So this week, I will be reviewing a product I not only know and love, it is something that, at least during this pregnancy, dreams are made of. I am actually only posting about this because I have such an intense craving for it right now that I cannot even think straight! Xander is apparently a Taco Bell baby… With Sophie, I always wanted Wawa subs. (For those of you who don’t have Wawa locally, I am so sorry for you! ) Xander, on the other hand, makes me crave a lot of weird things… Meat, for one. I always seem to want meat. Whether it be steak, (I actually tried a medium rare steak for the first time this summer when I was in Ohio. I am usually a well-done kinda gal!) fried chicken, wings, ribs, etc….All I seem to want is mass quantities of tasty critters! Sorry if I am offending my vegetarian friends out there. While I applaud your lifestyle, I am a carnivore, plain and simple.
Other than the necessary incorporation of all things meaty in my meals, I have also been craving spicy foods. I had never tried guacamole before this pregnancy, and now I cannot get enough. But my main spicy craving has been Taco Bell. I NEED my Taco Bell. People will get hurt if they try and keep me from it,lol..Okay, not literally, but I can pout like a champ! I have always loved Taco Bell. I remember as a kid, living in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, Taco Bell was a mainstay in our household. I don’t know if it’s because my mom couldn’t cook, or if it was just the fact that it was convenient and easy on the wallet, but we had Taco Bell a LOT. I remember I always got a tostada and their wonderful chili cheese burrito, RIP. It is no longer available where I live. In fact, the only place I have seen it still on the menu is at Taco Bell in the greater Toronto area! Makes me wish I were Canadian,lol.
Since becoming an adult, I don’t really eat a lot of fast food. I have discovered a great love for cooking. My husband says I am like a 5 star restaurant. So we usually eat our meals here at home. And as a mom, of course I prefer not to shovel fast food in my children’s mouths very often. But for some reason, this pregnancy is making me have an itch to “think outside the bun” and it is definitely safe to say, “Yo quiero Taco Bell!”
In my never-ending quest for the perfect spicy, beefy food, I have discovered what it in my humble opinion, one of the most perfect foods on the planet. Yes, nutritionally I am sure it is crap. I’m sure it’s WORSE than crap. I am not saying that Taco Bell is even remotely a health-conscious meal choice. I know that have healthier options on their menu, but I’m not gonna lie. I don’t order those items. They look chock-full of onions, and onions are my mortal enemy! What I am craving…What I am yearning for…What I would be willing to commit certain felonies for at this very moment is…..
That’s right…The one, the only, the heart attack in a wrapper, the Cheesy Double Beef Burrito! Now don’t knock it before you try it. This is literally heaven in a tortilla! It is a flavor explosion of cheesy, beefy goodness! They have somehow figured out how to take their signature taco meat, a zesty nacho cheese sauce, and some seasoned rice and turn it into something so mouth-wateringly delectable that I would gladly sacrifice a limb for a lifetime supply, haha.
Here is the product description taken from Taco Bell’s website :
A warm, soft flour tortilla loaded with a double portion of seasoned ground beef** and filled with warm nacho cheese sauce and seasoned rice.
What they are leaving out is how maddeningly addictive they are, and that they can cause pregnant, hormonal women to wake thier poor, sleeping husbands up at 1:00 to go get them. Heck, if it weren’t windy and rainy right now, I would be in the car on my way to get one right now!
So here I am, preparing for probably my least favorite prenatal visit of all…The dreaded Glucose Tolerance test. This is a routine test given to pregnant women between 24-28 weeks. This tests to see how the body processes sugars, therefore determining whether or not Momma has gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is fairly common, and usually clears itself up after giving birth. It does, however, often require at the very least dietary changes, and in the worst case, insulin injections. Often if a woman has gestational diabetes, it poses risk to both her and her baby, and the babies of diabetic mothers are often born overly large, and end up requiring a C-section delivery. So it is very important that all expecting moms be tested for this.
While it is an essential test during pregnancy, it is a VERY unpleasant one. You go to your doctor’s office or a lab, whichever happens to be the case. You’re not supposed to have anything to eat or drink beforehand, so a morning appointment is best, the earlier the better! Otherwise, you just might find yourself ready and willing to commit serious felonies in exchange for a cheeseburger! Once you arrive, they give you a highly concentrated orange (or sometimes lime or fruit punch flavored) drink that contains a TON of sugar. They will probably tell you it’s like drinking a flat soda, but I tend to disagree with that statement. I would better describe it by saying it would be similar to the frozen OJ concentrate you can buy in the freezer section, thawed, and without adding water. It is thick, it is sickeningly sweet, and on an empty tummy, it is absolute torture. They expect you to down in in 5 minutes or less, and then you have to sit and wait for an hour. You’re not supposed to get up and walk around, and you can’t even chase the gunk with water. And if you happen to get sick, you get to go home and come back and do it all over again. So NOT the most pleasant experience. After the hour is up, they will draw your blood to measure sugar levels and see if your body has processed the “drink” efficiently and properly. I usually end up looking like a pin-cushion afterwards, as they never seem to be able to find my veins…It takes 4 or 5 tries most times. If your levels are normal after the blood draw, congratulations, you’re done! If they come back questionable or on the high side, you get to come back for another round…..
And here is the 3 Hour Glucose test…The worst of all! You go in again, and they give you the same drink, but with DOUBLE the sugar content. It’s like drinking syrup. They usually take your blood before you drink it to establish a baseline, and then every hour for 3 hours after you drink the glop. At my lab, they at least sit you in a separate waiting room and even give you a blanket if you want to take a nap. (which isn’t the easiest thing to do when you feel like you’re about to projectile vomit!)
