Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Homemade Crock Pot Chicken Pot Pie!

I am a sucker for a good pot pie.  I don't have the patience to make the actual pie crust, though... so I cheated.  I used a reduced fat buttermilk biscuit and cut it in half.  I am super impressed with myself! I decided to just wing it and make up the recipe as I went.  I'm so glad it came together well.  I can't wait for my hubby to try it when he gets home.

2-3 lbs. of boneless skinless chicken breasts (frozen)
2 small bags of frozen mixed vegetables (peas, carrots, green beans, corn)
1 can of condensed cream of chicken soup
1 packet of low sodium chicken gravy mix
1 can of Pillsbury low fat buttermilk biscuits
Optional: season to taste with salt, pepper, garlic powder etc.

Thaw the chicken almost completely, then cut into 2" cubes.  (TIP: I find it's easier to cut chicken when it's still partially frozen).  Place the chicken on the bottom of the crock pot.  Layer the vegetables over top of the chicken.  Spread the cream of chicken soup over the vegetables.  Lastly, pour the gravy mix over everything.  Mix well.  Make sure the chicken is covered by the vegetables and soup.  Cook on high for 4 hours.  After 4 hours, shred the chicken and return it to the crock pot.  There will be plenty of liquid from the frozen vegetables and chicken to make the gravy.  The mixture should not be runny, it should remain thick.  Cook on high for an additional hour.  In the last 20 minutes, pre-heat the oven to the temperature recommended on the biscuit mix.  Bake the biscuits according to the directions.  Remove to let cool.  Cut the biscuit in half and assemble the chicken mixture on the bottom half of the biscuit, then place the top half of the biscuit on the chicken.  Enjoy!

Here is everything in the crock pot before cooking:

Here is the shredded chicken when added back to the crock pot: 

Here is everything being assembled:

And the finished product is the first picture before the recipe begins :) There is plenty left for the week, which is exactly what I was aiming for! 

Featured on Foodie Friends Friday!

Monday, August 20, 2012


Goodness it's tough being busy! I haven't had the chance to try any new recipes, recently.  We've been sticking with our staples of tacos, spaghetti, etc. since we have so much going on.  Hubby's new schedule kicked in and now he works 12pm-9pm with Sundays and Tuesdays off.  This will last until about mid-September as his training wraps up for his new position.  After that, we'll have another schedule change to adjust to.  10:30am-7:30pm with Tuesdays and Wednesdays off.  Thankfully I was able to find an online degree completion program so I don't have to attend classes around these crazy schedule changes!

We're getting the apartment cleaned and prepped for the baby's arrival in January while we still have the time.  I'm slowly getting things ready for my classes that start on Monday.  I'm going to look for some organization tips on Pinterest this week so I can keep things together and not get overwhelmed.  I am going to make an organization weekly calendar as well as a weekly activity calendar for my son.

We've started having family time in the basement on the new furniture and it is heavenly! Our son is so excited to get everything set up down there.  He's starting to separate the baby toys from the big boy toys for his little brother Jaxon :) It gives me warm fuzzies! He's being so helpful.  He can't wait to work on the activity calendar.  He's mommy's little helper.  We were able to catch up on our big pile of laundry the other day.

A friend of mine gave us a huge bag of books for Conrad! We're going to get them organized on a book shelf as soon as we find one.  I have all of my books from my childhood in our basement, too.  He's really getting into reading.  It's awesome.

Anyway-- I promise more recipes soon! I think Wednesday I am going to try a crockpot chicken pot pie recipe :) Tonight is taco night and hubby is going to make his special chicken cutlets tomorrow night.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Blog Swap Recipe Hop! Another Great Link Party!

The fabulous gals from ABpetitie and Ellen B Cookery are hosting another Recipe Swap today! The theme is Quick Back To School Recipes (snacks, lunch, or dinner).  I entered my homemade applesauce, chicken, tomato & avocado sandwiches, and savory stuffed cheeseburgers.  Do you have anything to add?  Do you need some ideas for back to school recipes?  Check it out today! 

