Thursday, March 31, 2011

Shared Recipe: Potato Chip Chicken Casserole...Say what?

So we were visiting our friends for dinner a while back, and as usual, my friend Sybil made a yummy entree.  It was a casserole style chicken dish that had great flavor and a nice crunchy topping.  Sybil is always trying new recipes...and never seems to cook the same thing twice.  Because sometimes I'm not so eager to test a recipe I've never had or tasted before, I love that she does a lot of the testing, while I swoop in and ask for the recipe after a dinner date.  In this particular instance,  when I did, she told me it was Potato Chip Chicken Casserole.  My response...what?  

I usually try to keep things light and healthy around here...using fresh ingredients and not a lot of processed foods. Granted, I fell in love with Paula Deen just like anyone else who watches The Food Network, and practically learned to cook while watching her and the other fun chefs.  But I didn't think people literally cooked like that...tons o' butter...lard...sour cream...mayo...not to mention potato chips all up in your chicken's business.  Paula does always say, "Honey, I ain't your doctor; I'm your cook."  

Anyhow, I saw that the recipe came from Cooking Light, and when I looked at the ingredients, it didn't seem all that bad.  I wouldn't boast that it is the healthiest meal you can make, but with a few key ingredients, I think it lends to great flavor and texture.  I am posting the recipe the way I made it...but it originally calls for low fat versions of many of the ingredients such as mayo, sour cream, and potato chips.  There are some low fat ingredients I can get behind in flavor and from a health perspective, but there are some ingredients I just chose to use as is...original goodness.

This is a fun family meal that the kids can help with.  Smashing potato chips is pretty awesome!  It's also a fun one for Christmas time...as the green onions and red pepper lend to a festive feel.  Please enjoy!

As you can see, this is after we have dished up...and had seconds!

Potato Chip Chicken Casserole

4 cups chopped roasted skinless, boneless chicken breast (about 4 breasts)
1/4 cup chopped green onions (I just used practically the whole bunch...)
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper (I use one whole pepper.)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 small can sliced water chestnuts, drained and chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup reduced fat sour cream
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cooking Spray
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese (I eyeballed it.)
3/4 cup crushed potato chips (about 2 ounces) (I eyeballed this too.)

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Combine chicken, green onions, red bell pepper, parsley, and water chestnuts in a large bowl; stir well.  
3. Combine mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, mustard, salt, and pepper in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.  
4. Add mayonnaise mixture to chicken mixture; stir well to combine.  
5. Spoon chicken mixture into a standard casserole dish coated with cooking spray, and sprinkle with cheese.  
6. Top cheese evenly with chips.  
7. Bake at 400 degrees for 13 minutes or until filling is bubbly and chips are golden.  

Yield: 6 servings.
I like to serve this with rice, fruit, and a salad.


Happy Eating!


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Just For Fun: Fancy Feast® Cat Food Short Film - The Engagement: Extended Cut

Okay, let me just say, it is shocking that this is a commercial...for cat food.
Are you kidding me?

However, it's awesome...and cheesy...and makes you say...aaaaaaahhhhhh.

What girl doesn't dream of some creative proposal like this?
The thought and initiative that would go into this...
is there really any question as to whether she will say yes?




Love cheeseball, romantic commercials and movies.
I'm a sucker for them.
Are you?



Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Lovely and Genuine Friends...Pictures from A Mommy Date with My Friend Julie

I am so fortunate to have some really neat-o ladies in my life.
I consider it a distinct pleasure to call them friends.
Perfectly lovely ladies with sincere and genuine hearts.
For that I am so very thankful.

Enter: my dear friend Julie.

Julie and I met at church while singing on the Worship Team.
She's the kind of person that makes you feel like you've known her forever after only a few minutes.
Immediately, I knew this was going to be fun.
We learned that we had graduated from the same college a few years apart, but never knew each other.  
We actually discovered that we knew and loved a lot of the same neat-o people,
which made it fun and crazy to be able to talk about some of the same experiences.
She also grew up around here and went to the other high school in town.  
(I don't think I could consider her a rival.)

We love to sing our little hearts out for God...usually I harmonize to her beautifully trained voice.
Speaking of singing and music, she can play a little violin like nobody's business.


Julie makes me laugh so hard that I often end up snorting in her presence.
This girl comes up with the best ideas, conversation topics, questions, and ways to have fun.
She also notices details...thank goodness!  The little details that you wonder if anyone else notices.

