1.29.2014

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

I'm always looking for easy recipes for dinners, especially since I'm not a very good cook. :) This Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole is GREAT, and it is easy to save and then reheat! (This recipe is also an easy one to double or even triple if needed)
Printable Recipe at bottom of post! 
From Tasty Kitchen
Prep time: 20 Minutes
Cook time: 40 Minutes
Serves: 8

IngredientsFOR THE CASSEROLE:
1 whole Cooked Chicken, Bones Removed, Meat Diced Or Shredded (rotisserie Chicken Is Excellent, Should Be 5-6 Cups Of Chicken
½ pounds Very Thinly Sliced Deli-style Honey Ham, Rough Chopped
¼ pounds Thin Sliced Baby Swiss Cheese
FOR THE SAUCE:
4 Tablespoons Butter
4 Tablespoons Flour
3-¼ cups Milk (I Used Whole Milk)
2 Tablespoons Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1-½ teaspoon Salt
½ teaspoons Smoked Paprika
¼ teaspoons White Pepper
FOR THE TOPPING:
6 Tablespoons Butter
1-½ cup Panko Bread Crumbs
¾ teaspoons Seasoning Salt
1-½ teaspoon Crushed Dried Parsley

Preparation Instructions:Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a 9- x 13-inch baking dish. Set aside.
Put cooked shredded or diced chicken on the bottom of the baking dish. Rough chop the ham and scatter it over the top of the chicken. Lay the Swiss cheese on top of the ham.


For the sauce:
Melt the butter in a large sauce pot over medium heat. When butter is melted, quickly stir in the flour to form a smooth roux. Do not brown! Once the roux is smooth and bubbly, slowly pour in the cold milk while stirring briskly to make a smooth sauce. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens. Stir in the lemon juice, Dijon mustard, salt, smoked paprika and white pepper. Bring sauce just back to a low boil and turn off heat. Pour sauce evenly over the casserole, being certain to get some of the sauce around the edges of the pan.

 

For the topping:Melt the butter in the microwave in a medium sized microwaveable bowl. Heat it for 30 seconds at a time and stop once it’s melted. Take the bowl out of the microwave and stir in the panko bread crumbs, seasoning salt and crushed dried parsley. Sprinkle over the top of the casserole.


Bake casserole uncovered for 45 minutes until hot and bubbly throughout and topping has turned a light golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes prior to serving.
Enjoy!

Printable Recipe: 
(click to download & print)

Adapted from Tasty Kitchen

1.23.2014

Throwback Thursday! - Happy Planner & Printable

I'm alive! I think.... Bennett's 1st birthday was this week as well as the start of a new semester! So its been nuts. But, lets start off this new semester with a throw back to our Happy Planner & Printable! Happy Thursday!
Also if you aren't already... you can still start your Year of Gratitude! Let me know how it is going!

 Download planner page at end of post! 

These last couple weeks have been crazy. I just keep telling myself that it will be better once finals are over, or it will be better when my cold goes away, or when Ben's new job starts, ect. .  But one thing I have realized is... THERE WILL ALWAYS BE STRESS. And eliminating a stress doesn't prevent a new one from arising. So, I have decided to focus less on a day in the future when everything will be easy, because there is no such day! Instead I want to try and focus on how to make every day more enjoyable regardless of the stress going on in life.
Here are 5 ways to make your life more joyful:

1. Get exercise! At LEAST once a week get some kind of exercise  Whether it is taking a jog, going to the gym, or doing sit ups during the commercials of your favorite show... get moving! I'm not saying you need a structures fitness plan in order to be happy, but it is important to have activity focused on you! So find some kind of physical activity you enjoy and do it! You always ALWAYS feel better after working out, regardless of the intensity. It will give you the energy to keep up with the stresses of life and starting small with something like once a week will help you to work it in to your routine so you can increase the time you spend getting fit!  After all, as Legally Blonde taught us.... "Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't shoot their husbands, they just don't." :)

2. Pick up at the end of every day! One of my biggest stresses is the cleanliness of our apartment. It is so easy to let things pile up. The 10 outfits I try on every day before leaving for work, dishes, Boss's toys, Homework, craft projects. It can get messy! So I've tried to take 15 minutes at the end of every night and just pick up. You dont have to deep clean everything every day. But taking a few minutes to clean up with help keep on top of it all. So when you do have time to clean, it doesnt take hours and hours. There is no better feeling than going to bed knowing you arent going to wake up and see a pile of laundry first thing in the morning. Not many things can start my day off worse than tripping over a pile of textbooks or not having a clean bowl for my cereal. It is worth the 15 minutes every night. 

3. Declutter your life! This goes along with #2, but I think it deserves its own subject. I'm not talking about just organizing your bookshelves, although that is helpful. I am talking about literally throwing out things you don't need. Emotionally and physically. It is just as important to have an organized mind as it is to have a organized closet. When you feel overwhelmed, make a list of all your obligations, prioritize them, and eliminate a few. I promise taking a few things off your plate will make your life so much easier. You may thing that not accomplishing everything you want to will be disappointing or make you a failure somehow. But it is better to do a few things well than have everything drop because you were trying to do too much. YOU CAN'T DO EVERYTHING. that is the truest and hardest advice I've ever received. But it is work it. 

