Favorite Recipe #11 – Slow Cooker Barbeque Chicken Sandwiches

Favorite Recipes #11 – Slow Cooker Barbeque Chicken Sandwiches
This is the perfect recipe when you have a little extra time, but no energy to prepare a meal. This is when your slow cooker comes in handy – just throw in a few ingredients and the main component of a delicious meal is ready in a few hours.

INGREDIENTS:
1 lb chicken (I used thin-sliced breasts because they cook quickly)
1/2 large onion (or equivalent), sliced
6 cloves garlic (or less if you wish), chopped
18 oz barbeque sauce (minimum)

DIRECTIONS:
As I mentioned in my Adobo Chicken recipe, I highly recommend using a Reynold’s Slow Cooker Liner any time you use your Crockpot. I love the easy clean up. So after you put in the liner, layer onions and garlic in the bottom of the slow cooker and pour a little of the barbeque sauce over the vegetables. You can use your favorite barbeque sauce with this recipe, it doesn’t matter what kind, but make sure you have at least an 18 oz bottle or there might not be enough. Put chicken on top of the vegetables and pour the rest of the barbeque sauce over the top, making sure the chicken is covered as much as possible. Cook chicken on low heat until tender enough to shred easily (I cooked mine for about 3 hours before shredding). Remove slow cooker cover, shred chicken, stir, and replace lid. Cook on low for another hour or so to allow the chicken to completely marinate in the barbeque sauce. Pile on top of a roll, maybe with some slices of fresh onion or some cheese, and enjoy!

P.S. For a complete listing of my favorite recipes to date, check out the favorite_recipes subset of my Livejournal posts.

Postive and negative

“A stranger to yourself, you may swing wildly from one extreme to another, determined and confident one moment, humiliated and needy the next.”

I found this sentence in a book I was reading the other day and it’s incredible how well this describes my feelings lately. A tug of war between confidence and depression has been tearing me apart inside and no matter how hard I try, I don’t seem to have much control over the outcome. At least not at this stage of my healing process. My brain is full of all sorts of positive and negative thoughts these days and managing the two polar opposites is often more than I can handle. Our everyday lives are full of dualities, but when you have two completely different feelings about one thing in particular it’s very difficult to reconcile them. While I realize that we all have conflicting emotions about even the most important things in our lives (family, friends, work), a majority of the time we only feel one way about each of them. The difficulty comes when you’re completely torn between the good and the bad. At times you’re flooded with positive emotions, giving you a feeling of warmth, comfort, and satisfaction. Hope abounds. You cherish those times because you feel happy and hopeful, and you pray those feelings last as long as possible because you never know when things are going to swing the other way. Those are the times when negative thoughts and feelings overpower all else and they feel like an unbearable weight on your shoulders. You despair. You’re afraid that you’ll never be able to break through all the negativity. You don’t know how you’ll ever be able to be optimistic again. Those are scary times. You feel trapped, helpless, worthless. You just want it all to go away, but you know that’s impossible. Dealing with all of the positive and negative thoughts in my head (as well as the inevitable mood swings back and forth from happy to sad) has been a real challenge for me lately. I consider myself a happy person in general and I try to get through my days with as much optimism as I can, but when I’m slammed with a wave of negative thoughts it’s hard to do anything but dwell on them. And when you’ve been stewing in negativity long enough you feel like you’re drowning in it and you don’t know how to come up for air. Swimming is actually a good metaphor for this situation. Staying positive requires a lot of work, in the form of treading water to keep your head above the surface, to constantly push the pessimistic thoughts away. So when start to feel a little more secure you let yourself relax slightly. This is when you stop treading water and you begin to sink into the volume of negative thoughts and emotions that you were working so hard to keep at bay. It takes almost all of your energy to get back to the surface again. You begin to wonder, “Will I have to work this hard for the rest of my life to keep from feeling miserable?” It’s exhausting and you’re afraid it will never end. But in order to keep yourself from going crazy you just keep treading water, hoping the situation will improve. And I have to believe that over time it will. The negative thoughts start to lose their cutting edge and they start to move to the back of your mind where they cause less damage each time they emerge. On the flip side, positive thoughts start to fill the holes that were left when the negative ones moved away. Plus, everyday experiences start generating new positive thoughts and feelings that are fresher and more potent. This process is bringing me a lot of hope these days. So for now I’m going to continue treading water, keeping the sharks at bay as much as possible, and searching for a shallow place where I can finally stand up again. I just have to keep telling myself that I will get throught this. I will.

Story of a shirt

The backstory:
During one of his business trips to DC over the last few years Dan visited the National Zoo and brought home the most adorable little stuffed gorilla who has been an integral part of our lives ever since. Using minimal creativity, Dan and I simply call him The Monkey, but he has plenty of personality despite his generic name. The Monkey occupies a spot on our bed and likes to entertain us on the weekends when Dan and I don’t have to jump out of bed and get ready for work as soon as the alarm goes off.

