Monday, November 24, 2014

Crock Pot Chicken & Stuffing

Today, I'm sharing one of my newest favorite crock pot meals.
I've had this recipe for a long time & when I recently came across it again, I decided to make it.
Oh my ... I am kicking myself for waiting so long!
It's shockingly easy & tastes sooo good.
This is comfort food with the crock pot doing almost all of the work.



Here's what you need:
4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt, pepper, garlic powder
2 cans cream of chicken soup
8 oz. sour cream
6 ounce box of stuffing mix

Place 4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts {thawed} in the crock pot.

{I sprinkle on a bit of salt, pepper, & garlic powder directly on the chicken.}



On top of the chicken, spoon  in 8 ounces of sour cream & 2 cans of cream of chicken soup.

Smooth this out evenly.




Lastly, top with a 6 ounce box of stuffing mix {dry}.
Use either the chicken or cornbread flavored.



Put the lid on & cook on low for approximately 4 hours.


The stuffing is the perfect topping to the chicken & creamy gravy underneath ...
making the perfect one-pot meal!




This one is a keeper!
I took it to a church dinner & several asked for the recipe ... a sure sign that it's a good one ;)
Happy eating.









Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Homemade Fig Bars




A trip to Trader Joe's is one of our favorite activities.
We aren't in there all that often because the closest one to us is about 30 minutes away,
but you can guarantee, we make up for it when we go.
We love to buy new things to try, along with our usual favorites.




On a recent visit, James decided he wanted to buy some figs.
They have many health benefits & are quite an intriguing old food.
The fig has significance throughout the Bible.
They were highly esteemed in Greece, insomuch that laws were created to govern
the importation of only the very best quality into the country.
Figs were revered in Rome & thought to be a sacred fruit.
Pretty neat to be able to eat a food with such history.
{If you are interested in reading more about figs, click here.}




We bought 2 containers -- one, we just snacked on, eating them raw.
They are so delicious ... sweet, chewy, & earthy.
I think that's the quality I like best.



With the other container, I decided to make homemade fig bars.
We all like the store-bought ones, so I was interested to try them from scratch.



Let me tell ya, WOW ... these things were amazing!
You'll never think of a fig bar the same way after you make these from scratch.
There are a few steps, but overall, an easy recipe.




INGREDIENTS:

Crust:
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour

Filling:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup boiling water
12 oz dried Mission figs, stems removed & chopped (approximately 1 cup)

Topping:
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons cold butter 
1/4 cup quick-cooking oats
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

DIRECTIONS:

Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 9-inch square pan with cooking spray.
In small bowl, beat 1/2 cup butter, 1/4 cup granulated sugar and the vanilla
with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended.
On low speed, beat in 1 cup flour until soft dough forms.
Press dough in bottom of pan.
Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until center is set.



Meanwhile, in 2-quart saucepan, cook filling ingredients over medium-high heat 5 to 10 minutes,
stirring frequently, until figs are tender and most of liquid is absorbed.
Spread over crust.





In small bowl, mix 1/4 cup flour, the brown sugar and 3 tablespoons butter,
using pastry blender or fork, until crumbly.
Stir in oats and walnuts & sprinkle over filling.



Bake 15 to 20 minutes longer or until edges are bubbly and topping is light golden brown.
Cool completely, about 1 hour, then cut into bars.


You will not regret giving this dessert a try.
It veers away from a typical cookie or bar --  & has a comforting, old-fashioned feel to it.
And it would definitely steal the show this time of year as a Thanksgiving or Christmas dessert.









Who doesn't love a good party?!
You can find me here linking up with these great blogs.

Monday           C.R.A.F.T      The Dedicated House
                     I Should Be Mopping the Floor   The Modest Mom
Tuesday        A Delightsome Life   A Bowl Full of Lemons    Titus Tuesday      A Stroll Through Life
Wednesday   Raising Homemakers        Savvy Southern Style         Adorned From Above
                    The Thrifty Home   A Wise Woman Builds Her Home
Thursday    Between Naps on the Porch   Serving Joyfully     Lamberts Lately
Friday      Rooted in Thyme  The Thrifty Groove   Farm Blog Hop  Best of the Nest
               French Country Cottage  The Girl Creative
Sunday    Nifty Thrifty Things  Sew Many Ways



Monday, November 17, 2014

Snowy Pumpkins on the Porch


Well, they forecasters got it right!
The snow came just like they said it would.







It was quite different this morning to see our big tree in the front yard with snow clinging
to it's bright yellow leaves!
My dwarf Japanese maple hasn't lost it's leaves yet & they now have a cap of white.
We even have fields of corn that's not yet been harvested ... again, so odd to see it covered with snow.




