French's Fried Onion Chicken

French’s “Fried” Onion Chicken

French's Fried Onion Chicken

Lately, I have been on a salad kick. I had went forever without eating a salad and then I found a yummy mixture for one containing French’s Fried Onions and knew I just had to give it a go, especially because we have been wanting to incorporate more veggies into our diet. The salad was quite the hit. It was so good I found myself eating a mini version everyday for dinner (we eat big dinners for lunch, and then lunch sized things for dinner since my husband is on 2nd shift). I mean everyday. But last week I had one and found that it had lost its oomph. Which is eventual with any food you eat over and over again but I still had a giant thing of French Fried Onions that I find can go stale quicker than most pantry items. So in an effort not to waste, I went to the drawing board and ended up creating the most wonderful piece of chicken I have cooked to date. Not even kidding. I didn’t even need sauce. You heard me, no need for sauce. It was THAT flavorful. My picture for this post totally suffered because I dug in immediately and then thought of the blog and how I just HAD to share it. So I took it after I had a bite but, ohhhhh well.

So I am here today to share this totally awesome recipe with you. It’s simple and it is bursting with flavor! It has a similar texture of fried chicken BUT it’s baked so it isn’t going to attack you with guilt. Not that you should ever feel guilty, because food is awesome, but, you know what I mean.

What you need:

  • 1 packet of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix
  • 3-4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts (or whatever you prefer), pounded just enough to get it tender and not so chicken breasty.
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1 cup of Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 1 cup of French’s French Fried Onions
  • 1 whisked egg
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil for brushing.

Whipping it together:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Set out 3 shallow baking dishes and get ready to make an assembly line of goodness. Then place a greased baking sheet at the end ready to catch your chicken.
  3. In your first dish, mix up your flour and 1/4 of the packet of ranch.
  4. In your second, your egg.
  5. In your third, mix up your breadcrumbs, french fried onions, and the rest of the ranch packet. Salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Start assembling by dipping your chicken into your flour, then into your egg, and then into your breadcrumb mixture. Being sure to press down to make the breadcrumbs stick. Make sure everything is evenly coated.
  7. When you have all of your chicken breasts on the pan, brush or drizzle some extra virgin olive oil all over the tops to insure a little extra crisp.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes or until done in the middle.

Enjoy! Guys, I promise you. You will want to indulge in this and make some for your hubby….or just yourself ;) I won’t tell.

A day in the life

A day in the life of a Stay at Home WIFE.

A day in the life

Some of you are reading this because of general curiosity, some because you are rolling your eyes at the idea of a Stay at Home wife, some because you can relate, and some just because you are an awesome reader! :) Whatever the reason that brings you here, I just want to say thank you for reading this and I hope that this can shed some light on some things.

If I had just a penny for each time one of the following conversations have happened to me, we would be able to afford my husband to quit his job also.

  • People ask me if I feel guilty.
  • People ask me why I don’t work in a working age.
  • People tell me it is so great for my children (I don’t have children yet.)
  • People give off a very judgmental silence when I tell them my husband works and I take care of our home.
  • People give their unwarranted opinion of the fact that I am a Stay at Home Wife.
  • People go on and on about the negatives of what I am doing.

Now don’t get me wrong, not everyone comes with a big whopping negative and some questions are given to me because the person can relate to my position in life. I have had many working people tell me that I am lucky, I have had some people tell me the good work I do is much appreciated, and I have had some people go on about the benefits of being a Stay at Home wife in agreement (even the one’s that work). I so appreciate the people who can see the positives in what I do and what I have chosen to do with my life and for my family (present and future). 

