Monday, November 30, 2015

Top 10 Chicken Recipes

There's really not much of a meal plan this week. My husband has stuff going on almost every night for work, so we're on our own! That means I'll be making myself Tostitos with nacho cheese dip and other unhealthy appetizer-like things that my husband would make fun of me for eating as a meal, but I don't care! I love nachos and potato skins and mozzarella sticks!

In lieu of the meal plan, here is a list of 10 of our favorite chicken dinners. I know I tried to get this whole top 10 food thing going earlier this year but it sort of fizzled out. So I'm trying to resurrect it now.

mini gluten-free chicken pot pies
If you, like me, grew up with a mom who liked to make all kinds of meals with chicken, then you'll be happy with this pared down list of easy and delicious go-to chicken meals. Stick with these 10. They're all you need!

1. Mini Gluten-Free Chicken Pot Pies
The trick to making these (pictured at right) gluten-free: Pillsbury Gluten-Free Pie & Pastry Dough.

2. Praline Chicken
This is such an easy meal to make. It also gives your slow cooker something to do.

3. Lemony Fusilli with Chicken, Zucchini and Pine Nuts
I know this also made our top 10 pasta recipes, but it's just that good!

4. Coconut Chicken Salad with Warm Honey Vinaigrette
This is one that we like, but it doesn't get a lot of play in our kitchen. I think we should remedy that! Note, I like to use chicken tenders instead of chicken breasts. It's easier to get the tenders to cook all the way through.

5. Special K Roasted Corn & Chicken Tostadas
I don't think I've blogged about this one before, but if you're looking for a chicken dish that is sort of healthy and can be made for one person, two people, or more, then look no further. Instead of using cut-up chicken breasts, we just used pre-cooked grilled chicken tenders like these gluten-free ones from Perdue. It makes things so much easier on weeknights.

6. Chicken Cordon Bleu Panini
These paninis are really fun to make on the George Foreman grill if you have one. You also have to like bleu cheese, which I know isn't for everyone, but my husband claims to not like it and he still eats these!

7. Baked Chicken Parmesan
Chicken parm is one of my husband's favorite foods. We don't have it nearly as often as I'm sure he'd like, but we have certainly tried it in numerous ways. This version from Real Simple is easy to put together and make gluten-free.

8. Taco Chicken Bowls
You can make this recipe in the Crockpot, or you can just cook up some of the Perdue Shortcuts and plop that over rice with cheese, cilantro, and whatever other fixings you like.

chicken caesar salad
9. Perdue Gluten-Free Chicken Tenders
These often go on sale at our local ShopRite, and I always make sure to buy a bag and keep it in our freezer for those crazy weeknights when we just don't have time for anything other than chicken tenders and fries.

10. Chicken Caesar Salad
Here's another one that is great for busy weeknights. Again, we've gotten in the habit of picking up a bag of the Perdue Shortcuts pre-cooked grilled chicken, heating up the chicken, and putting it over a bed of lettuce from a Caesar salad kit. If you're gluten-free, don't eat the croutons or the dressing that comes in those Caesar salad kits. You'll need gluten-free croutons and gluten-free Caesar dressing.

Friday, November 27, 2015

12 Days of Christmas with Six Sisters' Stuff - REVIEW

Thanksgiving is over. NOW you can start thinking about Christmas. And what better way to get into the Christmas spirit than with the 12 Days of Christmas with Six Sisters' Stuff cookbook/craft idea book/everything holiday book?

If you're not familiar with the Six Sisters, they are sisters (duh) who blog over at Six Sisters' Stuff. The blog covers everything from food and crafts to fitness, travel, and more. (Sounds like the kind of things I cover. I wonder if they are looking for a seventh sister??)

And 144 ideas for traditions, homemade gifts, recipes, and more are included in the 12 Days of Christmas with Six Sisters' Stuff book. This book is like a one-stop shop for everything Christmas. Need a gift idea? It's in the book. Want an easy family dinner to make in the slow cooker? It's in the book. Looking for fun activities for the kids? It's in the book!!

I love all the cookie recipes, any of which would be great for a cookie exchange or food gift for friends and family. (I also love that there's a recipe for gooey butter cookies! Any self-respecting person from St. Louis knows that gooey butter is where it's at.) I also really like the 12 days of Christmas gift idea to do for a spouse or significant other.

And if this holiday-themed book from the Six Sisters isn't enough, they actually have a new book that came out this fall called Sweets & Treats with Six Sisters' Stuff: 100 Desserts, Gift Ideas, and Traditions for the Whole Family, Each dessert recipe is paired with an easy companion craft or family tradition, and ideas for creating memorable gifts from desserts.

Just a note: while the recipes are not gluten-free, I think most of them could easily be adapted to be gluten-free if you needed them to be. Of course, the gift ideas, activities, and traditions are naturally gluten-free!

12 Days of Christmas with Six Sisters' Stuff is published by Shadow Mountain and is on bookstore shelves now. I received a free copy at Book Expo America with no obligation to review. 

Sweets & Treats with Six Sisters' Stuff is also published by Shadow Mountain and is on bookstore shelves now. 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Baby Scrapbook Pages

Today we are thankful for Babies Junior.

And here are two recent scrapbook pages chronicling our experiences early on in my pregnancy via ultrasound pictures.

