Healthy Morning Protein Shake

Hello!!

It’s been a while since we’ve talked! The last two weeks flew by. I’ve been trying to make it up skiing a bunch and have had some fun random events to go to. One of them was the Denver Street School Evening of Stars gala that I went to with K-Love at Mile High Stadium (yes, I am going to call it by it’s REAL NAME).

Anyway, it was so fantastic because it is such a neat cause! If you are looking for an organization to get involved with by volunteering or donating to, I encourage you to look into this school. Essentially what they do is they give at-risk kids a second chance. It is a privately funded school that meets the specific needs of these kids and creates a unique environment to help them succeed. It was amazing to hear some of the stories the kids shared, from where they came from, to where they are now! Definitely takes the blinders off your eyes to hear what they went through. One boy talked about how he got his first tattoo at age 10 and joined a gang around that time too, stuff we never think happens “where I live.”

While we were there we also got shown a tour of the place. My favorite part was the frequent reminders around the visiting team locker room and entrance to the field, to all the visiting teams that they can’t breathe. haha

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It was so cold that day, that I more or less was happy with spending under 120 seconds on the field. They were reseeding the field anyway, so there was no need to be running around outside for hours (slight exaggeration!).

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And last but not least, how much do you want this fireplace in your house?!?! I was tempted to spend the whole evening by this thing. However, there was a silent auction going on so I had to continually check to see if I had been outbid. Unfortunately, I was outbid on everything. Everytime. I went home with nothing. Except the piece of mind that all the money went to supporting Denver Street School. Other people’s money. Because did I mention I didn’t win anything?

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Healthy Morning Protein Shake

I woke up this morning craving this and thought it was the perfect time to share it with you. It’s so easy to make. Excuse me a minute while I go see what my dogs are getting in to..

No need to worry, Aspen was just eating the other dogs food. She has a steady 100+ pounds of weight to maintain……….!

Anyway, I have to give credit where credit is due, and this was Tom’s idea. It is delicious, easy, healthy, and only requires 3 actual ingredients!!

What You Need:

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  • 1 tbsp of natural peanut butter (if you have never used this before, don’t be alarmed at all the oil on top when you first get it. Stir it up, then refrigerate it)
  • 1 banana
  • 2 scoops of chocolate whey protein (the brand in the picture is my favorite)
  • 1 cup of ice
  • 1 cup of water

Instructables:

Step 1: Combine in blender. If your blender is as old as ours is, you might want to insert a step to “plug ears.”

Step 2: Blend! omg who would have thought that was the next step??!

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Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Hello lovelies!

I am so excited for today’s post for a few reasons! The first is that I get to show you this wonderful shop that one of my closest friends just opened on Etsy! It can best be described in one word: supercalifragilisticexpialidoscious (in case you were wondering, Spell Check does not recognize that as a word- I feel like it’s commonly accepted as a word nowadays- maybe I spelled it wrong..) The second is this delicious Roasted Butternut Squash Soup that is PERFECT for winter!

SO. The name of the shop is BEpaperie and she specializes in paper flowers and greeting cards. She has cards for all occasions and they are absolutely worth your time to check out! Who wouldn’t laugh if they got this card:

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The paper flowers she makes are perfect for any occasions, especially weddings! She made all her own flowers for her wedding, including the bouquets. I showed you guys a picture around the time of the wedding, but here is another look of her and I with our handmade bouquets. I loved having a keepsake from her special day!

1470199_847773778121_446220917_n(photo credit: Vert Photography)

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Visit BEpaperie if you like making good choices!

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

This is the perfect winter soup! It comes from CHOW, and it only requires a minimal amount of ingredients and attention. I broke it into a lot of steps, but it’s really not much in each step, just easier to follow in my mind. I have listed the full recipe below, but I cut it in half when I made it, which made about 4 servings.

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Ingredients:

  • 4 pounds whole butternut squash (about 2 medium), halved lengthwise and seeds removed
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/4 stick)
  • 1 medium Granny Smith apple (about 8 ounces)
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion
  • 8 fresh sage leaves
  • 2 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • Salt, plus more as needed
  • Ground black pepper, plus more as needed
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds, for garnish (optional)

Instructions:

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cut the butternut squash in half, long ways, and scrape out the seeds. Place the halves cut-side up on tin foil on a baking sheet.

