Favorite Thing Friday: Best Ever Chicken and Rice Soup!


My crock pot and I continue to be the best of friends. With the weather finally getting colder, there’s nothing quite as wonderful as some comfort food to warm up my evening.

As I write this, the heavenly smell of Chicken and Rice soup is wafting through my house. I found the recipe on Pinterest and it has quickly turned into one of my favorite meals.  It’s a snap to make – all it takes is about 15 minutes to chop a few veggies and throw them into the pot along with chicken, rice, broth, and a few seasonings.

Follow the pin for the recipe:


Click the image for the recipe.


I only slightly modified the recipe. It calls for a 1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes, but I only put in a pinch. The recipe calls for 4 cups of broth, but I’ve found adding an extra 1/2 cup keeps it from getting too thick. I made things easier on myself by buying pre-sliced carrots and I had my husband chop the onion, (I did not feel like fighting “onion tears” before having to go to work!).

If you’re in the mood for some warm and cozy food, this might be something worth trying!

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2014


Favorite Thing Friday: Easy Crock Pot Recipes


I am not a cook, but recent recipe finds on Pinterest have allowed me to serve hot and yummy meals. The best part is all of them require very little effort.

For years, my crock pot sat useless on my counter. This is mainly because everything that came out of it sucked. I had pretty much given up on the thing, until Pinterest came to the rescue. After finding a number of crock pot recipes in the Food & Drink section, I followed the image links and read what people had to say about each recipe. Thanks to blogs and comment sections, I learned what was worth trying and what to leave alone. Plus, I learned a lot about how to cook in a crock pot.

As someone with a stressful, full-time job, the ability to toss a few things in a pot and come home to a warm meal is pure gold. Having tested almost a dozen recipes, these are my Top 5 favorite crock pot recipes (so far).

1. Crock Pot BBQ Pulled Pork

Four ingredients are all you need for this recipe. It’s so simple, it’s almost unbelievable how good it tastes!


Click on the image for the recipe!

I highly recommend using Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce.

2. Crock Pot Italian Chicken

Follow the recipe on the pin description, rather than the link. I’ve made this a few times and it’s fantastic every single time. The only tricky part is making sure the cream cheese is soft enough to blend into the other ingredients, (microwaving it is okay!).


Click on the image to see the pin.

Rich and creamy, this simple meal is tasty over pasta or rice.

3. Slow Cooker Red Beans and Sausage

I was intrigued by using sausage in a chili-esque dish instead of beef or chicken. Sausage offers a new take on an old dish and I really like it!


Click on the image for the recipe.

I made a few adjustments to this recipe in that I cut down the amount of beans and added chili flavored tomatoes instead of garlic roasted. The recipe calls to serve it over rice, but I decided to serve it with soft tortillas instead.  This chili wraps up nicely into a little burrito.

4. Crock Pot Mac and Cheese

I will never go back to boxed Mac ‘n Cheese after trying this recipe. What’s not to love about creamy, tasty, and easy?!


Click on the image for the recipe.

The only modification I made was adding chunks of cooked kielbasa sausage. The result is a hearty, home-cooked meal.

5. Crock Pot Chicken and Potatoes

Simple, simple, simple! Three ingredients and some water pulls together a filling and flavorful meal.


Click on the image for the recipe.

I used baby red potatoes as they are my favorite. I also adjusted the layering suggested in the recipe. To keep the chicken moist, I added a bit more water and buried the chicken within the potatoes instead of on top.

Happy eating!

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2014

Favorite Thing Friday: The Barbie Shelf


It’s funny how poking around Pinterest can inspire the most unexpected projects. While cruising through the “Everything” category, I saw a pin for a beautiful doll – Lisette from the Barbie Fashion Model Collection. I let out a sigh and smiled. That very doll is in my curio cabinet, tucked away in her box. I haven’t seen her in years.


Lisette, Barbie Fashion Model Collection
(Image: barbiecollector.com)

A little spark inside of me was rekindled when I lifted the lid off the long stashed away box. There she was in all her glory. Mint green satin and black velvet with a touch of rhinestone sparkle caught my eye more than ten years ago and it did once again.

