Friday, August 29, 2014

{Crock-Pot} Apple, Turkey Bacon, BBQ Chicken

A new FAVORITE in our house!! And it's an easy crock-pot recipe = happy wife!

There is chicken under there! Yum, dude. Yum.

I found this recipe on Pinterest (follow me! It's fun!) from the Chef In Training website. (No, I didn't come up with it)

Just like her, I used:
1 cup BBQ Sauce (Sweet Baby Rays)
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons lemon juice

Mix all together. Then peel and chop apples (I used like 3 pink lady apples). Add to the BBQ mixture.

I used 3 chicken breasts ... I could have DEFINITELY put more of these in there ... probably more like 5 or 6. I had a lot of saucey apple stuff left over :)

Take your bacon (I used turkey bacon because we don't eat regular bacon to keep things healthy), wrap two around each chicken breast. I wrapped it around the top and met them at the bottom, then the chicken sits on the seam ... hopefully that makes sense. Let me know if it doesn't.

Once all your bacon wrapped chicken is placed in the crock-pot, pour your BBQ apple sauce on top. Turn your crock-pot on low for 6-8 hours or until the chicken is done (ours was done in 6)

People on the Chef's blog were commenting that their bacon didn't crisp up so I was even more worried about using turkey bacon (since it doesn't crip much anyways) and it did really well. I was really happy with how it turned out! They also said it was really watery .. ours wasn't. Don't ask me how I did it? :) I just did what she said to do :)

What do you think? Give it a try! Enjoy! :)
Comment to let me know you stopped by! I'd love to hear from ya!

For more healthy recipes .. {click here} 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

I Always Forget To Name These Posts

Have you been nominated to do the #ALSIceBucketChallenge ? I was by my dear friend, Angie:

Jeff did the breaks on the truck .. We have this place on base called the "auto skills center" and they have all kinds of tools, lifts and lots of really cool stuff you can use for cheap. I'm so thankful to have a husband who knows how to do this kind of stuff on his own.

I made chicken gnocchi soup with a recipe I found on Pinterest. It's good ... but not nearly as good as Aunt Judi's. I can't wait to go home at Christmas for like, a million reasons but this will be one of them! Gnocchi soup and Uncle Steve's oven subs :)

Monday started daycare at home ... GOD is it hard not being there. Thank God for FaceTime.
Here's all my little friends :) I miss them :(

I've started lifting weights and doing all sorts of things at the gym I've never done. I'm still working on a solid routine though. Here's the stairs of death .. they lead to the pool and the gym. It's pretty killer when your legs are sore. [PS check out that BLUUUUUE sky!]

I tried a recipe for carrot, apple, zucchini bread. I prefer regular zucchini bread I think.. but it's yummy!!

Still working on my August Goals (one of which was finishing this book!!!)

Last night I made "Slow cooker Bacon-Wrapped Apple BBQ Chicken" 
I'll definatley be making this again!! Super simple too. Turkey bacon, chicken breasts, BBQ sauce, lemon juice, brown sugar and apples. Nice and easy!

More FaceTime with the kids :) She was so excited to see me, it melted my heart! She started waiving and blowing me kisses ... so so sweet. 

Just finished doin' that weight thing ... lol that's a fake smile cuz I'm sore!! :)

Jeff has a 96 this weekend (which means 96 hours / a long weekend) which is AMAZING. I can't wait. I swear since that weird couple of weeks we are still making up for lost time. It's going to be so nice to sleep in and relax and just do whatever we want with no real plans for a few days, together. Hopefully there is another "great shake" in my plans for this coming weekend ;) just don't tell my body I'm eating junk food ;)

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Palm Springs + Movie Night

I think I've mentioned before that Palm Springs is about one and a half hours away. #realcivilization #theyhaveTARGETthere #andPanera

Ok, Ok enough hash tags - I just this its funny. But they do have the closest Panera, Target, Bed Bath and Beyond etc.

Friday night we went down the hill to drive our friend Hoffman to the airport. We stopped at Bed Bath and Beyond to exchange some things :) I got a salad spinner / mandolin / cheese grater {all in one} which I am really excited about. We also got more drinking glasses. With all the things I returned I got this stuff for $3 which was also exciting.

Jeff wanted to go to Harbor Freight, which was less exiting for me, but I'm not complaining. It's give and take.. and we don't ever have a chance to go to stores like this anymore, what with living in the middle of no where.

