Thursday, February 27, 2014

Family Recipe Chicken & Spaghetti

My Dad is the youngest of eight and his family has some pretty amazing cooks. Luckily, their church did a cookbook each year and I have "family" favorites all in one book. This recipe has been eaten in my family for years. It comes from my cousin Mary and it one of the first things I made for my husband when we were newly married. Enjoy it!

Mary's Chicken & Spaghetti
from Country Community Church cookbook

3 chicken breasts (cooked and shredded)
chicken broth
1 can cream of whatever soup (I prefer chicken, but you can do mushroom)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 package spaghetti
1 can diced tomatoes
1 medium bell pepper, chopped

Boil spaghetti in a mix of chicken broth and water. The ratio isn't super important. I typically do a carton of broth and fill the rest with water.

Saute pepper, onion and celery until soft. Add in soup and tomatoes.

Once spaghetti is fully cooked, add in chicken and soup/peppers mix and simmer until it thickens.

Easy and delicious, especially on a COLD day!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Grateful- Week Seven

So many little things to be grateful for- it is the little things like these 7 pictures that make me smile everyday. See more grateful posts here

We went to a princess party on Saturday and I am so grateful Abby got to see these cute girls. They have been friends since the church nursery and always have fun together.

These are my people and I'm grateful they are mine. They both make me laugh, challenge me, and bring out the best and worst in me.... sometimes in the same hour!

I am grateful for iced tea. I don't drink much soda or juice and I hate water. I don't know what I'd do without access to tea. I love that sweet tea is available lots of places now and that I can grab a large tea and enjoy it all day long. Plus, zero calories is a good thing!

I will be at a work function for a few days this week and I'm grateful to have stocked up on healthy snacks! I am always so tempted by the large cookies on the afternoon break and hope these yummtytreats help curb that. A 400 calorie cookie is no bueno for a beach vacation this summer!

I am grateful we learned on Friday this girl is not allergic to tree nuts. She is still highly allergic to peanuts, but it is nice to knock all those other yummy nuts off the list.

I forgot to take a picture so I used a throwback one on Thursday- I am grateful for a few hours with my cousin. We live 30 minutes apart but never can get together. She has four children and between homeschooling and other duties, we can't make it work. But, Thursday we had lunch together and let the kids play/nap. Perfect little play date for Abby and I.

I am always grateful for lunch with these girls! They are my lunch bunch group and at one point we were all in similar jobs. Four years later we have added people, lost people, seen promotions, and job changes, but we've stayed lunch bunch buddies. They remind me I still have a career albeit part time right now. 

Life is good and I'm really grateful for the people in it.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Parmesan Honey Pork Roast

 A few nights back I took a glorious Sunday nap. My daughter and husband were on a bike riding adventure and dinner was in the crockpot. It was my kind of Sunday. I woke up about 5:30 and checked my phone and found a text from my friend Morgan asking about our dinner plans. I told her sorry we couldn't meet up we had a roast in the crock pot. And then, I did something crazy.... I told them to come on over. You see, I am not spontaneous. I have people over for dinner, but I invite them, put it on the calendar, follow up, plan the full meal, etc. I most certainly don't try out a new recipe and have a dirty house to boot! This was super last minute for me, as in come over in 30 minutes. And you know what, it was real life and it was fun!

I am so glad this turned out to be good! This roast was a first for me, but it won't be the last! I should have known I could trust Six Sisters- I have always loved their recipes. 

Here are a couple of minor changes that I made to the recipe found here:

I used my yummy frozen basil cubes rather than buying dried basil.

Mine cooked in 3 hours on high.

I didn't remove the juices and thicken them with cornstarch. We just poured them over the meat straight from the crockpot.

I also whipped up a last minute Rustic Cobbler because I always have ingredients for it on hand... I bet you do too!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Grateful- Week Six

Oh how easy it is to be grateful when you are looking for it! See more #annaisgrateful posts here

It is in the high 70s this week in central Texas- I am so grateful to pull out my sandals and have a fresh pedicure ready for the warm weather this week! I got Chick Flick Cherry by OPI this week- a good dark red. 

