Spring Has Sprung

Hello readers! I don’t know about you guys, but here, the past few days have been beautiful, aside from some random torrential downpours. Randomly this weekend is rainy and 60s but I am still definitely in a spring frame of mind. Although the rainy day has definitely put someone in a napping mood…no joke, she is snoring, it is adorable.

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These other adorable sleepers totally reminded me of her when we went to the Milwaukee Zoo a few weeks ago. (If you haven’t made it to the Milwaukee Zoo yet and you live nearby you must visit it!)

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Hopefully you all got a chance to read my guest post on my mother in law’s blog! It was exciting to see my work on someone else’s page, I know the views for my page went way up after it was posted, which was exciting in itself. I know I also enjoyed reading the posts from her other super star bloggers! You should definitely check it out if you haven’t already.

Lately I have been a busy little bee in the kitchen and I have a few recipes to share and an update to an old favorite, but today I am sharing something simple and easy, but it was new for me! Last night I was spending some time with some friends of ours while Zach was at work and I actually offered to help teach my friend Kristina (yes Kristina…and I can’t even make this up…her husband’s name is also Zac) how to cook a few easy things in the kitchen. I seem to have come a long way…from knowing relatively little about cooking to teaching a fellow newlywed kitchen tips and tricks. Although I guess I have been sharing my tips and tricks with you for awhile now.

Today I am talking watermelon! I love watermelon, especially when it is hot outside. a few years ago I was so excited that Target had precut watermelon spears, those are my favorite! I know watermelon is watermelon and the way it is cut has absolutely no impact on the taste, but I can’t seem to resist when it is cut into spears. Last summer Zach and I were wandering around the grocery store and I saw whole watermelon and got into my head that it was time for me to learn how to cut a watermelon.

Now before I get into the fantastic way I found to cut watermelon I must share yet another story. Since I was little I have had a very healthy respect for sharp knives, I wish I could say I have a good reason why I still avoid them, but I don’t, other than they are very sharp and I am terrified of cutting myself. Well to cut the watermelon you know I definitely had to use a BIG knife. I was determined to use our fabulous knifes we got for our wedding and figured this was a good start.

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Start with a whole watermelon.

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Cut in half. (Look at that big knife!)

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Cut watermelon in several rows. Then repeat going the opposite direction.

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Ta-da! I ended up with yummy watermelon spears!

How easy was that? It took me no time at all and now that I have done it I am ready to do it again and again! I have been finding more and more that some of the things I have been avoiding for years aren’t so bad…what have I been waiting for?!

In other news Zach and I officially bought a car and I am so excited! I wanted to sleep in it the night we brought it home, I am in love. I will admit it is very different driving an SUV after driving a Mini Cooper for six years, but it was time for something different and for anyone out there who as been debating getting a Mini I highly recommend it!

In case I haven’t shared enough cute pictures today here’s one more…

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Something New

Hello readers! It has sure been awhile but now that spring actually seems to be here I am ready to get back into things! Zach and I have been a busy pair, working and playing. I keep joking that we are almost real adults, we have been casually looking at houses and in a few weeks the lease on my Mini is up and we have been looking for a more practical car. With the four cars we have owned recently none could comfortably hold more than two passengers, sure the Mini does have a backseat but people can only sit behind me since I have to have my seat pulled all the way up…yay short legs! So the search has been on for an SUV, we think we have decided what SUV we want now we just have to find “the one.” I will admit I am kind of sad to see the Mini go, it was my dream car since BMW rereleased it back in 2000, I am proud of myself for achieving that dream, but on to the next dream.

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My current Mini (Dorothy) with my first Mini (Bluebell)

In other news, Toews is exactly the same, napping all the time and “helping” me around the house, she’s also very good at taking up an entire side of the bed (usually Zach’s side). I will admit she still cracks me up daily and I can’t imagine our life without her.

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Lately I have been trying new things around the house and I am way too excited to share this one with you today. I have always had a dislike of cooking meat, in fact I avoid it pretty much all together. I kind of joke with Zach that when I am cooking we are vegetarians because I avoid cooking meat as often as possible. Sure I can make tacos with some browned ground beef, and I will gladly heat up the pre cooked meats you can buy at the grocery store, but I have stayed away from raw meat, I always worry that I wont cook it correctly and make us sick.

Well a few weeks ago my mother in law asked me to guest post on her blog, MaryFranSays, she is having Sweeps Week and is featuring 5 guest bloggers. I was so excited she asked me and I got to work figuring out which recipe I wanted to showcase for her readers. After a lot of thought and some input from her, I landed on an old favorite, the only problem I would have to make shredded chicken, it seemed I was going to have to get over my aversion to cooking raw meat. Well the good news is, I DID IT!! and it actually turned out really well and now that I know how easy it is I will be using this recipe many times over, seriously you can use it for just about anything that requires shredded chicken or create your own recipes!

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For this recipe you will need olive oil, chicken breasts, salt, pepper and chicken broth or water.

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Pour some olive oil into a nonstick skillet, I used about enough to cover the bottom of the pan.

If desired you may season the chicken with salt and pepper prior to the next step, I did not because of what I was going to use them for, your call if you want to.

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When the oil is hot enough pace the chicken breasts into the pan, top facing down and let cook for 5 min until golden brown on top.

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Flip the chicken and add the chicken broth or water.

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Cover the pan and let the chicken simmer over medium heat for 7-10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. While simmering add additional liquid as needed 1/4 cup at a time if evaporates too quickly.

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Let cool slightly.

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Place chicken breasts into mixer with paddle attachment, turn on, it will thunk around for a few seconds then shred nicely.

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Tada! Look at that beautifully shredded chicken! I made that!

Easy Shredded Chicken

(Two breasts make about 2 cups)

  • Olive oil
  • 2 (about a pound) Boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth or water

In a large nonstick pan with a lid, heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan over medium heat until hot and rippling. Pat the chicken dry and season with salt and pepper on both sides if desired.

Place chicken top facing down in the hot pan and let the chicken cook for 5 minutes until golden brown.

Flip the chicken over, add chicken broth or water, cover the pan and let chicken simmer over medium heat for 7-10 minutes until chicken is cooked through. While chicken is simmering add additional liquid 1/4 cup at a time as needed if liquid evaporates too quickly.

Let chicken cool slightly before shredding. Place chicken breasts into bowl of mixer, using paddle attachment, turn mixer on medium speed. The breasts will thunk around for a minute then will shred nicely. I actually walked away for a minute or so to let it shred.

Use immediately in any desired recipe or it will keep in the refrigerator, well covered, for up to 3 days or can be frozen for up to 2 months.

Enjoy! This chicken was too easy to make and is super versatile.

Now that I shared my newfound excitement for shredded chicken you must check out my mother in law’s blog on Thursday to see how I used it, the recipe is one of my absolute favorites and now that I know how easy shredded chicken is I am so pumped. Check out her blog by clicking here or visit marylamphere.com to read more. Check out the other guest bloggers that will be posting all week starting today!