Thursday, December 18, 2014

OMG CHICKEN!

It's ONE WEEK until Christmas and I am so crazy giddy I almost can't stand it!!!!

We are THISCLOSE to finishing our shopping -- and this is QUITE POSSIBLY the earliest we've ever been close to finishing the week before Christmas. Usually I'm still fighting crowds, knocking over displays, and elbowing feisty old ladies (<- WHOA I'M KIDDING) a few days before Christmas.

But THIS YEAR -- ohhhhhh this year --- Hubs and I were PREPARED. On Saturday we woke up and basically said "Yo Christmas - BRING IT" and spent a huge chunk of the day knocking out all of our shopping.

Let me add here that I am no longer the type of person that can go shopping on a whim. Post-it notes are my best friends and I have to have a list for EVERYTHING. So in the week leading up to our Giant Christmas Shopping Extravaganza Saturday of 2014 (or GCSES, as it shall be known from here on out), we (read: me) worked and thought and decided on a gift for each person.

THEN! On the morning OF the GCSES --- we woke up, properly caffeinated ourselves, and made a plan. A plan of which stores to hit when, according to closing times and high traffic times.

I think we bought all but maybe three gifts? Regardless, I think it's safe to deem GCSES 2014 a success!!!

What does all of this have to do with chicken? It's okay, I can hear you asking.

Honestly? Nothing. I just thought I'd find a reason to highlight that this dish is a serious "fast weeknight supper" solution.

Late last week I was perusing on Pinterest for holiday appetizer recipes for a work party, when this little gem of a recipe popped up into the mix from The Enchanted Cook blog. It's a fast, easy dinner recipe with only four ingredients - all of which I typically always have on hand, thankfully.

Baked chicken breasts with a sour cream (or mayo) and parmesan mixture, topped with italian breadcrumbs. Maaaaaayyybe not the healthiest, but we ate it alongside a ton of veggies so I'm calling it a win.

BONUS -- Hubs straight up INHALED this thing. INHALED IT.

BONUS PLUS TWO -- Last night I was prepping to make it again and WHAT??!! I bought chicken TENDERLOINS instead of chicken breasts. Good news: it works just as well (and helps with portion control!) and cooks even faster! Whoop whoop!


Ok so --- go finish your Christmas shopping, love on your families and friends, and make this for supper because YOU NOW HAVE TIME TO DO ALL OF THAT STUFF!

Hollaaaaaaaaa!!!!


OMG CHICKEN

Originally from The Enchanted Cook blog
Serves 2-4


What you'll need:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut thin, or 2 large ones sliced in half)
1/4 cup of sour cream
1/4 cup of parmesan cheese
4 tsp Italian breadcrumbs

What you'll do:

Spray a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray (or cover the bottom with a thin layer of butter), then lay chicken breasts flat. In a small bowl, mix sour cream and parmesan until evenly combined. Spread evenly onto tops of chicken pieces. Sprinkle on Italian breadcrumbs, then bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked in center.

Serve alongside veggies and enjoy your free evening :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

On Lunch Lately

I have a recipe today!

And it's (unfortunately) not for cookies, cakes, candy, pies, or any of those other things that I *really* would prefer to make right now!!!! :) :) :)

'Tis the season, am I right???

Once upon a time, for months upon MONTHS on end, I ate a salad EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. for lunch. It was my go-to meal, my routine, and, really, one of my favorite things to eat.

This was my usual for about a year straight, if not longer. Lately, though, I'm just not feeling it. It's pretty typical around this time of year for me to just want something warm and filling in my stomach, as opposed to a light (and colorful!) salad.

...not to mention that my tastebuds have somehow turned on me recently, so spinach and various types of lettuce now taste absolutely horrible!!!



And so I've been at a loss. Until THIS.

A few weeks ago I started making a small batch of The Pioneer Woman's chicken salad to get me through a couple of days when we didn't have leftovers. Then the next time I made a little more to last most of the week, and I'll probably make it again over the next few days.





I'm hooked on this stuff, people.

While this recipe isn't the healthiest, it's a little lighter than most versions I've had. I like to eat small portion of it with Wheat Thins or Triscuits. A little bit is very filling - so I can make a big batch at once and eat on it throughout the week.

And just FYI -- the lemon juice and brown sugar in this give it THE BEST flavor. EVER. Just trust me on this ;)




I don't always have absolutely everything on hand when I go to make this, so I just improvise. Instead of grapes, I've used apples or cranberries - or all three. I rarely have celery and have never bought rosemary or dill (as in the original), but I'm 100% positive it would taste AH-MAZING if you followed PW's recipe exactly.

