The Beach With Two Toddlers

Well, another beach trip is in the books and it was so much fun! You might remember this post about Landon’s first ever beach trip last summer. This year, we went back to Morehead City again with our friends, Kayla and Jeremy, and their little boy, Berkley. Berkley is almost two years old, and Landon turned 13 months while we were there. Looking back at the pictures from last year’s trip makes me want to cry because our boys were so little! Babies don’t keep, ya’ll.

This year, Kayla and I went down on Monday and Gray and Jeremy came down later in the week. We stayed at her aunt’s house, cooked almost every meal, packed picnic lunches, and had so much fun watching our boys play together. I was surprised at how restful the week was, even with two toddlers!

I was afraid that Landon would hate the sand but he had the time of his life! He played with sand toys and had a great time at the pool. He took naps and ate peanut butter sandwiches on the beach. We took a little blow up pool for the boys to play in, and that helped too. Every stage is so sweet, so even though it hurts my Mama heart for him to be getting so big, I love watching his little personality!

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We are so thankful for our friends and a great week at the beach!

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Chip Chop Cookies

Ok, you guys. I know I’ve said it before butttt this time, it’s for real. I have found the BEST chocolate chip recipe EVER (thanks, Pinterest). I mean it, I’m never making another chocolate chip cookie recipe ever again. This is BY FAR the best recipe I’ve found (and, just ask my husband, I’ve tried literally hundreds in the last 4 or 5 years).

I am so excited to share it with ya’ll, I can hardly stand it. You need to run to your kitchen and whip these up TONIGHT. They’re that good.

What makes these cookies the “best,” you wonder? Well, they aren’t “cakey,” they are full of chocolate chips, just chewy enough, and they are so buttery!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 bag of chocolate chips

Instructions:

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or spray with non-stick spray..
  • In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together.
  • In mixer bowl, beat together the butter and sugars for 2 minutes.
  • Add the egg and vanilla and mix on low speed until mixed in well.
  • Gradually add the flour mixture and mix in until just incorporated. Do not overmix.
  • Add chocolate chips and stir with a wooden spoon, just until incorporated.
  • Scoop small balls of dough onto prepared baking sheets and bake for 8 minutes.
  • Allow cookies to cool on a wire rack (they will become slightly crispy on bottom and chewy in the inside as they cool).

 

I found this recipe on Pinterest and you can see the original here, a great place for baking inspiration, tips, and ideas!

An Easy Weeknight Supper

If you know me, you know I’m a big fan of sitting down at the table for pretty much every meal. There’s something so special about the conversation and unity that happens when we gather around the table and share a meal. I think sometimes, it’s easy to get intimidated by making this a habit because for some reason, we think if we sit down to the table for a meal, it has to be super fancy or elaborate, but that’s just not the case. So, today, I want to share an easy weeknight supper that can bring your family to the table.

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Pickle-brined chicken tenders, garlic butter smashed red potatoes, and a spinach salad. So easy, and really yummy, too.

For the chicken tenders:

I buy  frozen chicken tenderloins at Aldi and just take out however many I need in the morning, place them in a shallow container, and marinate them in (dill) pickle juice all day. Then, when I start dinner, I just drain off the juice and pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Then, make an egg wash (one egg, one egg white, salt, and pepper) and after running each tenderloin through the egg wash, coat in a mixture of panko and breadcrumbs (I do about 1 cup of panko and 1 cup of breadcrumbs). You can do this by putting them in a bag and shaking them, or just flip them in the crumb mixture on a plate. Then, place on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 425 degrees, flip, and bake for an additional 8 minutes so that your chicken is a yummy golden brown. The flavor is amazing (and rumor has it that this is the secret behind the goodness that is Chick-fil-a).

For the potatoes:

Wash however many potatoes you need, then boil in a large pot (covered) for 30 minutes. Then, drain the water, place them on a baking sheet and smash gently with a fork or potato masher. Melt about half a stick of butter, mince some garlic, and throw in some parsley, and just pour over the smashed potatoes. Then, just pop the pan in the oven on broil for about 15 minutes (or until golden brown) and you’ll have the most delicious, flavorful potatoes ever. They’re crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside, and so buttery! We drizzle ranch dressing on ours and that makes them even better!

I pretty much always have spinach on hand, because I love to put it in my scrambled eggs with sautéed peppers and onions, and it’s great for small side salads. This meal is also great leftover for lunch the next day, and I like to cut up one or two of the chicken tenders and eat on a spinach salad. My friend Lee shared this chicken recipe with me, and the original recipe can be found here.

Hope ya’ll are having a good week! If you have any good suggestions for easy weeknight suppers, I’d love for you to leave them in the comments below!

 

InstaStory Granola Bars

It’s no secret that I have always loved Instagram, and when they added the “story” feature (bye snapchat) it got even better. I love it for so many reasons… whether it be just to see little snippets of my friend’s days, or I follow bloggers who do fun things like “fridge tours” and behind the scenes of home renovation projects and short little devotionals that are so encouraging. It’s just great.

So, sometimes, I ask questions on my InstaStory like “hey Mamas, what are you feeding your toddlers?” or “does anybody have a good storage solution for clothes that your kids have outgrown?” or “what is ya’lls favorite breakfast food? looking for something quick, inexpensive, and something that will keep me full longer” or “send me your sweet potato fries recipes!”

It’s become a really helpful tool for me and I’ve got so many good suggestions and ideas from it. One particular day, as I sat here eating my yogurt and granola for the thousandth day in a row, I decided to ask for breakfast food suggestions. I got a lot of good ideas and still haven’t tried them all, but so far my favorite came from my friend Morgan who is a new Mama to beautiful twin girls!

These homemade peanut butter granola bars are perfect to make on Sunday evening and have every day that week for breakfast. My husband grabs two on his way out the door with a glass of milk and I eat one with coffee as I have my quiet time. They’re easy to make, don’t require a ton of ingredients, and you can make the 9×13 pan go a long way (depending on how you cut them).

Ingredients:

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  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 cups rice crispy cereal
  • 3 cups old fashioned oats
  • a pinch of salt
  • as many chocolate chips (for topping) as your little heart desires

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Instructions:

  • In a large pot, bring the honey to a boil and boil for one minute.
  • Remove from heat, add a pinch of salt, and stir in peanut butter until smooth and creamy.
  • Slowly add rice crispies and oats, stirring continuously until well coated.fullsizeoutput_189a.jpeg
  • Spoon mixture into a 9×13 pan (don’t forget to spray it) and sprinkle chocolate chips on top, without pressing into the pan at all.fullsizeoutput_189b
  • Wash your hands and hold your hands under cold water for a minute, then press your mixture firmly into the pan (this keeps the mixture from sticking to your hands).fullsizeoutput_189cfullsizeoutput_189d
  • Allow to “set” for a few hours before cutting.fullsizeoutput_18a0

Enjoy!

Thanks for the recipe, Morgan!