Recipe Rut Solution #11

Thursday, November 3, 2011

This recipe was a winner!! I love cooking things in the crock pot because it's usually pretty easy, and it's always nice to have something slow cooked and warm on a cold fall evening. I made this chili last Saturday during the freak October snow/rain/sleet weather event and it was the perfect way to end a gross day. Adam even said it might be the best chili I have ever made...not sure about that, but it was REALLY good. Also, it's just about the easiest recipe literally took me about 15 minutes to make (not including the cook time).

Without further adieu...I give you Taco Chilli!

  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1-2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 15 oz. can kidney beans, rinsed and drained (the recipe called for corn...but if you know me, you know I hate corn!)
  • 1 packet taco seasoning mix (I used the low sodium stuff)
  • 1 cup Mexican cheese blend
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tbsp lime juice



1. Grease a slow cooker with non-stick spray and place the chicken inside.

2. Add 1 cup of chicken broth, lime juice, salsa, black beans, kidney beans, and taco seasoning mix.


3. Cover and cook for 6 to 8 hours on low or 3 to 4 hours on high. (The chicken should be falling apart tender.)

4. Remove the chicken and place it on a plate or cutting board. Use two forks to shred the chicken.

5. Add the cheese and sour cream to the sauce remaining in the slow cooker and stir until melted. Return the chicken to the pot and stir to combine. At this point, I added more broth because the chili seemed really thick. I added broth until I thought it was a good consistency.


What I would do differently: Double the recipe!! This made enough for Adam and I to eat for dinner and then have for lunch the next day. I would love to have a container of this in my freezer, though.

Total Meal Cost: less than $20

Adam's Rating: 10 out of 10

Next Day Lunchability: Awesome!

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 31, 2011

We're ready for our first Halloween in the house!


Recipe Rut Solution #10

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Two entries in one day?

Last night I made Greek stuffed peppers. They were cheap, easy, healthy and yummy! I will definitely be making these again.

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 10 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 medium zucchini, coarsely grated
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 large red bell peppers, cut in half lengthwise, ribs and seeds removed
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can stewed tomatoes, chopped with juice reserved
  • 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled


(I realize that this ingredients picture looks like an ad for Super Giant generic brand)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl, combine beef, spinach, zucchini, onion, bread crumbs, egg, oregano and salt.


3. Arrange the peppers cut-side up in the baking dish. Fill each pepper half with the meat mixture.

4. Pour the tomatoes and their juice over the peppers. Sprinkle the feta over the peppers.


5. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until the peppers are tender and the filling is cooked through, about 45 minutes.


What I would do differently: This made alot of filling mixture, so I actually made up some hamburger patties and froze them for some future Greek Burgers! Next time, I'll add the feta cheese into the mixture and not sprinkle on top so it's easier to taste. Also, it takes a long time to cook...luckily we have a convection oven, so I was able to bake them in about 50 minutes.

Total Meal Cost: less than $20

Adam's Rating: 8 out of 10 (I would give it a 9)

Next Day Lunchability: These were great the next day! The peppers were softer, but it was still fantastic.

Recipe Rut Solution #9

Oh my gosh! It's been over a year since I last did a recipe rut solution! Time flies when you're working, going to school, buying a house and moving.

But have no fear, blog readers (if there are any out there), I recently picked out five new recipes and bought the ingredients for Recipe Rut solutions is back!

Last week I made a spin on jambalaya, complete with shrimp and sausage. It was really good for a chilly fall evening!

  • 2 T. olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 lb. andouille sausage, diced or crumbled
  • 3 T. butter
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 medium to large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 fresno or jalapeno chile pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 T. thyme leaves, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 T. regular sweet paprika
  • 2 T. all-purpose flour
  • 1 (12-ounce) bottle beer
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 T. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 lbs. medium-large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Rice for serving



1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the sausage and cook until brown. Remove the sausage from the pan and drain on paper towels. Reserve.

