Taco Tuesdays – A Surprise Dinner With Friends

It’s the 2nd day of school and a dinner with friends was just what the doctor ordered! With TACOS! Technically I ordered nachos, but you get the gist.

Our school is doing a hybrid schedule meaning, the first part of the alphabet attends the first week, for 4 days. The second half of the alphabet attend the 2nd week. Then the 3rd week we all move to distance learning.

It has gone better than I expected. And honestly, I think I needed to see kids in my building just as much as they needed to see their teachers. But my sweet girl and her best friend are not attending school at the same time. They have been in each other’s class/group since Kindergarten. So this was a first.

Los Cabos

So tonight, her momma and I surprised the two of them with a patio dinner on the river. They were so excited to see each other! (It’s been 3 months). Seeing their excitement and joy of being in each other’s presence, reminded me just how much we need community and connection.

You know God did not create us to simply live a life of isolation. He created us for relationship. And tonight we invested in that. Then went and got Gelato!

Gelato!

It was a “sweet” way to end a great evening.

Taco Tuesday (Dinner With Friends)

  • Call your friend
  • Pick a favorite restaurant
  • Embrace each other
  • Order food and drinks
  • Eat your meal together and chat and listen
  • Just be present
  • Then eat ice-cream!

Have fun!

Cake Mix Peach Cobbler

Want an easy peasy dessert for a last minute dinner get together? Look no further!

With only 5 ingredients, you can have a delicious, sweet, and buttery dessert that is sure to please a crowd.

This recipe was discovered at a Texas BBQ over 15 years ago and I fell in love! I have not made a traditional cobbler since. This is even how I make my apple and cherry cobblers as well.

Start by dumping your pie filling peaches into a casserole dish and add your brown sugar and cinnamon.

Cinnamon is one my favorite spices to use when baking. The aroma it gives, during cook time, is so warm and comforting. It might be why I also love any candle scent with cinnamon in it.

Spread your cake mix over the peaches. I told you, it’s really easy! For this cobbler I used a gluten free cake mix and it turned out just as delicious!

Now this dessert maybe easy but I did not say it was fat free. 😉 You can do this two ways: place slices of butter over the whole top (I used 2 sticks), OR, you can melt the butter and pour it over the cake mix. Place in a 350 degree oven and bake till the top is golden and bubbly. Approximately 60 minutes.

I seriously wish you could scratch and sniff this screen! The aromas will have you wanting to bypass Fall and put up the Christmas lights! (Maybe that’s just me. 😉)

Best way to serve this is with a generous scoop of vanilla ice-cream, which I did not get a picture of because, well, life and family and conversations and we ate the whole thing before I remembered to take a pic!

It was definitely the perfect dish to enjoy with family and a great way to kick off starting back to school this week.

Let me know what you think! Take a pic and tag me on Insta.

Cake Mix Peach

  • 1 box vanilla cake mix (I used gluten free)
  • 2 cans peach pie filling
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 sticks butter

1. Dump pie filling in 9×13 pan. 2. Stir in brown sugar and cinnamon. 3. Spread cake mix over pie filling. 4. Cover cake mix with slices of butter or melted butter. 5. Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes or until the top is golden and bubbly.

Friday Finds – What’s saving my life right now.

I love Podcasts. I listen to them when I’m walking and when I’m on long road trips.

Jenn Hatmaker’s “For The Love” podcast is one of my faves. She just did a series on the Enneagram numbers and it was EVERYTHING! (I’m a 9 w1 btw….what are you?) At the end of every episode she asks her guests this same question, “What is saving your life right now?

In this post I’m going to share the things that are saving MY life right now.

Devotion

1. JESUS

I would not make it through my days without Him. I begin every morning reading bible scripture, a devotional, and writing in my prayer journal. This time sets the tone and foundation for the rest of my day.

2. BUBBLE BATHS

I LOVE baths! It doesn’t matter if they’re in the mornings, evenings, or 3:00 in the afternoon. I take one just about everyday. Depending on my mood I will change up the essential oils I use: Lavendar, peppermint, stress away. Right now Peace and Calming has my heart. This caddy was a Christmas present two years ago. It is the greatest addition to any bathtub!

3. VITAMIN D

I’m not talking about the pill kind, although, I do take one of those. I’m talking about the natural kind……straight from the sun. Adequate amounts of vitamin D are crucial to our mental health and physical health. And let’s be honest, it’s a little difficult to be stressed laying out pool side. 😉

4. EXERCISE

Walking 3-4 miles a day is helping me sleep well at night and keep those quarantine pounds down…..except when the brownies cause them to go up. Walking outdoors is boosting my immune system and clearing my head from worry and fear.