On a serious note, she really knows how to bust out some awesome dance moves 
for the Xbox Kinect dancing game.  Pretty jealous really.  I mean, she puts me to shame.
In fact, she is great at impersonating the dancers from Riverdance too.  Incredible likeness.



We both birthed some pretty darling little buddies that are about the same age now,
which makes it fun to have them be silly together too.

To make it even more wonderful,
our husbands are two of the most laid back dudes around...
who we met and married from the same college...
who both love baseball...
and are witty and fun and silly to boot.

I can be myself and make mistakes around her...total authenticity...there is no fear.
This gal is spontaneous and silly, thoughtful and kind, and has an inspiring heart for God.
Julie is beautiful inside and out...and I'm so thankful to call her friend.

Anyhoo, on Saturday my dear friend Julie took me to lunch 
(I love how we both pretend we are foodies and know how to get all up in our grub.)
for a little belated birthday Mommy Date.
Just the two of us.
No little buddies in tow.
No husbands accompanying us.
Even though she was a little under the weather
and had the craziest week at work leading up to spring break,
she still showed up at my door at 11:30 on the dot.
What a gal!
Good food, good conversation...good times!


By coincidence, we both busted out our polkadot umbrellas.
I knew she was cool like that.
It was quite drizzly.
But it didn't dampen our spirits.


On our way to lunch, we couldn't pass up the opportunity
to walk across the street with the neon orange flags.
Yes, THE orange flags.
They are at every corner in P-town, specifically
for pedestrians to carry as they walk in the crosswalk.
It's one of Cooper's favorite things to do...ever.
It was Mommy's turn!

They are the sole reason we did not get hit by a car
while crossing the street.  I'm convinced.


We enjoyed lunch at the Comfort Food Cafe.

PHOTO VIA COMFORTFOODCAFE.ORG
Oh how I love me some Comfort.
Yummy and organic food with a hometown feel.
Doesn't get much better.


But what to order?


They have a wall of...I don't know what to call it...opportunity?
Lots of articles, posters, calls to action.
Great inspiration.


One of my favorites was this poster.

As long as I see anything to be done for God, life is worth having; 
but o how vain and unworthy it is to live for any lower end!
-David Brainerd


And not to forget, on our way to the car, we did a little dancing...


and singing in the rain!


We ended up perusing downtown a bit and venturing to one of our local Goodwill stores, 
and although we didn't come away with any amazing treasures for our home,
Julie did leave with a pair of pants for her little man...
adjustable waist, no holes in the knees, and long enough NOT to be considered highwaters!
Good find for $3.99!



We also made a stop for a little bite of chocolate and munchies for her sick hubby at home.
While at the store, I couldn't pass up some beautiful tulips that were staring me in the face.
 When I start to see daffodils and tulips in the grocery stores, 
(Yes, I totally buy flowers at the grocery store...you do too right?!  Doesn't everyone?)
I am ever so hopeful that spring is indeed going to arrive!

Go on any Mommy dates lately?
What did you do?

Have a lovely and genuine day!

Monday, March 28, 2011

We got our new washer and dryer! Rocks my socks...literally!

We got our new Washer and Dryer Saturday morning!  Woo hoo!  Here's a little peek!  

I don't know if you can tell, but we were a little in awe...and stared for a few minutes as we started a load.  I'm not ashamed to say that I was highly entertained!  It literally rocks your clothes back and forth, does a little spinning and twirling, gently rocks them some more, squirts water and suds in, washes them clean, and then spins them the heck dry!  I'm pumped.  I've got visions of laundry dancing in my head!



We've got quite a week with a full schedule coming up, lots of laundry to catch up on, and some adjusting to do to a new bedtime in order for my love to start his new job with ease in the very near future.  If we're not careful, the husband waking up at the crack of dawn is going to throw us all off our rockers!  Eeek!

How was your weekend?

Many blessings,


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday Worship: You Are For Me by Kari Jobe

Sometimes this can be hard to remember,
but God will never forsake us.

Our life is for His glory and good.
As we live our lives for Him,
we are ultimately living our lives for our good
and the good of others as well.

He is for us...in a major way.
He wants us to be for Him too.

If you have a moment, have a listen.


Much love and many blessings friends!



Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday Favorites: Generous Hearts

The new World Vision Gift Catalog came in the mail last week.
Brought me to tears looking at all of the "things" you can "purchase."
My goodness.
How fortunate am I?
Really makes me think about what is important.
Like...really important.

