Crock Pot Pork Chops

My cousin shared this recipe with me and I finally tried it… and I have to say, I think it may be a new go-to in our house. There couldn’t be an easier weeknight supper… and it’s so tender, flavorful, and just plain ol’ delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 8 pork chops
  • 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 cans of cream of chicken soup
  • 2 packages of ranch dressing seasoning mix

Instructions:

  • Pour soups and seasoning mixes into crockpot and stir.
  • Place pork chops in crockpot.
  • Cook on low for 6 hours.

IMG_1083.jpg

The gravy is plentiful and so delicious! These pork chops are so tender you don’t even need a knife to cut them… they just melt in your mouth. I served mine with mashed potatoes, peas, and my favorite dinner rolls (I zested them up with cheese and garlic butter).

Enjoy!

Advertisements

Avocado Toast

Ok, this quick post is totally necessary because I tried a new avocado toast today and I’m OBSESSED. Not even kidding, it’s amazing. So savory, flavorful, and easy!

Just top a piece of toast with half an avocado, salt and pepper, crumbled bacon, and a fried egg (I like mine “over medium” so it’s nice and juicy) and shredded cheese. Your taste buds will be so happy!

IMG_1061.jpg

What’s your favorite way to eat avocado toast? I’d love it if you’d share in the comments!

Pinterest Haul: Recipe Inspiration

You should know, pinteresting when you’re hungry (especially when you’re pregnant) can be a little dangerous! I’ve kinda found myself in a dinner rut the last few months, partly because, for some reason, I’ve been just making the same things over and over, and partly because nothing really tastes good to me. I can’t even tell you how many nights I’ve prepared dinner, sat down at the table, and not been able to eat it. It’s a weird feeling to make a meal and have to wrap it up, stick it in the fridge, and resort to a bowl of cereal (but I know other Mamas can relate!).

Today, I’m sharing a little recipe inspiration so that if you’re in a rut like me, we can branch out and spice things up in the kitchen together!

These Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Wraps look SO GOOD! I think they’d be the perfect combination of sweet and savory, with just enough crunch.

Hawaiian-BBQ-Chicken-Wraps.jpg

Image & Recipe belong to Tastes Better From Scratch

This Crock Pot Beef Stew looks like the ultimate comfort food. I love to make meals like this on cold, rainy days… and I’m sure we’ll have a few more of those before spring makes its full appearance.

CrockPot_Beef_Stew1-e1441137533417.jpg

Image & Recipe belong to Life in the Lofthouse

I’d love to try these Breakfast Eggrolls with Sausage Gravy one Saturday morning when we don’t have plans. I love experimenting with egg roll wrappers (you may remember this post) and I bet my husband would just go crazy over these!

Breakfast-Eggrolls-3-1024x906.jpg

Image & Recipe belong to 4 Sons R Us

These Sheet Pan Lime Chicken Nachos look INCREDIBLE and I’m betting that they’re jam-packed with flavor! I’m a little late to the whole sheet pan dinner trend, but have always wanted to give it a shot and I think this might just have to be my first try at it!

Sheet-Pan-Margarita-Chicken-Tacos29.jpg

Image & Recipe belong to Diethood

I’m not a fan of bananas, but I know my husband and Landon would love these Pan Fried Cinnamon Bananas, so I want to make them as dessert sometime soon!

pan-fried-cinnamon-bananas-1.jpg

Image & Recipe belong to Dizzy Busy and Hungry

 

*Disclaimer: None of the recipes or images shared in this post are my own. I have indicated where each one was found and linked them accordingly.

A Haitian Memory

It has been a little over three years since I last went to Haiti. Some days, my heart literally aches for the people, the lush, green mountains, and the sounds and smells that you could only understand if you’ve been there yourself. Haiti is such a special place, and holds a piece of my heart that is truly captivated forever. I could talk all day long about the things that make it so special, but instead, I’m going to tell you a story about something that happened the very first time I ever went to Haiti… something that resonated with me then, but even more so now.

On my first trip to Haiti, we prayer walked throughout the village of Cayes, Jacmel in the evenings. With our translators help, we stopped and talked to people, asking them if they knew Jesus, and often praying over them as they shared specific needs with us. To say that I experienced “culture shock” on that first trip is an understatement. Nothing could adequately prepare you for the kinds of things you see when you go to a country like Haiti. And, on the flip side of that, nothing can adequately prepare your heart to be humbled and touched in the way that it inevitably will be.