5. HERBAL TEA

Last but not least….TEA! Every night I brew a cup of hot tea, grab my current read, and turn off my phone. This bedtime tea is one of my favorites. It’s soothing and comforting and helps me relax with every sip.

There are definitely more things that are saving my life right now, but I chose my top 5 for this post and in this season.

Maybe I should call this one Friday FindsWhat’s saving my life right now/First Edition.

Chicken and Rice Casserole

Did you know that August 12 is National Middle Child Day? Yeah, I didn’t either. But I pretended to when I made my middle child her favorite dish for dinner. Thank goodness it is super easy to throw together. I had all the ingredients at home, I just had to pick-up a Rotisserie Chicken.

My middle baby is starting her Sophomore year in college next Monday and I’m trying to make sure she is fed well before she heads back.

I mentioned this recipe is super easy to put together with less than 10 ingredients. But I almost forgot how long it takes to cook! It takes 60 minutes to bake in the oven. It sounds like a long time but it really is one of those dishes that you mix together and put it in the oven and forget about it.

I’m sure you can put this in the Instant Pot and it will do just fine. Maybe I’ll try that next time and report back to you.

Grab a nice size bowl and shred or tear your chicken into pieces.

Add the rice, mayonnaise, chicken and chicken broth.

Next, add your soy sauce. (I use Coconut Aminos to cut down on the gluten.) Sprinkle in your spices then mix it all together.

Pour into a casserole dish, sprinkle with a generous amount of cheese, and place in the oven at 350 degrees for 60 minutes.

Y’all, I had a favorite casserole dish that I found in a boutique 10 years ago. It broke! It was my go to pan for lasagnas, casseroles, dump cakes, etc. I took it out of the oven one day and it cracked ALL THE WAY THROUGH! I was quite sad. So now I’m on the look out of finding a new one and I think I may have found the casserole dish/dishes that may take it’s place.

Serve this meal with a simple side dish like steamed green beans, a salad, or whatever your family likes. ENJOY!

Chicken and Rice Casserole

  • 1 Rotisserie Chicken
  • 1 (10 1/2oz) can of chicken broth
  • 1 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1 cup uncooked white rice
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce or coconut aminos
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • salt and pepper
  • shredded chease

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl mix chicken, mayonnaise, rice, cream of chicken soup, chicken broth, and spices.
  3. Place in a greased 9×13 casserole dish.
  4. Sprinkle generously with cheese. Cover and bake for 60 minutes.

Simple Fall Decor

Our hand built table

Let me start by saying that I am NOT a decorator. I am also NOT a home decor blogger. However, home decor bloggers are some of my favorite people to follow.

Here’s a funny fact about me. When asked what my favorite color is I will answer red every time. But the only time I wear red or decorate with it is at Christmas. All the other times, blues and greys and cream colors is what I seem to be drawn to.

Over the past couple of years, I have began to really take inventory of the stuff I owned and how much of it I honestly used. I began to declutter and keep what I thought representing me best. And what made me happy.

This year it was time to go through the Fall box. This year I wanted a color theme that blended and complimented the already color scheme in our home. I knew I only needed a few staple pieces because I don’t like a ton of decorations. Too much decorations and I began to feel cluttered and overwhelmed.

So of course I headed to my favorite store, Hobby Lobby, to find all the things you see in this post. Right now the Fall decor is 40% off which will make any decorator’s heart go pitter patter.

As for inspiration, I searched Pinterest and my favorite Instagram accounts: @to_mimishousewego @abowlfulloflemons. One is so fun to watch as she sets her tables for different themes for entertaining, her home is exquisite! And the other is all about the same color palette, clean, simple, fresh, and minimal. Do you have any accounts that you love to follow?

This weekend I have a few more pieces to get to tie in my kitchen and our hallway bench. I’m thinking pillows for that and some larger size pumpkins for the cabinets. And maybe I’ll finally change my letter board I bought 3 years ago. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Gluten Free Cinnamon Bundt Cake

I decorated for Fall this past weekend and I’m not even sorry about it. I LOVE Fall! I know I mentioned that in one of my posts last week, but ya’ll, I’m serious. Fall makes me happy!

This cake will make you happy!

