Monday, April 27, 2015

Meal Plan Monday and Wicked Chicken

It's been one of those weeks. I'm seriously dying for things to slow down a little (or a lot, really, anytime now) But, today, I have dinner done, and a lot of housework done, and I'm here typing up this post. Tomorrow, it's back to insanity. But, it's happy family insanity, so I am glad. I have felt so blessed in the past week that despite the insanity, we can still love each other and just enjoy our family time.

So, here's the Meal Plan for the week, and then I'll be posting a recipe for the Wicked Chicken I made yesterday.

Monday:  Crockpot Cheeseburgers
Tuesday: Zuppa Toscana
Wednesday: Breakfast for dinner (which apparently seems to be my Wednesday go-to)
Thursday: Chicken Fried Rice
Friday: Chicken Pot Pie
Saturday: Taco Soup
Sunday: Spaghetti

And here's the recipe for Wicked Chicken

Here's what you need

*Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder
*Chicken (Boneless, skinless strips)
*Chopped Green Chilies
*Pasta (I have two boxes because both my small and medium shells were half used, lol)
*Olive Oil
*Alfredo Sauce
*Italian Blend cheese, not pictured because I always seem to forget one thing, ugh

Here's What You Do (warning: picture taking suffered here too. I always have to keep telling myself "you're doing this for a tutorial, you're doing this for a tutorial, you're doing this for a tutorial)

*Melt your butter. Swat orange cat (not pictured) away from you as it bats at your skirt

*Brown the chicken. Give orange cat (not pictured) stern warning not to bat your skirt again

*Dump your green chilies in and mix.

*Boil your pasta. Add it to your chicken in a casserole dish. Dump your alfredo sauce over it. Mix. Cover with cheese.

*Bake at 350 til cheese is melted and bubbly

*Serve! The verdict: SO yummy!


17/52: I came home one day and they were sacked out in her room, watching Veggie Tales. It warms my heart :)

17/52, Sunday. Her owl dress! She has certainly worn it her fair share of times :)

Friday, April 24, 2015

In the Midst of the Storm

I remember, sometime in 2011, taking a trip to the grocery with Grandma Jean. It was warm out, in the 70's and we went to the bigger of our town's two grocery stores. As we were getting into her car, Grandma said, "You need a sweater. You should take a sweater." I laughed it off because it's the SOUTH, in the summer. Needless to say, we got to the store and the wind picked up. I gratefully accepted Grandma's sweater as well as a warning that this store's parking lot was "the windiest place in Avery County!"

Fast forward nearly 4 years. Things are a bit stormy in my life right now, and a lot of things are further out of my control than I would like. This week has been particularly overwhelming and I found myself silently praying while I ran to the grocery. You know, THAT grocery store...the windiest place in the county.

I got the cat food and few other items and walked out, praying "Lord, help me make some sense of all of this. Lord, just let me know You're here."

And then the wind picked up. I saw it before I felt it, a cloud of silvery dust, and then another. I closed my eyes and just STOOD there. I felt the wind blow my hair around. Felt tiny grains of sand hit the back of my neck.

But you know what? I felt SAFE. I felt loved.

So, friend, when you are in the midst of the storm, remember. He loves you. When things are raging all around you, and the situation feels out of control, HE is in control. And when you open your eyes after all the dust settles, you just might see this....

Monday, April 20, 2015

Meal Plan Monday and Drunken Noodles

We had Drunken Noodles for dinner last night. And they were delish.
For the record: I don't drink, and so I didn't have regular ole wine to make these with. I suppose I could have sent Gabe to the store, but we were under flood warning I just made do with cooking wine.

So, here goes.

Fair warning: my picture taking sucked yesterday.

Here's what you need:

*A pound of italian sausage
*onion, sliced
*peppers (various colors, sliced)
*Italian Seasoning
*Mushrooms (the original recipe didn't call for these, but come ON. they were on sale_
*Garlic, minced
*A can of diced tomatoes, with juice
*A big splash of white wine, or cooking wine
*Basil and Parsley, chopped (mine were fresh, and are not pictured here. whoops)
*Olive oil

Here's what you do:

*Brown your sausage with your onion, garlic, peppers, and mushrooms
*Drain fat.
*Add some olive oil and the tomatoes, italian seasoning and let that cook down.

*Give a healthy splash of cooking wine/white wine and let that cook down some more.
*Boil your fettucine
*Combine everything and top with basil and parsley

seeee? Proof that I do indeed have parsley and basil. And we grew those from seed!
This is an awesome dish. Gabe took the leftovers to work for lunch. Yumminess!

Here's the Meal Plan for this week:

Monday: Crockpot Hamburgers
Tuesday: Chicken Soup
Wednesday: Breakfast for Dinner
Thursday: Mississippi Mud Potatoes 
Friday: French Bread Pizzas
Saturday: Beef Stew
Sunday: Wicked Chicken (Recipe soon!)

It's been a crazy few weeks, and things will be settling down soon....and then I'll have a surprise to share with you ;)


16/52: She's not falling, I promise. She was skipping and I managed to take a pic of her like this....

