Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Close to Home~

In lieu of What's for Dinner Wednesday, I am asking for prayers for those in my home state effected by the storms today. Lives have been changed.  I know many were effected across the southeast today.

Psalm 46:1-3 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Difficult Days...

Sorry for the lack of posts.  Good intentions are sometimes side-tracked by God's plan.  I don't know if I have mentioned this or not, but I have gone back to teaching the "littles"...those I affectionately love and adore for their innocence.  I am a part of a CBS group in my area and am truly blessed to teach the young 2s every Wednesday.  Oh, to be young and innocent again?!!!   On top of that, my mother has been experiencing some painful side effects from a vein procedure and now may be facing treatments due to spinal degenerative disc disease. Life is unpredictable, but God is always in control and knows what is best.  If only we are willing to stop, be still, and listen.  I had hoped to be blogging on a regular basis this new year, but God has other plans.  And, truth be told...they come first and foremost!  Please pray for clarity as I teach the little ones each week, and pray for my mother and dad ( bless his heart he is at his wits end).  God is in control, and the plan has already been written.   We just need to just follow him.  Sometimes easier said then done!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What's for Dinner Wednesday~

Winter...cold, dry, dreary=Comfort Food!  And, what better than two cold weather favorites combined?  Chili and Mac-n-Cheese?

This recipe comes from the Best of Cooking Light 2013 magazine.

Chili-Cheese Mac

Hands-on time: 20 min.
Total time: 20 min.

1 tsp canola oil
3/4 lb ground round
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground corriander
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp chili powder
2 C fat-free, lower-sodium beef broth
1 C water
1 (10 oz) can mild diced tomatoes and green chiles, undrained
8 oz uncooked elbow macaroni
1/2 C fat-free milk
4 oz 1/3 -less-fat cream cheese
4.5 oz finely shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese


Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil. Add beef and next 4 ingredients (through chili powder); cook 3 minutes. Add broth, 1 cup water, and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Stir in macaroni; cover and cook 10 minutes or until macaroni is done.  Heat milk and cream cheese in a saucepan over medium high heart. Cook 4 minutes or until cheese melts, stirring frequently.  Remove from heat. Stir in cheddar.  Add cheese sauce to macaroni mixture; toss well to coat.

***side note-we found it to be a bit thin in consistency, so we put it in the oven for a few minutes to thicken up (worked like a charm).

It was delicious.  The green chiles give it just a bit of a kick.  Hubby and I reminisced and said it reminded us of a "healthier, grown-up version of Hamburger Helper"...LOL

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Weekend Projects~

Hope everyone enjoyed their long weekend.

We spent the weekend working on a few home projects.  If you read my last post, you know we spent a great deal of it shredding paper.  We actually have 3 huge trash bags full.  It is such a good feeling to clear out all that excess paper clutter.

Hubby installed a new toy (not really a toy, but for a guy who loves to cook and is constantly washing his hands between prepping different ingredients, it's a fun gadget).

We had an oil rubbed bronze faucet in our kitchen.  We were NOT happy with the way the finish was holding up to daily use (water, soap, etc).  In fact, the drain/strainers didn't have much bronze left on them.  We are slowly changing things over to stainless steel (most of our appliances are currently white-our home is 20 years old and that was the norm back then and even until recent years).

We chose the new Delta touch faucet, and couldn't be happier.  Love the hands free feature, no touching the handle with hands that have been working with raw meat, eggs and such. Just a touch of the elbow will do.

And, I love the way it looks.

The not so fun part of changing out the faucet.  I am blessed to have a hubby whose dad was a plumber by trade, so he can do all the work himself.  Let me tell ya, dismantling and reinstalling the garbage disposal is a bear!


And, another project I started and hope to share by week's end... (personally, I think I got the better end of the deal this weekend).

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Welcome to our weekend~

Yup, you guessed it...we are spending our weekend (or part of it) shredding!!  New year, time to go through all the old files, get rid of what is no longer needed and create files for new items.

It actually feels really good!  We already have one large black trash bag full!! 

Any fun plans this weekend???

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A little bit of Spring

The weather here lately has been so dreary!  The North Georgia mountains are expecting snow tonight, and we may wake to icy conditions on the roadways if the temps continue to fall.

While at Whole Foods picking up groceries for dinner, I spotted these beautiful white tulips.  A little bit of Spring in the midst of a rainy, cold winter day.  I love white flowers in the winter time, so crisp and clean.

Hope you are staying warm and dry in your neck of the woods!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

What's For Dinner Wednesday~

Chicken and Sausage

From Cooking Light Ultimate Chicken Cookbook.


2 tsp canola oil
6 oz reduced-fat smoked sausage, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4" slices
1/2 C chopped onion
1/2 C chopped celery
1/2 C chopped green bell pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 C uncooked long-grain white rice
1 C water
1/4 tsp ground red pepper (Cayenne)
1/8 tsp salt
6 fresh thyme sprigs
1 (14.5 oz) can fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
1 (14.5 oz) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
1 C shredded skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast


 Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add sausage; saute 1 minute or until browned. Add onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic; saute for 6 minutes or until tender. Add rice and the next 5 ingredients (through chicken broth); bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes or until rice is done. Remove thyme sprigs; discard. Stir in diced tomatoes and shredded chicken. Cook for 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Hands-on time: 20 min.     Total time 40 min.