Here is the journaling on the above layout, "Baby?": This was our second ultrasound picture and the one that confirmed my due date and proved there was a baby in there! The first ultrasound was done too early (4 weeks) so all we saw was an empty sac. My doctor was concerned because according to the pregnancy calculator, I should have been 8 weeks. Also, my thyroid levels were slightly elevated, so she told me to do another ultrasound in two weeks and call if I started bleeding. Yikes! But I didn't bleed, and two weeks later, there was our little baby inside the sac on the screen!

And the pictures in "Womb with a View" are from our third ultrasound at our 11-13-week nuchal translucency ultrasound. (I stole the title of this layout from my mom.) The journaling for this reads: We went in for our next ultrasound to make sure the baby was growing at a normal pace and to get the results of our Down Syndrome risk assessment. Everything looked good! Low risk of chromosomal abnormalities. And Babies Jr. was SUPER active on the ultrasound screen.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Money-Making Mom - Book Review

If you're a mom, whether a stay-at-home mom, a working mom, a single mom, or a mom-to-be, chances are you've thought it would be nice to be bringing in a little extra cash to help support your family. Crystal Paine, founder of the blog Money Saving Mom, wrote her latest book Money Making Mom for just those moms!

This book takes you from start to finish. It helps you uncover what your passions and talents are so you can figure out just what type of business you want to start. Then the book helps you figure out if this will be a full-time job or a side job (with the potential to become a full-time job) and how to go about getting a business started.

There's a lot of research that needs to take place, and the ideas in this book and stories from real women are not "get rich quick" schemes. Whatever business idea you come up with will require time, possibly some start-up money, and patience. You might not make millions, but that's not really what it's about.

As Paine states many times, the goal of making more money shouldn't just be so that you can buy more stuff. You should be driven to succeed in your business because it helps your family for a number of reasons and/or because it allows you to give back to the community.

There are a lot of good resources and ideas in this book. If you're a mom trying to figure out how to bring in more money for your family or transition from your full-time job to a job where you work for yourself and can spend more time with your family, then I think this is definitely a book to pick up and study.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome - Book Review

What is "post-traumatic church syndrome"? Aside from being a humorous title to Reba Riley's faith memoir, it's a term used to describe "a condition of spiritual injury that occurs as a result of religion, faith, and/or the leaving, losing, or breaking thereof."

If you feel like that's you, then you might like Riley's memoir, which chronicles her journey of experiencing 30 different religions before her 30th birthday in an attempt to come to terms with the "breaking" she experienced from the hardcore Christian religion of her family.

Riley really does go through a transformation over the course of this book, both spiritually and physically. In the beginning of the book, I was a little upset that it didn't seem like the author was giving enough of a chance to these religions she was trying. Of course, certain words and activities triggered bad memories for her, but in general, she was going into these churches with pre-conceived notions, and it was kind of getting on my nerves.

But there is a turning point, and Riley is soon really taking her experiment more seriously. (Interest from an NPR producer certainly couldn't have hurt either.) I was also glad she got the help she needed for her mysterious illness, which I totally predicted way earlier in the book. Her experience getting diagnosed (or misdiagnosed for years) is just par for the course for the disease she has. (I bet you can figure out what it is just from being a reader of this blog.)

There's a reading group guide in the back of the book if you choose to read this with a Bible study or book club.

Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome is published by Howard Books and is on bookstore shelves now. I received a free ARC at Book Expo America with no obligation to review.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Gluten-Free Taco Pie

Well, there's really no meal plan this week because both my husband and I have short work weeks, my husband has work stuff on Monday and Tuesday night, and Thanksgiving is on Thursday. So instead of telling you what we're going to eat this week (I think you know what we're going to eat on Thursday), how about I tell you what we've eaten in the past?

The other night I adapted a recipe from the October 2015 issue of Family Fun magazine for Deep-Dish Taco. I call my gluten-free version Gluten-Free Taco Pie. It's got a gluten-free pie crust (pre-made) and all the fixings of a taco. A new way to eat tacos!

The original recipe is not available online, but someone did take a picture of the magazine page and posted it on Pinterest. You can check it out here.

To make this gluten-free:

1. Use a pre-made, frozen gluten-free pie crust such as the Wholly Wholesome gluten-free pie shell (I got 2 in one package on sale at my local ShopRite)

2. Instead of flour, either use a gluten-free all-purpose flour or use cornstarch (I used cornstarch)

The instructions say to bake this for 40 minutes, but I think you could start with 30 minutes, and then check on it. Our cheese got a little too cooked on top because I did the full 40 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and that time was definitely too long. Everybody's ovens are different, though.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Dear Mr. You - Book Review

You might know Mary-Louise Parker from her roles in movies such as Fried Green Tomatoes or in TV shows such as The West Wing and Weeds.

But did you also know she writes?

Dear Mr. You is Parker's first book, a compilation of letters she's written to all the men her life. Some of the men are ex-boyfriends, best friends, and family members. Others are men she's never met, such as her grandfather, or men she didn't get to know, such as the cab driver she yelled at one morning when she was pregnant.

Sometimes the tone of the letter is loving, but some of the letters are not so nice. It doesn't matter. Each of these men that Parker writes to has somehow shaped her life in a profound way, and for helping her to become the woman she is today, she is grateful.

Dear Mr. You is published by Scribner and is on bookstore shelves now. I received a free ARC at Book Expo America with no obligation to review.