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What’s For Dinner: Chicken Fajita Soup

March 5, 2015 in Recipes

As most of you know, cooking hasn’t always been my forte. When I was a newlywed I would be lying if I said I never started a fire in the kitchen. (That’s a story for a different day).

Life has changed a little bit and I actually enjoy cooking if I’m making something that doesn’t take years to make and if it’s something that tastes as good as what I would pay at a restaurant.

So my friends… that’s what today’s post is all about! We love soup at our house on cold weather days, and my husband scarfed this recipe DOWN. (That’s saying something because he’s quite the food critic when we go out to eat 😉 ) My sweet sister-in-law sent this to me saying how easy it was to make and she was completely right!



Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 4 hours

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1½ cups water
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon dried cilantro (I used fresh cilantro since that’s what I had on hand)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  1. Spray your slow cooker with cooking spray. Add chicken to the bottom of the slow cooker.
  2. In a medium sized mixing bowl, mix cream of chicken soup, salsa, corn, black beans, water, cumin, and cilantro. Pour over the top of chicken.
  3. Cook on low for 4-6 hours. Remove the chicken and shred with two forks. Place back into the slow cooker and add shredded cheese. Continue cooking until cheese has melted about 15 minutes. Serve with your favorite toppings.

Optional Toppings:

  • sour cream
  • diced tomatoes
  • green onions
  • cilantro
  • lettuce
  • diced avocado (my favorite!)
  • tortilla strips
  • Slap Ya Mama cajun seasoning


*The ingredient that made it all come together for me was the “Slap Ya Mama” seasoning. I had never heard of it before we moved to Texas and I am sold. I secretly put it on everything. Also, if you don’t have 4 hours for the crockpot just throw everything in with rotisserie chicken and it will be ready in no time! ENJOY:)


{original recipe from: Six Sisters Stuff}

10-Minute Energy Bites

February 25, 2015 in Recipes

You guys.

Confession #8742: I’m a PB and Chocolate addict.

I’ve tried making a few different granola bars and energy bites to snack on and after making some adjustments to a few different recipes I tried, I’ve FINALLY figured out how to make the perfect energy bites! The best news is: These are NO BAKE, don’t contain a stick of butter, and taste like cookie dough. For real though.

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These literally take 10 minutes to make…if that!


1 C. Quick Oats

1/2 C. Peanut butter

1/3 C. Honey

1/2 C. Ground Flax Seed

1/2 C. Choc. Chips

1 pinch of Chia Seed (you can do more, but if you add too much, it tastes like a rice krispy texture… if that’s your thing then go for it!)

1 Teaspoon Vanilla

Combine all ingredients until it looks like oatmeal chocolate chip cookie dough. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge for 20 minutes. Once it’s cooled, take it out and make 1 inch sized bites! It makes about 20 (that is a total guess because I was secretly snacking on them during the process).


Low Fat Oatmeal Chocolate Chip

January 27, 2015 in Recipes

I know that since January, everyone’s goal is to eat healthier, right? I feel like I have to start that goal every week! One of my new years resolutions is to put “healthy” and “yummy” in the same sentence with new recipes.

But as usual, the other day I was craving some chocolate. Oatmeal cookies sounded great, so I was going to go with the same recipe I’ve followed for years…until I saw that it needed a stick and a half of butter.

Instead, I wanted to see if there were healthier options out there…but not the kind where it doesn’t taste like a real cookie. You KNOW the ones I’m talking about that claim to be healthy but taste like cardboard. Who likes a tasteless, healthy cookie? Not me.

UNTIL I found this recipe from the Skinny Taste blog. It only has 2 tablespoons of butter my friends and you would seriously never know the difference! Pretty sure my husband and I ate the entire batch in 24 hours. (Not sure if that’s healthy, but it is what it is 🙂 )

oatmeal choc chip (3 of 7)

Here is the recipe:


  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unpacked brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups quick oats
  • 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350°; line two baking sheets with parchment paper or use a silpat. (This is similar to the one I use and recommend it!)

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In a large bowl, with a mixer, cream together the butter and the sugars on medium speed.  

