Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Recipe Club: Chicken Broccoli Braid


Today, I'm linking up with Andrea and sharing one of our favorite dinner recipes, Chicken Broccoli Braid!

Here's what you'll need:


2 cups of cooked, shredded chicken
1 red pepper, diced
1 (10oz) package of frozen, chopped broccoli - thawed and drained
2 cups of shredded cheddar
4-6 TBSP mayo
2 cans of crescent rolls
Salt, Pepper, Garlic, Italian Seasoning, Dill (I don't measure these, just a few dashes of each one does the trick!)
1 egg white


Here's what you'll do:

First up, press the seams together of your crescent rolls, but leave the ends free. (And yes, I cook in heels and a pearls, don't you?!! More like I had to get this dish made in record time before church and had to recruit the hubs as my photographer because I didn't have time to stop and take pics. #reallife)


Mix the chicken, cheese, broccoli, red pepper, mayo and seasonings together.


Then, just scoop the filling out and place it down the center of the crescents rolls.


To create the "braid", just alternate sides of the free ends across each other...



Once covered, roll and tuck both ends.


Voila! Before you pop it in the oven to bake, brush the egg white all over your braid. Sprinkle with garlic powder.


Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.


Slice it up and ENJOY!


One shortcut tip: you can cook your chicken to shred, buy a rotisserie chicken at your favorite grocery store and shred it, or buy a couple large cans of chicken drain and shred. All three options work great!

This is super easy to throw together for a busy weeknight dinner, and is a great dinner idea to wrap up and take to others!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Thursday Night Hockey Night!

On Thursday, we headed to Nashville right after work to catch the Predators game! I LOVE going to Preds games...they are so much fun! Before my brother in law came into the picture, hockey meant nothing to my family. His interest has rubbed off on all of us and now, it's a pretty big deal to us. Somehow Stephen and I have never been to a game together, not sure how we've managed that, but I know this will not be our last. 

Both of my nephews are big fans but Riley is ALL about hockey. In fact one of his first phrases when he started talking was "Hockey, Hockey, Hockey!!" Now he's almost 9 and Stephen and I found ourselves leaning over and asking him to clarify what certain penalties meant during the game. HA. 


These tickets were somewhat free. Back in the Winter, we had gotten tickets from my sister and brother and law for a Saturday night game. Only that night, ended up being the major ice storm that came through that morning. We all decided it was for safety's sake that we stay at home. The Preds honored all ticket holders that night who couldn't make the trip by giving TWO vouchers for a next season game for every ONE ticket you had. We had 4 tickets, so we should've gotten 8 vouchers but they gave my sister 10!! All for Thursday night AND SEVEN rows off the ice!

The Preds take care of their fans!

My sister, BIL and two nephews went along with myself, Stephen, our cousins Jared and Sammy and our friends Chad and Katey.


Each seat had a free "Stick it to Breast Cancer" pink t-shirt.

After a scoreless first period, the Preds scored THREE goals during the 2nd period! SO exciting!!

The boys hit up the concession stands during the intermissions. Churros and Popcorn for the win!


Also during the intermissions, the inside of Bridgestone Arena turned PINK! 

Chad and Katey are good friends of our ours who were married one year ago yesterday! (Happy 1st Mackie's!!) We also go to church together, so they've become buds with my sister and the boys as well.


Pink selfie with my favorite! I still CANNOT believe this was our first hockey game together! We've GOT to do this again and SOON!


More PINK selfies!


During the last period, the Ducks scored a goal and the Preds scored TWO MORE to win the game 5-1!! Which meant...Free Goo-Goo's AND Free Frosty's FOR ALL!!


Celebrating a WIN with the top stars of the game! Pekke Rinne, the Preds Goalie had an awesome game!


Riley and Colin caught up with our cousin Sammy after the game. This was Sammy's first hockey game. We told him, he lucked out seeing such a high-scoring game like that his first time. And whenever he comes to another one, he probably shouldn't expect that many goals. 5 goals is ALOT for a hockey score. 


