Monday, September 29, 2014

Citrus Chicken with Garlic Wild Rice

Looking for a new way to cook chicken? Then you have to try this. This chicken is SO flavorful. It's a fun and healthy way to spice up your menu planning. 

Citrus Chicken with Garlic Wild Rice
Source: adapted from Rachael Ray
Serves: 2

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 packet of dry Italian dressing mix or Italian seasoning
1 orange
1 lemon
1 full head of garlic
1 cup wild rice blend (mine also had brown and white rice)
2 1/4 cups chicken stock
1 red onion

Heat oven to 425. Slice the very top "handle" end of the garlic bulb off to barely expose the tops of the garlic cloves. Place on a pice of aluminum foil, drizzle with olive oil and wrap. Place wrapped bulb in the oven. Cook for about an hour (you may need additional time) until the cloves are browned and squishy.

Slice chicken breasts horizontally in half to make 4 thinner pieces of chicken breast. Pound with a meat mallet until flat. Season with packet of Italian dressing mix on both sides. Grill chicken until cooked through. Remove to a plate. Grill citrus fruit. Squeeze citrus juice over cooked chicken and set aside. Let sit in juice for up to an hour before serving.

Next, place rice and stock in a pot. Squeeze cooked garlic paste into the pot and whisk to distribute. Season with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cover. Simmer for about 30 minutes then fluff with a fork.

When rice is almost finished cooking, slice onion into 1/2" rings and grill. Serve chicken over rice with onion on top.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Chewy Pecan and Chocolate Chip Cookies

Whenever we're in Dallas, I have to stop by the Grand Lux and get a box of their pecan chocolate chip cookies to go. They are so delicious! 

This recipe was a result of many attempts to replicate their cookies. It's pretty darn close. I hope you will love them as much as we do.

Chewy Pecan and Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yield: 30 Cookies

2 cups flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened
½ cup white sugar
1 ¼ cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 ½ cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecan pieces

Preheat oven to 350.

Whisk together flour, soda and salt in a bowl. Set aside.

In a mixer, combine butter and sugars. Add vanilla and eggs. Add flour mixture in two batches. Fold in nuts and chips.

Bake rounded teaspoonful’s on a baking sheet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray for about 10 minutes, or until just done.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A new Pinterest group board for food bloggers!

I've said it before and I'll say it again...I love Pinterest.

Over the last couple of years, I've been invited to several group boards and had a great time being a part of those groups. So great, in fact, that I decided to start my own group board for fellow food bloggers!

So, if you're a food blogger (at least 50% of the time) who wants to be a part of a group recipe board, visit this link and read the rules of the board. If you want to request an invite, you can follow the directions there!

Right now I'm looking for 15-20 bloggers who would like to join this new board. Once I see how it works, I might send more invites, so don't be bummed if you don't get an invite right away! I've never led a group board so bear with me while I figure out how it works!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate

I hate coffee.

There, I said it.

And you know what? I'm a little envious of all these people that get SO SUPER EXCITED about the pumpkin spice lattes. My husband is one of those people. When he orders one, the car smells heavenly.

I'm a little peeved that Starbucks hasn't thought to offer a pumpkin spice hot chocolate. So, I decided to make my own. It smells just as good as it's latte counterpart, but without the (ick) coffee.

Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate
Serves: 1

1/2 cup half and half
1.5 cups 2% milk
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/8 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice

In a double boiler, heat half and half and both kinds of chocolate chips. Once chips are dissolved into half and half, add milk and pumpkin pie spice (I use two good shakes which is about 1/8 of a teaspoon).

Serve hot. Makes one serving.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Pumpkin, Oatmeal & Chocolate Chip Cookies

I don't think I accurately express my love for pumpkin and all things chocolate. 

But I'll try.

With this recipe.

And these:

This cookie combines my favorites (pumpkin and chocolate) with Chris's favorite thing; oatmeal. It's a match made in cookie heaven. 

Pumpkin, Oatmeal & Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yield: About 22 cookies 

1/2 of a 15oz can of a pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling!)
2 sticks of softened, unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/2 Tablespoon vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour
1 heaping cup quick cooking oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine flour, oats, soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice in a bowl. Set aside.

In a mixer, combine butter and both sugars until fluffy. Add in egg, vanilla and pumpkin. Slowly add in dry ingredients. Fold in chocolate chips.

Bake on greased cookies sheets for about 14 minutes or until just done.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Considering Disney? Here's what you NEED to know.

It seems like everyone I know is going to Disney, thinking about going to Disney, planning a trip to Disney or trying to convince a spouse that they need to plan a trip. And because I LOVE Disney, I, along with two great friends, started We love helping people wade through the influx of Disney planning information and give you the best basics for planning an outstanding trip.

That said, here are five basic posts (some from us and some from other great sites) that will give you the information you need to get started planning your Disney trip. And if you still have questions, head over to and ask away!

First up is our newest post from Melissa. If you're confused about Disney Dining Credits and how to use them, then you have got to check this out. Melissa has made a free printable calendar with free printable tokens to help you visually plan out your credits. It is such a GREAT tool!