Step 2: Melt 1 tbsp of butter and brush over the butternut squash. By the way, everytime I use butter I turn into an entrepreneur and think of a better way to wrap and unwrap butter so it doesn’t get all over your hands. Still working on it.

Step 3: Season the halves with salt and pepper. Place in the oven til the centers are soft, about 50 minutes. To test, gently push on the squash with a knife

Step 4: Place a medium sized pot on medium heat and add 1 tbsp of butter.

Step 5: Peel the apple, remove the core, and cut up the apple into about 1″ sections (approx). Cut the onion in 1″ sections (approx) as well.

Step 6: Add the apple and onion slices, along with the sage (I used about 1/2 – 1 tbsp of sage powder since they were out of fresh sage at the store), to the pot and season with salt and pepper. Leave for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once it’s done, remove from heat and set aside.

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Step 7: When the squash is done, wait for it to cool, and then scrape out the insides and add them to the pot with the apples and onions. Throw away the skins.

Step 8: Turn the burner to medium high heat and add the water, broth, salt and pepper to the pot. Bring it to a boil, and then turn heat to medium. Let simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Try and break up any big pieces of squash as you stir.

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Step 9: After 15 minutes, remove the pot from the heat and stir in the heavy cream. Do you ever drink those little heavy cream cups at restaurants? They’re so good! I couldn’t resist but to have a sip from the carton. shhh.

Step 10: Get out the blender! Puree the mixture in batches, about 2 cups at a time. You WILL be tempted to skip the “batches” part and pour it all in. But don’t do it. I’ve done it before and I always want to punch myself in the face for jumping the gun. So don’t do it. Take out the middle cap on the top of the lid and place a towel there. That allows the steam to get out.

Pour and enjoy!

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Spinach Artichoke Turkey Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Morning!

How’s everyone?? I could hardly wait to show you a couple photos from one of the best parts of our trip to Chicago (especially since wedding photos of our dear friends aren’t up yet)! On our last night out there we went to dinner at the most amazing restaurant: The Signature Room at the John Hancock Observatory….on the 95th floor!! It was so spectacular I never wanted to leave! We sat right by the window and just stared outside all  dinner long…long enough that I started to think I was accidentally going to fall out somehow. As you might’ve guessed, I didn’t. I imagine customers falling out the windows would be bad for business.

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On a side note, we had a third Thanksgiving dinner last night. I don’t know why, but I’m definitely not complaining 😀

Spinach Artichoke Turkey Grilled Cheese Sandwich

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Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup of Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1/2 cup Spinach
  • 2 slices of bread
  • Turkey slices
  • 4 artichoke hearts (I bought the jar with olive oil and seasonings in it)
  • 1 tablespoon of cream cheese
  • Salt and pepper

Instructables:

Step 1: On medium, add the artichoke hearts to a small pot/pan, with some of the juice to cover the bottom. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and stir. Once they start to get browned, add the spinach to the pot/pan, cover for 1-2 min and remove from heat. Set pan aside.

Step 2: Add the spinach and artichoke hearts (scoop out the hearts, don’t add juice) to a bowl, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and add the cream cheese and mozzarella cheese to the bowl. Use two knives to cut ingredients into small remnants.

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Step 3: Add turkey slices to one slice of the bread and spread the mixture over the turkey. Add the top piece of bread. Get the pan you just used for the artichokes and spinach, and make sure you pour out any remaining liquid. Add a little non-stick spray, or butter, and on medium-medium low heat, place your sandwich in the pan.

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Step 4: Leave for a few minutes on each side. Use a spatula to check underneath, you want it to be a golden brown.

Step 4: Plate sandwich and consume.

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Hot White Chocolate with Caramel

Well, winter has finally arrived. Despite taking it’s time, I’m glad to finally have some snow in this beautiful state!! Now that it’s not t-shirt weather, I can start thinking a little more about skiing! I have to admit, I hate the part that comes next…going to the attic to get my ski boots and skis. Now the problem is not going to the attic. The problem is what might have taken up residence in my ski boots over the spring and summer. I didn’t used to be this paranoid. Until..

A few years ago I went up to the mountains with a friend and it was the first ski day of the season! Got up to Mary Jane, got all our gear out of the car and started getting ready. Which is normally not the best time anyway, but then it came to putting on my boots. Got one on, no problems. But what do I see on my second boot right before I slide my foot in???

