One-Pot Chicken & Dirty Rice: When Stubbornness Battles Exhaustion and Wins!

One-Pot Chicken & Dirty Rice: When Stubbornness Battles Exhaustion and Wins! | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

Have I ever told you how stubborn I am?

No?

Well, I am. Extremely. After all, I am a redhead. 😉

This week has been a monster at work. Every single day has been a Monday. Long hours, skipped lunches and aggravating people have made for a very weary KJ so you’d think cooking supper in the evenings would be the last thing I’d want to do.

You’d think.

Monday evening, after a long, hard day at the office, I picked up my grocery order then went home and made lasagna. It was yummy. It was also easy – only 5 ingredients.

While putting up my groceries that evening, I actually thought ahead (for once) and set aside some Chicken and Sausage in the fridge so it wouldn’t be frozen when I cooked supper the next night. (You should be very proud of me, right now!)

Tuesday’s work day was horrendous. I mean HOR-REN-DOUS! My husband called me near the end of the day.

“When ya comin’ home?” He asked. I couldn’t give him a time.

“Don’t worry about cooking tonight,” he said. “We can just eat leftovers.”

Upon hearing those words, my overworked and frustrated brain went into overdrive. Does he really think I am required to cook for him every night? Why can’t he go home and cook supper for me? Oh, and leftovers? He really just offered me LEFTOVERS?!?

BUT – –

I was actually too tired to go full on “I am woman; hear me roar” and I suppose I gotta give him props for trying. Besides, I had unfrozen meat sitting in the fridge and a recipe already picked out. And dag-gummit! I was gonna cook!

Stubborn much??

The recipe was One-Pot Chicken and Dirty Rice by The Chunky Chef. Pinterest dubbed it as “Easy” which was good. I like easy. In fact, I need easy. Easy makes me happy and I was excited until I actually saw the recipe and the plethora of ingredients required.  Take a look:

One-Pot Chicken & Dirty Rice: When Stubbornness Battles Exhaustion and Wins! | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

Courtesy of The Chunky Chef

EASY???? With a list of ingredients like that, there’s no way this recipe could be easy! It certainly wasn’t gonna be “lasagna” easy.

But I still had my thinking cap on. When I ordered my groceries, guess what was on my list…

Zatarain’s® Dirty Rice mix.

This eliminated almost half of the ingredients. Pretty smart, huh? 😉

As soon as I walked in the door after my long, tiring day, I hit the kitchen.

FIRST THINGS FIRST: marinate the chicken. Easy enough. SIDE NOTE: Though the recipe doesn’t call for it, doing this step the night before might have made the chicken even better. I didn’t do that. So much for planning ahead!

One-Pot Chicken & Dirty Rice: When Stubbornness Battles Exhaustion and Wins! | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

Now, let me remind you, the name of the recipe is “One-Pot Chicken & Dirty Rice”.

ONE POT.

ONE.

The chicken marinates in a bowl while the sausage is being browned in a Dutch Oven on the stove. Right off the bat, we have 2 dishes.

NEXT UP: brown the sausage. I used turkey sausage not andouille because I have no idea what “andouille” is. Oh, well. And I used a skillet because I don’t own a Dutch Oven. I looked at prices of Dutch Ovens. I’m not going to own a Dutch Oven.

One-Pot Chicken & Dirty Rice: When Stubbornness Battles Exhaustion and Wins! | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

 

After browning, the recipe instructs to move the sausage to a plate (That’s 3 dishes, folks!) then to sear the chicken on each side and move it to the plate. Done and done.

One-Pot Chicken & Dirty Rice: When Stubbornness Battles Exhaustion and Wins! | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

 

Before moving on to the rice, the recipe reads “use a paper towel to wipe out any black bits from the pan. Brown bits and pan drippings are good to leave in though.” Hunh?

One-Pot Chicken & Dirty Rice: When Stubbornness Battles Exhaustion and Wins! | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

Everything in my pan was black bits! I had no idea what to do except wash out the pan and at this point, I truly wished I had taken my husband’s offer to eat leftovers. Ugh!

NOW FOR MY CHEAT: prepare the Dirty Rice mix. I followed the instruction on the box but only brought the rice to a boil because it cooks in the oven along with the chicken and sausage.