Chad felt a hug was an appropriate "Thank You" to my sister for the free tix.


And last but not least, we ran into an old and VERY good friend! Patrick moved to Nashville a couple years ago to work as an EMT and since then we've not seen him very much at all between everyone's work schedules. He's the BIGGEST Preds fan I know, so after such a HUGE win, he was AMPED!

We spent a few minutes chatting and laughing as the arena cleared out and then during our walk back to our cars. Hopefully we all won't go that long before seeing each other again!!


We missed our regular Thursday night "Family Night" tradition at my parents' house, but this sure was an awesome alternative!!

Our weekend was incredibly BUSY with work, family reunion, church Halloween party and hayride, church, family lunch, and a few other things. I didn't take any pics; it was too much! Blogger fail, I know. But at least I documented our hockey night in all it's glory!!

Come back on Wednesday for Recipe Club linkup!! I'm sharing a Stafford house dinner favorite!

Friday, October 23, 2015

10 Ways to Survive the Work Day

Today’s post is a little different and basically stemmed from me catching myself one day at work saying the same thing multiple times to myself throughout the day.

My job isn’t necessarily hard, but it is stressful, constantly changing and demanding. Throughout the day, I find myself saying things like, “Background music makes this day better.” Or “I couldn’t make it through this day without her to vent to.” It all started with “I couldn’t make it through this day without…” or “______makes this day better”, and from those thoughts this post was born.


Then I started listing things out and it came to 10 and well, 10 makes a perfect list for me! Yes, I realize how self-centered this sounds, but such is the way I spend my Mondays – Fridays 7am – 3:30pm.

These are my 10 Ways to Survive a Work Day!! And yes, I use the word “survive”, it’s a strong word. Let’s be real, there are days that you just feel like you’re in pure survival mode while at work.

One.
Energy / Protein Packed Breakfast


I’m typically a morning person, but once I get to work and get settled in sometimes I immediately start to feel like I’m already dragging. To combat that, I toss a protein bar or greek yogurt cup in my lunch bag or whip up a smoothie before I leave our house. These really do the trick for me. They give me the energy I need while being SUPER healthy. PLUS, they keep me full until lunch time, which was always a problem for me. It’s so easy to snack the day away if you have desk job. Protein, protein, protein….curbs the snacking!!

Two.
Morning Chats With Co-Workers

I work with some of the best people you could ask for! Enjoying the people you work with certainly makes the days easier. I really look forward to our few minutes in the mornings when we play catch up and talk about what’s on tap for our day. And then in the afternoons, it’s usually time for a good venting session. A few minutes of venting to someone who knows what you’re going through can ease all the day’s tensions and stresses.

Three.
Pandora

I’m a music lover. I feel like I work better, concentrate better with background music. Plus, where my office is located, the  music muffles all the busy hallway traffic. My favorited channels on Pandora is quite the mix of music genres, but that’s perfectly me. My love for music is varied. My favorite Pandora channels range from: Pentatonix, to Maroon 5, Gene Kelly, ABBA, Sam Smith, Ben Rector, Eric Church, Oklahoma!, and Christmas music. Like I said, it’s varied. I’ve not started playing my Christmas channels yet….but I feel it coming on soon!

Four.
Lunch Break Reading Material

Most of the time during lunch, you’ll find me and two co-workers at our conference room table with our heads buried in our smart phones and/or tablets….and answering phones because the phones…they never stop! If I’m not catching up on Facebook or Instagram, I’m browsing Pinterest or Etsy on my tablet or flipping through pages of the latest issue of Good Housekeeping or Paula Deen Magazine. Having those few minutes to semi-escape work are definitely something I look forward to everyday!

Five.
Ice Water

I typically keep a Tervis glass full of ice water on my desk and sip on it throughout the day. Most days I have to refill at least once, sometimes twice. It keeps me alert and holds any dashes of hunger at bay. A friendly PSA: Behind Sonic, hospitals have the best ice!

