Chicken Chile Soup

I love cooking with my crockpot – walking into the house after work and already having dinner ready is one of my favorite things! This chili-style soup has become a staple in our house over the last few years!


  • 3 chicken breasts (can be frozen)
  • 1 large onion, chopped (I buy frozen chopped onions and eyeball it)
  • 2 gloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4c water
  • 1 1/2t chicken bouillon (I use two cubes)
  • 1t ground cumin
  • 1t dried oregano
  • 1/2t salt
  • 1/4t red pepper sauce
  • 2 15oz cans great northern beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 11oz can white shoepeg corn
  • 2 cans chopped geen chiles
  • 3 T lime juice
  • Sour cream and shredded cheese for toppings


  1. Place onion, garlic, water, bouillon, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper sauce in crock pot. Add chicken. Cover and cook on low 4-5 hours (I’ve left it all day, and it’s fine).
  2. Shred chicken.
  3. Stir in beans, corn, chiles, and lime juice.
  4. Cook on low another 15-20 minutes until beans and corn are hot.
  5. Garnish with sour cream and shredded cheese, if desired.

Salad Recipe Roundup

Absolutely Fabulous Greek House Dressing
This Greek salad dressing is really good over lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers, feta cheese, and kalamata olives. You can cut the recipe by about 10, because it makes a LOT! It’s great because it lasts a really long time without needing refrigeration.

Honey Garlic Vinaigrette
This dressing is quick and easy, and great over most salads.

Roquefort Pear Salad
The best part of this salad is the mustard vinaigrette. It’s a strange combination of foods, and I don’t think I used all of the ingredients in the recipe (I definitely didn’t use Roquefort cheese, and I’ve made it without the pears too).

Strawberry Romaine Salad
This is probably my all-time favorite salad recipe, and I get asked for the recipe almost every time I make it. Often I’ll substitute Greek yogurt for all or some of the mayo, and Splenda or Stevia for the sugar, and it’s always good. The type of lettuce isn’t important, and I either leave out or use red onions instead of the Bermuda onions it calls for. Always a hit though!


I love a good margarita, but they can be hard to find outside of Texas. This is my favorite recipe for making them at home. They are pretty strong, so cut the liquor in half if you don’t like them that way!


  • 1 can frozen limeade
  • 1 can full of tequila
  • 1/2 can full of triple sec
  • 1 can full of water


  1. Mix ingredients together.
  2. Serve over ice.

Garden 2013

Knowing that we were going to move this summer, I decided to plant my garden early in hopes of getting some produce before we had to leave. Fortunately, it’s paid off so far! I planted my usual tomatoes (sweet 100, roma, and early girl) and peppers (jalapeno and bell) using the Bonnie plants, and I planted cucumbers, green beans, and zucchini from seed. Because everything I planted last year kind of took over, I tried not to plant quite as much.

Here are the pictures from February through this week:




And a lot of the goodies I’ve gotten so far, although I’ve probably doubled the roma and early girl tomatoes since then!



I fail at keeping a blog up to date, obviously, since it’s been well over a year since I’ve posted anything. We’ve had a lot come up since then, including finding out that we’re moving! Jake was accepted to a residency in urology, so we’re packing up and moving to New Orleans. We bought our first house, and we’re doing a little bit of work to modernize it and make it our own before we move in. This is all a big change for us, but we’re really excited!

Here are a few pictures of the house as we bought it, and I’ll try to update with pictures as it’s finished.












Thanksgiving Turkey

This year I volunteered to make a turkey for our pre-Thanksgiving dinner with our small group at church. I’ve made two Thanksgiving turkeys now (the first for a pot-luck Thanksgiving that we hosted for some graduate school friend a few years ago when work and school prevented all of us from traveling home), and I’m really happy with how they turned out. I know that cooking a whole turkey seems a little bit scary, so I thought I’d share the recipe and show you how easy it can be:


  • 1 whole, thawed turkey (about 1 to 1.5 lbs per person, and plan to let it defrost in the refrigerator for several days if you buy it frozen)
  • Oil or butter (optional)
  • 1 medium to large onion
  • 1-2 apples (I usually get Fuji)
  • 1 package of poultry herbs (this is usually in the produce section of the grocery store – I think it’s a couple sprigs each of rosemary, thyme, and sage)
  • Salt, pepper, paprika
  • 1tbsp flour
  • 1 Reynolds oven bag
  • 1 aluminum roasting pan

1. Pre-heat oven to 350F.

2. Toss flour in the oven bag (to prevent the bag from popping).

3. Make sure your turkey is defrosted and you have removed everything from the inside (neck, giblets, occasional bag of gravy), then place the turkey inside the oven bag and in the roasting pan.