Click here for those printables and instructions!

Dining seems to be one of the most confusing issues for anyone planning a Disney trip, so, in keeping with that theme, I wrote a post all about the ADR (Advanced Dining Reservation). It includes everything you need to know about booking ADR's including when you can begin and how to get those difficult ones (Hello? Be Our Guest, anyone?!).

For that post, just click here.

Next up is the age old question, WHEN should you go to Disney? Lindsey wrote a great post full of information that will help you make that choice. And once you review that, check out this post on how to read Disney Crowd Calendars. They have been instrumental in helping me plan our family trips. Even if you have your dates already picked, still take a glance at it - they will help you figure out which park to visit on each day.

Confused about the new Fast Pass + system? Now that I've used it, I can safely say that it was really easy to navigate. That said, I LOVE Shannon's (from WDWPrep) video on how to navigate the new system. You can check that out here.

Lastly, if you are headed to Disney World between now and February, check out this feature on They've got a great list of all the times for every parade and fireworks display as well as extra magic hours!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Jalapeno Popper Dip

I don't know about you, but I'm always on the hunt for a new and exciting dip recipe. I love dips. If I could survive on dips and chocolate I probably would. 

I can't, so I content myself with working up new dip recipes for football season and using our friends and family as guinea pigs. (PS - Thanks mom for being my hand model in the second photo!)

This one was a resounding "WE LOVE IT!" 

I used two pretty large jalapeños and everyone loved it. It was pleasing to both the spice wimps (ME!) and those who like it hot. If you're feeding a crowd, I would leave this recipe as is. If you're feeding people who love to burn their tongues, go ahead and add another pepper.  

Jalapeño Popper Dip

2 jalapeños, seeded, de-ribbed and minced
1 block reduced fat cream cheese, softened to room temp
3/4 cup mayo
1 1/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
3/4 cup grated monterey jack cheese

20 crackers, crushed (I used Ritz whole wheat, Club crackers would also be great)
2 Tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine cream cheese, mayo and jalapeños. Fold in cheeses and place in a baking dish (I used my 1.25 quart Rachael Ray bubble and brown, or you could use a 8*8 or pie pan). Melt butter and combine with crushed crackers.

Store, covered in your fridge until ready to heat and serve. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until heated through and bubbly. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Apple Streusel Muffins with a Cinnamon Glaze

Brayden has been requesting "apple muffins" lately, hence this recipe. I know, I know...can you believe there's no chocolate in this one?!

So, while I thought about calling this "To Brayden, Love Mom" I ended up going with Apple Streusel Muffins with a Cinnamon Glaze instead.

Apple Streusel Muffins with a Cinnamon Glaze
Adapted from Taste of Home
Yield: 12 muffins

1 large or 2 medium Red Delicious apples, peel, cored and chopped into 1/2" pieces
2 cups of all purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 stick of butter, melted
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 Tablespoon flour
2 Tablespoons COLD butter, cubed

2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2-3 Tablespoons milk (start with 2)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla


Preheat oven to 375.

In a large bowl, combine dry muffin ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, soda and powder). Melt butter in a microwave proof dish. Add butter, eggs and vanilla to dry ingredients, combine well. Mixture will be very thick/stiff. Fold in apples.

Spray muffin tin with nonstick spray. Fill 3/4 of the way full. Combine streusel topping ingredients in a separate bowl using a fork to cut butter into the mixture. Sprinkle 1 heaping tablespoon onto each muffin.

Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes or until just done. Do not over bake. Remove from oven to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Once cooled, whisk together glaze ingredients. Using a spoon, drizzle glaze onto muffins. Store in an airtight container.

Monday, September 8, 2014

$100 TARGET GiftCard® Giveaway!

If you follow me on Twitter, you probably already know that I have a love-love relationship with Target. You might also know that I tend to be a teensy bit of a clean freak. Now, that's not to say I'm the neatest person on the planet (I'm totally not, just ask my mom) but I am dedicated to having a clean house with clean surfaces.

My obsession with cleanliness started when we brought Brayden home from Arkansas Children's Hospital. He had a compromised immune system and I had to keep things super clean. That habit has stuck with me and I'm always looking for tips, tricks and products to make keeping things clean and sanitary even easier.

My love of both things, Target and cleanliness, has merged. For years I've been buying products from their in-house brand, Up & Up. Everything I've purchased from Up & Up has always been great. In fact, I've stopped buying several name brand products because I've found that Up & Up products are just as good and sometimes even better than the name brand. Bonus? They're cheaper, and I don't know anyone who wouldn't benefit from saving a little money!

I want to tell you about two of my very favorite cleaning products and how I use them every day. First, is the all important Disinfectant Spray.

As you can tell from the picture, I put ours to good use in the playroom. It is the easiest way I've found to clean toys. It not only eliminates odors, but it kills 99.99% of fungi, viruses and bacteria, and with cold and flu season fast approaching, this is a great way to keep my kids from getting sick.

Not only do I use the Up & Up Disinfectant Spray in the playroom, but I use it on lunch pails, backpacks, car seats and almost every surface in our house!