I think we can all agree that being a Stay at Home Wife comes with quite a stigma. We can be viewed as lazy, spoiled, or just not motivated enough for the working world, among other things. Many people think we just sleep in, take naps, have snacks, go run around town, and watch our favorite TV shows, all while our husband’s are working hard to keep us up like the spoiled little princesses we are (sarcasm). When it truly isn’t that way. With most stigma’s, it’s completely inaccurate. Which is why I feel the need to share my day to day activities. Not that I need to or have to. As far as I’m concerned the only people I have to justify myself to is God and my Husband. BUT I want to stand up for other’s like me who are in the same boat. No, this blog post won’t end the stigma, it won’t stop the questions, and it’s not going to make the people of the world who don’t understand us, understand us. But I have hopes that maybe it will shed some understanding or realization to someone, some where, who may just not get why we do what we do. 

Back in the fall right before I got married, I had a pretty decent job that I was fairly happy with. It was one of the better jobs I had ever had in my 5 years of being in the working world (I had worked since the day I turned 16). Not my favorite but a pretty good one. Well it seemed that way, shortly after being hired on and leaving my previous job I was laid off. What a blow. My wedding was in 6 months and Christmas was a month away which meant everyone was stocked up on holiday employees and was about to enter the slow season and I didn’t have enough time to find a good job that would give me time off in just a few months for my wedding. So the original plan was that I would return to work. I had to. Our family needed 2 incomes. So we got through the winter and the wedding and soon after my husband landed an amazing job. So amazing that his income was more than our 2 incomes we had had combined. The only downfall was that he would work 2nd shift. Which meant if I were to go back to work, we would rarely see each other because I would more than likely have a 1st shift job. It didn’t take long for us to figure out that the best choice for us would be for me to stay home. We could see each other and his income was more than enough to hold us up. Why would I go back to the working world when I was more than happy taking care of my husband and our home (something I had always been really good at), we had enough money to cover all of our bases and then some- just so I could never see my husband? It would be different if I had a job I loved, or if working was what made me truly happy. But it wasn’t the case, seeing him made me happy and all of our needs and wants were being met with his pay alone. So that’s what began our journey 1.5 years ago.

Since then I have gotten this Stay at Home Wife thing down to a T despite the flack and judgement of others and my husband and I are very happy with our life and would not want it any other way. Each week I make myself a schedule to stick to, being without a plan has always made me a little anxious so this schedule really helps in that area. I plan to share this week’s schedule with you guys so you can see what us Stay at Home Wives REALLY do. I’ll start with Monday.

Monday: 

  • 11am: I woke up, showered, got ready for my day, did the dishwasher, and made dinner (we eat dinner before my husband goes to work).
  • 3pm: I drop my husband off at his work (we are currently in 1 car for the time being).
  • 3-7pm: I go out and shop for my husband’s anniversary gifts, drop off a dress I am having fixed,make my husband a tattoo appointment, and go to the grocery.
  • 7-7:30pm: Yoga and Leg workout. 
  • 7:30-8pm: I have a snack and talk to my husband on his lunch break.
  • 8-10: I clean our living space. 
  • 10-11pm: I take a break and eat dinner.
  • 11pm-midnight:  I prep dinner for the following day, make my husband his lunch for the following day at work, general clean up, prepare my husband a snack for when he comes home.
  • Midnight+: I leave to get my husband from work and then we spend a few hours of time together before heading to bed.

Tuesday: 

  • 11am-3pm: Wake up, fix dinner, dishwasher, eat with my husband.
  • 3-5: Cardio, Arm Work out, Back Work out, Yoga. 
  • 5-6pm: Shower, make a smoothie, talk to my husband, get laundry in. 
  • 6-7:30: Write my blog post.
  • 7:30-8pm: Talk to my husband on his break, continue with more laundry. 
  • 8-10pm: Clean out basement. 
  • 10-11pm: Eat dinner, keep working on laundry.
  • 11-Midnight: Prep dinner, my husband’s lunch, dishwasher, general clean up,prepare my husband a snack for when he comes home, and find time to read “How to cook Everything.”
  • Midnight+: Hubby time.

