Nov 26, 2008

Easy Recipes

'Tis the season for cooking and I really am not a person who loves to cook. I can cook pretty well, but that doesn't mean I love it. Usually it's a meal that I can throw together fast and if it has few ingrediants the better. Here are some of my go-to favorites. Company meals that get raved over and take less than an hour.

1 pkg. cream cheese
1 jar of salsa (I use a regular sized jar of Pace)
4 chicken breasts (cubed)
grated cheddar cheese

Cube the chicken and cook in a skillet. When completely cooked, put the package of cream cheese in the skillet and melt it so that it covers all the chicken. Pour half the jar of salsa into the skillet and mix it together. Spoon into the center of tortillas and roll up. Place in a greased casserole pan and pour the other half of salsa over the top. Sprinkle generously with cheddar cheese. Cover with tin foil and cook for 20 minutes at 375. You can uncover the last 5 minutes if you want the cheese a bit browned.

1 can of artichoke hearts
1 cup of mayonaise
1 cup of fresh grated parmesan cheese (I cheat and buy the bagged kind)
garlic powder
4 chicken breasts

Dice the artichokes and mix with mayo, cheese and add a generous amount of garlic powder. Spoon over chicken and coat completely with mixture. Bake in a pan for the usual amount of time you make chicken breasts (maybe 30 minutes at 375) Done! It's tasty, nobody ever guesses that there is mayo in it, and it's favorite at our house.

This next one isn't a company meal, but if you are seriously looking for something filling that takes 10 minutes and doesn't look like it's a TV meal, here ya go:
1 can of chili
1 can of black beans
1 can of kidney beans
1 can of diced tomatoes
onion (chopped)
cumin seasoning
chili powder
Peppercini's (diced and optional)

Dice your onion and brown in the bottom of a pan with peppercinis (if you want a little kick). Open and dump in your cans. Add the cumin and chili powder. Simmer for a few minutes (cook until boiling at least). And done. People have asked me how I managed to make home-made chili. It literally only takes me ten minutes. I put some French bread with it, and there's dinner on the fly.

A long family favorite, I can make this now with my eyes closed almost:
4 chicken breasts (cubed and cooked)
1 can of cream of chicken soup
1 container of sour cream (small)
Ritz crackers
Butter (melted)
poppy seeds

Cube and cook chicken in a skillet. Mix the soup and sour cream (about a 50/50 combo). Mix the chicken and mixture and pour into a casserole dish. Mash up Ritz crackers and put a nice layer over the top. Drizzle melted butter over the crackers. Scatter poppy seeds over the top. Cook for 20 minutes at 375 uncovered (top layer get browned and little crunchy). Enjoy!

And a new one I just got from my Aunt which is also great and fast:
3 boneless chicken breats chunked
1 16 oz can diced tomatoes
2 cups shredded motzerella cheese (divided)
1 cup water
1 pkg stove top stuffing for chicken
Seasonings: garlic salt, oregano, basil, pepper

Put chunked chicken in greased casserole dish, season with seasonings. Mix the other ingrediants and more seasonings in a bowl. Cover chicken with mixture and top with the other half of the cheese (lots). Bake at 400 for 30-45 minutes or until chicken is done and cheese is crusty. Serve with dry or grated fresh parmessan. Yummy!

Nov 22, 2008


I can't tell you how proud I am today of my community and church!
I have written on here before how I wanted to start visiting a convalescent home in our community once a month, and so I contacted a small home, and have been taking my kids there. I also asked if others in our church could visit with me since it's a block away and in the community. What I love about our church is that they are very community service oriented. So, my little idea really blossomed! Today over 70 people turned out for a work day to paint all the trim on the home, and do yardwork (weed, prune, plant, spread bark, etc.) We transformed the place and the people who owned this little home were just in awe and said that they really needed something like this. They have been so discouraged lately I guess. The state has not paid them for four months and they are behind, and the place has been getting worn down. The kids painted bright pictures for the walls in Sunday School, and several people are interested in visiting on a regular basis. We want to keep helping them out. We also work in the local elementary school a block away (mentoring, Saturday sports, etc.). Our church is right next to a Christian college (Fresno Pacific), and today the whole guys soccer team showed up for a couple hours and helped paint and weed! Amazing! Like I said, I am so proud of my community and group of people coming together. It was a great day working side by side with others and doing something good for the community. I brought the kids and they ran around alternately helping me weed and looking at large beetles on the tree. Hunter even tried helping Daddy up on the ladder paint trim. A lovely, lovely day! The energy and excitement was contagious!