It's that time again! Friday already?! Foodie Friends Friday!

I've added my shredded buffalo chicken sandwiches, ranch pork chops and orange pork chops to the Foodie Friends Friday Linky Party! Do you have any recipes to add?

I've met some awesome bloggers this way and found some delicious recipes!! Check it out today!  Each week there are new hosts and potential prizes.  Don't forget to vote for your favorites on Sunday!


Julia's Orange Pork Chops

A few years ago, I visited my friend Julia.  We used to breed chinchillas and we found out we had a lot in common and our friendship has grown throughout the years.  We were visiting to hang out and talk about our pets and she made the most amazing pork chops in the crock pot.  We didn't have a crock pot for the longest time so I just never tried to replicate them at home... until now ;)  And they came out GREAT! Just like I remember. They were so good, I nearly forgot to take pictures!!

Here's what you'll need:
-2 lbs. of boneless pork chops (ours were a really thin cut)
-1-2 cups of ketchup
-1/4 cup of Worcestershire sauce
-2 cans of condensed cream of chicken soup
-salt and pepper to taste

Place the pork chops on the bottom of the crock pot.  Drench the Worcestershire sauce over the meat, then spread the ketchup over top of the meat.  Add the condensed cream of chicken soup.  Stir the mixture well then spread over the meat.  The color should be light red to dark orange.  As it cooks and the sauce thickens, you will get a distinct orange color.  If you started with frozen pork chops, cook on low for 6 hours, stirring once every hour.  If the sauce has not thickened by hour 5, turn it up to high and do not stir for the last hour.  If you start with thawed chops, cook on low for 4 hours, stirring once every hour.  If the sauce has not thickened by hour 3, turn it up to high and do not stir for the last hour.  You will know the pork is done when it begins to fall apart when you try to pick it up with tongs or a fork, carefully.  

You'll end up with a wonderful thick, orange glaze/gravy that is delicious on mashed potatoes.  It also makes a fantastic dip for fries! You'll have plenty left over.

Part of Foodie Friends Friday!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Shredded Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches!

Normally I don't like spicy food.  If I want spicy, I gravitate toward mild spicy stuff in Mexican food.  For the past week or so I have been craving some sort of spicy chicken... and I decided to try my hand at homemade shredded buffalo chicken.  I cannot wait to see how hubby likes this.  He's going to be elated.  He loves spicy food and we hardly ever have any haha.

I will add more pictures of our finished plates in a few hours.  We're going to have sandwiches with a side of rice.

Here's the progress:

Coating the semi-thawed chicken with ranch

Adding the wing sauce and mayonnaise

After adding milk to tone it down and shredding the chicken, I added 1/4 cup of margarine to the mix

All mixed together and cooked down, ready to assemble!  We didn't do anything special with our sandwiches.  Just added a piece of sliced cheese and put it on a store bought bun.  They were completely delicious, however! We had a side of herb and butter rice along with slightly cheesy steamed veggies.

TIP: thaw your chicken for a few hours before you start cooking, especially if you have really thick chicken breasts like we did.

Here is what you will need.

-3 large boneless/skinless chicken breasts (at least 2 lbs. of chicken)
-1 12 oz. bottle of Frank's wings sauce (there is a sweet chile version that is milder if you would like to try)
-1 packet of Hidden Valley Ranch mix
-1 can condensed cream of celery soup
-1/2 cup low fat mayonnaise
-1/4 cup margarine (we have country crock on hand)
-Optional: 1/2 cup of 1% or skim milk to tone down the spicy factor- I chose to include it.

Place the semi-thawed chicken into the crockpot.  Cover the chicken with the dry ranch mix and the wing sauce.  Add the mayonnaise and celery soup and stir to combine.  Make sure the chicken is well coated.  Add the additional milk if desired and stir to combine.  Cook on low for 5-6 hours.  Poke the chicken with a fork.  If it slides off easily or begins to shred, it is ready to shred.  You can shred the chicken on a plate or cutting board, using two forks for stability.  Place the chicken back in the crockpot for an additional 45 minutes-1 hour to coat the shredded chicken.  Add the margarine when the chicken is placed back into the crockpot.  Serve on rolls, buns, rice, in taco shells, etc.  Enjoy! 