Wednesday:

  • 11am-3pm: Wake up, cook dinner, do the dishwasher, enjoy time with my husband.
  • 3-4pm: Cardio and yoga.
  • 4-6pm: Have a snack, get ready for church, talk to hubby.
  • 6-9pm: commute to church, church, stop by store for stock ups, commute home.
  • 9-10:30pm: finish putting away laundry that had to air dry, do the dishwasher, general clean up.
  • 10:30-Midnight: Eat dinner, prep for dinner the next day, make hubby’s lunch, general clean up, dishwasher, prepare my husband a snack for when he comes home.

Thursday: 

  • 11am-3pm: Wake up, do the dishwasher, make dinner, hubby time.
  • 3-5pm: Cardio, arm work out, yoga.
  • 5-6pm: Shower and have a snack. 
  • 6-7:30pm: I spend time time reading and learning about cooking skills, practice french, read about editing my novel in a few weeks.
  • 7:30-8:30pm: Talk to hubby, look at our bills that need to be paid the following week and organize what money will go into savings. 
  • 8:30-10: Meal plan for the following week, look at our kitchen and do inventory, and create our grocery list. 
  • 10-11pm: Meal prep for the following day, hubby’s lunch, general clean up.
  • 11pm-Midnight: Prepare my husband a snack for when he comes home, and if I have time leftover I will turn on the TV.
  • Midnight+: Hubby time.

Friday: 

  • 11am-3pm: Wake up, shower, get ready for the day, make dinner, hubby time. 
  • 3-6pm: Take hubby to workI get my allergy shot and then volunteer at my church’s after school program.
  • 6-10pm: Grocery Shopping, errands, more anniversary shopping, going to see my friend to learn how to make a tres leches cake for my husband since he loved the one she made at her daughter’s birthday party.
  • 10pm-11pm: Unload groceries and organize pantry and cabinets, dishwasher, general clean up.
  • 11pm+: Leave to go get my husband fast food (friday treat)go get my hubby at work.

Saturday & Sunday: this weekend we are celebrating our 1 year anniversary! :) On the weekend’s I make breakfast/brunch and dinner and do my usual cleaning. 

Notes:

*On Wednesday’s I have been taking him to work but my mom is on vacation this week and is taking us to church in her car.

*My husband usually works from 3-11:34pm but this week he is scheduled over time Monday-Thursday, so often I am still doing some things even after he is home.

My days stay busy but I would not have them any other way. Sometimes my tasks run over into my other task times. I just wanted to bring light to the world that Stay at Home Wive’s actually live in. Many of us don’t sit and watch TV everyday, every hour. We take our jobs seriously and do our very best to make the home lives for our hard working husbands the best they can be. Stay at Home Wive’s are women of devotion, love, and repetitive work. We realize we are blessed to be able to spend our time focusing on our families and we certainly don’t take it for granted. We are thankful and strive to do our job the best we can, just like everyone else.

The benefit of not asking for a specific gift.

Not asking for gift

What a title. I knew what I wanted to write about some time ago, as I have been dealing with this particular topic in my marriage a lot lately between Christmas, my birthday, and now our 1 Anniversary! But I spent my entire day thinking about what to title the blog, how to get my point across. I didn’t want to be like, “Why I’m not asking for a gift for my anniversary.”– it’s not that I don’t want anything, not that I need anything but…well,you get it. Obviously I am welcoming gifts but I’m not asking for anything specific. So, I decided to just say it. No matter how jumbled it may seem. My brain has been fried for the past week so clever phrases just isn’t coming to me. Bear with me.

ANYWAYS, I’m not asking for anything specific for my anniversary. I didn’t feel like it for Christmas either or my birthday about a month ago. My husband was like “Babe, please. Just make a list of things you would want and i’ll pick some things out. You won’t know which ones you get.” There’s nothing terrible about doing that. I ended up caving and giving him a list for both by pinning things I liked. It just seemed to be the less stressful route for him, he is so nervous about getting me something I don’t like- like that could happen. I told him he could pick a rock off the ground and give it to me and I would love it just because he thought to get me something. I ended up getting some things on my list and off my list, and I was super grateful and I loved them all- even the ones I didn’t pick out, actually, especially the one’s I hadn’t picked out.

