Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Writing Prompt: My Week in a Playlist

My week so far described by a playlist:

Hungry Like the Wolf - by Duran Duran

Fighter - by Christina Aguilera

Move Along -  by All American Rejects

Dare you to Move - by Switchfoot

Closer - by Bethel Music featuring Steffany Frizzell-Gretzinger

Welcome to my dysfunctional brain :)

What song describes your week so far?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

PCS to Hawaii - Chapter 1, Murphy's Law of Roadtrips

Chapter 1 : Murphy's Law of Roadtrips
Goodbye Colorado

I’ve been telling myself for weeks now that I need to blog about our adventures leading up to Hawaii and then all that’s happened since we’ve been here so that we can look back on it all one day and laugh.  This is our first big move as a family.  Dave and I met while I was stationed in Colorado Springs in 2005.  We got married in 2006 and stayed in Colorado Springs until 2008.  Then I was assigned to Kuwait, so I was able to leave Dave and the kids in Colorado Springs.  I was fortunate enough to get a return assignment to Colorado Springs in 2009, which is where we stayed until July 1st

On July 1st, the 6th Anniversary of our wedding, and the day after Jake and Bri’s wedding, we started our adventure – 3 carseats, 5 kids, 17 bags, a bunch of food, 2 cars, and a bunch of stuff we had yet to sort through, but figured we would do it along the way.  We had been in lodging on Peterson AFB for about 8 days by that point.  We had to drive west to ship our cars from LA.   We decided to make it a mini-vacation for the boys.  We drove down to Albuquerque the first night to spend some time with Grampy.

About an hour before we got there, I started to smell rubber burning, followed by a bit of white smoke coming through my air vents.  Immediately, I knew what the problem was.  Just about a month before that, I had experienced the same thing.  It turned out to be my air compressor and AC clutch.  I paid the $700 to have it fixed before we had to drive cross country.  Here we were, only 5 hours into our trip, and the darn thing quit again.  The parts and labor were warrantied, but by a mechanic in Colorado Springs.  There was no way we were going to drive back to Colorado Springs.

We ate dinner at Red Robin with Aunt Penelope, Travis and Grampy.  Aunt Penelope was able to help me find a decent place to take the Jeep in the morning to get it fixed.  At 7:15 the next morning, Grampy and I made the 45 minute trip to the reputable auto shop.  Sure enough- the compressor was bad again.  They told me it would be done by noon.  Dave made the command decision to continue forward on the mission west with 4 of the boys while Kaleb stayed behind with me until the car was fixed.  At 8:30 am, Dave left with a few bags and 4 of the boys.  Around 12:30, the shop called to inform me that there was more wrong with the car then they thought- a bad fan, some bad tubing, and it would cost more money to fix.  Needless to say, $842 later and at 6pm, Kaleb and I were finally back on the road.  Next stop Phoenix…

We are officially living examples of Murphy’s Law of Roadtrips. Some other time I will account all the ridiculous things we have had happen on EVERY single road trip we've been on.  

Friday, May 4, 2012

Chicken Cutlet Curry

On my very last TDY trip to Okinawa, Japan, I became slightly addicted to CoCo Ichibanya Curry House chicken cutlet curry (Level 2) scarfing down three servings in a matter of 4 days. Every time I ate it, it left me wanting more.  Sure enough, within 24 hours of being back home, I wanted Chicken Cutlet Curry.  I found myself aimlessly wandering Google, at 1 am, in search for a recipe for the addicting meal.  I came across several and finally just picked one (the easiest) and decided I would try to cook it.  So, for my birthday dinner, I cooked the following recipe for my family.  They all loved it.  We made a spicier version for Dave, Kaleb and I and then a mild version for the younger boys.  It is not CoCo Curry's, but it definitely satisfied my craving and introduced a new flavor to the whole family.

The recipe below is how our family cooked this meal.  The original recipe can be found at

5 servings short grain white rice, cooked and kept warm
2T of butter or olive oil
5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cups fine breadcrumbs
3 eggs, beaten
1 block S&B Golden® curry sauce mix(med/hot)*
12oz sliced fresh mushrooms
salt, pepper and cayenne
2T peanut oil

1. In large stir fry pan melt butter. 
2. Add mushrooms and saute about 5 minutes.
3. Add water and entire brick of curry sauce mix to mushrooms.
4. Let simmer on high to thicken, stirring occasionally while preparing chicken (add cayenne to adjust heat level)
5. Pound chicken breasts out to about 1/2 inch thickness. Season with salt and pepper.
6. In pie plate, combine breadcrumbs with salt, pepper and other desired seasonings(ie garlic or onion powder, cayenne, parsley, etc)
7. Dredge chicken in egg then in breadcrumbs until evenly coated.
8. Cook chicken in large skillet with peanut oil.
9. Cook about 5 minute each side, until chicken is cooked through.
10. To serve, place serving of rice on plate, top with sliced chicken breast, then top with sauce. 

* For a mild version of this recipe use the mild S&B Golden® curry sauce mix.

** We made TWO batches of the curry sauce to suit everyone's taste. The above recipe only calls for one batch. 

*** The recipe called for about a 1/2 cup of shredded pepper jack cheese on top of the chicken breast before adding the sauce, but I forgot this and nobody noticed.  I plan to try this next time!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Slow Cooker Texas Pulled Pork

Ingredients listed are how our family made this.  Original recipe can be found at


1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 (4 pound) pork shoulder roast
2 cups barbeque sauce
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
8 hamburger buns, split

1.  Pour the vegetable oil into the bottom of a slow cooker. Place the pork roast into the slow cooker

2.  Mix together in medium bowl - the barbecue sauce, apple cider vinegar, chicken broth, brown sugar, yellow mustard, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, and garlic. Poor mixture over pork roast.

