Wednesday, April 24, 2013

{MWW} Chicken Ranch Tacos

Oh, what a miserable morning in Michigan! I am thankful that all this rain means green grass and growth of God's beautiful creation!  Now if I can just keep that focus throughout this gloomy wet day as I truly am looking forward to viewing gorgeous colorful flowers in the near future!
Today I am sharing a recipe for Chicken Ranch Tacos.  I am not sure about you but my family could eat tacos every night of the week and be happy.  I am always looking for a new and easy way to change up the recipe and still keep those tummies satisfied. Corey, author of family fresh meals, states:  "This recipe really should be called Cool Ranch Crockpot Chicken Tostadas, Tacos, Burritos, Nachos, etc … You can add this yummy shredded chicken to just about anything." And I must agree!  The chicken does taste yummy and is a perfect component to many meals! You'll be thrilled to place a few ingredients into your crock pot and return to serve up something delicious!

Photo I pinned on Pinterest:
My not so exciting in comparison photo:

The original post for this recipe can be found here
or read below for my tutorial and commentary!
Chicken Ranch Tacos

4 chicken breast (about 1 1/2 lbs)
1 packet of taco seasoning
1 packet of dry ranch dressing seasoning
14 ounces of chicken broth

 Mix taco seasoning, dry ranch dressing seasoning and chicken broth in crock pot

Add chicken breasts

Cook on low for 5 hours

Shred chicken

Cook on low for another 30 minutes to allow chicken to absorb flavoring

Serve chicken with your favorite toppings
Use leftovers in another creation tomorrow or freeze
for use in the future.  The possibilities are endless!

Thank you for reading today's post!  Please consider leaving some lovin' in the comments.
I'm off to put away some laundry while my little love is napping.  Thrilling, I know but someone has to do it!  Have a great afternoon!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

{etsy} Mickey Mouse tie shirts

M - I - C - K - E - Y        M - O - U - S - E !!!

My friend Brooke has always been a supporter of my creative endeavors especially the children's clothing featured in my etsy store.  She came to me last month asking if I could create Mickey Mouse tie shirts for her two handsome boys.  I of course was thrilled to go shopping and look at all of the license prints available in cotton fabric.  To my surprise, there were quite a few Mickey Mouse prints available although most of them I would consider their look 'vintage' Mickey.  I was pleased to find the fabric featured above in the photos.  It coordinated so well with the navy shirts!  Come to find out, the shirts were such a hit that the handsome little boys and their daddy all have matching tie shirts now! 

Monday, April 22, 2013

{Monday Motivation} do not be discouraged 

We are in the midst of planning for some big life changes for our family and quite honestly, I have been overwhelmed.  There are joys and sorrows that come with my husband completing residency.  We are definitely moving into a season where "the best is yet to come" but that includes leaving the comfort of our apartment where we have lived for 5 years, saying good-bye to dear friends, leaving our church which we love so much and an area of Michigan that has become our home. God has been so faithful and in my heart I praise Him for the ways he has provided for me and my family.  But then there is my head where fears and discouragement try to sneak in and steal my joy and anticipation for what God has in store.  So today and in the days to come, I want to be strong, not discouraged and know that God has gone before me and my family preparing something beautiful and He will be with us every step of this new journey.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

{gift giving} mustache shirt

Oh, the famous mustache!  What makes it so popular right now?!  I have yet to discover the true reason but that doesn't keep me from enjoying its popularity!  My friend's daughter "e" celebrated her birthday in February and I wanted to make her a personalized shirt as a gift. {Yes, I am delayed in posting it on the blog!}  I drew the images, hand-cut them from cotton fabric, heat transfered them to the shirt and used machine sewing around the edges for design and durability.  I love the eyes on the fabric used for the letter e and knew that little miss e would agree! 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

{MWW} Braided Spaghetti Bread

Hello friends! What a glorious sunny morning it has been in Michigan!  My boy and I headed out to the park for the first time this spring.  It was wonderful to get out of the house to play and explore with my son.  I learned what a difference a year makes in growth and mobility while my boy raced up the steps, ran to the slides, and went down all on his own while telling his momma, "no help momma, watch!"  We also got to explore by the creek, feed the ducks (thanks to the gentleman who gave us two pieces of bread to throw) and C's favorite part to scare chase the ducks into the water!  Spring-time fun has just begun for us!

Now onto...

Braided Spaghetti Bread

This recipe has become one of my favorite go-to meals for our family as well as when I deliver meals to friends following big life events.  This Braided Spaghetti Bread gets raving review every time. It is so easy to make and is a yummy carbohydrate-filled comfort food!
I found the recipe one night when I was hungry and searching Pinterest - never always a good combiniation!
This is the image I pinned:
The recipe is from Rhodes Bake-N-Serv Home Baked Family Favorites with Frozen Dough cookbook.  You can find it on the Rhodes Bake-N-Serv website by clicking here or read below for my tutorial and commentary!
1 Loaf Rhodes Bread Dough or 12 Rhodes Dinner Rolls, thawed to room temperature
Be sure to follow the directions on the bread dough packaging for appropriate way to thaw bread and allow time for rising
6oz spaghetti, cooked
1 Cup spaghetti sauce
My favorite sauce for this recipe is Francesco Rinaldi Original Marinara Sauce
8oz mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2inch cubes
1 egg white
Parmesan cheese
parsley flakes
I replace parsley flakes with Italian Seasoning
Added ingredient:  Garlic Powder.

Spray clean counter lightly with non-stick cooking spray (or use parchment paper)
The first time I did this but now I just placed the dough directly on my large cooking tray

Roll loaf or combined dinner rolls into a 12x16-inch rectangle.  
Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 10-15minutes.

