February 4, 2016

Old Fashioned Chicken and Rice

You know when you taste something that warms your soul and it instantly makes you smile - it tastes homey and delicious and it sends sunshine into your stomach and rainbows sprout from your ears? Oh wait, you've never had rainbows sprout from your ears? Okay, anyways, I have one of those recipes to share. A recipe that's been passed down from one generation to another. Meme is my husband's paternal grandmother and she's incredible in the kitchen. Part of her legacy are the recipes she's perfected over the years. I'm so honored that she's decided to share some of those recipes with me, like her Chicken and Rice.

If you're looking for a tasty, meal that's easy to prepare and cleanup but not tight on the wallet then this old fashioned favorite could be the answer.



Ingredients:
2 boxes of Uncle Ben's Wild Rice Original Recipe
1 (10 oz) can of cream of chicken soup 
1 (10 oz) can of cream of mushroom soup
2.5 C low sodium chicken broth
2 tsp lemon pepper


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Mix the rice and their flavor packets, both cans of soup and the chicken broth in a large bowl. I personally use a whisk to make sure all the ingredients are well incorporated. Pour the mixture into a 9x13 baking dish.

Lay the chicken tenders side by side on top of the mixture, almost touching. They will slowly sink down so there's no need to push them into the mixture. Cover with aluminum foil, shinny side down. Bake for an hour.


Remove from oven and take off the aluminum foil. Sprinkle the lemon pepper over everything and put the pan back in the oven for another 30 minutes, uncovered. 

Let it sit for 10 minutes and stir slightly to make sure everything is even and incorporated.


Serve and enjoy!

It's simple and delicious and tastes just like something you might have at Meme's house. Looking for some other great recipes? Check out my recipe collection here

Be Blessed,
Brittany
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January 21, 2016

Rocksbox

Here's the deal - I LOVE jewelry. The real stuff, the fake stuff, the costume stuff - I love it. Call me crazy but I will plan entire outfits around one piece of jewelry. And why not? It's beautiful, delicate, bold, colorful, muted, simple, extravagant. Jewelry completes your look and it can enhance and show off any and every part of your personality.


But the thing is it can get pretty expensive keeping up with all the latest trends and where in the world do you keep it all? Well, ponder it no more because I have the answer. Now you can declutter and stay trendy with Rocksbox. Rocksbox is a subscription-based program that gives you unlimited access to designer jewelry. Simply fill out a survey about your style preferences and pay a minimal monthly subscription fee and you get jewelry curated for your style sent straight to your door. And it's not just any jewelry I'm talking the likes of Kendra Scott, House of Harlow, Gorjana, Loren Hope, Perry Street and tons of others.

Each box contains three pieces of gorgeous jewelry that are hand-selected by experts based on the answers from your survey. You get those pieces on loan until you're ready to either buy some or all of them, or send them back with the free, prepaid shipping. Once you send your box back another will be delivered to your door a couple days later. No hassle, no stress - just bracelets, rings, necklaces, and earings, oh my! Oh, and did I mention that each box averages about $200 in jewelry.

Need more convincing? Well right now you can try it out for FREE for a month simply by using the promo code: evrydythoughtsxoxo



I can't wait to hear about your first Rocksbox! Or better yet, follow me on Instagram and share a pic with me when your first box arrives!



Be Blessed,
Brittany
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January 19, 2016

Seven Kitchen Essentials To Help You Stick to Your Diet

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and I will receive a commission if you click on one of those links.

Resolutions, smesolutions. Okay, not really. But if you're like most, you've already given up on your year-long goal. I genuinely hope that's not the case and if you're still on the right track, good for you!

I know it's not creative, but I fall into the camp of individuals who started a diet on January 1. I joined Weight Watchers and since the first I'm down nine pounds! I choose WW because it's a program I've done before and I like how it emphasizes diet and exercise - no magic pill, gargling oil or eating only bacon (okay, that diet doesn't sound so bad). The point tracking really works for me and it's just the accountability I need to stick to it and lose the pounds. But now that I'm taking my dieting seriously I needed to give my kitchen a once over and make sure I've got all the tools to be successful with this year's resolution.

After a quick evaluation, I put together a list of kitchen items that can help me, and you, stick to our diet this year.



If you follow me on Instagram you know I'm OB-SESSED with Skinnytaste, the cookbookDescription: https://images-blogger-opensocial.googleusercontent.com/gadgets/proxy?url=http%3A%2F%2Fir-na.amazon-adsystem.com%2Fe%2Fir%3Ft%3Deverythoug-20%26l%3Das2%26o%3D1%26a%3D0385345623&container=blogger&gadget=a&rewriteMime=image%2F*, and the website. The recipes are loaded with flavor and they're healthy. I've personally made over 100 of her recipes and have loved almost every single one of them.

Now there's a Skinnytaste Meal Planner! Organizing your meals each week is one of the best ways to stick to your diet, it helps you create a grocery list which is one of the best defenses from buying unnecessary sweet treats. Another great side effect of meal planning is that it also helps you stick to a budget.

