BBQ turkey meatloaf

Bear with me here because I just kinda made this up as I went so I didn’t take a ton of pictures because I wasn’t 100% positive if it would be worth ever making again. Ummmm… Yeah, definitely worth making again!!! ALL of my kids loved it and asked for seconds. Yep all THREE of them! Usually 1 loves it, 1 tolerates it, and 1 hates it so when I hit a home run with a meal that all 3 love I make sure to add it to the meal archives! I had some lean ground turkey in the fridge that HAD to be used today but I had no idea what I was going to do with it! I vaguely remembered someone talking about BBQ chicken something or another on fb the other day and so I thought to myself, why couldn’t I make a turkey meatloaf?!?!? The greatest part about it is it’s a quasi healthy dinner!
Preheat your oven to 425 and gather your supplies.
You’ll need:
1 lb lean ground turkey
1 egg
Oatmeal (about 3/4 cup)
BBQ sauce

20131028-201446.jpg
I didn’t take a picture when I started but I just so happened to have another lb of ground turkey in the freezer so I brought it out for visual purposes! I’m 100% confident that you could find a healthier BBQ sauce option but this was all I had on hand thanks to my grillin’ fool of a hubby! I’m not a huge BBQ sauce fan so I wouldn’t know for sure however this sauce was darn tasty and had 70 calories per serving & 0 fat although thanks to the honey I’m sure the sugar was higher. Next take your oatmeal and toss it into a food processor or blender and blend until it’s fine like flour. You can use saltine crackers as well I’m sure just like in regular meatloaf.

20131028-202303.jpg
In a mixing bowl, beat 1 egg and add your lean ground turkey and your oatmeal. I tossed in a little garlic and onion powder and then about 4 tbsp of BBQ sauce and mixed well. Form into a “loaf” and put in an oven safe dish. Put it in the oven and begin to smell the deliciousness almost immediately!

20131028-202828.jpg
Ovens will differ but mine was mostly done by about 15 mins and I just squirt a little more sauce on top and spread it around before putting it back in about another 5 mins. Before I started on the loaf, I had started some brown rice and it was done about this time.

20131028-203047.jpg
My friend Mallory also suggested a really delicious sounding broccoli recipe (I’m obsessed with broccoli!) sadly, I was out of coconut oil, I only had limes no lemons, and I didn’t have any Parmesan cheese for it like she recommended but I kinda improvised the same concept and yuuuuummmm! I’m going to have to hit up the grocery store for all those other things so I can try it the way it’s supposed to be ASAP!!! I lined a cookie pan with foil then lay the broccoli florets on top. I drizzled it with probably no more than 2 tsp of olive oil and then squeezed the juice of half a lime on top too! A sprinkle of mrs dash table blend and then I found this white cheddar popcorn seasoning in my cupboard and the label on the lid caught my eye “try me on veggies” well, okay, don’t mind if I do! So I sprinkled some of that on too and threw it in the oven too!

20131028-203911.jpg
I sprinkled a little fat free mozzarella on the kids broccoli and then served it all up!

20131028-204034.jpg
I added a dollop of extra BBQ sauce to the kiddos plates but left it off my own. They pretty much licked their plates clean. T didn’t eat her broccoli but she hates broccoli any way I serve it! I will DEFINITELY be making this again soon! Maybe with a baked sweet potato on the side next time! Nom nom nom!

Peach Salsa Chicken

I’m always experimenting with food. I’m pretty much never organized enough to plan a meal so I usually just improvise and throw things in a pan on a whim. It’s never steered me wrong and my experiments often lead to some favorite family meals!
Several years ago I stumbled upon this fabulous Central Market organic peach salsa at HEB. Yuuuuummmmm! It’s so ridiculously delicious! It’s the perfect blend of sweet and spicy, even my kids love it with some black corn chips. Nom… Nom… Nom! One night I needed to get some dinner on the table quickly and didn’t have a ton of groceries handy so I scrounged up some ingredients that I thought may compliment each other well and bam Peach Salsa Chicken was born. It’s one of Dave’s very favorite meals now. He requests it often!
You’ll need:
-Chicken breast depending on the size, you’ll probably need 1 small breast per serving.
-frozen corn
-1 can of black beans
-rice (I used instant white because it was all I had but we often use brown rice instead)
-1 jar of Central Market Organic Peach Salsa (I’m sure you could find a similar concoction at your local grocer)
-1 jar of regular salsa of your choice
-Garlic Powder
-Onion Powder