16/52, Sunday: I love this dress, and she does too :)

Friday, April 17, 2015

Desperation in the Kitchen: The best baked chicken EVER

I love chicken. Like, LOVE. Gabe and Ella do too.

But everytime I make a baked chicken, it's O.K. Just O.K.

Yesterday, I literally googled "the best way to bake a chicken."

I didn't necessarily follow all of the steps, but I did do this.

*I didn't rinse my chicken. Something about cross-contamination and all sorts of other terrible stuff.

*I roasted a bunch of veggies along with it.

*I made seasoned butter (softened butter, dill, roasted garlic, salt, pepper)

*The basic directions:

* DO not rinse your chicken
*Rub the seasoned butter all over it
*Lay onions and other veggies in the pan
*Put the chicken in at 425 degrees for 20 minutes, then turn it down to 375 for another hour/hour and a half
*Wrap the chicken in foil and let it rest after it's baked, for 15 minutes breast side-up, then flip over and let it rest for another 15 minutes in its little foil tent

It was awesome. Way more than just "O.K."  We have leftovers for enchilada casserole tonight, whoop whoop!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Meal Plan Monday (Kind of), and Taking the High Road

I hate, hate, hate taking the high road. It's seriously that much easier to talk snark about someone who's done me wrong, or tell them off on the phone/via text.

This, right here, is the first instance where I'm choosing to do neither. Those closest to me know what the situation is. My husband, of course, is furious with the person in question. I'm just tired. I'm tired of thinking people will change, only to see that they never really have.

I have so much going on right now, that the Meal Planning has suffered terribly. I'm not at liberty to post about it just yet, but we're about to undergo some major changes. Good ones :) My next few months will be spent

1) Working on my relationship with Christ
2) Enjoying my family
3) Basking in the major change my little family will be undergoing
4) Repairing a broken relationship that means more to me than I realized
5) Finishing up our homeschool year
6) Planning a trip
7) Taking aforementioned trip, and bonding with my Ella while on said trip
8) Hopefully, not neglecting this little blog
9) Learning to sew better, and maybe even learning more about machine sewing
10) Taking measures to pursue my dream job
11) Trying new recipes
12) Helping my husband to expand his cooking horizons
13) Meeting new people
14) Helping others the best that I can

And my next week will be spent preparing the following meals, in no particular order (I'm letting Ella plan this week)
*Baked chicken and potatoes
*Pita Pizzas
*Drunken Noodles (need to make again because the first time was an amazing success, recipe soon)
*Winter Soup
*Wicked Chicken (recipe also to follow, first time making it)

And some other stuff, I'm sure. It's pretty informal around here this week

Have a blessed week!

Sunday, April 12, 2015


15/52: Her hair! Actually this was a foray into the world of dry shampoo. The directions said to "rub vigorously" bwahahahah

15/52, Sunday: This is her happy dress. The picture above didn't do the details any justice, so I took another picture to show them :)

Monday, April 6, 2015


14/52: I LOVE that she loves Grandma Jean. I was raised by my awesome Grandmother til I was 9. It kind of stinks that Ella can't enjoy a relationship with either of her grandmothers (my Mom is not a nurturing Grandma, and Gabe's Mom is in Texas, and that relationship isn't without its problem either) Enter Jean, who is of no relation to either of us, but has been amazing to us nonetheless.

14/52, Sunday. Easter dress. I look at this kid and I could honestly cry. Because she's growing up before my eyes.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Why We Did Easter Differently This Year

In the nearly 9 years that I've raised my living daughter, we've had so many egg hunts.

When Ella was 4, she hunted so hard she got tired out....

Last year, we had a Resurrection egg hunt.... year, we even hunted for glow-in-the-dark eggs.

This year, Ella will turn 9. We've been focusing on caring for others, and learning about loving our fellow human beings. Ella knows that the reason we have Easter is not because of eggs and bunnies, but because our Savior made the ultimate sacrifice for us. He gave His life so that we could live. Easter is to celebrate the fact that He triumphed over death.

This year, Ella decided that instead of hunting eggs, she would play Easter Bunny. She willingly gave up her Easter treats so that other kids in the neighborhood could have a nice surprise.

We did a bit of shopping and she loaded eggs with candy and other treats, and then she was on her way.

We almost got busted by one little girl who screamed "THE EASTER BUNNY IS A LITTLE GIRL LIKE ME!!!!"

I had one parent in our neighborhood pull me aside to ask "What's WRONG with you? aren't you doing anything for her easter? What exactly are you teaching this kid?"

For the record, Ella did get an Easter basket. She got candy, bubbles, and some books she's been wanting. And her room got decorated with glow in the dark stars.

As far as what I'm "teaching this kid"....
*I'm trying to teach her to think of others before she thinks of herself.
*I'm trying to teach her that selflessness and sacrifice are important
*I'm trying to teach her about Christian love.

But you know what?
I think this kid's figured all of that out on her own.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Because Sometimes....

...I just need a break.

Sometimes, Ella and I need to get away from the every day. And, so, we escape to Grandma's house for a while.