Add the egg, followed by the applesauce and vanilla extract.

Working by hand, stir in the flour mixture and the oats until just combined and no streaks of flour remain; stir in the chocolate chips.

Drop heaping tablespoonfuls (approx 1 tbsp each) of the dough onto prepared baking sheets, flattening each cookie slightly. Bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until cookies become light brown at the edges. Here’s what mine looked like before I put them in the oven:

oatmeal choc chip (1 of 7)
Bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until cookies become light brown at the edges.

Let cool on baking sheet for 3 or 4 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container so you don’t eat them all in one sitting!

Makes about 30 cookies roughly 1 tbsp each.

Splenda Lovers: Substitute all the brown sugar with 1/4 cup Splenda brown sugar blend, and all the white sugar for 1/4 cup Splenda sugar blend. Points remain the same.

Here’s the breakdown for 2 servings:

Calories: 190 • Fat: 6.3 g • Protein: 2.6 g • Carb: 34.2 g • Fiber: 2.0 g Sugar: 19.3 g

oatmeal choc chip (6 of 7)

oatmeal choc chip (5 of 7)




Monday Mama: Natural Birth Story

November 17, 2014 in Recipes
Is it just me or is anyone else obsessed with birth stories? Whether it’s natural, with medical help, or on the side of the highway, each story is so individual and amazing in it’s own way.
Today’s Monday Mama is the beautiful Merilee. She went to BYU and graduated with an Exercise and Wellness degree. She married Derek within days of graduating. Before her son was born she worked as a personal trainer and corporate wellness coach. Now that he’s 8 months old she’s recently become a full time homemaker and stay at home mom and is loving it. She currently travels like crazy between Utah and Texas. Since having her baby she’s struggled to figure out who she is and who she wants to be. She still feels like her future is a blank canvas where she can paint and decide what she wants it to look like. She loves fitness, sushi, reading, social media, family time, and lazy days at home. She’s very comfortable talking about her natural birth and loved her experience.

Here’s her story:

“I wanted to share my story because having a natural birth with Benson was one of my greatest accomplishments. I realize not everyone chooses or is able to have a natural birth, and that’s okay, this was just my choice. One of my favorite things to do is encourage and empower women to birth however they choose and to make the most of their choice, because it is one of the most precious experiences life can bring.
Early Labor:
My son wasn’t due until March 20th 2014, but on Friday March 7th, at about 4:00am I awoke with my first contraction. I knew that the difference between Braxton Hicks and real contractions was that real contractions don’t go away. These ones stayed. Even so, I was in denial all day with unwavering constant contractions. I was actually in denial until I checked into the hospital later that evening!

