Sunday, June 2, 2013

Super Easy Cobbler!

We had some friends over for a BBQ this evening and I whipped up this super tasty dessert in no time at all! Everyone loved it and it was gone within 5 minutes of bringing it out. Let me mind you that there were only 6 of us there at the time. The others missed out ;)

All you need is 3 SIMPLE ingredients. Sprite. Fruit. White Cake Mix.
First spray your 9 x 13 pan with Pam. Then pour your fresh and/or frozen fruit into the pan, just enough to cover the bottom. Add dry cake mix over the top.
 Slowly pour 12 oz of Sprite over the top. Do not stir.
Bake at 350 for 45-50 min. This is what it looks like when it is finished! Oh so yummy!
I think next time I'll either double the cake mix or put in less fruit. The batter/crust is my FAVORITE part! I think I'll also try peaches next! Eat warm by itself or add some yummy ice cream on top!

Here is the original recipe if you like to know the Weight Watchers points :) Enjoy!!
. . . . . . . . . .
Berry Cobbler
Source: srkautz
Servings: 16
Serving Size: 1/16th
Calories: 140.4
Fat: 2.9 g
Fiber: 1.3 g
Protein: 1.4 g
Old Points: 3 pt
Points+: 4 pts+
Two 12-oz bags frozen mixed berries/peaches
1 box white cake mix
Approximately 1 can of diet 7-up or other clear soda 
(might need more than 1 can of soda to avoid dry spots) 
Place frozen fruit in a 9x13 baking dish. Add dry cake mix over the top. Pour soda slowly over cake mix. DO NOT stir the cake mix and the soda  - this will give you a 'crust'. If you stir the two, you will have a cake like topping. 
Bake 350 for 45-50 min or longer until berries are cooked.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Parmesan Crusted Chicken

I came across THE yummiest chicken recipe! Seriously.. its so juicy, moist, tender and incredibly tasty. A must try! Here is all you need for this yummy meal.

Yep - just these 4-5 easy ingredients, that's all it takes to get moist, delicious Parmesan Crusted Chicken in well under 30 minutes.  Really!!

Parmesan Crusted Chicken

serves 4

Oven 425 degrees F

1/4 cup Real Mayonnaise
1/4 cup Sour Cream (or JUST use 1/2 cup Mayo, Sour cream or Greek yogurt)
1/4 cup powdered or shredded Parmesan cheese
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts cutlets or tenderloins
4 teaspoons Italian seasoned dry bread crumbs (I made my own by toasting 2 slices of wheat bread in the oven and pulsing it in my blendtec with Italian dry seasoning)

Place mayo, sour cream and cheese in a small bowl and mix. Lay chicken on baking sheet (I lined my baking sheet with foil to make clean up easy) and spread mayo mixture evenly on top each piece of chicken. Next evenly spread the breadcrumbs. About 1 tbs per breast.
Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked thoroughly and juices run clear.  I actually had to drain some juice half way through because they were practically swimming in it! The tops will be browned and chicken will be incredibly juicy.
Serve with a veggies and enjoy!

Memorial Weekend

This cute little guy is Buddy. He's been hopping around our complex for a couple months now. The kids LOVE him.. heck.. most of us loved him! He was fun to chase around and attempt to catch. He'd even play and chase with some of the neighbors dogs. Emberly LOVES "bunny hop" and we thought he'd be a permanent community bunny... until he started eating people's gardens. That's when we found out it was actually our neighbors bunny! They tried to get us to keep him and we were SO close to saying yes. Instead we found him a good home on my sister in law's father's farm! I sure hope he's loving it there. I may need to check in and get some pictures :) But anyway, our Memorial weekend started off with goodbye's to bunny hop. This photo is of our neighbor trying to convince us to keep Buddy. Emberly LOOOVED to finally get to hold him since he was nearly impossible to catch out in the open.
Emberly still asks about the bunny. She likes to tell me every day that bunny hops and that she got to hold it. Totally breaks my heart. Someday I hope we can have a big enough home/yard so she can have a bunny to hold again!
Monday morning my side of the family all gathered together and headed to Malad, Idaho to visit my grandparent's graves. It was a little too soon to see my grandma's name on the headstone. It felt like we were just there laying her down to rest. It still shocks me to think that she lived without the love of her life for 19 years before she was able to join him in Heaven. I'm sure it was a glorious reunion. I sure miss them xoxo