Reminds me to be so thankful for the simple pleasures
of new washers and dryers...
clean laundry with little effort...
a whole room (albeit small) in my house just for said washer and dryer...
a safe roof over my head...
to rest my body at night...
the list could go on forever.
I'm sure you might be able to come up with a mighty long list yourself.

How is it that I can often go merrily along my way and
let these issues slip to the back of my mind so easily?

Hmmmmmmm...


So recently, the Hubbs talked with the Coopster about being generous...a good man to man.

They looked through the World Vision catalog.

Coop emptied his piggy bank, and they counted up all the money he had been saving...
that we had been helping him save...
one penny...
one quarter...
a few bills...
at a time...
since birth.
(Not counting all the gifts we have put into the bank of course.)

Wow.

Once the money was counted, Daddy talked to Cooper about being thankful for
what we have and the importance of sharing and giving to those in need.

Together, they looked at the faces and needs in the catalog
and found a couple ways that Cooper wanted to help.

Joyfully, Cooper wanted to help purchase musical instruments 

     

and soccer balls for all the kids that could benefit from them.

Love my little buddy's precious, generous heart.

How do you encourage your kids to give?

Happy Friday!

P.S. - We were recently so fortunate as to be able to pay off our credit card debt!  Wow, what a weight off the shoulders.  Feels so great.  I don't take it for granted.  We had paid off our debt before, but slowly the balance had crept back up a bit.  We rarely used our credit cards...only in the case of emergencies, but making that payment each month, knowing that a large chunk went solely to interest, was just the ickiest feeling.  We were overjoyed to have the chance to pay it off!  With the money we were putting toward debt each month, I am inspired by my little buddy to use a portion of it toward making purchases from the World Vision catalog monthly.  We will be working to save a lot too, but I think that taking a small bit to do a great good will be well worth the investment!





Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Shoot: Washer and Dryer Update and A Laundry Room Before

Alright, so I called Home Depot yesterday - Tuesday - (We ordered the washer and dryer through Home Depot...fairly priced, on sale too, free shipping, and would haul away the old nasties.) to check in with them regarding delivery time today.  I was getting so excited!  I was told they would call us the day before the scheduled delivery (which was to be today) to give us the 4 hour delivery window, but since Coop and I were headed out and about for a while, I decided to call them.  I get a little ancy like that!

Good thing I did.  When I ordered them on the 18th, the order was never fully completed in their system.  What?!  There was no delivery scheduled in their system!  What, what?!  Shoot!  I received a confirmation email with the total cost and the order number after placing my order with the Home Depot representative over the phone, but in speaking with a different gal on the phone yesterday, she said that it showed in the system that the order had never been completed.  Booooooo!  
__________________________________________________________________________________

LG WM2140CW  4.0 Cubic Feet                         LG DLE2140W  7.1 Cubic Feet
Large Capacity Front Load Washer                     Large Capacity Electric Dryer

__________________________________________________________________________________

Whatchoo talkin' 'bout Willis?!?!  Remember that show?!

So at any rate, I couldn't get any straight answers from the gal over the phone yesterday...very textbook responses...almost seemed annoyed that I had so many questions.  Double booooo for poor customer service.  But thankfully, she helped me complete my order, and the washer and dryer will still be coming soon...Saturday!  Wooo to the hooooo!  The gal assured me yesterday that the order had in fact been completed, and I could verify that by checking my bank account to show a pending transaction.  I kept her on the phone, checked my bank account, saw the pending transaction...hallelujah!  Completed order.   I am just glad I called and didn't sit around waiting.  

In the end...Saturday is the big day...and I can't wait!  Good thing I got totally caught up with the laundry mountain this past weekend.  Wow, it had been a long time since I'd seen the laundry room floor.  Speaking of the laundry room floor...oh my!  The Mr. helped me pull the washer and dryer away from the wall to assess the nasty dust accumulation, and boy...it was DISGUSTING!!!  I'm so thankful that he did all the dirty work and wiped all that up.  We are ready to go!

I might throw a coat of paint on the wall just for kicks and giggles since I have a couple more days.  Going to have light walls with a few pops of color.  I'm thinking I'll stick with the fun cheery green laundry baskets I've already got going on...maybe hang some colorful and encouraging art too.  Never hurts to be inspired wherever you are!  With crisp white new appliaces, it is just going to feel totally different in there.  Clean laundry room, here I come!!!

If you want to know why I'm so excited for a clean, fresh change in the laundry room...and in an effort to keep it real, I will leave you with these images.  Might make you feel wonderfully about your laundry room situation, whatever it may be!