Did you see this post with these amazing muffins? I am grateful to have them as I try to start working out more during the day. I always struggle with a filling and protein packed breakfast. No one has time to be scrambling eggs before school. :)

Monday morning I ate my muffins before heading to the gym. I am grateful for the time to workout and the motivation of a beach vacation this summer to drive me!

We spent Saturday afternoon at my Dad's house. While there, Abby is grateful for lots of golf cart rides with Granpa!

Abby and I spend three mornings per week with these two little friends. I am grateful for the little friends they are to Abby and the time I get to spend with their Mommy.

Last Wednesday Abby had her Valentine's party at school. I am so grateful my "job" means attending those parties with her. I was a little late and she was so sad- she doesn't know parties without Momma there.

I am grateful for modern medicine that can tell us so much about food allergies these days. I am praying on Friday morning it tells me that Abby is not allergic to tree nuts. That girl has missed her almond milk! ;)

Through my MOPS group, I am grateful Abby had a chance to serve others on Valentine's day. I hope service becomes a regular part of our lives as she grows up. Being an only child it is so hard to teach her to look out and see others and be grateful inside. I am learning it and want her to learn it sooner than I have.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Mix and Match Egg Muffins

My friend Kati and I had a recent conversation about eating healthier. We both grew up on comfort food and have a "comfort" in making those recipes. It is the ones full of veggies or without cream of something that are harder to recall.

She told me about these egg muffins she makes for her husband each week and I knew I had to make them for Marcus. He grabs string cheese and an apple most days on the way out. These would be similar in calories, but much more filling and protein packed. After one bite he said, "these'll work" and "everyone is going to be jealous". ha!

Mix and Match Egg Muffins
from my friend Kati

The mix and match part of these- you pick the veggies and the meat to go inside of them. Kati recommends spinach, red bell pepper and breakfast sausage. I used bacon, green bell pepper and onion. I can't wait to try other combinations!

1 dozen eggs
4 slices bacon
chopped onion and bell pepper (I used frozen pre-chopped)
garlic salt and pepper
grated cheddar cheese

Chop your bacon up and cook it on the stove. I chop mine before cooking and did about 7 pieces per long slice. Let it cool on a paper towel to absorb the grease.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Spray a muffin pan generously with Pam.

Fill each muffin pan with 1 teaspoon onion, 1 teaspoon bell pepper, and 2-3 pieces of your cooked bacon.

In a large bowl with a spout, whisk your 12 eggs really well. Pour the eggs over each muffin hole filling it about 3/4 full. 

Sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper and grated cheese.

Bake for 18 minutes.

Let cool and place in baggies of 2 to grab for breakfast each morning!


Friday, February 14, 2014


Happy Valentine's Day!

I hope you are lucky enough to feel loved every day!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Tomato Basil Chicken

One bite of this and my husband said, "this is restaurant worthy" and he proceeded to POUR the left over sauce in the skillet onto his plate. The woman's side of that praise, "I can make this for company". ha! It really is that good. 

The recipe from Menu Musings is here

A couple of notes....

I chopped my chicken into chunks before I started cooking it. Make is cook quicker and I could see when it was done better.

I used my fun frozen cubes of basil and garlic and they worked great and made things much easier. 

I chopped my two Roma tomatoes really small so you'd get flavor but not a lot. I don't love tomatoes.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

#annaisgrateful- Week Five

I am getting more grateful everyday with my 2014 challenge to find something to give gratitude for each day. See more here

I helped with a women's event at my church on Saturday morning. I am so grateful for brunch (my favorite!) and women who give and share in my church! It was fun and I was able to put faces with names!

I really am grateful for Pinterest. It has given me some pretty amazing recipes like this one I'll be sharing soon! It was deemed restaurant worthy on first bite.

After spending a TON of money at the dentist last year, I am grateful for a wonderful visit this past week. She was brave and luckily had no cavities and very little plaque. A good report for Mommy and Daddy who celebrated with milkshakes!

I am grateful for friends who can come over to my dirty house and share a roast in the crockpot with us for dinner. We had a fun impromptu dinner party that was planned all of 42 minutes before it happened.

After some really cold days, I am grateful school was back in session on Monday!