Part of Foodie Friends Friday!

Playroom Update!

A friend of mine's mother was giving away a living room set and I jumped on it the second I saw it was available.  We now have a very nice sofa and chair with ottoman in our basement!  Our friends came to help and it was such an adventure getting it down the stairs hahaha but it's there now!

Our next project is to organize all of the toys for our boys and set up activity centers for a playroom.  We are also going to get a small TV.  The playroom has more floor space than our living room does and it will be much easier to let our little baby grow and explore down there than on the first floor.  I've been looking at organization ideas on Pinterest and we are going to look for some gently used bookcases and shelving units at garage sales and thrift stores very soon.  As we make progress I will update with pictures.  It will be a long long project.  Our baby is due in January and we are hoping to have it done by then.  It just depends on what we are able to find.

We don't want to put Conrad's baby toys into storage since his little brother is on his way soon.  It will be a busy play room so I'm thinking of setting it up like a pre-school setting.  We're so excited! I'm going to look into some more crafts (handprint paintings, etc) to hang on the walls down there.

We have so many plans for this apartment.  We want to stay here until I'm done with school and probably even longer until my career is well established.  Hubby and I were talking about our dream home ideas last night and we started exploring prices for the houses we would like.... definitely going to have to wait a while haha.  But it's so worth it.

So anyway-- what kind of activity centers do you have set up in your playroom?  Or what kind of activities would you like to see? :)

Hair Dare Update

So I have been washing it only a few times a week and deep conditioning once a week.  I'm still losing some strands but not as many as I used to.  I've been trying to wear it down more as well.  I'm going to get a picture tonight or tomorrow to update.

I also got a free sample of Garnier Fructis Fall Fight which is supposed to keep hair from breaking so often.  I gave it a try (both shampoo and conditioner) and my hair felt amazing.  I'm going to pick up both of them the next time we go shopping and see if I notice any improvement.

Has anyone tried Wen hair products? I'm thinking that will be my next step if I can't get rid of all of this dryness and frizz.  It's just so expensive to start up and it makes me nervous.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Crockpot Ranch Porkchops With Vegetables

We made this for dinner last night and it turned out great! Our son, the picky eater, even ate some :) Made me one proud momma!

You can use chicken for this recipe, too.  It's a simple swap.  Everything goes into the crock pot together and a few hours later it's a delicious meal!  No sweat on your end ;)

I didn't get a chance to take pictures of the prep work or while it was cooking, but you can judge from the finished results.

1 package of frozen pork chops (ours had 4 total)
1 package of frozen mixed vegetables (we had corn, green beans, carrots and asparagus)
1 can of condensed cream of chicken soup
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 package of Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning mix

Place the pork chops on the bottom of the crock pot.  Dump the frozen vegetables on top.  Spoon out the condensed cream of chicken soup and then add the seasonings and seasoning packet.  Spread the mixture evenly over the meat and vegetables.  Cook on low for 4-5 hours.  Check the pork to make sure it is cooked all the way through.  If needed, cook on high an additional 30-60 minutes.  The pork should come out super soft and cuts well with just a knife, not cooked enough that it shreds.  Serve with the gravy and vegetable mixture.

We had some mashed potatoes and wheat bread as our sides.  I used some of the gravy on my potatoes and put the veggies and gravy on the side.  It was a really filling meal!  Next time I am going to double the recipe so we have leftovers ;)

Part of Foodie Friends Friday!

Time To Vote! Foodie Friends Friday Linky Party

It's time to vote! What were some of your favorites?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Sonshine Boutique is doing a giveaway!

Ashley over at You Are My Sonshine and Sonshine Boutique is giving away $50 for custom wall art.  Check out her Etsy shop to see the adorable prints you can choose from:

This giveaway ends Friday August 17th.

What are some of your favorites? She also does custom designs!

Foodie Friends Friday Linky Party!

