Easy Peasy Spicy Honey Glazed Chicken

Well hello there friends!

It’s been awhile.

Spring break has arrived, for me at least, and I am living it up. I tell you, things are crazy here at the W household.

So far this week I have scrubbed and cleaned out my refrigerator, done copious amounts of laundry, washed the walls behind my stove and sink, made multiple lists for spring cleaning musts, and edited photos for future blog posts.

 

I’m narrowly avoiding Girls Gone Wild with all my crazy festivities.

Obviously, I’m being sarcastic. I know this probably does not sound like your typical or dream spring break, but believe it or not, I’m loving it (insert McDonald’s jingle here). I don’t take the time to do these things when school’s in session so it’s nice to have the time to get them done.

Don’t worry, I’m also cooking, baking, and working on future blog posts too. Gotta mix in a little bit of fun with business, ya know?

I mentioned a couple of weeks back that I was taking some time to work on some recipes and actually cook. I know there are so many of you out there who, like me, love to hang out in the kitchen but run short on time. I refreshed my love of cooking a couple of weekends ago when I made three large meals in three days.

Those meals seriously carried us through the following week. I am such a proponent of left-overs, it’s not even funny.

One meal that I made came on the spur of the moment. I had plans for something else, but after reading a few recipes, decided to try a new one. Four words: Spicy. Honey. Glazed. Chicken.

Seriously amazing and super quick. This is a perfect recipe for those of us who love good food but don’t have many hours in the kitchen.

I adapted the recipe from here.

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What you’ll need:

  • 2 heaping tbsp. garlic powder
  • 2 heaping tbsp. chili powder
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2-3/4 tsp. red pepper (I tend to lean towards more for more spice)
  • 6 chicken thighs, thawed
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • Cooking spray

 

Preheat broiler. Mix all of your spices together with the vinegar and honey. One by one, dredge the chicken thighs in the mixture until fully coated. Spray cooking spray on broiling pan (I used a cooling rack placed inside of a larger pan). Broil for 5 minutes. Take out of oven, turn and broil 5 more minutes. Remove chicken and flip, broil for 1 more minute each side (or until fully cooked). Serves: 6.

Total this took about 20 minutes from start to finish and was delicious. It kept well too which was a major perk.

On a side note, we’re supposed to get up to 10 inches of snow over the next 24 hours… you would think that with this being March that I would be upset by this but ya know… I’m way excited. I hope we get every bit of that 10 inches. Let’s pray for our last snow hoorah!

I’ll be posting a lasagna recipe later this week so  be on the lookout.

Happy Tuesday friends.

Kirby

 

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It’s Thursday!

Hello friends!

hoosier mamaThis morning at the bakery was such a great morning. Cookie dough was made, the smell of perfect sourdough was in the air, and I was buzzing on sugar and caffeine. They don’t come much better than that.

I don’t know if it’s the fact that I’m almost finished with this wretched semester or that I have the entire day off today or maybe that I was taught a new way of brewing coffee that rocked my world this morning… but today is a great day!

I’m at home procrastinating studying all day today so naturally I’m perusing YouTube. Obviously.

After wasting way too much time on the internet today, I’ve decided that you have to watch this video or else you’re missing out. So click below and enjoy.

I’ve got some new recipes on tap for this weekend so look for the food posts to resume next week.

Until then… have a wonderful rest of your week!

Not a Valentine’s Day Post

If you pay attention or are on social media even a tiny bit, you know what today is. Need I say it?

Please don’t misinterpret me, I am not a V-day hater. I am just not posting about it this year. However… you want a heart-warming Valentine’s day post… Lena’s got it covered here. She posted pics of her adorable child who will steal your heart. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

So what’s happening with me these days?

For starters one of my best friends and room mate from college is coming in tomorrow… and I seriously feel like I’m anticipating Christmas. I. Can’t. Wait.

I also got to watch a photographer who I seriously admire do a photo-shoot for the bakery the other day. It was so great… I secretly wanted to pump him for information on every little thing he did but I obviously realized he wasn’t there to teach me so I kept my mouth shut… Here’s a little sneak peak of the behind the scenes action…

Photo by Jer Nelsen

After the photo shoot we had a family style dinner… I live for family style meals. It may or may not have been the highlight of my week.

Oh my week last week. Wretched would be an understatement. But you know the glorious thing about it? It’s over and I have been majorly blessed by a great week so far. I hope you have too.