While prayer walking through the dusty streets of Jacmel, we saw a young woman who was very, very pregnant. I would guess that she was within days of delivering, and judging by the way she was carrying, I would say that it was perhaps, not her first child. The woman was barefoot, wearing very worn clothes, and standing outside of her home, which was nothing more than a shack – literally, just whatever she had found and managed to prop up for shelter – pieces of metal, a torn umbrella, some large leaves, some old wood. However, she had a brightly colored bag, made of all kinds of fabrics, hanging on her shoulder, which is initially what drew my eye to her. I don’t know if someone had just given her the bag, if she’d made it, if she’d saved and bought it herself at the market, but it’s unusual to see something like that in the remote village of Jacmel. I told her that I thought her bag was so pretty, and that’s when it happened. So fast, so seamless, without even second guessing what she was about to do, she removed it from her shoulder and offered it to me.

This precious woman, who had nothing. This precious woman, who had no chance whatsoever of delivering her baby in the comforts of a hospital like I have now had. This precious woman, who lived in a dusty shack and whose bag probably was her newest, and best possession. She offered it to me.

I lost it. What a wake up call. We go to a country like Haiti to minister to these people, yet it’s them that change our hearts. They’re unlike any people I have ever met. They have so little, yet their lives are full of joy and their hearts are open and generous and sincere. They don’t care about things, but instead, about eternity with Jesus. They love openly and freely and without the selfishness that my heart wrestles with on a daily basis. And although it was probably her most prized possession, there was no hesitation as she offered it to me, a stranger.


Fast forward about six years, and I’m married to a man who has also come to love the Haitian people, we have a 19 month old, and we’re due with our second in just a few short months. Over New Years, a team from our church went back to Jacmel, and as they shared a slideshow of pictures and gave a report of all the wonderful things the Lord is doing there this past Sunday evening, it all came flooding back. I sat there, with my hand on my growing belly, feeling Harper move around inside of me, with tears streaming down my cheeks as I remembered. I hadn’t thought about the pregnant lady with the colorful bag in years, but that night, it all came back, fresh and raw and it completely overwhelmed me. Don’t you just love how Jesus does that? He can write a memory on your heart that touches you in a whole new way, years later, for a thousand different reasons.

I’m so thankful for this memory that Jesus has allowed me to experience, etched on my heart, and reminded me of when I needed it most.

Renmen abonde. Love abounds.

389001_4219149562653_526174103_n.jpg

Shrimp & Grits

We have adapted this recipe a good bit over the years (to get it to it’s current state of absolute perfection), but it’s one of my family’s favorites and I just realized that somehow, I’ve never shared it here on Coffee Date With Kate! Despite requiring quite a few ingredients, this is surprisingly a very easy dish to throw together, it’s packed with flavor, and it’s so filling.

Ingredients:

  • Chicken broth (The amount you need depends on how many grits you make – you use the broth instead of water to make the stovetop grits for added flavor. You can do half broth and half water, if you don’t have enough broth or whatever.)
  • Grits (Just however many of the 5 minute, stovetop kind that you think you’ll need… We usually make the 4-6 serving size amount.)
  • Bacon (I usually fry about 5 pieces to crumble on top, then save the grease to saute my shrimp in for added flavor)
  • 2-4 tablespoons butter (for sautéing shrimp and adding to grits)
  • Shredded cheddar cheese (You can mix into the grits, if you like, and also use for topping.)
  • Chopped green onions (topping)
  • Chopped onion
  • Chopped red and orange mini peppers (just however many you’d like, I usually do about 4-5)
  • 2-3 cloves of minced garlic
  • Raw shrimp (peeled and deveined)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Lime (topping)

Instructions:

  • First, fry your bacon in a deep frying pan and set aside to cool.
  • Saute shrimp in bacon grease with butter and salt and pepper and set aside.
  • In the same pan, saute onions, peppers, and garlic. Add whipping cream and milk and allow to simmer while you make your grits.
  • Make the grits according to package instructions (using broth instead of water) and add butter and cheese if desired.
  • Add shrimp to pan (if you add them too soon, they’ll get rubbery and hard, so I like to add them at the end).
  • Scoop into a bowl over grits and top with crumbled bacon, cheese, chopped green onions, and fresh lime juice.

IMG_0865.JPG

 

Snow Day // January 2018

We were thrilled to get a “big” January snow here in North Carolina this week! I’ll be honest, when the talk about a chance of snow started, I really didn’t think we’d actually get any – not any that stuck, anyway. But, to my surprise, we got about four inches and it was one of the prettiest, fluffiest snowfalls I’ve ever seen!

We woke up Wednesday morning to snow falling and it was still coming down when it got dark around 5-6 that night! I made a big breakfast, we snuggled up and watched movies, made snow cream, and went out to play. A few weeks ago when it snowed in Hickory (where my in-laws live) we let Landon play in it and he was not a fan. He wouldn’t really move and finally just sat down and started crying, so we figured he was just too little and maybe next year he’d like it better. But this time, he loved it and even cried when we decided it was time to go back inside! He had the best time and I wish I could bottle up the wonder and pure joy on his face and just save it forever! Children have such an untainted, honest wonder about them that is so contagious.

