Wednesday, December 18, 2013

'Twas the Week Before Christmas

'Twas the Week before Christmas,
And what did I see?
The temps outside
Just hit 66 degrees!

But that's what you get
When you live in the South
The weather will change
Before you open your mouth!

The presents are ordered,
Each one is so dear...
I just hope that FedEx
Will soon bring them here!

But what's a new post,
Without a Christmas recipe?
Need a side dish for dinner?
Well here's one, from me!

So I give this to you,
A dish full of SPROUTS.
Your family will love them,
And will eat LARGE AMOUNTS!



I'm trying not to sweat,


Sugared Up Brussels Sprouts
Serves 6

1 bag of frozen Brussels sprouts, thawed
1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
~ 2 tbsp stick butter or margarine, divided (you might not need all of this)
~ 2 tbsp honey, plus extra
3 tbsp brown sugar
dash of salt
dash of pepper
optional: chopped pecans

Slice Brussels thinly and set aside. In a non-stick skillet, heat your olive oil to medium-high heat. Add 1 tbsp butter and let it melt. Once butter is melted, add sprouts and toss. Add honey and continue to toss until all sprouts have some of the butter/honey mix on them. Stir/toss often so sprouts do not stick. You may need to add a little more butter at this point to make sure all Brussels are covered (but not drenched in butter!).

Once sprouts are cooked (about 5-10) minutes, add salt, pepper, and brown sugar separately. Let sugar melt slightly (so it kind of caramelizes), then add a dash more with pecans just before serving.

Serve piping hot.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmastime's a-Comin'

Invisible Blog People!!!!

We are ONE WEEK away from Christmas Eve!!!!!

ONE WEEK away from being able to travel home to see the fam!!!!!

ONE WEEK away from eating my grandmother's pies and my mom's cooking!!!!!!


I remember Christmas Eve being the most magical night of the year when I was a kid -- we'd spend all night at my grandparents' house, then on the drive home we'd look for Rudolph's nose in the sky. Inevitably, there would be some kind of plane flying up above with a red light and we would go CRAZY -- thinking OHMAHGOSH RUDOLPH IS REALLY UP THERE!!!!!

Then there was that year that I was REALLY creeped out by Santa Claus and couldn't sleep AT ALL because I was crying too hard out of fear.

I remember grilling my mom that night about HOW IS IT OKAY that some random strange old man that we've NEVER MET is going to come into our house tonight??? What if he doesn't JUST give us presents and eat the cookies??? What if he creeps around our house and stares at us while we're sleeping??? What if he touches my toothbrush??? That's just WEIRD, Mom!!!!

I think my mom said something to the effect of how she and my dad would keep the doors locked that night so Santa would have to leave the presents outside, then before we woke up they would move everything inside so we'd all stay safe that night.

I'm pretty sure it was around 3 a.m. when I had my freak-out that year (a normal bedtime for a kid on Christmas Eve), so my mom probably would have said most anything just to get me to go to sleep.

That MIGHT have been the same year as the picture with Santa where it was ONLY my sister and brother; the picture with the caption written on the back saying, "Jenny and Stephen with Santa. Lisa was scared."

No joke.

Aaaah. Memories. Gotta love 'em.

But you know what ELSE I love? Pizza.

That's right. MMM-MMM-GOOD Pizza!

And it's even better when it's healthy. #love.

Case and point:

Mmmmm...oh how I love it!

We made this dish right before we left town for our wedding, and then again last night. While it does require a little bit of prep work, it's VERY easy and tastes SO GOOD. (Note: the above photos were taken BEFORE putting it in the oven - we definitely melt our cheese in these parts!)

The twist is, this pizza has a cauliflower crust. YES, cauliflower. It's SO worth trying, even if you're not a fan.

According to the nutritionist that gave this recipe to me, the crust has very few calories and, if you load it up with fresh veggies (and NOT the gobs of cheese that we decided to throw on at the last minute ;) ), it's a MUCH healthier and lighter version that your typical take out pizza joint.

Plus, it's a VERY delicious way to get your veggies in.

We put sliced peppers, tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms, and turkey pepperoni on ours - as well as a nice mixture of cheese, obvi - and ate it with some spinach & mushroom risotto.
My belly was HAPPY last night :) :) :)

Cauliflower Crusted Pizza
12 servings

1 whole cauliflower, raw
3 eggs
1 cup low-fat, part skim mozzarella cheese
Italian seasoning, to taste
garlic, to taste

Ideas for toppings: pizza sauce, low-fat cheese, spinach, mushrooms, turkey, peppers, tomatoes, olives

Rinse cauliflower and dry completely. Finely chop the cauliflower until it reaches the texture of rice - this process is faster if you have a food processor (or a blender!). In a mixing bowl, beat eggs and add cauliflower, garlic, cheese, and a little italian seasoning. Mix thoroughly then press into a sprayed pizza pan or cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, then at 425 for 12-15 minutes. Remove the crust, then add the toppings of your choice.