A SPIDER!!!!!!!!!

So I throw my boot and run to the other side of the car! “Oh my gosh kill it!” I reasonably commanded my friend to do. And I’m sure he would have, if in throwing my boot I didn’t lose the spider. So now we have one boot on, one boot in quarantine, and a lost spider. “That’s it, I’m not skiing today.”

“It’s just a spider,” he says. Yeah. Just. A. Spider. Not sure why he isn’t seeing the problem. “I’m not putting my foot in the spider boot. I choose death instead.”

After much persuading and an incredible lack of options, I put on my boot. Although I thought about it on every chair lift, and every second of down time, to my unlikely and incredible surprise, I did not get bit and die.

Hot White Chocolate With Caramel

Perfect day for some hot chocolate! Ever tried it with white chocolate and caramel?? I promise, you’ll want to! This recipe has been adapted from Passion For Savings.

What You Need:

  • 3 oz. of premium baking white chocolate (you can use more if you want yours extra rich and sweet)
  • 2 cups of non-fat milk (if you use 2% you will need to scoop off the thin layer of yellow at the end from the fat)
  • 1/2 tbsp of vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp of caramel
  • marshmallows on top (optional)

Instructables:

Step 1: Combine milk and chocolate in a sauce pan on medium low heat. Stirring frequently. This will take about 20-25 minutes.

Step 2: Once warm, pour it into a glass and add caramel to each serving. Stir.

Step 3: Top with marshmallows if desired. Sit by fire and sip! Yummmm!! This makes enough for two people, but as you can tell by my 1 tall glass, I didn’t share 🙂

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Honey Fried Bananas

Good Morning!

Did you guys carve pumpkins this month? This year I did Voldemort. And when my mom asked what I was carving, and I answered “Voldemort,” she goes, “Oh Baltimore!” Now there are lots of things I wanted to say in response to that, but the only thing that came out of my mouth is “why on earth would I carve Baltimore into a pumpkin?” So I went on to say “Voldemort!” to which she responded, “ohhhh, Voldemore.” I give up.

Step 1: Draw on design (yes, I was watching Coraline in the background)

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Step 2: Carve and light!

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Fried Honey Bananas

This is a quick and sweet dessert or snack! Admittedly, it’s not the most visually stimulating meal, but it tastes delicious! I also wanted to note that the next time around I would definitely leave them in the pan for longer.

What You Need:

  • 1 banana
  • 1 tbsp of honey
  • 1/2 – 1 tbsp of water
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • A few dashes of cinnamon

Instructables:

Step 1: Heat the pan to medium heat and pour in the olive oil. Depending on the size pan you use, you may need more or less. You only want a light layer.

Step 2: Once the pan is hot, lay the slices in the pan. Cook each side for a few minutes. Check them every minute after 3 minutes. You want them to be a little more toasted and brown then mine are.

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Step 3: While those are cooking, mix the honey and water in a small bowl.

Step 4: Once the bananas are done, remove from heat and pour the honey and water mixture over it. Plate and sprinkle with cinnamon.

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Engagement & Pumpkin Spice Dip

Well! This is my first post since I’ve been ENGAGED! Woo! I have just wanted to relax the last few days and soak everything in, but I finally was able to go through the pictures so i can show you!

The Proposal- October 6, 2013:

So Tom recently got into school at CU’s medical campus, and we were all so excited for him! His sister, Michelle, called me one day and suggested we throw a surprise party for Tom. Great idea, I should have thought of that! So she asks if I can contact a bunch of our friends and have them show up at his house at 6:20pm, and then I would bring him to the house at 6:30pm. We were telling him that at 6:30pm we were going to a nice dinner for Michelle getting a new job. That way he could be all dressed up, and I could convince to just come get ready at my house.

So I spend the next week coordinating everybody, and letting them know we changed the date of the party to Sunday from Friday and emailing them all the deets. I also spent the next week having fun making comments casually to Tom about how I would be so hard to fool for when he proposed and he would be easy to fool “if I ever wanted to do something like that.” So back to the plan. Michelle tells me that they want to jump out in the backyard. Well in their house, once you walk through the garage, you’re pretty much in the kitchen, facing the backyard. I definitely panicked about this because I couldn’t figure out how I was going to get him in the backyard. After talking to a friend, we finally concluded that even if it seems suspicious I would just say something as soon as we walk in to the house to go to the backyard to wait for his family to be ready.

