.  Remove the tops, veins, and seeds.  If you've got long, skinny peppers like I used, cut them in half lengthwise.  If you've got short, squat bell peppers, they should stand upright for you to stuff them (you may need to carefully shave a bit off the bottom to even it out).  Set the peppers in a baking dish.

-Combine the meat, minced onion, tomato sauce, egg, bread crumbs, parsley, Romano cheese, garlic powder, salt, and pepper with your hands.  Evenly distribute the stuffing amongst the peppers.

-Cover the dish in aluminum foil and poke the foil with a fork to create holes to release steam.  Pop in the oven for 50 minutes.

-Remove the dish from the oven and switch the oven to broil.  Remove the foil from the dish.  Spoon a bit of the reserved tomato sauce (1tsp or so) over each pepper and top with 1/2 slice of cheese (or a whole slice if you're using upright peppers).  Return to the broiler for 3-5 minutes until the cheese is brown and bubbly.

I served these over a bed of orzo pasta, but you could also serve with rice.

I highly recommend Fr. Leo's cookbook, Grace Before Meals.  Each recipe corresponds to a Feast Day, and he also includes reflections and prayers to read as a family as you cook and eat these meals.  Fr. Leo is pretty awesome- I've met him before when he spoke and gave a cooking demonstration for youth groups at a few local parishes, and he competed on Throwdown with Bobby Flay (and won!!). 

What's your favorite cookbook?

Much love,
The Geeks

Friday, March 14, 2014

Faithful Fridays: Trust

Jesus said to his disciples:
“No one can serve two masters.
He will either hate one and love the other,
or be devoted to one and despise the other.
You cannot serve God and man.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life,
what you will eat or drink,
or about your body, what you will wear.
Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
Look at the birds in the sky;
they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns,
yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are not you more important than they?
Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?
Why are you anxious about clothes?
Learn from the way the wild flowers grow.
They do not work or spin.
But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor
was clothed like one of them.
If God so clothes the grass of the field,
which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow,
will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?
So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’
or ‘What are we to drink?’or ‘What are we to wear?’
All these things the pagans seek.
Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given you besides.
Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.
Sufficient for a day is its own evil.”

Matthew 6:24-34

She trusts us entirely; she knows she doesn't have to worry about anything.

If she's hungry, she doesn't even really need to cry anymore, because we can see the other signs that she's ready to eat.  That's not to say that she doesn't cry; things do upset her, she does get fussy.  But we always make it better, and she knows that now.  If she starts to cry, I'll pick her up and the change is immediate- she may take a while to cheer up entirely, but she'll stop screaming, or she'll sigh a little bit, and you can tell that she's gone from distressed to just upset.  Mr. Geek can get a smile from a crying Chief just by looking at her- because she knows that the fact that he's looking at her means he's about to pick her up.

She also trusts that we'll keep her safe.  She loves when her daddy tosses her in the air, or let's her "fly" down the hall to her room, or let's her perch on his shoulder like a little parrot.  She isn't scared because she knows her daddy is holding her, so everything is okay- and it's a lot of fun!

after bath time // *personal photo*

I know it does me no good to stress out about things- especially things over which I have no control.  Every time I hear this reading from Matthew, I kick myself- yes, Lord, I know You're talking to me.  I know I should trust in You for everything.

When I first saw the positive pregnancy test, I was scared.  We'd only just gotten married a few months before, we were living in a small apartment, we weren't planning to get pregnant any time soon.  I was afraid Mr. Geek would somehow be upset when I told him, but he wasn't- he was ecstatic!  Surprised, but so very happy.  We found a new place to live within just a couple of weeks of looking- the very first house we actually visited ended up being the perfect place to rent.  God took care of us, and He's still taking care of us.  We need to trust Him the way she trusts us.

What have you learned from your infant lately?

Much love,
The Geeks

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Oh, Internet... {44}

I didn't spend much time on the internet this week, so I only have a few things to share.  However, I'm sure y'all find awesome things, too; if you ever find something you think should be featured on Oh, Internet... then send me an email!

I want Petite Panoply's closet.  (And hair color.)
I really, really hate unsolicited parenting advice.  Obviously, it's annoying to have someone who is not a parent tell you how to raise your child; but it's also annoying to have someone who is a parent tell you that you're doing it wrong.  I know you raised your children and you did a good job, but literally nobody knows my child better than me and my husband; just because something worked for you doesn't mean it will work for us, and just because we've made choices that are different from yours doesn't mean we're wrong.  If we ask for help, please, give us advice; if we didn't ask, stop trying to correct us.

How About Orange shared information about a website called O'verlays which sells kits to customize plain Ikea furniture.  Just add a little paint and you've got yourself a custom piece!

What happened on your internet this week?