Happy Friday! The end of the week snuck up on me! I am about to go add my links for the linky party :)

Check out some new recipes and be sure to come back and vote for your favorites on Sunday! Feel free to add your recipes too! <3

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Homemade Cinnamon Applesauce!

Originally from

We used the exact same recipe, only doubled.  It came out sooooo delicious!! We used a mix of Pink Lady apples and Fuji apples.  Next time I want to try a mix of apples and pears! I am so happy with the results.  We made it late at night because I wanted it for breakfast with pancakes in the morning :)  Even our son loves it!!

Here is a picture of the ingredients for the glaze as well as the chunked up apples in the crockpot.  We took the time to peel the apples and it's totally worth it.

-12 medium apples
-1 cup of water
-2 tablespoons of cinnamon (or more/less to taste)
-2 teaspoons of sugar (or more/less to taste)
-1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Core and peel and chop apples into 1/2 inch chunks.  Place the apples in the crockpot.  In a separate bowl, combine the water, cinnamon, sugar and vanilla extract.  Mix well.  Pour the mixture over the apples and spread it evenly, stirring around to coat well.  Cover the crockpot and cook on low for 4-5 hours.  Once the apples are soft, mash them up into the desired texture.  You can use a handmixer or food processor to make it super smooth.  We chose to leave it chunky.  Enjoy!

Featured on Foodie Friends Friday linky party

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Black Bean & Corn Salsa Chicken

I am making a HUGE batch of taco chicken for the week.  I plan to use it for tacos, nachos, eat it over rice, and over lettuce.  It's great for my husband to take to work and it gives us lots of options.  You can use this recipe for dinner if you'd like.  Just cut back on the amounts of everything for smaller servings and adjust it to your liking :)

I was inspired by my favorite dip for tortilla chips! My husband makes a killer black bean corn salsa with a jalapeno and he seasons it with cumin, garlic powder and chili powder.  It's so good.  I figure I would just do that and then add chicken to make a meal out of it! I'm constantly craving the black beans and corn ;)

Pictured above are all of the seasonings I used for this yummy dish.  Salt, pepper, chili powder, green chile tabasco sauce, cumin, crushed red pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder.

Here is the frozen chicken, the black beans and corn.  I drained the black beans AND the corn.  There will be plenty of natural liquid from the green chiles and chicken.

Here is the finished product before cooking with the cans of green chiles added and all of the seasonings on top.  The seasonings are what makes the dish.  I may need to go back and add more as it cooks, actually.

So it's only 2:15pm.  Hubby's not home from work til around 5pm tonight but he's running to the store to get a few things for the rest of the week, so I have about another 4 hours for this to cook.  It started just after noon on warm.  The thin chicken breasts are already softened.  I also had some thicker chicken that is very much still frozen.  I've adjusted the temperature to high for now to get the chicken cooked through.  At about 4:30pm I will put it back on low so we can have super moist shredded chicken.

-3 lbs. chicken breasts
-2 cans of yellow corn
-2 cans of black beans
-2 small cans of green chiles
-equal parts cumin, garlic powder, salt, pepper, chili powder, red pepper flakes (makes about 4 tablespoons total, the same amount as a taco seasoning baggie)
-4-5 small dashes of green chile tabasco sauce
Optional: sour cream, shredded cheese, avocado, additional taco fixings

Place chicken breasts on the bottom of the crockpot.  We took our straight from the freezer.  Layer the corn, black beans and chiles on top.  Use the mixed taco seasonings next, creating a layer on top.  Add the dashes of tabasco sauce.  Mix well.  Cook on medium (or high if no medium setting) for 4-5 hours.  Stir occasionally to ensure the chicken stays moist.  After about 4-5 hours, remove chicken and cut into smaller pieces to make sure it is cooked thoroughly.  Cook an additional hour on high.  Shred the chicken and serve.  

I just made mine into tacos.  I used a good heap of the black beans and corn from the crockpot, the chicken, some shredded low-fat Mexican cheese, a few slices of avocado and a dollop of fat-free sour cream. It was DIVINE! I had tons of variety in every bite.  I decided not to make anything as a side dish since it was so filling.

