Saturday, October 30, 2010

Eat Mor Chikin ....

Have I ever told you that I LOVE Chick-Fil-A? Not only is it one of the greatest fast food restaurants around, has the best chicken sandwiches ever, and is very is also Christian-owned and operated. For this reason, the restaurant is not open on Sundays, which I totally respect (although I do get CFA cravings on Sundays quite a bit and am a little disappointed....but Iget over my disappointment and go on Monday!). You can read about the Chick-Fil-A story here.

Today my husband, little man, me, and a couple of our close friends had a fun day at Joe Huber's Farm. The kids got to play on the slide, climb up in the barn, and pet/feed baby goats. Afterwards, we headed to CFA for lunch. Now I usually get the #1 combo which is a CFA chicken sandwich, waffle fries, and a drink. But lately, I have had a hankering for the Chick-n-Strips Salad.

The Chik-n-Strips Salad includes 3 chicken strips on top of a bed of iceberg/romaine, shredded carrots, broccoli florets, shredded red cabbage, cherry tomatoes, and shredded colby jack cheese. You also get a little bag of honey roasted sunflower kernels and buttery garlic croutons. My favorite dressing for the salad is the fat-free honey mustard. Picture this salad (their Char-grilled salad) with breaded chicken strips. SO yummy!! Chick-Fil-A has a huge menu, and it keeps growing every day! They even have a breakfast menu now. You can check out their menu here. Some more of my faves are the cheesecake, brownie, milkshakes, and fresh-squeezed lemonade. I also like the fact that they are kid-friendly with playgrounds, high chairs, and kids meals. Plus, they even provide those "plastic placemats" that tape onto the table for your little one to eat on. Great job CFA!! :)

If you are ever near a Chick-Fil-A restaurant and have never been, I highly suggest that you go. You will not be disappointed (unless you try and go on a Sunday, that is)!! :)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Chinese Take-Out....from the Freezer Section!

I LOVE Chinese food! From the places in the mall (where they are always offering samples) to the "whole in a wall" take-out restaurants (THE best, in my opinion) to the nice, sit-down restaurants (such as PF Changs). I love it all! Now I have to let you in on a husband HATES Chinese food! He cannot stand rice, broccoli, or anything that resembles a vegetable (other than potatoes, corn, and green beans!). So, I have to get my "fix" whenever I can.

If we go to the mall, it's easy to satisfy my craving. We go to the food court, he gets Chick-Fil-A, I get Chinese. Simple as that. But what about the rest of the times my palette is salivating for Sesame Chicken, or General Tso's, or an egg roll?? Well, I believe I have found a solution: Tai Pei.

I am usually a bit "iffy" when it comes to frozen Chinese food that you find in your grocery store. It usually tastes fake or unusually spicy, or sometimes even rubbery or soggy. I was having one of my "cravings" though, while at the store the other day, and decided to pick up a bag of Tai Pei Stir-Fry Creations Beef & Broccoli. It was about $5 for the whole bag (enough for 2+ lunches for me!) and takes about 10 minutes to cook. I decided to give it a try today.

The bag includes stir-fry vegetables (in this case broccoli and onions), a bag of sauce, a bag of rice, and a bag of beef. All you have to do is thaw the sauce packet in hot water, pop the bag of rice in the microwave for 3 minutes, and stir-fry the meat and veggies until cooked through. Then throw the sauce in and saute for a few minutes until everything is well-coated. Pull the rice out of the microwave, top with the stir-fry, and voila!! Lunch (or dinner) is ready! And, it was delicious! The beef and broccoli and beef were very tender, the rice was fluffy, and the sauce was so tasty!

I would highly recommend the stir-fry creations by Tai Pei and am anxious to try other items Tai Pei has out there. I hope you will try them sometime too!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

When you just need a little chocolate...

I have a SUPER EASY recipe for those times when you just need a little chocolate. It takes two ingredients, a sheet pan, and an oven. That's it!! I just made some a little while ago. Now you can fancy these up by drizzling chocolate on top of them and/or dusting on a little powdered sugar, or just keep them simple and plain. Are you ready to find out what they are?? Okay!!

Chocolate Croissants

1 roll refrigerated crescent rolls
chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Unroll crescent rolls. Place as many chocolate chips in each crescent roll as you would like (just make sure they don't start busting out of the sides). Roll up each crescent roll and place on baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or according to the directions on the package. Pull the baking sheet out of the oven. Devour immediately (or make them fancy, if you can wait that long!). :)

You could also make these really cute and serve them for dessert (fancied up, of course), maybe with some ice cream or something. You could use different types of chips, if you would like, maybe white chocolate or peanut butter chips. Be creative!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Fall is here....FINALLY!!!

So, I have a really good explanation for being absent from blogworld for 3+ weeks. As you can see from my previous post, I have had some "cravings" lately...followed by overwhelming nausea, followed by exhaustion, followed by.....well, you get the picture. Anyway, YES! I am preggo with Blessing #2! It has been a tough few weeks, but I am finally starting to feel better. In fact, I am feeling well enough to get out and enjoy this fall weather, to see the beauty of God's Creation amongst the bright fall colors that adorn the trees, to even start "fall baking".

One of my favorite ingredients to use in fall baking is cinnamon. I love the taste of cinnamon, as well as the amazing aroma it gives off when heated. Another of my favorite ingredients to use in the fall is pumpkin. Canned pumpkin, to be exact. I am not one of those people who buys a pumpkin, cleans out the guts, and spends hours trying to get all of the "good stuff" out of it just so I can make a pie. Nope, I take the easy way out.

The other morning, I was in the mood for something fall-ish for breakfast. I decided to whip up some pumpkin bread. Now, I don't really have a "go-to" recipe for pumpkin bread. I do have a recipe for pumpkin cake that I make quite a bit during the fall season, but it's not the same. I wanted some good, thick, hearty pumpkin bread. So, I did what any baker would do. I consulted Paula. :)

I found a great recipe for pumpkin bread in Paula Deen's Lady & Sons cookbook. It did not disappoint (not that I thought it would anyway!). Here is the recipe:

Pumpkin Bread (makes two loaves)

3 cups sugar
1 cup *vegetable oil (I used canola)
4 eggs
2 cups canned pumpkin
2/3 cup water
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoos baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 - 3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two loaf pans. Mix sugar and oil with mixer. Add eggs and blend. Add pumpkin and blend. Add water and blend. Combine remaining ingredients and add slowly. Fill pans equally and bake for 1 hour or until golden brown. Enjoy!

*For the oil, you can substitute 1/2 cup oil and add 1/2 cup applesauce.

**I only had one loaf pan, so I used muffin tins for the rest of the batter. The recipe made 24 regular size muffins and one medium loaf. If you do use the muffin tins, the cooking time is cut in half (make sure you check them at around 25 minutes to see if they are done or almost done).