Serves 4 (serving about 1 1/4 cups)
Calories 341; Fat 5.8g (sat 1.3g, mono 2g, poly 0.9g)
Protein 19.3g; Carb 50.6g, Fiber 2.8g; Chol 44mg
Iron 3.2 mg; Sodium 723mg; Calc 59mg

This was super simple to make and was delicious. Perfect for a winter meal.  Serve with a loaf of crusty french bread, or breadsticks brushed with melted butter and garlic sprinkled with a bit of parsley.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Unexpected~

Well, let's just say...when we dropped baby girl off at the airport last Monday, we knew we would not be seeing her until sometime in February.  We had had a wonderful Christmas break with she and her sister, and it was time for her to head back to the university.

Then...Tuesday rolled around.

Baby Girl flew back to the university a week early to participate in Rush Week.  They rush 2nd semester.  I received a text Tuesday evening letting me know how the 1st day had gone. Oh, and informing me that "most" moms attend Bid-Day for support.  What??? (she is in school 12 hours away). "Mom, don't feel obligated, we live 12 hours away"...

This mom has been at EVERYTHING that ever meant ANYTHING to both of my girls during their lifetime.  I was not going to miss this for anything.

So, I dropped everything (hubby, house still in disarray from the holidays, laundry, the dogs, you name it), and hopped on a flight Friday morning.

And, I am so thankful I did and God provided for me to do so.

I had the best time hanging out with her while awaiting the results, meeting other anxious girls and moms.

In the end, she received a bid to her 1st choice, and it was the perfect fit!  And, I will never forget the smile on her face.

So, for this mom, who has NEVER flown/traveled alone (rented a car, driven in a strange town by herself, stayed in a hotel alone) it was SO WORTH IT!!  While I was there for her, I too also got over my fear of doing things "alone".

All it took was giving things over to God, knowing I really wasn't going it alone, nor was she!

I hope to be back on a regular blogging schedule this week.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Word for 2013~Intentional

For the past several years, rather than write out a long list of resolutions that I know I most likely will not keep, I have chosen one word that I feel encompasses what I would like to accomplish or see in my life.

For 2011, I chose the word Simplify.  And, we did.  Quite a bit.  We rid our home of unnecessary objects, things that took up space, that we no longer used, loved or felt had a place in our current lives.  And, we continue to weed out every so often so that things don't get out of hand.  And, truth be feels REALLY good to give things that we are no longer in need of or using to charity.  Knowing someone else is maybe able to receive the things they NEED, but could not afford to go out and buy. (even if that someone is my child, the recent college graduate)

2012, I chose the word Quality.  This came after a year of simplifying.  We decided to chose quality over quantity, rather than several cheaper sweaters, in several different colors, all of which would shrink after a couple washings and sit in a 1 or 2 quality ones that would get worn repeatedly.  Our time with our girls is limited now that they are older, one on her own and working now and the other in college.  Making the time we spend together with them quality time, regardless of whether it is a text, 10 minute phone call, or a visit home.

This year's word...

Live life on purpose, with a meaning.  I recently studied the book "A Life God Rewards", something that stuck with me that was discussed amongst our group and in the series was, Living for the Line NOT the Dot!  That visual has stuck with me.  So many times we are caught up in the here and now and forget about the future, our eternal future.  So I am choosing this year to be more intentional, more deliberate.

Blessings to each of you in 2013!!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

What's For Dinner Wednesday~There's an App for that!

Okay, I know it is Thursday, but we did have this for dinner last Wednesday it is!

In case you missed yesterday's big news, I received an after Christmas present...a new frig.  We purchased the Samsung French door frig with the App screen.  While I am in heaven organizing the new fridge, hubby is in heaven playing with the apps.  He loves to cook, so it took him NO TIME at all to discover the Epicurious app.  In minutes, he found a fabulous chicken dish to prepare.  Search, pull it up, get ingredients, read preparation...done!  DELISH!!

The dish was amazing!  

What's for Dinner Wednesday will become a regular feature this year.  In hopes of blogging more frequently than in the past, I am trying to come up with set things to feature for each day of the week.  And, my blog will soon be getting an update courtesy of my sweet daughter Elie, Rich Taste & Vanilla Cake.  She is extremely talented!!  Happy 23rd Birthday Elie!!

Praying everyone's New Year is off to a great start!!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Clean Start=New Frig

Santa delivered a late present early this dream frig!  Yes, this girl gets excited over a refrigerator!!

I have been eyeing this baby for quite some time now.  Hubby laughs at me for getting excited about organizing a refrigerator.  We LOVE to cook, so having an organized frig is a MUST!!  And, truth be told...he has spent quite a bit of time today playing with the apps. LOL

It's a bit empty now, we held off on grocery shopping knowing we were going to be swapping out our old one.  Our 20 year old one that we installed when our house was built went to frig heaven, and the one we have been using up until today went to the basement.  I love having two...extra room for beverages and dishes during the holidays.

I am in love!!  I plan to purchase a few fridgemate containers to corral items and to keep them from slipping around.  But, for now...I am in HEAVEN!!

I love being able to sort our condiments in the individual bins, the cheese/wine/snack drawer is my favorite, and while we don't buy or freeze a lot of food (it is just hubby and I most of the time) I do love the deep drawer.

I make it a habit to clean our frig every Sunday afternoon prior to shopping for the week.  This helps us avoid purchasing items we already have, gets us to use what we have on hand, and things never get too out of hand!

January around here is always a month dedicated to reorganization.  I plan to share along the way.

Happy New Year everyone!!