Friday Favorites- Inspiration

In case you’re in need of a little bit of inspiration, here are a few things I found fun or inspiring this week.

Favorite Yum: Gimme Some Oven- Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Bites

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We made something similar a while back (see here), but it didn’t include chocolate, which I think is a great addition.

Favorite DIY- Dip Dye

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These are so cute! Wouldn’t they be an amazing gift?

Favorite Inspiration: Skunkboy Blog- Disposable Camera Challenge

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I love this whole concept.

Favorite Funny- Taxes

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Favorite Hair: Delightfully Tacky- Low Tuck Up-Do

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This hairstyle idea is totally do-able. Elizabeth (above) just uses a plain black headband, which is totally an option, but when I tried it, I used a sparkly one- it ends up making it look a bit fancier. Despite how it looks completed, the up-do is incredibly simple and easy- and it looks great on thick, curly hair (like mine), and thinner, straight hair (like a friend’s who introduced me to the hairstyle).  My new go to hair for when I want to feel fancy 🙂

Favorite Outfit Inspiration- Neutrals

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This makes me want a full skirt all over again…

Favorite Wanderlust- via

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Always inspiring.

Favorite Words- Prayer

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I absolutely love this perspective on prayer.

Jordan 

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Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

My Daughter and I- Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

I’ve been baking a lot of cookies lately, and most of the time I just go to my old favorites, such as our delicious chocolate chip cookies or amazing snickerdoodles. But this time I decided to try something a bit different because I had a craving for peanut butter cookies. I found this recipe on Gimme Some Oven and then I just added a bag of peanut butter chips. The cookies were delicious!

My Daughter and I- Peanut Butter Chip Cookies 1

INGREDIENTS:

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup peanut butter (smooth or crunchy), I used both
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 bag peanut butter chips

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350˚F.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cornstarch and salt in a large bowl and set aside.

In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the softened butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Mix in peanut butter until it is incorporated and smooth. Add vanilla and eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl down after each addition. Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly add dry ingredients until they are just incorporated and the batter is smooth, being careful not to over-mix. Add the peanut butter chips and stir until combined.

Using a cookie scoop or spoon place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the edges are golden brown and the centers are slightly puffy. Remove from the oven, and then transfer the cookies to a cooling rack to cool. Makes about 30 cookies.

Cindy

Slow Cooker Chicken Stew

My Daughter and I- Slow Cooker Chicken Stew

I love using my Crockpot, don’t you? I feel so accomplished when I have dinner made before I even eat breakfast. The other day I was heading out the door at 7:00 am and since I wasn’t sure when I’d be home, I needed to find a quick and delicious meal to stick in the Crockpot. The trick was whether I had the ingredients or not. This recipe fit the bill. I found it on Taste of Home and I just made a few minor changes.

My Daughter and I- Slow Cooker Chicken Stew 1

Slow Cooker Chicken Stew

Ingredients:
6 medium red potatoes, cut into chunks
2 cups diced baby carrots, diced into large pieces
Approximately 2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 large can condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted – the family size. I think it’s about 30 ounces.
Pepper
Italian seasoning

Directions:
Wash and cut potatoes and place in the bottom of your crockpot that has been sprayed with cooking oil. Next cut up the carrots and place into the crockpot on top of the potatoes. Layer the chicken over the veggies and sprinkle with a bit of pepper and Italian seasoning. Then spread the entire can of cream of chicken soup over the top of the chicken and sprinkle a bit more seasoning to taste. Cover and turn on low and cook for 6 or so hours. I then stirred the stew and broke up the chicken into bite sized pieces. I added a bit more seasoning and let it cook a bit longer.

I served in bowls as a stew, but you could thicken the sauce a bit if you prefer. I served this with steamed broccoli, salad and biscuits.

Cindy 

Navy Bean Soup with Ham

My Daughter and I- Navy Bean Soup with Ham

I made this delicious soup the other day with the leftover ham bone and ham from Christmas. I was so excited to make it and then we had a sudden change in weather so we were enjoying bean soup after a chilly winter 89* day degrees! Crazy!

