"Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart." -Winnie the Pooh

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Why I Love This Man

There are many, many reasons why I love this man.  Too many to list.  And yet I still try....

 He finds things in me that I didn't know were there.  And helps me realize my uniqueness.  And encourages me to use my uniqueness's for the glory of the Lord.

He is kind, gentle, humble, and meek.  He is tender and can put my mind at ease in two seconds.  Okay, sometimes it takes twenty minutes, but who's counting!

Even though he's all of the above, he's the goofiest guy I know.  He makes me laugh when I should be crying.  He always has a corny Beverly Hillbillies joke or Roy D Mercer comment to say even though he knows I won't get it, won't catch it until he points it out, and won't care after he does.  He expects me to roll my eyes, and knows that I wouldn't love him as much if he didn't act ridiculously silly 95% of the time!

He lightens my heart and my load.

He follows Christ.  He seeks Him out daily and leads me daily in the way that Christ directs him to.  He's not afraid to admit when we've taken a wrong turn in life and is committed to setting us on the right path.  He follows Christ.

He reminds me to guard my mouth. My words. And my tongue.  Somethings need to be said, but only for his ears.  Somethings need to be said to Him--my heavenly Father.  And Some things are better left unsaid. {and somethings I should probably only tell my Mom}.

He is my warrior.  My knight in shining armor.  A body builder in the weightroom and for the Kingdom.  He stands strong against the devil and his wicked plan.  He fights my demons beside me.  We put on the armor of the Lord daily so that our marriage stands firm in Christ.  He is my protector.  The Lord is our guide. "WHOM shall we fear?"

He may not hold our horizon in the palm of his hand, but he knows the one who does.  And together, we seek and obey God's direction and purposes for our life together.  And though the waves can be found below, our God elevates us with His righteous right hand.  And David guides us with his left.  

Sometimes, he gets tired of smiling for pictures. 

And yet other times, he cheeses them up!  Mostly in an effort to make me laugh.

He is dedicated.  To his God.  To his wife.  To his friends.  To his job. To the work the Lord has placed in his path.

He puts me before himself.  He tries to love unconditionally, even when it's hard. 

He is my one and only.  I am so very, very blessed.

And I love David

 1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

 13So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tasty Tuesday {Cream Cheese Chicken}

Get ready for another episode of Tasty Tuesday.  I'm honestly not sure how the Pioneer Woman does it.  I feel like it's so difficult to cook every week.  And to think, I did it most days this winter!

I began searching for a new recipe to post on the blog because I feel like I make my old standby recipes all of the time.  I thought about a wedding present that we received from our favorite family--the Lovings. {don't worry, we have a lot of favorite families. If you're reading, you're our favorite too!}

I really need a new Loving family photo!  I feel like I post this one on here all of the time!  Anyway, this photo was taken from our church wedding shower.  At this shower, the Loving family {okay, really Jenny} gave us the most amazing gift ever!  The entire time we'd been engaged, I'd been BEGGING Jenny for recipes.  I'd make comments like "you don't have to give us anything for our wedding EXCEPT that Oreo Ball recipe" or "...that chicken recipe" or "...that cheesecake recipe."  Insert whatever really good thing we had recently eaten at their house. 

So at this shower, Jenny and the Loving family gave us this:

It's the world's cutest recipe box {MSU style} of course.  And it's filled with recipe cards!  In fact, when I opened it, I was like "are the oreo balls in here? the chicken? the cheesecake?"  Well you get the point.  Her response was YES!  So now I have all of my Loving favorites.  She even gave me extra cards to fill out and add recipes.  She just knows that there are probably more recipes of hers that I will want!

So, I went to this box the other day when searching for a new recipe to make for David and I. I made this chicken recipe right after we got married, and it kind of turned out horrible.  So I adjusted and made it more like what I remember having at Jenny's house!  So without further background, here is Cream Cheese Chicken.

I would classify this recipe as the Southerner's Chicken Cordon Bleu.  It's not cordon bleu, but it's very similar in some ways. I almost thought about titling it that!

 So to begin, you need a camera to take pictures--which I couldn't locate.  So I used my camera on my phone. So the pictures aren't as good. So you'll just have to deal with it. So what if I like saying so. SO?!

First you need to grab some boneless skinless chicken breasts.  There were two in my freezer so since I'm cooking for two, that's what I grabbed.  Yes, that's freezer burn. No you couldn't taste it.

Place the chicken between two layers of wax paper.

You don't want little pieces of chicken all over your kitchen, so you probably should do that!