More so than ever before, I'm now concerned with the exact measurements of the foods I eat, the sugar I add to my coffee and the peanut butter I spread on my apple. I use measuring spoons more than any other utensil or tool in my kitchen. I have three sets and I have to wash all, or almost all of them every day because I use them so much.

Same goes with measuring cups, I use them all the time and they are even more important than ever now that I'm dieting. Meal prep, cooking dinners and measuring just how much popcorn I can eat because the whole bag isn't really an option - measuring cups are a must-have if you want to cut the pounds in 2016. 

Most people already have measuring cups and spoons but they often overlook a kitchen scale. Do you really know what 3 ounces of turkey looks like or how big a 6 ounce chicken breast is, because I didn't. In fact, most of the chicken breasts are at least half the size of what they sell at my supermarket.

Okay, bear with me on this one because I realize that this is an investment but it is absolutely worth the money! A Vitamix will change your life - it will help you make nutritious smoothies, yummy soups, and even ice cream. I love adding peaches and strawberries with ice and pureeing them until they are like ice cream - yum and way better for you than the stuff from the store. Plus if you are a mama this lovely contraption is perfect for making baby food. If you make the investment, a Vitamix comes with a cookbook and there's also an awesome online community of Vitamix fans who share their recipes and experiences. Sometimes you need to invest in your goals and if you're serious about getting and staying healthy, this is one of the things you need in your kitchen. 

When you go on a diet you tend to shy away from the processed foods which means you are probably cooking more and planning out those lunches for work, so you are going to need some great food storage options that will go from fridge to freezer to lunch box.

The first thing that comes to mind when I think diet is food but really one of the best improvements we can make is to increase our water consumption each day. It helps your skin, your health, and your overall mood by helping you flush out nasty toxins stuck in your body. Having a water bottle on hand will help remind you that you need to drink more H2O throughout the day. 

Kitchen Essentials for Sticking to Your Diet

Having the right tools in your kitchen will help you get one step closer to your ultimate weight loss goal - it's almost as important as having the fruits and veggies. What kitchen essentials do you rely on to keep you on track?

Be Blessed,
Brittany
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January 7, 2016

The First of Many Lasts

I wrote this a couple weeks ago but never posted it. Nonetheless, the sentiment is still the same.

I stopped breastfeeding today. I thought I’d be okay with the transition, considering I’ve only been at it a little over three months, but the fact is today was the last day I’ll share a very special bond with my baby boy. I know I'm saying goodbye to time with my son that I will never get back. Only God knows if I’ll ever have the opportunity again, with other children. This may be the first of many lasts... I may be done having babies.

The reality of that statement is a lot for me to absorb.



It makes me sad. My heart and my womb ache when I think about it. Please don't mistake this as me being ungrateful for the two beautiful lives that share my roof and occupy almost all my thoughts. I couldn't be prouder to be their Mama and I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to help lead them through life. I take the responsibility very seriously and I know that I have been tremendously blessed.

But parenting is hard, being pregnant is hard, having little people that need your time and attention when you have no time or attention, is hard. It takes a toll a couple, on our bodies, our patience, and our pocketbooks. I feel the stress of parenting daily but it doesn't stop me from wanting to add to the chaos. To have the knowledge that just one more time I will pee on a stick and be so completely shocked when I see two lines. That I will dream up 500 different ways to creatively tell my husband that I'm expecting, but ultimately I'll break down the second I see him and blurt out that he's going to be a Daddy, again. I want to know that I will feel tiny feet flutter in my belly one more time and that I can eat an entire pint of ice cream and not feel guilty. I want to hold onto the fact that I have long days and longer nights of crying babies and dirty diapers.

When I envisioned my life before kids, I knew I would have two and be done. Two little blessing that I would chase to soccer practice and piano lessons. I even wrote this post back in 2014, explaining exactly why two was the ideal number for our family. I really never dreamed that I'd want more, until I had two and the thought of being done with babies seemed so, well, final. 

I'm not even sure if it's really another baby I want or if it's just that I want time to slow down so that these precious moments with my children won't seem so fleeting. As I type this, my youngest is asleep in my arms and laughing as he dreams. Already my oldest won't let me hold him like this. That season has passed for him and I know I can probably count the number of weeks before it's over for my youngest. I haven't been a parent too long, just three years, but I've come to realize that as my kids grow and change, so to do my responsibilities as their mother. One day you cuddle them and rock them whenever they cry, the next day you let them throw a temper tantrum in the grocery store to teach them crying doesn't always get them what they want. I've loved every stage of it so far but that doesn't mean I never want to experience unbridled joy from a toothless infant the second he hears my voice.

I can only equate this feeling to that which I felt after my own wedding. The days trickled by after the ceremony and I remember that entire experience with such fondness. I wish I could relive it over and over again. That's not to say that I haven't loved every moment with my husband since that day, only that it was such a special, life-changing time. 