Much love,
The Geeks

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Feet

Play time / February 8, 2014 // *personal photo*
Much love,
The Geeks

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Culinary Adventures: Pasta Carbonara

I know carbonara is not "fancy" in any way- it's a really simple pasta dish that's mostly bacon- but something about the egg and cream makes it feel rich and decadent.  Add a little chopped fresh parsley on top and, in my humble opinion, you've got yourself a pretty fancy little dish!

yeah, we've got a little scrambled egg action going on in there...still tasted good, though // *personal photo*
Pasta Carbonara
adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

-1lb dried ziti regata
-5 slices of bacon, diced
-1 cup frozen peas
-6 room-temperature eggs
-1/2 cup heavy cream (also at room temperature)
-1 1/4 cup grated parmesan
-handful of fresh parsley, chopped

-Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until al dente.  (Follow the directions on the box.)

-Meanwhile, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp.  Just before the bacon is done, add the peas.  Remove the pan from the heat when everything is cooked.

-Beat the eggs, cream, and cheese in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.

-Drain the cooked pasta and add it to the pan with the bacon and peas (and the bacon fat!).  Cover the pasta in the egg mixture and toss until everything is fully combined and the heat of the pasta has cooked the egg mixture.  (You might end up with a bit of scrambled eggs like I did.  You've got to stir everything really fast to avoid this.)

-Serve with extra parmesan and the fresh parsley for garnish.

How do you fancy-up simple dishes?

Much love,
The Geeks

Monday, March 10, 2014

Guilty Pleasure

I'd like to say I have pretty discerning tastes when it comes to the television I watch.  You can divide pretty much everything I watch into three categories: Educational, Skills Competitions, and Shows That Make You Think.

On the Educational front, I watch a lot of cooking shows and home renovation shows- mainly cooking shows, though.  I've been obsessed with Food Network since I discovered my love for cooking right before I left for college.  I've memorized Food Network's weekday schedule, and I've watched enough Restaurant: Impossible to have given up any thoughts of opening a restaurant.  On any given day, I'm watching Giada or Ina or Ree or Trisha while nursing Chief and getting ready to make dinner myself.  Aside from Food Network and HGTV, Mr. Geek and I love Mythbusters and Top Gear (and yes, I'm lumping this under the Educational umbrella because at the end of the episode, you have, in fact, learned something about the feature car, even if it's just how fast The Stig could take it around the track).

When it comes to Skills Competitions, I'm a huge fan of So You Think You Can Dance for obvious reasons (namely, my former life as a dancer) and also Project Runway (including the All-Stars and Under the Gunn spin-offs, though neither is as entertaining as the original).  With my aforementioned love of cooking shows, I'm a huge fan of the competitions on Food Network- mainly Chopped, Guy's Grocery Games, and Cutthroat Kitchen.

But I do watch fictional TV shows, too- it's just the minority of my TV-watching, and it tends to be in the drama or sci-fi category and less in the sitcom category (and they are Shows that Make You Think).  If there's nothing good on Food Network and if Top Gear is all re-runs, we're definitely watching Law and Order on any given day.  I used to love Special Victims Unit, but now that I have a daughter, I find it hard to watch stories of sexual assault and child abuse.  We like crime shows in this house- we both wish Criminal Intent were still on the air, as it's the best of the Law and Order spinoffs; we love older episodes of Criminal Minds, though that show has jumped the shark lately; and we'll gladly watch reruns from the first few seasons of the original CSI.  I think we both agree that LOST was the best show to ever be on television ever, and we're planning to re-watch it (again) soon since we own the super-extra-special edition.  We started watching Once Upon a Time on our most recent snow day, and the storytelling format reminds me of LOST (though obviously it's nowhere near as good).  I'm a sucker for British television, too- Downton Abbey, Sherlock, and Doctor Who are all favorites.  We do watch pure comedy on occasion, but it's generally just South Park and Futurama which are really quite smart shows, once you get passed the poop jokes.

All of this is to say- I don't really watch what is traditionally meant by "reality TV".  I can't stomach a full episode of The Real Housewives of any city, I couldn't care less about the Kardashian clan (they're only famous because of a sex tape, right?), and I don't understand how The Bachelor still has enough viewership to be on the air.  Stupid, shallow people being stupid and shallow are not my idea of entertaining subjects.

But there is one exception to this rule.

via E!
I once fell asleep on the couch with Chief while watching a movie and when we woke up, this show was on.  And it is hilarious.  Whomever is writing the script for this show deserves an Emmy because seriously, this is some funny stuff!  All reality TV is scripted in some way, be it contrived situations, creative editing, or outright written lines, and this show definitely falls into the latter category.  This show is infinitely quotable because it's written that way- there's no way these people are that witty and clever on their own, spontaneously.  Someone please- give these writers an award!

So yes, I admit it- while I don't watch it regularly and I don't DVR it, if #RichKids of Beverly Hills happens to be on, I'm all over it. 

What kind of TV do you watch?  Do you have any television guilty pleasures?

Much love,
The Geeks

Friday, March 7, 2014

Faithful Fridays: Forgiveness

I'm still new at this whole motherhood business, and I'm learning as I go.  I didn't realize that I would learn so much about life from her, however- I thought I was supposed to be the one teaching her!  We're told that we should have faith like a child, so I wanted to take a moment each Friday this Lent to share some lessons I've learned from Chief that have helped me grow in my spiritual life.

She forgives so easily.