It’s Sunday around 6:20pm and it’s getting close. I’m starting to get nervous. What if I can’t get him in the backyard? He can be stubborn sometimes 😛 Or what if he sees them or figured it out because I take too long trying to get him into the yard? I can’t be responsible for ruining the whole party!! This is too much pressure. I’m nervous. My heart is racing. Relax Chase. I get a text from Michelle that everyone is at the house and they’re ready. Here we go.

We’re getting so close to the house. We finally pull up. Walk inside and I blurt out, “Let’s go in the backyard!!” Subtle, I know. “Okay,” Tom says as he heads for the back door. Omg that was amazing, so much easier than I thought it was going to be. He opens the back door and….nothing. No shouts, no people, nothing. I follow him outside and am looking left, right, left, right. Maybe we have to walk out further? Did they change the plan? Did I somehow ruin it? What are we going to do now? In such a shocked daze I mutter “where is everyone?” Tom responds, “are you looking for everyone for my surprise party?” “What!?!?”

It all clicks. The firepit with hay bails next to it, the s’mores and wine on a table next to it, a beautiful wooden arch with festive decorations, a giant vase of the most beautiful, unique combination of flowers, the outdoor fireplace with candles and lanterns, the carved pumpkins from one of “our” movies, the music playing in the background from my favorite scene in Tangled with all the lanterns, and tons and tons of mason jars hanging from the trees with candles in them. I have never been so surprised and happy and in love than in that moment with my best friend! I felt like I was in a fairy tale, and it looked that way too, so romantic and magical!

I’m keeping the beautiful speech and moments of the proposal to myself (obviously), but a few minutes later, Michelle comes out of the bush where she was snapping pictures, and both his and my family come out of the house after taking pictures and videos, with arms open and tears flowing! 20 minutes later all our friends show up and we spent the whole rest of the night celebrating with them! I couldn’t believe how much time and energy went into this and how involved everyone was, they made me feel so loved and blessed. My heart was smiling.

This day was my favorite day of my whole life, it could not have been more perfect and I never could have imagined how blown away, loved and special I would feel. I couldn’t have been more surprised or happy than I was that night! There is no way to quite articulate it, but I will never forget how I felt and how breathtakingly beautiful everything was.

The next day we went to Snooze for our favorite breakfast, and came back and roasted s’mores and ate lunch and dinner by the fire- on Cloud 9 all day!

I’m one lucky girl! xoxo

I’ve posted photos from the proposal (and I honestly could not take enough of how lovely everything was), and below the photos is a delicious Pumpkin Spice Dip recipe, just in time for fall! Enjoy!

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Pumpkin Spice Dip

This recipe comes from Carolina Charm, and has been such a hit everytime I’ve served it! I recommend making half the recipe at a time because it makes a lot! Of course if people don’t eat it all, you would just get stuck eating all the rest and that’s not such a bad thing 🙂

What you need:

  • 16 oz container Cool Whip
  • 1/2 TBSP Cinnamon
  • 5 oz box Vanilla Instant Pudding Mix (only using the powder, not actually making the pudding)
  • 15 oz Pumpkin
  • 1/2 TBSP Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1 Small Pumpkin for serving dip in (optional)
  • Items for dipping (graham crackers, apple slices, wafers etc.)

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Instructions:

Step 1: Mix all the ingredients in a bowl with a large spoon. Then put the mix in the refrigerator to chill for a few hours.

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Step 2: Cut the lid off the top of the pumpkin and scoop out the guts. I lines my pumpkin with tin foil first so that I could serve it in that for a few days.

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Step 3: Fill pumpkin and serve!

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Artichoke Lemon Pesto Chicken Pasta

Hello!!

Can I tell you about my night the other night? Guess you don’t really have a choice because I’m going to. If you live in Colorado then you know that two nights ago it was a downpour. I’m not talking the usual raining for five minutes and that being enough to cause all the drivers to panic and drive like they just got their licenses. No, I’m talking buckets and buckets causing it to look a little white outside from all the water coming down.