Bake at 425 for 10 minutes or until the crust is brown and the cheese is bubbly.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Oh By Gosh, By Golly!

Whoooo weee!!! It has BEEN awhile, folks!

Lots and LOTS of stuff going on on this end, as I'm sure is the case with most of you. Lots of traveling, laughing, people, and cooking, cooking, cooking!


It's awesome and I love it :) :) :) :)

Also, we got super cheesy AWESOME and put up one of those "Our First Christmas" ornaments too. I was slightly hesitant to get one at all but, when I found it, I couldn't pass this one up...

IT'S CAKE!!!!!!!!

Wonderful, glorious CAKE!!!!!!!!

We all know my fascination.

Last week at work we had a baking competition. My contribution? Cake balls :) Red velvet, at that, folks. MMMM. But oh, the fate that was to come....

Check out those beauties -- these wonderful balls of YUM before their disastrous end.

Everything was fine and dandy until it came to the "dipping" part. Apparently, this girl is NOT meant to make candy. They tasted fine, but they LOOKED hideous. I couldn't bring something so ugly (albeit, delicious) to compete in a competition, only to get overlooked by leery tasters. Le sigh.

But alas, all was not lost!

Thankfully I have a husband who has co-workers that will eat almost anything -- despite the looks of it -- so I boxed the ugly little treats up and sent them off, mainly to GET THEM OUT OF MY FRIDGE because OH MY GRACIOUS if they stayed I'd eat them all.

And we've had more than our fair share of sugary treats ever since.

For instance - The Cookie Swap.

Oh yes. It happened again.

I was SO THANKFUL when Natalie emailed me a few weeks back to tell me that her church was once again holding its annual cookie swap. When she invited me I hoped and HOPED that everything would fall into place and I would get to attend again this year - and boy, was I EXCITED that it did.

You might remember THIS POST from last year's event - an event I lovingly remember as the day that prompted my fascination with The Monkey Bread.

WHICH, by the way, I made for an early family Christmas celebration a few weeks back:



But back to the Cookie Swap on Saturday!

Late Friday night, the Hubs and I arrived back in town around MIDNIGHT after his family's early Christmas celebration - but staying up an extra 20 minutes to make these babies for The Swap? Totally worth it:

Myyyy ohhhhh my, they were so good.

But then again, is anything NOT good when it involves Oreos? easy, so delicious.

I MIGHT have had one with breakfast this morning. Along with a banana. So it totally makes it healthy.

Welcome to my world.

On Sunday, for the first time in WAY TOO LONG, we woke up before the sun and WENT FOR A RUN!

I'm telling you -- what a way to start a Sunday.

The weather was crazy cold and slightly windy, but to be outside (versus a treadmill) and in the open surrounded by beautiful scenery was invigorating. It felt amazing to be able to just RUN the road ahead and go up and down hills and across bridges and through the trees!

Yes - I said hills. I NEVER thought I'd be so happy to see hills. I guess a few months on the treadmill has had more of an effect than I thought.

Five miles later, we were back in the car and ready to start the week. Here's to doing this more often!

Maybe. Because I do enjoy sleep.

Happy Monday, friends!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

My Favorite Things - Thanksgiving Edition

And we're off!!!

Thanksgiving is just a few short days away, and I'm loving that our Holiday Season has officially started here in The City!

It's been cold and rainy for the past few days and, although I'm not a "cold weather person," I'm completely okay with a little chill in the air for the holidays.

But by January 1st at noon, however, I'm ready for my 70 + degree weather. day!

To kick off the holiday week, here are a few of my favorite things that I'll be obsessed with over the holidays. Or at least until I do another "Favorite Things" post. Which could come as early as next week.

Or tomorrow.


one. My first Tervis cup. It's huge and holds a TON of water. And it's State themed. Appropriate seeing as how I married a State graduate. #HailState

two. THIS version of "The 12 Days of Christmas" by Straight No Chaser. It's the best version yet. So serious. Is there anything these guys can't sing? I'd like to think "no." Aaaahhh harmony.

three. Michael Buble's newest Christmas album, "Christmas." Crazy good.

four. THIS. I didn't think ANYTHING could EVER beat Thin Mint. But oh my. Myyyy oh my....Coffee Mate has done it again.

five. Kitchen experiments! Cold weather has caused all sorts of new recipes to pop up in my kitchen -- all of which will come soon!

P.S. Last night I worked out with Jillian Michaels and her Six Week Six Pack workout. Let me tell you, it is INTENSE. I am sore all over. That is NOT one of my favorite things. The workout, however, is actually pretty good!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Coffee Date with...Natalie

Let's have a little fun, shall we?

Today I'm having a digital coffee date with my friend in real life and in Blog Land, Natalie from Life As I Know It. Check out her blog when you get a chance, as she is the reason I'm obsessed with beef stew this season!

