Slow-Cooker Wednesday: Spicy Chicken with Peppers and Olives

4562042694_70e95c7d9b_oThis is another recipe from Slow Cooker Favorites Made Healthy. You have to understand, I love olives.  Green or black, I don’t care.  I love ’em.  And lucky for me, olives have lots of healthy fats.  The two bright green leaves on top are basil leaves fresh from my herb garden.  They were there mostly to brighten up the plate.  Again, I don’t know if I can reproduce the full recipe, so leave a comment if you’d like the full thing.


  • Chicken
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Red pepper (original recipe called for yellow)
  • Black and Green olives
  • Pasta sauce (original called for spicy, I added red pepper flakes at the end)
  • Pasta

Tastiness Factor:

This was very tasty.  The heat wasn’t too much, just a little tingling feeling around the edges.  There wasn’t a strong olive taste, either.  I’m a sucker for most kinds of pasta and pasta sauce.  I don’t know if I’d do the chicken again, it didn’t seem essential to the flavor profile.  It could easily have no meat at all.

Reheat Factor:

This will be edited when I reheat the leftovers and see how they taste.

Overall Impression:

I love the simplicity of the ingredients list.  It’s all things I tend to have on hand.  Again, I don’t know if I’d do the chicken.  There was nothing in the dish that screamed ‘chicken’ to me.  I think next time I’ll try it vegetarian or with something light, like fish.  The sauce itself is very heavy, so maybe something lighter would counteract that.  EDIT: It appears that the sauce was really salty and gave me a huge headache the next day.  Maybe if I cut out the green olives it would be less salty, but I like salty things, and normally am fine.  So this monstrous headache means I probably won’t try this recipe again soon.


Shopping Day!


  • Orchid Tank: Maurices
  • Black Sweater: Target
  • Jeans: Old Navy
  • Black Purse: Rosetti, via TJMaxx
  • Sporty Ballet Flats: ?


So today was a shopping day.  It’s not often that I’m bitten by the shopping bug, so when I am, I tend to indulge it.  I came back with a decent haul, but I’m not going to share, because you’ll probably see some of the new pieces showing up in my wardrobe in the near future.

This outfit is another attempt at layering, with the use of lace to draw attention away from my middle to parts of my body that I don’t mind so much.

I am now convinced that TJ Maxx is awesome, just in the sheer amount of money to be saved there.  Like most discount stores, it takes some digging, especially if you’re looking for something in particular.  My friend Erin came with me, and we managed to find her the most perfect little black dress.  Not the heels to go with, sadly, but that will be a quest for a different shopping day.

The tank is from a store named Maurices.  I am utterly in love with this store.  They like to advertise that they cater to all sizes, and it’s true!  They do!  I have several pairs of nice pants that I got from there, and as of today, a nice collection of colored tanktops.  I love that it is not hard to find my size, and everything there is cute, even if it’s not cute on me.

Also, you may have noticed, I have new hair!  Well, a new haircut.  I have the most horrible habit of not going to my stylist as often as I should.  I don’t really have a good excuse, I just tend not to.  This is a problem when I like to keep my hair on the shorter side of medium length.

4549928334_3877e0d7d0_oHere’s a better shot of what the hair looks like.  I’m sure you’ve noticed that it’s a bit shorter than my hair was a couple days ago.  And it’s got some nice face framing elements.  We’ll see in a couple days how those shorter pieces behave when they’re curly.

Hair Lesson Time: Curly hair does not need to be washed every day, and in fact, should not be washed every day.  Washing strips the hair of its natural oils, and in curly hair this causes chaos.  The curls don’t hold together well, and basically become a giant ball of frizz.

And there are many kinds of curls.  My friend Erin has what she calls “Shirley Temple” curls: very tight ringlets that spring back when you pull on them.  Another friend, Michelle has curls that are very loose, almost like waves.  Mine are somewhere in the middle.  The rule of thumb for any set of curls, though, is that curls are shorter than the same hair straight, and generally speaking, the shorter the hair, the more the “spring”.  This is because longer hair is heavier.  So my new cut may come to my chin while straight, but who knows what length it will be when I wear it curly.

All in all, a very productive day I think.  Shopping bug has been soothed.  Until it bites again anyway.

Slow-Cooker Wednesday: Cashew Chicken

Slow-Cooker Cashew Chicken
Cashew Chicken

Welcome to the Recipe Du Jour category of posts here at Cafe Le Shay. These posts will feature a recipe that I’ve tried, and I’ll either post the recipe or the ingredients, along with the Tastiness Factor, Reheat Factor, and Overall Impression.

Tastiness Factor is all about whether the recipe tastes good. Reheat Factor would be about how well the dish reheats and will be edited in when I get around to reheating it. This is important to me, because many recipes don’t scale well, and if something doesn’t reheat well, it’s unlikely I’ll make it again. Also, reheat factor helps determine how bento-friendly it is.

So Wednesday’s are my long day. They start at about 9:30 AM and go until about 6PM (by the time I get home). This means that Shay is not going to want to take the time to cook something when she already comes home hungry.

Enter Slow-Cooker Wednesday. I have a timer device that will turn my crockpot on and off at a specified time, which means all I have to do is set it up in the morning, maybe make some side dishes, and come home to a tasty meal.

Now, on to the first recipe!

