Friday, July 27, 2012

{Easy} Dinner and a Book

Today started with thunderstorms, detoured through some sky-high baby mama drama and topped off with a valiant skirt-sewing effort.

I also made raspberry Jigglers and left all the van windows down during a torrential downpour.

Mama said there'd be days like this.

Here's something I've learned: When life takes a turn for the crazy? Chop some veggies. I promise, it helps. Whack up a cuke. Hack a sweet pepper.(Though for the love of all humanity, do so as symmetrically as possible.)

 Dice a zucchini into the neatest triangles and try to tell me that you don't feel a little more in command of your faculties and your overall life.

This meal has revolutionized dinnertime around here. I will eat this every single day and twice on Friday. I'm not even playing.

While we're on topic, I'd like to state something for the record:

A perfect world = Mexican food four times a week. Thai twice. Italian once.

Thank you, and God Bless.

I just can't quit beans and rice. It's nothing short of criminal that some meals on the Dinner Specials menu make you choose one or the other.

I don't sleep well when there isn't salsa in the fridge. I have a real problem here, as you can see.

But back to the matter at hand.

Granted, nothing about the above-displayed meal is "authentic". But it certainly carries its own weight in the home-cooked Mexicanish Cuisine genre and it does so with panache. For one thing, it's gorgeous in every way. For another thing? So cheap.  One more? So (pretty much) healthy. 

It's also easier than Kraft Mac and Cheese, though at this point we're really just bragging.

Throw 3 or 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts into a slow cooker. Add one can (undrained) of diced tomatoes with chilies. Toss in a couple Tablespoons of taco seasoning. Cook on low for around 4 hours. Shred that meat.

Pile a tortilla with shredded chicken and anything else that turns your crank. I added brown rice, black beans, avocado, sour cream and fresh corn and zucchini salad.

They call it a salad. I call it one of the best solutions for late-summer zucchini overload.

When the table is cleared and you've licked the peach cobbler off your plate (yes, yes, peach cobbler for dessert); after the kids are all cock-eyed on their beds, buried in that partial-paralysis sort of sleep that only happens in the thick of summer, grab yourself a book. You've earned it.

My friend Heidi Kreider's debut novel The Secret of Counting Gifts recently hit the shelves and I'm so anxious to read it. The cover art alone? Totally swoon-worthy.

The e-book is being sold through Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords for just $0.99!

You can also buy it in paperback here.

And for all you Northern/Central Indiana peeps, Heidi will be signing copies Tuesday, July 31st from 11am-1pm at the Crazy Day Gourmet (3510 Commerce Dr., Warsaw IN). Books and companion journals will be offered at a discount price and they'll be serving Snickerdoodle cupcakes.

So there. I just planned a whole evening for you and scored you a snickerdoodle cupcake in the middle of the afternoon. Never doubt my love for you.

You can repay the favor by giving me a great book recommendation of your own. Or a dinner idea. Or both.

One, two, three, GO!


  1. mark of the lion trilogy by francine rivers. get past the first few chapters and loooovvvveeee. you're welcome:)

  2. Beans and rice! Dave Ramsey would be so proud!! ; )

    Also, in my perfect world it'd be Mexican everyday. So you don't even know how much I love this recipe.

    Now to read the rest. Sorry, I have to leave a comment instantly, when inspiration strikes.

  3. book:
    Notes From The Tilt-A-Whirl: Wide-Eyed Wonder in God's Spoken World
    by N.D. Wilson

    he's the guy version of you. at least in writing voice. i'm only on the first chapter it's amazing. kelly has already read it and said it's the best book he's ever read. and he's a tough critic!

