Favorite Chicken Enchiladas {recipe}


These are our favorite enchiladas.  Hence the title.  This is probably one of the meals that my husband requests the most.. and in my opinion, is just as good as going out to a Mexican restaurant.  I've made this for both of our families as well... it was a hit all around.  :)

These are pretty versatile.  Add in a little black beans and corn kernels to give it a bit of a Tex-Mex flare.  Or not.  You can use either corn or flour tortillas.  I've tried both, and they are each wonderful.  I normally make them with flour just because that's my husbands preference.  Omit the jalapenos if you want (I usually do).  Or leave them in.  You can really just use whatever cheese you may have on hand... mexican blend, cheddar, monterey jack, white cheddar.

Also... these make really good leftovers.  Really really good.  Once the spices and flavors have sat overnight, mmmmmhm... I always look forward to having them for lunch the next time.  My mouth is watering just thinking about eating our leftovers tomorrow..

And the cilantro... do not skimp on the cilantro!  I only paid $0.89 for this bunch... it's worth the splurge.  ;)  I just love herbs, and it will give your dish such a fresh taste.  This dish is definitely not a 'quick weeknight meal'... it takes up a little more time, but I promise you it's well worth it.  Because it's a bit more time-consuming, I usually make these as a weekend meal.  You could even use a rotisserie chicken to cut the time down a little.  We have them at least once a month I'd say - you should give them a try!  You won't be disappointed.

Favorite Chicken Enchiladas
adapted from Pink Parsley
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 15-oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (2 large breasts)
  • 1 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup monterey jack cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro, plus more for topping
  • 12 (8-inch) soft corn (or flour) tortillas
  • cooking spray
  • salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine the onion, jalapenos, and oil in a large saucepan.  Cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the onions have softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and sugar, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato sauce and water, bring to a simmer, and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.

Nestle the chicken into the sauce.  Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the chicken is no longer pink in the center, and the thickest part registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 12-20 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate; set aside to cool. Strain the sauce through a medium-mesh strainer into a medium bowl, pressing on the onions to extract as much liquid as possible.  Place onion mixture in a large bowl and set aside. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.

Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred into bite-sized pieces. Add to the bowl along with the onion mixture. Add in 1/4 cup enchilada sauce, 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup monterey jack cheese, and the cilantro. Toss to combine.

Place 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture evenly down the center of each tortilla. Tightly roll each tortilla around the filling and lay them seam-side down in a 13x9-inch baking dish that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.

Lightly spray the tops of the enchiladas with cook spray. Place in the oven, uncovered, for about 7 minutes until the tortillas are starting to slightly brown on the top.

Reduce oven temperature to 400. Remove enchiladas from oven and pour remaining sauce over to coat them thoroughly. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup cheddar cheese and 1/2 cup monterey jack down the center of the enchiladas. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake until the enchiladas are heated through, 20 to 25 minutes.

Remove the foil and continue to bake until the cheese browns, about 5 minutes longer. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.  Garnish with extra cilantro.  Serve with guacamole, sour cream, etc..


My Birthday Week in an Instagram


Well, mostly in instagrams anyway (you can follow me here if you don't already).  I love having my phone to document things like this.. especially when I don't feel like luggin' the big camera with me every single place.  But the camera on my phone is horrible and I'm impatiently waiting to upgrade.. I have the oldest iPhone on Earth.  Is it April yet?

I'm so thankful, for all my friends and family - they really know how to make a girl feel special!  My husband especially, has been so sweet... and totally spoiled me this week!  I've been living on cloud nine.  :)  Here's just a little bit of what went down this week..

1. My husband took me to get 'pampered'... mani & pedi.  I never go, because I'm cheap and just do it myself at home... so it's special (and relaxing!) when I get go have someone else do it for me.  2. Hubby made him his own little gift basket for me.  My favorite junk food (kit kats, snickers, and baby cans of Pepsi), some bubble bath, and a sweet card of course.  :)  3. We went to play putt-putt!  I don't think we've played since our first year of marriage, so it was fun.. and I beat him by one point!  I even got a hole-in-one.  4. My birthday gift - tickets to a sold out Luke Bryan concert!  I was so surprised.. he done good;)  5. Clara's cousin and grandparents stayed with us this week, so we have been out and about - and we also took Clara to see her very first movie at a theater!  We saw Turbo, and she loved it!  6. And the pretty Arkansas scenery.. that would be much better if my phone didn't suck. 

