Thursday, August 30, 2012

Turkey Stuffed Peppers

Since I now work part-time and camp is over, I find myself looking for new ways to occupy my time (i.e. stalking Pinterest for recipes and trying them out). I made these for dinner last night and they were SO GOOD!

Turkey Stuffed Peppers (adapted from here)
  • 1 lb lean chopped turkey meat
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 sweet onion, minced
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • salt to taste
  • 3 large sweet red bell peppers, washed
  • 1 cup fat free chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked rice (I didn't have any rice, so I used whole wheat cous cous)
  • Olive oil spray
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese
1. Preheat oven to 400°. Spray a little olive oil spray in a medium size saute pan and heat on a medium flame.

2. Add onion and garlic to the pan. Saute about 2 minutes and add ground turkey.

3. Season with salt and garlic powder and brown meat for several minutes until meat is completely cooked through.

4. Add tomato sauce and 1/2 cup of chicken broth, mix well and simmer on low for about 5 minutes.

5. Combine cooked rice and meat together.

6. Cut the bell peppers in half lengthwise, and remove all seeds. Place in a baking dish.

7. Spoon the meat mixture into each pepper half and fill it with as much as you can.

8. Place all stuffed pepper halves on the baking dish and pour the remainder of the chicken broth on the bottom of the pan (this will steam the peppers while in the oven and make them oh-so-yummy). Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for about 30 minutes.

9. Top with shredded cheese and bake uncovered for another 5 minutes.

This time I played it safe with the recipe, but I think next time I will add black beans and corn to the turkey/rice mixture. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Spinach Lasagna Rolls

This past Sunday, we had a K-Life leaders' dinner to kick off the year. The good news is that we have a lot of new faces who are excited to dive into this ministry, but that also means there are a lot of mouths to feed. I made spinach lasagna rolls and they were easy peasy but looked fancy schmancy. I highly recommend these if you are hosting a dinner party or just a regular Tuesday night. They are also a super delicious way to get your kids to eat spinach.

Spinach Lasagna Rolls (originally from here)
  • 9 lasagna noodles, cooked
  • 10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and completely drained
  • 15 oz fat free ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • salt and fresh pepper
  • 32 oz of your favorite marinara sauce
  • 2 cups part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Combine spinach, ricotta, Parmesan, egg, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.

2. Ladle about 1 cup sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 12 baking dish.

3. Place a piece of wax paper on the counter and lay out cooked lasagna noodles. Make sure noodles are dry.

4. Take 1/3 cup of ricotta mixture and spread evenly over noodle. I also sprinkled a layer of mozzarella cheese on top of the ricotta mixture- YUM.

5. Roll carefully and place seam side down onto the baking dish. Repeat with remaining noodles.

6. Ladle sauce over the noodles in the baking dish and top each one with 1 tbsp mozzarella cheese.

7. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes, or until cheese melts. Makes 9 rolls.

To serve, ladle a little sauce on the plate and top with lasagna roll. Serve with your favorite salad and garlic bread and ENJOY!

Before going in the oven:


And when you're cooking for a crowd, you can multiply the recipe by 2 1/2

Friday, August 24, 2012

Girls' Cooking Night

A couple nights ago, my friends and I got together for a girls' "pinterest inspired" cooking night, because our husbands were playing golf. Our menu resembled a cross between a shower and a tailgate but everything was oh-so-good...

Our group has now officially grown by one and come October, baby Evie will make two!

 Teagan thinking "My mom has the coolest friends".

We'll start with the easiest recipe, but to be honest- both of mine were super easy...

Crispy Edamame (originally found here)
  • 1 (12 ounce) package frozen shelled edamame
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the edamame into a colander and rinse under cold water to thaw. Drain.

2. Spread the edamame beans into the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle cheese over the top and season with salt and pepper.

3. Bake in the preheated oven until the cheese is crispy and golden, about 15 minutes. 

*After making these, I would probably let them drain a little more after rinsing and flip them over after the 15 min in the oven and then cook them a little bit longer, because they weren't as "crispy" as they should've been.  I also added a little garlic powder, because let's be honest- I add garlic to everything.