Which is why when our anniversary began to sneak up, I realized that I had everything I wanted for one and for two I found it to be the perfect opportunity to let my husband uses his very creative brain (he is a genius when it comes to art) and let him do the gift shopping. Now, I will say this- he has had the entire anniversary planned since last year. I have nooooo idea what he has planned for the evening, so I am getting surprised and I am SUPER excited to see what he has planned. You see, I am the planner in the relationship. He is coming to me often asking about what plans we have. I love to plan, he doesn’t really care for it- so it’s a win/win! But he is actually planning all of this by himself and it wasn’t even my idea, so I am over the moon excited to see what the night will entail.

But back to my reasoning, and this is all manners aside because as good manners it’s not in our best interest to just list off all of our wants. And my point doesn’t just apply to my marriage or just to romantic relationships, it applies to any kind of relationship one can have. I believe when we ask and receive the gift becomes sort of “matter of fact” so to speak. Like we are just buying these gifts because it’s part of whatever scenario we find ourselves in. Like an anniversary, a birthday, a shower, etc.

We have heard it time and time again but I don’t think many of us actually sat down and took in the meaning, “it’s the thought that counts”. I have heard it so many times that it becomes just a polite way to tell someone “it doesn’t matter what you get me” or “oh, it doesn’t matter that it’s the wrong size” to avoid awkwardness when a gift doesn’t work out. But as I have experienced these past gift giving holidays with my husband and his request of lists is that the thought truly does matter. What is a gift when someone gets it for you just because they are supposed to? Some may say, “Who cares? Free gifts!” but really- do you want a gift because someone feels obligated to get you one (again, some of us may be down for this) and so they just pick up something you said you wanted or do you want one that someone sat down and took time out of their day to think about you, what you like, what you’re into, what you may wear, that sort of stuff? Then they spend time searching for something that reminds you of them in some way, something they point at and say “She would love this!”

What it boils down to is this, a gift is a gift when it comes to you because you asked for it or the person felt obligated but when you get a gift that someone picked out with you in mind, it comes with an extra bit of love. Sure, people will get you gifts because they love you and want you to have what you want/need, my husband and anyone else out there that does this has the best of intentions and any gift is more than enough, but when you give a gift from thought, you are giving a gift of love. I would rather my husband go and grab me a random rock out of the driveway with thought behind it than get me the most perfect purse I told him I wanted. I will always value thought over convenience, personal over impersonal. While I will love any and every gift I will ever be given, if you can go without asking, the benefit is much bigger. It truly is the thought that counts. 

Do you like to give gifts from the heart, or is it more practical to just get someone what they need? What’s your take on the matter? I love hearing your thoughts! <3

Mother’s Day Dinner

Ribeyes, baked potato, salad, and in the fridge is sitting homemade brownies topped with chocolate mousse. This picture isn’t all crisp, the plating isn’t fancy, but there was lots of food and lots of love at the table tonight- and that’s all that matters! What did you do to celebrate Mother’s Day today?

Happy Mother’s Day to all the amazing mothers out there. Where would the world be without such loving women? 

 

Chocolate Truffles

Easy to do Chocolate Truffles.

Chocolate Truffles

Ever since I could remember, I have always been fascinated with fancy food. I grew up and still live in the South so I wouldn’t say I grew up fine dining every night, not that I ate bad- I was just digging in to the Little Debbie box instead of chowing down on Creme Brulee. Again, not a bad thing. Ask anyone, Southern Food is the best food. Little Debbie is the bomb.com, and I have yet to find any dish I didn’t care for with the exception of Butternut Squash Soup.

But I remember my Mom’s boss would host a fancy dinner party for her office every year at Christmas and I was in love with the food. Creme Brulee included. I remember my father and I would pretty much set up camp around the shrimp cocktail before dinner was served in the beautiful dining room. I looked forward to it every year.