That little spark lead to pulling all of my dolls out of the cabinet. I just had to see them again and remember what I loved about each and every one. I’ve been collecting Barbie dolls since I was a kid, but in recent years it’s fallen by the wayside. It’s not a cheap hobby (which was a concern) and quite frankly I wasn’t impressed with Mattel’s offerings. I’m a picky collector who likes to be wowed!

All of my dolls are just as beautiful as I remember. Although, I pulled out a few that I totally forgot were part of the collection. I have dolls tucked in one cabinet, one shelf, and two closets. Boxes are bound to be hidden and that makes it hard to enjoy the full scope of a collection. The concept of “the forgotten doll” was the inspiration for a little project that kept me busy for days. Never again, did I want to forget what dolls I had, nor did I want to lose out on enjoying their beauty.

To solve my “forgotten doll” problem, I turned back to Pinterest. I created a board, The Barbie Shelf, to catalog my collection with the help of the Mattel’s Barbie Collector website. For three days, I pulled out every box from every shelf  to say hello and “pin” her to my Barbie Shelf board.

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 8.43.11 PM

Click image to see the entire collection on Pinterest!

Not only was it fun to see all of my dolls again, but each doll has a memory. I remember who gave me certain dolls or I remember where I worked to save up for another. Over 20 years of my life is documented in my Barbie collection. From vintage style to the fashions of the 90s, these dolls represent a history I cherish.

Creating a catalog also helped me answer a burning question: How many dolls are in my collection? To my shock, the magic number is 84, (two of the pins are fashion ensembles). At one time, I know I had over a hundred, but the lack of space to store them forced me to purge some of my collection. I don’t have any regrets about the dolls I let go as I know they are in the hands of someone who will love them as much as I did. I kept the ones that meant the most to me and that’s good enough for me!

My little jaunt into Barbie heaven inspired me to dig up the dolls I played with as a child. I kept a select few and like the others, I hadn’t seen them in years. I pulled out my old Barbie carrying case and jumped head first into my early childhood. I had so much fun, I decided to create a Pinterest board cataloging those dolls as well, (Barbie Toy Chest). The funny thing is I remember the name of each and every doll, even if the dress is missing. I know them by their hair and face. The memories of playing with them are priceless.

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 8.47.10 PM

Click image to see more dolls. Maybe they were part of your childhood, too!

Revisiting so many wonderful memories turned that little spark into a flame. I’m excited about Barbie collecting again and I’m anxious to make new memories. To get started, I created a Barbie Wish List board on Pinterest. I’m combing through the Barbie Collectibles archives to pin images of dolls I’d love to have in my collection. It’s been so fun to revisit dolls I remember wanting 10 years ago and catching up on dolls I’ve missed.

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 8.50.42 PM

Click image to see what else I’m wishing for (hint, hint, Mom!)

To celebrate both the nostalgia of my Barbie Shelf and my newly rekindled excitement, I’ve decided to buy a doll with my next paycheck. I don’t know which one yet, but I know she’ll be gorgeous. And she’ll be the doll I’ll always remember as being the one that reminded me how fun it is to collect Barbie.

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c.b.w. 2014

Favorite Thing Friday: Cooking From Pinterest


Cooking has never been my thing, but every once in a while I get the itch to make something tasty. When my summer vacation began, I felt an enormous urge to hang out in the kitchen and make dinners and desserts, (easily my favorite part of eating). Part of this impulse can be blamed on a year’s worth of collecting “recipes” on Pinterest.

My Cooking and Baking board started as a place to collect yummy looking treats like Snickers brownies and cheesecake slices. Then, I started finding super easy recipes for actual meals. I’m no chef, so any pin with the words, “simple” or “fast” got my attention. Once my summer hiatus from teaching began, I decided I’d try to make something from my board at least once a week. Little did I know just how much fun that would be! Not to mention mouthwateringly good!

The first adventure started with two pasta salads I pulled from one pin:


Broccoli and Feta Pasta Salad – This is one I’ll be making again with some minor adjustments. It’s a good recipe, but it needs a little more kick in terms of spices.

Peas and Ham Pasta Salda – Overall, a very good salad that is easy to make. While the ham gave it a nice salty taste (which compliments the hardboiled eggs nicely), I’m wondering how it would taste with grilled chicken cubes.

