Monday, June 30, 2014

Slow Cooker Sticky Chicken Upgrade

I've posted this recipe plenty of times before and it's delicious.  

But now it's even better...because for us busy parents (stay at home or career) other than having kids, one of the many other things we have in common is trying to stay sane through parenthood.  So let me explain...  my Slow Cooker Sticky Chicken has been tested by yours truly.... and I can confirm that it is an ALL DAY SLOW COOKER recipe.  I had mine cooking on LOW for 9 hours and on WARM for 2 hour - and it was delicious. 

SCORE!

This is definitely something to look forward to.

So just to let you know, I updated the recipe page for my beloved recipe and wanted to share with you --- just in case you happened to overlook this delicious recipe.

How many times can I say delicious?  *lifts shoulder* How many times do I have to say it before you click this link?

CLICK HERE FOR THE DELICIOUS SLOW COOKER STICKY CHICKEN RECIPE!

And on that note, I should add - you won't see any updates on the blog until at the earliest Monday, July 14th... as I am escaping reality, technology and civilization from Wednesday night to July 14th.   That's right - we are camping! (But alas because I'm the planner I did manage to reserve spots at "Modern" (aka showers/flush toilets) campgrounds. :)  It makes this pregnant lady happy!

Wanna know where we are going?  Google - Porcupine Mountains and Copper Harbor, MI!  YAY!   I cannot wait to take Joshy and Justin agates (google it) hunting / beach combing!

Happy Independence Day America! 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Grilled Bruschetta Chicken


This grilled chicken is delicious.  It is a very easy recipe to throw together.  I imagine you don't necessarily need fresh tomatoes and could use a drained can of dice tomatoes but I have not tested that theory. However, if you're unable to go to the store - I am sure the canned would be sufficient enough. 

I'm not a big fan of pesto (the main herb is basil) but the basil in this recipe works out really well.  

Recommendations:
Dry basil is fine.  Roma tomatoes work best.
 
Recipe adapted from here.
 
Serve with your favorite side and enjoy!  You can thank me later ;)  And if you have leftover tomato mixture, add it on top of the chicken if you need more.  Josh (see below) enjoyed eating it as a salad.   The kid loves flavor just like his mom!

 

  • 4 small boneless skinless chicken breasts(1 lb.) (or filet 2 large chicken breasts)
  • 1/4 cup Kraft Sun Dried Tomato Vinaigrette Dressing, divided
  • 1 - 2 tomato, finely chopped
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup Shredded Low-Moisture Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or 2 tablespoons of dried basil
  • aluminum foil

If you have thick pieces of chicken, filet them now.  Put them in a freezer bag.  Add 2 tablespoons of the dressing.  Close the bag and gently massage the chicken and dressing until chicken is covered with the dressing. You can marinate the chicken for an hour or so, or not at all - but at least get the chicken covered by the dressing some how.  

Start off by dicing the dicing the tomatoes.  Put the diced tomatoes in a bowl with the rest of the dressing (about 1/4 of a cup), the cheese, and basil to the bowl. Mix until well blended. 

Start pre-heating the grill (up to 400°F).  When the grill is heated, pick a side and put the chicken on the grill. Shut the lid and let it grill for about 5 to 8 minutes on each side. Check at 5 minutes and then rotate them.  When they are about 1/2 way cooked, flip them.  Again, shut the lid and let them cook for 5 to 8 minutes.  

Check on them, when they are almost done - cut a piece of aluminum foil 12 inches long.  Spray it with cooking spray on one side.  Place it on the grill with the sprayed side up.  Put the chicken with the flattest side facing up on the foil.  Add the tomato mixture and grill until the cheese has melted.  

Serve with your favorite side and enjoy!


Friday, June 27, 2014

Black Bean Salsa


I love black bean salsa. I've never made it before, so this was a first for me. Unfortunately, I have to say I think I did something wrong because it wasn't like other salsas I had. Although I received many compliments, I'm not sure if they were complimenting before or after they tried it. For some reason, when I ate it - I just tasted black beans.
 