DSC_0719 - Copy (2) - Copy

2. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and the butter to the pot. Stir in the green pepper, onion, garlic, chile pepper, thyme, and bay leaves. Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 7 to 8 minutes.

DSC_0725 - Copy (2) - Copy

3. Sprinkle in the paprika and stir, then add the flour and stir for 1 minute more.

4. Pour in the beer and cook for 2 minutes, scraping any bits off the bottom of the pot. Stir in the stock and Worcestershire sauce, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 3 minutes to combine flavors.


Add the reserved sausage to the sauce. Bring the sauce to a low boil over medium heat, then stir in the shrimp. Cover and cook until the shrimp are pink and firm, about 3 to 5 minutes.

DSC_0730 - Copy

What I would do differently: Next time I might add a can of beans to the mix to thicken it. I might also leave out the hot was a bit spicy for me!

Total Meal Cost: about $30.00. The shrimp were expensive!

Adam's Rating: 9 out of 10

Next Day Lunchability: Adam gave it two thumbs up the next day! I didn't take it to work because it is one of my biggest pet peeves when people bring seafood in and stink up the break room!

The Dining Room

Friday, September 30, 2011

When we moved into the house, one of the first things we tackled was painting the dining room. Adam and I also got a new dining room table and chairs made out of reclaimed barn wood. Then, we changed the light fixture and had hardwood floors installed.

My amazing mother-in-law designs window treatments. We spent a ton of time in August discussing different fabric choices for the huge window in the dining room and finally decided on a pattern and a fabric. Today, they came to install it! I could have never predicted how amazing it would look in the room.

For Christmas of 2009, Adam's Dad promised that he and Adam would build me a hutch for the china that I inherited. I don't know how much work Adam really put into it, but today, they brought it down to our house. It was the first time I had seen the whole thing together with the glass in it. He even ordered special wavy glass for the doors.

So, now I feel like the dining room is complete! We are very happy with the way it turned out and hopefully it's ready for many holiday dinners in the future.



And After:




The Canned Food Drive

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Each year before Thanksgiving and Christmas, every office I have worked in collects cans for homeless veterans. One year, I was in charge of wrapping the box and making sure everyone was contributing.

Today at lunch, a couple of my co-workers were looking in the box while they were waiting for their turn at the microwave. Out of the box came a can of low sodium collard greens that has been sitting in the break room since I started in June, as well as five cans of expired canned mackerel and an expired can of sardines. First of all, I didn’t even know that one could buy canned mackerel, and thinking about opening an expired can of it almost made me lose my lunch.

I know that a lot of people use canned food drives to clean out their cabinets, or they buy the cheapest possible thing at the store to contribute. Sometimes, I’ve heard people say, “beggars can’t be choosers” or, “I’ll never use this and it’s been sitting in my cabinet forever, so I brought it in for the food drive”.

When I hear people say things like that, I think to myself, “a good can of soup or vegetables, or a box of macaroni costs what, $2.00?”. I just don’t see why there’s any reason to put expired things in the box for the people we are trying to help.

Weekend Recap

Monday, September 19, 2011

Unfortunately I was feeling extremely under the weather this weekend, so we hung around the house and watched football for the most part. Thanks to a couple of gift cards from Lowes, we were able to buy a new light to hang over our kitchen table. The new light replaced what we referred to as "the flying saucer" and I think it looks much better.





A couple of people have asked how the furry member of our family has adjusted to the new house. It's been a rough few months for Griffin, but I think we might (fingers crossed) be seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. When we first got Griffin, he was extremely shy and anxious and hardly ever played and ran around. Since moving into the house we have conquered the anxiety when left alone and recently he has started to play ball inside the house. We did have one fence jumping incident and many house training accidents, but we are hoping that he is coming around.

Most days you can find him situated in front of his "HD TV", otherwise known as the storm door.



Monday, September 12, 2011

Today is Adam's 26th Birthday! We celebrated with family and friends over the weekend with cake and singing and tonight we are having a nice dinner at home. On Wednesday we are going out to dinner to officially celebrate!