Landon and I were so happy to have Gray home for two whole days in the middle of the week! It’s so fun to watch the two of them play together and I know that in the years to come we have sledding and snowman building and all sorts of things to look forward to! I love seeing everyone’s snow day pictures, so I just wanted to share a few of ours!

Happy Friday, friends!

IMG_0721IMG_0751IMG_0754Snapseed(2)IMG_0772IMG_0787IMG_0802(1)IMG_0688IMG_0829IMG_0826(1)

Lately // 1.9.18

After a refreshing few days at the coast with Grayson over New Years, I came back with a long list of things to do to begin preparing our little 800 square foot home for a second baby. There’s so much to do, and I feel like the clock is ticking before I’m too big and uncomfortable to be able to get it all done. It’s hard to believe I’m already in the 22nd week – we only have about 18 weeks before we get to meet our daughter! I’m somewhere between scared-to-death and so-excited-I-can-hardly-stand-it.

Like many of you, I get on a lets-clean-everything-out kick every year around this time… something about starting a fresh, new year just gives me that little push I need to go through closets, organize drawers, and part with things that can be donated or thrown away. I’ve been working specifically in the nursery, trying to rearrange it in a way that will allow us to have both the crib and a toddler bed, which I think Landon will be moving into soon (thanks to his newfound climbing skills… eeeek!).

I’m sure Harper will sleep in our room in either the rock n’ play or the pack n’ play for the first five or six months, like Landon did, but there are still preparations and changes that have to be made to the nursery before she is born. Because the closets in our bedrooms are so small, Grayson uses the closet in the nursery as his own, while the one in our bedroom is mine. Landon has never really had any clothes that had to be hung, but Harper will undoubtably have all kinds of pretty dresses – meaning I have had to get a little creative about finding a place to hang those.

About a year ago, my friend, Carol gave me a vintage canning cabinet that immediately found a home in my kitchen. I had admired it in her home for years and when she decided to get rid of it, she offered it to me first (love her). It reminds me of my great grandmother’s canning cabinet, and up until now I have used it very practically (as opposed to as for-display-only) to store plates, cake plates, glasses, and all kinds of things in my little kitchen. After giving much thought to what we could do about needing a place to hang Harper’s clothes, I decided to convert the canning cabinet into a wardrobe, and although it’s not finished yet, I can’t wait to show ya’ll how it turns out! This week, I got it cleaned out (which required me to clean out every cabinet in my kitchen, purge, and make room for the items that had been stored in the canning cabinet in the cabinets…. whew!) and moved into the nursery. It needs some touching up and new handles and Grayson will have to take out the shelves and put in a rod to hang the clothes, but my little project is coming right along! I will share before and after photos when it’s complete!


Grayson started his new job as an Instructional Technology Facilitator at Charlotte Christian School on January 2nd and he is loving it. Everyone has been so kind and welcoming and he’s finding his niche, while learning and growing so much. I think a part of him will always miss the classroom, but I can tell that he’s so thankful to be in an environment where Christ is the focus of every aspect of the day and faith is freely talked about and cultivated. I am so proud of him for taking such a huge leap of faith and constantly chasing his dreams and putting the best interest of our growing family first.


Landon is growing like a weed, jibber-jabbering all the time, and saying so many new words every day. He amazes me with words I didn’t even know he knew, but then I realize that since I literally talk to him all day every day, he picks up more than I realize! We will be at a restaurant and a family with a little baby will come in and sit down at the booth beside us, and he’ll say, “oooh! baby!” and then point to my growing belly, or he’ll see the moon in the night sky and he’ll point to it and say, “moon!” or he’ll notice an airplane in the sky and say, “airplane!” and then when it’s disappeared from sight, say, “airplane all gone!” He loves to play with his horses, trucks, and balls. He adores our dog, Kai Kai. He eats everything and is getting so big, and is still a great sleeper (lets all pray that Harper will be too!). Sometimes I look at him and my heart just hurts because I see a little boy in place of the tiny baby that I brought home. He was so teeny tiny and now he’s practically going off to college! Ok, I need to stop because these pregnancy emotions are no joke (just ask Gray… I’ve cried over Publix commercials).


Just wanting to keep ya’ll in the loop about what’s been going on lately! I have a feeling these next few months are going to be a whirlwind, so I’m all the more thankful for God’s grace, pursuit of my heart in every season, and unconditional love. We serve an awesome God, don’t we friends?!