Sopapilla Cheesecake (Orignally found here)

-2 cans pillsbury butter crescent rolls
-2 (8oz) packages cream cheese (softened)
-1 cup sugar
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-1/4 cup butter (melted)
-Cinnamon & sugar


1. Unroll and spread 1 can crescent rolls on bottom of un-greased pan.

2. Combine softened cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. Spread mixture over crescent rolls.

3. Unroll and spread remaining crescent rolls over mixture.

4. Spread melted butter over the top and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.

Corn Dog Bites (Originally from here) *These were actually made by my friend, Caitlyn. She doesn't have a blog, but I am posting it anyway, because they were delish. Don't be fooled by their appearance that was slightly altered by the frying process!
  • 1 cup flour, divided
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 8 hot dogs, cut into thirds
  • Vegetable or canola oil, for frying

1. Preheat about 3 inches of oil to 350 degrees over medium heat.

2. Combine 2/3 cup of flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt, garlic powder and onion powder in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the milk.

3. In a pie plate or other shallow dish, add the remaining flour.

4. Dredge each hot dog piece in the flour and then dip it into the cornmeal batter. Shake off any excess batter, but be sure that the hot dog is fully covered in batter.

5. Drop into the hot oil and fry for 3-4 minutes, turning halfway through, until golden brown and crispy.

6. Fry in batches, being careful not to over crowd the pan.

7. Drain on a paper towel lined plate and keep warm in a 200 degree oven until all of the hot dogs are fried.

8. Serve immediately with ketchup and mustard, if desired.

Andrea's peach, balsamic and basil pizza 
(she wins the award for the prettiest dish!)

So it's much prettier before it goes into the oven... 
but OH-My-Goodness is was DELISH!

Andrea's Girls Scout Samoa look-alike cookies- YUM!

Heather's bourbon meatballs- a tangy twist on a tailgate classic.

Heather's mozzarella bites- so easy and so good!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Is it Fall yet?

So I realize I have been a bit behind on the blog lately. I think that is due to two reasons... 1. I am still recovering from camp (as in sinus/ear infection recovering)... and 2. I haven't really had much to say. One thing I can say is that I have been ready for fall since the calendar changed to August 1st. Husband has had to lock away my fall decorations and hide my pumpkin candles, because I am more than ready to display them in all their glory. Our recent lack of humidity makes it feel like fall is just about to burst onto the scene at any moment and I love it.. really I do. If you know me or of you've been a reader for a while, you know that I am quite smitten with this season. I like winter... and spring... and summer is great for a couple weeks.. but fall holds my heart. So I am counting down the days until the temp dips below 70 and the pumpkin spice latte makes its debut. Until then.. here are just a few ways this season makes my heart skip a beat.


Stay tuned for fall recipes and the ever-exciting fall foliage shots in addition to some fall home decor (husband is making me wait until after labor day).

Monday, August 13, 2012

Letter to new and pregnant moms

It seems that almost everyone around me these days is either pregnant or a new mom. With this, I have also noticed that many moms don't really know what to say or do around those of us who have struggled with infertility or experienced pregnancy loss. Let me just start out by saying that I'm not referring to anyone in particular, in fact, most of these come from things my friends have done right. This is just to serve as general guidance for new and pregnant moms that aren't really sure of the best things to say or do around friends or family members who are going through infertility or pregnancy loss.

1. We'll start from the beginning. We never want you to avoid sharing the excitement of your pregnancy news with us; we recognize more than anyone how much of a blessing pregnancy is and we want to celebrate that with you. However, it is usually best to do it in a one-on-one setting or a phone call if face to face can't be worked out. When you share it this way, it allows us to be excited with you, but honest in our emotions at the same time. When we receive this news with a group, we're usually trying to force some extra excitement to blend in with the crowd and suppress the honest feelings until a later time.

2. In our day to day conversations, don't avoid talking about your pregnancy or new baby. We truly value your friendship and are very much invested in your life, so we want to know about the excitement that comes with your pregnancy or new baby. However, it's best to save any complaining for other friends or family. We understand that pregnancy isn't always fun and that being a new mom isn't always easy, but realize that most of us would give our right arm to be facing those types of trials rather than the ones we've been dealt. After the past 14 months, I can honestly say that I would rather face 40 weeks of morning sickness or a year of sleepless nights.

3. Along that same line- while we want to know about your pregnancy or new baby, make sure the topic doesn't dominate our conversations. We know your pregnancy or new baby is your world, but try to talk about other things as well- work, family or even the latest episode of Bachelor Pad (not judging). Ask how we're doing... not incessantly, but it's great to open up the door in case we feel like talking.

