Thursday, March 17, 2011

Creamy Creole Chicken Pasta

All I can say about this recipe is WOW.

"Yum" would also cover it.

Creamy Creole Chicken Pasta (Serves: 6. Cook time: Roughly 20 minutes)

2 Chicken Breasts cut into strips
Creole Seasoning, to taste
1 bell pepper, sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 container onions, sliced
1 can evaporated milk
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
Dash of garlic powder
Dash of italian seasoning

-Saute chicken with veggies and creole seasoning in large skillet (this is where you'll determine how spicy your dish is. Use more creole seasoning for some kick, use less for just a little flavor)
-Cook pasta according to directions, drain, return to pot
-Transfer chicken and veggies to the pot of pasta. Pour in the evaporated milk, parmesan cheese, and remaining seasonings to taste.
-Heat through and enjoy!

Meal ideas: I served this with a fruit salad. The coolness of the fruit was an awesome compliment to the spiciness of the pasta.

Oh, and also: I made the dish a little *less* spicy so that the kids would be able to enjoy it. After serving up their portions, I added in more creole seasoning because hubby and I are suckers for, well, anything with some kick to it ;)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Time to start planning the garden!

Spring is just around the corner. Have you started planning your garden yet? I've got some sprouts started in the basement.

Truth? I most definitely do NOT have a green thumb.

It's pretty bad. "Eh, I'll water it later." That just about says it.

But this year I'm going to try REAL hard. Last year I successfully grew 2 cayenne pepper plants and 2 tomato plants. I had green beans too...but the twin baby bunny rabbits got to them. I'm pretty sure their mama got killed and I just didn't have the heart to tell the little orphans "no."

I also had some cucumber plants. We won't talk about those.

This year, I'm resolving to have a thriving garden. One thing I've learned is gardening takes a lot of trial and error. You'll be able to prevent a lot of that error by doing a little planning. So it's never too early!

I read The Backyard Homestead: Produce All the Food You Need on a Quarter Acre! and got a lot of information in a really "plain English" presentation. It's great for people like us with itty bitty yards.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Beginning of Lent...already?!

Doesn't Lent just always have a way of sneaking up on you? It does for me. I never feel like I've really taken the time to pray for discernment in the area of what I should "give up" for Lent.

But, Ash Wednesday isn't over yet, right? So, it's not too late.

We've all got a little "to-do" list of things we'd like to do more of or do less of. I'd like to challenge you to dig a little deeper, though. Deeper than you would for your typical New-Years-Resolution type offering.

For my Lenten reading, I'm using The Little Black Book. It's a small vade mecum book with 2 pages for each day of Lent, plus the three days preceeding. It's designed to help the reader take 5-6 minutes of quiet with the Lord each day. This is doable for me. I can find 5-6 minutes in my day!

The reading for the Sunday before Ash Wednesday was really great and I want to share it with you....

"We need to use today's six minutes and God's help in making our plans for this Lent.

We all have a file of resolutions in the back of our mind. These are the ones we usually pull out at a time like this.

Maybe we'd do better to put those aside for a moment and find out what God has in mind for us. It may be something we've never thought of, or something that surprises us. Put yourself in that scene from the Gospel at the top of the page for a moment, ('Jesus said to his apostles, "Come to an out-of-the-way place and rest a little..." Mark 6:31) only make it just the Lord and yourself, alone in a quiet place.

Talk straight with him.

"Lord, you sometimes surprise me. What do you want me to write on the left-hand page?"

(The left hand page being referred to is where we are to write out our plans for Lent.)

There's nothing wrong with giving up sweets or coffee for Lent. Those are perfectly honorable sacrifices, especially if you're like me and depend very much on your caffeine and chocolate fixes to get you through the day with any amount of friendliness. But I'd like to challenge you to just take a few moments to sit quietly with the Lord and ask HIM what he desires for your Lenten season. Allow him to come into your heart and shape your soul this season, you might be surprised!

If you need a few ideas for your family, Danielle Bean over at wrote a great list of ways to pray, fast, and give.

~You are loved by an Awesome God~

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Monday, March 7, 2011

Running late for Mass--again.

We were running late for Mass. Again. Thankfully our parish is one of many young families, many large families, and many more family friendly parishioners. Thankfully it's not TOO painful when we have to trudge up to the only pew with enough room for us. Of course it's right up front. Front and center.

