Chicken Caesar Wraps – Quick, Easy, Affordable Meal

Quick & easy dinner recipe - chicken caesar wraps one skillet supper idea

I’m 23. When I was 18 and first started doing my own grocery shopping, it was easy to find ground beef for sale for around $2.50 a pound, or sometimes as low as $1.99. Now the prices are between $3.50-$4.00 most weeks. I have always been a fan of chicken and my local grocery stores have boneless skinless chicken breasts for $1.99 a pound on a regular basis. I didn’t have many meal ideas to use with chicken so I have been experimenting. We don’t care for dark meat, but this meal would be super frugal if you find a deal on other cuts of chicken.

I recently remembered getting a chicken caesar wrap at a restaurant once that was really good. I decided to try a quick and easy variation of it at home and liked the results so much that I’ve made it several times since.

Chicken breasts

 

Green pepper and onion

I made this meal for my boyfriend & I, and we both had the leftovers for lunch the next day as well.

I used:

  • 2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts.
  • 1 Green Pepper
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 tablespoons of caesar dressing
  • Sprinkling of shredded cheddar cheese
  • Sprinkling of shredded lettuce

Cut any fat from the edge of the breasts and discard. Cut the remaining meat into bite-size pieces. Dice your green pepper and onion as well. Throw everything into a non-stick skillet over low to medium heat until everything is cooked through.

Chicken caesar wrap Mix

I like my meat (and food in general) “overdone” by most peoples standards so I wait until the chicken is lightly browned.

Chicken Wrap recipeHomemade Chicken Caesar Wrap

Once finished, spoon the fillings into the center of a flour tortilla. Fill a regular dining spoon with your favorite variation of caesar salad dressing and drip it over your chicken mixture.

Chicken ceasar wraps homemade recipe

 

Chicken caesar wraps - quick and easy dinner idea

Quick and easy homemade chicken caesar wraps one pan weeknight meal idea

Sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese and lettuce and wrap it up. I like to tuck the bottom up first, then each side like a burrito so that the contents don’t spill out.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

My First Epileptic Seizure – At Age 23

For the last few months I’ve been mentally debating about whether or not to share my seizure story. My first seizure was October 28th, almost 3 months ago but some part of me is still coming to terms with what has happened. My hope is that getting it all “out there” will hope me find a bit of closure while also spreading awareness or at least making others with seizures (or a family member with seizures) feel less alone. I’ll start at the beginning…

October 26th is my anniversary with my boyfriend. 10/26/2014 was our 7 year anniversary, but my 11-year-old sister had spent the night of the 25th with me. Her school has a Halloween carnival that I took her to and then she stayed the night. She didn’t leave until the following afternoon, so we opted to celebrate our anniversary a day late so we could have the entire day to relax and enjoy alone together.

The 27th we went to shopping and out to dinner. We are both self-employed and we are both night owls, so we often sleep during the day and work at night. The night of the 27th I laid down to bed in the wee hours of the morning (technically it was the 28th). My boyfriend stayed up when I laid down. He said that about half an hour after I went into the bedroom he heard me scream.

In the past, I’ve dealt with very vivid nightmares that I sometimes wake up by screaming in a panic. Ryan said he immediately sensed that the scream sounded different from my typical nightmare scream. He rushed into our bedroom and saw my whole body jerking and shaking. He tried talking to me and touching me and I didn’t “wake up” or respond. He realized I was unconscious, but didn’t immediately understand that I was having a seizure. After a couple of minutes, my arm and leg on one side of my body relaxed while the other kept shaking. Seeing half of my body affected while the other was not made him worry that I may be having a stroke because he knew strokes often affect only one side of the body. After another minute or so, I quit jerking/shaking but my arms stayed clenched up against my body. Then my whole body relaxed, and about a minute later I became conscious. I yelled out in fear, not recognizing who he was. He said “Its OK its me”. I calmed down and then a few seconds later yelled out again. Again he told me “It’s OK it’s me.” once again I became calm for a minute and then would panic. He said we repeated this roughly six or seven times, as if my memory was being reset every few seconds. Again he worried that I may have had a stroke because it seemed like I had memory loss. He called 9-1-1 and they sent an ambulance.