Next, take your awesome meat tenderizer that you got for a wedding present because your husband registered for 82 of them.  Er. Or actually, if you're like us and your husband registered for 82 of them, you accidentally deleted the 82 meat tenderizers instead of dropping it down to just 1 meat tenderizer.  This resulted in receiving zero meat tenderizers and a year later, there is still not a meat tenderizer in your kitchen.

Therefore, meat my good friend Blueberry Pie Filling.  Or Mr. Filling for short.

Take Mr. Filling {or Mr. Green Bean, or Mr. Campbells, or Mr. Kidney Bean} and pulverize your chicken until it reaches a thin thickness.  The recipe says 1/2 thickness, but my chicken breasts were rather thick.  Beat them until they look like this:

And apologize to Mr. Filling for the bruises...

Or just go buy a meat tenderizer and avoid his untimely death by beating.  You can also buy chicken breasts that are thinly shaved and avoid the beating all together.  If the thin sliced chicken had been in my freezer, I would have just used those.

Next you want to slice your chicken breasts.  The original recipe doesn't call for you to do this, but I remember small servings when Jenny served it.  So I sliced mine up, and it worked a LOT better!

Next, take your favorite seasoning salt out and season the chicken.  My family uses {and has used for ages} Morton's Nature's Seasoning.  The story is that a person who worked for Morton's gave my Grandfather's sister {Molly M, that would be your Grandma} a box of this stuff when they had just began making it.  Marketing strategy at it's finest.  She then passed this seasoning to all of the females in her family. And I would say that Morton's marketing strategy worked because if you go in my Grandmother's, my Mom's, or my kitchen pantry, you will find this stuff.  Go try it. It really is awesome, and we use it on EVERYTHING!  I don't think I could cook without it!

Now it's time to locate the cream cheese.  I used original because it's what was in my refrigerator to keep me from having to visit the grocery store, but in my opinion, you could EASILY substitute fat free cream cheese. I can't even tell a difference.  And again, if fat free had been in my fridge, I probably would have used that!

The recipe calls for 3 tablespoons of cream cheese per chicken breast, but because I sliced mine up, I put 1 tablespoon per slice.  

Then, you need to spread out the cream cheese on the chicken breast which is easier said then done if you didn't let your cream cheese soften before trying to do this.  However, do it the best you can. It will be okay either way.

Next, cube up some butter.  The real deal.  Not margarine. 

And dot it on top of the cream cheese. 

Next, have some toothpicks handy and begin to roll up each chicken breast piece.  After it's rolled, secure with a toothpick.

Locate some bacon.  I always cut my bacon package in half, and since I was using leftover bacon from another recipe, I had no choice but to use precut bacon.  This actually worked out well because the bacon didn't stay soggy on the bottom since there wasn't really any bacon on the bottom. 

Take the bacon, and wrap it around the chicken roll ups as shown below.  I used two halves per chicken roll up.  Then places it in a baking dish.  Not a pan.  Juice is going to come out, so make sure it's in a dish of some sort.

Stick the whole dish in a 400 degree oven for about 35 minutes.  You'll want to watch for the juices to run clear.  After the 35 minutes, switch your oven to broil and allow the bacon to crisp up.  This should take around 5 minutes.  I watched carefully because I didn't want my toothpicks to catch on fire.  I'm not sure if they would have or not, but I wasn't taking chances.

My hubby was starving so he had already stolen one in the above photo of what they looked like after they came out of the oven. 

Serve on a plate to your hungry hubby!

I should have photographed the inside so that you could see the roll up, but I didn't.  Plus I was using my phone so I'm not sure you would have been able to see!

As always, I hope you enjoyed and that you're willing to give it a try!  Here's the printed recipe if you want a concise version.  Also, these are the cute recipe cards Jenny gave me to match my recipe box from above.  Aren't they presh?  Thanks Jenny for your culinary contribution to our dinner this week and Tasty Tuesday!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday Fun Finds {7/22/11}

My sister-in-law, Danielle, has been spending some much needed and relaxing time with me in Starkville this week. She's been welcomed company, and I've had so much fun getting to spend time with her.  It has been fun showing her around and getting into the freshman mood again.  I've been attempting to get her acclimated to Starkville so she can hit the ground running in August.  You know, just making sure she knows the usual.  Places to eat, places to shop, hair salons, nail salons, what more could a girl need?  Oh, I did show her where to buy her books!  That counts for something.  And I did ask her if she needed me to show her where her classes were.  She said she knew already.  So I showed her where to shop instead!
Every year when August rolls around, I enter into a depressed state.  Despite everyone's best efforts around me to remind me that I have so much to be thankful for, it is SO hard to not desire to want to be a freshman again.  To do it all over.  Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't change much.  But the thought of being able to move back into the Chi Omega house and roam the campus of Mississippi State to my heart's content entices me every time.  

