Cajun Chicken Pasta

My son was showing some heavy signs of sickness - a nasty fever, he was super lethargic, he wasn't giggling/talking constantly, he didn't want to run around like a wild thing, he didn't cough very often but when he did it was really scary, and overall he just wasn't his usually crazy three-year-old self. This usually means we are just going to stay in for the rest of the day. These days don't happen very often, but when they do, we milk it like crazy and allow his little body to heal as much as possible without interruption. 

I can only take cartoons so much, so when he's dozing off, I quickly flip the channel over to the Food Network. Well, thankfully I did! Darling Ree from Pioneer Woman was going to town in the kitchen, and THIS amazing pasta dish was on the menu. I watched in wonder as she effortlessly assembled, cooked, and tossed together all the beautiful ingredients to this Cajun Chicken Pasta. My mouth seriously could not stop watering, and I immediately wished there was some way I could just reach through the screen and taste this amazing food she was making. 

I knew right away what was going on the menu the next week, and let me tell you.... 

it was even better than I imagined it would be. 


Crunchy Taco Salad

As a food blogger, there are a few times a week (especially when we get a little closer to those dark winter evenings) I make our dinner at lunchtime. The light is much better in the afternoon/morning/evening than around 7ish when we get around to dinner in our family. This also gives me a chance to plan something else for dinner if the recipe flops. Thankfully, this taco bowl was one of the WIN recipes! I was able to reheat the meat perfectly at dinnertime, crunch some new tortilla chips, grab the pico de gallo, cheese, and guac from the fridge and BAM, dinnertime was on the table within minutes. 

It saves so much time, and we end up with an awesome dinner without any stress at all at crunch time. 


10 Ways I Save Money in my Kitchen

(image by Tracy Hill Photography, graphic by me)

Ever since we were married 7 years ago (we were practically babies!) we've been on a very strict budget. We're not financial experts, but we have found some things (through a lot of trial and error) that work extremely well for us & saved us money in the long run. I figured that knowledge could be helpful to anyone looking to save a bit of money in their kitchen. This, after all, IS a food blog! I make a TON of food every week, and in doing so have had to figure out how to still keep our weekly/monthly food costs within our budget.

A great deal of what I make, photograph, and share on this blog starts with the simple basics of budgeting, time-management for dinner time to prevent last-minute-eating-out, and getting the best out of my grocery visit. I've learned a lot about how to stretch that dollar as far as it can go (without spending hours couponing, etc), and I think I've locked down 10 main practices that have worked financial magic in my kitchen! Let's get started, shall we?


Orange Sweet Rolls

Something special happens twice a year for our religion, and it's called General Conference. I won't go into detail on here because we need to get to these amazing sweet rolls like, yesterday, but if you're curious about Mormons & why your Facebook/Instagram feed was flooded with pictures of us basically "watching our church on TV" as some would call it, (when in reality, we are receiving guidance & council from our living prophets and apostles) click here. It's kind of a really awesome thing, and I look forward to it between conferences. 

Anyway, each time we spend the weekend at home watching, it's been a tradition of mine to make a cinnamon roll breakfast for us. I start the night before, let the rolls rise overnight in the fridge, and then pop them in the oven the second we wake up. This year, I wanted to skip the traditional cinnamon rolls, and dive into a warm gooey flavor that definitely deserves it's stardom from these amazing rolls: zesty, beautiful orange! 


Slow Cooker Three Cheese Tortellini Tomato Soup


Life. Is. Nuts. I feel like everything is spinning around so quickly, sometimes. But in all the crazy, at least I know there is one saving grace at dinnertime:

the crock pot.

the slow cooker. 

the happy-momma-maker.

the low-stress supper 

Whatever the heck you call it, it saves lives. 

This recipe held me together. 


Homemade Roasted Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds are part of my childhood in so many different ways. My Mom has always planted a big, beautiful garden. She fills her flower beds to the brim with all kinds of gorgeous textures, colors, and different heights of plants. They're all strategically placed, and on any given afternoon in summertime, she's out in the garden. 

I, the little terror that I was (and probably still am sometimes), would sneak a handful of sunflower seeds in the springtime and when my Mom wasn't looking, would sneak a seed here and there in her garden. A few months later, her garden would flourish in perfect order... 

...minus the giant sunflowers sprouting up in the middle of everything, in random places. 

Childhood was fun, eh?