NEXT STEP: pop it all in the oven. Oh. The recipe instructs to add the chicken and sausage back into the pot and then place the pot in the oven to bake. Again, I was using a skillet so I transferred everything to a casserole dish. Are you keeping count? That’s dish number 4.

One-Pot Chicken & Dirty Rice: When Stubbornness Battles Exhaustion and Wins! | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

One hour later, it was 9 o’clock in the evening. My “One-Pot” dish was finally ready to eat and a stack of dirty dishes, pans, measuring cups and spoons was waiting on me to clean.

One-Pot Chicken & Dirty Rice: When Stubbornness Battles Exhaustion and Wins! | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

Oh, well.  At least my stubbornness paid off! This meal was DE-LI-CIOUS!

FYI, my week didn’t get any better. But Wednesday night, I did take my husband up on that whole leftovers offer! 😉

 

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The Boss from – – Well, You Know

Negative Boss

You’ve already been verbally attacked by a frustrated client.

You’ve already been snapped at by an unhappy co-worker.

You’ve even been on the receiving end of the rantings of a disgruntled cashier at the local coffee shop.

The last thing you need now is the boss walking in with that all too familiar scowl on his face and derogatory tone in his voice.

Seriously, Boss, I can’t deal with you today!

It’s easy to let times like these drag us down. It’s easy to join in the negativity allowing it to transform us into short-tempered and mean-spirited people. Believe me. I know. I’ve succumbed to the dark side many times and have allowed negative people, boss included, to ruin not only my mood but also my entire day.

It happens.

I’m not proud of it.

To combat the forces of negativity, I’ve found that my reactions make all the difference in the world. If I give in to the pessimism and anger, I’m done for. If I counter the pettiness and head-biting with positivity, however, I find strength and encouragement to rise above the negativity and make it through the day.

The Bible tells us this:

A gentle answer turns away wrath,

but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Proverbs 15:1 (NIV)

You may want to serve up a scathing zinger to the co-worker who has just blasted you with a nasty insult but, more than likely, you’d only make a bad situation worse. It could be that your co-worker is simply having a bad day. An understanding and concerned response from you could be the key to turning a bad day into a promising day.  Remember, you’ve had those bad day, too!

Give thanks in all circumstances;

for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)

You can’t have an attitude of hatefulness and an attitude of gratefulness at the same time. It just doesn’t work that way. When that angry client calls or when you encounter that frustrated barista, thank God for that person and the opportunity to provide encouragement to someone who desperately needs it. In every situation, there is an opportunity to praise God. When you’re looking for that opportunity, you’re too busy to focus on the bad.

Lastly,

Those who guard their lips preserve their lives,

but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭13:3‬ ‭NIV‬

When the boss comes in your office and seems to add to your stress, remember this:

Never, ever, is it a good idea to call your boss the Evil One.

At least, wait til he leaves the room and is out of ear shot! 😉

The Day from – – Well, You Know

SCREAM

You’ve had those days, haven’t you?

You’re trying your best. You’re giving it your all. But nothing – and I mean nothing! – is going as it should. Clients are jumping up and down, each one wanting their own matters to be moved to the top of your “to do” list. Deadlines are approaching. Work is piling up and your anxiety level is rising. You are being pushed to your limit and you know if you’re asked to do one more task or talk to one more pushy person, you are going to –

SCREAM!

There. Feel better now?

Wouldn’t it be nice to run outside and scream at the top of your lungs every time you’re pushed to your breaking point?

Imagine the feeling of all your burdens being carried away as your voice echoes through the skies.

Imagine the peace you would feel as all your stresses melt away.

Imagine the relief.

Imagine the judgmental looks from all your co-workers standing in the doorway watching you scream your head off and wondering which mental institute to call first.

Yeah. Imagine that.

The days that seem to come from the depths of the Fiery Pit itself will always exist. There’s no way to avoid them but I’ve come to realize that these days don’t have to end in an explosion of frustrations.

So, what do we do when the demands of the day overwhelm us and all we want to do is scream?

First things first: Remember that each day is a blessing.

Yep, even the horrible ones.

“This is the day the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
Psalms 118:24 CSB

Each day is a gift, an opportunity for you to serve God, bless others and glorify Him with your words and actions. All the stuff that makes your day seem horrible is merely a distraction sent by Satan to keep you from enjoying God’s gift to you. Don’t let that manipulative joker steal your joy.

Secondly, quit trying to walk through your day alone!

“Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.”
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NIV

You are only one person and there is only so much you can handle on your own. Ask for help. Ask for a break. And ask early – don’t wait til you’re about to blow your top!

Lastly, if you’ve reached the point of no return and you just have to scream, try crying out to the One who is always with you, the One who is strong enough to handle everything being thrown your way, the One who gives peace even on the most horrible of days.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30 NIV

When the stress piles up and you are about to break, spend a few minutes with the Heavenly Father. Ask for His help. Take Him at His Word and trust Him to ease your mind and give you strength to make it through all of your days.

Trust me.  Crying out to the Father is a much better alternative than making a spectacle of yourself in the office parking lot. 😉

A Year of Smiles – Day 142

ew-emoticonReason to SMILE #142: A PLAIN BAGEL WITH PLAIN CREAM CHEESE

My heart was set on an “Everything” bagel with strawberry cream cheese and my taste buds were primed and ready.  I drove up to the drive thru speaker.

“How can I help you?” asked the voice on the other side of the speaker.

“Do you have any “Everything” bagels today?” I inquired.  It was lunch time and they may have run out at breakfast.

“One large sweet tea,” the voice responded.  “Is that all?”

“No, not tea.  I wanted to know what bagels you have.”

“OK. That was raspberry tea.”

“No.  I want a bagel.”

“Let’s try this one more time,” the voice finally said.  “If I can’t understand you this time, I’ll ask you to drive around to the window.”

“How ’bout I come on up to the window?” I suggested while thinking this drive-thru guy must somehow be related to Siri, my similarly comprehension-challenged iPhone assistant.  (Then, again, maybe I’m the problem… Surely Not! 😉 )

I pulled up to the window.  The employee and I had a decent conversation with SMILES and everything.  He apologized for not being able to hear me at the speaker.  I ordered the “Everything” bagel but unfortunately, they were out.  I settled for a whole grain bagel (probably better for me) with strawberry cream cheese (probably not good for me at all). I paid.  I received my order and I drove away.

When I returned to work, I opened the bag and pulled out my bagel.  I had already resigned myself to the fact that I was not going to be enjoying an “Everything” bagel for lunch but I was consoled by knowing the bagel I ordered was smothered in yummy strawberry cream cheese.  I opened the food wrapper to discover a plain bagel covered with plain cream cheese.  SIGH!  Apparently, I’m having communication problems!

I did not have time to return to the restaurant so my taste buds had to deal with disappointment.  The problem was the disappointment began to infected my attitude. For a while after lunch, nothing made me happy.  In fact, everything made me cranky. People aggravated me and simple tasks irritated me.  It was not a good afternoon.

I don’t know what it was that pulled me out of my awful mood. I think I just eventually realized how silly I was acting.  So I didn’t get the bagel I wanted.  I didn’t even get my second choice but I did get to eat.  That’s more than some people can say.  And if the only disappointment I experienced today was finding a plain bagel with plain cream cheese in my drive thru order, then I’m doing pretty good.  In fact, I am blessed.

We don’t always get the SMILES we want in life.  So when life serves you a plain bagel with plain cream cheese, remember to be thankful.  Thankfulness keeps your heart happy and a happy heart shows all over your face!

 

Image by symbols-n-emoticons.com

A Year of Smiles – Day 130

6a00e5536443eb883301348830fc5d970cReason to SMILE #130: BUBBLE WRAP

There are days when SMILES are scarce and troubles abound. On these days, it’s easy to succumb to the darkness and wallow in our misery.  But it need not be that way for I have a cure for those melancholy and hopeless days. That cure, my friend, is bubble wrap.

Feeling a little blue? Grab some bubble wrap and start popping. The more you pop, the faster the blues will fade.

Frustrated with a co-worker? Roll up a sheet of bubble wrap and start twisting. As the sound of popping bubbles begins to ripple through the air, you’ll find your aggravations floating away with every wring and pop.

Angry?  Role that bubble wrap out on the floor and start stomping. By the time you’re finished, you won’t even remember why you were angry in the first place. And you might even find that you’re anger has been replaced with unadulterated joy!

You just can’t help but SMILE with bubble wrap in your hand – no matter how low you’ve been pulled or how dreadful your circumstances.  Don’t believe me? Put it to the test. Find yourself some bubble wrap and start poppin’.  I bet you’ll be SMILING before you even get to the third POP!

 

Image by ikidapps.com “Bubble Popper”