 This is us on the way to Malad. Super pumped and excited to drive 2 hours in the car.. ha
Grandma and Grandpa's tombstone.. with Grandma's info freshly engraved on it. After we visited the grave site and hunted for the oldest tombstone with my nieces, we headed to a park to have lunch then headed home for a BBQ at my parents. On the drive home Ian passed out on Emberly's car seat. Then soon after Emberly fell asleep too. It was too cute to not snap a photo!
The past week has been super rainy. Emberly didn't enjoy staying inside all day. After the storm cleared up we went to play outside yesterday. She and our neighbor would not stay away from this puddle of water. Ian kept chasing after her and dragging her away. Finally I convinced him that it was okay for her to play in dirty water. They LOVED IT and cried when it was time for a bath and bed. I'm glad we gave her the opportunity to get dirty and have fun. It was what I did all the time when I was younger.. so why can't she have the chance to do it now?! I love how her pants gradually fell down to her ankles. On top of being a twig... I guess the pants got a little water logged ;)

Magic Eraser can clean that?!

Our bathroom counter tops are seriously hideous. I have NO idea what the previous owners did to the poor things. There are rings and stains and rust all over them! We have tried EVERY cleaning product we could think of, but NOTHING took off these ugly stains. Well the other day I came across a blog post about the amazing things one little product could clean. That's when it happened.... I rediscovered the Magic Eraser and it has changed my life! I have no idea why I didn't familiarize myself with this product more.. I never really even TRIED to use it before.
Check out the things this bad boy has cleaned in my home!
Ian and I have been discussing buying new counter tops for the past 4 years! One evening Ian came home from work and his jaw dropped when he saw our "new" bathroom! It maybe took me 5-10 minutes to scrub each bathroom counter top. I got the select a size Magic Erasers and went through one little sponge per bathroom before it totally disintegrated. I hardly used any water too. Just sprayed a little here and there. I never soaked it unless I was rinsing out the sponge.
Another thing I tackled was our kitchen sink. In the drain there was a super nasty ring. I have tried to scrub it with other sponges and they did NOTHING. Check it out after using the Magic Eraser! It took off not only the nastiness in the drain but also took off grime and water spots. Look how much it shines!!
 I've tried it on a few other spots like our greasy oven hood. We usually just use a Clorox Wipe... which does NOTHING but smear the grease. The Magic Eraser took of the grease! Although it did crumble and disintegrate instantly while using it this time around.

I've also cleaned the inside of our back door. That door is so gross. I'm sad I didn't take a before and after. So many finger print stains and scuffs from moving things in and out of the house. Again, I've tired Clorox Wipes, which did nothing. Mr. Clean took it right off!

What Mr. Clean Magic Erasers Can Do:

  • remove dried paint from door hinges
  • remove tarnish from silver
  • remove mold & mildew from anything plastic
  • clean & polish gold jewelry
  • remove soap scum in the tub and shower
  • remove marks on walls
  • clean splatters inside the microwave
  • remove marks on vinyl siding
  • clean mirrors in the bathroom (keeps shower mirrors from fogging)
  • remove adhesive residue after removing stickers
  • remove waterline mark around the pool
  • remove hair dye from countertops & floors
  • clean light-colored suede
  • remove black scuff marks from baseboards (where the vacuum cleaner hits)
  • clean the outdoor side of window sills stained from leaves, dust and dirt
  • clean plastic coolers inside and out (…even dirty grimey ones used by men with greasy hands!)
  • remove rust spots & stains on countertop
  • remove cooked-on stains in pots and pans
  • remove soot off the walls near the fireplace
  • clean sticky/dusty range hood over the stove
  • remove nail polish spills or stains
  • clean airbake cookie sheets & bakeware (the kind with all those tiny grooves)
  • clean oven shelves & the grates on the grill
  • remove wet nose marks from pets on the windows (even car windows)
  • remove toothpaste splashes from bathroom mirrors
  • remove melted plastic on the side of the toaster oven
  • remove grimey green algae from cement (bird baths, steps, ponds, etc)
  • clean stained elbows from dirty work
  • remove green mildew from siding and gutters
  • remove paint spills & oversprays
  • clean algae buildup on the inside of your aquariums
  • remove built-up algae, water deposits, etc from ceramic flower pots
  • clean dish drainers that are gunked with lime and build-up
  • remove bird poop from concrete bird bath
  • remove coffee & tea stains that remain inside a mug, caraffe, thermos even after washing
  • clean the plastic agitator inside your washing machine
  • clean window screens (even when they are still in the window)
  • remove built-up baked on grease inside the deep fryer
  • clean inside the crock pot
  • remove melted plastic on a glass top stove
  • clean swimming pool steps
  • remove baked on brown spots on cookware
  • clean antiques & collectibles
  • clean & shine things up before you sell them in a yard sale
  • clean boat & outdoor furniture upholstery
  • clean vinyl striping on motorhomes, vans, boats
  • clean car tires, including white walls
  • clean pebbled surfaces like the outside of plastic coolers
  • remove pet & child vomit from carpet or clothing
  • remove scuff marks on motorcycle & ATV helmets
  • remove grass stains from shoes after mowing the lawn
  • remove scuff marks from hangers/shoes in the walk-in closet
  • clean oven door
  • remove pollen from patio furniture, cars, etc.
  • remove soap scum and gunk from around the bathroom faucets
  • remove hairspray build-up on countertops and vanities
  • remove soap scum inside porcelain & utility sinks
  • clean stained caulking along the kitchen sink & countertop
  • clean your bicycle, even the tires & rims
  • clean tile & grout
  • remove mildew from tents, vinyl canopies, awnings, fiberglass items
  • remove paint overspray that has dried
  • remove shoe marks from the kickplate of house doors & car doors
  • clean inside your car (along the handles, window ledge, arm rests, dashboard)
  • remove scuff marks and dirt from linoleum floors
  • remove stains on leather seats, purses, chairs, etc.
  • remove food stains inside plastic food containers
  • remove brake dust from tire rims
  • remove dirt and grime on a vinyl convertible top
  • remove nail polish from walls, carpets, wooden objects, plastic
  • remove soil or scuff marks from ceramic tile flooring
  • clean non-skid surfaces with tiny grooves (bathtub floors, refrigerator handles, cooler lids)
  • clean & shine bathroom faucets & fixtures
  • remove magic marker, permanent marker, and ballpoint ink from virtually any surface
  • clean doll faces
  • clean textured handles on major appliances (dishwasher, refrigerator, stove)
  • remove fingerprints and dirt on light-colored kitchen cupboards
  • clean inside of the refrigerator
  • remove crayon marks from walls
  • remove dirt from plastic trash cans
  • remove dark paint on light-colored carpet
  • clean soap scum and oils from hot tub
  • clean a car’s vinyl interior (gets into the tiny crinkles in the vinyl armrest, etc.)
  • clean white porch railings, columns & pillars
  • remove bugs from car windshield, grille, and bumper
  • remove paint scratches on your car from minor fender benders
  • remove rust and corrosion that’s built-up on the outside of pipes (kitchen/bathroom)
  • clean & shine hubcaps
  • remove built-up grime on the car steering wheel
  • remove finger prints & build-up on the keyboard and mouse
  • remove oxidized paint from an old car
  • remove built-up gunk from vinyl seats
  • remove tar from your car’s paint
  • remove set-in stains inside glass and plastic pitchers
  • remove scuff marks from the back of car seats (from kids’ shoes)
  • clean kids’ plastic toys
  • remove dirt and grime from athletic shoes and shoes with leather uppers
  • remove stains on the underside of the toilet seat
  • remove fingerprint & handprints from light-colored doors & walls
  • remove scuff marks from your patio furniture

Decorative Wall

For over the last 3 years I've been totally bugged by our long entry way wall. NOTHING seemed to fit on it or look right on it. I though the solution would be some cast iron decorative wall hanging. WRONG. Then I thought that maybe I'd print a HUGE panoramic canvas of my photography. NOT. Totally didn't happen, plus it would have looked weird. So... last year I decided to make an awesome decorative coat rack/shelf! I've seriously loved it! Now when clients come in, they can hang up their jackets and bags. It looks so nice too. But, sadly, for the life of me I cannot find the pictures I took while we were building it. So I apologize about that, but at least I have a pretty after shot for you! It's an awkward skinny hallway, so it was super hard to get a great shot.. and impossible to get a shot from straight on.