Then, I made a Broccoli Quinoa casserole, which is quite possibly the best casserole to ever come out of my oven:


Broccoli Quinoa Casserole

I followed the recipe, but I also made some adjustments. Instead of plain quinoa I used a fire roasted red pepper and basil flavored quinoa blend. Then, I added some pre-cooked chicken chunks.  Absolutely amazing!

One of the quicker meals, turned out to be an instant new favorite. I’m a fan of any meal that can be made all in one pot, so a pin for a Black Bean-Zucchini-Rice Skillet instantly spoke to me:


Black Bean-Zucchini-Rice Skillet

It’s ready in under 20 minutes and is jammed packed with flavor. This is one I’ll definitely make again, especially when I go back to work in the fall.

On the dessert end of things, I found a recipe so good I can’t wait to make it again. This No Bake Cheesecake is so quick and easy, I can’t believe it turned out so yummy!


4 Ingredient No Bake Cheesecake

With only four ingredients and a pre-made pie crust, this recipe is a snap. It was so easy, I was starting to think it was too good to be true, but the first response out everyone who got a piece was “Mmmmmmmm.” Enough said.

I’ve got another round of Pinterest recipes planned for next week and hopefully they will be just as good!

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2014

Celebrating One Year!


It’s hard to believe that one year ago today, I launched my blog.  The last 12 months have brought more milestones than I ever thought I’d reach and has allowed me to be part of an amazing community of writers and readers.  My gratitude goes to all of you for deciding to follow my journey as a writer and creative spirit.  Your presence as readers and commenters is so encouraging, inspiring, and very much appreciated.

As my muse and I grow, my blog continues to evolve, which means both new and old followers may not be aware of everything hiding in the nooks and crannies of C.B. Wentworth.  So, it seems the only fitting way to celebrate my one year anniversary is to take a look at how far I’ve come and where I’m heading next.  Let’s take a tour!

Along the Top: 

  • There is a small menu of page links that divide the content of my blog.
    • About – Like most bloggers, I wrote a little blurb about myself and the purpose of my blog. Perhaps I got a bit too whimsical, but I stand by the arguments I have with my muse!
    • My Bookshelf – Did you know I keep a log of all the books I read?  Books I’ve enjoyed from 2010, 2011, and the growing list of 2012 are all listed on My Bookshelf.  This year, I started writing snapshot reviews and providing links for each title.  I update this page regularly and leave comments open for book discussions, debates, and recommendations for further reading.
    • Home – The main page of my blog is where all new posts appear.  I write on a number topics, which are represented with category links below the main header.  Content is pretty random and that’s largely because I don’t believe in limiting where my muse can go.  If anything, I like the element of surprise for both myself as a writer and for readers.  My voice, however, is what ties everything together.  I’ve been told I have a unique personality and it comes through in everything I write!

On the main page:

  • Blog Schedule – I post three or four times a week, typically Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday.  However, there are weeks where I’ll post every day.  It depends on how chatty my muse is and how much time is available to write.
  • Comments – Every post is open to comments and I make it a point to answer every single person who leaves a comment.  Reader thoughts are important to me and I enjoy the conversation.
  • Current Series/Projects:
    • Wreck This Journal – This series documents the pages I complete in Keri Smith’s groundbreaking book of the same title.  I’m happy to say this series has inspired a number of people to buy their own Wreck This Journal and embark on a similar journey of reckless creativity.
    • Project Art Journal – This series showcases pages from a journal I created with paper lunch bags.  Each page is constructed using mixed-media collage and I provide step by step instructions for the techniques I use to create each layout.
    • Sundays in London – A three week sojourn to London serves as the inspiration for poetry and musings.  Every Sunday I post a photograph from my adventure, along with the words it inspires.
    • 2012 Goals Status Report – At the end of every month, I hold myself accountable for the writing goals I’ve set for 2012.  I document both successes and failures as they occur to keep myself on track for the year.
  • In between these regular series is where random topics run rampant.  A post without the aforementioned titles is one where I’ve wandered into fiction, travel, books or any of the other categories listed under the main header.