See? We really are friends in real life! She even came to our wedding in September! The proof is in the pudding, people. Or perhaps just the picture (check that nice alliteration going on there...yeah English!!!) that I "borrowed" from her blog ;)

Anyway, blog friends, meet Natalie. She pretty much rocks. She's a genuine and kind soul with one of the most precious pups ever! I'd like to think that if Natalie and I were to really have coffee this morning, our conversation would go something like this:

G&G: Hey Natalie. 'Sup?

Natalie: Not much. Sup with you?

G&G: Ah, you know. Bloggin. Chillin. Livin the dream. You know, all that jazz. Remember, there are no wrong answers here, so answer freely. What's your favorite color?

Natalie: Blue!

G&G: Are you an Introvert or Extravert, or somewhere in between?

Natalie: Extremely introverted; for real.

G&G: I feel ya. That's why I write. Nobody can see me and I don't get tongue-tied! How long have you been blogging?

Natalie: About three years...

G&G: Why did you start blogging?

Natalie: I think because I expected something really grand to happen in my life & I wanted to have it down to remember; I’m not the best with a journal. Granted, here we are three years later & I don’t think anything very grand has happened…but one day…maybe one day…

G&G: I don't know. That beef stew of yours seems pretty grand to me. What "type" of blog would you consider yours to be? Lifestyle, food, etc. (Hint: You don't even have to put yourself in a category!)

Natalie: I have no clue; I’m a little bit of everything…but I do love to share recipes.

G&G: Secret dream job?

Natalie: My dream job (and it’s no secret) is to be a Momma. I’d really like to find Mr. Right & have some sweet little babies; I’d like to be able to stay home & take care of my home & family!

G&G: Hey, are your palms sweating? 

Natalie: Not in the slightest.

G&G: Is this too much like a job interview?

Natalie: Not even remotely; far less stressful.

G&G: GREAT! On with the questions! What's your favorite holiday tradition - whether Thanksgiving, Christmas, Halloween, Easter, etc.?

Natalie: CHRISTMAS! I love everything about Christmas but the best tradition is how my family celebrates Christmas Eve! We all go to church together on Christmas Eve night to take part in the Lord’s Supper as a family & then we go back to my Uncle & Aunt’s house to have a little party, complete with tons of delicious Christmas goodies & a rousing round of Dirty Santa. We’ve done this for as long as I can remember…I don’t remember a time when we didn’t do this & there are pictures to prove it; pictures that date back years and years. Oh – and then my family goes home & watches White Christmas. Sorry – I rambled a little.

G&G: That's okay. Rambling rocks. It's why I have a blog. What's the best thing you ever ate? (if you want to pick one or two, that is fine. Indecisive peeps YEAH!)

Natalie: I have no idea! I love to eat & I’m finding new & delicious things daily. I will say that I love anything that has cheese involved & if it’s of the Italian or Mexican variety, I’m always in.

G&G: Picture it: We're at a coffee shop. We sit down {or get in line} to order. Where are we and what are you having? 

Natalie: Probably at Starbucks, but it would be neat if we were at a little hole in the wall type place – they tend to have the best stuff. I’d be getting something flavored: a vanilla latte, a caramel macchiato, a peppermint mocha. It’s never just plain coffee!

G&G: Oooh fun. Hey can we sit on the couches? Starbucks couches are pretty much the best things ever. Besides coffee, I mean. 


G&G: What things are you most interested in and why? Fashion, cooking, acting, reading, playing with messenger pigeons, etc?

Natalie: I find myself very interested in movies, TV and books; I really like entertainment in any form & it shows if you’ve ever been to my house. I have shelves and shelves of books, movies and TV on DVD. Playing with messenger pigeons…or birds in general; that’s a huge NO.

G&G: I'm glad I'm not the only one that's slightly okay MAJORLY creeped out by birds. They give me the shivers, man. What's your all-time favorite outfit?

Natalie: I don’t know that I have one. I do love jeans and cardigans for the cooler months and dresses of all types in warmer months; I may have a favorite outfit in the making…but I’ll have to wait till Christmas to unwrap part of it.

G&G: Check out your iPhone. What types of pictures take up MOST of your photo storage? 

Natalie: I don’t even have to look to know this one: my phone is filled with pictures of my dog, Watson and pictures of me with my friend’s kids – since I’m my church’s nursery coordinator, I take lots of those.

G&G: What's on your radio/in your car CD player/on your iPod right now?

Natalie: I haven’t turned on my radio in ages…so no clue. My car CD player has the Game of Thrones soundtrack (from season three to be precise) in it & my iPod on my phone is paused on a song from the soundtrack to the TV series Sherlock. I like instrumental music.

G&G: And finally...the age-old question...Coke or Pepsi? 

Natalie: COKE! Always COKE!

G&G: You know what, Natalie? I lied about what I said earlier. THAT is the wrong answer. Sorry, chica. Pepsi wins every time. Oh well. At least we had coffee. Even if it was invisible.

Thanks for playing along, blog peoples! And Natalie, I still like you even though you like Coke =)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The First Thing I Cooked as a Mrs.