My husband made enchiladas out of his :)  He put the shredded cheese, sliced avocado, and sour cream on the outside.  

And since I used 3 lbs. of chicken, we have PLENTY left for the week.  I can't wait to have it on lettuce, with some rice, and with some tortilla chips! 

Now I'm off to make some homemade applesauce in the crockpot ;)  Check back soon for that recipe!

Featured on Foodie Friends Friday linky party!

I challenge you...

To create a recipe with "hidden vegetables."  We are not a big vegetable eating family and we HAVE to break this bad habit.  So what are your ideas?  I can't wait to see what you come up with.  If you've already created a recipe, leave me a comment to the blog post so I can check it out!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

I'm going back to school in 20 days!!! :) :)

I am so excited!! I heard back from Tiffin University today! Financial aid came back TOTALLY in my favor and I am enrolled full-time! I completed my Associate of Arts degree at Columbus State Community College this Spring and took the summer off.

The original plan was to complete an additional associate's degree, but I ran out of financial aid.  The amount of aid is less for a 2-year degree.  I was super bummed, but decided to look into 4-year schools as a transfer student in the adult programs.  My mother completed her degree this way and it's such a convenience.  I looked into 3 different universities and Tiffin was my number 1.

The degree is a Bachelor's of Business Administration with a concentration in Healthcare Administration.  It's perfect.  It's exactly what I want to do.  I have so many medical credits under my belt and I didn't want them to go to waste.  The best part about Tiffin is that I get to complete my degree ONLINE AT HOME!! I'm about 5 months pregnant, so this is MAJOR! I will be able to stay home with the kiddos and not have to worry about working.  This is awesome!! I'll be able to complete the degree in about 2 years.  I'm taking 4 classes at a time each semester, 2 semesters a year.  I'll have the summers off (assuming we can afford it, otherwise I may go full time during the summer too).

Such a relief.  I've been incredibly nervous, stressed, and worried the past few weeks about all of this and feels GREAT to have a plan!!

Quick Pasta Deliciousness!

Need to go to the grocery store?  Running low on everything?  I hear ya.  It's only Tuesday and it's already been such a long week haha.  My son couldn't figure out what to have for lunch today.  I looked in the pantry and saw some bow-tie pasta and had my AH-HA! moment.  As most of you know, we've been having food battles with our kiddo.  Well today's been going super well! He was on board with the bow-ties :)  I made a bow-tie pasta with butter, salt, pepper, garlic powder and Parmesan cheese.  One of his favorites.  Add a fruit, veggie, or other side and you have a wonderful and quick lunch!

1 box of bow-tie pasta (or your favorite pasta!)
2 tablespoons of butter/margarine per serving (we used Country Crock spread)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese (or to taste)

Cook the pasta according to directions.  Drain the pasta water, do not rinse the pasta.  Spoon desired amount of pasta into a bowl.  Mix the butter until it melts well into the pasta.  Season the pasta with the salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Mix well.  Shake the Parmesan cheese on top, mix if desired.  Eat and enjoy!

Here's the messy photo of my son's creation :)  If you're feeling adventurous, you could boil vegetables in the pasta water (think dried beans, peas, asparagus, etc.)  We serve ours on the side but they could easily be mixed in the pasta and be totally delicious.  This is a staple in our house when we have that craving for pasta without red sauce.

Featured on Foodie Friends Friday linky party!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Breakfast was a bust :(

Trying to be an awesome mommy, feeding my son a balanced diet.  Boy... it's not going well.  I made him a waffle this morning and put some nutella spread on top and chopped up a banana.  I sure thought it sounded amazing.  He had other plans.  He threw a fit because he didn't want it at all :(  This is tough! I'm going to have to be super creative and get him to eat better.