We had dinner with Hoffman at Applebee's before taking him to the USO to stay for the night. The people at the USO were SO awesome!! They wanted to give us a whole tour of the place.. they had recliners and couches, pillows and blankets, TV's, computers, a whole kitchen full of meals, snacks and drinks. It was really amazing. I told them I'd volunteer there, if we didn't live so far!!

Saturday morning, Jeff worked on a friend's car so he was gone. But the boys stopped by. They brought me "cream of tartar" which there was a whole discussion about ... They thought it was soup (disclaimer: I told them it was a white powder in the baking aisle) They bring me whatever ingredients I need to bake, and I bake them goodies :) It's a win win agreement really.

Snickerdoodles were on the menu this week!

While I was baking, they were helping around the house finding things to do. They fixed my laundry room door:

Marcellus put together the other two kitchen chairs we bought and left in the box:

They don't know I took these pics, so hopefully they don't ever find this post ;)

Saturday afternoon we headed back down to take our friend Mackinen to the airport. I had one more thing to exchange at Bed Bath and Beyond, we ate Panera for dinner and then walked around Downtown Palm Springs. It was SUCH a cool place! I really want to try Matchbox, a restaurant that overlooks the strip on a giant balcony. They also had a fun looking 50's type diner I want to try too, called Ruby's I love anywhere with a theme, a burger and a milkshake ;)

We grabbed a beer with Mackinen at the Greek Islands .. which is so small it doesn't even have a website. It was such a cool place. It was wedged between two small buildings, mostly outdoors and it has lights all strung up here and there. We walked in and a table of what must have been 35 people were having a giant family dinner together and had taken up 80% of the restaurant. I think everyone working there was Greek and it was just a cool little atmosphere. We didn't eat there, but the boys said the food is great too.

Ummm .. wait, speaking of milkshakes before:
We found this place called "Great Shakes" while we were walking around ... "great" is an understatement. This is their Oreo Caramel shake made with real ice cream and home made caramel. THERE IS WHIPPED CREAM, AN OREO AND A DONUT HERE ... I'll prob go back every time we hit Palm Springs, no joke. Luckily, we split it... because I could have eaten 5 of these things. YUM.

We hit Target with a gift card we had and bought some movie night goodies for when we got home..

A movie night in our own house .. on our own couch .. with my husband .. It was seriously, the best.
This weekend hasn't been a very diet friendly weekend, but it has been some awesome quality time :)
Sometimes, that's all that matters.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Kraft Care Package!

ARE YOU SERIOUS?! A package arrived for us yesterday and I absolutley couldn't believe what it was ... one of my BEST friends .. Sue, mailed us a care package filled with:


This giant cooler with freeze dried ice and lots of meat showed up and I couldn't stop smiling .. what a CRAZY COOL gift?!?! Seriously!

Check it out! Sirloin, Burgers, Filet, Pork Chops, Chicken Breast and Crab & Scallop Stuffed Sole!

I have a freezer FULL of yummy, healthy meats!!! I'm so so excited!!

Thanks Kraft Fam!! <3 Love you!!! I'm going to keep this in mind for gifts in the future!!

Friday, August 22, 2014

No More Pop! Let's Celebrate 1,096 Days!

Today marks the celebration of my 3 year anniversary ... anniversary with WHAT you might ask?

The day I gave up pop.

I accidentally had ONE root beer float ...
I had ONE root beer float on purpose... ;) 
But that's in THREE YEARS!

I went from drinking 6 Diet Coke's A DAY ... to none at all.

People ask me:

How did you do it? The answer is simple. I just stopped. Yes it was still in the house. I just decided one day that I wasn't comfortable with the amount of pop I drank .. and that it couldn't be healthy. I also didn't like that I somewhat relied on pop to function in my day to day life. 

Did I get headaches at first?
Yep. I drank unsweetened iced tea for caffeine which helped a TON. Your body isn't used to going from a TON of caffeine to NONE .. so the iced tea was a way for me to get the caffeine, avoid the headaches, cut back and also avoid all the sugar and chemicals. 

Did you  lose weight because of it?
No I didn't, but I hear of other lucky people who did.