We are keeping warm though ... & I have to admit, this sure gets me in the Christmas mood ;)











Who doesn't love a good party?!
You can find me here linking up with these great blogs.

Monday          C.R.A.F.T      The Dedicated House  I Should Be Mopping the Floor
                  Between Naps on the Porch  The Modest Mom
Tuesday     A Delightsome Life   A Bowl Full of Lemons    Titus Tuesday      A Stroll Through Life
Wednesday   Raising Homemakers        Savvy Southern Style         Adorned From Above
                    The Thrifty Home   A Wise Woman Builds Her Home
Thursday    Between Naps on the Porch   Serving Joyfully     Lamberts Lately
Friday      Rooted in Thyme  The Thrifty Groove   Farm Blog Hop  Best of the Nest
               French Country Cottage  The Girl Creative
Sunday    Nifty Thrifty Things    Suburbsmama    Sew Many Ways

Cabbages & Cornstalks

What about this weather?!

We got some flurries & sleet on Halloween night ...
& now they are predicting is for a few inches this weekend!
Fall snow ... I think so.
Wow.
Ready or NOT, winter is coming early!

My to-do list for today now includes getting my porch & patio ready for all the cold & snow.
We haven't put away our big patio umbrella yet & my flower pots are still out.
In fact, I still have blooming flowers!
Ugg ... I don't think I am ready for this winter weather just yet.

Here are a few pictures of the pretty things we enjoyed on the porch this fall.




 Gunnar & Riley brought me home the corn stalks, complete with corn right on the cob!
That added a whole other level of fun, right?!


This was my first time to ever plant ornamental cabbages, but it will not be my last!
They are so beautiful & hardy.


 I planted a green one in one pot & a purple one in the other.


 I still have buds & blooms on my rose bush!
Winter, are you sure you wanna put a stop to all this?


On the door hangs this overloaded wreath.
I was super happy to find it at the flea market for $10.


Now, what you don't see is that I have a total of 14 pumpkins 
scattered here and there around the outside of the house.
James stopped in on last day at the pumpkin patch & they told him to take what he wanted ...
for free!
Gunnar & Abigail came over one evening & he said, "Mom, I love all your pumpkins!
I counted & you have 14!"
{I love that boy.}


I was so happy when he brought those home.
We are hosting Thanksgiving for my side of the family this year, so all this seasonal decor
will festively greet our guests on Thanksgiving Day.

So, today while we are getting things winterized, I'll snap a few pics of all the extra pumpkins
& I'll show you those tomorrow =)

Happy freezing cold fall, y'all.






Who doesn't love a good party?!
You can find me here linking up with these great blogs.

Monday          C.R.A.F.T      The Dedicated House  I Should Be Mopping the Floor
                  Between Naps on the Porch  The Modest Mom
Tuesday     A Delightsome Life   A Bowl Full of Lemons    Titus Tuesday      A Stroll Through Life
Wednesday   Raising Homemakers        Savvy Southern Style         Adorned From Above
                    The Thrifty Home   A Wise Woman Builds Her Home
Thursday    Between Naps on the Porch   Serving Joyfully     Lamberts Lately
Friday      Rooted in Thyme  The Thrifty Groove   Farm Blog Hop  Best of the Nest
               French Country Cottage  The Girl Creative
Sunday    Nifty Thrifty Things    Suburbsmama    Sew Many Ways

Friday, November 14, 2014

Hello sweet blog friends.

I've really missed you.

Whew ... where, oh where do I start?

As much as I have wanted to share all that's been going on with you here in Bloglandia,
I also didn't want to share.
I wanted to hold in it,
keep it to myself,
cherish it for a while.

Ever felt that way?

My emotions have been so all-over-the-place that putting them into words seemed like an impossibility.

Quite frankly, it seemed wrong to even try.
I knew I wasn't able to find the right words, the precise expressions to fully convey
the magnitude of what my heart was experiencing.

I guess to sum it up, my mind has been stretched to it's limit, my heart full to overflowing.
And so, as not to do it a grand injustice, I kept it all to myself ...
replaying all the sweet memories over & over in my mind.

I've also been processing ... letting my mind settle a bit after a wild whirlwind of a summer & fall.

Annnd... a task that could be avoided no longer,
I've been bringing some much needed order to this house that's been neglected for a while!
I'll tell you all about that later.
Weddings are much more fun to talk about ;)

So, just in case you missed it, our twins sons got married within 3 weeks of each other!
I got my first daughter-n-law on September 20 ... and the second one on October 12.
They are both some kind of wonderful <3
Each wedding was perfect.
I can't wait to show you how gorgeous they were as soon as the pictures are back.
Here are a few snapshots for a preview.


