Saturday, June 25, 2011

Quick and Easy: Beef Pot Roast!!

One thing you will learn about me, if you don't already know, is that I am a disaster in the kitchen. I've done everything from forgetting to add the wet ingredients, to melting a plastic bad to the outside of a glass pan. Not to mention the burns on my hands :)

Luckily for me, I have a new roommate and... she's a great cook (among many other things :)).

She also happens to be my younger sister, Jenny.


Now instead of my english muffins and peanut butter for dinner, I get things like BBQ chicken, crepes and... Beef Pot Roast!

While the other two things were very good, the Pot Roast was beyond yummy so I thought I would share it with you. The great thing about this meal is all you have to do is throw the ingredients in a Crock Pot and when you get back from work, its done! It also makes great leftovers.

Beef Pot Roast (8 Servings)


Ingredients:
2lb Red Potatoes
1lb Carrots
7oz Italian Dressing Dry Mix
7oz Ranch Dressing Dry Mix
1.2oz Brown Gravy Dry Mix
3.1lb Roast Beef
3/4 Cup Water

Directions:
Cut potatoes in halves or thirds. Put in bottom of crockpot. Put in carrots. Put Roast on veggies. Mix dry ingredients in separate bowl. Rub some on Roast. Sprinkle rest veggies & roast. Add 3/4 cup water. Cook on low in crockpot for 7-9 hours.

And then you get something that looks like this!


Next time Jen thinks she's going to try adding mushrooms and onions... yum, yum, yum.

Do you have any 'go-to' Crock Pot meals? Any 'go-to' quick and easy meals in general? If so, leave a comment! Or, email me and you can share it here with others!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Adopt a Friend

For as long as I can remember, I've wanted a dog (or a cat... but my mom is deathly allergic to them, so that was out). It was just one of those things that I was drawn too. 

But due to busy schedules while growing up, we couldn't have one. We settled on guinea pigs instead. I will talk more about them in future posts. They really do make excellent pets.

Anywho...

I moved out of the parent's house this past October. I told myself that I would wait a little while until I was settled in before I started looking for a cuddly companion.

Then I told myself that just looking would be fun and couldn't do any harm.

Then I found myself filling out the application.

And within a month of moving out of my parent's house, I brought this lovely lady home.



Her name is Sasha and she is an eight-year-old Shiba Inu Mix. My mom and I ran a DNA test on her, to see what else she was made of. Turns out she's half Shiba Inu, and about a quarter German Shepherd and a quarter Cocker Spaniel. You can totally see the Cocker in her... can't you? ;)

Now, I realize that I might be a little biased, but I think she is simply the best dog in the world.

The way that I went about finding her was using www.petfinder.com. It's a great site, in which you can put in the desired characteristics in your new friend, and read a little bit about them. You can search your immediate area, or expand the search to cover many different states.

Originally I thought I wanted a puppy, or at least a dog under three. One of the first dogs that I inquired about was one year old. She looked like a sweety, but I am so thankful for the 'foster moms' honest response to my inquiry. She said that due to my schedule, a young dog was not a good fit for me, or the dog.

So I changed my search, looking only for adult dogs (classified between the ages of 3 and 8 usually). And that is how I found Sasha.

I will definitely share more about my little girl in later posts, but the purpose for this one is to promote adopting a pet from a shelter. And... while doing so is definitely a very sweet thing, I want to stress that you make sure you are ready for the responsibility.

What I would suggest, after going throught the adoption process with Sasha is the following:

1. Discuss the responsibility of owning a pet with everyone that will be involved. 
Since I lived by myself, this step was very easy, as I was already completely convinced that I wanted one. However, since I was by myself, I researched where I could kennel her when I was gone on business trips and such.

2. Make sure you can financially support another family member.
I was told before I adopted her, that Sasha had a few minor health issues. I realized that those might lead to higher vet bills, or more expensive food. I calculated it out and determined I could handle it. Plan for the unexpected, and unfortunate health issues.

3. Decide on the appropriate age of your pet. 
It will take a CONSIDERABLE amount more work if you get a young pet. It's not fair to you or the pet if you don't have the time it needs to mature properly. While puppies and kittens are cute, they won't be nearly as cute if they aren't trained properly.

4. Research the characteristics of the breed(s) you are interested in. 
When I first found the post about Sasha, I had no clue what a Shiba Inu was, so I researched the breed in order to understand what her tendencies might be. Its amazing how many of personality traits of a Shiba Inu she has, even though she is a mix.

5. Research the shelter you are thinking of adopting from.
I know that I personally appreciated getting Sasha from a shelter that runs itself through a foster program. Kate was Sasha's 'foster mom'. She was an awesome wealth of information because Sasha had actually lived with her for four months. She could tell me how she acted with adults, children and other animals. She new her odd quirks (like how she likes sleeping with your socks) as well as her eating habits. The shelter that she works for is called Pets In Need Midwest and can be found at this website: http://www.petsinneedmidwest.org/index.asp

I highly recommend adopting a little friend, should you find yourself able to have a pet. They really do bring a lot of joy to your life. Its great to come home everyday to my crazy girl.



Are you thinking about getting a pet? Have you thought about using a shelter? Maybe you have already adopted and could recommend a good shelter for others to look at, or have tips of your own to keep in mind. Please feel free to leave your comments below. 

And thank you to those who have given a shelter pet a loving home!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Welcome to my blog!

Hmmm, what to write first?  What should the very first words on my blog be?


No pressure, right? ;)


How about... Welcome!   


I'm Kelley. The first thing you are probably thinking is, who are you?


The second is, why would I want to read your blog? 

Well, those are very good questions and I would be more than happy to answer them.



First off, who am I. 
I am a 25-year-old woman working in the corporate world. Last year at this time I graduated with a degree in Engineering and was very fortunate to get a job with a company that I really like, and with people I really respect. I live in a suburb of Milwaukee, WI, an area I have lived in my whole life. I currently live with my younger sister, and my puppy (who is actually eight, so not a puppy at all). I am very blessed to have wonderful friends and family and a great life in general.


What is this blog about? Why should you read it.
Before graduation I had it all figured out. I was going to get that degree, find a great job, hang out with friends on the weekend, play volleyball in the summer with a cold one in my hand. I was going to finally have time to relax without the pressure of school looming constantly over my head. 


Perfection.


Then I graduated, and realized that things weren't meant to be quite that simple. I did get that degree and found that great job. And I do hang out with my friends. And although volleyball is probably the sport I am the worst at, its still fun to play (and much more difficult to do so when you're holding a beverage in your hand ;)). But then there was so much more I wanted to do as well. Parts of me that had been dormant while my focus was elsewhere in college were bubbling to the surface. I wanted to sing in a band as the audience raised there glasses. I found myself in front of my laptop, finally writing down the story that had been stuck in my head for years. I adopted a dog as well as a 'little sister' through the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. I have tried my hand at cooking (the burns prove it) and have been thankful that my sister is much better than I am. I've climbed some mountains in Ireland (the exact one in the picture below) and have started planning for next year's trip.


There's a whole list of other things I've dabbled in since graduation... but why give away everything in the first post. :)


Just in this past year my interests have grown and I know they're not done. I am by no means an expert at any of them, there are just too many things that I like, to spend enough time to become one. But I know there are experts out there, and I also know that there are many others like me who would be interested in what they have to say, and who would want to share there experiences with others. My hope is that this blog will be a sounding board for sharing successes, failures, advice and stories that many will be interested in.


Basically, its gonna be a little bit of everything.


Because I'm a 'Jack of all Trades, Master of None.'


Just call me Jack ;) 

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