If you've been stalking my blog, you may

Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos



Josh's party was a huge success! I was starting to wonder if we would have beautiful weather for his party as there were a few nasty storms that appeared each day before his party --- however it was a comfortable sunny and 70 degrees outside during the actual party.  Perfect for a June outside party.

He had so much fun seeing all of our friends and their kids.  Plus his Grandma D, Aunt Laura and baby cousin Zeph came all the way from Wisconsin just to be there for him. Plus my brother and his family (which includes Josh's favorite cousin Drew).  It was such a beautiful day.

The best part was I actually got to enjoy it - I kept things really simple on my end.  Although we provided a lot of food, a lot of it was either prepped the day before or the morning of - with not many steps needed.

Take this delicious Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos recipe.  It's 3 ingredients.  THREE.  You throw it all together - and let it cook for hours.  When you come home, you can devour it.  It's AH-MAZE-ING. Trust me.


Click here to see the delicious Slow Cooker Chicken Taco recipe!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Slow Cooker Pork Tacos


So I don't usually cook with pork. I should cook with it more since it's cheaper than beef. I made this recipe for Joshy's 2nd birthday party. It went really well because he loves tacos, it was easy to throw a taco bar together and it was delicious.

I received many

Grilled Garlic Parmesan Zucchini


I'm not a huge fan of zucchini but I was looking for something different to try.  However, I wanted to mix up the usual grilled items. I Googled a bunch of different search parameters.  I then saw "Grilled Garlic Parmesan Zucchini" and I was curious.  

I am happy I took the chance on this recipe.  I was concerned the garlic parmesan spread would stay a weird texture, but the Parmesan melted and it was such a delicious bite.  I want to make it again. 

The only problem is that I wasn't sure which way to cut the zucchini. The spread was a bit annoying to apply. 
Recipe adapted from user: "AngieItaliano", HERE
 
Ingredients:
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of parsley flakes (I used dried)
  • 3 zucchini
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Slice the zucchini into your choice of pieces: round slices or flat pieces (half it, then slice the halves lengthwise).

Melt the 3 tablespoons of butter (20 seconds in the microwave). Mince the garlic. Put both into a small bowl.  Add the Parmesan cheese.  Don't forget the parsley, like I almost did!
 
If the zucchini is thick, spend additional time grilling it to soften the zucchini. 

Once all pieces are ready, start spreading the Parmesan spread onto the flattest side of the zucchini.  Quickly place the pieces with the spread facing up.  Once the spread was bubbling and creamy looking - put them on a serving plate and let them sit for 5 minutes before serving. 

Boy were they delicious!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Easy Monday Dinner




Looking for a delicious meal to throw together after work? There is a 55 minute bake time required, but if you plan accordingly -- it's worth it. For example, I wasn't officially set on making it last night until about 6:15 and then I started making it. We sat down to eat about 7:30.

I assumed Josh wasn't going to eat any because he had a "dinner" right when we got home of a full banana and honey/peanut butter half sandwich(slice of bread folded in half). But he ate a good chunk of this dinner too. I assume a physical growth spurt? Just in time for his 2 year check up. Nice.
Anyway, this recipe is delicious.  It's one of those, if you don't want to make it that night - the ingredients can store pretty well (just throw the ground turkey in the freezer).   
It has the healthy side of ground turkey, but the deliciousness of cream and tater tots.  Nothin' wrong with that!
Enjoy!
http://www.stayin-afloat.com/p/tater-tot-casserole.html

Father's Day 2014

Happy Belated Father's Day to all the men who have kids, k9s, mentored kids or dream of having kids!!!
I hope you all got to relax and celebrate the day all about you.

For Father's day, I let Justin decide what he wanted for dinner.  His request was dry-rubbed ribs and dirt cake for dessert.

Since I never made dirt cake before, I decided I should probably make it the morning of Father's day. 

Josh was wide awake when I made this...

 
 
I am impressed how fast kids learn the words "candy", "cookie" and "elmo" before other words... like "potty".  Referring to the picture above, this is Josh.  He's turning 2 on Sunday.  Two. Dos. Zwei (German for 2).  My baby is turning 2.  *grabs the heart* It almost hurts.  But it's been a really cool experience.
 