My memory begins by “waking up” feeling extremely drowsy, as if I had been woken up in the middle of a really detailed dream. I felt like I had been asleep for hours but in reality it had been less than an hour. I heard my mother in law in the kitchen. I felt foggy and confused – so tired and yet I felt like I had been asleep for so long. At some point I remember Ryan telling me that I had a seizure, and that an ambulance was on the way. I recall simply thinking “Oh, ok.” as if this news wasn’t scary or shocking or alarming at all. From there my memory cuts out until I am at the local hospital, in a bed behind a curtain. I see my mom walk in past the curtain and her face is an intense mixture of panic, concern and sadness. Her expression causes a pang of anxiety to run through me, but I am unable to fully grasp the cause of her concern. “Why is she so upset?” I wonder.

I remember peeing in a cup, and being frustrated at how difficult it is to get to the bathroom. My whole body feels weak and dragging an IV pole and all the wires on me is difficult.

Later my dad shows up at the hospital. My gut reaction was frustration that anyone had told him that I was there. My dad had seizures for about 8 years, but has been seizure free for the last five or six years. Still, I generally try to avoid giving my dad more details about the stress in my life because I know that he doesn’t handle stress well in general, and that in the past stress seemed to contribute to his seizures. I was also a little surprised that he was there. My dad loves and supports me, but he really dislikes doctors or hospitals. He usually has to be talked into going to a doctor or hospital for ANY reason – even positive events like the birth of a new baby. So just him being there told me that he too was worried/concerned, but I was surprised that he was because it seemed unnecessary to me.

My memory then cuts out to discussing with my mom how I have a doctor’s appointment the next day to discuss the seizure. I also knew that I had a prescription for bactrim – an antibiotic because they said my seizure was caused by a urinary tract infection. I had no symptoms of a UTI, and had no fever. So, I was pretty sure that I didn’t even have a UTI, but I knew that even if I did that it wouldn’t have caused a seizure in a healthy person without having a fever. Yet, it doesn’t really cross my mind that this likely means I had a seizure for “no reason” and that I may now be prone to having more seizures.

When we get home from the hospital and shut the front door, Ryan immediately begins crying – which shocks me. I realize he’s been holding back for quite a while. I hug him and feel guilty for being responsible (though not at fault) for causing him this stress but I am still unable to grasp why everyone is so upset. I say something like “Its OK” or “I’m OK” and he says “I know. I just thought you had a stroke.” My heart sinks, and I realize that somehow he’s been nearly traumatized by this entire experience and yet I feel so numb to everything that as bad as I feel for him, I can’t relate to his feelings.

I had got health coverage in June but had been without health insurance for about two years prior. Since getting insurance in June, I hadn’t seen a doctor and my doctor from a few years ago quit practicing. So the appointment was with a doctor I hadn’t seen before, and I knew that the reason we chose to go there was because they could get me in so quickly.

Again, my memory cuts out until the next day after my doctor’s appointment. I don’t remember seeing the doctor at all, but I remember stopping at Arby’s with my mom and Ryan afterwards. I remember discussing with my mom how it doesn’t seem logical that a urinary tract infection with no fever would cause a seizure. She strongly agrees.

At some point, I google unprovoked seizure and read a statistic that says approximately 60% of people who have a seizure without a known cause (such as high fever, brain tumor or head injury) will have no additional seizures. I remember thinking that a 60% chance of not having a second seizure seemed pretty good, but being a bit worried about having a 40% chance of having another one being concerning. I think this is the first time it hits me that there is SOME chance that I will have additional seizures. Still, I have an overwhelming sense of being OK and that there isn’t anything wrong with me. Perhaps the best way to describe it was I was a little concerned but not worried.

That night when I go to bed, Ryan lays down in bed with me. Without saying it to me, I realize that he is staying awake while I fall asleep to make sure I fall asleep OK. I’m not bothered by his choosing to do this, but I recall thinking, “This is kinda silly. I’m fine. I’m not going to have a seizure. Why would I have a seizure?”

The next blog post in this series will be “My second epileptic seizure” – coming soon.