So here you go! May all your chicken salad dreams come true!

...whatever that means.

Lunchtime Chicken Salad

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman blog

What you'll need:
3-4 chicken breasts
1/2 cup of mayonnaise
1 cup of plain Greek yogurt
1 apple
1-2 cups grapes
3 tbsp of lemon juice
1-2 tbsp of brown sugar
salt, pepper, and Tony's, to taste

other mix-ins: dried cranberries, pecans, almonds


What you'll do:
Cook chicken thoroughly and chop into small cubes when done. Chop the apple into small cubes, and slice the grapes in half, then combine in a bowl with the chicken. Squeeze about a tablespoon of lemon juice over the mixture (this keeps the apple from turning brown so quickly) and give it a quick stir.

In separate, smaller bowl, combine the mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, brown sugar, and remaining lemon juice and stir until evenly mixed. You may decide to add more to reach desired sweetness or consistency (sometimes I will add a teaspoon more mayo). Season with salt, pepper, and Tony's to taste, then pour mixture over chicken and fruit.

Stir until evenly combined and enjoy with crackers, salad, or on a wrap or sandwich.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Walking (and RUNNING!) in Memphis

PEOPLE! This weekend = WHOA!

So much fun. So much soreness. So much happy. I love it.

BUT FIRST! And more importantly!!!!

THE ROYALS ARE IN AMERICA!


source

PLEASE tell me I'm not the only one who has refreshed the Google feed 300 times today waiting for updates is excited about this!

All we know so far is that they are staying in New York City, Kate was perfection wearing a purple coat, and Wills is hanging out at the White House whilst Kate is doing crafts in Harlem.

Media, you are FAILING me.

Stay tuned for more updates.

But moving on!

----

MEMPHIS.

What can I say?

Despite this being my worst race time in all my days, we really did have a great time. We knew ahead of time that we would likely have to take some walking breaks, due to a few injuries over the past month or so - but overall it was a fantastic race!





The course was really nice - between mile 4 and 5 it lead us through the St. Jude campus -- where some of the patients (all kids) and their families lined the sidewalk to cheer us on. The weather was really chilly, so usually there would have been more, but I have to admit I was fighting tears the entire time. I saw one teenage boy smiling and cheering for everyone while hooked to the IV beside him -- and almost lost it right there. These kids and their families are so brave, and I'm so thankful that St. Jude exists to give them the special care that they need.




What really slowed us down was, somewhere around mile 5, my knee started hurting. I've never had problems with my knees, so it was really weird when I started noticing the soreness.

Well --- what started out as soreness grew to somewhat of a strong pain as we progressed. I can typically push through, but this was a little more than soreness. It eventually eased (sort of) enough where I could power walk without too much pain, so Hubs backed off to a jog while I power walked the miles away!

In the end - I'm so glad we finished! Hubs jogged and I hobbled across the finish line, where they had members of the military presenting us with medals.

First the kids, then the soldiers? My emotions were CRAZY.




After stocking up on the water, gatorade, and snacks from the race sponsors, we hobbled across the street to The Peabody Hotel to meet our running team for some post-race recovery and laughs :)




Coffee and cookies, anyone? The weather was cold and windy all morning, and this tasted AMAZING.

Plus - check out the tree in the lobby! Hubs said it was somewhere between 20-30 feet tall!




If you ever find yourself in Memphis, I would HIGHLY recommend you at least visit The Peabody. It's such a beautiful place, especially at Christmas :)

We spent the rest of the day soaking, icing, sleeping, and trying to rest the soreness away - none of which I have pictures from because we party WAY TOO HARD for that kind of nonsense ;)

...and then that night we ate some awesomely authentic Memphis BBQ at the shadiest little BBQ place EVER in this world. Complete with bars on the window and everything!

The food, however, was a totally different story and pretty much BLEW OUR MINDS at how great it tasted.

All in all, great weekend with great people in a great place for an even GREATER cause. Thankfully my knee is all kinds of better, and I'm hoping we are able to do this race again next year.

First on my list, though, is Nashville in the Spring. Fingers crossed!

Stay tuned for more crazy. Happy Monday yo!





Friday, December 5, 2014

All About That Race

Hey-oh!!!!!

St. Jude weekend has BEGUN! Tomorrow is RACE DAY and I'm pretty pumped. A little nervous, but pumped.

But before we head to Memphis, I wanted to pop in on my dinosaur laptop for a quick post!