The actual story:
Because of The Monkey’s popularity in our house, Dan bought me a Timmy the Monkey t-shirt from Think Geek for Christmas 2008. It was adorable, but unfortunately it was a size too small for me to wear at the time. I probably should have returned it in favor of a larger size, but for some reason the package got shoved under our bed to gather dust instead. Flash forward a year and a half when I’m 15 pounds lighter and able to fit into my 2007 wardrobe again. When I got home from work yesterday I went upstairs to exchange my cashmere cardigan for a hoodie so I could make dinner without worrying about ruining my sweater. On my way to the closet I suddenly remembered the monkey t-shirt under the bed and I wondered if at my current weight I could finally wear it. I wore wearing a purple shirt most of yesterday in support of the Lakers, but I figured the monkey t-shirt would bring them better luck, assuming it actually fit me. And what do you know? It did fit! It looked pretty good too. That was a good feeling. So I was proudly wearing my monkey t-shirt for the first time when Dan got home last night, and it was good to finally be able to make use of the gift he thoughtfully gave me in 2008. And I’d like to think that the shirt brought the Lakers enough luck to get them the win in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final last night. They made the winning shot at the buzzer (thank you, Ron Artest), but it still counts as a win no matter how close the game ends.

The extra story:
Now the question is, what should I wear to watch Game 6 tomorrow to help the Lakers out again? I’ll probably stick with the predictable Lakers t-shirt, but maybe something more unconventional would be better. I’ll assess my options and let you know what I decide. All this talk about t-shirts reminds me that I need to return a shirt I ordered for Dan earlier this month. It’s an “I’m the Stig” Top Gear t-shirt which I thought was pretty cool, but it had an unfortunate mishap after it arrived at the Feller household. Let’s just say that great care should be taken when using scissors to cut open mailing envelopes. Sometimes it just doesn’t turn out well. Hopefully I can exchange the mutilated shirt for one that’s intact without too much trouble. We’ll see. And furthermore, why are all the most awesome Top Gear shirts only available in the UK? We Americans want those shirts too! (I have some more substantial posts in work right now, but in an effort to lighten the mood of my webpage I’ll space them out a bit. No use depressing all of my readers in a short period of time!)

Hang in there baby

I’ve been there I survived, so just take my advice
Hang in there baby things are crazy, but I know your future’s bright
Hang in there baby there’s no maybe, everything turns out all right
Sure life is up and down, but trust me it comes back around
Your gonna love who you turn out to be
“Hang In There Baby” – Bridgit Mendler

This is another song that’s inspired my lately (and like the one I mentioned in a previous post, it’s also not available on iTunes). With everything that’s happened in my life I have to remeber that if I just hang in there things will get better. That knowledge is what’s keeping me going these days!

More Laker catch-up

NBA Western Conference Semifinals, Game 3 – Lakers 111, Jazz 110
NBA Western Conference Semifinals, Game 4 – Lakers 111, Jazz 96
NBA Western Conference Finals , Game 1 – Lakers 128, Suns 107
NBA Western Conference Finals , Game 2 – Lakers 124, Suns 112
NBA Western Conference Finals , Game 3 – Lakers 109, Suns 118

Watching last night’s game was pretty depressing. The Lakers were in the running to go up 3-0 in the series against the Suns until about halfway through the fourth quarter, but then they seemed to check out. Hopefully tomorrow night they’ll be a little more focused and the outcome will be favorable. If they don’t win at least one game in Phoenix they have no hope of winning the Western Conference Championship. It’s a good thing that Dan and I had the “Lost” series finale to watch after the disappointing Lakers’ loss last night, but I guess it wasn’t all that upbeat either. Satisfying (at least to me), but a little depressing – like the Laker game. As a fan I have more to say about the “Lost” finale, but I’ll save that for another time. For now I’m going to go watch an old episode of “Top Gear” in order to remember that television can make me laugh too.

Another very old post

Written sometime after April 12, 2008
On Saturday I went to the gym with everything I needed to work out, shower, and go to the book signing in Huntington Beach later that afternoon. Because most of my jeans were dirty that morning I brought a skirt to wear to the book store, and it’s a good thing too because it was HOT. We’re talking upper 90s to near 100 – something that never happens in a West Coast city with “Beach” in its name. So when I got to Barnes and Noble after my workout I abandoned my jacket (usually a staple for me year-round in LA) in the car because the thought of wearing it in that heat was unbearable, no matter how much sun it kept off my skin. Also, taking a shower at the gym seemed useless because I got incredibly sweaty just walking from my car to the book store (I walked a fair distance away because it was a Saturday and the shopping center was quite full). Meeting Cassandra Clare was awesome, though. There weren’t very many people there for the event (and most of the other patrons were giggly teenagers), but she read a little from the draft of her third book and then signed everyone’s copy of her current book. Way back when Cassie was writing Harry Potter fan fiction she sent out Christmas cards to her loyal readers so I brought one with me to prove that I was a long-time fan. She got a kick out of that. Plus, her boyfriend recognized that I was wearing a Potter Puppet Pals t-shirt so I got props for that.