So I’m in my room, crafting away (you may know that I have a tendency to do that), and I periodically would look out my window because I love the rain so much! I always want to really seize the moment when it rains that hard in Colorado because it rarely does, but I can never actually think of anything that would be so riveting and satisfying to go do by myself in the rain. So I settled with just looking out my window at it.

Well, hours go by and no one else was home so I kind of got in the zone. I reached a point where I needed some wire cutters, and I tried to post pone having to go “all the way downstairs,” but I could delay no longer. So I head for the downstairs. At about the 2nd step down I hear the worst noise ever. It’s not a bad noise on it’s own, but in the context of the situation I knew that I was about to want to start crying. It was the lovely sound of a fountain. Well we don’t have a fountain. From past experiences, I immediately knew that water was pouring down from a light in our kitchen. And it sure had been for the last few hours. Which was evident by the two inches of water all over the counters and the floors, and everything (including the tv in there) was completely soaked. So naturally, I stayed calm…………by sprinting to grab towels, no my phone, I have to call someone, no get a bowl on the counter, no call someone first, no get towels. So as I proceeded to run back in forth through my house, I grabbed a pasta bowl and called my neighbor to come help me! He’s Mr. Fix-It so it was either him or 911, and I had the sense to know that 911 would have said, “yeah, and what do you want us to do?” So he comes over and finds that our gutters are completely full. So there isn’t actually any water going out the spout…because it’s traveling upward through the shingles into our lovely kitchen. How wonderful. Well long story short, I spent the next hour cleaning everything up in the kitchen and a mini lake upstairs because someone left a window open. How convenient for everyone to be gone that day. This might be one of the days where my family got lemonade and I got lemons 🙂

Speaking of lemons, today’s recipe is one of Tom and I’s all time favorites! Its Artichoke Lemon Pesto Chicken Pasta, and it’s from PaleOMG. I featured another one of her recipes in the past on my Steak & Eggs post, and I know you will love this one too. It’s healthy and delicious! There aren’t even any processed carbs.

What You Need:

  • 1lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 large spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise
  • 12-15 artichoke hearts, cut in half (jarred)
  • ⅓ cup walnuts
  • 4-5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4-5 tablespoons vegetable broth
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup fresh parsley
  • ½ cup fresh basil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3-5 cups of spinach

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 405 degrees. Cut the spaghetti squash in half, and after scrapping out the seeds, bake on a cookie sheet for 35-40 min. You will know that it’s done if you push a fork in the skin and it goes through with ease.

2. On medium heat add a little olive oil (or butter) and add a minced garlic clove. After about a minute add the artichoke hearts and some salt and pepper. Leave these on burner til they are browned. Admittedly this wasn’t the most attractive meal to photograph, but it tastes amazing so give it a chance!

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3. Once the artichokes become browned, add them to a food processor (or blender if you don’t have a food processor) along with the walnuts, olive oil, vegetable broth, and second garlic clove. Puree til it has a smooth consistency. Let sit in food processor/blender til you start the chicken. I’m pretty sure our blender is on it’s last leg. It’s from decades ago. But it wasn’t quite the disaster that we faced making chocolate mousse at Tom’s house. That’s a story for another day.

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4. Cube the chicken, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook on medium high in the same pan you cooked the artichokes. Cook til chicken becomes browned on all sides.

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5. While chicken is browning, add parsley, basil, lemon juice, salt and pepper to food processor/blender. Puree til it has a smooth consistency. Parsley and basil are rough estimates but you don’t have to pack them down.

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It’s not as green as you’d think, it will look something like this:

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6. Once your chicken is done, add spinach and 1/4 a cup of pesto to chicken pan. Mix well, cover, and let cook til spinach is wilted. Then remove from heat. That red and black bowl is actually the bowl I grabbed to catch water when my kitchen was leaking. I washed it before I used it for food of course.

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7. Once spaghetti squash is done, scrape out the “strings/threads” of spaghetti with a fork and add to the chicken and spinach mix. Pour the rest of the pesto sauce from the food processor/blender into the bowl and mix well.

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8. Serve and fall in love!!

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Penne Rosa

Morning!

