Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Fiesta Chicken

We love Mexican food in our house.  Well, I should say Jay and I love Mexican food, the boys are learning to like it.  I've been able to get the boys to eat chicken tacos.  That was a huge victory. So a few weeks ago, I made tacos but then had left over guacamole, shredded lettuce, and salsa. 

For most meals, Jay and I will eat leftovers, but I ran out of the taco meat.  What did I do??  I defrosted a chicken breast and made a fiesta chicken sandwich.  Yummy!

ingredients  (makes 2 sandwiches)

2 kaiser rolls
1 6 oz chicken breast
2 to 3 tbsp. guacamole
2 to 3 tbsp. salsa
1/4 c. shredded Monterrey jack cheese
shredded lettuce

Simply butterfly the chicken breast and sprinkle with salt and pepper (I add a little sprinkle of cumin too).  In a non-stick skillet, cook the chicken until no longer pink (about 8 to 10 minutes).  Divide the cheese over the chicken and allow to melt.

Then the rest is just assembly.  I split and toasted the rolls.  Finally just pile up your favorite taco toppings.  I used guacamole, salsa,  and shredded lettuce.

It's a fabulous and quick way to use up leftover ingredients from Mexican night!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Simple Hash Browns

Depending on where you live, hash browns could mean different things.  Some areas refer to hash browns as shredded potatoes and fried on a flat-top.  Some places describe them as a cubed potato sauteed in a skillet. Growing up in my house, cubed potatoes fried in butter with salt and pepper were hash browns.


1 to 2 lbs. diced potatoes
1 tsp. canola oil
1 tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. season salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper

I decided to take my mom's very simple hash brown recipe and give it a few twists.  First, I par-cooked them in the a microwave steamer to cut down on the time skillet time.  I simply diced about of pound of clean potatoes, put them in my steamer with 1/2 c. water and cooked on high for about six minutes, until fork tender.

Next drain them and lay out on paper towels.  This will remove an excess moisture.  In a large skillet, preheat canola oil with butter, until melted.  Add potatoes, salts, and pepper.  Turn in pan to coat evenly.  Allow to cook over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden brown.  Stirring occasionally.

Serve as a side dish to any dinner.  Also leftovers are great for omelettes or hash the next day.  Last night we had them with my sloppy joe's recipe.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Family Vay-Kay!

We are back from our annual summer family vacation.  We went back to Pennsylvania this year.  It's actually been our destination for the last few years.  Three years ago we visited Sesame Place (twice in one summer).  Then last year we went to Hershey.  This year we went back to Hershey. 

We stayed in Lancaster, PA at the Eden Resorts.  It is really family friendly there, and the location is desirable for exploring.  The hotel also has a wonderful outdoor play area for the whole family, including mini golf, pool tables, jungle gym, a water pad, and a new pool.

So what did we do on our vacation?  The first day was dedicated to driving there and relaxing at the pool. 

That's Brandon playing my Kindle under the blanket

The next day we went to Hershey Amusement Park.  It was a perfect day for fun, about 85 degrees, sunny, with a slight breeze.  The kids grew in candy bar size over the year.  Adam went from a "peanut butter cup" height to a "Hershey bar".  Brandon went from a "Hershey kiss" to a "peanut butter cup".  A whole year older made a difference on how adventurous the boys were.  Brandon especially over came his fear of the water park and had a blast.

Wednesday was our day to relax and rest up.  In the morning we ventured out to downtown Lancaster.  Our first stop was the Fractured Prune  (donut shop).  We treated ourselves to made to order specialty donuts.

Back Row: french toast chocolate chip, carnival sprinkle
Front Row: Oreo crumble, banana nut bread

After our "nourishment" we went browsing in the quaint shops.  Adam even bought two new magic tricks from Ziggy's Magic Shop.

Thursday we headed to Philadelphia and New Jersey.  I actually didn't know we were going to New Jersey until we put in the coordinates for the GPS while visiting the Adventure Aquarium.  I had one major panic attack while traveling over the Ben Franklin Bridge, other than that Jersey was nice.

Ending our day at the Please Touch Museum was perfect.  The boys were able to run around and play, before the car ride back to the hotel.  On a side note, Jay driving through Philadelphia, cause for one more panic attack.

Our drive home Friday was detoured slightly for one more thing.  A tour of the QVC studios.  Those who know me, this was something I wanted to do for years.  The kids enjoyed it too.  They were able to see how television production works, it was very interesting.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Too Much Of A Good Thing??

Pictured here: Grand Traveler, Back Pack, Squared Away,
Wristlet, Gallery Wallet, Tablet Case, Checkbook Cover,
Euro Wallet, Large Cosmetic Case, Hanging Toiletry
I think I may have a problem.  The first step is admitting it, right?  I think I may have to blame my friend Amy.  I talk about her a lot on her.  She is a very good friend, but sometimes can be a very bad influence ;)

My problem started about a year ago.  It's called "verabradleyitis". 

I have always heard about Vera Bradley.  I had admired the bags and purses, but always thought it wasn't for me.  I mean all those bold prints and colors...nope I could never pull that off.  So, I was over at Amy's and she showed me her new bag.  I really liked the quality and the styling.  She encouraged me to get myself a piece.  I think my comment back to her was something like, "I don't think I could carry a bag like that, being so colorful."  She looked at me and responded, "Why not?". 

So I started thinking, why not?  I started browsing the website and took the plunge.  The first piece I ordered was a wristlet.  The print was Java Blue, a nice chocolate brown and blue, pretty neutral.  Then I ordered a check book cover.  The rest is history.

I started gifting coin purses, lunch boxes, totes, and handbags.  I even turned my mom onto a really nice purse.  For her birthday this year we gave her the matching wallet and eye glass case.  Every person who receives something as a gift is always so appreciative.

So why do I like this company so much.  Well, the prints and colors have really grown on me.  I'm no longer afraid of the "boldness".  I also like that fact I can wash most of the items.  I am really hard on bags, so the fact I can throw them in the washing machine is quite fabulous.  Finally, I like the wide range of product line.  Everything from bags and accessories to luggage and party ware.  Love, love, love it!

The picture above, is the small collection I have started over the past year.  My mother-in-law put a halt on anymore Vera purchases for myself from now until Christmas. I wonder what I'm getting??  Funny enough, I received an email from my sister-in-law, Tracy, today showing me which Vera bag she would like for Christmas this year.

My last piece of advice when shopping Vera Bradley: NEVER PAY FULL PRICE!  Shop online during sales, and check out the selection on QVC for special items.  If you are lucky enough to have a Vera Bradley dealer in your town, shop the discounted items, which are normally older colors.