After celebrating six birthdays with Adam, here are some of the things I most admire about him:

- He's one of the most laid-back people I've ever takes alot to make him really angry, in fact, I can count on one hand the number of times he's been really mad in front of me.

- He's quick to forgive and forget. Every time we fight, he is the one who gets over it and is ready to move on.

- He's smart...I'm talking really, incredibly smart. Whenever he talks about work, I try to pay attention, but hardly ever understand what he's talking about.

- He's a problem-solver, I have grown to love this trait even more since we've had a house. When I want to give up on a project or take the easy way out, he's willing to work through it until it's finished.

- He's a wonderful cheerleader and supporter. There have been so many times that I have broken down over things from wedding plans to graduate school and from buying a house to starting my job in Wilmington. He is always there to listen and talk me through things and he rarely loses his patience.

- He's a tried and true husband, friend, brother, son and coworker. I love that he has never given up on me or on our relationship and I've never doubted that he loves me just the way I am.

Thanks for letting me spend the last six birthdays with you...

from 21


to 26


Happy Birthday to my #1 Guy, I don't know what I would do without you.

Goings on

Monday, September 5, 2011

Another long period of time has flown by without a blog entry. We have been really busy, which leaves little time for blogging. We have been working hard on the house and at our jobs, and my summer classes for school took up the rest of the time. We took a nice vacation to Rehoboth Beach a few weeks ago, even though it seems like forever ago, and we lived through Hurricane Irene last weekend without a power outage or water in the basement.

Labor Day weekend has been nice, although I can't believe it's already almost over. On Saturday we did some work around the house before going over to a party thrown by one of our neighbors. Yesterday we spent the entire day in the front yard trimming bushes, pulling out old and planting new flowers, raking and mowing. Hopefully that is the last full day of working out there before fall. Today has been spent cleaning, washing cars and doing laundry. I was thinking last night that it certainly has been a momentous and extremely busy summer for us. It is hard to believe that we have been living in the house for 2 1/2 months already and have done so many things since we've been here. We're so proud of our home and have had a wonderful time putting our stamp on it.

Since it's been awhile since I've shown one of the rooms, here is the powder room, which has made a huge transformation from the cracked tile floor and lime green walls.


Powder Room

And After:


Master Bedroom

Monday, July 18, 2011

When we first looked at the house, we thought the master bedroom would be one of the first rooms we'd want to paint. However, after learning what a pain in the butt painting is, the color in there mysteriously began to grow on me. Now, I figure painting that room can wait for a year or two.


Please excuse the quality of the picture. We call the room "the cave" because it's pretty dark. Good for sleeping...not too great for picture taking.

Life is Good

Friday, July 15, 2011

Yesterday was the kind of day that makes you want to call in sick to work and sit on the back porch with a drink and a book (fun book, not textbook) all day.

Instead, I got up and went to work. When I got home, Adam and I went for a walk, and then he ran up to the store to get something to grill for dinner. When he got back, he proceded to make the most amazingly fresh, summer dinner. We had watermelon, grilled shrimp skewers and a vegetable salad with tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and celery.

We went out onto the porch, put up the umbrella, lit a candle and ate our dinner, then his parents stopped in on their way to the beach to say hi. We sat out on the porch enjoying good conversation, the cool temperatures and the breeze until well after it was dark.

After they were gone and we were getting ready for bed, Adam said to me, "Nights like this are what I was most looking forward to when we bought this house together, it was perfect".

I would have to agree.

Your Opinion

Monday, July 11, 2011

Next week, we are getting almost the entire downstairs of the house painted. The colors now include a grayish base coat that is a little bit too modern for my taste, dark red and sage green. Next week, the office and laundry room will remain green but everything else is getting painted a nice, fresh cream color. The only thing I can't decide on is the powder room.

I feel like I can do something a little bit different in there, but I don't want to go too over the top. After much consideration, we've narrowed it down to these two colors:

Revel Blue

Anjou Pear

I'm leaning toward the yellow because it's on the same color card as the cream color we're getting everywhere else, but I don't want it to be too loud in such a little room. I feel like the blue is more conservative.