My home away from home for so many years....

Thankfully this year, I can live vicariously through my sister in law!  I've never had a sister, so it is so much fun hanging out with her and getting to do sister things.   She will be headed through rush this fall at MSU, and I cannot wait to walk with her through it. No matter which she chooses, there is going to be a sorority that is going to be really lucky to have her.  I hope she has so much fun meeting new people and making new friends, and for once I cannot WAIT for move in day!  Let the sweating 200 liters begin.  Cannot wait!  I. am. pumped!

I have zero photos with Danielle from this week, so I thought I'd share one from Pickwick since we'll be there soon!

And this one is from wedding season. 

Danielle and I have been busy preparing for football season yesterday.  We traveled to Campus Bookmart across from the BSU, The Lodge, Barnes and Noble, and Campus Bookmart downtown before finding her a True Maroon tshirt.  This tshirt, for those of you who don't know, is a staple in any Bulldog's closet.  A must have.  Every year, there is a tshirt done by the Student Association to raise money for the Red Cross.  Everyone buys it and wears it throughout the year.  This year, they feature Jack--the retired voice of the Bulldogs.  And I'm proud to say that after four stops, Danielle is the proud owner of said tshirt in her correct size!  Yay!
So in honor of football season being 41 days away from this very moment, I wanted Friday Fun Finds to reflect our football team and the winning tradition we have!  That's right, in 41 days, my hubby and I will be hanging out at the Liberty Bowl watching MSU gear up for a Thursday night victory over the U of M.  University of Memphis that is!

Fridays Fun Find today is the Golden Days videos put out by the University!  I love these videos, and if you haven't seen them, take a moment and make sure you watch them.  They are wonderful!  It's so good that the Golden Egg is home where it should stay!

Installment #1: Engraving Day

Installment #2: Egg Bowl meets the Gator Bowl

Installment #3: Spring Training

Installment #4: Community Service

And to end Friday Fun Finds for today, I heard a great story from the SEC meeting in Destin. 

"The SEC rented out a restaurant  for all coaches and Athletic Directors to eat supper one of the nights.  Mullen and the crew along with Strickland were eating near Ole Miss.   Strickland told the waiter that we wanted to pick up the Ole Miss bill.  When everybody finished the Ole Miss group minus Houston Nutt came over to the State table.  They said thanks.  Mullen looked at them and said we have been eating your lunch for the last several years, the least we can do is buy your supper.  True story from one of the individuals there."

And in case anyone forgot, this year we have a Black Bear to look forward to on the sidelines of the TSUN games.  Man, oh man, I can't wait to watch some Ole Miss football with David.  He always likes to hear the "very nice things" I have to say about their team!

So excited it's only 41 days away! Hope you enjoyed today's Friday Fun Find!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Lacey "Eating" Dinner

I hope that you all are in the mood to laugh.  And I mean it!  Most of you know that we got our cute little dog Lacey Pup in January.  She has been a wonderful addition to our family, and we love her so much.  Okay, I LOVE her so much.  David just thinks "she's a good pup."  That's what he says when you ask him if he loves her. 
Well, lately, our "good" pup has been acting up.  Yep.  It may have something to do with the fact that her "Cousin Skip" is here.  For those of you who don't know, my parent's Sheltie's name is Skip.  They have been spending lots of time together as I've been babysitting Skip for the last two weeks.  Let's just say, Lacey is a little worried that she is going to be replaced.  Little does she know, my Mom would kill me if I stole Skip.  This is only temporary!

Lately, Lacey has been "playing" with her food.  So in an effort to document for people in my family that didn't believe me, I whipped out my phone the other day to make sure I got footage of her.  I wanted to post it, though you must mute the video because I'm laughing in the background.  And it's embarrassing.  You can tell because the camera shakes up and down.  Also, after the first part of the video {around 53 seconds}, I put all of her food back on the plate to see if she would do it again.  She did.  So you definitely want to make sure you stick around until the end.  My favorite part of the video is when she moves the plate halfway across the room near the end.  She definitely has some crazy antics!  You'd never guess she was seven years old!  She acts like a bad two year old.  Hope you laugh at our crazy dog!  