Oh boy, peoples. Winter has arrived.

Over the span of approximately two weeks we experienced some lovely Fall weather, only to grab our jackets and scarves to brave the sudden onset of winter!

It's like they say -- If you don't like the weather in Mississippi, it's okay - it'll change in a few days anyway.

But you know what? I like it. I don't mind it one bit.

It's given me reason to bust out my warm comfy clothes (hellooooo stretchy pants and hoodies!), my favorite soup and comfort food recipes, and Bing Crosby's version of "It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas."

I broke my own rule this year!!! I normally avoid Christmas music until Thanksgiving but this year --- nah! I'm taking a walk on the WILD SIDE and listening two weeks BEFORE!


But with the weather changing and whatnot, I thought this would be as good a time as any to tell you the story of the first thing I cooked for my husband after returning from our honeymoon:

Homemade Chicken Soup with Veggies

Not exactly what we planned, seeing as how we returned to 80-degree heat and boxes upon boxes of belongings to move into our place, but it worked.

You see, after a lovely honeymoon of things like this:


and THIS...

...We both woke up in the wee hours of the morning feeling some kind of sick. The Plane Crud, as I have oh-so-lovingly deemed it.

"Juuuuicce!!!!"  The Mister said, unable to breathe through his nose and coughing up a storm. "I just need some juice!"

So off we went, at roughly 5:30 a.m., to the nearby grocery store to buy juice, popsicles, and medicine.

...only to find out it didn't open until 6 a.m.

But could we wait that long? Nope. When you're sick, you just need juice. PRONTO.

So we hit the road again, a few miles down the road to the WalMarts, which, mind you, is slightly creepy at that hour of the morning.

That's when it hit me. Somewhere in the depths of my messy box of recipe cards, I remembered there was a recipe for homemade chicken soup guaranteed to make any sick person feel better - the chef himself said so!

So about 45 minutes later, we loaded our car with WAY MORE bags than we planned (crazy WalMart curse!), and a few bottles of juice that we cracked open on the way home.

Sure, it would have been faster and cheaper to go with a can, but the over-achiever in me was NOT about to let the first thing I cooked for my new husband be a can of soup. That's for amateurs, right?

It's probably for people like us that day that were sick and just really needed soup -- and maybe I should have, but I'm not ashamed! Because truth be told, we both felt better by that evening.

And the soup was delicious. No joke.

So now that you know my little story, and now that you're feeling the first chills of the winter season, I present to you The Recipe...this homemade chicken soup sure to cure any cold you may have.

Or at least make it easier to deal with, anyway.

Even if you're not sick, it's definitely good for your tummy on cold nights. Don't be afraid to add more veggies than what the recipe calls for -- I usually eyeball it anyway. The more veggies, the better!

Just give yourself a good hour to prep/cook it, though. It's totally worth it.

...and don't forget the juice =)

Homemade Chicken Soup with Veggies

Serves 2-4 sick folks
Total time: About 1 hour
View original recipe here

1-2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (depending on size) - cooked and cut into chunks
2 cups of low-sodium chicken broth, plus one extra cup
3 red potatoes
1 cup milk (skim is best, but whole will work fine)
1/2 tbsp of EVOO
1-2 tbsp of garlic powder, depending on taste
2 whole carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
chopped onion or onion powder, to taste (I used about 1.5 tbsp)
1 tbsp basil
2 tbsp oregano
dash of cayenne pepper, to taste
dash of Tony's, to taste

Slice potatoes and place in a small sauce pan with chicken broth. Cook until potatoes are soft enough to mash, then remove potatoes. Stir and slightly mash potatoes in a bowl with milk (I left mine slightly chunky) and set aside.

In a separate, larger pot, place oil, garlic, onion, veggies, basil and oregano and cook until onions are translucent. If using onion powder, cook until celery and carrots are slightly soft. Add leftover chicken broth (from potatoes), stirring until thoroughly mixed. Let this mixture come to a boil, then add your milk and potato mixture. This will make the soup much thicker; if you prefer a more brothy soup, add the extra cup of broth. Let soup cook for 5-10 minutes, or until everything is evenly mixed and combined.

Add a dash of cayenne pepper and a little Tony's (helps with a stuffy nose!) and serve hot. Serve alone or over brown rice.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Friday Fun Time

1) Yesterday at work I tapped my computer screen with my index finger to prevent it from going to sleep.

"You have a touch-screen computer monitor???" may ask?

Why I don't. I just spend insane amounts of time on my iPhone.


2) I am reallllllly digging the Coffee Mate Thin Mint coffee creamer these days. I've mentioned it before, but I just can't help it. It's just that good, man. I've drunk more cups of coffee this week than I have over the past month. No joke. It's just that good, man.

3) It's been a feel-good week. See #2 for explanation.

4) On Wednesday I drove a co-worker down the street to run an errand. About halfway through our drive, I realized I was singing "Brick House" out loud, along with the radio. There may or may not have been steering-wheel-dancing involved. Then I remembered I was not alone in the car. I turned to the right, only to meet my co-worker's blank stare.