Tuesday mornings are up there on my favorite time of my week because I have Bible Study and I just love it so so much! We’re doing the Beth Moore Inheritance study, and if you haven’t done one of her studies, YOU SHOULD! She is an amazing author as well. I’m in the middle of reading one of her books right now too. She is so gifted with words and is able to paint pictures for you so you can look at a situation, and even if it’s only in a self preserving way, back off from making a bad decision in an already bad situation. I know each one of us has so many things we’re always going through, and misery sure does love company! BUT. Remembering we don’t have to fix everything or everybody, and quite honestly it’s not our job, might help you gain peace of mind. This is a quote from her book that I read this week, “To stir the pot we’re drowning in doesn’t do anything but intensify the undercurrent and draw us down further.” Um. Brilliant. Is there something you’re going through that has light at the end of the tunnel if you just let go of the reins?

Hungry now??

This recipe is from Back To The Roots, and is essentially replicating the Penne Rosa from Noodles & Company. SO GOOD! Hopefully you love pasta as much as I do, because as an Italian, there are probably going to be more pasta recipes to come! I’m not allowed to disclose any secret family recipes, but just know that we have pasta for every occasion. It’s supplemented with the traditionals, but there are always pasta dishes at all our family get togethers! For example, on Thanksgiving, we have the turkey, yes, and the sweet potatoes and smashed potatoes and gravy and cranberries…but don’t forget the 2-3 different types of pasta we serve accompanied by homemade sausage and meatballs. Forget the Freshman 15lbs, talk about the Holiday 100lbs!

I seem to have gotten off on a rabbit trail. All I was trying to say was that I love pasta and hope you do too!

What You Need:

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List:

  • 1 Chicken breast! Never feels like a good idea to put the raw chicken pieces in the picture of ingredients. The original author used Shrimp, but I thought Chicken was better in it.
  • Olive oil
  • 4 cups of spinach
  • 12 oz of penne
  • 1/2 of 0% Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 4 sliced mushrooms
  • Grated Parmesan cheese for topping
  • Red pepper
  • Tomatoes
  • 4 cloves of chopped garlic
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup of marinara sauce (normally don’t like store marinara, but the Safeway brand was actually pretty good)

Instructions:

1. Follow penne cooking instructions from box, minus suggestions of adding salt. Pasta will take about 10 minutes to be done, so get started on everything else so they finish at about the same time. After you drain the pasta, set it aside.

2. Turn stove to Medium-low heat, and generously coat a large skillet in olive oil. Once hot, add garlic, a pinch of red pepper and let simmer for a couple minutes.

3. Next, add diced tomatoes, mushrooms and some dashes of salt and pepper. Let sit for about 5 minutes.

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4. While that is cooking, dice chicken into chunks.

5. Turn stove to medium-high and add chicken.

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6. It will take a little while for the chicken to cook through. Chicken will look golden brown when it’s done. Slice a thick piece of chicken in half to check. Remove skillet from heat.

7. Add spinach to skillet and cover til spinach wilts. You may need to stir it periodically, but keep it covered as much as possible.

8. Add penne, yogurt, marinara sauce and stir well.

9. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top, and pretend you’re at Noodles & Company!
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Cake Pops

Hello!

So recently I have just loved the rain and clouds we’ve had. Admittedly, I love Colorado because of the 300+ days of sunshine, but on those other days, I always enjoy the weather so much too, probably because I feel a little deprived of it. BUT, when I was driving the other day there was the most beautiful rainbows! I honestly can’t believe how neat rainbows are when you stop to think about them! So cool!

Well while I was driving, I couldn’t resist the urge to take some pictures of them (totally not recommended)!! I made sure there weren’t any cars near me, and I’ve done it before and I’ll probably do it again! Colorado is too beautiful to pass up these opportunities. Unless of course an officer is reading this, in which case I safely came to a complete stop in a parking lot, turned my car off, removed my seat belt, checked for nearby pedestrians, opened my door slowly and took some pictures….!

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Double rainbow! What does this mean?! (if you don’t get the reference you obviously haven’t seen this silly video yet)

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So today I’m showing you cake pops! They are super easy, and make for a really cute gift. Wrap them in little baggies and tie a bow around!