LAUNDRY ROOM BEFORE


Ewwww...dust and lint grossness behind the dryer.  We've had all sorts of 
issues with this dryer, especially with the lint not being collected properly.
Looking forward to less ick in the laundry room for sure!


The lint trap handle broke off quite some time ago, and I have become quite used to pulling out 
the lint trap with a pair of scissors.  Hey, whatever works, right?!  Soon, no more!  Woo hoo!


And check out this dose of nasty!  That's behind the washer.  So lovely.  I just can't tell
you the joy I feel knowing this will no longer be a part of my laundry experience.


I'll be excited to update you when our new friends get installed.
You can picture me doing a happy dance and a jump for joy!
A big one!

Kind of like this!



Many blessings,














Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A New Washer and Dryer and Some Strawberries...Just One More Mommy




The other day I was cutting up strawberries for lunch time.  I know they are not quite in season, but just seeing those big red gems in the store gave me the slightest glimpse of sun and summer and picnics and barbecuing...and they had to come home with me.  Anyhoo, Cooper loves them.  He excitedly pulled his kitchen stool up to the counter and asked,

"Mom, can I help?  Baby knife please!"


We have these harmless little knives that I let him use to help prepare meals sometimes.
He really loves being a part of the cooking process, and I think it's great to get him involved.


So as the little ramekin was filling up with strawberries, they were quickly
disappearing more quickly than I could keep up with.


I looked over at Cooper.
His mouth chomping away and his fingers stained with red strawberry juice.
I gave him the look.


"Just one more Mommy," and he grabbed a good sized chunk and stuck it in his mouth.
"Okay Cooper, just one more, and then we need to save the rest for lunch."
"Okay Mom."


I keep chopping.
Two seconds later, he grabs another one.
"One more Mommy."
Just too much for his little fingers to resist.
I smiled at him.  He grabbed another.
"Last one Mommy," and he smiled big right back at me.


This kid is too precious.
I did not make a fuss or make a big deal about him grabbing these strawberries.
Seriously.
He is a great little man, and listens to us regularly.
I almost enjoyed that he didn't listen to me.
Such a fun little moment.
He was in his own little strawberry lovin' world at the time.
And, I let him enjoy it.
Why not?

Here's to strawberries getting more red on the inside, picnics on a sunny day, the long awaited warm weather, and the blue skies of spring and summer.  Can't wait.


Just to fill you in a little, I am so totally pumped for Wednesday.  We have a new washer and dryer coming!  Say what?! Wooooooo hoooooo!  Our lovely washer was leaving rust spots on clothes and bedding, and our dryer was leaving a huge dusty mess in the laundry room.  It was time.



LG WM2140CW WM2140CW Front Load Washer LG DLE2140CW DLE2140CW Front Load Dryer





After doing some research, we decided to go with the LG WM2140CW.  There are so many makes and models out there with all the bells and whistles.  We simply wanted a good product with good reviews 
that would be a good fit for our family.  We didn't order the  pedestals, which are ridiculously expensive, and we didn't need anything too fancy or too expensive, but a bit updated.

I do have some plans to ask my Daddio to build a little table up and over them.  I'm thinking I'd like to paint it a fun cheery color...use it as a folding space.  No more laundry piles in my bedroom?  Yes please!


Just to tell you how often we make purchases like this, the bank put a hold on my debit card, and I had to call to verify that I did in fact make the purchase.  That made me laugh.  It made me feel like...finally.  One little "project" at a time, we are starting to pull ourselves together.  It has taken us a while to get our  booties in gear, but dang it, we are doing it!  My arthritis has sure put a damper on our lives in many ways, but as a team, as a family, we are overcoming!


The Mr.'s new job will be starting soon.  Our daily routine will be shifting a bit.  Bedtime will come a little earlier.  Paying the bills won't be quite as stressful.  And while the new job is not all about money for us, it certainly represents a step in the right direction, a life change,  an exciting new adventure, a chance to be responsible home owners, and an opportunity to see some wishes and dreams put into action.

By the way, I feel officially old...that I am excited about a new washer and dryer.
But I am thinking many of you can relate.  It's the little things.
I look forward to sharing that with you this week.


Many blessings,



Monday, March 21, 2011

Thank Goodness for Forgiveness! Enjoy This Short, Funny Little Video!

Oh sweet Denver.
I see that tail wagging.

Wanted to laugh and give him a big hug too.

