Thursday, April 24, 2014

Creamy Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli


I'm a pasta girl. No matter how much I try to not be a pasta girl, you know heavy carbs and gluten and all that jazz, I can't help it. I'm a pasta girl. It's delicious. Versatile. Quick. Easily feeds a crowd. Cheap. Did I mention it was delicious?

However, when asked my favorite ethnic food I always answer Mexican. I guess I'm also a taco and nachos girl. Oh, and we love fajitas over here! I'd say we have Italian night just as often as Mexican night. But we're talking noodle, right now. And quick week-night dinners. And, my friends, this one is a no-brainer. It's simple. It's versatile. It's cheap. It can feed a crowd.

Folks, it's pasta.

Sprinkled with protein and greens.

Creamy Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli
Serves 6

3 c pasta (any type would work)
4 c broccoli, chopped
3 Tbsp Italian or vinaigrette dressing
3 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved
garlic, minced
2 c favorite marinara sauce
2-3 Mini Babybel single cheese rounds, cubed
1/4 c Parmesan cheese, grated

Cook pasta according to package directions, adding broccoli to cooking water during the last 3 minutes. Meanwhile, heat dressing in large pan on med-high heat. Add chicken and garlic; cook 5 minutes. Turn chicken over; continue to cook for another 5 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Drain pasta mix; return to pan and set aside. Add marinara and cubed cheese to chicken skillet; cook on med-low 2-3 minutes or until cheese is completely melted, mixture is well blended and chicken is coated, stirring occasionally. Remove chicken from skillet and keep warm. Add pasta and broccoli to sauce mix; mix well. When ready to serve, plate pasta with sliced chicken on top, and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.

With Love and God Bless,

Monday, April 21, 2014

Photo an Hour

7 AM

8 AM

9 AM

10 AM

11 AM

12 PM

1 PM

2 PM

3 PM

4 PM

5 PM

6 PM

7 PM

8 PM

9 PM

10 PM

Just to clear up 8 o'clock. We did not get a new Camaro. Some family friends stopped by to show us their new gorgeous car. Although, I'm a Corvette gal myself ;)

And here's the recipe link to the Lemon Berry Angel Food Cake Trifle I made. My mother-in-law absolutely loved it. (Psst...I plan to devote a whole post to my experience with oil pulling, so stay tuned!)

I hope everyone had a very happy and blessed Easter!

With Love and God Bless,

Thursday, April 17, 2014

20 Things {Blog Series}

I found myself with a little extra free time today, and I came across this neat little list about blog topics, conversation starters, ice-breaker questions, etc. I thought, how fun! More random stuff to entertain my readers. Sweet. I'll try to fit in these short, informational posts once a month or so. You're welcome ;)

So kicking off this new "Blog Series" are my 20 random facts. For more randomness, check out this post.