So now that I’m older and cooking on my own, I of course find pleasure in making my own little fancy foods. I’m not sure if everyone would call truffles fancy, in some areas they may be as common as oreos but where I’m from you don’t see everyone just serving out truffles at birthday parties and from my experience I have found that people flee from making truffles because they do come off as fancy and there for the first thing that pops into their minds is that they must take some kind of elaborate process to whip up. Oh, how wrong they are! Just because something is fancy doesn’t mean it’s difficult at all. My favorite fancy food is the kind that doesn’t take 500 ingredients and 10 hours to make and there is actually quite a bit of fancy food out there that doesn’t, like truffles. Take a look below and just see how easy it is!

What you need:

  • 16oz of Dark Chocolate Chips
  • 2 cups of Heavy Whipping Cream
  • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder OR melted chocolate (I used the powder)

Just 3 ingredients, WOW.

Putting it all together:

  1. In a medium pot, bring your whipping cream to a boil.
  2. Place your chocolate chips in a heat safe bowl, I find that metal seems to work the best.
  3. Pour your boiling whipping cream over your chocolate chips and let set for 2 minutes. Don’t stir them, don’t wiggle them, don’t do anything for 2 minutes.
  4. After the two minutes is up, go ahead and stir your mixture until the chocolate chips seem nice and incorporated, but don’t over stir.
  5. Place your bowl into an ice bath (just a bigger bowl full of cold water and ice), for 20 minutes, again, not touching.
  6. Once the 20 minutes is over, break our your hand mixer and beat the mixture for about 2 minutes or until it becomes thick and fluffy.
  7. Place your mixture into the fridge and let it sit over night. This will firm it up and make it easier to handle.
  8. The next day, take a spoon or melon baller and scoop out a small amount of the mixture into your hand. Quickly roll the mixture into a ball. Try and do this quickly so the chocolate doesn’t melt so much. Keep in mind, they don’t have to be perfect balls. Just try your best. Set them on a tray with parchment paper.
  9. Set them in the freezer for 15 minutes to firm back up.
  10. Taking each ball, roll them around in your cocoa powder or dip into your melted chocolate,top with nuts, whatever you want to do. Then place them back onto your tray. If you roll on cocoa powder, place them in a strainer and gently tap the sides, just to get the excess powder off. You don’t want too too much powder.

Freeze them for up to a month or refrigerate for about 2 weeks. They are best eaten room temperature but honestly, they taste good no matter how you choose to devour them. And yes, you will devour them.

See, wasn’t that easy? And so yummy. You get quite a bit out of it too so feel free to take them to your next party, fancy or non-fancy.

Montreal Chicken Noodle Soup

Montreal Chicken Noodle Soup

Montreal Chicken Noodle Soup

My husband is like any other man, he’s all about meat for dinner. But I like to have 1 or 2 meals a week if I can swing it, be meatless. When I make something meatless, it has to be full of flavor and have a nice meaty punch to it regardless of the lack of meat. This actually isn’t a hard thing to accomplish at all. I don’t miss meat and I have yet to hear my husband complain about missing it every single night, in fact- he said last night after taking a bite out of some burritos I made him for him to take to work that he would actually enjoy them meatless with 2 different kinds of beans  instead of beef. I had a little celebration in my head that he has embraced this whole meatless every one in awhile thing. I thought it would be super difficult almost impossible for him, I really did.

Before he snacked on a burrito, as I was prepping them he looked in the pantry for some chicken noodle soup. He said he had been having a craving for it. I can’t remember the last time I bought canned chicken noodle soup. Homemade is a gazillion (that’s right, gazillion) times better and is MUCH more cost effective- if you were looking for a cherry on top for making it at home. So tonight right before he came home I whipped up some yummy homemade “chicken” noodle soup but with my own twists and tricks to make it extra flavorful. There is no chicken in this soup but you don’t miss it for even a second. My house smells a little like heaven right now as I type this because not only does it taste amazing, but it smells innnnncredible. Did I mention I literally had everything in the pot within 2 minutes? Mhm, mhm. 2 minutes. I’m pretty proud of that time frame, I’m all about quick meals now that I have about 3-4 hours between waking up and my husband going to work to cook. So let’s dig in!