I'd love to have the family ready, dressed nicely for 8am Mass and pray the rosary on the way. Wouldn't that be nice? That'd be lovely, I think. Instead, we're lucky if we can get to the 10:30 Mass on time.

So, anyway, we get settled down and Margaux poops. Really, really loud. Everyone heard it. They laughed politely. Thankfully. I was about to get up and take Margaux to the bathroom to change her when the sweet woman sitting behind us taps me on the shoulder and points to Margaux's back saying, "I think it leaked through."

I look down and, yep, there's major poopage. Everywhere.

Did I pack an extra outfit in the diaper bag on my way out the door? Of course I didn't. Sigh.

I take her to the nursery and get her cleaned up the best I can. I was able to manage getting her clothes cleaned up enough and we finally make it back up to the pew as the homily is ending.

I took a deep breath and thought to myself, well, at least I'll be here for the Consecration and Eucharist, right?

Just as I'm settling into something of a prayerful frame of mind, I feel another tap on my shoulder. This time it's my dear husband Zac and he's pointing at my chest. I look down shirt is soaking wet. It's a combination of spit up and milk. Breast milk. Did I put a nursing pad in my shirt on the way out the door? Of course I didn't. Sigh. So I go to the bathroom, get myself cleaned up and get back to the pew, resolving to just wear my jacket for whatever is left of Mass.

I wanted to get grumpy. I wanted to get frustrated. I wanted to get angry. I wanted to think, Lord, I need Mass. I need the Word. I need the Eucharist. Why is everything going wrong today? I can't catch two minutes of uninterrupted time to celebrate the mass with my family!?

I felt myself getting that point of the grumpy overwhelmed resentful mother. I was THIS close. And then I felt a quiet peacefulness coming over me. The Lord knows me and he knows what I need. During that Mass, I was exactly where I should have been. Serving my children, being a mother, fulfilling the Lord's plan and will for my life and even for those specific MINUTES in my day. There are so many opportunities in a mother's life for what SHE wants to be doing to be interrupted by the needs of our families. Our imperfect souls might jump to a state of resentfulness. After all, it's not like I was trying to go for a spa treatment...I just wanted to celebrate the Mass with my family.

It is in those times when I absolutely must trust the Lord or else I'll so easily turn to resentment and frustration. Trust that serving my family and my children is exactly what I should be doing, and in those actions and feelings of selfless love and giving, the Lord will fill me and bless my actions.

You are loved by an Awesome God~

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Pudding Pops-- Yum on the cheap.

The boys were starting to get picky about their snacks. They complained that they were sick of the regulars...animal crackers, carrot sticks, pretzels. Hum drum. Pretty horrible life, huh?

So I came up with pudding pops. I'm sure I'm not the first to think of them...but my kids and husband thought I was a genius. That's good enough for me.

We did the following combinations:
Chocolate pudding with crushed oreos
Vanilla pudding with chocolate chips (pictured above)
Banana pudding with butterscotch chips

I just mixed the instant pudding according to the directions, let it set up a little, added in the "extras", and then poured it into my .88 cent mold from Wal Mart, and popped them in the freezer. Yum!

Instant pudding at our local Wal Mart is about .89 cents per box and I already had the chocolate chips and all that in this was a super cheap way to jazz up plain ol' puddin'.

TIP: If you don't already have Popsicle molds, you can pour the mixture into a cleaned out single serving apple sauce cup and stick in a tongue depressor from the craft cabinet. We did this since our mold only has enough room for 4 popsicles and our pudding mixture made enough for more than 4!

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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Book Review! The Miracle of Mercy Land by River Jordan

Mercy is a sweet, southern character from rural Bittersweet, Alabama. She moves to the city, lives in a boarding house, falls in love with her work at the local news paper "The Banner." Into her lap falls "the book" and a poor soul from her past. This book allows her to see into the lives of people. Their past, present, future. What's the connection? Life will never be the same...but isn't that the point?

Truth? I was a little disappointed with this book. Okay, a lot. It's sweet and light hearted. It's an easy enough read. Sometimes that's what us readers really need, right? Nothing too heavy, just something light and sweet. The problem was that this was a little too light. As in, after 100 pages I still wasn't "in" to the story. I wanted to be "in" to the story. I had really looked forward to getting this book. I've heard really great things about River Jordan as a Christian Author. just wasn't working out. I think I'll try one of her other books because I just don't want to give up that easily.

As per the FTC Regulations:I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.