I know how blessed I am, as both a mother and a wife. I know that some experiences are meant to be short-lived blessings so that we can always keep them safe in our hearts and reminisce on how amazing those times were. I think it's the realization that this time won't last forever that I'm going to miss. I want to witness these beautiful boys grow and transform into men because if I've loved watching them grow from an infant to a toddler, I can only imagine how many incredible experiences await us from toddlerhood on. 

I was talking to my husband about this and he made me realize that it's not necessarily the first of many lasts; it's just the beginning of a lot of firsts yet to be had. That change in perspective has not necessarily taken away the desire for another baby but it has left me completely content in knowing that God works in his time and according to his plan so I just need to learn to enjoy the moments we are given and stop worry about ones that I may, or may not ever have. 

Be Blessed,
Brittany
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December 29, 2015

Winter Skincare

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and I will receive a commission if you click on one of those links.

Every winter I face the same issues, my skin drys out, my lips get chapped and my hair frizzes and breaks. I'm sick of feeling embarrassed about these beauty troubles so I've taken matters into my own hands! I've teamed up with the beautiful Mae of Mae There Be Adventure and we've tried and tested a plethora of beauty products for skin, lips and hair, all in hopes that this year we won't fall victim to itchy, dry skin, scaly lips and split ends.

I'm sharing our favorite skincare and lip treatments and you can find the best of the best in haircare products here.


Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief
This is HANDS DOWN my #1 skincare recommendation for combating dry skin this winter. I have normal skin that, like most people, gets drier during cooler weather. This lightweight, unscented, pudding-like hydrator has been the single best thing I've added to my beauty regime in the last couple months. When the soft, white cream goes on my skin it instantly feels like I've dipped my face into a refreshing pool. The best part is that the moisture lasts and lasts and lasts without ever making my skin oily. In the mornings, I use a little as my moisturizer and before bed I use a bit more as a refreshing night-time mask. To me, it feels like it opens the floodgates to each of my pores and just gives my skin the refreshment it needs during the winter. The only downside is that it doesn't have SPF, and no matter the season, I highly recommend protecting your skin from the sun's harmful rays.

This is a part of my daily beauty skincare that I won't be ditching it anytime soon. If you only invest in one new beauty care item this winter I would make it this one.


Hempz Triple Moisture Herbal Whipped Body Crème
The first thing you'll notice about this moisturizing body creme is the intoxicating, fruity scent. It just begs for you to spread it all over any areas that have trouble when the weather gets dry. It calls for generous, daily use and, at least for me, it seems to trap and maintain moisture throughout the day. The scent is pleasant, but it does fade relatively quickly, which I prefer so it does not to compete with my perfume.

Benefit Cosmetics It'S Potent! Eye Cream
Maybe it's the sleepless nights or just the fact that I'm getting older, but my eyes are becoming more and more of an issue. The dark bags are one of my biggest insecurities and I've been using Benefit Cosmetics It'S Potent! Eye Cream to help combat the dark circles and boost the moisture around my eyes. I apply it with a cotton swab so that I am sure I don't pull or stretch the extra-sensitive skin surrounding my eyes and I apply the lotion twice a day. It seems to add that extra brightness around my eyes. My recommendation is not to be stingy with this one. I didn't notice much of a difference when I applied small amounts. When I added more it started to make a noticeable difference.

Burt's Bees Natural Lip Balm
When I put this on my lips I feel it working instantly. There's a tingle that just lets me know it's sealing in moisture. I like to put this on first and then top it off with Skinfix Lip Repair Balm (see below), especially before bed. After a couple nights of this routine, my lips feel oh so kissable. I also love that there are several options that have a bit of color so you can work on conditioning your lips and give them a little something extra!

Skinfix Lip Repair Balm
My worst struggle in the winter is trying to keep my lips kissably soft, or at least not chapped and flaking. I feel like I've tried almost every lip balm and chapstick around and they work for a minute but if I'm not consistently applying them I'm back to square one. I was pleasantly surprised when I picked up the Skinfix Lip Repair Balm. It's made with coconut and jojoba oils so it applies really easily and lasts for quite awhile. It won't instantly get rid of dry skin, you need some type of exfoliator for that, but it does seem to protect lips and keep them soft and refreshed. It's tasteless and unscented so it's an easy addition to your beauty routine (plus it's less than $5)!


Water
One of the most tried and true ways to help your skin has been around throughout the ages. By increasing your water intake, you help hydrate your skin, nourish your body and flush out unwanted toxins. It's a simple, affordable way to help your skin combat the elements this winter. You can always filter tap water or there are many awesome bottled water varieties like smartwater or, my personal favorite, Propel Zero Calorie Nutrient Enhanced Water.


I also tested these Honorable Mention products. Let me know if you'd be interested in seeing a review of these products:
What's in your arsenal to help you combat winter weather? 

Be Blessed,
Brittany
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