Ranch Chicken Tacos

Thursday, August 28, 2014

There is nothing easier than cooking a meal using a crock pot. I found mine for $10 at Macy's black Friday sale 2 years ago and had to snag it. We've been using it a lot for meals, especially meals with chicken. This particular recipe is as easy as it gets - there's only 2 steps!

Throw the raw chicken, chicken broth, ranch packet and taco seasoning in the crock pot. Cook on low for 6-8 hours until chicken if fully cooked. 

Once the chicken is done, shred the chicken and allow to sit in the crock pot for about 30 more minutes so the chicken can absorb all the juices. 

Serve with your favorite taco toppings! We used shredded cabbage (we both agreed this was better than regular lettuce), diced tomatoes, sauteed onions, cheese and some buffalo ranch dressing. The dressing really added something and made it a unique, delicious taco.

- 1 packet of taco seasoning
- 1 packet of ranch dressing
- 1 can of chicken broth
- Raw chicken
- Additional taco toppings

1. Combine the chicken, chicken broth, ranch packet and taco seasoning in the crock pot.
2. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Once the chicken is cooked, shred it and leave in crock pot for 30 minutes.

Summer Okra Salad

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Since it's already the end of August, (where did the time go?) Stephen and I wanted to have one last summer dinner. This consisted of grilled meats and my mom's best summer sides: crunchy cole slaw and okra salad. We got a mini charcoal grill as a wedding gift that we store inside because we're not allowed to have grills at our apt complex. Stephen has become a grill MASTER and has uncovered the secret to grilling with charcoal. We can't wait to move into a house and get a bigger grill for Stephen.

Stephen's mini grill with Brats

Back to the Okra salad....

Dice the tomatoes and onions. Saute the onions for about 5 min. Once the onions have become translucent, add the okra and corn.

Saute onions then add okra and corn

Make about 4-5 slices of bacon. I used microwave bacon because it's easier and less messy. Chop the bacon and add to the skillet once the okra and corn are unfrozen. Also add the diced tomatoes.

Everything combined

Once everything is combined in the skillet, cook for another 3-5 minutes and enjoy. You can serve this dish warm or cold.

Our summer dinner

This ended up being a great dinner to end the summer and thankfully we've had some delicious leftovers. 

- 1 bag of frozen okra
- 1/2- 1 bag of frozen corn
- 1 small onion
- 1-2 tomatoes or a container of grape tomatoes
- Bacon

1. Dice the onions and saute in a skillet.
2. Dice the tomatoes and cook the bacon. Chop the bacon into small pieces after it is cooked.
3. Once the onions have become translucent, add the frozen okra and corn.
4. Cook until the vegetables have unthawed.
5. Add the tomatoes and bacon and cook for a few more minutes to combine all ingredients.
6. Serve warm or cold and enjoy!

Fruit PIzza Cookies

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Stephen and I enjoyed a relaxing weekend filled with movies, baking and puzzles! I used to do 1,000 piece puzzles with my dad all the time while I lived at home. It was our thing and we only did a certain brand of puzzles. While wandering through Target on Saturday, Stephen suggested getting a puzzle and I was instantly on board and looking for a great one. We found this fall scene and had to get it since I'm itching for some fall weather. We started it Saturday night and it was done by 2pm Sunday. Guess we really enjoyed it...

I was also wanting to bake something this weekend so we decided on fruit pizza cookies which are very easy to make. Not going to lie, I've had better fruit pizza cookies in the past but these weren't awful.

Ball up the sugar cookie dough and bake the cookies according to the instructions on the packet. Then whip together 8 oz cream cheese and 1/2 cup confectioners sugar. Once the cookies are cooled, spread on the icing and add fruit. In the past we've used strawberries, blueberries and sometimes kiwi. I think those combinations are better than the raspberries and blueberries but that's just our taste. I also think the cookies taste better when they're chilled.

- 8 oz cream cheese
- 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
- Fruit of your choice
- Sugar cookies

1. Bake the sugar cookies according to the instructions
2. Whip together cream cheese and sugar
3. Cool the cookies and spread on the icing
4. Top with fruit and enjoy

Spinach Pasta

Friday, August 22, 2014

Stephen and I love cooking together and usually find a lot of great recipes on Pinterest. I have a board of go-to recipes that we know are delicious and pretty easy to make. One of the pasta recipes we like to make is a creamy tomato and spinach pasta. You can find the original recipe here but Stephen and I modified ours a little bit.


First, boil water and cook pasta. [Note: we forgot to buy onion] While waiting on the pasta to cook, dice the onion. Place the onion and garlic in a large skillet with olive oil and cook until transparent. Add the can of diced tomatoes - undrained -  basil, oregano, salt and pepper to the skillet and combine. Add tomato paste and 1/2 cup of water to the skillet and stir until the tomato paste is dissolved into the sauce. 