What you need:

  • 6 cups of water
  • 2 tubs of Knorr Chicken Homestyle Stock 
  • 1.5 Teaspoons of Garlic Powder
  • 2 Teaspoons of Parsley
  • 4 Teaspoons of Onion Powder
  • 4 Tablespoons of McCormick Montreal Chicken Seasoning
  • 2 Cups of Egg Noodles
  • 1 thinly cut carrot
  • Salt to taste

Throw it all together:

  • Bring your water to a boil and when boiling is reached, add in your chicken stock and stir until fully dissolved.
  • Once everything is dissolved, add in the rest of your ingredients, and give it a good stir.
  • Cover and simmer on medium-low for 30-45 minutes.

Now all that’s left is to enjoy! :) How easy was that? What goodies have you transformed into a meatless meal? Share in the comments below!

Best Ever BBQ Sauce

Easy & Homemade: Best Ever BBQ Sauce.

Best Ever BBQ Sauce

My husband has a particular palette- to say the least. So he really picks up on the smallest of flavors in things and that isn’t a bad thing per-say. I have found that his taste buds have refined my cooking and has got me experimenting more and more in the kitchen to create versions of things that he likes. One of the things he has a tough time with is store bought BBQ sauce. Some are too sweet, some are too tangy- you get the picture, sort of a 3 bears situation.

So when I wanted some yummy country style boneless ribs a few weeks ago I decided to create my own BBQ sauce that way my husband could be equally as happy as I would be when they hit our mouths. I’m not too particular when it comes to Barbecue sauce, I haven’t found many- if any, I haven’t liked, ever. My favorite chips are Barbecue flavored, my favorite sauce is Barbecue Sauce, and I will happily put it on everything (you should really try it on a burger. It is AMAZING).

I have to be honest, the whole rib cooking process didn’t go well for me. They took FOREVER. I wasn’t expecting them to take too long so I waited way too late to cook them. Needless to say, we had dinner at 11pm that night. I mean, we eat late anyways (hello, second shift schedule) but I was super frustrated when I realized just how long they were going to take. But i’m dedicated and I wanted my ribs- dang it, so I went for it anyways. THANKFULLY, the barbecue process was extremely simple. All I did was gather the ingredients I wanted to infuse into it and added a little at a time until I was over the moon satisfied.  Even though the ribs took forever, I can happily say that they were worth it. Ohhhh, how worth it they were. The ribs melted in my mouth and the barbecue sauce was perfectly sweet and perfectly spiced that without the barbecue sauce I can’t say the ribs would have been worth it. So I am super happy to be able to share it with you!

You need:

  • 2 cups of ketchup
  • 1.5 cups of Apple Juice
  • 1/2 Cup of Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon of Teriyaki Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon of Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon on Onion Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon of Garlic Powder
  • 8 Tablespoons of Brown Sugar
  • 5 Tablespoons of Honey
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Red Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon of Fresh Black Pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon of Kosher Salt
  • 1 Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
  • 3 Tablespoons of Sugar

Throwing it all together:

All you need to do is throw it all together in a pot, bring it to a boil, and then simmer on medium-low heat for 2 hours. 

Not. Even. Kidding. IT IS THAT EASY. And the only thing I had to buy for it was extra ketchup. We like sauce in our house so I didn’t just have 2 cups of ketchup sitting around, haha. Please, try it out! You won’t be sorry. My husband and his palette did something super rare it was so good- they sung it’s praises on Facebook, a land he never visits.

Have you ever have any kitchen time surprises? Did you give in or keep cooking? Let me know in the comments :)