4. Rub or brush oil or butter over the turkey (not necessary if you purchase a Butterball).

5. Chop apple and onion into eights. Place about half of the onions, apple, and herbs in the bag under the turkey and half inside the turkey cavity.

6. Sprinkle turkey with salt, pepper, and paprika.

7. Tie bag closed and cut 6 slits into the top.

8. Cook turkey until a meat thermometer inside the fattest part of the inner thigh reads 180F. I follow the times on the oven bag instructions, which are 1.5-2hrs for 8-12lbs, 2-2.5hrs for 12-16lbs, 2.5-3hrs for 16-20lbs, or 3-3.5hrs for 20-24lbs.

Easy, right? Here are pictures of both of my turkeys:


After Thanksgiving, if you’re looking to use up the leftover turkey, check out my Turkey & Andouille Gumbo recipe!

Fall Peppers

With the extreme heat and water restrictions that we dealt with over the summer here in Texas, most of my garden didn’t survive past July. I ripped out the tomatoes, cucumbers, and zucchini (which never really produced), but I left the jalapeno and bell pepper plants. Despite the conditions, they made it through the summer and started to produce again during the last month. I lost count, but I have at least five bell peppers and 20 jalapenos currently growing, some ready to eat already! Here are a few pictures that I snapped earlier.

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May Graduation

Here are a few photos from my PhD graduation, only five months late!

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Where It All Started

Given these baby pictures, it shouldn’t have been a surprise to anybody that I ended up in Biomedical Informatics!

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Since I’ve been fairly successful in growing cucumbers in my garden, I’ve made several batches of pickles to use them up. I believe I’ve had at least 12 cucumbers so far, and 10 have become pickles.

I wanted to start out simple and easy, so I chose Microwave Bread and Butter Pickles for my first attempt. I made two separate batches of these, reducing the amount of sugar in the second. I used large yellow onions, so I kind of eyeballed the amount of cucumber and onion to go with each batch of doubled brine. The pickles are ready as soon as they have cooled (although you can taste them while warm to test them out), so I’ve already finished two jars of these. I also gave a jar to a good friend, who declared them the best pickles she’s ever had. Overall, an A+ recipe for quick, easy, bread & butter pickles!

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I got a little bit more adventurous for the next batch and made Spicy Refrigerator Dill Pickles. I used about 3 large cucumbers instead of 12 pickling cucumbers, cutting them in half first to shorten them and then into spears lengthwise. I made a couple of modifications in the process. First, I missed the dill seed when I browsed the recipe before I went to the grocery store, so I decided to just leave it out. Second, I doubled the amount of crushed red pepper as some of the comments suggest, because I love spicy. I chopped up the dill as the recipe directs, but I’m not sure I would do that again, since it’s a huge mess. These are ready after 10 days in the refrigerator, but I sampled them several times before the time was up, and they’re still pretty tasty. As it turns out, at least two of the cucumbers were bitter, so the resulting pickles are pretty bitter. The bitterness is going away though slowly, so maybe after another week or so I think they’ll be really good – bitter or not, I’ve been eating and enjoying them. I love spice, so I don’t think these are crazy hot, but I wouldn’t double the red pepper if you don’t like spicy food. I give this recipe an A-, definitely worth repeating with a couple more modifications.

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My most recent attempt at pickles used a dill pickle recipe from a Ravelry friend, consisting simply of water, vinegar, salt, garlic, dill, and cucumbers. Having learned about the bitterness issue from my last batch, I actually tasted the cucumbers before pickling. I had two good and two bitter pickles, so I separated them into two batches each and labeled which were the bitter ones. For these, I attempted to properly process the jars, since my refrigerator is full of pickles now and running low on space. I even purchased a canning set to make things easier. After sterilizing the jars, filling the jars, boiling the jars to seal them, and letting them sit on the counter for about an hour, I got nervous that they hadn’t sealed properly, so I put them in the fridge anyway. I think I have about 9 jars of pickles in the fridge, so I need to get eating! I haven’t tried these out yet, but I’m told they’re the best pickles you’ll ever eat, and for now I can’t argue with that.


Leave a comment with any recipe suggestions – I’ve got a couple more recipes from my mom that I’m hoping to try next, including Lime Pickles and Christmas Red Pickles – I’m always looking to try new recipes!