Speaking of surfaces, some of them need a little elbow grease. I love spraying things with the disinfectant because it's so easy - it literally only takes seconds. It's always good to give surfaces a wipe down and my favorite way to do that is with Up & Up Disinfecting Wipes.

These are great to use in the bathroom, on countertops in the kitchen and for the playroom table. I also love using them to clean my computer keyboards, door knobs, our phones, iPads and other devices, and even my car steering wheel!

Like the Disinfectant Spray, Up & Up's Disinfecting Wipes kill 99.99% of common household bacteria in just seconds. It's also bleach free and safe to use on hard, non-porous surfaces.

Both of these cleaning products save me time, keep my house clean and fresh and even save me money compared to the products that I used to buy. I hope you'll check them out the next time you're at Target!

One of you can try them out for free by entering for a chance to win a $100 Target GiftCard®! Just leave me a comment telling me what product you'd like to try! Be sure to leave your email address so that I have a way to contact you if you win!

Sweepstakes Rules:
No duplicate comments.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
  1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#OnlyAtTarget” and “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
  4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the email address. You will have 72 hours to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 9/8-10/22.
Be sure to visit the Target up & up brand page on where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Packing the Perfect Back to School Lunch

It's that time of the year... the stores are packed with back to school shoppers loading up on pencils and paper, calculators and backpacks. If you're like me, you're already thinking about lunches. Some of you probably get up early in the morning to pack your kids lunch, but I'm a night time packer. After we put the kids to bed, Chris and I head to the kitchen and get their lunches (and everything else!) organized for the next day.

If you're anything like us, getting your kids to eat enough fruits and vegetables can be tough. I love feeding them wholesome food, preferably without artificial colors or flavors. You know what I find to be the hardest thing to buy for their lunches? The drinks! I send them to school with a water bottle but they like to have something different than water with their meals. That's why I was thrilled to see that Capri Sun has a line of juice drinks without any artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. 

The Super V Fruit and Vegetable Juice Drink is our favorite:
In addition to that one, Capri Sun also has the following varieties available:
  • Capri Sun Juice Drink
  • Capri Sun Roarin' Waters Flavored Water Beverage
  • Capri Sun 100% Juice (we love this one too!)
My kids have always loved Capri Sun products - in fact, I take them with us to playgroups and Brayden's sports practices as a snack for all of the kids there. I love them because there is a flavor to please every palate and they are so easy to store and take with us. There's something fun about the pouch, and now it's even cooler in my boys eyes because the bottoms are see-through! You can learn more about the new see-through design and Capri Sun's line of 100% Juice Drinks by clicking here

My Recipe for a Perfect Lunch:

1 Capri Sun Juice Drink
1 ham, turkey and cheese sandwich on wheat bread with mustard
Veggie chips (all natural, dried veggies)
A fresh fruit or vegetable (Brody prefers grapes while Brayden likes carrots)

Tell me, what Capri Sun Juice drink are you most excited to try?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Fall Favorites (TV Edition)

I LOVE the fall. It is my absolute favorite season, hands down. I can't think of a single thing about it that I dislike. I love the weather, the food, the atmosphere, the changes in the landscape, and of course, the TV shows that come back on!

There's a big movement of people who are getting away from cable television and sticking to watching shows online or via Apple TV, Netflix or Hulu. I'm going to tell you all about my favorite shows, and I would love it if you'd leave me a comment with your favorite shows. I have Netflix and Apple TV as well as cable, so if you only watch via one of those, let me know what you're viewing!

Let's start with the show that I am most excited about...Once Upon A Time. I love this show! The cast is so great! And if you have Netflix, there are several seasons there for you to catch up on!

This season the new characters will include Anna, Elsa and Kristoff. I've always been a fan of Ginnifer Goodwin (who plays Snow), and she is actually why I started watching the show. It's so neat that she actually married Prince Charming and they now have a baby!

OUAT comes back on September 28!

Images courtesy of OUAT Facebook page

Next up is 19 Kids and Counting! I love the Duggars. They actually live about 30 minutes from me and I've seen them out and about a few times. I've also heard Michelle speak several times at our MOPS group and even ran into them at ACH when we were taking Brayden back for a checkup. I know there are mixed opinions about them, but simply put, they love God and strive to serve Him in the best way they can and I love them for it.

Image Courtesy of TLC

19 Kids is also on Netflix and the new season starts tonight!

A new show that looks pretty interesting is Utopia. It starts September 7 on Fox, and it seems sort of like Big Brother. The cast is cut off from everything but themselves and they work to build a new world. I'll definitely give it a shot.

Image Courtesy of Fox

Last, but not least, is The Goldbergs. I LOVE this show. It's a hilarious 30 minute comedy about a family in the 80's.

If you need a good laugh, then you've got to check this one out. The story line is loosely based on Adam Goldbergs childhood. At the end of most episodes it shows a clip that he recorded with his huge videocamera as a kid. It's hysterical! The Goldbergs is back on September 24!

What are your favorite fall shows? I can't wait to hear what you're looking forward to watching! And if you have any Netflix recommendations, let me know!
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