Let me set the stage for the above picture - my house was a mess and I had not put all the grocery items away from Friday night (this picture was taken on Sunday).  So my adventure seeking 2 year old, although tall for his age, was standing on a package of paper towels.
 
I could walk about 10 feet and put them away in my storage. But it's easier just to plop them next to the peninsula counter and walk around them 3 days in a row.  So that's what I did.
 
He was initially fascinated about the noise the food processor was making.  So he was doing some investigating - bright kid what can I say?  Yeah, yeah I'm biased.  But he's bright and cute...and tall...and talkative....  Okay, I'll stop bragging. 
 
And then when he saw the opened package of Oreos.  He nicely pointed at them and said "Mommy, I want cookie." Long pause as his finger was gently massaging a cookie through the plastic.  "Peas."  Sigh.
 
So being 9 oclock on a Sunday morning, I naturally said... yes.  It was a one for you, one for me situation.  Besides you're only a kid for a short time, live it up.  As for me, I love Oreos.
 
By the end of the dessert making session, he got 2 Oreos out of the deal.  And then he got to lick the spoon. 
 
Anyway, the ribs were delicious.  Justin and I aren't really fans of BBQed ribs.  It's like eating steak sauce with steak.  You spend so much on meat to cover it with a sauce, seems so wrong.   So I oven baked dry-rubbed baby back ribs.  I used a Kroger brand pork rib rub found in the seasoning aisle.  Never used it before - but it was delicious.
 
The dirt cake wasn't too bad either.
 
Read the recipes here:
http://www.stayin-afloat.com/p/oven-baked-dry-rubbed-baby-back-ribs-v1.html

http://www.stayin-afloat.com/p/dirt-cake.html
 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Entire Grilled Dinner


This is a 2 for 1 post!  Score!  It's taken me 2 years, but I have now realized why people do not like to take their kids to restaurants. Of course, you overachievers, who just spoke out loud by saying "I don't mind it" are either crazy or lying or you have an angel of a child..  make me green with envy.

Restaurants are supposed to be relaxing because all you have to do is order, eat and pay.  Pretty simple. But add a toddler...and well... suddenly you have to entertain, discipline, distract, and hold...while trying to order, eat, and pay.

Long story short - that night reminded me that it's just easier to make food at home.  Since Josh is an outdoor lover, I made a full meal of grilled items.  It was delicious.  Mouth watering good.  Better than I expected.  I recommend both. Do I have your expectations up?  Good!  You won't be disappointed.

So click on which one you're interested in:





Saturday, June 14, 2014

Completed Sesame Street Faces

I've mentioned multiple times that we are having a Sesame Street themed 2nd birthday party for Joshy.  And surprisingly, it's next Saturday. In 7 days.  AHHH. I can't believe it!  There isn't much to do other than clean, food prep and decorate.

The projects I have been making, are really for my own enjoyment - to be quite honest. LOL.  I've been basically testing my abilites and using my new cutting machine.  It's been fun.  I enjoy it.

So I have made strides since my last post about the Cookie Monster, Elmo and Big Bird head... read that post HERE.

I have now completed those 3 faces and hoping to make a few more.

Here is a close up of Cookie Monster before I outlined his eyes.



And here are all three of the characters. 



I am hoping during this weekend I will get to make Oscar the Grouch, Abby Cadabby, Bert and Ernie... but we will see. :)

Check out the Crafts Tab for all the different projects I've done!  (Currently there aren't many --- but it's an ongoing list!)

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Crock-Pot Black Bean Soup

 
Who doesn't love an easy meal to throw together in the morning and coming home to an already made dinner? 
 
This is an especially great soup to serve on a cold rainy day.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Applicable Article about my thoughts

I was cruisin' through my Facebook feed and a friend shared the following article:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bunmi-laditan/5-minutes-in-a-moms-head_b_5445948.html

It's basically how every mom or the "organizer of the family" thinks.

I felt like sharing because it is applicable to all the things I want to accomplish, but barely ever accomplish.