 

 

 

Our First Unexpected Vet Visit

We had our first unexpected vet visit this summer. While reading up about getting a dog (before we had any) I read a lot about the cost of a dog. I wanted to make sure we could afford one before we brought a dog home. It was clear to me from reading articles that the biggest factor in how expensive or affordable a dog is, is how often they require vet care. For example, my neighbor is a vet tech who adopted a bulldog last fall when she was 8 weeks old. She was backed into with a lawn mower and has had a few variations of cast on her leg since then. She also jumped down off of a bed and hit the side of a dresser (or chest?) and injured her jar so she had these elastic wrap things around her mouth for a while. Being a vet-tech, she had insurance on the dog but they still paid over 6,000 in vet bills! It would have been much worse without the insurance.

So, I consider myself really lucky that we went an entire year of having both Frank & Beans before we had an emergency & that our emergency was really quite small. We don’t have a washer and dryer hookup at our apartment and our bedroom ceiling leaks when it rains really hard (have I mentioned that I am counting the days until our lease is up? Ugh..) anyway, it rained hard twice in one week so both sets of fitted sheets that I have for our bed got wet. So we opted to sleep on the bed without a fitted sheet for a night until we could get to a laundrymat. The dogs sleep in bed with us.

In the middle of the night I sit up straight in bed because Frank lets out a yelp like I have never heard before. I am in that weird half awake state of confusion and I can tell that he’s kicking his leg frantically. So we turn on the light to discover that Frank is stuck to the bed by a piece of thick thread. Ryan runs and grabs scissors to cut him lose. We eventually realize that his nail got caught in the top layer of the bed and he must have yanked his leg so hard that it cracked the nail. Somehow, the thread of the top of the mattress wound up running through the crack on his nail but his nail was still  fully attached. The crack as high enough on the nail that I was afraid to try and cut it myself so we promptly made a vet visit. Here is what the nail looked like with the material from the bed running through it.

dog nail injury

I’m sharing this story for two reasons. One is so that others will learn that this can happen to your dog – it’s important to keep a sheet or mattress pad of some kind over your mattress. But it’s also likely that it would have been prevented if we kept his nails really short. Frank submits to having his nails trimmed SO much better at the vet than he does at home, so we used to take him in monthly to have it done but his nails would get long before the month was up. It’s a good idea to have them trimmed more often.

Have you ever had any accidents with your dogs nails?

10 Ways To Help Your Dog Beat The Heat

With any dog, it’s important to be conscious of how well (or how poorly) they handle various temperatures. With my senior pugs, it’s extremely important to be conscious of the heat because they overheat very easily. They start panting before humans even feel uncomfortable. So on days when it’s uncomfortably warm for humans, we have to be careful to make sure they don’t overheat. Since bringing Frank & Beans home over a year ago, we’ve learned several ways that help dogs beat the heat.

10 ways to help dogs handle summer weather

10 ways to help dogs beat the heat:

1. Use air conditioning. Prior to getting the pugs, we were cheap and would try to avoid using A/C here in Michigan unless it got realy unbearable and then we would only turn it on for an hour while the place cooled down adn then we’d kick it back off until it got uncomfortable again. With the pugs, particularly Beans, we use the air conditioning more often to keep her comfortable. Fans can help a little bit too but many dogs won’t lay directly in front of a fan and fans aren’t nearly as successful at truly lowering the inside temperature so AC is better if possible.

2. Avoid spending long amounts of time outside when it’s hot. We try to avoid going outside during the peak heat hours (roughly noon to 3 or so). To get in play time (or walks) we go early in the morning or late at night when it’s cooler.

3. Keep plenty of fresh water available at all times.

4. Doggy popsicles – similar to how we enjoy ice cream or popsicles when we’re hot, dogs like them as well. Some dogs will even enjoy plain water ice cubes to lick or play with. My dogs are pickier so we make Homemade Dog Ice Pops with healthy ingredients that help with their digestion, too.

5. Cooling dog mat. There are a handful of companies that make mats that can be frozen or have water added to give your pup a cold place to lay. On my other blog, Emily Reviews, I reviewed the Cool Pet Pad which doesn’t have any ‘prep’ required which is nice.

6. Put on a cold bandana or shirt. I just use bandanas or dog t-shirts that we already own and soak them in cold water to get them cold and put them on the pugs. If the material loses its cold feeling, just re-soak.

7. iCool scarf cooling dog collars. I got these for review on Emily Reviews as well. They are more convenient than soaking a regular shirt or bandana because they stay cold for hours.