So, what do you think? I only have until Thursday to decide!

House Tour 1

Sunday, July 10, 2011

We've been busy around here! I thought I'd take you on a tour of the house room by room, starting this week with the deck.

The deck was a huge feature for us when we bought the house. Who wouldn't want a huge 10 x 20 Trex deck? The weekend we moved in, Adam and his dad power washed the whole thing and it turned from an ugly gray to a nice brown. We started out with a little bistro table and a separate chair and lounger from the apartment, but upgraded last weekend to a bigger table and chairs. Today we hit up the Pottery Barn outlet and found a really nice umbrella for a third of it's original price. We added some Tiki torches for fun and no deck would be complete without an amazing grill. We have already used the deck lots for dinners on nice evenings.


Of course every deck needs a fierce watchdog!


Curb Appeal

Monday, June 27, 2011

Over the weekend, Adam and I decided to take on painting the front door. It was a faded burgundy color with ugly numbers, so I was eager to change it. I picked a brighter red color and last Thursday, we headed over to Home Depot to get the paint. When we got there, the guy at the paint counter explained to us that it is hard to match a red Martha Stewart paint like the one I had chosen to a Behr exterior paint, which was the brand we wanted. He suggested that we pick a Behr color that was similar to the original red. We picked one, he mixed it and off we went with our paint and various painting supplies.

On Saturday morning, we woke up bright and early (8:00) to get started because I knew it would need time to dry before we could close the door. We taped plastic up over the open doorway and Adam got to work removing all of the old hardware. He hit a snag when he got to the deadbolt and had a difficult time removing it. An hour later, all of the hardware was off and we were ready for the next step. I sanded and cleaned the door while he worked on patching the holes left behind by those ugly numbers. Unfortunately, the patching material we used required one to five hours to dry….cue Adam standing in front of the door with a hair dryer.

Finally, we were ready to paint. I opened the can and to my surprise, the paint was not barn red, but hot pink. I began to paint it on the door, thinking the color might change once it started to dry, but no such luck. Off Adam went to a different Home Depot to get another color of paint. Luckily, the paint desk at that Home Depot was able to match the original Martha Stewart color. Once he returned, we got to painting. Three coats later, the door was a beautiful barn red.

After about three hours of drying, we decided that the door was ready for the new hardware. Unfortunately, we forgot to get a kick plate that matched everything else. Trip number three to Home Depot to pick up a new kick plate. Once back, we installed the kick plate and the deadbolt. When it came time to install the handle however, we realized that the lock was not configured for our door. After two hours of taking the handle apart and putting it back together again, Adam was able to install the doorknob.

Twelve hours later, we closed the door and walked out into the front yard to admire our handy work. After all of those hours, three trips to Home Depot, alot of frustration, some red paint on the carpet after Adam got it on his shoe and quite a few profanities, we are going to admire that front door

So, if you’ve made it to the bottom of this extremely long post, here is the before and after of our beautiful front door…





The Move

Monday, June 20, 2011

Whew, life has been extremely busy lately, but we are now in the phase of settling into home ownership and residency in Delaware. Last Tuesday was my last day of work in Baltimore, Wednesday we closed on the house, Thursday we moved all of our stuff and Friday, Saturday and Sunday were spent working like crazy to get lots of little jobs done around the house. Luckily, we both have amazing families that helped with all of those little jobs. We couldn't have done it without their help. Now, all of the boxes are unpacked and the house is already looking much, much better! I'm hoping I can take you all on a tour room by room as we make them our own.

We have already made some changes to the outside....can you tell?



Monkeying Around

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Yesterday we celebrated my nephew Jacob's first birthday! My sister did an awesome job throwing the party and everyone seemed to have a great time. The place was full of kids, including my other sister and brother-in-law and their two kids from Atlanta who flew up as a surprise. I'm not really sure he knew what was going on, but he definitely did a good job looking cute on his big day.