Cinnamon, sugar, and vanilla are the star players in this delicious, moist bundt cake. It’s sweet and comforting in every bite. And lots not forget the cinnamon glaze! It’s everything you imagine Fall to be in a warm, sugary topping. It’s the perfect accessory, if you will, for this cake.

Besides being delicious, putting this together is simple and quick. You want to start by creaming your butter, sugar, and vanilla together. Then add your eggs, one at a time. (You can swap out the refined sugar for coconut sugar for a more Paleo friendly recipe.)

For the dry ingredients, I used gluten-free flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and a dash of salt. Gluten-free flour is something I always have on hand. It’s my base for our homemade pancakes, waffles, cookies, and cakes. I’m still working on perfecting the gluten-free bread.

Now you’re ready to merge the two together (dry and wet ingredients.) Anytime a recipe calls for adding milk and alternating it with dry ingredients, I always start and end with the dry. I am not 100% sure if this makes a different a not, but it makes me feel better about it.

I don’t know about you, but there is something about baking that makes me so nostalgic. Which is funny, because I wanted nothing to do with the kitchen or cooking when I was younger. Now, the kitchen is my sanctuary. It’s where I unwind, think, breathe, sing, sometimes dance, and cook. Now if it would just clean itself for me…………..

Once the batter is all combined, pour it into a well, greased bundt pan.

I have learned in my experience as a cook and home-baker, the best pans and tools are the ones passed down from generation to generation. Am I right? They are well seasoned and hold lots of memories and can often tell quite a few stories.

Place in the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes.

Let your little bundt cake rest and cool while you prepare the glaze. Remove cake from pan and place on your favorite cake stand. This is one cake you will want to display. Don’t forget to poke holes, with a fork, throughout cake so as you pour the glaze on top, it has the opportunity to seep into all the nooks and crannies.

Serve this with homemade vanilla ice-cream or whipped topping. Whatever you choose to top it with, enjoy! I can’t wait to hear what you think.

Gluten Free Cinnamon Bundt Cake

2 Cups Gluten-Free Flour (1-1 GF Baking Flour)

1 Tablespoon baking powder

1 Tablespoon cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/3 cups granulated sugar or coconut sugar

2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened

2 teaspoons vanilla

3 eggs

2/3 cup milk

Cinnamon Glaze

1/2 cup granulated sugar

6 tablespoons butter

1/3 cup water

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10 inch bundt pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
  3. In a large bowl or stand mixer, cream together sugar, butter, and vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time. Mixing between each one.
  4. Beat in the dry ingredients, alternating with milk. (start and end with dry ingredients.
  5. Pour batter into greased bundt pan and bake for 40-45 minutes.
  6. Once done, let cake cook for 20 minutes before removing it from the pan.
  7. While cake is cooling, prepare the glaze in a small sauce pan. Simply add all the ingredients together until sugar dissolves.
  8. Use a fork to poke holes throughout cake then pour or drizzle the glaze on top.

Sunday Devotion

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. – Phillipians 4:6

Do not be anxious about anything. That sure sounds a lot easier than it is. At least that’s what our enemy, Satan, would like for us to believe. The more time, days, and moments we live in anxiousness, that is more time, days, and moments we are separating ourselves from God’s truth.

What causes anxiousness and anxiety? For me, it usually starts from fear: fear of conflict, fear of something happening to someone I love, fear of the unknown, and to be completely honest, fear of not being in control.

For the spirit God gave us, does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline. – 2 Timothy 1:7

Fear and faith do not go together. The moment I begin to “entertain” a fearful or anxious thought, it might as well be as though I’m choosing not to trust God. And as I type that out this morning, it breaks my heart.

So do not fear, for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10

God wants nothing more than for us to trust Him and trust IN Him. God also wants us to bring our fears and anxiousness to Him. He wants to take them from us and give us His peace. As a parent, isn’t that what I want my own children to do? To trust me with their fears so that I may help comfort them and reassure them? How much more does our Heavenly Father want the same for His children?

Friday Finds – It smells like Fall!

Antique Candle Co

Well, in my house it does. 😉 Hey Guys! We made it to Friday! Today’s Friday Finds is all about the sweet smells of Fall and I HAVE to share this sweet candle company with you. I discovered them through some Instagram Influencers and wanted to give them a try. Now I’m in LOVE!

Fall is my all time favorite season. The warm colors of the leaves, the slight chill in the air, the hayrides through the pumpkin patch, the taste of a comforting cup of hot apple cider, and the scents of cinnamon, pumpkin, vanilla, and spice. Antique Candle Co has managed to capture all this and the nostalgia of the season in their Fall Harvest collection.