3.  Cover and cook on High until the roast shreds easily with a fork, 5 to 6 hours (or on low 8-10 hours).

4.  Remove the roast from the slow cooker, and shred the meat using two forks. Return the shredded pork to the slow cooker, and stir the meat into the juices. 

5.   Spoon pork into the buns.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Ahh running- why do you hate me so...

I hate running.  Or maybe running just hates me – the roads, the trails, the treadmills, the tracks… it’s all a conspiracy to test my will and determination.  I don't think I've always hated it.  I've grown to respect it as a physical activity, but I still hate it.  I used to play soccer in high school.  I hated running then.  I particularly loved playing fullback because I didn’t have to run as much as when I played left wing.  Then I came into the Army in 1997.  I started running and have looked for every ethical excuse in the world to stop.   
My dislike of running really started at Fort Gordon during my advanced individual training from 1997-1998.  I used to get THE WORST shin splints.  Eventually I ended up with a stress fracture in one of my femurs of all places and was placed on a profile to do the swim event for my PT test.  After having to do that event, I swore I would never get a profile for an alternate event again.  The only thing worse then running for time is swimming for time.
 I think my true hatred of the activity began when I was at Fort Drum, assigned to the 10th Signal Battalion.  We fell under the 18th Airborne Corps, and under that regime, all Soldiers were required to complete a 4 mile run in less than 36 minutes IN ADDITION to the passing the Army Physical Fitness Test required of all Soldiers.  That meant we all ran… a lot.  I was always the one that fell out of formation and fell behind.  I was the one that some poor NCO would have to fall back to the rear with to “police me up” and make sure I finished.  I am the reason they have “fall-out NCOs” for formation runs.
In any case, I had a baby in 1999 and then again in 2000… both at Fort Drum.   Followed by another in 2005 and then again in 2007 in Colorado Springs (the altitude adding a whole other dimension to running).  Every single time, it was so hard to get back into shape- progressively getting harder with each baby.  Now I’m wise enough to understand that I had to retrain my new “post-baby body” how to run.  But, without fail, with every child I’ve had, it’s been harder and harder to get back into the swing of things. 

Here we are now- 2012… post baby Elijah… Baby #5.  I’ve been in the Army just under 15 years.  I’m older, I’m slower, I’m heavier, and I’m not anywhere near as energetic as I used to be.  It’s been 6 months since I’ve had Elijah and I’m now supposed to be able to pass an Army Physical Fitness Test.  Passing would require me to complete 15 pushups in 2 minutes, 42 sit-ups in 2 minutes, and run 2 miles in under 21:42.  Where do I stand?  Well, let’s just say I’m not there. 
But I’m determined.  I’m not going to let those roads, trails, treadmills or tracks beat me.  The only way to get better at running is to … well… run.  And so that’s what I’ve started doing.  I’ve started running.  Haven’t really set any goals for myself yet.  I’m just running.  Getting out there and doing it, I’m convinced, is half the battle.  I have my iPod, my headphones and my handy-dandy Nike+GPS app;  and then I run.  Slowly, but surely, I run.  I post my runs on Facebook to hold myself accountable.  Something about sharing my weakness with the world makes me want to try just a little bit harder. 
So, watch my progress and feel inspired.  Feel inspired to confront something you hate and not let it beat you.  My screen name on Nike+ is mwaychoff77.  I always post a start and end message on Facebook when I run.  I don’t mind displaying my awful stats for the world to see.  At some point, I’ll be embarrassed enough by them to kick my butt into high gear.  Feel free to cheer me along, have a good laugh, or even join me in my challenge to beat those pesky roads, trails, tracks and treadmills.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Easy Cheesy Chicken

  • Ingredients listed are how our family made this.  Original recipe can be found at

  • Ingredients

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper
  • garlic powder
  • 1 (10.75 oz) can condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1 (10.75 oz) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 (10.75 oz) can condensed cheddar soup
  • 1 (8 oz) container of sour cream

  • Directions
  1. Rinse chicken and pat dry.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Place in slow cooker.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together cream of chicken soup, cream of mushroom soup and cheddar soup.  Pour over chicken in slow cooker.
  3. Cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours.  Stir in sour cream about 10 minutes before serving.
  4. Serve with pasta, mashed potatoes, egg noodles or rice and a salad or vegetable.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Cheesy Italian Tortellini

  • Ingredients listed are how our family made this.  Original recipe can be found at

  • Ingredients

  • 1 pound of lean ground beef
  • 1 package of Johnsonville's Sweet Italian Sausage (casings removed)
  • 2 (16 oz) jars of marinara sauce
  • 1 package of sliced mushrooms
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can of Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 (9oz) packages of refrigerated or fresh cheese tortellini
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

  • Directions
  1. Crumble ground beef and Italian Sausage into a large skillet.  Cook over medium-high heat until browned.  Drain.
  2. Combine ground meats, marinara sauce, mushrooms, and tomatoes in a slow cooker.  Cover and cook on LOW heat for 7 to 8 hours.
  3. Stir in tortellini and sprinkle mozzarella and cheddar cheese over the top.  Cover and cook for an additional 15 minutes on LOW or until tortellini is tender.

**This meal was prepared for my clan of 6 (Eli doesn't eat solids yet), with the intent of having leftovers.  For a smaller portion, cut all ingredients in half.

**For a make ahead, prepare all ingredients for sauce mixture and vacuum seal in a bag.  Toss in slow cooker on the day of.