Don't forget to mute it!  Who am I kidding? By saying that, you're sure to keep it unmuted. Just be prepared for my ridiculous voice on it.

So funny.  But seriously, how could you not love this cute puppy dog?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tasty Tuesday {Chicken Wild Rice Casserole }

Yay for my second Tasty Tuesday recipe day!  If you missed out on last week's Tasty Tuesday {and the very first one ever}, you can see it here.

This week, I want to share with you a family favorite that I just discovered a few weeks ago.  This recipe has been in my book of recipes the entire time.  It's been hiding among two other chicken casseroles, and I hated it when my Mom made it!  Mainly because it has water chestnuts in it, and I HATE those things!  So when you're a 25 year old adult with your own pantry and money to buy groceries, you can adjust the recipe to meet your specifications.  Voila...no water chestnuts!  So if you like them, put them in.  If not, be like me and leave them out!  Yum!

Here goes!

I was in a big hurry when making this recipe and didn't exactly get all of the photos that I wanted, but you'll still get the idea.  No cast of characters photo.  Sad.

Before you do anything, you need to have approximately 2 1/2 cups of chopped chicken.  So my advice {and what I did} is to boil some water, turn it down to let it simmer and add in 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts chopped up.  I let that simmer for a little bit and then I let it stand in the pot until I'm ready to use it.  So like a few hours!  Haha.  Or as much time as you have.

Start out by preheating your oven to 350 degrees.  You are about to make bread crumbs.  Start out with some older bread.  All we had was wheat bread.  Tear it up into small pieces and lay on a cookie sheet.  You want to do enough to cover a casserole dish.

Drizzle the bread crumbs with olive oil and put them in the oven until they are toasty and golden brown!

Next up, get two stalks of celery.  Now, I'm not a celery fan, but this recipe is just MISSING something without it.  So go ahead, buy it and chop it up real fine if you don't like it.  Lucky for me, we got this nifty chopper for a wedding present and it makes the job so quick!

Next, grab an onion and peel away all of it's top layer.  Then slice it up and chop it too.  Handy, dandy chopper or not, you can still get it pretty fine.

Next for the no photo part.  Take both the celery, onion, and 2 tablespoons of butter and put it in a skillet.  Let simmer for about 10 minutes in the pan.   Now at this point, if you want to add the water chestnuts, be my guest.  I don't like them, and won't be adding them to mine.  But they need to simmer with the onions and celery if you want to throw them in.

Now you need to prepare the wild rice.  Make sure you buy the fast cook recipe, and I love Uncle Ben's wild rice!  Get the original recipe and not the kind with crazy things added in.

Prepare the wild rice as the box specifies.  Again, make sure it's fast cook rice.

Next add, 1 can of cream of mushroom soup and 1 1/2 cups of grated cheddar cheese.  Again, you can grate your own. I'm sure it's better then the pre grated kind, but it's SO much easier.  So I buy mine already grated.

After that, you need to add a 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.

To that mixture, add 1/2 cup of milk. 

Stir it up and combine it really well.  Then add in 8 ounces of sour cream.  It's okay, you can use the fat free kind!

Add in that yummy celery and onion that you sauteed.  Yummy!

Now, it's time to add in the chicken.  Again, I was in a hurry.  So rather then chop up my chicken, I just sent it through the mighty handy dandy chopper I showed you at the beginning.  Which resulted in it still being great!  But it definitely was chopped up really well.  I would suggest not chopping it up quite as much.  Unless, like me, you are in an incredible hurry to get dinner on the table!

Add in that yummy wild rice that you already prepared. And stir it up!

Transfer it to a casserole pan, add on the bread crumbs that you made, and pop it in the oven for 30 minutes to heat it all up!

Don't forget to set your cute magnetic timer to 30 minutes so you won't forget!

After 30 minutes has passed, add the 1/2 cup of cheddar that you set aside in the beginning and put it back in for 5 more minutes or until it's all melted!

And here it is all finished.

So obviously this isn't the healthiest recipe in the world, but it's SO good!  And I love it!  And if you pair it with green beans, that makes it healthy, right?  I sure hope so because I just ate the leftovers for dinner tonight! :)

Note to self...I should really learn how to clean the edges of my plates!  Hope you enjoy it and try to make it soon!

Now, here's the recipe. {yes, I took a photo of it}.  Notice that I HALVED this recipe because David and I don't need that much food.  So if you want to make the original amount, follow what is below. Otherwise half it yourself like I did!

And if you're interested, apparently this freezes wonderfully!  Just read about it at the bottom of the directions!