I can't believe that he's already one and I'm so thankful that I got to see him grow up throughout his first year. Here's to year number two!!




The House

Our search for a house began in late February and just ended last weekend. It was a really difficult and really stressful, especially because we didn't agree on a house at first. After seeing many houses, we ended up debating between that Adam loved, and one that I loved. Of course, we both REALLY LIKED the other person's house too. In the end however, the price solved the problem for us and we ended up putting an offer in on the house that I liked most. We feel as though it has the most potential and we can really put our mark on it and make it our own. The couple moving out is divorcing, so we are hoping to bring a little bit of love back into our new home.

We are planning on moving in June 16th so that I can start my job on June 20th. I know the next month is going to be extremely stressful, but I know that it will all be worth it in the end!


A big announcement...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Something big has happened in Cianfichi land, but I have no time to post about it now.

Until I have time to blog, here is a hint:


Easter and other things

Monday, April 25, 2011

A few more weeks have gone by without a blog post, so I thought I'd better update! For those of you who don't know, we recently found out that my job has been transferred to Delaware and I officially start at the office there on June 20th. We are really excited about moving somewhere new and the possibility of buying a house there. Adam and I have been up to look at houses a few times, but can't seem to agree on the one for us. It has been extremely stressful, but I know the stress will be worth it when we find the perfect house for us.

We spent a great Easter weekend with our families and really enjoyed relaxing and spending time together. I even got a few pictures of my adorable nephew, Jacob.


And because no Easter post would be complete without a picture of the Easter bunny himself:


The start of spring

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I was reminded last night that I haven't updated my blog in a little while. To put it simply, life has been busy, but boring lately. Since turning 25, I have been busy with work (including many hours of mandatory overtime). I have also been busy with my two classes and counting down the days until I am done with this degree. Adam and I have been busy with family happenings including the death of his grandfather last weekend. Currently, I am a bit under the weather and recovering from bronchitis, an ear infection and, as of today, a newly removed ingrown toenail. Oh, and we are hoping and praying that spring has finally begun to arrive in Baltimore. Yep, that's about it.

Just to include something remotely interesting. A week ago, I was sitting at my desk working on some homework when I heard a crunching sound. I turned around to see that Griffin had gotten into Adam's trashcan in search of some Triscuit crumbs. Unfortunately, he was caught red handed.



Friday, February 11, 2011


On Wednesday I turned 25! Overall, I would say that I had a pretty fantastic birthday this year. Last weekend, my entire family helped me celebrate, including my sister and brother-in-law that live in Atlanta and their two kids. It had been a really long time since we were all together to celebrate a birthday, so I feel really lucky that it was mine. On Wednesday night, Adam took me to the Melting Pot for dinner, which has become a yearly tradition. He also made me a chocolate cake with pink frosting that tasted much better than last year's cake.

This was an amazing year and I was sad to see it end, some of the things I did as a 24-year-old
1. Switched graduate schools and began an online program
2. Helped welcome two adorable nephews into the family
3. Got a promotion
4. Bought a new (used) car
5. Said goodbye to one dog and found another one
6. Celebrated my first wedding anniversary

While I'm 25 I have two really large goals:
1. Buy our very first house!
2. Finish graduate school

If I can accomplish those two things this year, 25 might be the best age yet!

Snip Snip

Thursday, January 27, 2011


We are starting to adjust to Griffin and he seems to finally be getting comfortable in his new home. Last week, Adam was out of town and there were a few times that I almost lost it. Between the incessant whining and the peeing in the apartment, I almost dropped the dog off on the breeder's doorstep. Once Adam returned, we started working really hard to get Griffin under control, and I am happy to say, that he seems to have turned a corner. He is no longer whining in his crate at night, and hasn't gone to the bathroom inside since Monday (fingers crossed). He is starting to play with some of his toys and even turned a moose toy that one of my coworkers gave him into a double amputee.