It was a pretty tough process for us because the studs weren't where we wanted to put the boards. If we did, it wouldn't have been evenly centered on our wall. Our solution for this was getting a large board of MDF and screw it on the wall into the studs. This way, we could screw anywhere on the wall and it would be secured to the MDF board. From there we had to do a crazy amount of math to make each board evenly spaced. We drew on the wall several times and somehow kept getting it wrong! :P But we finally managed to get it figured out!

If this is something you'd like to do, here are the supplies we got!
The boarder around the sides, top, bottom and center (going horizontally) are 5.5 inch boards. The vertical slats are 2.5 inches as well as the "shelf" up on the top. We got a 2 inch decorative trim to put under the shelf. We used drywall mud to fill in the screw holes and on the exposed side where all the wood was screwed to the wall. We also got our hooks from Homedepot but after the fact I saw that Target had some cuter ones that didn't stick out as long. So far there hasn't been an issue of anyone bumping into it or getting stuck to a hook.
I decorated it with some of my own art and our family photos. I think it turned out super cute and was JUST what this wall needed! We get so many compliments :)

And just in case you were wondering. Our wall is 9.625 feet long. From the floor to the top of the shelf our decorative wall piece is 70 inches tall.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Young Women Birthday Gifts

Every year as a YW presidency, we come up with a new birthday idea for the girls. They get two gifts from us. The girls get one gift at church where all the Young Women sing to her. Then the presidency goes to their home on their birthday and gives them a different gift. I thought I'd share what we gave them last year and this year!
Last year I came up with this cute fish birthday idea! I designed the little card and we put a handful of Sweetish Fish inside a little baggie and tied it with a red ribbon. I think it turned out super cute!

you are o"fish"ally the best
happy birthday!

 This year our new 1st counselor mentioned gumballs! So I searched the internet for a cute little saying to go with it. I found one and designed and printed out the cards. A big fancy blue bow completed the darling look!

Young Women value bubble gum just for YOU 
Happy Birthday

We sign the back of each card and sing them Happy Birthday on their front porch. If you're needing some new birthday ideas... there you go!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Healthy Macaroni & Cheese

I've tried several versions of Macaroni and Cheese... it usually calls for, you guess it... A LOT of cheese! This recpie totally impressed me. What's the main ingredient? BEANS! What a healthy version of Mac and Cheese and an easy way to get your kids to eat protein.

Macaroni and Cheese

1 1/2 cups noodles (any kind!)
1 cup skim milk
1/2 cup to One Can of navy beans, pinto beans, chickpeas, white beans, cannellini beans or great northern beans. (drained and pureed) Depending on how thick you'd like your sauce you can choose how many beans you'd like to puree. This time around I used the entire can. I ended up needing more milk to make it touch runnier. If you're unsure, start with 1/2 cup!
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (about an 8 ounce bag)
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp garlic salt
1/8 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the noodles and cook according to the package directions. Drain.
While noodles are boiling, combine milk and beans in a food processor  or blender (I used my awesome Blendtec!) until purred.
Coat large saucepan with cooking spray and set it over medium heat. Add bean mixture and stir until smooth. Add cheese and cook until melted and creamy. Stir in salt, garlic salt, paprika and pepper. Stir in noodles and serve warm.

Notice Emberly's super cute kitty plate from Target's $1 section :) She wanted ranch dressing right over the kitty's eye. My child loves ranch with ANYTHING.. but mostly just by itself ;)


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Crock Pot Cranberry Chicken

I got this extremely easy recipe from a friend and tweaked it just a touch. It is super yummy over rice with a side of veggies.