Another highlight of my week had to be this little thing…

001I made what I called a “nacho salad”… you’ve heard of taco salad? Well I was craving nachos but knowing my need for greens in my life created this…

Black beans, guacamole, tortilla chips, salsa, spinach and a touch of ranch dressing=nacho salad. And you’re welcome 🙂

In other news, it’s Valentine’s Day so I guess I should tell y’all something.

I appreciate all of you! Y’all rock!

Alright… enough of the mushy stuff.

XOXO.

Small Steps for a Big Impact

Happy cold, snowy morning to you! It started snowing here about an hour ago and it is gorgeous. I’ve been reveling in these beautiful mornings this week, despite the almost below zero temperatures. Here’s a pic I snapped yesterday morning… I love that you can see the frozen lake in the distance…

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Currently there is way more snow on the ground and now sun to be seen but it is still equally beautiful.

I was thinking about how I wrote earlier this month on the topic of wanting to be more intentional about taking care of our planet. I have gotten a few questions about what we already do to be more environmentally friendly. I think a lot of people I talk with really have the desire to make changes in their habits but don’t really know where to begin.

In light of this, I thought I would share some little changes that we have made that feels like they are making a big difference.

003The biggest and easiest thing I think we can do is recycle. We have free curb-side recycling here in our town and my guesses are, where you live might too. More and more towns and cities are moving towards free curb-side pick up of recycling, all you have to do is put it out. We take our large recycling bin to the curb twice as much as we do our trash bin which makes us feel great about all of this waste going to be recycled.

004There are so many times when I go to the grocery store in a given week and bring these babies along. When we first got married, we bought 4 reusable grocery bags for about $4. It feels like everywhere we go now, people are giving these away for free. It’s amazing how many plastic bags we save just by bringing our own. Also, if I forget one week, I either use the plastic sacks for trash bags in our bathroom trashcans, or I take them back to the grocery store the next time I go and they’ll recycle them for me.

005One thing that I really struggle with is my love for sandwich bags. They are so convenient and so easy that it’s hard not to use them. When I found these reusable sandwich and snack bags from Lunchskins, I fell instantly in love. They are dishwasher safe and really last! I sometimes use plastic sandwich bags (read more below) but am really trying to cut down on how much I use them.

006It is a rare day when you see me without my Nalgene water bottle. I take this thing everywhere. We NEVER buy plastic water bottles unless it’s an emergency, so we take these water bottles with us just about everywhere. This one is BPA free (very important for plastic) and is dishwasher safe. I will forever love Nalgene.

007I think I’ve posted before on how we don’t use very many household cleaners. We mainly use vinegar, water and a little bit of certified biodegradable dish-washing soap. For the tough stuff, I have been known to buy a bag of Cascade and use it sparingly, but we really try and stick to Seventh-Generation or companies like it that have a longer vision for the protection of our environment.

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Another easy-peasy thing you can do that small but so important is plant a new tree. I think this is so often overlooked but so important. J and Aaron (his bro) planted many trees this summer… they even started a tree nursery. I love that about his family, they’re really into trees. Here is just a small glimpse of some of the trees they planted.

Okay, I feel like I need to address a couple of things:

1) We are totally and completely imperfect. What I mean by that is just because J and I do these small things, does NOT mean that we have achieved “perfection” when it comes to being environmentally conscious. We have our flaws. Big ones. Believe me.

2) If you do not hold the same viewpoint as we do on this, know that we are not judging you. I repeat, “WE ARE NOT JUDGING YOU.” A lot of times when I share about things that I get passionate about i.e. stewardship of our planet, I can come off as “holier than thou”. I repeat #1… I am flawed and completely imperfect at this. If you don’t recycle, you’re not a bad person.

Now that I’ve gotten those things off of my chest, I want to share some ways that I’m hoping to improve this year.

1) Compost more. We have a compost bin but we seem to always forget to empty it, so then it starts to break down into gross-ness and goes untouched for way too long… needless to say, it doesn’t get composted. I want to be more intentional about composting so that we can use it for nourishment in our garden, and also so that it cuts down on the waste that we throw away.

2) Shorter showers. This is such a hard one for me, Queen of long showers, especially in the winter. I realize how much water and gas I waste when I take 20*ahem* minute showers and I’m working on it. One minute at a time. It’s a slow progression.

3) Plastic bags.  I mentioned above my love for plastic sandwich bags. I’m really trying to cut down on how many I use and reusing them if possible. I know that there are toxins that are released when you heat them up, so when I do reuse them, I just rinse them in cool water with soap. Just fyi. 

