Monday, July 25, 2016

Recipe Share: BBQ Chicken and Black Bean Burrito

Sometimes I just want something different for lunch. A salad or sandwich isn't cutting it. This recipe I found in my Jillan Michaels' DVD program is awesome. It's super tasty, heatlhy, filling, and hits the spot every time.
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
1/8 C. chopped white or yellow onion
1 garlic clove, minced
2 Tbsp. barbeque sauce
1/4 C. black beans, drained
2 Tbsp. shredded cheddar cheese (reduced fat is a good option if you're watching fat intake)
whole grain tortilla (I like the Guerrero brand)
1-2 Tbsp. low fat sour cream
sliced red onion, sliced tomato, green leaf lettuce, and cilantro for toppings

Heat oil in a nonstick skillet mover medium heat. Add chicken, onion, garlic, and cook for 8 minutes or until chicken is done, stirring constantly. Stir in barbeque sauce and beans, and cook for 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Warm tortilla according to package directions. (I like to wrap my tortilla in a damp paper towel and warm it for 15 seconds or so in the microwave.) Spoon chicken mixture down the center of your tortilla. Top with red onion, tomato, lettuce, cheddar cheese, and cilantro. Roll up and enjoy! Yummy!!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Gallery walls in our front room.

My family moved back to AZ a year ago. One thing I love about moving (and probably the only thing I love) is getting to decorate a new space. In our front room we have a long blank wall, and above our couch, we have another blank wall. I wanted to do a floor to ceiling gallery wall on one and a simple gallery above the couch. I went to Hobby Lobby and found a few great items.
 How great is this?? I fell in love with it.
 Letters for each of our kids' first names and a "W" for our last name. (Sidenote: Our kids names are Cohen, Ren, and Avery. I always thought I'd have another girl and wanted to name her Paige. But then my husband pointed out that we'd have C,R,A,P then! Haha.
I got a new rug, lamps, and a few new pillows for our front room from Target.
And here's the gallery I came up with for above our couch.
 I took the pics of the seagull and palm trees myself and framed them with frames I got at Walmart. The @ sign is one I bought at Target in their craft section. I spray painted it white and hung it up with those great velcro command strips.
 Isn't it soothing? I love lying on that couch and just staring up at it. (Until my kids realize where I am, and they dog pile me or scream for a gogurt. It really is peaceful while it lasts though.)
 And on the long entry wall, here's what I've come up with so far. It's a work in progress. I really would like to add to it 'til it's floor to ceiling, but I am at a stand still for now.
 The frames and accessories are from all different places: Target, Walmart, Ikea, Hobby Lobby.. and some of the pictures were professionally taken, while others I took myself. I love this particular spot I have my parents' wedding photo in. They looked so classy and happy. I love it.
 Don't mind our Elf on the Shelf. He just hung out in our "W" for the day.
A dear friend of mine made that awesome "Wallace" wood board. It's my newest addition to the wall, and I adore it.
Now that our kids will be going back to school soon, I'm starting to daydream about finishing my wall gallery... and maybe even doing something with my wall above my dining room table. We'll see..

Friday, July 22, 2016

I feel like salad.

I've been on a salad kick lately. I found these Skinny Girl brand salad dressings at Walmart, and I love them. They are fat free/sugar free, and they are quite tasty.
I feel like a good yummy salad will have a few qualities --
1. A mix of textures
2. A variety of flavors that go well together (for example, fruit, nuts, and cheeses go well together)
and 3. Lots of color!

It's so true that we eat with our eyes first. When I look down at a pretty salad, I am so much more excited to eat it!

I try to have my pantry and fridge packed well with things I know I like in salads -- a variety of fruits (fresh and dried), veggies, proteins, greens, nuts, crunchy foods like chow mein noodles and tortilla chips, cheeses, and dressings.

Here are some salads I've enjoyed.. I hope they inspire you to make a salad for yourself soon. They really are so tasty and satisfying. And I have to say that I always feel great about my day when I know I've had 2-5 servings of fruits/veggies in just one meal!

Spring Mix salad with raspberries, feta cheese, pecans, craisins, and poppy seed dressing:
Spinach, gala apples, pecans, blue cheese, craisins, and balsamic vinaigrette:
Green leaf lettuce, hard boiled egg, black beans, tomato, red onion, cilantro, tortilla chips, and light ranch dressing:
Spinach, blueberries, pecans, mandarin oranges, feta cheese, green onion, and poppy seed dressing:
Spring Mix, roasted butternut squash, tomato, bacon, green onion, blue cheese, and light blue cheese dressing:
Spinach, red onion, orange segments, beets (I just buy canned beets, but you could roast them, too), pecans, goat cheese, and poppy seed dressing:
Broccoli slaw, craisins, mandarin oranges, pecans, chow mein noodles, and poppy seed dressing:
Spring Mix, rotisserie chicken, yellow and red grape tomatoes, nectarines, blue cheese, sugar snap peas, and balsamic vinaigrette:
Spring Mix, carrot (I used my peeler to peel carrot strips), grape tomatoes, red onion, blue cheese, and mixture of light catalina and light blue cheese dressing:
Spring Mix, mandarin oranges, strawberries, pecans, craisins, feta cheese, and poppy seed dressing:
Fat free refried beans warmed in bottom of bowl, green leaf lettuce, green onion, tomato, purple onion, cilantro, tortilla chips, and light ranch dressing:
Green leaf lettuce, mandarin oranges, steak (I marinated it before cooking it), chow mein noodles:
Spring Mix, green apple, red grapes, almonds, dried cantaloupe, blue cheese, and balsamic vinaigrette:
And now my mouth is watering and I want a salad!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Avery's 5 birthday party - Rapunzel style.