And on the night of my birthday, we went out to eat at one of my favorite Italian restaurants - Bravo!  And afterwards he treated me to some cupcakes.. he really knows the way to my heart... relaxing, Luke Bryan, and cupcakes.  ;)  Love that man!

Citrus Lane #1


I've been wanting to order a Citrus Lane box for quite some time now, as I've been seeing it pop up around the internet here and there... it looked fun!  Well when they offered to send me a box to review, I couldn't resist.  Clara really enjoyed getting a package in the mail (she kept thinking it was a birthday present.. everything she opens is a 'birthday present' to her)... she was so anxious to see what was inside, I had a hard time snapping photos of it.  ;)

If you've never heard of Citrus Lane, here's a little info for you:   Citrus Lane is a monthly subscription box for little one's ages newborn to 5 years old.  There are different plan options, as little as $21/month (shipping included).  They also have a month-to-month plan, where you can cancel any time.  And then every month you get a fun little surprise shipped to your door, especially for your little one.

Here is what I received in my box for Clara (she's 26 months old):

Melissa & Doug "Lace and Trace", $9.99 -- I pretty much love all Melissa and Doug products.  Clara has a few toy from them that she just loves.  She was really excited to get it open and see 'how it works'... I think she's a tad small for this toy yet, but she still likes it.  She will sit there and try to get the laces in the holes - she's got determination.  ;)

Goodbyn Bynto Box, $9.50 -- Ok so this is the one that I'm personally excited about, haha!  Even though Clara doesn't go to school (so I have no need to pack lunches), she still loves to eat out of this thing so sometimes I'll put her lunch in it.  And it's perfect for taking on picnics (which we love to do).

Goodbyn Sticker Set, $3.50 --  This goes along with the Bynto Box.  Clara had a ton of fun decorating her box with them - and they're dishwasher safe!

Cool It Buddy Instant Cold Pack, $2.99 --These will be handy to have, I'm sure -- use for packing picnics, or to have in case I need to ice a boo-boo;)

Mighty Shield Bug Repellent Lotion, $1.50 -- This was more of a sample size, so I'm just guessing on the price.  But with all the nasty mosquitoes down here in Arkansas, I've used this all up already!  I felt good about putting this on Clara because it's natural and organic.. and it doesn't have that nasty smell that most repellents do.

10 Free Postagrams, $10 -- Ok this is actually pretty neat, even though it's not really for  Clara.  But if you download this app on your phone (I think you can even do it from the web?), you can send a personalized postagram directly to a loved one!  This will be good for sending some Clara photos to her Nana's and Papa's.  ;)

Total Retail Value = $37.48, not bad for a box that costs between $21-25/month!

If you want to get your own Citrus Lane box.. go ahead and sign up!  I was happy with my box, and I looked forward to getting another!  You can also get 50% off of your first box... just use the code TAKEHALF at checkout (valid for the month-to-month subscriptions).  For $12.50, why not?!  Get it for your own kiddo, or as a gift for someone else!

Let me know if you sign up, and what you think of it!  And check out their Facebook to keep up on new information and any deals/contests they may post about.

Offer Terms: Only new, first-time Citrus Lane subscribers who start a monthly subscription are eligible to redeem this offer.  Multi-month packages and gift subscriptions do not qualify.  To redeem this offer you must enter code TAKEHALF at checkout.

Two Rivers Park


The best part about the military, is exploring places you've never been before. We've lived in Arkansas for almost exactly a year now (I can't believe it's been that long already).. and we're still discovering fun little places we've never been. I love exploring new places.

I also love picnics.

So last weekend we packed up a lunch and headed over to a fun little place called Two Rivers Park. There was a long pedestrian bridge going over the rivers that went to this little wildlife area... with walking and biking trails, picnic tables, etc. I would love to go back there for a run sometime.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - my child is a complete outdoors kid.  If she is inside for too long, it's not fun for anyone.  So she loves our little adventures as well.  :)  As long as she gets some fresh air and is allowed to run around like the crazy child she is.. she's good to go.  And this time, Mickey Mouse also had to come along.  :)

 She did stop running around long enough (about 2 seconds) for me to get this stunning photo of her.  Rarely am I able to get her to look at the camera.. which is fine.. it just make this photo all the more special to me.  She is such a beauty.. melts my heart.  You can bet your bottom I'll be getting a huge print of this one.