"I love 'Brick House,'" said I.

"Wow," said Co-Worker.

"Do YOU love 'Brick House'?" I said.


I turned the radio off and changed the subject.

5) This morning on my way to work (post-coffee, obvi) "Brick House" repeated itself. Singing and steering-wheel-dancing ensued once more. I'm not sorry.

Apparently that's my jam, man.

6) My parents are on vacation this week, and I believe they have sent me enough pictures (via text) to start their own Instagram account. I don't think I'll suggest it. That would be weird. HAHAHAHA.

7) This year was the first year that I didn't sit and watch the CMAs whilst tweeting about it no less than 5 times a minute. It felt odd. Is this what happens when you get old?

8) This week alone I have thought about completely changing careers approximately 37 times. I'm happy in my field. I just like to think I'm multi-passionate and extremely curious. Is this what happens when you're closing out your twenties?

9) I turned a year older last week. It felt weird. And I feel different. And I'm listening to old music (see #4) AND this week I've had minor FREAK OUT moments where I get this fear that I'm too old to do lots of things I enjoy and/or hope to do. I'm also too old for some of the clothes in my closet. And I'm ready to go to bed at 8:30pm. This is weird. Cue the Quarter Life Crisis (see #'s 7 & 8 for proof. It's a real thing, people!)!

10) It's Friday. And I hope it's lovely for you, friends.

"And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another,
even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."
Ephesians 4:32

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Homestyle Chicken 'n' Biscuits

Ladies and gentlemen, fall has descended upon us.

Look at that. Beee-youu-tee-fulllll.

When you live in the South - this beautiful, beautiful place - you know fall is near when the temp hits 69. When it hits 64, like today -- suddenly everything is better. People are happier, traffic is nicer (okay maybe not), everything just seems...right. Except the fact that stores have already decked their halls for Christmas. Is that odd to anyone else? But regardless...

I'm going to need fall to stick around for a few more months, yes? Yes.

I think we can all agree that with fall time comes some of the best food around. With the chill in the air and the excitement of the coming holidays and celebrations, I can't help but just want "real food."

My appetite has been wack lately - WACK, I say! Usually I'm all about the salads and the green smoothies with a side of quinoa and steamed veggies. But since the season began, all I want is the GOOD STUFF - comfort food like hearty soups and stews (thanks Natalie!!!!) and the like.

I'm even putting cheese on my veggies. WHAAATT????

I think I just like to feel warm and cozy from the inside out.

...And what better way to do that than curling up on the couch with a quilt, a Hallmark movie (or some Big Bang choose ;) ), and a bowl of hot, fresh-out-of-the-oven Chicken 'n' Biscuits????

Oh my gracious. Just looking at it again makes my stomach growl. I've said it before, but I really, really mean it this time...THIS is comfort food at its finest.

Actually, I really, really meant it the last time I said it, too. And every other time before that.

I always mean what I say when I tell you things, invisible blog friends.

Always, always, always.

Honesty is the best policy =)

Truth? I've never made chicken and biscuits. I don't know if I've ever eaten it, honestly. I was raised a chicken & dumplins girl and thought that chicken and biscuits was just a knock off.

But no, friends. Yesterday, for some reason it was all I could think about. I had to try it. HAD TO.

And I'm not sorry.

Like, at all.

It does take a little time, but this recipe is super simple and flavorful - I actually used canned buttermilk biscuits (a rarity for me) to save time, and I won't change a thing when I make it again! It's chock full of veggie goodness, too, so you don't have to feel too guilty. It will make your tummy so, so happy - guaranteed.

As for the chicken, I used chicken legs but you could easily substitute thighs, or even skinless chicken breasts if that's what you have on hand. I highly recommend dark meat for this one, though - it really adds to the flavor of the dish.

We ate this last night alongside some broccoli that I sprinkled with garlic and baked in the oven. Delish. I highly recommend!

I hope you'll give this a try - and that it warms you up from the inside out as the temperatures begin to drop a little further :)

Homestyle Chicken 'n' Biscuits

Lightly adapted from The Novice Chef blog
Serves 4

What You'll Need:

2.5 tbsp stick butter/margarine, chopped
1 tbsp onion, chopped fine
2 tsp garlic powder (not garlic salt)
1 bag frozen veggies (I used a broccoli, cauliflower, and carrot combo), thawed
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 medium potato, cubed
2-3 chicken legs or thighs
1/2 cup flour
2 cups milk
1.5 cups chicken broth (left over from your chicken)
Small can buttermilk biscuits (I used the 5 count)
Zero fat cooking spray or less than a tsp of butter
Paprika - optional

What You'll Do:

Place chicken in a pot with hot water, add salt and pepper to taste, then cook until completely done. Pull or cut into small pieces and set aside.

Chop potato and boil until cooked, about 10 minutes, depending on size. Meanwhile, in a separate larger pot or Dutch oven, melt butter and add onion, celery, and garlic powder. Saute for 3-4 minutes, then add your veggies: broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots. Add potato once cooked.