4) Drive less. Currently this is a little bit tricky as J and I both have over an hour commutes one way. However, I have been walking to the post office, bank, and bakery as much as possible. My goal is to get a basket for my bike so that instead of one big trip to the grocery store each week, that when it warms up, I can take a few small trips on my bike and save gas. I CANNOT wait until I’m out of school and no longer have to drive everyday.

5) Use less paper. I love writing things down and crossing them off. It’s one of my things in life. I know that in this high-tech age that I should have an app for those sorts of things, but I don’t. I still use paper and pencil WAY too much. Even though I do recycle most of the paper that I use, I would really like to make an effort to leaving paper for things that really need it: mainly writing letters.

So there are a few ideas of how we in the W household do things and what we’re hoping to improve on in this coming year. If you have any other suggestions, feel free to throw them my way. If not, then have a great Friday!

TGIF!

Kirby

 

Life on the Run

I know I’m not the only one who experiences life on the run daily.

Let’s be clear: I don’t mean running from the law. Although I’m sure someone out there is currently experiencing that, that is not what I am implying.

I mean running from meetings to class to the hospital to the store to soccer and all over again.

You know exactly what I’m talking about, don’t you?

Well this morning I was thinking about all the things that make “on-the-go” so much easier for us in the W clan and I thought I would share some of my favorite things as of late that are helping to keep us going during these busy times.

Designer Whey protein powder.

J and I are in our fourth week of the Insanity workout system and part of the nutrition guide calls for A LOT of protein. We both have experience with multiple different protein powders from our college sports days, but this is my favorite. I like it in vanilla, chocolate or just regular plain. It’s perfect to mix up and take on the go for a mid-afternoon snack… J even made peppermint mocha protein shake the other day with it… perfection.

Perdue Oven Ready Roasters

Have you seen these yet? This my friends, is seriously the best time-saving, efficient meal on the go that I have found yet. I grabbed one of these a few weeks back because I had a coupon and have gone back for more ever since. They come prepared with the seasonings and chicken already in an oven-safe bag. You literally take off the outer bag, cut a slit in the roasting bag, and put it in the oven. The even better thing? You get a large whole chicken for only $7. In this house, a large chicken can last us the week. I also have tried their cornish hens. It fed 4 1/2 (one toddler) of us and we still had left overs. I’m in love with Perdue over this.

Luna Chocolate Dipped Coconut Bars

Let’s be real. I love most flavors of Luna bars, but when my friend Meghan shared this with me, my protein bar mind was blown. With just over 10 grams of sugar and about 10 grams of protein this bar makes 12 1/2 hour shifts at the hospital so bearable.

Radio Lingua-Coffee Break French

For those of you who know me or have been reading up here for awhile, you know that I seriously want to be able to speak French. You might not know, however, that I have a daily 2 1/2 hour round trip commute. I decided this year I would make better use of my time in the car (since NPR goes out of range, unfortunately) and I would try and work on my language skills. If you have iTunes you can download FREE Coffee Break language podcasts and in 15 minutes a day, start using that language. These are great podcasts and seriously help me pass the time in a productive way.

So these are just a few of the things that I have been using to help life on the run to go more smoothly. If you have any suggestions feel free to leave them 🙂

XOXO,

Kirby

 

Starting Fresh

I’m taking down our Christmas decorations today.

Total bummer.

I adore the way our home looks and feels all dressed up in it’s Christmas best.

If our tree would last and be fresh all year, I’d be seriously tempted to keep it up.

But alas, I give in and put these things away and look forward toward the year ahead.

As always, I have made a list of things I want to accomplish in 2013.

I do have a confession first. I posted this last year around this time….

Only one thing on the list above for 2012 was completed.

I became proficient (decently) with my camera. Let me show you…

This was taken January 2012.

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And this was taken November 2012.

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Here is January 2012…

And here is October 2012…

traverse city 075

Instead of focusing on what I didn’t do this year, I want to think about the year ahead.

Typically, I’m totally bummed throughout the months of January and February, focused on the cold and lack of nice holidays. But  not this year!

I feel something different this year. I feel thankful for another year and to see what the Lord has in store in 2013, and refuse to be bummed, even if it is January.

This year I’m striving to:

  1. Commit more Scripture to mind
  2. Be kinder to people
  3. Learn a new skill
  4. Be a better friend
  5. Cook more and eat out less
  6. Spend more time with you
  7. Drink more water

 

The new year is a new start and a chance to do the things that you failed to do last year. It’s a time for refreshment and encouragement.

What are you hoping to accomplish this year?

 

Happy New Year

Happy last day of the year!

I’ve been trying to reduce my use of electronics over the last few weeks due to company being in town so I apologize if I’ve been rather quiet.

How was your Christmas?

