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Friday Faves

Some of my favorite things from this past week…

Fave Read: I finally finished the second book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series (what the Game of Thrones TV show is based on), which took forever since it was a whopping 700+ pages. So this week I started something new – And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini. I love love loved his previous books (The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns), so I’m excited to dig into his latest one.

Fave TV show: We’ve been binge-watching Netflix’s House of Cards this week. And perfect timing, since season 2 premieres today. About a South Carolina congressman, this show is intriguing and addictive. And I’m a fan of pretty much anything director David Fincher touches.

Fave Treat: Since we’ve been snowed iced in for the past few days thanks to winter storm Pax, I decided we needed some kind of yummy dessert to snack on. I had some cake mix in the pantry that was about to go out of date, so I whipped up some of these cake mix cookies. I used white cake mix instead of strawberry. but a dash of red sprinkles added some sweet Valentine’s charm.

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Fave Link: This girl – always nails it. Loved her post about how single parents are awe-inspring and admirable and such warriors. Especially since having Weston, I definitely applaud those who do this parenting thing on their own. This Valentine’s holiday is a great time to remember that real love isn’t picture-perfect and tidy and easy…it’s tough and it can be exhausting. It means putting others before ourselves, which isn’t usually comfortable. And whether that love is through parenthood or marriage or family or friendship, it’s not easy, but the most important things in life usually aren’t.

Fave Instagram: Our house, during this snowstorm craziness. (Photo edited using the Waterlogue app….with which I’m obsessed).

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Here’s to warmer temps hopefully arriving soon. Wishing you a restful and happy weekend!

Recipe: Chicken Enchiladas

So I am trying to branch out and cook more than the same few meals over and over (my hubby is very easy to please when it comes to dinner…he’d be perfectly fine with two hot pockets every night, bless him…but even he gets tired of the same ol’ spaghetti and tacos).

My goal lately has been to cook at least one new recipe a week. That doesn’t always work out, and we still end up ordering from 256-ToGo a little too often (this company is uh-mazing and you should totally check it out if you haven’t heard of it…they deliver food from tons of restaurants around Columbia that don’t typically deliver), but we’re making progress.

Restaurant delivery and takeout can get both unhealthy and expensive, so that’s where this new dinner recipe search comes in. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m all about finding recipes that are as easy as possible. The cooking gene must have skipped right over me, because my mom and grandmother are both fabulous cooks, but for the life of me I can’t even remember how many ounces are in a cup. Seriously…my lack of kitchen prowess is sad, y’all.

I came across this recipe for low-fat chicken enchiladas and modified it a bit, based on what we had in the pantry and our own personal preferences. Below is the recipe I used. These enchiladas turned out pretty yummy and are almost impossible to mess up. Hooray for adding to my slowly growing rotation of recipes.

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Ingredients:

  • 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded*
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 8 whole wheat flour tortillas
  • 1 can enchilada sauce

*I just recently started putting raw chicken in the crock-pot as soon as I get home from the grocery store. Cover it with water, let it cook for 4 hours on high, and then you have already cooked chicken to use in recipes later in the week!

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • In a medium skillet, combine chicken, cumin, oregano, chili powder, chicken broth, and tomato sauce. Cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • Spray a 13 x 9 glass baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Place some of the chicken mixture into each tortilla, rolling each one and placing them seam side down in the dish. (I just eyeballed the amount of chicken mixture to place in each tortilla, trying to make it an even amount in each one).
  • Top the tortillas with enchilada sauce (and cheese if you’d like).
  • Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes.

Enjoy! :)

What’s your favorite easy dinner recipe? 

Friday Faves

(I’m writing this “Friday Faves” post even though it’s technically now Saturday and no longer Friday…oops).

Some things I’m currently loving…

1. Fave Pretty Thing – I stumbled across the etsy shop Ivy Lane Accessories this week and am so obsessed with these gorgeous post earrings. I’ll definitely be ordering some, not only because they’re so adorable, but because little baby fingers can’t grab them and inflict all kinds of pain on my earlobes. :)

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2. Fave Treat – I made this Valentine’s snack mix a couple weeks ago and am still making more batches. It’s more of a dessert than a healthy snack (peanuts, dark chocolate m&ms, and marshmallows), but it’s a perfect mix of sweet and salty and festive Valentine color…and it just makes me happy.