Six.
Temp Control

Look, if I’m hot I feel sick. If I’m cold, I feel distracted. Optimal office temp is a Goldilocks complex for yours truly. It has to be juuuuuust right. So literally, I have a health-care grade heater under my desk at my feet and a small fan at my back. Some days I could leave the heater on all day. The fan….typically only runs for a couple hours in the summer and spring months to cut the humidity. Our little corner of the building gets stuffy during those times of the year. But these items have become something I depend on more than I realized. My previous heater broke into about 3,000 pieces last month, and I was miserable without it until the new one showed up. Comfort makes me a better worker!

Seven.
My Scentsy warmer and wax melts

This is two-fold. One, I just feel like scent welcomes people in and makes for a warm, calming environment. Two, I work with A LOT of men. Some of those men are smokers, and personally, I can’t stand the smell of smoke. This helps keep the smoky smell from lingering behind after they are gone…because really, that’s the worst.

Eight.
Emails from the besties

Occasionally, I’ll receive an email or two from one of my best friends during the day. And I’d be lying if I said, I wasn’t REALLY PUMPED when I saw their name pop up in the bottom right hand corner of my computer screen. Some days, these totally make my day! It may be a very detailed email about weekend plans or something simple and just a couple lines about a blog we read or something we saw on Facebook…whatever it is, it trumps all other emails in my inbox when it comes in!

Nine.
Texts from the hubs

There is no greater feeling than receiving a random text during the day asking how my day is going…just to know that he’s thinking about me. Puts a little smile on my face. (Which is quickly followed by the “what’s for dinner” text. Oh well, I’ll  take what I can get!)

Ten.
Erin Condren Life Planner

I’ve tried for YEARS to keep up with a planner, and have never, I repeat NEVER, stuck with one an entire year. We’re approaching November and I have used this puppy EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. (Except vacation, I had to draw the line somewhere, ha.) This little lovely is by my side all day every day and often tags along to meetings with me. I love having everything laid out for a quick look at what’s on the day’s schedule, bills for the week, menu for the week, painting orders for the week, etc. I keep our bills in the back folder and coupons in the back zipper pouch. I’d be lost without it at this point.


Those are my work day essentials!! What are your tips and tricks for the Monday – Friday survival? 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Silly String Weekends

Do you ever have weekends that at some point you say to yourself, “I’m kinda looking forward to Monday so things will slow down a bit.” That was my weekend. BUSY but packed full of fun!

We had promised our nephews a few weeks ago that they could spend a weekend night with us during their Fall Break, so Friday it was. We started by picking them up at a Basketball Camp they had attended all week. They had finished the week-long camp with an awards program, where both boys racked up in various categories.


Proud aunt bragging moment alert: Riley won THE TOP award of the WHOLE camp. “The Dr. Doom Award”! The man who ran the camp and other ball camps in the community for YEARS, his nickname has always been “Dr. Doom”, he has been a great influence for the kids who have gone through his programs and such a great coach and mentor. He is turning in his whistle and retiring, and this camp was his very last one to host. So, Riley won the very last Dr. Doom Award.


Before he called Riley’s name, he talked about how kids he had watched play and go through his camps who he’s given this award to before have gone on to play basketball in high school and even at the collegiate level. Now, we’ve all thought for a long time that Riley just has a natural instinct and ability for sports. He’s small in stature but he’s just good at whatever he plays. So for him to be recognized for his talent by someone who knows what they’re talking about….well, I’ll just say we’re all really proud of him and his hard work!


Going into the camp, Colin wasn’t 100% on board, but he had a great week too!


These two best buds have grown up together since their Infants Class at Daycare. Riley & Gernt go to different schools now, but they’re still together every chance they get. It’s been so fun watching these boys grow up. Gernt’s just part of our family at this point. He even calls my dad “Granddad”. AND side story, his mom is my OB doctor and is THE BEST. Just ask anybody from around here, they’ll tell you she’s the best.


They boys left with Stephen to pick up pizza for our dinner and I ran a couple errands. Once we all got home, we headed outside to play a “new, fun game”. (Several weeks ago, Stephen and I picked up some cans of silly string in the dollar aisle at Target; we just knew they would LOVE this.) We had them turn around and when I counted to 5, they were supposed to throw some leaves in the air and turn around. That would start the “game”.