I'm currently in the process of making a new Race Day playlist that will *hopefully* last 13.1 miles tomorrow. Here's what I have so far:


  1. Best Day of My Life - American Authors (I love starting a run with this song - so happy!)
  2. I Want You Back - Jackson 5
  3. Problem - Ariana Grande & Iggy Azalea
  4. On the Floor - Jennifer Lopez & Pitbull
  5. All the Small Things - Blink 182 (Flashback to Jr. High)
  6. Pump It - Black Eyed Peas
  7. Boom Boom Pow - Black Eyed Peas
  8. Sexy and I Know It - LMFAO (hate the name, love the song :) )
  9. Candyman - Christina Aguilera
  10. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend - Miranda Lambert (YES!)
  11. Fighter - Christina Aguilera
  12. Free Ride
  13. All About That Bass - Meghan Trainor
  14. Shake It Off - Taylor Swift (I hate that I love this. I do.)
  15. I Wanna Dance with Somebody - Whitney Houston
  16. You Don't Know You're Beautiful - One Direction (another embarrassment)
  17. Bulletproof - La Roux (Pitch Perfect, anyone?)
  18. Any Way You Want It - Journey
  19. Cherry Bomb - The Runaways
  20. Footloose - Kenny Loggins (!!!!)
  21. Don't Stop Believing - Journey (This song. LOVE!!!!!)

Ok that's what I have for now - I doubt it will last me the whole race, but I'm pretttty confident I'll be hitting "repeat" a good bit since I love so many of these songs.

Keep us in your prayers! I need to go pack!!!!

***

Also -- our team will be raising dollars for St. Jude Children's Hospital until December 31. If you're interested in donating to the hospital - check out my page HERE!

Have a great weekend!


No treble.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Pumpkin Pie from Scratch

I'm feeling particularly restless today.

It likely has A LOT to do with adjusting to reality after an amazing four-day weekend out of town visiting my favorite people on this earth.

It gets harder and harder to leave every time. So yesterday and today have felt a little...off since coming back to The City.

But enough with the sadness! Let's talk about PIE.





Mmmmmm....pie.

Are you burned out on pumpkin yet? Because this recipe is actually pretty cool.

Right before Halloween, while we were buying our pumpkin, The Mister asked if we could get a second pumpkin to make a pie from scratch. I've never had ANY experience whatsoever in this, but it's possible, people! We did a little research and, with some guidance from the farmer's market lady, bought a "cheddar pumpkin."




(Other pumpkins for this are better known as "pie pumpkins," but our local folks recommended the cheddar.)

We had to dig a little bit, but we finally found a great recipe at pickyourown.org that was surprisingly easy - nowhere near as intimidating as it seemed.

Once you clean the pumpkin on the outside, you'll have to slice it in half and clean the insides before you cook the rind.


You can cook it in the microwave if you're pressed for time, but I recommend baking it because there will be no doubt when it's done.

Plus sometimes microwaves freak me out.

I'm weird. I know. I've accepted it.

Cooked pumpkin!


My advice, though? DEFINITELY use an ice cream scoop to scoop out the insides. This is SO MUCH EASIER (and faster! and more efficient!) than using a large spoon like I used to do. It really took all of three minutes to clean out the entire pumpkin.


The pumpkin rind - post-scooping!

Also, while this tasted great, I prefer my pumpkin pie a little sweeter, so I would recommend using more vanilla than called for, and possibly more sugar. I didn't have any evaporated milk on hand, so I used sweetened condensed milk, so that could have possibly been what made the difference.


The pumpkin "meat"

I hope you enjoy this - our little kitchen smelled great as it baked. It's a great way to kick off the holidays :)




P.S. If you wanna be REALLY scandalous...try drizzling that beauty with condensed milk right before you dig in. No regrets!

"From Scratch" Pumpkin Pie


from PickYourOwn.org
Makes 2 pies


What You'll Need:
1 pie pumpkin (we used a cheddar pumpkin)
2 frozen (or homemade) pie crusts
1 cup of sugar
1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves*
1 tsp ground allspice*
1/2 tsp ginger*
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
4 large eggs (Makes a lighter, fluffy pie. For a more dense pie, use just 3 eggs)
1.5 cans of evaporated milk
Optional: Whipped cream

*I used just over 3 tablespoons of pumpkin pie spice instead of these ingredients, as the original recipe listed as a replacement.


What You'll Do:
Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Wash pumpkin thoroughly in cool or warm water. Cut in half using a serrated knife (a smooth knife could be dangerous) and clean out the insides with an ice cream scoop. Once clean, lay each half face-down on the baking sheet. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for about 45 minutes. Stick a fork in each half to see if it's soft, and if not then bake longer (up to 90 minutes).