Happy Tuesday!

fullsizeoutput_2702.jpeg

Harborlight Guest House

Two years ago, my Mama gave us a gift certificate to bedandbreakfast.com and we finally used it this weekend. We didn’t get an opportunity to go before Landon was born, and then after he was born I was nursing and we just never found a few days to get away. We realized last week that Grayson’s Spring Break isn’t until the end of March, and by then I’ll be much too far along to travel very far in a car as I’ll be approaching the end of this pregnancy. After Harper is born, it will be the same as after Landon was born, and another year would have passed that we would not have used our gift certificate. So, this trip was kind of like a now-or-never thing. Sometimes, spur of the moment decisions end up being the most fun!

I had never been away from Landon for three full nights before, and Lordy mercy did I miss my boy… but I wouldn’t have traded these few days alone with Grayson for anything. It was the most fun!

IMG_0232.jpg

Bedandbreakfast.com has tons of great B&B’s to choose from, and we knew we wanted to go somewhere near the beach. We go to Morehead City with some friends every summer and love the area, so we were happy to find a B&B called Harborlight Guest House nearby in Cape Carteret. When you already have at least a little knowledge about the area, restaurants, and shops, I think you get more out of your trip. Not to mention, knowing our way around (for the most part) makes it easier.

We left early Friday morning and made it to our favorite little drive in for lunch. El’s Drive In in Morehead City has been in business since 1959 and they’re famous for their shrimp burger and super burger. It’s delicious!

Snapseed.jpg

We had no idea what to expect when we checked into our B&B because the website has not been fully updated since the new owners took over, but we were so pleasantly surprised. When we pulled up, we were captivated by the beauty of the property. The B&B sits on a peninsula with great views all the way around of the Bogue Inlet. The owner, Perry, came out to meet us and was so warm and welcoming. He and his wife, Dana, have just recently purchased the Harborlight Guest House and are only a few years older than Grayson and I. Come to find out, we share the same alma mater (Go App State!) and they were both just as sweet as could be. He gave us a tour, helped us carry our bags, and showed us to our room, all the while giving great recommendations for local restaurants.

IMG_0273

Our room, the Swann Suite (named after the nearby town of Swansboro), was darling and so clean and cozy. The bathroom had a beautiful claw foot tub (which, you better believe I took advantage of) and as beautiful of a view as our room did. The sunrises and sunsets were breathtaking and we felt like we had the best seat in the house.

IMG_0219IMG_0221IMG_0227IMG_0229

Breakfast was phenomenal and served in-suite in two courses. First, a breakfast appetizer was served with juice and coffee (which just happened to be some of the best coffee we had ever tasted) and then the rest of the meal. The first day, we feasted on poached pears with raspberry jam, an egg quiche, bacon, and sweet potato muffins, and the next day we had mushrooms stuffed with sausage and cream cheese, fruit, sausage links, and the fluffiest pancakes. It was far better than anything we expected and the housekeeping and kitchen staff were so sweet.

IMG_0256IMG_0323

We didn’t really make any plans for how to spend our time, which was a refreshing change. We just went with the flow, Grayson fished, I napped and read and wrote and soaked in the clawfoot tub until my heart was content. We ate good food, spent some time in Beaufort, watched funny movies, and woke up without any alarms. It was so restful and peaceful.

IMG_0214IMG_0269IMG_0283IMG_0287IMG_0288IMG_0334.jpg

We found a new favorite restaurant- the Icehouse in Swansboro. It’s right on the water in the cutest historic waterfront district and our food was so delicious that we went back there the next night! Their crab tostadas were heavenly and we loved the shrimp and grits and grouper with garlic mashed potatoes. I love eating on the water, too. The service was fantastic, the food was amazing, and the view was so beautiful!

IMG_0234.jpg

We were sad to leave on Sunday morning after breakfast, but I could hardly wait to have my boy back in my arms. It’s about a five hour drive home from Cape Carteret, so I’m glad we didn’t wait any longer in my pregnancy to make the trip. We are so thankful to have been given such a wonderful gift, a trip that we’ll remember forever.

2017

IMG_0354.jpg

I’m going to keep this short and sweet, but I love seeing everyone’s yearly recaps so I wanted to share a little about our year. 2017 was full and sweet. We faced some of our biggest challenges, and also some of our life’s sweetest memories.

Watching our sweet boy grow this year has been so much fun. He has brought us so much joy and being his Mama and Daddy is the greatest honor. I still can’t believe he’s ours. I pulled a favorite picture of him from every month this year (which was hard to pick just one!) and look how big he is! I wish I could freeze time. My boy, my whole world.

Thinking of adding another little life to our family in 2018 is overwhelming but so exciting. It will inevitably be a year of growth and change and we’ll be clinging to His promises as a fresh, new year unfolds.