Crock Pot Cranberry Chicken
  • 4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 1 can Whole Berry Cranberry
  • Dry Onion Soup
  • 1/2 C. French Dressing (I used California French Dressing)

Put thawed chicken in crock pot and cover with Cranberry sauce and French Dressing. Sprinkle the Dry Onion Soup mix on top. Add in as much as you'd like! I'm not a huge onion fan, but you're welcome to put the entire soup package in. Stir well. Cook on high for 2 hours then shred chicken. Cook longer if needed. My crock pot cooks extremely fast! Tastes perfect over rice :) Enjoy!

Healthier No-Bake Cookies

These no-bake cookies are so yummy! I seriously can't stop eating them. It's a good thing they're a bit healthier than the normal no-bake cookies... and A LOT softer and chewier too! (plus their FULL of fiber)

Healthier No-Bake Cookies

1 cup peanut butter (crunchy or smooth! Sometimes adding more nuts is yummy!)
1/2 cup honey (I halved honey and agave nectar)
1/2 cup butter (I used I Can't Believe It's Not Butter. Another option is Coconut oil)
2 cups dry oats
1 C shredded coconut
1/4 C chopped walnuts
1 1/2 cups Carob Chips
1 t vanilla extract

Melt peanut butter, honey and butter over medium-low heat. Once melted, remove from heat or keep on low heat and add oats, shredded coconut, carob chips and vanilla. Stir until entirely melted. It takes a while for the carob chips to completely melt, but if it looks too think don't be afraid to add in more peanut butter, honey or agave!

Pour into a 9x13 pan and cool in the fridge. When it's set, cut into bars and enjoy. Store in the fridge. 

Unlike normal no-bake cookies, these bad boys stay chewy and soft. The only way to harden them is to keep them in the fridge (but they STILL stay soft!). We had some friends over for a BBQ this past weekend and I got a lot of compliments on the cookies. The first comment just about everyone said was "I hate how flaky or crumbly normal no-bake cookies are. I love how these are soft and chewy!!" To make them more finger accessible I used a scoop and put them on a cookie sheet. If you do this, lay them on wax paper!!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Fiesta Ranch Dip

I kid you not, this dip is the best dip you'll EVER have. I'm totally serious. When a friend of mine brought it over last year for a little bbq, my husband and I practically inhaled it! I made it for Emberly's first birthday and got so many compliments. Now, every time I make it for family dinner everyone hovers around the chip bowl and comments how gooood this dip is. Yesterday my Aunt and Grandparents joined us for our monthly Gailey family dinner. They HAD to know who made it and HOW to make it. Yes, it's THAT good.. and now I'll share how it's done!

At least one 16 oz tub of Sour Cream
4.25 oz can of chopped olives
4 oz can diced green chile peppers
Packet of Fiesta Ranch dip
Shredded cheese

If you'd like your dip FULL of flavor, use one 16 oz tub of sour cream. I typically use 1.5 to 2 tubs. There's no right or wrong amount of shredded cheese. Just keep stirring it in until it looks and tastes just right!
Not only tastes great as a chip dip, but also PERFECT for veggies!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Baked Popcorn Chicken

Toss out those unhealthy chicken nuggets and deep friend popcorn chicken! Try this super yummy, and much healthier version of popcorn chicken.

Baked Popcorn Chicken

  • Cooking Spray
  • 2 large egg whites or egg substitute
  • 2 Tbsp Spicy Brown mustard or Dijon mustard
  • 2 cups Panko Breadcrumbs or make your own!
  • 1 1/2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
Heat oven to 450 degrees. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg whites, mustard and salt. In a shallow bowl spread the breadcrumbs.

Add the chicken pieces to the egg mixture. Transfer chicken to breadcrumbs and coat thoroughly. Place breaded chicken pieces on the baking sheet. Arrange them closely, but not touching. When all of the chicken is on the baking sheet, spray them lightly with cooking spray.

Bake for 15 minutes, then use a spatula or tongs to flip the chicken pieces. Continue baking another 5-10 minutes until golden brown.