Using a spoon or ice cream scoop, scoop out the soft insides of the pumpkin until just the rind (or now soft "peeling") is left. Once cooled, use a hand (immersion) blender, hand mixer, or regular blender and blend until smooth.

Combine the remaining ingredients (minus the whipped cream) with about 3 cups of the pumpkin meat and mix until smooth and evenly blended. Pour into pie crusts and bake at 425 for 15 minutes, then turn heat down to 350 for around 45 minutes. You'll know the pie is done when you can stick a butter knife into the center and it comes out clean.

Let the pie cool then serve warm with whipped cream.













Monday, November 24, 2014

Weekend WHAAAAAT

People. This weekend = WHOA.

It was electric. And WONDERFUL.

Saturday started BRIGHT (read: dark) and EARLY for Hubs and I so we could get to the best race around:


I seriously look forward to this race EVERY SINGLE YEAR. It's a beautiful course (albeit, HILLY), and the atmosphere is always so positive and upbeat.




Plus, there's a retired military man at the end waiting to give you a hot cup of red beans and rice straight from his GIANT cauldron:


LEGIT.



Red beans & rice make an epic breakfast-slash-post race meal on a cold day. I cannot talk about this race ENOUGH!

Not to mention -- need I say it? -- CAKE!



There was CAKE at the end! DELICIOUS half-chocolate, half-yellow cake! Be still my ever-loving HEART.

BONUS POINTS: This was Hubs' first 12K -- and he ROCKED it.

((I believe this was somewhere around mile 4. Still smiling!))
 

 
Saturday was off to a pretty amazing start. Fast forward to a few hours later, and we're hobbling around our apartment (hills = sore hips, quads, toes, EVERYTHING) while watching a Hallmark movie. I'm addicted. I'll be the first to admit it.


All the Hallmark Christmas Movie lovers say YEAAAAAHHH!!!
 

So here we are, Hubs propped up in our recliner, me on the couch - and we start talking about the Mississippi State game that was scheduled for Saturday night, and how fun it would be to go to a game one day. Seeing as how I've never been to a State game (or any SEC game), this sounds like a GRAND idea and decided THIS HAD TO HAPPEN TODAY.

So around 1pm, we decided "WHY NOT" and jumped (read: rolled/crawled) into the car and headed to Starkville. (We HAD to finish that Hallmark movie, after all)

 


Quite possibly the most spontaneous thing we've ever done.

And off we went to see the Bulldogs. Well, the Lord smiled on us that night because we were able to find some pretty nice seats as soon as we arrived. AND my insane fear of heights gave me only a medium-sized panic attack (as opposed to paralyzed fear) as we were climbing the steps.





Please feel free to chuckle when I tell you that an 80-year-old woman fared better than I did with the heights and sent her husband to help me. It was a sight :)

But let me tell you. The atmosphere was electric, and it was SUCH a great experience. The team played SO WELL, energy filled the stadium, and there were COWBELLS galore. GALORE.

Plus, I mean --- that score? Epic.*

I even got a new shirt out of the deal :)

 

We arrived home at 1am, worn out, sore, but oh-so-elated. I absolutely love weekends like this - so busy, but fun and memorable. Here's to many more spontaneous weekends in the future!

Happy Monday Party People!






*State won over Vanderbilt 51-0.

#HailState :)




 


 


Friday, November 21, 2014

TWO THINGS

HAPPY FRIDAY!!!!!!

I seriously cannot WAIT to get this weekend started --- I have a feeling it may involve some MAJOR fun times...but more on that later because SUSPENSE.

But most importantly....

THIS:



I have a feeling that THIS is the thing that will, in fact, break the Internet.

I'm pretty sure I've watched this approximately 47 times in the past 8 hours. I'm not proud of how many times I watched it yesterday.

But THIS MOVIE! The first one is for sure one of my favorites EVER --- and while I'm always skeptical of sequels....I'm REALLY pumped for this one.

I mean --- couldn't you just listen to a cappella "CUPS" forever? Gorgeous.

...maybe while sitting around a fire roasting marshmellows?

And don't get me started on my girl crush on Elizabeth Banks. Fantastic actress and producer --- now director.

"They HATE us!" "The whole WORLD!"

Oh, and....

"She actually speaks EIGHT languages, but 'loser' is not one of them."

I'll likely be quoting this for awhile. Come onnnnnnn May 2015!


ALSO.

Have you TRIED these????? (< Chandler voice! Because my life is filled with "Friends" references)




My new obsession. I have NO IDEA why I am JUST NOW putting peppermint in my coffee. NO IDEA!!!!

What else am I missing out on in this world????


That's it! I'm out! Happy Friday!!!!!!


"Crushed it."