For lunch today he's going to have a creamy potato and garlic soup.  I know he loves it.  I don't think I'll get a battle.  I'm just hoping I can get some fruit and vegetables in him.  This is the toughest thing I've ever tried to do.  He is definitely getting pickier by the day.  We're trying to let him make his own decisions and help us prepare his food.  It's not going well.  I'm already exhausted and it's only 11:10AM.  Wish me luck!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

New Ideas For Toddler Meals

Recently our son has become the pickiest eater I've ever met.  We're also battling with him on eating actual meals and not just snacking throughout the entire day.  I think he will have a tough time adjusting to school days if we keep letting him eat all day long.  We are now working on toddler meals, limiting snacks, and incorporating an activity schedule (much like pre-school).

I am starting this tomorrow morning with breakfast.  I plan on taking some pictures and giving a rating scale of how successful each meal was and how the day went.  We're tired of being frustrated and having daily battles with our defiant 4-year-old.  I'm stressed and tired and pregnant haha.  It's not a good combination when I'm trying to get my son to eat.  Wish us luck!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Friday Blog Hop Recipe Swap! This Week is Chicken :)

This week's theme is chicken recipes!

Here is the link to all of the details:

Do you have a chicken recipe you would like to add? I'm going to add a couple of mine, now!

Happy Friday! Enjoy the recipes!

I've been busy this week

Sorry I haven't updated much! We haven't really had time to try new recipes.  I have been getting everything together for 3 different universities, trying to enroll by the end of the month for the start of the 2012-2013 school year.  I got a call back today with some very promising information! I'll keep you posted ;)

We've also been potty training our son!! It's going phenomenally well.  We are on day 3.  No accidents and he is so encouraged and proud of himself.  More news to come soon! We will be doing a lot of cleaning this weekend and gathering some more items for our son on the way as well.  We bought a bassinet and I promise to add pictures in a day or two.

I hope everyone's doing well! I can't wait to catch up on everyone's blogs.  Please check out the Foodie Friday Linky Party and vote for your favorite recipes on Sunday!


Foodie Friends Friday Linky Party!!

I have submitted 3 of my recipes.  Banana bread, taco pasta, and Chicken, Tomato & Avocado Sandwiches :)  Check it out!! If you have any recipes, you can submit them too! It's a great way to find new recipes for yourself and meet new people :)

Here's the link with all of the information!  Don't forget to come back and vote on Sunday!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

A quick summer sandwich (chicken, tomato, avocado)

Rotisserie chickens are fantastic.  I don't have to worry about making chicken in the crock pot or baking it or anything.  We use them a lot in the summer time.  The bulk of the fat is in the skin so we just peel it right off and use the rest of the meat.  Sometimes stores near you may offer different flavors like honey BBQ, Jamaican Jerk, Herbs, etc.  We normally just get a plain one that hasn't been seasoned with anything special.

My pregnancy taste buds have been begging for meat this entire time.  Chicken is my go-to protein.  I can't tell you how much chicken I've already eaten and I'm only in my 18th week ;)  Did I mention we're eating this for dinner tonight? CAN'T WAIT!

-your choice of bread (we use fresh kaiser rolls made at our store's bakery)
-1 large haas avocado
-1 large beefsteak tomato
-salt and pepper to taste

Shred your chicken or chunk it up into bite size pieces.  Slice the tomato into 1/4" slices or to your preference.  Scoop out the avocado and cut it into chunks.  TIP: create a grid in the avocado with a knife, with as many vertical lines as you can about 1/8" thick, then follow up by creating as many horizontal lines about 1/8" thick so you end up with what look like several cubes inside the avocado.  It scoops out easily with a spoon as chunks!
Spread the avocado onto the bread and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Layer several pieces of chicken on top, then place the tomato slice on top.  Enjoy!

We usually have a side of flavored rice, pasta salad with fresh mozzarella and tomatoes, chips and salsa, or corn on the cob with these sandwiches.  They go with anything!

TIP: If you are going low carb, don't use a bun! It's just as delicious :)


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Applesauce Brownies? These sound amazing

I just stumbled across this recipe.  I totally want to try it but I don't have any applesauce in the house!! I plan on making these sometime this week.  I can't wait to try them!