It took Avery girl awhile to decide what kind of birthday party she wanted to do this year. We do parties every other year with friends (and parties with family only the other years). She was so excited to celebrate with friends this year. She went from a dance party theme, to a Build-a-Bear party theme, to a Peter Piper party, etc. She finally decided she wanted to do a party at the same gymnastics place that her brother had his party at. I was excited about this idea, because Ren's party was really great there, and I knew what to expect doing another party there.

My sis, Jaime, designed the invites, which I simply texted to all the kiddos. I love that it is pretty and pastel and I love the fonts she used. The invite inspired me as I went ahead and designed the rest of the party.
The first thing I did was get the items we'd need for party favors. Thankfully, Target had everything we needed and in all the right colors. We ended up getting little tiaras, pink chocolate kisses, yellow gumballs, and adorable purple and pink ice cream cone lip glosses for the girls.
For the boys, Ren helped me choose green gumballs, blue chocolate kisses, little cars, and yo-yo's.
I simply put all the items in cellophane bags and tied them up with cute matching twine. Jaime designed the favor tags. I loved using the "Best. Day. Ever." quote from Tangled.
How adorable is Pascal?!
I bought this cute little basket in the dollar section at Target. If you have yet to make friends with Target's dollar section, I highly recommend it. I find all sorts of great items there all the time -- wrapping paper, twine, cute little buckets, magnetic shopping list paper, small activity books for the kids to do during church or on long car rides. It really has great finds. I found many cute items there for my recent teacher appreciation gifts I put together, too!
I also found these adorable tall skinny candles for the cake at Target. I thought I'd use the pink and purple ones and save the blue and yellow ones for another party down the road.
After Target, we stopped at Michael's, another store I love. They have a great section there with party items by color.. you all know how much I love to coordinate things by color... And there, I found these awesome honeycomb toothpicks in pastel purple. Love!! I thought they'd be fun for the kids to use to eat their fruit with.
Avery and Ren.. I turned around for a minute at Michael's and they came up to me giggling wearing these. Haha! They crack me up.
This wrapping paper I found in that same section. I loved it and thought it'd be great as a table runner.
I found pretty sparkled yellow utensils and yellow plates and napkins at Target, too.
Here are most of the items I planned to use on the food table. The purple lanterns and scalloped edge cake tray are from Hobby Lobby. The purple goblet is from Walmart. It's from the Pioneer Woman's (Ree Drummond's) line.
I decided to make a layered cake for the party. It was my first time making a layered cake. I was really nervous about it, and I had to call/text my sister like 50 times for moral support. Lol! She makes layered cakes a lot, and these are her cake pans. She gave me a lot of tips and helpful suggestions.

My kids are allergic to eggs and nuts, so I made an egg free vanilla cake and then added food coloring to the batter to make a yellow, light pink, dark pink, light purple, and dark purple layer. I used a Chef Chloe recipe. She also has a delicious egg free chocolate cake that my kids love.
This is what the cake looked like after I layered them up with frosting in between each layer.
Then it was on to the really fun part, the frosting of the cake and the decorating! I fell in love with this Rapunzel doll set at the Disney Store at Disneyland months ago when we were there. When Avery decided to do this party, I knew I wanted to get that doll for the cake! I went to the closest Disney Store in town and found the set. Isn't it so, so precious?! At first I wanted to stand her up, but she kept falling over.
So, then I sat her down, and I liked how that looked.
I added Pascal from the set to the cake, and it was looking great! Avery was so excited when she saw it!
I bought these flowers from Fry's for the table and the cake.
Jaime gave me the idea of putting the little yellow flowers in Rapunzel's hair. I absolutely loved how that looked! Then I added a few purple flowers to her side, and it was done!
I seriously loved how it turned out. Simple, yet beautiful and whimsical too.
I decided I wanted to make braided breadsticks for the party. Since we were planning to order pizza, I thought they'd be a good side dish, and of course, they were great for the Rapunzel theme, since they looked like her long braided hair.

I just bought a few cans of pizza dough, rolled it out, cut it into strips and braided the dough. I baked them until browning on top and then brushed them with garlic butter (melted butter with garlic salt mixed into it). My kids loved them so much, they ate a ton of them the night before the party, so I had to make more the next day.
I like to stage the table before I get to the venue. That way I know what I'm doing when I get there. I knew the approximate size of the table they were going to have at the gymnastics place, and luckily I had that same size table.
I found a few cute pictures of Rapunzel online that I printed out and framed. This one of Flynn and Rapunzel was so adorable.
I made purple and yellow jello in cups. Jello is always a fun party food, as most kids love it, and it can be cut into fun jiggler shapes. And also, it adds great color.
The other pic I found online of Rapunzel painting the floating lights. So pretty. I bought this wood tray at Walmart.
Then it was time for the party that afternoon. I asked a friend to come help me set up. We got the table set up pretty quickly. I loved how it looked all together.
 I always try to have foods that match the colors of the party, if I can. But I also try to make sure they are food that the kids will actually eat.
 I love this tiered serving tray from Hobby Lobby. It was the perfect statement piece for the cake and the breadsticks.
My sis designed the cute jello toppers. I love them.
Avery was so thrilled to see her cake and the food table when she got there. (My husband brought her, her brothers and some friends to the party a bit after I got there to set up.)
When all the kids got there, they went into the gym to play. They loved jumping into the pit, jumping on trampolines, swinging on ropes, and jumping in a bouncy house.
 After the kids played for an hour, it was time to eat.
This was my favorite pic of Avery from the party.. while we sang to her.
And here's the cake's layers! Aren't they so pretty?
We waited to have Avery open presents when we got home.
It was such a great day with so much love and fun and laughter. We love our Avery bug.
We cannot believe she is already a big 5 year old!!