As we were walking over the bridge, she was very excited to see the river (she gets really excited about the small things.. a lesson to be learned from her!).... 'the river mama, look!'.. 'so big, mama.. river so big!'  If only the small things made everyone this happy.. she knows how to 'take it all in'.. I love her for that.  In that way, I need to be more like her.

The Little Green Pouch {& a giveaway!}


I can't even remember how I stumbled across this little gem... probably Pinterest, since I spend a not-so-healthy amount of time on there.  But I found these wonderful little green pouches, and was like... ah-ha!  I have to have them.

Pouch food is so easy to take for an on the go snack, which is exactly what we use them for.  Car trips, when we go to the park, or just out to run errands.. all the time.  There are certain pouches we still buy, but I am in love with these reusable ones.  One of my daughters favorite snacks is applesauce.. and it's just way too easy to go buy a big jar at the store (we prefer Motts Natural in this house!) and scoop it in the pouches and keep them in the fridge until we need to head out somewhere.  Less waste and a money saver!  We even took them on a picnic the other day.  :)

We have the small Starter Kit, which includes:  4-pack of reusable pouches, swiveling pouch nipple & bottle brush (for easy cleaning!), a measuring pitcher/funnel (makes filling the pouch easy-peasy), and a roll of 60 dissolvable content & date labels.  You can buy other accessories on their website such as spout extender and extra pouches as well.

We use them a lot for applesauce, but we also use them for smoothies.  If my husband and I make smoothies, there's usually a little bit leftover.. so we'll pour it in the pouches and stick it in the freezer (yes, the pouches are also freezer safe!).

The pouches are easy to fill because they have a zip-lock opening at the top - but no worries.. it's too tricky for Clara's little hands to get it open.  Actually, I don't even think she knows the opening is there.

If you need some fun new recipes to try out with these, the Little Green Pouch has some great ideas on their website

One lucky reader will win a Starter Kit, courtesy of the Little Green Pouch!  Just follow the instructions and fill out the Rafflecopter form below.  The more entries you complete, the better your chances at winning.  The winner will be contacted by email on August 18th.  Good luck!  U.S. residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can shop for the Little Green Pouch on their website and find them on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  You can even get 5% off of your purchase when you 'like' their FB page!
*I was gifted with the Little Green Pouch starter kit for a review and received no other compensation.  All thoughts & opinions are 100% my own.  The Little Green Pouch is responsible for sending 1 lucky winner their very own starter kit*

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Coconut-Lime Sugar Scrub {diy}


I love sugar scrubs.  And I love coconut oil.  When I first saw this, I knew I had to make it.  There's just something about the smell of lime and coconut that is tropical and summery... makes you feel like you should be sitting on a beach somewhere.. with a pina colada or mojito in hand.  Beach or not, I kind of wish I had a mojito right now, as I sit here on the couch binge watching Gossip Girl (don't judge).  And don't even get me started with coconut oil.  There are so many uses for it.  This is just one of them.

*Disclaimer:  If you buy coconut oil, please buy it unrefined.  Or better yet.. buy virgin cold-pressed coconut oil.  It's better for you.  I didn't realize I bought the wrong one until it was open and on my counter, so I won't be using this for cooking.  I guess that's what happens when you have a distracting toddler with you on your shopping trips;)

I love how silky and soft my skin feels after I use this.  I didn't even need to use lotion after I got out of the shower (though I might need to in the winter).  Your skin will just soak up the coconut oil, but won't leave it feeling greasy.  I prefer to use regular granulated sugar... it's coarse enough for me, and I have sensitive skin.  But if you like the grains to be bigger, then you can sub it out for turbinado sugar. 

Also... this would make a great gift!  Birthday, Mother's Day, Christmas... just because.  :) 

Coconut-Lime Sugar Scrub
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • zest of one lime
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • lime and/or coconut flavoring/essentials oils (optional)
Place all the ingredients in a bowl.  You may or may not have to warm up the coconut oil in the microwave for a few depending on the temperature.  It's so hot out right now that mine is pretty soft, but in the winter it might need to get warmed up.  Stir to combine.  Feel free to add lime or coconut essential oils to give the scent some more oomph if you so wish.  :)  And play around with the oil/sugar ratios if you need to, until you get your desired consistency.  It's not a science... just throw the stuff together until it works for you.