20131014-001324.jpg
You’ll want to start by dicing your chicken breast into small bite sized cubes and then season with your garlic and onion powder. The amount of salsa you use will depend on the amount of chicken you’re cooking but you’ll want it to be about a 4:1 peach to regular salsa ratio.

20131014-001856.jpg
Mix well and simmer chicken on medium heat while you make rice according to package directions for the appropriate serving size you desire. Add your corn to a small pot with a bit of water and a tablespoon of butter or margarine. When it’s almost completely done, add your black beans and stir.

20131014-002355.jpg
Once everything is fully cooked, remove from heat and began serving in layers. Rice, then corn/bean mix, then chicken. I like to drizzle a little bit of extra salsa on top and my kids like a little sprinkle of cheese added to theirs too!

20131014-002712.jpg
Stick a fork in me I’m done! My favorite! You can add additional spices while you cook your chicken for a little extra umph! We like to add cayenne pepper and red chili powder to make it a little spicier but I’ve also added a sprinkle of brown sugar to make it sweeter. The possibilities are endless!

My baby is 9. Yep, NINE!

Last week my baby turned 9.  She may be my oldest but she’ll always be my baby!  Try as I might, I couldn’t keep her from growing up.  I cannot wrap my head around the fact that a whole 9 years have passed since I brought this little miracle home from the hospital!  I’m so proud of the little person she is becoming.  She’s smart, beautiful, helpful, kind, and loves Jesus.  I couldn’t ask for more in a daughter.  I had her tag along on a session last week in the outfit she picked for her party because A.  She’s amazing with babies and I knew the sweet 1 year old I was working with that night would love her B.  It was a lovely wooded looking area that I though would compliment her outfit well.  She took one of her favorite American Girl Doll’s along too!

_POC0972

Several weeks ago we had 12 of her favorite little ladies spend the night for a back to school bash.  Everyone had a blast but I told her right then and there that we wouldn’t be having a huge party for her birthday this year since she got to do that.  Her birthday weekend also fell sandwiched in between 2 trips to Dallas for the American Girl Fashion Show & rehearsal, and a Bitty Baby tea party we won through House Party.  All this traveling and partying combined with school and soccer didn’t leave me much energy for another big bash.  Besides, when you have 5 girl nieces and 3 daughters, you have a built in party at every family gathering!  lol  I told P she could invite 4 friends to join her and her cousins for a camping themed party. Poor child had such a tough time narrowing down her list.  We’re so fortunate to have so many sweet girls in our lives!  When all was settled, she selected 3 school friends and 1 soccer pal and we got to work on hand delivering invitations.  We dipped oversized marshmallows in chocolate and sprinkles on skewers and drove around to present the invitations, pre-party snack, and a tiny little compass to all our cousins and 4 friends.

IMG_5332

When our guests arrived, they were asked to “Register” at the camp welcome center.  Here they would grab their “welcome packs” (goody bags), sign a frame for P to keep as a memory, and pay their “camp dues”.  P has so much of what she wants and much more than she could ever need so instead of gifts, she asked her guests to bring their spare change to donate to one of our favorite charities.  We printed out little name labels for each of our guests and used ribbon to tie them to canvas tote bags we got 2/$1 at Dollar tree.  They also had a “camp journal”, mini deco tape, a cool wooden pencil, flashlight keychain, scratch off ticket, a little thank you note, and camping sticker scene activity.  We got the mini flashlight keychains and sticker sheets from oriental trading.  The flashlight and tape are “doll sized” which is perfect for my little AG lovers.