Along the sidebar:

  • The main photograph is my actual bookshelf.  I took this shot with my cell phone and played with it on iPhoto until I got it to match the color scheme of my chosen theme. Every photograph on my blog is my own, unless otherwise noted.
  • Subscribing to my blog is as easy as clicking on the “sign me up” button.  Thanks again to those who have already done so!
  • Over on Facebook I’ve create a writer page, where I post blog updates, links to other blogs and sites, announcements, and general musings about writing.  Clicking “Like” button opens up these features and I love it when people write on my wall.
  • My Twitter Tweets chronicle my writing process, books I’m reading, and fantastic inspirational quotes I find in a variety of places. Click the button on my sidebar and we’ll tweet together!
  • Pinterest is my newest obsession.  The crafter and artist in me can’t get enough of the visual inspiration this site has to offer.  I pin everything from upcycling projects, photos of my dream flat in London, and art journal pages.  Click the red button on my sidebar to see what I’m pinning and to follow along.
  • I recently joined the World Literary Cafe to network with other writers and readers.  So far, it has been an amazing experience!  I’m still learning the ropes of all it has to offer, but I highly recommend it to anyone looking for information about how to network.
  • I joined goodreads a few months ago, because I loved the idea of the 2012 Reading Challenge.  I have a goal of reading at least 30 books this year and so far, I’m right on track.
  • Musings of a writer is a little section where I place random quotes that pop into my head.  I don’t change it very often, but I always try to come up with something that represents my philosophy of what it means to be a writer.
  • In the Recent Posts section, I keep a listing of the 50 most recent blog entries.
  • My tag cloud is just as random as my posts, so I guess that’s another indicator of how my muse works! Clicking on any one of those tags will take you to all my posts relating to that topic.
  • I’m sorry to say my Blogroll is in dire need of updating!  I have about 30 blogs to add, but the current list of blogs are still among my favorite.  I visit them daily for a great read and endless inspiration.
  • The Campaign Shield serves as my badge for surviving my first Writers’ Platform-Building Campaign.  The campaign was worth participating in as I met so many wonderful bloggers and I really enjoyed the challenge of tough writing prompts and competition. I’m still in shock that I won the last competition, (See Fatespeak)!
  • Thanks to some fabulous bloggers, I’ve been lucky enough to receive several blog awards.  There’s nothing quite as encouraging or gratifying as another blogger acknowledging my work.  I appreciate every single one and those who gave them to me.

Filling out the Footer:

  • I keep all the logistical information at the bottom.  This is where the archives, calendar, and blog stats reside.   I wish it was more exciting, but alas there is always a corner for the technical stuff!

Random Tidbits:

  • My gravatar photo is the same photo I use for all social media.  The meaning behind that black and white road can be found on a post entitled, One Photograph Changed Everything.

Photo by Robert Frank, (as featured in "The Americans.")

  • My icon photo is a collage I created and photographed.  I pieced together magazine photos of trees, cliffs, and petroglyphs.  The emphasis on the hand in the center is symbolic of the human journey in which we all travel.

Collage by c.b.w.

  • Back in August, my post The Best Souvenirs Are Free was chosen to be Freshly Pressed.   I wish I could properly convey how exciting that was, but I still can’t find the right words.

The Best Souvenirs Are Free

Coming Soon:

  • Project Flash Fiction – As summer approaches, I’ll be embarking on a challenge to write one piece of flash fiction every week.
  • Finish This Book – With Wreck This Journal winding down over the next couple of months, Keri Smith’s most recent book will be my next source of reckless creativity. Pages and experiences will be posted on a bi-weekly basis.
  • Pinhole Camera Adventure – On a whim, I bought a kit for a pinhole camera and I plan on documenting the experiment from start to  finish, including the photographs I take with this contraption!
  • Project Upcycle – Pinterest has turned me into an upcycling fanatic.  I have several projects lined up and I’ll be documenting each one as they are completed.
  • Q&A Journal – Another summer project where a question a day can lead to anything.  A weekly post will document my answers and the inspiration that will likely ensue.

Thanks again to all my readers, new and old!  This year has been an incredible experience and I can’t wait to see what is yet to come.

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c.b. 2012