Friday, September 30, 2011

Chicken Salad



I had the pleasure of going to the beach with my mom, Aunt Georgiana, and her two kids, Grayson and Mackenzie, over Labor Day weekend.

Georgiana, Grayson, Mackenzie, Me, Mom

 It was nice to catch up with family members that you don't get to see as often as you like.  I learned that my little cousins have some awesome dance moves, not something that runs in our side of the family!

Kenzie and Grayson about to show off their dance skills on the beach at night

Love these two!

Brother & sister love :)


We were down there for a total of 6 days and 5 nights.  We had three great days of sun and then a tropical storm started to make things rainy and cloudy.  We weren't able to get into the ocean because of the double red flags.


These guys decided to stop for a drink of water

My awesome Mom!

We were all on a budget so we made some yummy chicken salad to take down to the pool/beach each day.  It was easy to throw on some bread or crackers.  I found this from Paula Deen, but I have to say it is very basic.  I followed the recipe, but next time will probably add in a few more things for a kick, like grapes.  Make it your own or if you like it plain then this will be perfect as is.

By the way, head over to, my dear friend, Lauren's blog for an awesome giveaway that ends today!

Almond Chicken Salad
Source:  Paula Deen

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 1/2 cups of diced cooked chicken (make it as chunky as you like)
  • 1 cup finely diced celery
  • 1/3 slivered almonds
Mix together and serve with bread, crackers, or on lettuce.  Enjoy!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Creamy Chicken Taquitos

Topped with all the good stuff!

Alex and I are blessed to have the best married small group ever!  We meet on Tuesday nights and enjoy growing stronger in our faith with these amazing people!  They are such a great support group, especially with all we have been through.  I love that we have found a group where the guys and girls equally enjoy each others company.  You know what I mean?  It seems like up to this point it was always a group of "Alex's friends" or "my friends", but these are definitely "our friends"!

Small group girls:  Mary, Tara, Lauren, Beth, and Me in the Roswell Square after dinner at Ceviche (highly recommend)

We had the group over for a cook out a few weeks ago.  The weather was AWESOME!  It was like a small sneak peak into fall, my favorite time of year.

Brody was just chillin' in the grass...

Grace wanted to see what was so fun...

Such a sweetie pie!

Scott and Alex vs. Jordan and Jon

The Musselman family...love them!

I know I have posted a few different taquito recipes, but I do believe this is by far my favorite!  Enjoy!

Creamy Chicken Taquitos
Source:  Adapted from Annie's Eats

Ingredients:
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
¼ cup salsa
1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tsp. chili powder
½ tsp. cumin
½ tsp. onion powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp. chopped cilantro
1-2 green onions, chopped
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
10-12 corn tortillas
Cooking spray
Kosher salt

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 425˚ F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, salsa, lime juice, spices, cilantro, green onions, chicken and shredded cheese.  Mix thoroughly until well combined.  

Briefly heat the tortillas in the microwave to make them soft enough to roll easily, about 20-30 seconds.

Place a tortilla on a work surface.  Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of the filling mixture down the middle of the tortilla.  Roll the tortilla up tightly around the filling.  Place seam-side down on a baking sheet.  Repeat with the remaining tortillas and filling, spacing the assembled taquitos evenly on the baking sheet.  Spray the tops lightly with cooking spray and sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt.  

Bake 15-20 minutes, until crisp and golden brown.   Serve with sour cream, shredded cheese, and salsa, if desired.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Trials

Let me start by saying that this post is going to be all over the place.  There is no perfect way to organize my thoughts and I just need to get it down on paper.  Excuse the grammar and spelling errors that may be present.

As children I feel like we look at the world as our fun playground.  One day we wake up to find that life is tough.  Although there are good times, we have bad ones too.  Life isn't always easy.  You may even go through an entire season of life that presents itself as a challenge.  For everyone this can be discouraging, but as hard as it is I am so grateful for our Savior.  Until I became a Christian, these trials seemed to consume me and my life.  Circumstances would swallow me until resolved, whether that was a day, week, month, or year.  Knowing that God has a plan is all the comfort that I need these days.  I am grateful during this season to have Christ!