IMG_5328

The girls snacked on mini pretzel dogs and cheeto puffs and drank their “bug juice”.  It was lemonade that I added strawberry flavoring and green food coloring too.  Then we froze plastic bugs in muffin tins to use as ice.

IMG_5330

IMG_5322

I had cute little chevron printed paper treat bags set up near a pink tackle box full of candy “bait”  and cups full of different flavored teddy grahams and gummy bears for the girls to make their own sweet trail mixes.

IMG_5324

Then we moved on to our table to do a few crafts and the scratch off tickets.  We passed out lucky pennies and the girls got a kick out of them.  The winner got a bigger backpack style “camping pack” filled with a nifty journal, flashlight, sports bottle, stickers, etc.  I got all of this stuff at Michael’s in the fun finds section.  Nothing I bought including the bag were over $1!  After the winner got her goodies, we moved on to arts and crafts.  I got these cute little peace, love, and s’mores kits at oriental trading  ($6/12pk) and they were the perfect addition to a girly camping party.  We also made s’more necklaces out of polymer clay.  We LOVE polymer clay!

IMG_5327

The kids also enjoyed the “fishing hole” and visited it on and off throughout the party.  We got a few packages of ping pong balls at dollar tree and hot glued foam tails and magnets on them.  We used dowel rods with fishing wire and a large washer on the end for fishing poles and a plastic kiddie pool I borrowed from my bestie for the pond.  The girls paired up and raced to see who could catch the most fish in 1 minute.  The winners got to pick a prize from the prize box (sticker sheets and more Michael’s fun finds).

IMG_5329

After fishing, the girls all climbed into the tent we had set up with their dolls and played with the doll sized s’mores and campfire we had made before the party.  We made the s’mores using polymer clay and toothpicks for doll sized skewers.  The fire we made using a scrap piece of cardboard for the base.  We traced LED tea lights we got at the dollar tree and cut a space out on the cardboard for them.  I sent my kiddos on a scavenger hunt for small rocks and twigs and used hot glue to secure them.  It was a hit!  We set up the doll tent inside the real tent with some adorable doll sized sleeping bags my mother made.  P had one of her dolls giving horseback riding lessons to the other dolls too!  hahahaha  She might be my kid!

IMG_9321_POC1178

While the girls played in the tent, Dave and I hid plastic bugs I got at dollar tree around the yard.  I used a sharpie to write “winner” on 4 or 5 of the bugs before we hid them.  When we were done, the girls had to find 3 bugs each.  Those who found winning bugs got a prize from the prize box.

After all the fun, Dave lit the fire pit while we finished our remaining crafts and the girls got to enjoy their s’mores.  We had 2 different kinds of chocolate, 2 different kinds of graham crackers, and 4 different kinds of marshmallows to choose from!  It was fun watching the girls make different s’more creations.  They grabbed their skewers and had a great time laughing and roasting marshmallows together.  We had cupcakes earlier in the evening so I limited the girls to 2 s’mores each so they wouldn’t be bouncing off the walls for their mothers later!  lol

IMG_5325

IMG_5331

When the s’mores were done and the moon was out we handed out glow sticks and let the girls run free in the yard with their flashlights and lanterns before it was time to go home. I have to say it was nothing super fancy, but it was by far one of my favorite parties we’ve hosted!  I kinda wanna do it all over again!  Hope all the girls had fun too!  On top of all that, our generous friends and family raised about $100 for charity and brought P some goodies too!  She got some great books, a guitar, the rainbow loom thingy she’s been dying for, and her first bow and arrow set from her grandparents.  She’s dying to get to the ranch and get some lessons from Grandpa!  Love my sweet girl and hope she had a great birthday!  Have lots of camping themed printables I will probably upload later in case anyone is interested 🙂

In the perfect ending to a great weekend, we participated in the baby dedication at church the next morning and even better, P got baptized!  What an incredible moment it was watching my Daddy baptize my daughter!

_POC1271_POC1272

Happy to have a glass!