  1. I'm an Irish twin. My younger brother and I are the same age for one day.
  2. Gardenias and calla lilies are my favorites.
  3. I never had a manicure or color on my hair. All natural over here. However, I think I would thoroughly enjoy a pedicure.
  4. I can spend hours in Target, literally. I just need a warm Starbucks beverage in hand, a buddy, and a reason, and before you know it, hours have passed and I have a full basket of items I didn't know I needed. It's my favorite store. (Actually, my absolute favorite is Banana Republic, but I can't really afford to shop there as often. My bank account and Mr. B are my constant reminders.)
  5. I am in full belief a bucket of fair fries with vinegar is a perfectly healthy dinner during fair season.
  6. I eat a Granny Smith apple with raw almond butter
  7. I collect coffee mugs, Vera Bradley, and cookbooks. (And magnets from vacation trips.) Oh, and family Christmas ornaments!
  8. My favorite number is 8. I learned recently it's considered a power number. If I can't have 8, then I'll select something with an 8 in it or a dividend of 8. I am all about an even 8.
  9. I have a tattoo on my hip of a pink and blue butterfly. I have it for two reasons, 1) a butterfly is a symbol of rebirth. A re-dedication of my life. Christ is often compared to a butterfly. 2) it's in remembrance of my paternal grandparents. I lost both of them to cancer.
  10. I drink my coffee black, mostly it's straight espresso. Unless I'm treating myself, then it's a Caramel Macchiato. Extra espresso. Multiple shots, please.
  11. Besides dogs, my favorite animals are penguins, squirrels (black!), and tigers. Those tigers are absolutely beautiful.
  12. Never do I go anywhere without a book.
  13. Or slippers. I always have slippers with me. Because, you know, it's cold sometimes.
  14. I prefer, actually, to do the dishes by hand myself. I've been doing dishes since I could stand on a chair and help, so I can get those suckers done faster than Mr. B can clear the table. But I LOATHE drying.
  15. I'm terrified of scary movies! In my tween years I quite enjoyed scary movies. As I grew up, I'd watch them every once in a while. I was home from college one summer and had my eyes "covered" as I watched a few parts of The Grudge. I remember Daddy telling me to just turn it off if I was scared. I didn't. I was determined to see it through. BUT, a year or so later I decided to watch The Strangers on Halloween night, alone in our apartment (Mr. B was working midnights at the time), with all of the lights on. I have never been more petrified in my entire life. I had to fast forward through parts so I'd know what was coming. I remember watching it through tears and fingers. Afterwards, I declared "never again!" and stayed up until Mr. B came home around 6 a.m. I haven't watched a scary movie since.
  16. I think fennel is the devil. It's probably worse than my dislike for pineapple. However, I will probably never eat pineapple again so I can't give you an adequate answer.
  17. I dream very vividly multiple times a night, and usually remember them. Mr. B however never does. It's a very rare occasion when he has a dream to tell me about. I, on the other hand, have about five to recall to him upon waking.
  18. I have troubles spelling weird. I can never remember if it's ei or ie. Instead I'm always finding a way to say that's odd....ha! Also, in 4th grade I came in third place in my school's spelling bee because of that forgotten "c" in AntarCtica. Never again! <--- she says with a shaking fist.
  19. I listen to Christmas music all year round. Love my Pandora stations shuffle option.
  20. I jump at every chance to make a list :)
With Love and God Bless,

Monday, April 14, 2014

Week-Night Turkey Skillet

Let's be honest. I love food and I love cooking. I love cooking and baking for others to enjoy. However, by the time Wednesday rolls around and I come home from working all day, the last thing I want to do is cook. And eating out is not an option. Mr. B and I hardly ever eat out, and when we do it's usually planned, when we're off, and certainly not fast food. So mid-week dinners out are not for us, which means I'm digging through my brain during my drive home trying to think up something quick for dinner. I have a few trusty favorites, like breakfast, tacos/nachos, sandwiches (BLTs and grilled cheeses), snack plate and salads, or leftovers.

But lately, we've been enjoying my throw-whatever-I-can-find-or-needs-to-be-used-because-it's-dying-in-the-fridge turkey skillet. Y'all these one skillet dinners were a staple in my house growing up. Grandma Barb loves throwing everything in one pan to quickly feed a bunch of hangry people. Which is who I'm sure Mama got it from. And now I'm throwing everything in one pan to quickly feed my hangry husband. This turkey skillet is perfect because I toss in whatever vegetables I have on hand, which usually consists of a plethora of bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms. Also, it helps me to rid my pantry of the few bags of pasta that have barely enough pasta to make anything. And who doesn't have canned diced tomatoes on hand? (Aunt Joann, don't answer that!) Okay, most of us have canned diced tomatoes on hand. Most of us like tomatoes.

Mmmm....toss it all in a pan (and, if you're feeling up to more chopping, along with a salad) and very soon you'll have a very satisfied belly and husband.