Stir veggies to ensure they are covered with butter and garlic mixture. Add flour and stir constantly for about 2 minutes so that everything is completely covered. Add milk a little at a time, continuing to stir until completely mixed.

Spoon in chicken broth until mixture is creamy and slightly soupy, but not to point of it becoming too broth-y. Add chicken and stir, adding salt, pepper, garlic and/or paprika to taste.

Rub a thin layer of butter on the bottom of a casserole dish (or spray with cooking spray) to prevent sticking, then arrange biscuits. Bake according to directions, but take out of oven after half the time (i.e., if directions call for 12 minutes of baking, take biscuits out after 6 minutes).

Once biscuits are halfway cooked, take dish out of the oven and pour chicken mixture on top, spreading evenly. Return the dish to oven and bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes.

Monday, October 28, 2013


What the WHAT?!

It's been awhile, folks, and I'm happy to be back on here. What a WHIRLWIND the past few weeks (err...month and a half?) have been! But on to important things!


An appropriate day to pick up blogging again, yes?

The past month has been a blur, it really feels like it was just a few days ago that everything happened. We feel so blessed and so humbled by all of the love and kindness that has been shown to us.

Our wedding was nothing short of a dream. The Lord blessed us with perfect weather and everyone arrived safely and soundly -- the ceremony went smoothly and the reception ROCKED. God is so good.

And the cake...ohhhh, the cake.

I'll have pictures soon, I hope -- our photographer is almost done with them! But for now, here are a few to tide us over...mainly because I'm itching to get it out of my system! :)

Cooking up a few wedding favors with Mom :)

The Rehearsal DINNER = YES.

Wedding Party AWESOME-NESS

One of our first photos as Mr. & Mrs. =)


 I love that so many people sent us their photos after the wedding -- gives us a wonderful glimpse into the day.

Moving on!

The past few weeks have been filled with multiple visits with family, moving The Hubs (<- EEEEKK!!!) into our new (to us) place, saying goodbye to a very dear, very loved family member, fellowship with our church family, and wedding to-do's for my sister's upcoming wedding (AAH!! Happiness!).

We'll be celebrating The Hubs' (<- AAAH!!!) cousin's marriage this weekend, and my cousin is getting married in two weeks. His brother (my other cousin) will get married a few weeks after that.

Lots of cousins, lots of weddings, and lots of cake!

Life is good. And so is coffee (can you tell I've had a little today?).

FYI -- THIS is the best coffee creamer ever created on the face of this jolly green earth -- words simply can NOT express my love for this stuff:

While I love coffee, I don't drink it often as I've never had the ability to drink a full cup of coffee unless I have LOTS of time. THIS MORNING, however, was a different story.

I am now experiencing the caffeine jitters and a lack of concentration!

Why is everything in slow motion today??????

Oh, coffee. How I love thee!!!!!

P.S. Halloween is this week!!!!! What are your costume plans????!!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Bun-less Black Bean Burgers

On with the healthy eating!

We're less than TWO WEEKS out from this big she-bang, so I'm doing everything I can to make sure I'm eating as healthy as possible so I can thoroughly enjoy all of the fabulous East Coast food that awaits us on vacation.


---> By the way, where in the WORLD did the past 8 months go? Does ANYBODY remember Spring at all? Beginning of summer? Last Christmas? It's all a blur. Anybody? Anybody?


On Friday I wanted something a little...different. I'd spent all week consuming many variations of delicious salads, as well as this fantastic veggie-filled lasagna, yet I was just ready for something a little more..."burger" -like.

Okay let's face it. I want a Mugshots burger. And I want it BAD.

However, giant chunks of delicious meat with thick, warm bread was not in the cards for me on that lovely Friday, but that's okay! Because THIS recipe was a surprisingly okay, VERY surprisingly great substitution!

But let me warn you, if you're seriously craving meat, you might want to go to Mugshots. But if you just want a burger, I'm confident that this will suit your fancy just fine:


They're not that pretty -- but they taste GOOOOD. I want another one of these SO BAD.

They just might be on the rotation for this week! And might I mention that The Fiance' was thoroughly impressed by the tasty-ness of such a burger with no meat?

It's much, much lighter than ground beef -- and there's no worries of dripping grease! -- plus it's got a great flavor going on. It's a fast recipe, too :) Great for weeknight dinners alongside a nice sweet potato that has been cooking in the crock pot all day. Be still my rumbling stomach.

This recipe made about 6 burgers; 1.5 of which were leftover for lunch the next day...until I got hungry again right before bed. Then there was only half of a burger left. Whomp whomp whommmp.

And also? They taste GREAT (better, even?) WITHOUT the buns. Hellooooo carb cutting!

So these are basically guilt-free.