Nov 20, 2008

Nerd Alert!

He dressed himself this morning.

These pictures aren't nerdy, they're sweet. Yesterday Daddy was reading to Sissy and then Hunter joined in. She loves her books. Actually, she screams bloody murder if I turn her down for a book reading session. She alwasy sucks her thumb and points while I read.

Nov 13, 2008

Snow Days

Our good friends, Tommy and Heather called us and wanted to spend Veteran's Day and weekend at our house, and then go up to a favorite stomping ground, Hume Lake (a little more than an hour's drive from our house). It was cold, but we stayed in the very nice new lodge that they built and we enjoyed hanging out with friends, and their new baby, Maddy.
Here's Hunter on the way. We got a kick out of the way he wore his hat with his sunglasses.
Ainsley just looking cute outside the lodge. On the way home, we found a jeep trail on top of the mountain overlooking Hume Lake. Hunter was dying to see snow, so we took it to the top of the mountain and looked down over the lake. Hunter had a great time in the few inches that there was up there.
His favorite game was pelting Mommy with snowballs. It wasn't mine.
Snowball fight! Hunter told Daddy to hold still so that he could hit him. I think he is missing the whole point.
Daddy and the kids built a snowman. It wasn't that cold up there, so gloves were optional.

Of course our eating champ had to tasted the snow, and then she decided it was pretty good and kept getting chunks to suck on.
Family shot overlooking the lake down below.

Another shot with the mountains behind us. I wish I had known that the camera pic quality was put on low for etsy pictures. Therefore, this picture isn't that great zoomed in. Bummer.

Nov 2, 2008

I have found a cause!

I have found a cause that I can get behind and donate 10% of my sales from my boutique to.

It's called Blood:Water Mission.

From their own site I quote:
"This, then, is the Blood:Water Mission, committed to clean blood and clean water to fight the HIV/AIDS pandemic, to build clean wells in Africa, to support medical facilities caring for the sick, to make a lasting impact in the fight against poverty, injustice and oppression in Africa through the linking of needs, talents and continents, of people and resources. "

It's a fabulous organization supported by many other organizations working together.

Started by Dan Hasseltine the lead singer of Jars of Clay who visited Africa in 2002, he came back with a vision for clean blood and clean water in Africa -- blood free of the HIV virus and water free of parasites and bacteria that cause AIDS patients and others undue suffering. He and his band mates envisioned this orphaned continent to be transformed through the installation of Christ's sacrificial symbols of blood and water.

Did you know $1 can give one African clean water for a year? I didn't. So while my shop is small, small gifts make a big difference!

This story of Mary Adhiambo really broke my heart, made me see what a difference a well can make, and helped me see the hope there is. Read it here:

Some people who support Blood:Water Mission are
Bono from U2, Donald Miller author of Blue Like Jazz, and Gary Haugen from International Justice Mission

I am exited to get on board in my small way and not just throw up my hands calling the job too big.

Donald Miller says this about it:
"The crisis in Africa is difficult to translate to those of us living in the states. Our hearts do not know where to begin. Of the greatest accomplishments of Bloodwater Mission has been their ability to sort through the chaos to match provision with need. Clean water prevents many diseases that can prove fatal to a person suffering from AIDS. Clean water, then, guards clean blood. The simple gift of a dollar provides invaluable clean water for one African for One year. Our calling, then, is to give from our undeserved provision into their undeserved need. In doing so, we participate in the search and rescue mission God is orchestrating in this fallen world."