Heading to the Hospital:
Around 3:00pm, my contractions were getting more painful. This is when I began thinking this could be the real deal (you’d think the 11 hours of labor and losing my mucus plug would have been enough of an indicator…). My husband was going to work late, but I texted him with an update and said he better get home pretty quick. He zipped right home. At 4:00pm the contractions were extremely close together, within 2 minutes, so I finally called my midwives. I decided to labor more at home before checking in to the hospital, so I took a bath and tried to relax. By 5:00, I was ready to be at the hospital and get settled, thinking it would help me along. We grabbed all our gear and threw it in the car and headed in, arriving to St. Lukes Baptist Hospital in San Antonio, TX between 6:30 and 7:00pm. I wish I could capture in a bottle Derek’s scurrying to get our stuff ready to go and in the car. It was really cute.
Checking into the Hospital:
My very first check at the hospital was at 7:30pm and I was 100% effaced and 2cm dilated, so that was good. My midwife (this was the first time I had met her since I had only moved to SA 4 weeks prior!) Erin said I could admit now and continue laboring, go home and keep laboring, or stick around the hospital grounds for a few minutes laboring until it got stronger. I didn’t feel quite comfortable going home because we did live 30 minutes away, and I didn’t want to check in completely at only 2cm. So, we chose to walk around the hospital and labor a little bit before being fully admitted. We drove to the CVS and got some water bottles, snacks, etc. and my husband got some dinner. Then we checked in again. At 9:00pm I was 3 1/2 cm, so I was dilating at about 1cm an hour which is good. We got officially admitted, and then it was go time.
Later Labor:
I hated getting monitored, it was very inconvenient and invasive. That was every hour. I started to get into the zone and Derek was right by my side the whole way. I chose Hypnobirthing to  help me deal with the labor, it’s basically just deep relaxation and positive affirmations. Not real hypnosis. My mom is a midwife by profession and Derek’s mom was a doula once, and we were fully expecting both moms to be there to help me. Because the baby came early like a thief in the night, neither was able to make it! It was just me and my husband. No family, sisters, friends, not even the nurses or midwives helped with labor a single bit. Derek kind of left me alone mentally, but physically he was right there for me. Words were very short. Miraculously, all I had to do was say a single word or flick my finger a certain way and he knew what I needed. I labored on the ball, walked a little, took a shower, etc. I used my Hypnobirthing techniques. It was extremely difficult, but I was determined. Things were fine and dandy (partially kidding) until 5:30am the next day… it was a normal, slowly progressing labor. Then, at 5:30am something was changing- I could feel it picking up and reaching an intensity I was not prepared for. Transition. Oh, how I was not prepared.
Transition and Delivery:
At 5:30, Erin broke my water. I was 8 1/2 cm. The transition phase is indescribable. There is nothing like it. I felt like Hypnobirthing had prepared me for the other contractions and that was all very do-able. This was not like that, this was insane. I was not prepared. Is it even possible to be prepared for that? It was so hard. With the previous very difficult contractions, with 3 very deep breaths, focus, and relaxation I could get through a contraction. But this was not the same. 20+ breaths and it still wasn’t over and it was way more painful. I was basically screaming and writhing in pain. Not to be negative, but that’s real. I have no idea what time I started to get into the pushing phase but my guess is about 6:10am or so. I couldn’t really hear or connect with the midwife and wasn’t sure if I was supposed to push, but I felt like I should, so I did. I didn’t know if he was 1 push away or 10 pushes away. I didn’t know where his head was, if he was a few inches up or crowning, I had no idea. Then, in one big push he just popped out! I didn’t know this until later, but apparently my midwife didn’t have time to get her gloves on so he kind of just plopped right onto the bed. It’s no big deal because it was just an inch or two away (I was squatting) and she just scooped him up and I heard his first little cry.

Post Delivery:
At this point, I had just felt his entire body come out of me in one big whoosh of relief but I was completely exhausted mentally and physically. I was practically out-of-body. I was completely hysterical, crying and bawling. It was physical and emotional. The physical relief was instant but I was emotionally spent. Erin said “turn around so I can put your baby on you.” But I said “I can’t, I can’t, I can’t move.” I think I looked back at Derek before I actually turned around. It took a good half minute before I was able to turn around and see my baby, and there he was. Erin was holding him and she put him right in my arms. His little body wasn’t covered in vernix. He was just freshly purple and wet and… perfect. I just cried. He stopped crying and his eyes were open and he was just staring at me as I bawled. I remember saying “My baby, this is my baby.” “Oh my gosh, oh my gosh” between sobs.

Post Birth Care:
Erin delivered my placenta and it was super easy for me. Derek’s mom arrived that night, and we had a nice hospital stay. We were able to go home the next day with our little guy who we named Benson.

Luckily, my recovery physically was easy and fast. I honestly thought that through Hypnobirthing I would have a very peaceful birth and could avoid a lot of the pain of labor and delivery (that’s what it teaches). After experiencing it, I have no idea how anyone could “avoid the pain.” Bless them, but I couldn’t do it apparently! It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But I would do it again in a heartbeat, and I plan to. I absolutely do feel a great sense of strength and empowerment for having him naturally and with very little outside help. To know I fully felt and experienced every ounce of his birth is precious to me and in a sense, I cherish that pain. Despite the challenges, I do not regret having a natural birth at all. It was the best choice for me. I don’t feel like Benson’s birth was a flowery experience. But I’ll never forget how within minutes I was bonded with my sweet little baby that I had worked months and months to grow, and hours and hours to deliver. And in that very instant he was placed on me and the pain was over, I felt in a very very deep place within me that life was now beginning.”