Is it tough to stick with it?
It was at first. Diet Coke was my answer to everything. If I was hungry, Diet Coke. If I was thirsty, Diet Coke. If I needed a break from work and couldn't get away from my desk, Diet Coke. If I was mad, Diet Coke. So for that reason, it was tough. Pop was my friend ... BUT when I put a plan in place for what I'd do when I wanted one, it became easy. I drank water and tea when I wanted a drink. I curbed the headaches. I brought water and tea with me to parties .. you WOULDN'T BELIEVE the number of people who host and only offer pop.

What the heck DO you drink?
 Water (sometimes with lemon juice, MIO flavoring or by itself). Iced Tea (unsweetened). Wine ;) 

Do you miss it? No. I was surprised by how quickly I got over the need for pop. I actually had a sip of my moms a few months after I gave it up .. by mistake and I couldn't believe how gross it tasted. I was a DIET Coke girl .. and after going without for a few months and tasting hers, it tasted like regular, but very thick and syrupy. Gross. I will tell you ONCE in a blue moon I'll have a craving for a Diet 7 Up or Sprite type drink. That's funny to me, since I didn't drink that.. but whatever ;) 

I challenge YOU to give up pop. Maybe it's not controlling your life, but it's just not good for you.

  • One can of pop can have up to 10 teaspoons of sugar in it. The recommended daily intake for sugar is SIX ... which you're probably just getting from your FOOD.
  • The phosphoric acid in pop makes it difficult on your body to intake calcium which leads to the softening of bones.
  • There is no nutritional value to pop at all.
  • Heart attack and stroke risks increase with daily pop drinking.
  • All the sugar in pop can cause plaque build up and cause you problems in your teeth.
  • Studies have shown that you actually eat MORE when you drink pop.

There are many reasons, these are just a few .. really, you just have to choose yourself  and your health over pop. You can do it.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

That Thursday I Posted Twice

So I've been posting my recipes I've been making here ... because I've been busy cooking. That and nothing exciting has really been going on. I really do love cooking .. and I love having my own kitchen. I know, I know, I've said this before. It's true :)

So here's some random things..

  • Jeff is done working his 12 hours shifts, which has been really nice. It felt like the longest what, 1.5 - 2 weeks ever? Yep. Poor guy.
  • We had friends over Friday night to sort of, celebrate. We had a really fun time. The guys were great to have over. Jeff told me who was coming over and just kept naming and naming and naming people. He was making a face waiting for me to freak out I think ... he must have forgotten I'm Cathie's daughter and we love to entertain! ;) haha!! We had a blast.

  • Yes .. that's my brand new kitchen table in the living room ... LOL ... oh well .. they put it back before they left :)

    The boys kept saying ... " I want a picture with THE WILLMANS" it was hilarious. Wanting their own pics taken with "Just me and the Willmans now ..."  they kill me.
  • Monday was "normal" day one. I made beef stroganoff for dinner. I couldn't use the sour cream we had because it went bad (extremely fast I believe...) so I used a tiny bit of fat free half and half to give it a little cream and it worked! I was so excited.
  • During the day I made Jeff ground turkey vegetable soup, instead of buying all the soup we have been buying. He says he really likes it :) I hadn't made that by myself before now! :)
  • Tuesday was "normal" day two ... During the day I worked on the guest bedroom. I moved, unpacked and threw away boxes. I was exhausted. Jeff got home and had to rush back to work when I was pulling our dinner out of the oven (Greek Lemon Chicken). He had "duty" and didn't know it. He was gone until 10PM ... came home and slept, went back to work at 2AM and as punishment for not knowing he had duty, had to stay at work all day the next day (Wed) instead of getting the day off he was supposed to get.
  • Wednesday I made stuffed zucchini for dinner - I just posted the recipe {HERE}.