4. Serve Someone! I don't care who you are, where you come from, or what you believe... Service is a universal way to add joy to your life. It helps you to love yourself and others. It is as simple as opening a door for someone, offering to watch a neighbors kids while they go on a date, or writing a quick note of appreciation. Focus less on your own struggles and stress and take a few minutes to truly focus on helping another, and I promise your stress will seem much much much lighter. 

5. This is the most important but sometimes the hardest thing. SMILE. Smile when you want to cry. Smile when you want to get angry. Smile when you feel like everything is just too much. Smiling at others is important. But we need to remember to smile at ourselves. For one week, try to smile at yourself. In the mirror when you are done brushing your teeth. In the car when you are making your list of things to do that day. Just try and smile at yourself for a few minutes each day. Think of reasons you are smiling. Maybe you were on time for work, maybe you have someone who cares about you, maybe you finished all your homework. whatever the reason, tell yourself why you are smiling and you will find yourself smiling a lot more throughout your daily life. 

To help organize your life, here is a planner page I designed to help me stay on track. Print it out for each day of the week and take some time each morning and night to get ready for the day ahead of you! Click the picture to download. :)
Enjoy and stay happy! 






1.14.2014

New Year!

I can't believe January is almost over! I've been working on some new tutorials and I can't wait to share them with y'all! 
What projects are you guys working on right now?
Here is some of inspiration as of late:




Happy Tuesday!!
-Sam

1.07.2014

A Year of Gratitude!

"Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone."
-GB Stern

One thing that has always been important to me is being thanked. I love knowing that someone appreciates me. And although it seems silly, it has taken me wayyy to long to realize that everyone enjoys being thanked, I am definitely not the only one. . . and I have spent wayyy to long worrying about myself being appreciated and not enough time making sure I was making others feel appreciated. Which is why one of my New Year Resolutions is to be more thankful. But I don't just want keep that thankfulness all to myself, I want to make sure the people I encounter know I appreciate them. 
So I decided to create a Year of Gratitude! And I want to invite you all to join me! How much better would the world be if EVERY single person knew someone was thankful for them?? And here is the best part.... IT IS EASY! 
I want to write a note of gratitude to at least 3 people every week this year. Finding just 3 people every week to thank is just a small step in becoming a more thankful, happy person. And that is the best part of all this, through these notes, my hope is not just to make others feel loved... but to also improve myself as a person. Becoming more thankful can help us all be better parents, wives, friends, sons, husbands, daughters, sisters, etc... If you write 3 notes a week, every week this year... that makes 156 notes of gratitude! Psychology tells us that it takes 30 times doing something to make it a habit. So by that theory... long before the end of this year you should have created a habit of gratitude!  
Your 3 notes a week can be as long or short as you'd like. Write a note to your mailman for being gentle with your mail, write a note to your mom or your neighbor, anyone! Mail the notes or deliver them yourself. Sign them or leave them anonymous. Its all up to you! 

You can download this printable I created to make participating in your own Year of Gratitude easier! Just check off each circle for 3 notes a week. Week one has now passed, but you can write 6 notes this week to pass off week one or just skip it. Just start soon and be diligent until its a habit. Good luck! & don't forget to stop back in every once and awhile and let me know how its going. :)

(Just click on the picture, right click and save to your computer. You can also use the link below the picture to download as a PDF)


1.05.2014

Visiting Teaching Jan 14 and a Winner!

2014 is here! And we have a winner for the Mormon Mom Planner Giveaway!!! Click HERE to see if you won!!!
It is insane how quickly 2013 flew by, and as always, with the new year comes New Years Resolutions. One of my goals for 2014 is to be more diligent in my Visiting Teaching (Click to learn more) for my church. Most women in my church have the calling to be a Visiting Teacher, and are assigned a few women to visit every month. There are a few things that we are encouraged to do as visiting teachers (that you can review with the previous link) like aid our sisters when there is an emergency, pray daily for her and her family, visit with her regularly, share gospel messages to help inspire and encourage her, etc. . . But I think the most important part of visiting teaching is to simply be a friend. If you are truly being a friend to these sisters, then all the other things just come easy! (as a side note.. you don't need a calling to be a friend to someone! So if you aren't a visiting teacher or see someone who may need a friend that is outside your list of sisters to visit teach, you can still choose a few women you'd like to be a special friend to.)
So through my resolution to be more diligent in this calling, I've decided to start making LDS handouts again. I'll share a visiting teaching handout every month, so you can renew your dedication to being the best visiting teacher (or friend) you can be too! (AND you can help hold me accountable!)
Each month The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints puts out a visiting teaching message and this month (January 2014) it centers around the mission of Jesus Christ with an emphasis on his position as an exemplar. You can read this month's message HERE. The messages are always brief and easy to understand. Share whatever you feel comfortable sharing, let your sisters know you love them, and leave them with a little handout. :) But above all else, let them know you care.
Happy January! The handout for this month is below. Click right on the picture and save it to your computer, you can then print it off at home, or order it from any photo dept. (walmart, walgreens, costco, etc... ) It is in  a 4x6 format. :)


The quote for this month comes from the talk "Is Faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ Written in our Hearts?" by Linda K Burton, General Relief Society President.
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