8. Frozen water bottles. Fill old water bottles or 2 liter soda bottles with water and freeze. I had a friend tell me that her dogs love playing with and laying on them. I tried making some for my pugs and they were scared of them but it’s worth a try.

9. Baby pool swimming. If your dog enjoys playing in water, you can buy the blue baby pools at many stores for under $10. They are a fun, fairly inexpensive way for dogs to cool off if they enjoy water.

10. Grooming. If your dog is a longer haired breed that requires grooming, be sure to keep up with their grooming during warmer months to help them keep cool.

How do you help your dogs stay cool in the summer?

DIY Homemade Doggy Popsicles For Healthy Digestion

dog popsicles for healthy digestion

 

Warning – this blog post discusses dog poo.

We’ve tried a variety of different dog foods with Frank & Beans. Some of the foods that we’ve tried have resulted in their bathroom habits being very irregular, while others have been much better for their digestive systems. Yet, we’ve never found a food that made them completely regular on it’s own. So, they get  a spoonful of pumpkin puree which does a great job of regulating them because it’s high in fiber. You can find canned pumpkin in the baking aisle near pie fillings but make sure that you get 100% pure pumpkin so that it doesn’t have added sugar and other ingredients.

Because we only use two spoonfuls of pumpkin a day, we used to waste a lot of the can. So I started trying to brainstorm ways that we could stop wasting the pumpkin and I decided to make doggy popsicles using pumpkin which turned out great. Beans isn’t a fan of eating the pumpkin by itself, I usually have to stick a treat in the middle of the spoon of pumpkin for her to try it. So, I took a can of wet dog food that I had on hand and mixed it with a half-can of pumpkin.

dog ice pops

I added about a half of a cup of water to the mixture and then filled up an ice tray (that I found at a yard sale for .25 so I wouldn’t have to use the ones we humans use for our ice). I had a bit left over so I made two bigger popsicles in small bowls that I had. In the smaller bowls I added more water to compare how the popsicles would turn out.

Dog digestion popsiclces

The ice-cube tray popsicles were able to be chewed (while still frozen) by my dogs. If you want your dogs to lick them instead of chewing them, I would recommend adding at least a full cup of water when making these. The bowl-popsicles that I made with more water weren’t able to be chewed so the dogs licked them for probably half an hour before they were completely consumed. These also make a great hot-day long lasting treat for dogs.

 

Doggy popsicles that aid in healthy digestion:

1 can wet dog food

1/2 can pure pumpkin

1 cup water

Makes about 1.5 ice-cube trays worth.

 

July 2014 Dog Related Expenses

Our main expense this month was a trip to the vet which I will talk about in its own blog post.We had food remaining from months prior and didn’t buy any treats. We did place a “chewy” order and then I got tons of chewies for review (doesn’t it always work that way? lol). But of course, they love their chews so they’ll get used up in time anyway.

Vet visit – $47 and change.

Petflow “chewy” order – $15

Frontline – $34

Adams Flea Spray – $20

Total out of pocket: $116

We had a lot of dog products sent for review this month as well, mainly because of the 1 year furever family celebration that I did on Emily Reviews. That list:

handmade dog bed – $168 value

3 bags milos treats – $4.50 per bag, $13.50 value

4 bags wellness core dog treats, $7 bag, $28 value

2 icool dog scarfs – $13 each, $26 value total

A dog bowl mat, bag of bully sticks, and two bags of treats from Loving Pets. Total value – $45

3 “random assortment” chew bags ($25), 3 bags of treats ($18), two bags of windee rings ($9) from Jones Natural Pets – $52 value

Solvit dog kennel – $180 value

4 bags Zukes lil links – $6/bag so $24 total

2 minimus.biz travel towels, $20 value total

3 bags of treats & a toy from Bartleys – $42

AKC BFF box – $45 value

Pet Wellbeing supplements – $63

Total review item value – $706. Wowza.