I know my blog is primarily about food, with a little bit of my life added in for fun, but I felt that our most recent trial can help someone else realize they are not alone.

I found out on July 14th that I was pregnant with our first child.  Although we had been trying for three months, I was still in shock that it was real!  I walked around for the first day thinking that someone was going to tell me that this was a mean trick.  By day two it was settling in that indeed I was pregnant and we were expecting a sweet baby on March 20, 2012.  I am blessed to have a best friend who is also a midwife.  She got me in early to do some blood work to make sure everything looked good, which it did.  At 7 weeks I went in for my first ultrasound.  The baby's heartbeat looked good and we walked out with our first snap shot of our little sweet pea.  The following Sunday I began to have some minor complications that worried me enough to head back in at 8 weeks for another ultrasound.  There we found out that the baby was still with us, but not growing at the rate they would like.  With some activity modifications, I was back home and moving forward.  The next Sunday is when I began to have a miscarriage.  I knew right away that something was not right.  I wanted to badly to believe that everything was going to be okay, but my gut just told me it wasn't.  At 9 weeks I went in for another ultrasound which showed that our little sweet pea no longer had a heart beat.  Although I thought I had prepared myself for the worse, the emotions I felt in that instant were horrific.  I wanted the whole thing to be a bad dream.  After 3 hours of sitting at the doctors office, we were headed home to prepare for the procedure I had to get done the next day.  It is amazing how with one small pink plus sign you find out in an instant that you have created life, and with one small ultrasound unit you find out, just as quickly, that that life has been taken away.

My grieving process had already begun on Sunday night, but was in full swing Monday.  As this began I thanked the Lord for my personal relationship with Him.  Life would have felt so hopeless if I didn't have purpose that only He can give.  I know that God has a plan for me, Alex, and our family.  I know that His plan is so much bigger than anything I can comprehend.  I may never know why this miscarriage happened to us, but I do know that out of any tragic situation we can glorify Him.  I prayed everyday for a healthy, happy, and strong baby.  Our God answered my prayers.  That answer didn't look the way I wanted it to, but God knew that baby was not healthy.

I feel hopeful for many reasons.  We were able to get pregnant once and I hope that means we can do it again.  If not, there are other options.  I know that God's plan is far better than mine and one day I will sit back and think this was worth the wait!

We have been blessed beyond belief with support from family and friends.  Before my miscarriage, I didn't know anyone who had personally experienced this same situation.  I was instantly comforted by phone calls, emails, and messages telling me stories about their same experience with miscarriages.  The real blessing is that all of those stories had a happy ending.  They were all blessed with healthy children at some point.

This week I am at the beach with some of my family.  I love to read and was given a book called "Heaven is for Real".  I dove right into it not knowing that it would change me forever.  Up to this point I feel like I dealt with this loss knowing that I will never meet that child.  In this book the little boy goes to heaven while being operated on.  Years after his experience (which by this point his parents are aware of) he told his mom one day that he had two sisters (he only had one).  She couldn't understand what he was saying until finally he said, "the one that died in your tummy, Mommy".  She then realized that he was able to meet the baby she miscarried in heaven (whom she didn't even know was a girl).  I don't want to give away this segment of the book if you plan on reading it, but it was such an amazing message and reminder that I will get to meet this baby one day!  I have had one child and we pray that we can get pregnant with number two sooner than later if it be God's will.

Thank you for those who have been such an amazing support system for us.  Your prayers, reminder of scripture, and words of encouragement have meant so much.  We feel so blessed that you are all in our lives!

Alex and I have been very open with our pregnancy and miscarriage from the beginning.  As soon as I found out that we lost our child all I could think of was that I didn't know anyone who could relate to what I was experiencing.  I quickly found out I was wrong, but this has lead me to be transparent with our story.  I pray that God can use it to comfort someone and remind them that His plan is perfect even in this time of trial.