4. Don't take it personally if we decline the invitation to your baby shower. While, we are happy to send a card and gift wishing you all the happiness in the world... sitting through a couple hours of baby-centered conversation really takes its toll.

Lastly, I know that motherhood isn't always sunshine and rainbows... but don't ever forget just how much of a blessing it is to be a mom. I know that somewhere between the pregnancy pains, swollen ankles, colicky nights, endless feedings and mind numbingly long car rides with a screaming baby it can be very easy to take for granted the life growing inside of you or that you're holding in your arms. I have no doubt that being a mom is the hardest job in the world, but know that there are so many of us out there that would trade places with you in a heartbeat if given the opportunity. In no way, do we want anyone to feel sorry for us or feel like you need to walk on egg shells; but rather offer sincere encouragement, a shoulder to cry on, fashion advice, a walking partner, an ice cream date and continue to be the the great friend you've always been. We know that when the Lord does decide to bless us with a healthy baby- you'll be the first one in line to celebrate with us.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Chicken Fried Rice

I have been making this for several years now, so I am not sure why it is just now making its blog debut, but here it is. This is a much healthier alternative to Chinese take-out and just as good. Tonight, I cooked the chicken in the slow cooker using this recipe before I made the fried rice and it definitely added so much more flavor, so I am adding it below. Don't be deceived by the length of these recipes, because they really are easy peasy.

Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
3/4 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons water

Whisk together sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, pepper, and water. Pour sauce over chicken in slow cooker. Slow cook on low for four hours. Shred with two forks before adding it to the fried rice.

Chicken Fried Rice
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast (preferably the above teriyaki chicken)
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 pkg frozen peas, carrots, green beans and corn blend
1 bunch green onions chopped
3 cloves of garlic chopped
3 eggs
3 tblsp sesame oil
1/4 cup soy sauce

1. Prepare rice according to directions and set aside.

2. In a large pan or wok, scramble the eggs and set aside in a small bowl.

3. In the same large pan or wok, heat the sesame oil and garlic stirring constantly so it doesn't burn.

4. Add in the frozen veggies, green onions, cover and let cook for about 4-5 minutes.

5. Mix in the cooked chicken along with a ladle of the sauce from the slow cooker.

6. Mix in the scrambled egg, rice and soy sauce. Stir until everything is evenly coated and remove from heat.
This makes a lot, so it's great if you're cooking for a large family or if you just like to have left-overs for lunch. Serve and enjoy!

This is a recipe I have been making for years although I can't remember where I originally saw it.  I did want to point out its similarity to this recipe where I found the teriyaki chicken recipe in case you wanted to try a different version of it.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

I made it

I'm parking my golf cart, hanging up my name tag and charging my walkie-talkie until next year. I made it through my first summer with the title of "camp director". The days were hot and long and the nights were short and filled with 4am wake-up calls because kids were in need of meds. We had pool parties, a carnival, a scavenger hunt, a talent show and rounded out the week with a dance. There were screams coming from the giant swing, splashes coming from the pool and cheers coming from the dining hall. Aside from mealtime meds, 6am dialysis and a few wheelchairs- you would never know these kids are sick or only alive today because of a life-saving organ transplant. In my previous job, I saw our kids only when they were inpatient at their lowest low. Camp allows me to see them when they are living life to its fullest. It also serves as a reminder to myself in my own life. You see, it's very hard to have a pity party for yourself when I'm surrounded by kids with life-threatening illnesses and parents who see their children battle these diseases day in and day out when all they want to do is jump in the ring and fight for them. I see kids that have more medical knowledge than a second year med student and whose little bodies are pumped with hundreds of syllables of medication. Life is not fair and we were never promised that it would be. We were only promised that we wouldn't have to face it alone.  While we are still waiting for our joy to come in the morning, I can rest assured that we are one day closer today than we were yesterday. And while I know it's not going to be easy, I know it will be worth it.

I came across this devotional by Sarah Young on a friend's blog and the words provided much-needed nourishment to my soul:

"If you learn to trust Me - really trust Me - with your whole being, then nothing can separate you from My Peace. Everything you endure can be put to good use by allowing it to train you in trusting Me. This is how you foil the works of evil, growing in grace through the very adversity that was meant to harm you.

Beloved, it helps to have an eternal perspective. A large part of learning to trust Me is viewing your life through this big picture perspective. Your openness to accepting adversity as blessing shows that you are indeed learning to trust Me more. Your anticipation of good outcomes in the midst of hard times is a profound form of trust."