 

Frank & Beans 1 year Furever Family Day

Today, July 15th, makes a whole year since we drove across town to pick up Frank and Beans, my two pugs. It’s our one year furever family day. If you haven’t already, feel free to check out our pug adoption story blog post to learn how it all came about.

henry the hedgehog

A few weeks ago, my pet hedgehog Henry passed away. I went to fill his food dish one day and realized that he hadn’t eaten much since the last time I filled it. So I started looking him over and realized that he had a strange looking growth on the roof of his mouth. I gave him a tiny piece of chicken and he chewed it but couldn’t seem to swallow. So we took him to the vet who told us these oral growths are very common in hedgehogs. She said she had tried to remove several but had never had one be successful. There isn’t any way to ‘shrink them’, and they just grow over time until they are unable to eat at all. I knew it was already affecting his ability to eat and didn’t want him to suffer so we had him put down. It was really difficult. Henry was the first pet that I ever had as an adult and even though I only had him for 3.5 years, it’s strange to not have him around anymore.

Frank and Beans Pugs Furever Family

Anyway, my reason for sharing about Henry is it’s made me really aware of the fact that my time with Frank & Beans is limited. I would love to see them both live another ten years (I’ve heard of pugs living to 20 and 21, though its of course rare). But the reality is that they are now 9 and 10 years old. They both still get around really well, and will run and play whenever I start roughousing or playing with them. Maybe once a week they will still get sassy and invite a play-session on their own. While they clearly aren’t puppies, they don’t seem like they have truly ‘slowed down’ to me. My mother in laws 7 year old dog is much more sedentary than Frank & Beans. Yet, we really have no way of ever knowing how long they have. It could be 10 years or it could be 2 weeks. Since losing Henry, I have found myself being so conscious and “in the moment” to play with them, give them extra-long petting or scratching sessions. My pugs are truly such precious gifts. Someday they won’t be here to jump on me, wake me up, sneeze in my face, or to play, cuddle, run or just BE with. I am so thankful that I decided to take the risk and bring them both home a year ago today. It’s easily one of the better decisions I’ve made. I have no idea how many more years I have with these two pugs but I’m going to try to make the most of the time that we do have.

Furever Family Pugs Frank and Beans

Happy furever family day Frank & Beans.

 

April Pet Expenses

(32.66) 3 pack of frontline

(22.99) 20lbs of diamond naturals lamb meal & rice formula.

$24.97, Dremel. Just arrived yesterday, hoping it will cause less anxiety than traditional nail trimmers.

$8.57, bag of bully bites

Total out of Pocket for April: $89.17

I also got stuff for the dogs through blogging. I am going to keep track of what I get them through blogging but in a separate area. Some things I get through blogging are necessary and I would have purchased if I didn’t get them via blogging and others aren’t.

(47.63 total)(2) Puppia harnesses. $21.64 + $25.99

$10 value. (2) small bags of milkbone brushing chews. Roughly

($24.99) Ecloth dog shammy size small

(roughly $20) Dingo Market cuts jerky 16oz

$6 value - (2) 2.7oz dogswell treat bags. Sponsor says they are a $9.99 value but they lasted like 2 days I would never have paid that much out of pocket for how tiny the bags were. The same brand has 32oz bags for $12-$14 on amazon so these seem really high priced. I would say they are more like a combined $6 value.

Total value from blogging ($108.63)

 

9.5 Months After Adopting The Pugs – A First

Less than two months ago I shared our pug adoption story. In it, I explained that when they were with us for about 2 months they began to play with toys with us. I said that since then, things had always been the same. I had thought that it took about 2 months for them to completely relax around us and be themselves.

IMG_1836

Until yesterday. Yesterday, I was cooking and Ryan was playing with the pugs. Suddenly there was this yelp. Frank has what I assume is some arthritis and/or joint pain in his back legs/hip area. If we pet him too rough in that area, he sometimes yelps. His yelps always sound the same, though. This time, the yelp sounded completely different. I headed for the living room and Ryan answered the question that I hadn’t yet had time to ask “That was Beans!”

IMG_1654

It was the first time she had helped around us. They are very attatched to us, almost always within 2 feet of either Ryan or myself. She inevitably gets stepped on at least once or twice a month by accident. She never yelps. She once came into contact with a lab easily four times her size. He sniffed her, very gently at first and then in a split second his entire mouth was around her neck. My heart stopped. I let out some kind of noise as I yanked her up into my arms away from the big dog. She made no noise.

beanslay

So, while it may seem strange to some, it felt great to her her yelp. It felt great that she finally feels like she can tell us when she is in pain. I hope that she continues to freely express her discomfort when needed.

Did your dogs hold any aspect of their personalities or behaviors back until they had been with you for months? What was it?