Turkey Skillet
Serves 4-6

1 lb ground turkey
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1 c chopped mushrooms
1 c small pasta
1.5 cans diced tomatoes, slightly drained
1/2 T garlic powder

In large skillet, brown turkey along with chopped veggies. Stir in garlic powder. (Feel free to throw in whatever veggies you have on hand that need used.*) Meanwhile, cook pasta in boiling water. Add diced tomatoes to meat mixture. Stir, and once simmering slightly, add cooked pasta. Simmer another few minutes until liquid is absorbed. Serve immediately. Sprinkling with cheese is optional...although it doesn't need it really. This quick week-night dinner is quite tasty.

*If adding more veggies then called for, add more diced tomatoes.

Nutritional Information
Per serving for 6: 223 calories, 7 fat, 22 protein, 2 fiber, 5 sugar

This meal is even faster if you have any leftover plain cooked pasta stowed away in the fridge from earlier in the week. Or if you have a container of veggies already chopped hiding somewhere in your fridge. Enjoy!

With Love and God Bless,

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Eight Things I'm Loving Right Now

1. Dark Chocolate Almond Milk

During my whole can I have dairy, can I not have dairy, should I just forget it and eat dairy anyway because I want to, by golly(!) fiasco, I discovered one small glass of this satisfied my ice cream craving perfectly. And that's all I want. One glass. Every night. This, too, could turn into an issue....

2. My new Lipstick necklace.

From Premiere Jewelry. I am completely giddy about this chunky, very pink necklace. I have so many summer dresses I see matching perfectly with this piece, I can't wait for the sunshine! A beautiful pop of color.


Thanks to Jen over at Peanut Butter Runner, I have found my latest web site addiction. And I am addicted. Above is a screen shot of my home page, which---once you answer a few questions---caters to your personal interests. It provides healthy challenges of all sorts. "A daily opportunity to kick butt." You know I love mini challenges. The challenges I have going right now include Stop Skipping Breakfast, A**hole-Proof Your Week, Eat One Vegan Meal Every Day, and Declutter Your Workspace. Plus, the short articles, quick tips, and healthy living facts feed my addiction.  Also, it can sync to your other accounts (like My Fitness Pal or a Fit Bit) which is excellent for keeping track of all your different entries in one place. I am telling y'all, check this out. (Yes, it's FREE.)

4. Grilled Cheeses!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I haven't had a grilled cheese since November. Honestly. Don't worry I have rescued myself from this no dairy devastation. But I must keep my dairy intake in moderation. So, grilled cheeses every day for a week! I must make up for these past months of deprivation.

5. Unglued Bible Study.

My particular Good Morning Girls' group leader of our Facebook chapter, suggested a book study to the members, and asked if anyone was interested. Am I interested?! Let me tell you what I do for a living. Let me tell you about my other book group. Let me tell you all about the books on my mile-long to-read list. Yes, please, sign me up. (Let me not tell you I was the first person to scream, Interested!) We're half way through the book and I'm finding it very encouraging, inspiring, and most importantly, relatable. Lysa TerKeurst has a humorous and effective way of getting her point across while illustrating very familiar unglued situations. Yes, like the nerd I am, I went out and picked up the book's devotional as well. I highly recommend picking up both books. What an important and encouraging study.

6. Dishing out my own fresh nut butter at the new Market District.

I make it right there. It's still so, so warm. And then I get a free sample to enjoy as I walk around the store purely astonished at the price of healthy, "good for you" food. If this food was much cheaper, I'm sure the obesity epidemic would plummet. I'd love to buy these organic apples, but when three of them cost as much as a whole bushel of the non-organic ones...I'm just saying. Thank goodness my almond nut butter is reasonably priced. And thank goodness for local produce which keeps my grocery budget on the cheap[er] side.

Oh, and I enjoy their Oil and Vinegar Bar, too!

7. My new Vera Bradley haul. Patterns galore.

This year's trip was fan-freaking-tastic. I wish I grabbed more headbands, flip-flops, and slippers. Love these items...soooo comfy!

8. Warmer weather.

Hello, Spring! And by that I mean spring cleaning. Mr. B wiped down all the windows, while I tackled the closets, switched out the clothes, and cleaned off the outside furniture.

We are grilling out tonight, yes sir!

With Love and God Bless,