I love haircut days! They are a fun chance to be pampered and chat with my super cool hairdresser! Growing my hair out has led to a lot less haircuts, but Friday I got one! And, I am grateful I took 2" off the back so my hair isn't oddly sitting on my neck anymore!

With a cold weather day last week, I was grateful to have all the supplies on hand for Abby to make her class Valentines. She loves making art and it took her HOURS to write each kids name, her name and draw them a picture! 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Quick and Easy Lasagna

I have never been a big lasagna girl. It is so much work. I'd rather make spaghetti in less time! But I found this recipe and gave it a try. And, then I made it again and shared it with a friend.

Here is her response. A ringing endorsement!

I love making it as two 8x8 pans. It just works well for my family. My picky no-casserole child even ate this up! We all eat one pan and then have another one in the freezer for busy nights or to share with a friend. I paired this with a pan of lasagna with a bag of fresh green beans and salted chocolate chip cookies for Carrie. 

See Lizzie Jane Baby for the recipe here. I love her shortcut idea- use a jar of marinara sauce and then add a few extra spices to it to make it taste homemade. I used my Trader Joe's Marinara and it truly was delicious! 

Happy Cooking!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Creative Valentine Cards & Candy Alternatives

I love Valentine's Day and the sweet little notes my 5 year old exchanges with her friends. But, having a child with a severe peanut allergy and a sweet tooth, I don't like all the candy she tries to consume that day. So, I looked around for some alternatives to a boxed card and chocolate candy. Here are my top five favorites:

Funky Polkadot Giraffe used a squeeze pouch of applesauce with a little "love" note. These are great for preschoolers because kids and Moms love them!

I love the idea of giving something other than food! We gave out balls just like this to kick off summer last year and kids loved them! Great idea Crafting Chicks!

There is something so soft and sweet about these little bear hugs. They are perfect for little bittys to exchange at school.

Goldfish are always a big hit in my house! We did goldfish carrot sticks two years ago, but I've never thought of a clever way to give them out at Valentine's Day. Using o'fish'ally as the cute word makes these easy to give out for most any holiday!

I love pixie sticks! They are a classic childhood candy! I love these tied together with a little washi tape from Etsy. You could also tie in pixie dust or Izzy from Jake & the Neverland Pirates on these. 

Don't forget the teachers today! I know class parties are stressful days for them and always try and bring them seasonal goodies, too! My favorite valentine gift for teachers- a really sweet candle. This year I bought Red Velvet Cupcake and Sweet Spun Sugar from Target.

Happy Crafting!

Monday, February 3, 2014

#annaisgrateful- Week Four

This is part of my daily #annaisgrateful posts on Instagram. You can follow me here

I am grateful for grace. Gods grace, and grace from the people I share life with. I am also grateful that I am taking the time to learn to give it better... to others and to myself.

So grateful I found this Lisa Leonard bookmark. I had lots it in my purse and was super sad! This bookmark sits inside my Chronological Bible and Phillipians 4:8 says this: 

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.

I had a little cold or allergies this week and splurged on a Chick-fil-A milkshake. I was oh so grateful for that cold drink on my scratchy throat.

I am in Community Bible study on Thursday mornings and the kids program is just amazing! I am so grateful I found CBS before Abby was in school. She made a John the Baptist puppet last week.

I was super grateful Velveeta's rumored shortage didn't happen. Didn't you have queso for the Super Bowl, too?

I am grateful that I am still an event planner. I worked full time until my daughter was 2 1/2 and now do event planning at home during nap time, bath time, bed time, you name it. It is a big part of who I am and have always seen myself as, so I know I'd miss it terribly.

I am grateful my team made it to the Super Bowl. They didn't win and I can't say they played their best, but it was fun to watch my team on the big day.

Finally, Abby and I made these cupcakes this afternoon and she called it the best day ever. I'm grateful I looked past the things I needed to get done and the mess sorting 6 cups of batter made and did it for her. 

One month into my #annaisgrateful challenge and I am already looking at my days differently. I'm always searching for things to be grateful for and learning to appreciate the many things in my life that I've overlooked. The goal is to appreciate what I have and where I am and therefore focus less on what I want or where I want to be.