Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Blessing of Friends

We have been blown away this week by the blessing of a particular friend! Our sweet, sweet friend Jordan has graciously taken on the role of Knox's "day care" for the week, and we could NOT be more thankful. After a rough three weeks at a local day care which resulted in an upper-respiratory flu for Knox, the outbreak of hand-foot-and-mouth disease, and a wicked stomach bug that knocked me out for days, Kurt and I couldn't stand the thought of sending him back there one more day. Don't get me wrong - the ladies taking care of Knox were wonderful, and the fact that they allowed us to enroll Knox for an emergency short-term stay was an answered prayer - BUT, there's something much more comforting about a dear friend keeping him at her clean, germ-free home. And let me tell you, Knox has been LOVING IT! When I would walk into the day care to pick him up each afternoon, he would see me and immediately bawl. When I go to Jordan's each afternoon, he almost doesn't care to see me. As much as that should hurt my feelings, it makes me feel SO much better knowing that he is obviously taken care of and clearly having a blast!

And the best part is, Jordan sends me pictures from her iPhone throughout the day letting me know what they've been doing - how awesome is she?! Here's a sneak peek:

This picture cracks me up! She's got all three kiddos packed into that car, and don't they look like they're loving it!!!

I just know these two must love hanging together - two sweet little boys!

As Eric said, these two are bound to be "partners in crime" one day. Jordan and I NEVER did anything bad when we were in high school ;)

How fun is Jordan taking the kids to the mall carousel?! Love it!!

All this fun has worn him out apparently!

And tomorrow, she has a fun day at the zoo planned for them. Can you imagine little Jordan with three wild kids at the zoo? Say extra prayers for her if you think of it :)

Being that Kurt and I don't have any family here in Birmingham, we often have to rely on friends for help...and Jordan and her sweet family are truly like family in that way - ALWAYS willing and offering help. SO thankful for Team Elkins!!!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Kurt's New Favorites

As much as Kurt and I both LOVE to cook, it's amazing that I have yet to share any recipes with y'all on the blog yet! Just last week (which, mind you, was the end of the month so grocery funds were low), I scrounged around for some affordable yet healthy meals. One of my all-time favorite cooking blogs is Our Best Bites. Sarah and Kate are two wives and moms who know all about the stresses of balancing home management (yuck), part-time work, church/community involvement, and of course, all of the other crazy mom duties. Yet, they both LOVE to cook, and their recipes are always some of my favorite go-to's. Well, when you have a husband who loves to cook (and is much better at it than I am), it is always a challenge to find something that wows him. I did it last week, though, so I had to share!

First, I made some BAKED creamy chicken taquitos. I emphasize the word "baked" here because usually the best of taquitos are yummy-fried-goodness. I have to say - I did not miss the fried part one bit. And, I pretty much had all of the ingredients in my fridge already, so I scored major bonus points with the hubster for not spending a fortune at Publix (for the 20th time that month!). Here's the recipe with some of my own substitutions:

Baked Creamy Chicken Tacos

1/3 C (3 oz) cream cheese
1/4 C green salsa (Didn't have green salsa on hand so just used regular spicy salsa)
1T fresh lime juice
1/2 t cumin
1 t chili powder
1/2 t onion powder
1/4 t granulated garlic, or garlic powder
3 T chopped cilantro
2 T sliced green onions
2 C shredded cooked chicken (I used leftover meat from a rotisserie chicken I had purchased earlier in the week)
1 C grated pepperjack cheese (I used extra sharp cheddar since it was already in my fridge)

small corn tortillas (I used small soft taco flour tortillas since Knox is allergic to corn)
kosher salt
cooking spray (I used my olive oil mister - love that thing!)

Heat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.

Heat cream cheese in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds so it’s soft and easy to stir. Add salsa, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, onion powder and granulated garlic. Stir to combine and then add cilantro and green onions. Add chicken and cheese and combine well.

You can prepare up to this step ahead of time. Just keep the mixture in the fridge.

Work with a few tortillas at a time and heat in the microwave until they are soft enough to roll without cracking. It helps to place them between damp paper towels. Usually 20-30 seconds will do it. If you find yours are cracking when you roll them or are coming unrolled right away, just try heating them longer and try the paper towel thing.

Place 2-3 T of chicken mixture on the lower third of a tortilla, keeping it about 1/2 inch from the edges.

Then roll it up as tight as you can.

Place seam side down on the baking sheet. Lay all of the taquitos on the baking sheet and make sure they are not touching each other. Spray the tops lightly with cooking spray or an oil mister and sprinkle some kosher salt on top.

Place pan in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until crisp and the ends start to get golden brown.

Seriously, so stinkin' good, and really not terribly unhealthy! They're really good dipped in guacamole, salsa, sour cream, OR...the dressing for this amazing salad I also made (again, from the awesome chicas at Our Best Bites):

Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad


4 c. chopped Romaine Lettuce
2 c. chopped grilled chicken (I actually skipped the chicken since I ran out from the taquitos)
1 c. cherry or grape tomatoes, washed
1/3 c. vertically-sliced red onions (I just used green onions since I had them)
1 avocado, cubed
1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 8 3/4 oz. can corn, rinsed and drained
1/3 c. chopped fresh cilantro
2/3 c. light sour cream
1 1/2 + tsp. adobo sauce from canned chipotle chilies
1 tsp. chili powder
4 tsp. fresh lime juice
¼ tsp. salt

Make sure all salad ingredients that need to be washed or rinsed have been. They suggest just rinsing the beans and corn together; no reason not to! Heck, throw the tomatoes in while you’re at it if you want!

Combine lettuce, chicken, beans, corn, onion, and tomatoes in a large bowl and gently mix with your hands. Set aside.

Mix dressing ingredients. I say to start with 1 1/2 tsp. of adobo sauce and then go from there, probably 1/4-1/2 tsp. at a time. If you’re serving this for a crowd, it’s probably better to err on the side of not spicy enough rather than too spicy, but if you’re just making it for your family and you have taste buds of steel, have at it. You could even chop up one of the chilies and toss it in there if you’re feeling super-brave. Set dressing aside.

When you’re ready to serve, add avocado and dressing. Gently combine and serve.

We used the reserve dressing for our taquito dipping sauce. And it seriously was a little taste of heaven.

So yes - this recipe was fabulous that night, even better as left overs, and a winner with both Kurt AND Knox. Just had to share my little kitchen victory :)