    • We went to bed at 6:30PM Wednesday night. What a long couple of days. ZzzzzzzZzz
    • Hopefully we are back on a normal sleep schedule.
    • It's Thursday. I'm making turkey bacon ranch pitas tonight for dinner. This will be an easy dinner, but I've been looking forward to it all week.
    • Jeff brought me home Subway for lunch!! Yay!! What a treat, really!!! :) 
    • I am waiting for a surprise to arrive in the mail / UPS from Sue ... I can't wait to see what it is?! Yay for something to look forward to!
    • I've been working really hard on meal planning and grocery shopping to keep us under budget. It's a work in progress.. eating healthy is expensive.
    • Tomorrow is Friday and we are going "down the hill" (Yep, that's what we call it.) to take a friend to the Palm Springs airport and I'm excited. We are going to Bed Bath and Beyond ... hopefully Target, just because I'm having withdrawals and dinner!
    • Saturday Jeff has to work on a friends car and then we are going to be going back into Palm Springs to take another friend to the airport. But again ... hopefully we will get a nice dinner out of being down in town!! :)
    • Later I will be working on my shopping list for next weeks meals. So far I think I'm going to make zucchini lasagna (again .. it was a HUGE hit), possibly meatloaf with potatoes, a pronto pasta bake, chicken gnocchi soup and loaded chicken and cauliflower casserole. I also would LIKE to make some snicker-doodle cookies and this "carrot, apple, zucchini bread" that I found on pinterest.
      No .. I've never made any of these before - it's going to be a big week! :)
    • Lots of talk about food huh? Yep ... that's how I roll these days ;) At least it's healthy! 

    Chicken-Stuffed Zucchini & Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Popsicles (WW Friendly)

    Two recipes ... don't be scared that I'm mixing cookie dough and chicken ... although I think cookie dough is good with anything ...

    What is a chicken-stuffed zucchini, you ask?

    This, my friend. This.

    At my wedding shower, I got this cook book from my best friends mom :)

    I swear, guys. Its the greatest book. It has "the basics" some stuff I know and some helpful tips I didn't know. It has "cooking fresh vegetables" and "selecting fresh fruits and vegetables" that tells you what to look for. All sorts of great information as well as recipes. I'd highly recommend it for anyone starting off!

    Onto the cooking ... The recipe says:

    Bring water to a boil ... put in whole zucchini and boil for 5 mins. Then remove and cool slightly.

    Mix veggies, cooked chicken, 4 Tb. Parmesan cheese and 1 tsp. (I used Italian) seasoning.
    I cut up 1 large carrot ... some red pepper and 1.5 cooked and chopped chicken breast.

    Cut down each side on the top of the zucchini. Scoop out the insides.

    Cut up the zucchini you removed from the middle.

     Mix zucchini in the chicken mixture.

    Stuff hollowed out zucchini with chicken mixture. Sprinkle top with 2 more Tb. with Parmesan and  bake at 400 for 15 minutes.

    Enjoy!!!! (this was ALL veggies except the chicken and cheese so I didn't even figure out the WW points)

    Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Popsicles - 
    I just made these to freeze ...
    1 1/4 c. unsweetened Almond Milk (vanilla)
    1/3 c. brown sugar
    1 tsp. vanilla
    Pinch of salt
    2 Tbsp. chocolate chips
    I didn't have popsicle molds or sticks so I made them into 16 ice cube molds.
    1 Weight Watcher point each  I hope they're yummy once they're frozen! UPDATE!

    Sunday, August 17, 2014

    Stuffed RED Peppers

    Tonight I'm trying my hand at stuffed peppers ... I don't like GREEN, so we opted for RED :)

    First, I'd like to Thank my MOMMA and technology ... My mom text me a picture of the stuffed (green) pepper recipe she had in her Betty Crocker cook book {below}. So awesome. It turned out yummy if I say so myself.

    Ingredients I used:
    1 lb. ground turkey (you could use ground beef instead, of course)
    1 c. Barilla Traditional tomato sauce
    2 c. brown rice

    I didn't have enough mozzarella so I mixed what I did have left, with a little bit of part skim ricotta and Parmesan.

    Preheat the oven to 350.

    First brown the ground turkey.  

     While browning the meat: Take the peppers top and insides out. Fill up a pot with water (over the tops and inside the peppers) and boil peppers for 5 mins. Also cook the rice at this time.

    Mix together the ground meat, tomato sauce, rice and garlic sauce and heat throughout on the stove. 

    Place empty peppers in a cupcake tin (so they don't fall over). Fill peppers with the mix above. 
    Cover with tin foil and bake at 350 for 45 mins.

    As I said before, I didn't have enough mozzarella so I created this mixture.  

     Place cheese on top of peppers, uncover and  bake for another 15 mins. 


    My peppers turned out to be 10 WW points each.
    Next time I will add tomatoes and onions to Jeff's peppers, I think!

    For More Healthy WW Approved Recipes .. CLICK HERE