And, if my bedroom is a reflection of my marriage, my marriage is a clean and open book relationship that is low maintenance...thanks to all the "clean" clothes, closets with no doors on them ("open book"), and a bed that is never made ("low maintenance"). 

Yes, some day soon I have to put away the clean laundry, as I have run out of Amazon boxes to store the clean clothes in.   You know it's bad when the pile of clothes is taller than your 2 year old.... which makes me think... I should probably check the washer to make sure the towels that I put in there on Saturday made it to the dryer.

This article made me feel normal. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Sesame Street Part 1


I made the above sign a few weeks before I started this blog, but this weekend I did get time to make a few other things for his 2nd birthday party (theme is Sesame Street).

I explained my experience in each of the pages - so I will make this short and sweet:

Personalized Sesame Street Foam Board sign
Sesame Street Character Cutouts(still in progress)

Enjoy!






Grandma Robin's Easy Spaghetti Salad


One of my friend's son's 2 year birthday party was yesterday and I made this delicious passing dish on Friday for the party yesterday.  Yes, I made it the day before.  That's one of the secrets to it, letting the noodles absorb the dressing.

Anyway, you can use either rotini or spaghetti noodles.  I enjoy the rotini noodles the most because all of the Italian dressing and cheese gets absorbed into the creases of the noodles.

Now that I have typed up the recipe and see all the pictures, I only wished I had saved some for myself. LOL.

Anyway, sorry I've been quiet lately - this week flew by and I still don't have a menu for this upcoming week.  UGH.  I am hoping to get it done in the next hour and post it here!

Click here for the delicious recipe!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

One Month Birthday


Well, the blog has survived a month of being active!  It doesn't seem like a big deal, but regularly posting to the blog takes a lot more time than you would expect.  I find it a nice escape and being able to share so much in my life with you.  So since we reached a birthday/milestone for the blog.  What better way to celebrate a birthday, than by talking about desserts.  So, I thought I would share a few dessert recipes that have caught my eye (click on either the picture or link below for the recipe links). 


Pan-Fried Spicy Shrimp


I love shrimp. I wouldn't say I love seafood because I only like certain types of seafood (lobster, crab legs, and shrimp).  I love shrimp.  Have I already said that?  Let me repeat it.  I love shrimp.  Growing up I never knew there were different sizes of shrimp, and then my friend Barb introduced me to different sizes.  It was like being welcomed to Heaven.

If I am able to find a deal, I always try to go for the biggest size.  But alas for this recipe, I stuck to large (not tiny and not jumbo).  They were a perfect size.  I did buy them from the freezer section.  They turned out great.

I have been lacking on posting because work has been hectic, which has been wearing me out - so I haven't had the energy.  This recipe I think is all the way from Monday. And yes, you may have noticed that I didn't post a menu.  I skipped a menu this week because my last week menu was stretched into this week.

Anyway, I am hoping to build a recipe for next week, tomorrow.  So I will post that as soon as it is created.

Justin got the bat house up today! GOOD BYE MOSQUITOES!  One can only hope.  And I am hoping.  LOL.

Anyway,  sorry for the lack of posts this week.... I have a little surprise for the next post tonight --- but I will wait to surprise you.

Click here for the delicious shrimp recipe!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Slow Cooker Bacon-Wrapped Apple-BBQ Chicken


We were installing our pole for the bat house today - in 80°F weather...here in Michigan that feels like 100°F because of the humidity.  So, I had decided the day before that I probably wouldn't want to cook after being outside all day - so I threw this in after we got home from Home Depot.  

The story of the bat house is last year our neighbors noticed bats flying into our attic.  So we didn't necessarily want to kick them to the curb, we just wanted to provide them with a home that wasn't above our heads...because of the bat poop and such.  So Justin is going to install a wire netting by the attic vent, and we are putting this house up to encourage them to stay near us to eat all the blasted mosquitoes!  

Let's hope it helps with these mosquitoes.  I got bit by a mosquito as we were leveling the pole - so I will get my vengeance soon!

The recipe itself turned out great! Very hearty and delicious!