I haven’t written in the last couple of weeks because we’ve been unbelievably busy!  3rd grade home days are whipping us and we don’t have time for much else it seems.  Add soccer and gymnastics into the mix and you’re left with some seriously exhausted kiddos and their mama by the end of the week!  On top of all that, we had 3 birthday parties and a soccer game last weekend and this past weekend we had a small party for P’s 9th birthday, baby dedication, and Baptism at church!

More than all the busyness though, I haven’t written because I’ve been struggling with some negativity.  When I started this blog, I was making a commitment to myself and my readers for it to be a source of encouragement and positive posting. Mama taught me if I didn’t have anything nice to say, not to say anything at all so I battled with my negative inner demons alone.  We’ve been hit hard the last couple of weeks with misfortunes and bad news that it’s been tough to maintain a positive attitude.  First with all the fiascos of the last post and then it seemed that slowly but surely everything else began to go wrong!

We found out my mother in law’s tumor had begun to grow back and we just aren’t sure what all of it means.  Waiting for weeks for test results, hoping to get her into a clinical trial, her not feeling well.  The kids want to see Grandma and it’s tough for her when she’s not feeling well so it’s been a stressful situation for my father in law and everyone else involved.  Then, after Dave’s blowout situation a couple of weeks ago, we had another truck mishap.  Last week he called and said he hit a cow and messed his truck up pretty badly.  Thank God he was okay, that big ole’ grill guard really helped block the impact of the 2,000 lb bovine but caused pretty severe damage to the truck.  We were waiting on the insurance representative to contact us so we could see what the next step would be.  We were pretty confident it was totaled because of the amount of damage that was done but after meeting with the insurance company yesterday, their preliminary estimates don’t point in the direction of totaled.  This is a bit disappointing to us as we are concerned about the condition of the truck after so many extensive repairs.  With as much as he travels, we just can’t risk him being in a vehicle that is in anything less than pristine running condition.  In between all this we got a contract on our home but it fell through when the buyers were offered a promotion that included a relocation, there was a misunderstanding that lead to some family tension, one of my very best friends had to admit her 5 year old daughter to the hospital for pneumonia and I can’t be there with her, and we discovered that our oldest daughter’s severe dyslexia was really giving her some problems in school.

With all of this bad news and tension surrounding our family, I was finding it extremely difficult to be positive!  But this morning, I was sitting around sulking about my bad series of misfortunes and attempting to sort through and purge some of my memos, texts, photos, etc from my phone.  I stumbled upon some church notes I had taken several months ago and decided to revisit the lesson.  Something my pastor said, as silly as it may have sounded at the time, stuck with me that day and made a profound effect on negative lil’ ole me.  He said “are you the type of person who sees the glass as half empty or half full, or are just happy that you have a glass at all?”  Wow!  Certainly on my negative days, I knew I was looking at the glass as half empty when I should be looking at it as half full but here I was patting myself on the back for doing great on my “positive” days because I was viewing the glass as half full.  HALF full!  Let’s analyze that for a second.

Half (as defined by dictionary.com): one of two equal or approximately equal parts of a divisible whole, as an object, or unit of measurer time; a part of a whole equal or almost equal to the remainder.

So when I say my glass is half full, I’m stating that my life is equally good and equally bad.  Let me review.  I’ve got 3 gorgeous children, amazing parents, a handsome hard working husband, 5 beautiful nieces, 1 handsome nephew, more incredible God fearing close friends than I can count on both hands, a roof over my head, a dependable vehicle to drive, clean clothes on my back, hot coffee in my cup, too much food on my plate, clean water to drink, and an amazing, wonderful, incredibly miraculous, all-knowing God to serve and that’s not enough for my cup to be more than “half full”?  I would say all that good in my life far outweighs the bad little bumps in the road.  Bad things happen, they’re inevitable.  Life isn’t always going to be peachy and that’s okay.  I’ll cling to the good and surrender the bad to God because he knows my strength more than I do and when I run out, he gives me His.  So today, I won’t see my glass as half empty, nor will I see it as half full.  Today I’m just going to be happy to have a glass at all!

Proverbs 3:5  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding”

What is your glass looking like today?  Running a little low?  It’s okay, tomorrow is a new day and there are free refills all around!  Cheers!