Note (added on 5/23/10): I never really finished off this post when I first wrote it, but I did attend another one of Cassandra Clare’s book signings for her third book on March, 23. 2009 and she remembered me! I think it helped that I wore my Potter Puppet Pals shirt again, but I was probably also memorable for being one of the only fans over the age of 16. That doesn’t keep me from reading her books, though, and I’m looking forward to more of her book signings in the future.

Internet restored

We’ve been having some difficulty with our internet connection at home (again).  Fixing it required two long conversations with Verizon tech support as well as a new modem.  The good news is that our wireless internet has now been restored.  I have several hand-written posts from this week  that I need to type up and publish this weekend so be on the lookout for new posts soon.

Needs

1) I need to start reading again. Not only is it one of my favorite past times, but I have quite a few books in print and on my Kindle that are waiting for me to read.
2) I need to start cooking again. Making a really good meal gives me a lot of satisfaction, and I need to find some new recipes to add to my (so far) small collection of favorites.
3) I need to start exercising again. It’s hard to remember how good working out makes me feel after I’ve been away from the gym for a while, but if I want to reach my goal weight I’m going to have to go back soon.
4) I need to pick up some old hobbies again. Cross stitch comes to mind. It’s never too early to start making Christmas ornaments, especially considering how long it takes me to make each one.
5) I need to de-clutter my life. I have way too much stuff and it gets overwhelming sometimes. When I lived in a one bedroom apartment I could never own this much stuff.
6) I need to start taking care of myself again. Enough said.

Very old post (Part 2 of 2)

Written on November, 11, 2009
I picked up a copy of “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” on Blu-Ray last week (I gave Dan a PS3 for Christmas, but it was also a gift for me because it play Blu-Rays). As previously stated, I was hoping I would enjoy the movie more on a smaller screen, like the first one. And I did, but the size of the projection didn’t make it any more of a sensory overload. While I appreciated having the entire screen within my field of vision, the last 30-45 minutes was still nonstop action filled with crazy special effects. And the scene jumped around so many times that I couldn’t figure out which human character was where and with what robot most of the time. It definitely wasn’t as good as the first Transformers movie. I think Shia LaBeouf is really good in both movies, though. Really funny.

Note: Dan and I went to see “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” with Jim and Melissa on July 16th, just one day after it was released. So much for my conviction to wait for the crowds to die down first! But I did arrive a couple of hours early and I was second in line to get into the theater. We got good seats and enjoyed the movie so that’s what matters.

Very old post (Part 1 of 2)

Written on July 1, 2009
In 2007 Dan and I saw the first Transformers movie at the Embassy Theatre in Wellington, New Zealand. It was raining the night we arrived in Wellington so we decided to go to a movie at the theater that hosted the “Return of the King” premiere in 2003. We paid a little extra to sit in the fancy leather seats that were sponsored by Lord of the Rings cast and crew members, which was cool, but I can’t say the rest of the movie-going experience was that great. The Embassy Theatre has the largest movie screen in the Southern Hemisphere and we discovered that bigger isn’t always better. “Transformers” is already somewhat of a sensory overload with numerous action sequences and overpowering special effects, and projecting it onto a bigger screen only intensifies the experience. I didn’t quite follow the movie at the time because I couldn’t see the entire screen at once (it really was that huge) and I walked out of the theater a bit dazed. I’m glad we went to the Embassy Theatre to see what it looked like, but I’m not sure I’d go back there to see another movie. (Well, maybe I would if they were showing Lord of the Rings.) When “Transformers” came out on DVD, Dan and I watched it at home on our plasma screen TV. What a relief that was! It was much easier for me to follow what was going on and mucheasier for my senses to process on a smaller screen. In fact, I love the movie! It’s too bad the Embassy Theatre – despite its place of importance in Lord of the Rings movie lore – ruined it for me the first time.

This past Saturday Dan and I went to see “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” at our local theater (no gigantic screens there) and it was packed because it was opening weekend. We got there early enough to get halfway decent seats, but we still ended up pretty close to the screen – meaning we were close enough to get neck cramps by the time the movie was over. Unlike the first Transformers movie which I described as “somewhat of a sensory overload” (see above), the sequel was a complete sensory overload. There was no break in the action (or the explosions) for the last 30-45 minutes and I lost track of which robots were on which side. It didn’t help that we were sitting so far forward in the theater because that meant that the screen more than filled our field of vision. I had to turn my head if I wanted to see anything on the edges of the screen. Definitely overwhelming. But I’m hoping to enjoy this movie more when the DVD comes out and we can watch it on our TV at home, like the first Transformers movie. Besides that, I’ve learned to show up really early if we decide to go see a movie on its opening weekend. I’m definitely waiting a few weeks after “Half-Blood Prince” is released to go see it in the theater. I don’t want Harry Potter ruined by crowds and crappy seats!