This recipe comes from a cookbook titled Slow Cooker Favorites Made Healthy. Since it’s copyrighted it, I don’t know if I can reproduce it completely here, so I’ll just list the ingredients. You can email me or leave a comment if you really want the recipe. Also, I’ve never had Cashew Chicken from a Chinese take-out place, so I have no idea if the flavors I got in this were at all like that.


  • Golden Mushroom soup
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Water Chestnuts
  • Mushrooms
  • Ground Ginger
  • Chicken
  • Cashews
  • Soy Sauce

Tastiness Factor:

I paired this with a wild rice mix (because I had to be somewhere at 7 and the wild rice cooks faster). I originally meant to pair it with plain brown rice, and I think that would have gone over better. The nutty flavor of the wild rice and the nutty flavors in this dish seemed to overwhelm me. Also, I think my chicken might have gotten a little dried out.  The fiancé liked it really well though, though he felt it needed a sweet flavor of some kind added in.

Reheat Factor:

This will get edited when I reheat the leftovers and see how they taste.

Overall Impression:

Actually pretty good. I would definitely make this again, because I normally have everything except for the water chestnuts and soup on hand, and those are both small things I wouldn’t mind keeping in the pantry. The hardest part about making this was shredding the carrots. I was silly and did it by hand because I didn’t want extra dishes. Next time I’ll use the food processor. I’m still finding pieces of carrot in random spots in my kitchen!  Also, as you can see in the picture, it’s very brown and soft looking, and so I feel it should get something green and fresh. Maybe a salad, maybe just a garnish. Will have to look into for next time.

Basic Steampunk


  • Shirt: Target
  • Skirt: Moon brand, shop from back home.
  • Boots: Ebay
  • Pendant watch: Grandma Rita
  • Shell Necklace: Gift from Mom
  • Bag: Don’t remember


So I can’t wear the most obvious steampunk stuff to campus, but this is a combo I’ve done before, and I like it really well.  The skirt was a lucky find in what I call my “local hippie store” back home.  I try to stop in because I never see clothing like it anywhere else.

My bag is something I’e had since high school, and I probably should trade it in for something a little more stylish and less beat up.  It doesn’t have nearly as many pockets as a I need now.  But it’s my trusty bag, so I’ll probably keep using it until I find something that I like better.

Also, while I’m thinking about it, I should also note that none of these images are photoshopped or anything.  Though I would prefer if I did.  Those of you who have known me for a while probably know I don’t normally like to take pictures of myself.  This blog is part of what’s supposed to help me deal with that.

4542710512_0aef15b886_oNow, the two awesome parts of this are my boots and my watch.

The boots you can see better here.  They’re kind of a suede like material, and they look dusty because they’re covered in chalk dust from when I teach.  The soles are nice and flat, which would make them nice for walking, except that these are a size too big for me.  I didn’t return them because I wasn’t sure if I’d find another pair like them (and they fit nicely everywhere except for my tiny feet).

4542711080_bfdf66ba45_oThe other item is my pendant watch.  I probably should have the chain adjusted as it is really long, and hangs at an unfortunate location if I’m wearing jeans.  With a skirt though, I don’t think anyone notices exactly where it lands.  This watch was owned by my Great-Grandma Rita, and while it doesn’t look very steampunk, she was born before the turn of the century (the 20th century, that is).  So anything associated with her is also associated with that time period in my mind.  The watch luckily didn’t need any major repairs when I first got it, and works wonderfully.  The only thing about it is that it ticks very loudly, so sometimes it sounds like I’m about to blow up or something.

Do you like this outfit?  Do you think it could be more steampunk?  Do you have favorite items like my watch or my boots?

First New Fashion Attempt


  • Grey Tank: Target
  • Green Sweater: Target
  • Jacket: Shop back home
  • Jeans: Old Navy
  • Flats: Don’t remember
  • Necklace:
  • Earrings: Gift from Mom


This is my first attempt to try something that would be more fashionable than jeans and a t-shirt.  Not much above it, but new for me.  I’ve never really done the whole layering thing, so I thought I would try to give it a fair shake.  This sweater actually had the tags still on it when I pulled it out of my closet this morning.  This is also my favorite steampunk jacket, with all the little leather patches and buckles.

I have also decided that I need to invest in differently cut jeans.  I normally buy all my jeans flare or bootcut because I like the extra room at the bottom.  (Obviously, this doesn’t help my dislike of “skinny” jeans.)  Apparently though, these are cut so they come in at the knee, which accentuates my rather ample hips.  It may be hard to see in this picture, but by my measurements I almost have an hourglass figure; it’s just a very curvy hourglass.  So while I don’t think these jeans look bad, that means that a different cut might look better.

What about you guys?  Any ways of wearing clothes that you haven’t given a fair chance?  Anything that you hate and will never wear?  Any favorite items like my steampunk jacket?

Hello world!

All right!  New blog, new intro!

My name is Shay, and I am a mathematics graduate student.  I have numerous interests and goals, but not always the time to indulge them.  I just try to pull my life together one day at a time.

Some things you should know about me to make the most sense of this blog (in no particular order):

-I am a female in her mid-20’s.

-I have some self-image and self-esteem issues that I’m still working through.

-I am fond of steampunk and neo-Victorian styles.

-I am a recently converted Zen Buddhist.

-I am a total nerd.

There might be more, but I’m sure you can pick it up as we go along.  Welcome to Cafe Le Shay.  Grab a cup of tea and take a seat.