What You Need:

  • Cake mix (of your choice- I used Funfetti because that’s the best in the whole world)
  • Cake pop pans (THIS is the one I have)
  • Sticks (you can get these in packs at Walmart, or any craft store)
  • A couple bags of chocolate melts (preferably in at least 2 colors)
  • Stryrofoam for a holder (be creative here if you have something else that would work- they also sell trays specifically for holding these)
  • Cooking spray
  • Sprinkles
  • Baggies and Ribbon (if giving them as a gift)

Instructions:

1. Spray your pans, both trays, with cooking spray. Cake pop pans each have little half circles for the cake pop, and they lay on top of each other. You fill one half with the cake mix, lay the other tray on top, and then as they bake they expand to fill the whole circle. Leave the tray with the holes in the top of the half circles, on top.

2. Follow cake mix instructions and baking instructions- I only made half the mix because I didn’t need too many- made approximately 30. If you made more mix than you need, just eat it. Cake mix is one of my favorite things in life. So is brownie mix. I used to wish when I was little (and still do) that all the big piles of dirt you would see would just turn to brownie mix.

3. After you take them out of the oven, there will be a little bit of cake that baked out of the holes on the top. Gently remove that excess.

4. Take the top pan off. Melt some of the chocolate in a bowl in the microwave.

5. Take a stick and dip one end in chocolate, and then into the cake pop. Let dry thoroughly.

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6. Melt all the rest of the chocolate in a bowl or cup. Dip the ball all the way in, and stick in a tray to dry. If you are adding sprinkles, do it now while it’s wet.

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7. If you want to drizzle chocolate on, wait for the dipped pop to dry. Then dip a spoon in the contrasting color of chocolate and swoosh back and forth, drizzling the chocolate on. Turn the cake pop in your other hand while you do this to evenly drizzle.

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8. Let dry, then package if you’re giving them as gifts!

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Lemon Dill Chicken

So far this week has been one of those weeks where everything that is normally not a big deal is always on the verge of setting you off! For example, three separate times this week I was parked in a spot, head first, and right before I turned on my car to pull straight through, because there weren’t cars parked in front of me, a car pulls in. That happened 3 separate times! I know what you’re thinking, how on Earth did I get through such hard and upsetting moments like those?  (sarcasm noted).

On a happier note, this week also contained lots of fun and laughable moments! I was invited over to dinner at someone’s house on Sunday, and it was such a great day the whole way through. Went to church, met with a mentor couple, watched some shows, ate a great dinner and played a fun game, and then an unfun game.

The fun game? Catchphrase! If you haven’t played this game you should, it’s so amazing! Hours of fun! (I sound like a commercial for it). Best part of this game was when someone started describing to us the categories, because they pressed the wrong button, haha. We actually all kept guessing too. We finally figured it out later.

The unfun game? This was more of a social experiment, but to keep the story short, you can’t win! No one wins. You all tie and you just talk about your feelings. Needless to say, if there could have been someone who lost, it would have been Tom. I think he had the most unfun.

Another great part of my week, cooking Lemon Dill Chicken! I saw this recipe on EatingWell and definitely recommend you giving it a try! We made it with spinach and parmesean risotto from HERE, because we just LOVE risotto! But I think I would actually recommend this meal with regular white rice instead.

What You Need for Lemon Chicken Dill:

  • Approx. 1 lb of skinless boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 tbsp separated dill
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tsp flour
  • Salt & pepper
  • 4 cloves of chopped garlic
  • Approx. 1/4 of an onion, chopped in small sections
  • Olive oil

Instructions:

1. Heat a pan on medium high heat. Add olive oil to coat the bottom.

2. Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Once pan is hot, add chicken to pan and sear both sides for about 3 minutes. The chicken should turn a golden brown. Then remove chicken from pan and lightly cover with tin foil. The chicken will not be cooked all the way through yet. We’ll finish it later. Turn heat down to medium.

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3. Chop the garlic and onions.

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4. Separate dill into a bunch of pieces off the stem.

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5. Coat the bottom of the same pan you were using, now on medium heat, with olive oil. Add onions, garlic, and a little salt and pepper. Stir for a minute or two.

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6. Add broth, 1 tbsp dill, flour and lemon juice to pan. Stir, until thickened, for a couple minutes.

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7. Turn the heat to low and re-add the chicken to the pan. Should take about 4-5 minutes to cook all the way through from here. Make sure you stir the broth a little bit in the meantime so it doesn’t burn and stick to the pan.

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8. Enjoy your DILLicious meal!

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