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3. Fave Read – I’m reading Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxenreider and loving all of her wisdom about simple living — what it means, why it matters, and how to get there. (I wrote this post about her new book, Notes From a Blue Bike).

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4. Fave Instagram – Family selfie on the floor during play time.

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5. Fave Entertainment – We watched the movie Enough Said this past week and really enjoyed it. Since having Weston, we haven’t really watched that many movies; it’s easier to just watch TV shows since they come in smaller time segments. But we’re trying to get back into watching more movies, and this one did not disappoint…funny and sweet and sentimental of course since James Gandolfini recently passed. Worth the time to watch, for sure.

Happy Weekend!

 

 

Being Intentional & Simplifying in 2014

This post is part of the Blue Bike Blog Tour. Tsh Oxenreider (from The Art of Simple) has a new book out, Notes From a Blue Bike. As part of her book launch, she’s invited readers to share posts about their own journeys toward living slower, simpler, and with more intention.

My “theme word” for 2014 is intentional. I love making goals and resolutions, and I can go a little overboard with way too many goals at a time, so it helps to narrow my focus to one or two key words. I chose “intentional” for this year because it’s so easy to go through my days and feel like I’m just letting life happen instead of consciously making choices that match my values or actively choosing the way I want my life to be. Since Tsh’s new book is all about living more intentionally, I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy and get some fresh inspiration.

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I thought I’d share a few areas of my life in which I’m striving to be more intentional this year…

  • Time – There are a lot of changes I want to make with how purposefully I spend my time, from little things like not wasting all of my spare minutes scrolling through various social media, to bigger things like how we spend our evening hours together as a family. With my husband’s new job, we have less time at home together (he was working from home a lot before), so we’re trying to make better choices with how we spend our time together at night. We both feed Weston dinner and give him his bath, so it’s nice to have those family rituals each evening. But we’re also working on healthier boundaries with technology — not being glued to our various devices but making the time for more conversation and more meaningful time together. For example, if we feel like watching TV, we try to choose a show we both really like and enjoy it together without other distractions instead of just leaving the TV on as background noise while we do other stuff. I also want to use the time I spend feeding my son more intentionally — I nurse Weston six times a day, so that’s a huge chunk of time that I could be using more wisely – by just slowing down and resting, or reading something I actually want to read, instead of playing around on my phone or checking email repeatedly while I’m feeding him.
  • Friendships — I want to be more intentional with putting in the effort and time to build new relationships as well as being consistent in connecting with the friends I already have. Things like regular phone dates with out-of-town friends and showing up to play dates where I can meet and get to know neighbors and other mom friends (Weston and I recently joined two play groups — one in our neighborhood and one for moms in the northeast Columbia area — which we’re really excited about :)) So often friendships get put on the back-burner when we think we’re too busy to really invest time in other people, but I want to prioritize relationships more this year.
  • Our Home — I didn’t realize how cluttered our little house had gotten until all the baby items came along and we realized we have nowhere to store it all! It’s pretty embarrassing how cluttered some areas of our home are, and a shame that we can’t even use some rooms/closets because they’re just overflowing with STUFF that we don’t even use. Areas like our office, office closet, bedroom closet, and pantry need a major overhaul. My goal is to simplify, take A LOT of stuff to Goodwill, and have room for the things in our house we actually use and love.
  • Filling my cup — Motherhood is the most rewarding and joyful experience, but it requires a constant giving of yourself and your time and your energy, and that’s not always easy. I’m learning to be less selfish with my own plans and wants, but I’ve found that I need to carve out at least some time each day to do things I love, like reading a little bit before bed each night, even if it’s only a page. Or setting aside just a few minutes here and there to be creative, like working on a digital photo book project or blogging after Weston goes to sleep at night. When I don’t make time for “filling my cup” with some of these things that reenergize me, I feel drained and not myself. And when I’m not making regular time for things just for me, I’m much more prone to getting impatient and frustrated throughout the day.

Do you have a theme word for 2014? How are you hoping to live differently this year? I’d love to hear. :)