Cook spaghetti according to package instructions.  Drain and let cool slightly.

Remove wrap from dough.  Place spaghetti lengthwise in a 4-inch strip down the center of dough.  Top with sauce and cheese cubes.
I have found it easier to make the cuts (described in the next step) before adding the noodle/sauce/sausage mixture to dough.
I mixed my spaghetti sauce together with my noodles before placing on dough.
I have also cooked sausage and combined with sauce and noodles before placing on dough.

Make cuts 1 1/2 inches apart on long sides of dough to within 1/2inch of filling.

Begin braid by folding top and bottom strips toward filling.  Then braid strips left over right, right over left.  Finish by pulling last strip over and tucking under braid.

Lift braid with both hands and place on large sprayed baking sheet.  
(Or transfer parchment paper to baking sheet.)
Transfering was difficult for me and I now place dough on baking sheet from the start.

Brush with egg white and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and parsley.
I use Italian Seasoning and garlic powder. 

Bake at 350 for 30-35minutes or until golden brown.

Cool slightly and slice to serve. 
(Expect people to want a second helping!) 


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

love to Boston

Beauty will rise!  Today I am honoring all of those affected by the tragedy at the Boston Marathon - those wounded, the event racers, volunteers and first responders.  This world is a dark and crazy place.  I am thankful that I know the teachings of the Lord and can cling to hope I have in Jesus that this is not home; the enemy has been defeated and the One true God reigns.  I am thankful that at this time, my son is too young to understand the evil of the world but as he grows, I pray that he will have a heart for the hurting, compassion for the lost and a love for the Lord that will allow him to see beyond the ugly.   God doesn't promise that we will not have trouble in our lives but when we do have trouble He will always be with us; His angel armies always by our side!  God will use everything for good and I pray we will see the beauty that will rise out of yesterday's events in Boston.

Monday, April 15, 2013

{gift giving} wall hanging

Sending a special birthday shout-out to my dear friend Jade today!! Happy birthday! Jade and her family are our best friends here in Michigan. We met at a church event about four months after we moved here and it is a blessing to call them friends.  Jade has stood by my side in the past 5 years providing encouragement, love, laughter, advice as we have pursued to strengthen our relationship with God, family and friend and each other.
In this post, I am featuring a special wall hanging that I created as a gift for Jade a few years ago for her birthday.  I love to celebrate birthdays and encourage time to really evaluate who we are as individuals and the roles that we play in the lives of others.  This wall hanging captures the roles of Jade.

 All letters and words were cut using my Cricut and mounted on black cardstock.  The letters a and e in the word Jade have foam squares under them to create dimension. I added a loop of ribbon between the pieces of green and black cardstock for hanging purposes. And ta-da, my special wall hanging is complete!  Can you guess Jade's favorite color?



{Monday Motivation} Conquerors

"in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us."

I follow some fantastic blogs and encourage and inspire me as a Christ follower, Christian wife and mother.  This morning, the blog author ohAmanda posted the following on her Facebook feed:
Happy Monday morning! I'm reading Romans 8:35-39 today and I love this section: "in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us."

MORE than conquerors. I don't feel like a conqueror very often. Especially not MORE than one. Monday morning sometimes looms ahead of me as a great big to-do list. Instead, I want today to be a reflection of this verse--that through Jesus (and His love) I can be more than a conqueror!

What an encouragement to read this truth in God's Word!  Monday mornings for me often include the reality of what actually got accomplished over the weekend and what remaining items need to be plugged in throughout my week. Monday is also a transition day as our weekends include precious time with daddy and the morning brings sadness for my son when he wakes and can not locate his father.  This scripture is such an encouragement that the feeling of defeat is not the work of the Lord that he has declared me a conqueror; actually more than a conqueror!  Today I am ready to embrace the love of the one true God and be a conqueror in His name.  I am praying that I will raise my head high on this Monday and be motivated not discouraged! May you be encouraged today as well!

Friday, April 12, 2013

{Fun Friday} sleeping dog

Oh my goodness this documents my life with a dog so well!  And we don't have a small dog either; we have a weimaraner nicknamed Lilly Long Legs! Training Lilly at night was an exhausting experience! After many strategies to get her to not bark in her crate at night we compromised that she would get to sleep on a dog pillow next to her bed.  I tried to train her for two weeks to sleep on that dog pillow next to our bed.  I wish I had a photo to document how that worked out.  It would be something along the lines of me on the floor on the dog pillow and Lilly on my pillow in our king size pillow top bed! Grr! I remember that so well!  To accurately describe the dog in the bed would need the photo above to show our dog in all of those positions but under a down comforter as well.  Silly dog!  After 4 years of that nonsense along with the birth of our son and the dog experiencing seperation anxiety when we traveled, it was decided to train her to sleep on her dog pillow again.  And thankfully that training was more successful the second time around.  Once in awhile she will sneak back in our bed but it definitely is not every night and I am so thankful!
Do you have a pet that sleeps in your bed?

Monday, April 1, 2013

April Showers Bring May Flowers!

I am so loving this door decor!  Is that not the cutest and perfect for the month of April!?
Although, Mother Nature pulled a nice April Fools joke and there were snow remnants out on our lawn and car this funny...not! We just chalk it up to the joys of living in Michigan!  Hanging this cute umbrella and flower decor on our door would definitely bring sunshine and joy in our home; even with temperatures in the 40s!  I am adding umbrella, tulips, moss, ribbon and eggs to my shopping list -stay tuned for an update documenting my creation inspired by the photo above!  Happy April!
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