Hallelujah for forgiveness.



Anyone you need to forgive?
Not only for their good, but for yours as well?

Have a great week!


Shared Recipe: Whole Wheat Goldfish Crackers

Does your little one love goldfish crackers?

Pepperidge Farm Cheddar Goldfish - 4.1 LBS

I know my little buddy does.
Whether we just need an afternoon yummy, or
he's enjoying a snack at church in his little class of cutie pies,
these guys are a favorite go to munchy.
If you think about it, these crackers have been around forever.
These days, we've been buying the rainbow colored goldfish,
but personally, I enjoy the original flavor best.

Anyhoo, just like any boxed treat on the shelves in the grocery store,
 they have a number of processed ingredients.
You know what they say right?
Shop the outer edges of the grocery stores, 
and you will find more of the fresh and "whole" products...
fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy, and some of the bread.
Shop in the middle amongst all the shelves,
and you will be surrounded by processed goodies that are hard to resist.

Well lucky for me, I found these whole wheat goldfish crackers
the other day and wanted to share with you all.  Have you seen them?

What do you think?
Worth the effort?


eyes and smiles

snack ready


I think they are just darling...and a great healthy rendition of a beloved childhood treat.

Head on over to Smitten Kitchen for the recipe...and some other great yummies!
Enjoy, and let me know how you like them!

On a side note,
we had some hints of spring and summer this weekend.
Daffodils and sunshine...it was glorious.
What are the hints of spring at your house these days?

Many blessings to you this Monday morning.
I encourage you to do something out of your comfort zone today.
I'm going to go grocery shopping with my little buddy today,
even though every arthritic joint in my body is screaming out,
"Stay home in your jammies!"

Here's to hoping the sunshine sticks around for a while.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sunday Worship: Marvelous Light by Christy Nockels

Lyrics from STLYRICS.COM

I once was fatherless,
a stranger with no hope;
Your kindness wakened me,
Awakened me, from my sleep

Your love it beckons deeply,
a call to come and die.
By grace now I will come
And take this life, take your life.

Sin has lost it's power,
death has lost it's sting.
From the grave you've risen
VICTORIOUSLY!

Into marvelous light I'm running,
Out of darkness, out of shame.
By the cross you are the truth,
You are the life, you are the way

My dead heart now is beating,
My deepest stains now clean.
Your breath fills up my lungs.
Now I'm free. now I'm free!

Lift my hands and spin around,
See the light that i have found.
Oh the marvelous light
Marvelous light

Lift my hands and spin
See the light within... 


Blessings on your Sunday,



Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday Favorites: Chocolate Chip Cookies with Added Yummies and the Perfect Ice Cream Scoop

These are delish.  Literally.  Chocolate chip cookies never get old...at least they don't for me.  Well some could actually, but never this recipe.

As I often like to do with all kinds of recipes, I took Nestle's recipe (straight from the chocolate chips package) and made it my own after testing them for the past few years.  I simply make a few modifications and additions.

I could literally eat a million of these bad boys, and often times do each time I make them.  A special little treat with my favorite little buddy, a divine night time indulgence after Coop is in bed, and always accompanied by a big ol' glass of milk.  They never last long on the plate, and folks usually come back for more.  Warning: these are especially tasty and addictive when warm...fresh out of the oven or straight from the microwave.

Enjoy friends, enjoy!




Chocolate Chip Cookies with Added Yummies

Ingredients
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 OVERFLOWING teaspoon vanilla (the extra makes all the difference)
2 large eggs
2 cups (1 package) milk chocolate chips

Additional Ingredients
1 large glop of peanut butter
1 cup of uncooked oats
Peanut butter chips
Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
M&Ms
Whatever you like!

Directions
PREHEAT oven to 375° F.  Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. If adding peanut butter, add in a few spoonfuls now.  Gradually beat in flour mixture (be careful not to overbeat). Stir in oatmeal and chips. Use ice scream scoop or two spoons to place large mounds onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for a couple minutes, and remove to wire racks to cool completely. 


This scooper works great (and makes for 2 dozen cookies...almost exactly)!


It also works great for measuring out cupcake batter.

KitchenAid Cook's Series Lever Ice Cream Scoop, Black

Cooper and I like to pretend like we are...COOKIE MONSTER!



Gund Soft and Shaggy Cookie Monster Doll in new large size!

Maybe we should invest in one of these!

Sesame Street - Cookie Monster Face T-Shirt - Large [Apparel]





Nom, nom, nom to you!



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