Store at room temp for several weeks (I just keep it in my shower).  Exfoliate, moisturize... enjoy!

Moon Sand {diy}


Keeping my 2 year old busy during the day is getting to be quite tricky.  She's easily bored, and goes stir-crazy if we're in the house for too long.  We go to the park a lot, go to the pool, etc.. but it's nice to switch it up and find something different and fun to do.  She absolutely loves this moon sand.. it's a fun rainy day activity, too (we might be doing this today... looks a little gloomy out)!

Minnie likes to play too.. as you can see below.. Clara likes to take her and go 'HIIII-YA!' like a ninja.  I'm not sure, but I think her Papa taught her that when he was visiting.. makes her giggle every time.

There are quite a few moon sand recipes out there, but I just found this one worked the best for us.  It was the cheapest and I had everything on hand to make it.  It's soft and smooth, and molds well.  Next time I want to get some little dixie cups so she can build a little 'castle'.  :)  It's super easy to make.. so get to it!  Your toddler will love it.

4 cups flour
1/2 cup baby oil

Put in a big bowl and mix up with your hands until thoroughly blended together.  Put it in a container of your choice.. grab some cups, spoons, toys, pretend your at the beach.. and play!  I halved this recipe for Clara, and then stored it in an air-tight container and it kept good for a few days.


 What are your favorite rainy day activities?  

(PS:  If you haven't yet, enter my Peter Rabbit Organics giveaway!  Ends 8/9/13.)

Smart Snackin' with Peter Rabbit {& a giveaway!}

I can't possibly be the only person with a picky eater living in their house.  I have friends who always say that their child eats so well.  Sometimes I give them the side-eye and then sometimes I wonder if they're lying.  Secretly, I'm just jealous.  Though I'd like to think it fairly 'normal' for a toddler to go through this stage.

Let me just say, though, that Clara does eat pretty healthy.  We've cut out processed food, and buy organic when we can.  And the girl can eat her weight in fruit, but she won't touch a vegetable unless it's pureed into one of these fabulous little pouches.  I always offer her whatever we eat, but.. no such luck on the veggies... yet.  I suppose she's just too much like I was at that age (sorry mom!).  :)

So when I happened to stumble upon the Peter Rabbit Organics fruit and veggie pouches, I was excited (oh the things us mama's get excited over!).  And I was hopeful, that my child might actually consume a vegetable.  I knew Clara would love the fruit pouches, that was a no-brainer.  But the veggie blends would be the true test.  And wouldn't you know... she loves them!  She even enjoyed the 'Pear and Pea' blend!  

Peter Rabbit Organics has 6 different fruit pouches and 5 different veggie blends.  Their pouches are all organic and 100% fruit and vegetable.  What you see is what you get!  Never any added sugar, salt, or artificial ingredients.  No hidden ingredients here!  And they come in BPA-free pouches, easy for on-the-go grabbing... and a no-choke cap (that's also important to me.. because for whatever reason, Clara loves to screw and unscrew the cap onto the pouch when she's finished with it... easily amused!)

These pouches aren't just good for all you mama's worrying over the fact that your kiddo snubs veggies.  But they're also good for snacks, even if you have a kid who does like veggies (or at least eats them.. and I may or may not be giving you the side-eye right now).  We always throw them in the diaper bag if we're going to be out and about, or take them in the car on long road-trips, or even just for a healthy night time snack!  Our pantry is always stocked with some Peter Rabbit.  :)

 One lucky reader will win 10 assorted pouches, courtesy of Peter Rabbit Organics!  Just follow the instructions and fill out the Rafflecopter form below.  The first entry is mandatory (leaving a comment on which flavor you think your little one would like best), and the rest of the entries are optional.  However, the more you complete, the better your chances at winning.  The winner will be contacted by email on August 8th.  Good luck!  U.S. residents only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway You can find Peter Rabbit Organics in Starbucks nationwide, in select Whole Foods Markets, natural food stores, Amazon.com, Target.com, BabiesRUs.com... hey, I even found them at my local Walmart! 

*I was gifted with some Peter Rabbit Organics pouches for a review and received no other compensation.  All thoughts & opinions are 100% my own.  Peter Rabbit Organics is responsible for sending 1 lucky winner 10 assorted pouches.*

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