I had to take the 3 hour when I was pregnant with Sophie. It was MY fault, because I unknowingly threw off my original glucose test, and it came back at a 199! Which is just about diabetic levels….Was I actually diabetic? No. I made the mistake of sipping on some soda when I woke up that morning and in the car because I was thirsty, and I also made the mistake of chewing gum. Yes, it was sugar-free, but apparently, that doesn’t matter. It still affects the way the sugar in your body is processed. So I was terrified I was diabetic, and had to endure the 3 hour test, just to find out I was fine, and I had unwittingly sabatoged the first test! And to make matters worse, I had to sit in the waiting room with some woman who was absolutely obsessed with reality TV and wouldn’t stop talking about John and Kate Plus 8 and the Duggar family…for 3 whole hours! The woman was on her 9th pregnancy herself, and said she wanted to contact TLC and get her own show. Now, I have nothing against John or Kate or any other TV families….I just don’t watch a lot of TV, therefore had NO idea what she was talking about! So I obviously didn’t get my nap,lol…
So now I get to gear up for the dreaded test…I go to my doctor on the 7th, and he already informed me that during that visit, they’ll be giving me the forms to take to the lab for the awful test. I’m sure I will be fine. I am not taking any chances this time,lol… No soda, no gum, no walking around when I am supposed to be sitting…Heck, I won’t even so much as sniff a candy bar, lol This time I am not going to make myself endure the agony that is the 3 Hour Test if I can help it!
As unpleasant as this test is, it is a very important part of receiving proper prenatal care. It cannot be skipped. The test is not only for your safety, but helps ensure the health and well-being of your baby. I would much rather choke down the nastiness that is the sugar drink than take any chances when it comes to my health or Xander’s health. I am just grateful that after this one, I am DONE.
So Dan is the manager of an auto shop, and the previous manager was completely and totally incompetent. He was literally tanking the place. Dan has the not-too-easy job of re-establishing clientele, and repairing the reputation of his particular location. Things have gotten much better since he’s taken over, but they aren’t yet where he’d like them to be.
I have been brainstorming and thinking of ways to attract business, such as posting ads on CL for a discount on the total invoice, and I am going to be setting up a Facebook page for his particular location, and running contests on Facebook Promotions for things like free oil changes and state inspections. I will also be putting together a customer appreciation Holiday brunch with things like ham, roasts, appetizer platters, a casserole or two, and of course pizza and hot dogs for the kids. I have also decided to donate some of my unused bath and beauty products to raffle as prizes. For example, for every 100.00 spent, a customer would gain one entry. I am going to make cute gift baskets that would be great for the holidays as first and second prizes, and the grand prize will be FREE LIFETIME oil changes! That’s right…Free oil changes for the life of the vehicle! (Which is something they offer for around 300.00!)
So I am pretty excited. I am stuck here pregnant and taking care of Sophie, which is exactly where I want and need to be, but that doesn’ t really contribute to the household income. It makes me feel good that I can do things to help with his business, so I can feel like I am helping our bottom line at least a little bit.
If anyone has any other ideas to attract business, please comment and let me know! What kind of dishes would YOU like to see at a customer appreciation luncheon? What kinds of products would you like to see in a raffle gift basket? What else would you do to market and get people in the door? Let me know! I’d love to hear any and all ideas you might have!
As I have stated in previous posts, my husband is picky…He hates veggies, and he hates anything with tomatoes. So I am always looking for ways to doctor up my dishes to make them “Dan-friendly”.
Well, we are low on groceries and need to go on grocery run badly….Yesterday, I was looking in the pantry and trying to figure out what I had the ingredients on hand to make for dinner. Ground beef? Check. Hot Italian sausage? Check. Beans? Triple check. Tomatoes? Check….Chili it is! He can deal for one day, right?
I played around with the ingredients in my head, and tried to figure out a way to make this dish palatable for my chili-hating hubby. When he came home, he commented that something smelled good. I had to break it to him that I was making one of his least favorite dishes, but that I hoped he would like it, anyway. When dinnertime finally came around, not only did he eat it, he went back for seconds and ate 2 full bowls! He said the ONLY other time that has happened with chili was back in 1988 in Springfield, Illinois at a local mom and pop restaurant his friend’s parents owned. He told me I should memorize whatever the heck I did, and that it was fantastic. So I figured since I got such rave reviews, I would share my concoction with you all.
- 2 pounds ground beef chuck
- 1 pound bulk Hot Italian sausage
- 1 can pinto beans
- 1 can black beans
- 1 (15 ounce) can red kidney beans
- 1 (28 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with juice
- 1 cup instant mashed potato flakes (for thickening and texture)
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 2 green chile peppers, seeded and chopped
- 6 slices of cooked, crumbled bacon
- 4 cubes beef bouillon
- 1 12 oz can of beer
- 1/4 cup chili powder
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce (I like Louisiana Crystal sauce!)
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 (10.5 ounce) bag corn chips such as Fritos
- 1 (8 ounce) package shredded Cheddar cheese
- Heat a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Crumble the ground chuck and sausage into the hot pan, and cook until evenly browned. Drain off excess grease.
- Pour in all of the beans, diced tomatoes. Add the onion, celery, green and red bell peppers, chile peppers, crumbled bacon,bouillon, and beer. Season with chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, oregano, cumin, hot pepper sauce, basil, salt, pepper, cayenne, paprika, and sugar. Stir to blend, then cover and simmer over low heat for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
- After 2 hours, taste, and adjust salt, pepper, and chili powder if necessary. The longer the chili simmers, the better it will taste. Add mashed potato flakes and stir. Remove from heat and serve, or refrigerate, and serve the next day.
- To serve, ladle into bowls, and top with corn chips and shredded Cheddar cheese.
**This can also be cooked in a slow cooker with wonderful results. Just make sure to brown the ground chuck and sausage first!**