No, that's not a Snapchat filter on my pic...that's silly string hanging perfectly from my eyelash. 


We had such a fun time with them!

We’re all going to a Preds game Thursday night (these boys ESPECIALLY Riley are HUGE Preds fans! He could tell you players, names, numbers and stats at age 3.) They wanted to make posters to take with us, so we worked on those while our pizzas were baking.



We ate pizza, watched Netflix, then each boy took a bath (aka bathtub dance party thanks to the music blasting through Bluetooth speakers in the bathroom that they requested). They’re only little once, right?


After baths, we watched the movie, “The Big Green” on Netflix. (I swear these two think Netflix is the coolest thing ever.) We snuggled, ate popcorn, and one little boy ate more candy bars from our Halloween candy bowl than Stephen and I realized.

They both read for a little while before it was lights out.


The next morning, I got up, ready and left before any of them were awake. Apparently from what I hear, the  boys got up on their own and quietly went to the living room just chilling until they heard Stephen get up. At that point, they went back to our bedroom and stood on either side of the door and scared the living daylights out of him when he opened the door. He got the boys ready and they all headed to a Men’s Breakfast at our church that morning.

Meanwhile, my friend Katie and I went to a crafts fair in Bell Buckle Saturday. We had such a great day! The weather was PERFECT, we browsed the booths, ate fried oreos, shared girl talk all day, and ended our day with a stop at a few other stores and Target in Murfreesboro on our way back. Such a fun day! I’ve been to this particular crafts fair for 4 or 5 years now and this year was BY FAR the most crowded I’ve ever seen it. The town basically shuts down for the third weekend in October. Families rent out their front yards for parking or booth set ups….it’s hard core, but I’m a sucker for it every year apparently.



And yes, Katie bought a large area rug and hauled it around like a boss. And  yes, that's a Sun Drop in some guy's back pocket. Because when in southern TN, Sun Drop is a way of life. 

Saturday night back home ended with Mexican food take-out, fresh sheets on the bed #amen, and a Hallmark movie. #mykindofnight


Did you see this one? I was sucked right in with it starring Ashley Williams (who I LOVE) and Joel from Parenthood. It was your typical Hallmark movie but with REALLY great stars!

Sunday after church and lunch at the Stafford compound (which I'm thinking my "Stafford Compound" terminology needs a post all on its own one day), we went home and I made a couple dishes to take to church dinner that night. (One of which will be shared next Wednesday for Recipe Club link up.) And that was our day and our weekend. Family, Friends, Food, Target and a Hallmark movie. Just the way I like it!!



Monday, October 19, 2015

Pancake Muffins

Happy Monday friends! Only 5 more days to the weekend!! We can do this!

Today I'm sharing a super easy breakfast item that I make occasionally (typically on Sunday mornings) when I want something quick, fresh and semi-homemade. These are super easy and super delicious!

Here's what you'll need:


1 cup of baking mix (Bisquik)
1 egg
1/2 cup of milk
1/4 cup of honey
Optional add-in: blueberries, chocolate chips, cinnamon sugar (which is what I use)

What you'll do:

Preheat oven to 350. Line muffin pan with liners. Whisk ingredients together, and fill liners 2/3 full.


If you're doing cinnamon sugar, sprinkle generously on top after you fill liners.


Bake for 15-17 minutes.


Top with syrup, powdered sugar, fresh fruit, jam...the possibilities are endless!

This recipe makes 9 muffins, but would be EASY peasy to double!

We have a few different holiday breakfast get-togethers coming up in the next couple of months, and I'll be whipping up a batch of these to take with us. I'm sure they'll be a crowd pleaser!!


These would also be great for Bridal or Baby Shower Brunches, a quick breakfast for kiddos at a sleepover, a good little treat to welcome new neighbors, I could go on and on. They're just so easy and handy!! Whip some up this week!