    1. I second your comment, this book is amazing!! I got a free copy at a conference and I couldn't put it down.

  4. Dinner sounds delish! Have you read "The Forgotten Garden" by Kate Morton? I thought it was the perfect summer read!

  5. You would blush if I listed the titles that have been loaded on my Kindle. So, I'll spare you and for-go the preaching. My dinners of late have been tomato & basil induced {because the garden runneth over} but you can get the gist on my FB Beachbrights group ;)


  6. Raspberry Jigglers? What a great name!

  7. Ha I almost started typing Mexican and throw your zucchini in with..helps to actually read/look at the post rather than glance:)

    So instead try a Panzanella salad. with some garden goodness. sweet paul has a delish one. Books? Sad to say, I haven't read much lately besides curriculum these days. We start school next week!
    Anyways I was looking on your page for a antique store you wrote up about?? one near south bend?? I need the info if you get a chance. If I remember right the pics looked dreamy! We are on one of our spontaneous weekends headed to Lake MI. I think we are in your area now Elkhart/Middlebury?? I don't know.. Throw in any other suggestions to if you wish (:

  8. dinner? what's that?? :) kidding...kinda. it's been pretty lame around here till last sunday when we bought a new grill. so it's been grilled EVERYTHING all week. you make the best meals evah!

  9. Shannan... thanks much for sharing about the book and the book signing! I'm honored! ~Heidi

  10. Kisses From Katie - READ IT! So good! How this girl goes about living like Jesus at the ripe old age of 19 will blow your socks off!

    1. Read it last Winter and LOVED it! I blogged here:

  11. Girl, we are food twins. Identical, separated at birth culinary sisters. : )

  12. i'm TOTALLY with you on your food menu for the week...and i cannot wait to try this. thanks, girl!

  13. had a similar dinner last night...and topped with homemade good. i die.

    recipe: jarred sundried tomatoes in oil combine with broccoli and cook on stovetop til broccoli is tender. serve over linguini topped with shaved parmesan. easy peasy.

    books: reading sacrilege. and 7 for the second time. starting 7 journey august 1st. lord give me strength during media month because i'm such a "molly" :)

    i'll download this book most def!


    1. totally reread my comment..the phrase "jarred sundried tomatoes" completely reads that your sundried tomatoes need to have been shocked or jolted in some fashion. but got the point, right?

    2. "I'm such a Molly". Ha ha ha! Me, too. But I'm even more nervous about the whole food thing...

      ps- I'm coming to your house for dinner. YUM!

  14. My Utmost for His Highest. An oldie, but a goodie. If you want a daily devotional, that stretches you this one will do it.

  15. Very Valentine and Brava Valentine by Andriana Trigiani. Think crazy My-big-fat-greek-wedding family gone Italian, both were funny and heart-warming. I vote you pair them with Italian dinner night and top em' off with spumoni ice-cream! Happy reading and eating!!!
    -Ceci Loves

  16. SOunds yummy. I could eat black beans and corn every single day!

  17. I have been making this same thing the past couple weeks. Actually just ate it last night! :) I just throw a jar of salsa and 3 diced tomatoes, black pepper, and garlic powder in with it. Just another take on it. I'll have to try your way out next time!

  18. I just finished off some leftover Mexican for lunch! Yum-O! Also, if you're feeling extra lazy, just put your chicken in the crock pot with a jar of salsa... That's it. Done. Shreds just the same and all the spices are in the salsa! Delish! As for books, if you've not read LOVE DOES by Bob Goff - you totally need to check it out! If you loved Kisses from Katie, you'll equally swoon for Bob Goff's LOVE DOES... totally how God intends for us to live - Doing. Not just talking about it. Enjoy your weekend!

  19. Looks lovely, and so summery. I personally would have with lemonade. I'm a lemonade junkie in the summer. Also egg salad.

    For a good read, I'll do some shameless self-promotion and suggest my own novel, The Pleasure of Your Company, about 3 baby boomer sisters trying to get past old issues and deal with a mystery left behind by their late father. Multi-generational story, available on in paperback or for Kindle.

    1. Carolyn,

      I'm on my way to Amazon to check it out. Thanks for the shameless self-promotion... you are your own best promoter. ; )


  20. That dinner looks great! I am going to download the book right now!

  21. I totally agree with Kisses from Katie and the Valentine books by Trigiani too. Right now am reading Little Century (don't remember author and am not up for running upstairs at the moment. Ahem. Sorry, but it is a good book! ).