What I really liked about this soup was how creamy it tasted – but there wasn’t anything creamy in it. I’m not sure if it was just the beans or how they were cooked or what, but it was amazing and so easy!

My Daughter and I- Navy Bean Soup with Ham 1

Navy Bean Soup with Ham 

Ingredients and directions:

2 lb of dried white beans, I used navy beans
6-8 cups of water

1-2 tsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 -5 carrots, peeled and diced in large pieces
5 stalks of celery, diced
2 -3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 ham hock, extra fat remove from the outside of the hock
4 cups of chicken stock, low sodium
2- 4 cups of water
Italian seasoning
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:
Overnight Soak: Rinse and sort the beans. Add 6-8 cups of cold water to dried beans. Let stand overnight or at least 8 hours. Drain and rinse the beans. Side Note: If you don’t have time to do an overnight soak, try the quick soak method: Rinse and sort the beans. Add 6-8 cups of water to dried beans. Bring water to a boil, boil for 2 minutes, remove from heat; cover and let stand for 1 hour. Drain and rinse the beans.

I did the quick soak method and I didn’t let the beans stand for an hour – maybe 30 minutes while I got the rest of the ingredients ready.

Heat the olive oil in the pot you soaked the beans in – why make extra dishes? Add onions, carrots, & celery. Cook for 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for a bit. Now it’s time to get everything into the crockpot. Start with the ham hock, I would recommend removing any visible fat. Then pour the soaked and drained beans in. Next add the veggies that you had cooking, pour in the chicken broth, Italian seasoning, sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste. Finally add a bit more water to make sure everything is covered. I completely filled my big crockpot. Cover and cook on high for several hours to get everything bubbling along. I turned it down to low after about 4 hours. It’s better to not open the crockpot a lot while cooking, since all the heat escapes, but I would suggest stirring from time to time and try to remove the ham bits from the bone while stirring. About an hour before serving I removed the entire ham bone from the soup and let it cool a bit and removed any additional meat from the bone. I then removed the excess fat from the top of the soup, there was just a bit that I ladled off. I fished around in the soup for any excess bone bits, large pieces of meat, fat etc. Finally I added some cut up leftover ham to the soup and tasted it to see if it needed any additional seasoning. Let ham pieces heat through. We served our soup with bread and salad.

It sounds a bit labor intensive, but I promise it’s not! The soup would have been hearty and delicious without the extra ham pieces, but I had the leftovers and wanted to make it extra chunky. I’m not sure why I felt the need to sauté the veggies first. I’m sure it would have been delicious if everything was just dumped into the crockpot.

 

Cindy 

Friday Favorites- Accomplished!

Whew! Well here we are! I finally managed to post three times this week- yay for consistent blogging! The last couple months have been pretty spotty with the blog- I kept on thinking that things were going to settle down and I would go back to the blog then. And you know what I’ve figured out? Things don’t really settle down- schedules change and routines resume, but no matter what, we’re still busy. Despite that, being back on schedule with the blog feels great. Let’s see if we can keep it up 🙂

Spring Break Camera Strap

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Photojojo’s store is a wonderland for photographers- so many tempting camera gadgets and accessories! I’m especially loving this fun camera strap.

Favorite Dress Find- Prairie Road Babydoll Dress

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I love this loose silhouette and simple print- so pretty.

Favorite Drool

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Um. Hello beautiful.

Favorite Song- Ulysses by Josh Garrels 

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My current favorite- Josh Garrels is just downright awesome.

Favorite Read- Jesus Creed: Loving God and Loving Others by Scot McKnight

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I found this book via a recommendation, and have loved it so far! I actually didn’t have super high hopes for it at first, but it’s blown me away. The author is direct, concise, interesting, and thought-provoking. What more could you ask for?

Favorite Comfy Tee- Stay Cozy 

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Kinship Goods has a bunch of cute, quirky t-shirts and thermals that look perfect for cozy, lazy days.

Favorite Sweet

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Yummy! This looks like all levels of delicious.

Favorite Home Inspiration

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Between the blue paneled walls and the adorable little fireplace, this is an amazing home inspiration photo.

Jordan