Handsome Gunnar & Gorgeous Abigail~













Handsome Garrett & Beautiful Carissa~















The four newlyweds!







So yes, quite a whirlwind.
Seriously?
Having one child to marry is a big enough deal ... but two so close together?
Yes, it was a very big deal!

In addition to that, both boys bought their first homes within a few weeks of each other!
We are SO proud of that accomplishment!
All the saving ... and saving ... and saving paid off!!

It was pretty neat for Garrett to be the realtor for both his & Gunnar's home.











From August 22 until the second week of October, we found ourselves helping both boys,
all of us working tirelessly remodeling two houses.
Both purchased very nice homes, but they wanted to do some updating to prepare them for their brides.
{Again, so many, many details I could've shared along the way,
but I guess they just weren't meant for the blogosphere.
It's hard to be working from sun up to sun down & blog all at the same time!}


Garrett & Gunnar at work on Garrett's house ... doing what the Penningtons do well:  flooring.
Garrett put in a gorgeous terrazzo floor.



Gunnar chose & installed a ceramic tile that looks like hardwoods ... super cool.




He also gutted the bathroom & installed lapboard.
{Matt was such a huge help & we could never thank him enough!}
I gave it a whitewashed paint treatment & it turned into the cutest cottage-y bathroom ever.




There were countless friends & family that pitched in to help ... & at the end of all the work,
both houses looked & felt like brand new!
We are so grateful for the blessings God has bestowed & we take none of them for granted.
Maybe I can share more of the before & after pics someday.
Course, the special touches from my sweet daughters-n-law have made the houses into 'homes'
& we are so proud of them.

God has been & continues to be SO good.
His faithfulness is sure ... and applies to every aspect of our life.
He continually demonstrates that.

I was sure that my heart would never recover from missing our boys so much.

I was certain that the transition from what has been for almost 20 years
to what is now would be nearly impossible for this momma's heart.

I was so afraid of the new & filled with questions .

And the only reason I have not been overtaken through all this is that I was PRAYERFUL!
James and I were saturating ourselves & each other with prayer.
That was the key.

And why is it that we are still sometimes surprised when God answers?

That is precisely what God has done ... He has heard & answered our prayers.
We are transitioning just fine.
We don't feel a gaping hole of hurt, sadness, & emptiness.
Yes, we miss them terribly.
Yes, there have been tears ... plenty.
There are days that I ache to just hear their voice or see them walk through the door.
I miss them at the table each evening, eating together & sharing about our day.
But I remember that James & I did our part, our job as parents.
With the help of the Lord, we trained them to manhood & prepared them to establish their own dominion.
I also reflect back on how I felt when we got married ... how excited we were to begin our new life together.
When I take control of my thoughts, it snaps me out of that selfish, only-thinking-about-me mode
that can so easily take me over.

James & I are also enjoying this one-on-one time with our last boy at home, Mr. Riley.
He turned 17 in the midst of all this activity!
He's been shopping for his first vehicle for a few months now, determined to find just what he wants.
He worked full-time for JL all summer & is now working part-time while he finishes his senior year.
{He's misses his brothers around the house too, btw.}
Isn't he so handsome?!



So... to sum it all up, I wish I could've documented every detail here on the blog,
but I think it's probably just how it needed to be.
I have a heart full of moments & memories that I'll treasure for a lifetime.

I've experienced lots of new things, shed many tears, & learned valuable lessons about myself & others.
I've looked on with a proud heart at the man God gave me & the 3 sons we created together.
We've shared in two of the most important days of their lives.
Our family has grown as we've welcomed two of the loveliest young ladies on the planet.
And we anticipate God's provision, blessing, & faithfulness in the years to come.
Isn't He so amazing?


Thanks a bunch for listening to my heart.

I'll now resume the regularly scheduled postings about decorating & yummy food ;)







Who doesn't love a good party?!
You can find me here linking up with these great blogs.
Monday          C.R.A.F.T      The Dedicated House  I Should Be Mopping the Floor
                  Between Naps on the Porch  The Modest Mom
Tuesday     A Delightsome Life   A Bowl Full of Lemons    Titus Tuesday      A Stroll Through Life
Wednesday   Raising Homemakers        Savvy Southern Style         Adorned From Above
                    The Thrifty Home   A Wise Woman Builds Her Home
Thursday    Between Naps on the Porch   Serving Joyfully     Lamberts Lately
Friday      Rooted in Thyme  The Thrifty Groove   Farm Blog Hop  Best of the Nest
               French Country Cottage  The Girl Creative
Sunday    Nifty Thrifty Things    Suburbsmama    Sew Many Ways