Friday, October 31, 2008

Birthday Burrito / Sausage and Beans

Qdoba sent me an email certificate for a free burrito on my birthday. I had one full week to use it, so we went last night. I love their burritos!!! So, so good. If you have more than one burrito in your order, they adopt Subway's sharpie idea, and write on the wrapper to differentiate. Apparently Johnny and I have hit a new milestone in our relationship. I'm happy to announce we have hit the point where burritos become "His and Hers."

Moving along.... Happy Halloween!!! I hope everybody had a fun and safe day. I wasn't needed at work today, so I was free to pass out treats to all the kiddies. Our town has a curfew, which is usually from 2-6 p.m. This year it was extended until 8 p.m. I'm not sure if it's just because it's Friday and they wanted to get a little wild, but I'm hoping it's permanent because that's not really a lot of time to trick or treat. Most kids are not out of school and home at 2. It's way too early! And who is able to get off work and be home that early to either pass out candy or walk their kids around? The past two years I had gotten off at 5, came home and had just under an hour to pass out candy. That's just depressing and not in the spirit (no pun intended) of the holiday! I had kids in a pretty steady stream from shortly after 4, until a rather unexpected 8:50. I was so taken aback that I didn't even realize until after I'd closed the door that a) the child was alone and b) he was wearing no costume. He had to have been only 9 or 10, too!

This is a picture of our passing out set-up. I filled that bowl twice through the night. I am a huge handful giver, which seems to excite all the kids and surprise a lot of the moms into exclaiming audible gasps. I make no joke about Halloween. I usually open the windows, put Comcast on channel 701 (the seasonal music station) and turn up the spooky tunes and sounds. Our black cat, camps in one of the front windows voluntarily, adding a great effect, much to my delight. This year I also passed out brochures for my work (scandelous, I know) and mini 4 packs of crayons. I've been so enlightened with allergies that I wanted something I know would be safe. All the candy we bought is whey free, but I don't know about strict dairy free, nut free, or even wheat and gluten free. Much less sugar free for any diabetics out there! So crayons are safe, and they have the company's website on them. The escaped lollipop is from the decorative cat, Poe. I can leave the bowl there all day and the dog doesn't go by it, doesn't steal anything, doesn't sniff around it. But, the cat - he goes crazy playing "soccer" with the lollipops. I had to shoo him away numerous times.

What's that you said? You wanted me to shamelessly promote the business to you, too?! Sure! Attention all Chicagoland people: There is a new, family owned and operated business in Homer Glen. We're called Oodles of Doodles and we're an arts and crafts studio for kids. In a nutshell, you can come in and do a variety of unfinished crafts or purchase an "open play" session to utilize all the stations set up around the store and just get creative. We also have birthday parties, Parent's Night out, Dinner Club nights, camps and classes. Any schools or boy/girl scout troops are welcome to schedule an outing there, too! More information on each is at our website. Tell all your friends with kids!

Last year, I remember cooking something for dinner while kids were coming to trick or treat and it was a huge nuisance. I kept having to grab a dish towel and run to the door while wiping off my hands to pass out the candy. I did not want a repeat of that this year, so I knew I wanted to just throw something in the crockpot and forget about it.

Last week, while we were in Utica, we stopped in at this adorable little organic shop we learned about last year. We drove forever and a day down this black, dark, lonely, scary road to get to a mystery Marina because we were desperate for dinner. Utica is quaint and adorable, I love it dearly, but it is tiny, and offers very little. The nice lady that waited on us asked us where we were staying. When we told her the name of the B&B she was excited that it was just next door to her and her husband's new business! We were intrigued, so made it over there the next day. It's an adorable shop in an old house. There's handmade gift cards, artwork, pottery, knittings, etc. for sale in a few small rooms in the front. When you go to the left there is a small grocery of all organic and home-grown items and jarred goods sold on consignment. Last year I got some awesome lettuce from his garden and some other things. Just a terrific place and both the husband and wife couldn't be sweeter. If you're ever in the area, you should check them out - they're right next to Lander's House B&B.

We picked up a few things last week. My selections were a bean soup jar mix and sinfully delicious pumpkin donuts that mysteriously disappeared. Tonight I made the bean soup. The instructions on the little label card were to rinse the beans well and add 12 cups of water and the spice pack. Some optional items to add included onion, ham, sausage, or diced tomatoes. I took the advice and threw in half of an onion and 3 stalks of celery. When adding the adorably wrapped up spice pack (to only 8 cups of water) I discovered two beef bouillion cubes hidden in there. Not knowing their origin, but knowing Johnny's trouble with bouillion, I threw them out and added two of my own (safe) cubes. I then thawed a pack of Johnsonville Brats under water just enough to separate the sausages and threw those in, too. I put the crock pot on high and it cooked for about 3 hours.

The result was a wonderful smelling, and tasting, hearty soup of mixed beans, tender onions and celery and that ever-so-good Johnsonville sausage. Those guys know their stuff. Deeeelicious!


Nowheymama said...

I love the crayon idea. I'd do that for ALL the trick-or-treaters.

Anonymous said...

Hey Christina - you won my giveaway!

Well, technically I won, but I can't let myself be the winner now can I?!

email me your two selection and your maining address. Congrats!

Anonymous said...

That soup looks great! I love easy stuff like that. And, congrats on winning my sisters contest! Yeah!