  22. Shannan. I love you blog. And I read all the time but never comment b/c I just honestly don't make time to do so - terrible reader etiquette, I know. But I love every single solitary bit about it...and have found a little more comfortability in my own skin as I read you being so comfy in yours! That's all. And...I agree about the veggie chopping, right down to symmetry.

  23. I visited your site on an invitation from Heidi. I read several recent posts. My mouth watered, I laughed, I had a good time. I'll probably visit again :-)
    This summer, I've been enjoying reading historical fiction by Jane Kirkpatrick.

  24. I'm a little behind on my reading but I just finished Grace for the Good Girl & it was amazing. If you haven't read it, it's a must!!

  25. Once again reading your blog=smile on my face! As for reading recommendations, I have enjoyed a book or two by Marisa de los Santos. Very talented in the vocal. dept. and hooks you with a twist or turn you NEVER SAW COMING! Happy eating and reading!

    1. Sorry not vocal. dept. VOCAB. dept!

  26. I'm going to have to ask what a raspberry jiggler is? Is that a regional thing? ;-)

    Fave book ever that started a spiritual quest for me in my early 20's..A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson! It's where I learned that the word "sin" is actually an archery term meaning "you missed the mark".

    Not a beach read, but GREAT.

    Also...all of your food looks good and makes me want to eat MORE.


    A lot.


    Rock this Sunday, Shiny!


  27. well, i'd like to recommend chasing silhouettes, by a certain emily wierenga. ahem. :) actually, i'm re-reading the hiding place right now, which is incredible, and i've heard the book thief is very good. and of course, the glass castle. my favorite. love you girl.

  28. You crack me up!
    "(Though for the love of all humanity, do so as symmetrically as possible.)"

    I'll have to check the book.
    And the dinner sounds yummy.

    I'll share these two with ya.
    Quick Corn Soup. (I could say CHowder but this is so easy it would be pretentious.) Tastes like corn on the cob. You eat with a spoon. Or, drink the bowl Either way.

    The next is Southwest Chicken Salad.
    Hot or cold. It's simple. Nutritious.
    Did I mention simple?

    There's a whole category of "How Quick" recipes.
    (If you ever in a pinch, don't have zucchini, and are (ack!) out of


  29. I'm reading Amish Values for your Family. Such a sweet book about living a simple life!

  30. I pinned this and I can't wait to eat it.

  31. So I dont have a dinner recipe but since we both really like salsas here is a simple recipe for the best mexican salsa ever.
    4 large or 6 small tomatoes
    4 jalapeno or serrano chiles (use the amount you want based on how hot you want your salsa).
    1/4 large onion
    small clove of garlic

    in a microwave safe container put tomatoes and jalapenos with about 1/2 cup of water.
    put in microwave for 10 minutes
    When done blend in blender with the garlic and the onion and salt to taste. pulse until it is at the consistancy you like. I like mine chunky. and DONE.
    You can also substitute the salt, onion and garlic for some chicken flavored boullion cubes/ powder which is what I usually do because its easy and tastes great and becuase we always have Knorr brand chicken flavored boulion for our mexican rice LOL. I hope you like it.

    Hugs, Sonia

  32. bTW your blog is pretty amazing!

  33. Hi! I've been reading your blog for a couple of years now and am a big fan. So of course the second I read this post I downloaded the book! I was bawling on page one and didn't put it down until it was done. Then I rushed out and bought paper copies for everybody I knew :) Thanks for sharing!

  34. Wow these looks seriously amazing, I’m drooling all over the screen here, I have to tray this receipt ASAP, I bet it taste as good at it looks, it doesn’t seem so complicated to prepare, I will give it a tray! Your have a lovely blog by the way and I am a new follower! Hope you will like my blog and follow back!

    Pop Culture&Fashion Magic