For a good month now, Chief has had a pretty constantly stuffy nose.  To relieve this, we have to use one of those bulb syringes to suck out all the snot, sometimes employing a little saline to loosen things up.  She hates having her nose suctioned- I can't really blame her, because I would, too!  She'll scream and cry and thrash about, then scream louder when we have to hold her still so we don't hurt her.

When it's over, I pick her up and hold her close, swaying back and forth and whispering apologies in her ear.  "It's okay, baby, it's okay.  I'm sorry.  I love you."

please don't be sad... // *personal photo*

By the time we've walked down the hallway, she'll have stopped crying- she may even be smiling already.  We'll get on the floor to play, and she'll giggle and smile and squeal like nothing awful ever happened.  She forgives us for putting her through that ordeal, and she doesn't hold it against us.

I'm not necessarily a grudge-holding person; if you sleight me, but sincerely apologize, I'll forgive and forget.  But I do have a tendency to pass judgement quickly, and it's nearly impossible to convince me to reverse that judgement.  Typically, my first impression of a person sticks around for as long as I know them.  A manager who can't answer any of my questions on my first day is forever seen as incompetent; a rude or slow waiter means I probably won't be coming back to that restaurant.  I could learn a thing or two from my baby girl about giving people a second chance.

Her ability to forgive, no matter how terrible the offense, is just as merciful as our Lord's forgiveness.  Acknowledge your wrongdoings, ask for forgiveness, and it's granted.  Though your sins may be much more egregious than, say, making someone ride in a car seat or put on sleeves, Jesus offers His mercy just as quickly and unconditionally as Chief does.

She forgives so easily, and in doing so, she reminds me to be less hasty to pass judgement- and also to take advantage of the sacrament of Confession as often as possible.

Have you learned anything from your infant lately?

Much love,
The Geeks

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Oh, Internet... {43}

Yes, I realize it's Thursday, and Oh, Internet... normally makes its appearance on Fridays, but this year, during Lent, I have a new series I want to post on Fridays.  So stay tuned until tomorrow for that, and in the meantime, check out some of the awesome things the internet offered up this week!

Every dress worn by Best Actress winners ever // image by MediaRun via ModCloth blog
I might have to try this DIY from A Beautiful Mess
an AT-AT rocking horse.  Chief needs this.

This week, in idiot TSA agent news- a man's bag was searched for Bitcoins.  Because you carry them in bags.

Water Painted Dreams did The Blogger Love Tag- I think maybe I'll do this soon, too!

I think the study mentioned in this article and the conclusions the writer makes are very important.  Neither Mr. Geek nor I were breastfed for very long, and we turned out to be intelligent, well-rounded individuals with stable mental health.  I want to breastfeed Chief for at least the first year of her life because I believe in the advantages, but there is so much more that affects the growth and development of a child than just how she is fed.

What awesome things happened on your internet this week?

Much love,
The Geeks

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Happy Mardi Gras!

You know, I'm originally from Mobile, Alabama- and so is Mardi Gras.  It's been a long time since I've had the opportunity to catch beads and eat Moon Pies at the original Mardi Gras celebration, but I hope to one day be able to take Mr. Geek and Chief down there for the revelry.

In the meantime, I made some King Cake cupcakes to take to work.  Check out Mommy's Kitchen for the recipe!

*personal photo*

How do you celebrate Fat Tuesday?

Much love,
The Geeks

Monday, March 3, 2014

Culinary Adventures: Taco Soup

Two cooking vessels get more use in my kitchen than any others- my dutch oven, and my slow cooker.  They especially get a lot of use in winter, when I make a lot of soups and stews and other one-pot-wonders.

Remember that chili recipe I shared a couple weeks ago?  This soup is pretty similar- okay, really similar.  I'm all about easy nowadays, so I'm buying in bulk and sticking with what I know works, but switching things up enough to keep it interesting.

*personal photo*
Slow-Cooker Taco Soup

-1lb ground turkey (or chicken or pork or beef or whatever)
-salt and pepper
-2 tsp chili powder
-1 tsp garlic powder
-olive oil
-2 15oz cans black beans, drained
-1 15oz can corn, drained
-1 15oz can diced tomatoes (not drained!)
-1 package frozen pearl onions (the kind with a cream sauce if you want extra creaminess)
-1 tsp red pepper flakes
-2 - 3C chicken stock (or vegetable or beef)

-Season the meat and cook it in a pan over medium heat in some olive oil.  Adjust the seasoning based on your own personal comfort level with spice.  I'm not a fan of spicy food; Mr. Geek is, but lately he's had some stomach problems and his doctor has made him swear off spicy food for a while.  I'd call the spice levels of this soup as-is "mild", so feel free to up the ante a bit.

-Put everything into your slow cooker.  As always, the amount of stock depends on how soupy you want your soup; for a thicker, stew-like consistency, go with less stock.  Remember that your tomatoes have juice in them, and if you go with the cream sauce in the frozen onions, you've got liquid there, too.  Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.

-Serve with sour cream, cheddar cheese, and corn chips.

What's your most-used cooking vessel?  Are you making any soup during this never-ending snow?

Much love,
The Geeks