Mine was wonderful and is still going. I guess that’s the perk of having a big family. Ours have spanned from Christmas Eve to New Years and have enjoyed the many different people that have been around these past few weeks.

With the year drawing to a close, it’s nice to take time and reflect on things that have happened this year.

One thing that I’m incredibly thankful for is you all. Natty Nook is in it’s second year of life and thriving because of you. Even with everything going on in your busy lives, you take time to check in here. For that, I am incredibly grateful.

Natty Nook has had it’s best year ever in terms of visitors and followers. Again, thank you.

I love what I do here and I love that I have you to share it with.

In the coming year, expect:

  • New Recipes
  • Fresh DIY tutorials
  • Tips on ways to reduce, reuse and recycle
  • Round 3 of home gardening
  • And much more.

I’m so excited with what the new year has to bring. For one, I am graduating with my second degree in August (WOOHOO) as well as making an intentional effort to be more present with you.

For now, enjoy tonight. Be merry. Be careful. Ring in the new year and new beginning with joy. And know you are very loved and appreciated by yours truly.

So from my friends and family to yours…

Happy 2013!!!!

 

A Little R&R

I’ve been on Christmas break for about 10 days now… and no, I have not been avoiding you.

It’s been so great just relaxing, spending time with friends and family and checking things off my Christmas to-do list.

I apologize for taking  quite a leave of absence but I really needed this break.

I thought I’d share with you a few things on our list that we’ve accomplished lately.

1. Murder mystery Christmas party- 80’s themed of course (thanks to Lena!)

Photo: Mallery Pierce makes a beautiful 80's pop star... even if she did kill Alligator Dundee

2. Add a creative flare to the Gift Wrapping

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3. Make Gingerbread houses from scratch

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3. Watch: The Santa Clause, Christmas Vacation, White Christmas, and The Holiday

4. Discover my husband is incredibly talented at chalk art. (This one wasn’t originally in the list but look at his art!)

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I mean, pretty impressive right? Ps… don’t tell him I told you. He would be so embarrassed… it’s our little secret 🙂

I’m realizing how optimistic I was in making my list earlier this year. I put A LOT of things on it so we’re getting through them slowly. Still up to-do we have:

  • Take a Christmas light tour of houses
  • Make puppy chow and deliver to the neighbors
  • Watch Miracle on 34th Street, Elf and The Family Stone

There are others but we like to focus on one at a time. Have you been doing anything fun over break? Do tell.

Have an amazing Saturday! Only 2 days left until the big day!

xoxo, Kirby

Catching Up

Things are wrapping up around the W household as both of our semesters are coming to a close. The one nice thing about going back to school is that we both get almost an entire month off before the spring semesters start.

I. Can’t. Wait.

I have made and hung a “Christmas to-do” list on our fridge with all of the fun things I want to do over break. This list includes but is not limited to:

  • Cookie decorating party
  • Watching a TON of Christmas movies including both Miracle on 34th Street’s, White Christmas, Holiday Inn, It’s a Wonderful Life The Santa Clause and of course, my fave… The Family Stone
  • Making a DIY Christmas Tree Skirt
  • Christmas Shopping in Chicago
  • Baking, baking, baking
  • Etc

J and I have been married almost 3 years and we’re still working on establishing our own little family Christmas traditions. This year we decided to go out and cut our own tree… it was so fun and perfect. If you’re in the Northern Indiana area, check out Hensler’s Nursery… seriously so fun!

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Life has been so crazy lately that I feel like I’ve had all these great blog ideas but haven’t had time to put them into words… so here’s the short version of what’s been going on in the W house over the past few weeks.

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Thanksgiving and Christmas are of course, pumpkin pie days, but I think next time I want to try this recipe.

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Speaking of Thanksgiving, I just had to share this one of J and Grandma playing table tennis. Love them!

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I got a MASSIVE box of produce from a local farm… needless to say I made potato soup and I don’t hate it. (Note: I used full fat everything but milk.)

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Your family and friends won’t be able to handle this hot cocoa recipe... just remember to buy an extra jar of Nutella to keep the natives happy. (Note: I used fat-free milk and added mini-chocolate chips for extra chocolate)

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I made a huge batch of butternut squash soup... only to find out the hubs doesn’t like butternut squash. The things you learn after knowing someone for seven years…. soup anyone?

Those are some things I’ve been meaning to share with you… I have a list of DIY projects that I’ll be working on sometime next week so I’ll be sure to share those with you as well.

In the meantime, have a wonderful week!

To all of you students, hang it there. It’s almost over!

xoxo, Kirby