Actually, I believe they are. Yes, let's go with that. Allll sorts of good stuff in here! :)

Bun-less Black Bean Burgers with Corn

Makes 6 patties

What You'll Need:

1 can low-sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tbsp tomato sauce
1 egg
4-5 tbsp Italian breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp hot sauce
dash of Tony's
1/4 - 1/2 cup corn (fresh or frozen works best) - depending on taste
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided

What You'll Do:
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, pour in your beans and mash with a fork until it has a smooth texture. Add in your garlic, tomato sauce, Tony's, cumin, and chili powder and stir until combined. Next, add in your egg and then the breadcrumbs, one tablespoon at a time, and stirring after each addition. Pour in your corn and hot sauce, then stir until it's evenly distributed throughout the mixture.

By now, your mixture should be thick enough to roll into burger patties (it will be messy!). If not, add in another tablespoon of breadcrumbs and stir. Pat mixture into 2- to 3-inch patties.

Bring 1 tablespoon of olive oil to medium-high heat in a skillet and place patties in the skillet. Pan fry patties for about 3 minutes on each side, then again for an extra minute.

Serve warm alongside veggies.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

One Day at a Time

Almost two years ago, I signed up to receive a daily devotional from Proverbs 31 ministries. I love it, and I look forward to seeing it in my inbox every day when I get to work.

Today's devotional really touched me and I can't help but post it on here. It's so easy to get so "caught up" in life and feel overwhelmed. I know many of us are struggling with decisions, to-do lists, workloads, and more - and it's easy to start to wonder how, in the world, will we be able to handle next week, next month, and so on?

As far as work goes, my mind is already in October, November and January - juggling a few projects and trying to stay ahead so I can really enjoy a real vacation in the coming weeks. Mix that with a few last-minute details for the wedding, and I have no idea what's going to happen.

Thankfully, though, the Lord does.

And he's got it.

There's an old hymn I grew up singing, and still sing in church today -- but no matter what, it still rings true.

One day at a time, sweet Jesus...
that's all I'm asking from you...
Just give me the strength
to do every day
what I have to do.
...So for my sake,
Lord teach me to take
one day at a time.

Thoughts of tomorrow may make us cringe. Thinking of next month may overwhelm us.
And thinking of everything in between may make it hard to breathe.

Good news is, though...God's got it under control.

While we may know this, it can be difficult to remember when you're caught up in a situation. Trust me on this, I know how that feels.

But take it from someone who has {almost} come out on the other side.

It's going to be okay. One way or the other. It won't be like this forever.

There are days where I have no idea what to do. Like the writer says below, we all long to hear God's voice audibly, telling us FOR SURE what to do.

But that's not always the case; we're not always sure. But somewhere, at some point, there will be that still, small voice calling you - leading you - in the way that you should go.

"Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord."
-Psalm 31:24

I'm thankful for you today.

Today's Devotion:

September 12, 2013
Should I Quit?
Lysa TerKeurst
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28 (NIV)
We all have those times we wish the voice of God would audibly speak so loudly there's no way we could miss it: "THIS IS THE DIRECTION I WANT YOU TO GO." Then we'd know whether to stay the course or head in a new direction.
Have you ever wished for this kind of certainty?
I have.
Most of us want to know what to do. Without that confidence, sometimes we stay in a place too long. But the greater loss happens in those times we quit too soon. Then, we can live with this nagging sense of "what if?" What if I'd persevered one more year, one more month, one more day?
Knowing when to stop and when to keep on keeping on is a crucial life lesson. One I want to learn well. Often, the more I struggle on my own, the less confident I am with the right next step. It's exhausting!
But the truth is, I don't need to be confused or tired. There is one central place I can go for direction and rest. In Matthew 11:28 Jesus encourages us, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."
I used to get so frustrated with this verse because I thought, I don't want rest. I want reassurance! I'm burdened by this decision I have to make. I don't want to mess up by missing a cue from You, God.
But the rest Jesus offers is not a spiritual sleep aid. The Greek word for this kind of rest is anapauo which has as one of its definitions, "of calm and patient expectation."
In other words, Jesus is saying if you come to Me, I will take your exhaustion and uncertainty and turn it into a calm expectation.
But how?
My friend Jennifer Rothschild does this enlightening exercise at some of her conferences. She tells the audience to imagine her writing two different words on a large chalkboard. She then speaks the letters as she draws the first word into the air ... R-E-S-T. She does the same for the second word ... R-E-S-I-S-T. Then she asks what is the difference?
The difference is, of course, "I."
I don't know what to do. I can't figure this out. I'm worn out. I've tried everything I know to do. I've given all I have to give.
I'm familiar with these "I" statements because I've said them myself.
We can only find anapauo rest — fresh hope — as we stop running ragged and simply take on the next assignment Jesus gives.
In verse 29 of Matthew 11, Jesus gives us the assignment: to take on His yoke and learn from Him. Ask Jesus to show you how to rest in Him. It might mean sitting quietly, asking others to join you in prayer or clearing your calendar to read the Word. Once you're still, take the next step. Not ten steps. Not the whole path. Not the Google map with the highlighted route. Just the next step. You'll know it because it'll be in line with God's character and His Word.
Complete that step with excellence and an open, humble heart. Listen and look for all Jesus wants to teach you in this next step.
This is your part of the equation.
But after the assignment comes the reassurance in verse 30, "My yoke is easy and my burden is light." We don't have to have all the answers. We just have to stay connected to the One who does. Where our strength ends is the exact point where His will begins.
This is God's part of the equation.
I must do all I can do. Then trust God will do what only He can do.
Should I stay? Should I go? Maybe the better question is, "God, what is the next step I'm to take today? I'm going to do my part. And trust the rest to You."
Dear Lord, I am tired, and I can't figure things out. Please help me see Your part in this equation. Where my strength ends is where Your will begins. Help me, Lord, to look to You for my very next step. I will wait in calm expectation. In Jesus' Name, amen.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Turkey and White Bean Chili