I made my own breadcrumbs by placing 4 slices of whole wheat bread in the oven as it preheated. When they started getting crispy I took them out and put them in my amazing Blendtec!

All in all, it was super yummy and I served it with green beans, homemade mac and cheese (I will have to post that one the next time I make it!), apples and oranges! Yum yum!

Racin' for Greyson!

Last Saturday Ian and I ran our first 5k together... with Emberly in the stroller. It was actually my very first 5k. I ran cross country and track in high school. My 3 mile time varied from 24-32 min... considering we sometimes ran in 115' weather, I didn't find my faster times too bad. But regardless... that was 10 years ago! I really haven't run that much since.
I heard about this charity 5k from my wonderful friend, Krista. She has a fabulous blog where she writes about her life with her 17 month old son, Mack, who in my mind is kicking kidney failure in the butt! Although that is an entirely different story in itself. So please, if interested, check out her blog! She is an excellent writer.

Now onto Racin' for Greyson! 

I've always wanted to run a 5k or a half marathon, but was didn't want to pay the money for it. Running for a cause was A LOT easier for me to drop a check than having it go towards another event the following year. The 5k was $20 a person and all the proceeds went towards 4 year old Greyson. He has a rare disease called Actin 1 Mutation that should have taken his life within 4 months of birth. It is extremely rare to see someone else with this disease because it usually takes their life early. But like Mack, he is kicking his disease in the butt and fighting for a brighter future xoxo
I'm proud to announce that running a 5k was WAY easier than I expected. I kept thinking to myself... why on earth was this so hard for me in high school!? And again I'm reminded about the ridiculous amount of heat that we dealt with in Bakersfield, CA. I finished the 5k (without walking! Only had to stop a few times to pick up our water bottle & jacket the kept falling out of the stroller) in 30:22! Ian finished slightly before me, pushing Emberly the entire time. He, of course, was embarrassed because he could have ran at least 10 min faster. It is SUPER hard for Ian and I to run, jog, or workout together. I'd love to have a leisurely jog with him, but to Ian, everything is a race. He doesn't know how to jog.. he just knows how to RUN. I was so proud of him to hold back and just enjoy the run together as a family :)
Here's us with Krista, Brent and Mack! I love this boy so much and I'm so inspired by the strength and courage that these sick/disabled children AND their parents have. Like my nephew with Down Syndrome, everyone I know that has a child with health issues/disability has an amazing support group. They all look out for each other and support one another. I seriously LOVE IT. It's like a special group that you wish you could be a part of, but as much as everyone in the group loves one another, they wish they weren't even in it. Thanks for telling us about the event guys! It was a great experience and I totally want to do it again! ♥

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Stiletto Cupcakes!

The 2013 Youth Theme for the LDS Church is "Sand Ye In Holy Places"
Doctrine and Covenants 87:Wherefore, stand ye in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come; for behold, it cometh quickly, saith the Lord. Amen.
To go along with this years theme, our joint Young Women Mutual activity was to make some super cute stiletto cupcakes! I've been in the YW Secretary for a little over a year now and totally love these girls! It was so much fun to see all of the girls stilettos come together... or not come together ;)

Here are the easy steps! Frost 2 cupcakes. Decorate top by dipping the cupcake into a bowl of sprinkles and/or colored sugar. Dip Milano cookie (or wafer) in melted white chocolate. Pipe edges with frosting (we just used a lunch bag and cut a hole in it). Press frosting edges into sprinkles or colored sugar. Cut Pirouette in half diagonally. Cut a slit into the cupcake and press in Milano. Glue Pirouette to the Milano with melted white chocolate and you're done! No, mine is not a perfect masterpiece, but it sure does look cute! If you want to see PERFECT cupcakes, check out this link!

Did you know you can make your own colored sugar? I had NO idea before this activity! Just put sugar in a bag, drop a few drips of food coloring, and smoosh around until the sugar absorbs all the color!

And here are the cute cupcakes the young women made!!

Krista is in YW with me, she is a Laurel adviser. I love having a close friend in there with me! These are our cupcakes :)