Yesterday was a big day for him: he was neutered! The vet said that he was extremely nervous and had major separation anxiety while he was there, but he seemed to be fine after we got him home. Today, we had a snow day and he was happy camped out in front of the space heater. We are looking forward to starting obedience classes with him next week.

Here is a picture of him following his surgery...the vet said he was very sweet and had a big heart (hence the little picture on his bandage):


Meet Griffin

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Last night we went to pick up the newest addition to the Cianfichi apartment. His name is Griffin and he is a seven month old Welsh Terrier puppy. We got him from a breeder about 30 minutes away. So far, he has been awesome. He loves sleeping on his bed and playing with toys, he also loves attention.



The Case of the Missing Glasses

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Since New Years Eve, I have been having problems on and off with my left eye. It's been stinging and hurting, but I just kept figuring that I had scratched it and it would heal. This morning when I woke up, my eye was bright red and very sensitive to the light. I got dressed and ready for work and put some eye drops in, but my eye just kept hurting.

For those of you who don't know, I wear contacts, and I wear them all the time. I have contacts that you can wear continuously day and night for 30 days and I love them. For this reason, I don't often wear my old glasses, or get the prescription updated in them. This morning, however, I was desperate. I looked high and low, but my glasses were nowhere to be found. Finally, I had to leave for work with my painful contacts still in my eyes.

Once I got to the metro station, I took out my phone and saw I had eight missed calls from Adam. When I called him, he said he had found my glasses and told me not to get on the train. Two minutes later, he came flying into the metro parking lot with my glasses, contact solution and a contact case. He was just like my knight in shining armor, only he was barely awake (Adam is NOT a morning person) and had on shorts, a t-shirt and flip flops in the 20 degree January air. He even informed me that he had run out into the apartment parking lot in his underwear, but he had missed just me.

So, although I don't have 20/20 vision today (but I can see my computer screen and that's the most important thing), I am very appreciative for my knight in dingy athletic shorts and t-shirt and I'm pretty sure I will be making an eye appointment ASAP.

Farm Show

Sunday, January 9, 2011

We had a great weekend this weekend! On Friday night, we decided at the last minute to head up to Adam's parent's house to watch the University of Delaware game on the big screen. Unfortunately, the Blue Hens stunk it up in the last half of the game and ended up losing.

Yesterday we headed to the Pennsylvania Farm Show with some friends and Adam's sister Cara. We had a great time walking around and looking at all of the animals, booths and exhibits. Of course the most important part is the butter sculpture:


Overall, we had a great weekend. Stay tuned for an announcement concerning a possible new furry member of the Cianfichi household later this week.

Good News

Monday, January 3, 2011


This past weekend was horrible for us, but today we finally got some good news. On Friday, when we decided that we were unable to spend the money for Tobey's surgery, we decided to sign him over to the vet, who would attempt to find a rescue organization to pay for the procedure. We left the vet without knowing what would happen to our very precious pup.

Today, Adam called the vet in an attempt to get an update. He was told that a group had paid for the surgery and that they were going to place Tobey in a new home. Immediately, we began to regret our decision and decided we would try to get our dog back. When Adam called the rescue organization, he received some bittersweet news. Tobey's surgery had cost twice what they expected because when they opened him up, they found a huge tumor on his kidney and had to remove it, plus remove all of the stones in his bladder. Apparently this tumor had grown since we had him there last April.

What was surprising to hear was that the organization had found an older couple willing to take Tobey in and pay for all of his medical care, which is likely to soar to thousands of dollars as he ages. They had just lost a dog and were eager to have a new pet. They have a fenced yard and were even planning on letting him sleep in bed with them. Adam got their contact information and I am planning on calling them soon to thank them and tell them that they gained a wonderful dog who hates wearing ugly Christmas sweaters, loves chasing his ball and craves ice cubes as treats.


Although I'm very sad that he is having major health problems and his life expectancy will most likely be cut in half, I am so happy that he has found a new, loving home with people who will be there to care for him 24 hours a day. We will miss him terribly, but know that this is for the best.