I'm a hard core lover of veggies.

But sometimes, a girl needs meat. Warm, meaty goodness - minus the grease.

Solution? Skillet turkey chili, my friends! Turkey chili!

While I realize chili tends to be a cold weather food, I love making this dish at any given time of the year. It's that good - and to be so meaty, it's actually lighter than your average chili.

I use ground turkey instead of beef because it's much less grease, and with this dish it gives it more flavor. Pair it with a nice salad or some veggies and you've got yourself a nice meal that leaves you feeling REALLY good about yourself!

I had steamed corn and toasted bread alongside mine when I made this last week, and it was purely delish. I love this stuff. HINT: If your corn "accidentally" mixes with your chili, it tastes really, really good!!!!

What a great kickoff to fall :)

Turkey & White Bean Chili
Serves 2

What you'll need:

~ 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
small handful of chopped onion (or onion powder, if you're not into onion)
~ half a tsp of garlic powderHalf a pound of ground turkey (93/7 works great!)1 can of white cannellini beans, rinsed and drained1 can of diced tomatoes (italian seasoning)~ 1 tsp of italian seasoning1/2 cup of water
sprinkle of pepper
dash of salt
worcestershire steak sauce, to tasteoptional: hot sauce


In a skillet, heat olive oil on medium heat, then add onions (or onion powder) and garlic powder and saute for about 2 minutes. Add turkey meat and cook until brown, crumbling with your spoon or spatula and adding worcestershire sauce as it cooks. Once meat is completely cooked through, add your beans (rinsed and drained) and diced tomatoes (with juice!). Add water and let it simmer for about 5 minutes.

If you want, add your hot sauce, pepper and salt as everything starts to simmer and combine. Stir to ensure that everything is mixed and evenly combined and serve warm. Goes great with toasted bread and veggies.

Total time: About 15 minutes

Monday, September 9, 2013

Monday's Soundtrack

Mondays are Mondays, which means they deserve a rockin' playlist. Here's what I'm listening to so I can get pumped for the week!

1) All Dressed In Love by Jennifer Hudson (from the SATC movie soundtrack)
2) Shake Senora by Pitbull
3) Say Hey (I Love You) by Michael Franti & Spearhead
4) Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond <---YES YES YES
5) What Makes You Beautiful by these children named One Direction BECAUSE IT'S A GREAT SONG!
6) Hollywood by Michael Buble
7) You Are the Best Thing by Ray LaMontagne
8) It's Gonna Be Me by {who else?!} *N SYNC
9) Tie it Up by Kelly Clarkson
10) I'll Be There For You - The Rembrandts

Happy Monday, peoples! Hope it's a great one.

What are you listening to today?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Random Thoughts All Over the Place!

  • There are lots of things to do. I have no idea where to start. Somehow I still have a job.

  • I'm simultaneously helping to coordinate a major event at work as well as a wedding. Le mind eez moosh. (That's fancy French for "the mind is mush." Kind of.)

  • In 3.5 weeks I'm marrying that guy I've been dreaming of my whole life =)


  • In 3.5 weeks I'll finally get to eat that cake I've been dreaming of my whole life.

  • My throat hurts. Waah.

  • However, I'm drinking a Pepsi. WIN.

  • Caffeine is goooooooooood.

  • Clearly I like italics on this fine day.

  • I have no idea what I'm doing.

  • We booked our honeymoon. It has A LOT to do with this post. WHOO!!!!

  • It's basically Fall. YAY! Boots, cool breezes and pumpkins YEAH!

  • This song randomly popped into my head this afternoon. Random year-2000 flashback? It's probably the Pepsi.

  • A few favorite moments from the past month:

1) Ridiculously GREAT hat the sister gave me for my bachelorette party. Whoop!

2) Beautiful (and delicious) cake from our wedding shower a few weeks back.

3) New haircut. Because they rock. What feels better than getting your hair done?
Very few things, my friends. VERY few things.

4) A day of shopping with my mom and sister for my SISTER's wedding dress!!! EEEK!

5) Baking at midnight yet again. Product: Amish Friendship Bread. Yumz.