The moment you light these candles and experience their cozy scents, you’re going to want to put on your favorite Fall sweater and decorate the house! I might actually be doing that very thing this weekend. Are you an early decorator too?

Orange Blossom is my favorite scent for the kitchen.

One of the many things I love about these candles is that they are clean: made from domestic soy beans and handpicked oils, with a cotton wick. Which means I don’t have to be concerned about harmful ingredients or chemicals filling my home. I can safely say that these will forever be my go-to candles for every season and every day use.

So go check them out and let me know what scents you choose! Become one of their email friends and receive 15% off your first order. (*this is not an affiliate, just a very pleased customer)

Easy Chicken Burrito Bowls

Coming at ya with another easy weeknight favorite. Chicken Burrito Bowls . This recipe is simple, delicious, gluten-free, and it’s all done in the crock pot. Who doesn’t love easy clean up?

I think it’s fair to say that the slow cooker/crock pot is my favorite tool in the kitchen. It is my go to when I want to provide my family with a home-cooked meal but know that our day is packed with activities. I can use it for soups, meats, pastas, etc. And it can be used all year round. Why only save this star for the Fall and Winter months?

Start by placing 3 large chicken breasts in the bottom of your slow cooker. I wish I could tell you how many pounds that is, but ya’ll, I am horrible when it comes to measuring ingredients! I was raised by a mother and grandmother who cooked by taste, so it was “a little of this” and “a lot of that” with a “pinch of something special.” And of course the trusty ole saying “Just taste it.” (Remind me to tell you about the time I added too much cayenne pepper to a Jambalaya recipe! One word for you. H – O – T!)

Add your spices: cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper.

Then add 1/2 cup of chicken broth and 1 cup of your favorite salsa. Set your slow cooker on low and allow the chicken to cook for 6 hours.

Our weather here, in Oklahoma, has me anticipating Fall and now I am ready to make all our favorite soup recipes, pull out the Fall decor, and enjoy pumpkin spice everything. Is there a season that just gives you all the feels?

What I like to serve with our Chicken Burrito Bowls happen to be two items my sister-n-law introduced to me. You can find them at Costco in the freezer section. These two items provide extra flavor and ease when putting together this quick meal. I often will add black beans or pinto beans, but left them off tonight since my kids prefer to NEVER eat beans. But you can add whatever you and your family’s heart desires.

Would love to hear what you think of this recipe. If you make, snap a pic and share!

3-4 Chicken Breasts

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 cup salsa

Directions:

  1. Place Chicken Breasts in slow cooker.
  2. Add spices, chicken broth, and salsa.
  3. Set slow cooker on low and cook for 6 hours.
  4. Shred chicken

Bitter and Sweet

If there was ever a day, or moment, or weekend, that was both precious and sad, well, this past weekend was it. In 2012, a precious little Schnauzer entered my life. It was right after my divorce and I was finding that when my children were hanging out with daddy, for the weekend, my house felt empty and quiet and I wasn’t too big a fan of being alone. So entered, Millie, this sweet and energetic girl that I fell in love with at the local Animal Shelter. She became my companion, my partner, my girl. This weekend we had to say goodbye to sweet Millie and it was so much harder than I could have expected. The house feels a bit empty without her the pitter patter of her paws on the hard wood floors or the sounds of her snoring in her corner spot of the living room. She will forever be missed.

Since I’ve gotten the sad part out of the way, let me tell you about the sweet. Saturday, I picked up my nieces and nephew for the day so all the cousins could play together. We enjoyed lunch, sidewalk chalk, coloring around the table, soccer in our cul de sac, and a trip to the SWEETEST snow cone shop in town….SUGAR BOOGER.

I had been seeing this snow cone shop, pop up on Facebook, on multiple friend’s feeds. My friends were raving about it and the pictures had me intrigued.

Unicorn Snot

Y’all! These snow cones are like none I’ve ever seen before. They are HUGE! They are FUN! and they are SWEET! You could easily share one between 2-3 people, but what’s the fun in that? And of course my children got a huge kick out of the names: Unicorn Snot, Dr. Pepper Pimple Popper (I know right?! lol), Bloody Booger, Berry Booger (which was amazing!), and so much more.

Bloody Booger

The giggles and the sticky smiles made for a perfect summer day. So if you’re ever in Jenks, Oklahoma, be sure and make a stop at this sugary shop. It’s sure to be a sweet memory for the whole family.

Berry Booger