Diced tomato & seasonings

Next, turn the heat down low and add the cream cheese to the skillet. Stir in the cheese until fully melted and the sauce is creamy. 

Cream cheese added

Add the fresh spinach and stir into the sauce until it has wilted. 


Add the pasta and combine. 

Serve warm and enjoy :)

- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion
- 1-2 cloves of minced garlic
- 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes (undrained)
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- pepper to taste
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 2 oz cream cheese
- 1/2 lb pasta
- 1/2 bag fresh spinach
- 1/2 cup water

1. Boil water and cook pasta.
2. Dice onion and place in skillet with minced garlic and olive oil. Cook onion until transparent on medium heat setting.
3. Add the undrained can of diced tomatoes, oregano, basil, salt and pepper to the skillet. Stir to combine then add tomato paste and 1/2 cup of water. Stir the contents until tomato paste is dissolved into the sauce.
4. Turn the heat to low. Add the cream cheese to the skillet and stir until fully melted.
5. Add fresh spinach and stir into the sauce until the spinach has wilted. Add the pasta and combine.

Disney Weekend Recap

Monday, August 18, 2014

This last weekend was bitter sweet - I finally got to see my family and we went to Disney World for the last time for many, many years. My family hasn't been together since Christmas, how we survived 8 months is beyond me. It was so great seeing my parents and sister again and to have a reunion at Disney was the icing on the cake. My family has gotten seasonal Disney passes for as long as I can remember and once Stephen and I started dating, we started getting passes as well. Our passes expire at the end of August and we have decided against renewing them. We are waiting to go back to Disney once we have kids, which is a while away. This was our final trip to the most magical place on earth for a while. I do have to advise against going to Disney during any of the summer months because it is so crowded and unbearably hot. Thankfully both Friday and Saturday were relatively overcast so it was tolerable outside, however Sunday was HOT. Regardless of the crowds and weather, we loved being together as a family again!

Thursday, I flew back from a quick business trip and we all met at our hotel - All Star Music. Once we were settled, we set out for Downtown Disney for our usual: Earl of Sandwich and Ghirardelli's.

Love my sister

Had to get a picture with the Star Wars backpacks they were too funny

Dessert at Ghirardelli's

My adorable parents

My Love

Friday we slept in slightly and spent the day at Epcot. It was overcast the whole day but didn't rain so the weather was great - if you can stand the humidity. We enjoyed taking our time with riding rides, seeing the countries and recharging in the golf ball VIP center. We had an amazing and filling lunch at the Biergarten in Germany and enjoyed a quick dinner in France. The great thing about Disney is your nights can always end with a magical fireworks display. 

We had to

I love my family

Mom is waiting to get her hip replaced and couldn't be walking the whole day. Only time we can skip lines!

We ate lunch at the Biergarten in Germany - always delicious!

Dinner and dessert was at the quick restaurant in France

Stephen and I finished off the night by watching our favorite fireworks show while my parents & sister watched the France video

Saturday we woke up at the crack of dawn in order to make it to the park ~1 hour before Magic Kingdom opened. Caroline and my dad haven't gotten to ride the new Snow White Mine Train roller coaster so we had to be the first in line to get into the park. We were one of the firsts in the park and thankfully one of the firsts in line for the ride. When we got off the ride, the line was already 90+ minutes long! We ate lunch at Pecos Bills (a must) then got Dole Whips before heading back to the hotel for a quick nap during the rain. We returned to the park and ate dinner at the Liberty Tree then took our time finishing the rest of the rides we didn't do earlier in the day. Magic Kingdom was having magic hours that night but we ended up leaving 30 min after they started due to exhaustion and large crowds that surprisingly still remained. 

First ones in the park! Getting to the Mine Train was definitely survival of the fittest and I'd NEVER do this with a small child, people are ruthless.

We couldn't believe we were on the first train ride of the day! 

I can't believe we never got Dole Whips as kids! We were definitely missing out

Dinner at the Liberty Tree

It was delicious!

 Fireworks are always AMAZING at Disney

Sunday we woke up early and said our goodbyes to my parents as they had a 9 hour drive ahead of them then we headed to Hollywood Studios. Caroline and Stephen got to ride Tower of Terror and Rockin' Roller Coaster before we rode the Great Movie Ride, did a drawing class, checked out the new Frozen area, saw the Beauty and the Beast show then finished up the day with Toy Story Mania. We were surprised how crowded it was there and it was blazing! Thankfully we only stayed until 1pm and then headed out. 

We are Ana and Elsa ;)

In the new Frozen area, there was a snowman building area and ice rink

Love her to pieces

I feel like the drawing class is a secret treasure at Hollywood Studios. Caroline even got the teacher's picture!

Our drawings of Pasquale from Tangled

Beauty and the Beast

Toy Story Mania

We had a great weekend and I'm so thankful we were able to have this time together as a family. I missed everyone the moment we got into the car but I'm looking forward to seeing everyone again in November!