It’s All About the Swig

October 30, 2014 in Recipes

If you know me, you would know that I should belong on the reality TV show “America’s Worst Cook”. I truly should. I will spare you the stories and details of when I’ve created fires on the stove, concoctions that may or may not have been edible, and the many other “fail” moments I’ve managed to acquire throughout the years.

Growing up I was always assigned the “dessert” for family dinner – which basically consisted of a box of brownies, 2 eggs, and a cup of oil (or something like that, don’t quote me;) Probably because if I messed up no one would starve, let’s be honest.

HOWEVER…. I sometimes do redeem myself! Today just so happened to be one of those days my friends. If you have never been to Utah, one of the things you need to try is called a:


You might even consider moving there just to have one of these suckers! They don’t even have a ton of taste to them but for some reason they are to die for.

Since living in Texas my addiction has spiked and I’ve had to figure out a way to get my hands on some of these without purchasing a flight (although it would be worth it). I’ve researched a few different recipes and I’m loving the ones I made today!

For THE DOUGH I used a recipe from


1 C butter (room temperature)

3/4 C Vegetable Oil

1 1/4 C Sugar

3/4 C Powdered Sugar

2 T Water

2 Eggs

1/2 t. Baking Soda

1/2 t. Cream of Tarter

1 t. Salt

5 1/2 C Flour

I creamed together butter, oil, sugars, water, and eggs. Mixed the dry ingredients all together and slowly added it to my butter mixture. Once it was all combined (it shouldn’t be sticky), I formed golf ball-sized balls and put them on a lightly sprayed cookie sheet.

Next, I got a cup (glass or plastic work great) and squished one of the balls down to get a little oil on the bottom of the cup. Then I put the cup on a plate of sugar (about 1/4 cup) and made sure the bottom was covered. Next, I pushed down all of the balls and twist slightly to that the edges are more rough and you create a “lip”, if that makes sense.

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Then I just popped them in the oven at 350 for 8-9 minutes. Once they are done I put them immediately on a cooling rack, once they were all the way cooled down, I put them in the fridge for a few hours. The trick to Swigs are a cold cookie with room temperature frosting on top.

THE FROSTING: I wasn’t the biggest fan of her frosting recipe (too salty), so instead I used A Bountiful Kitchen’s recipe for the frosting…which is DEVINE I might say.


1/4 C Butter (room temperature… I would say melt it slightly tho)

1 Tablespoon Sour Cream (secret ingredient)

2 C Powdered Sugar

1 Teaspoon Vanilla

1 Drop Red Food Coloring

Milk (to make it thinner if needed)

She also added a dash of salt… I actually steered clear from the salt this time and it tasted perfect!

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And Voila! These cookies are definitely worth sinking your teeth into despite the calories! Just be slightly careful, you might become addicted like me;)

Eat-a-fajita Salad

July 29, 2014 in Recipes

Well the secret is out! If you didn’t know already, I am the worst cook in America. But… That doesn’t stop me. Today I made the yummiest salad! I call it “Fajita Salad for Dummies”, and yes kids, it’s pretty good. (And not to mention healthy which is always a bonus)

It all started with me being the domestic wife that I am (not) and whipping out lunch for Mr G for work. I always prep the night before because I’m usually feeding or playing with the babe when he leaves in the morning. Since we had fajitas for dinner the mister came up with the brilliant idea of “fajita salad”. So, all the credit goes to my main man, but I did the work and let me tell you… It turned out one of my favs!

What’s in a fajita salad you ask? Here’s what we put in (it’s fool proof so give it a whirl!)

Shredded lettuce

Shredded chicken (I used mrs dash chicken flavoring)

Black beans

Rice (I rinsed it in chicken broth and added purified cilantro, onion, minced garlic, and lime juice…but I’m sure any rice will do)

Yellow/orange/red peppers sautéed (is that the word?)

Cafe rio dressing (Pinterest it… Super easy!)

Then topped with Mexican cheese, sour cream, and Pace salsa. The salsa just brings it home peeps.


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