Sunday, April 20, 2014

Nona's Banana Pudding

When Jude was born, we began calling my husband Lance's mom Nona. We spend every Easter with Nona and Grandpa. This year was no exception. We all spent Easter weekend in Frisco with Lance's cousin (Nona's niece) and her family. Here are some moments from our Easter weekend in Frisco with family.

               Jude Henry holding his baby cousin, Zane Henry.

       Jude and the Easter Bunny at the neighborhood Easter egg hunt.

                        Jude and his cousin Addison.

                Jude during the treasure hunt Easter morning.

    Decorating the bunny cake with Addison, Nona and Aunt Paula.

        Jude hunting eggs Easter morning in the backyard.

 Every Easter we make Nona's version of banana pudding that's layered like a trifle for the entire family to enjoy. FYI, the only healthy thing able this recipe are the bananas. No worries though...every once in a blue moon we can indulge, even if it's just a taste like with me. 

This is a super easy recipe that you can whip up in minutes that the entire family will LOVE! 


1 box Nilla Wafers (I use the minis)
1 box instant vanilla pudding
1 1/2 cups cold water
1 can of Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
16 oz Cool Whip
4 bananas
1 fresh lemon

In a large bowl, combine the Eagle Brand milk, water and vanilla pudding. Whisk together until all the lumps are gone. Refrigerate for 5 minutes to let it set up. While you chill the pudding mixture, cut the bananas into bite-size slices and add them to a smaller bowl. Cut the lemon into quarters. Squeeze enough of the lemon to cover the banana slices to keep the bananas from turning brown in the trifle. After at least 5 minutes, remove the pudding from the refrigerator and fold in 3/4 of the Cool Whip. In a trifle bowl begin layering beginning with cookies, next banana slices, then pudding mixture, repeat and keeping layering ending with pudding at the top. Add the remaining Cool Whip and then add more cookies to top the whole thing off. Chill the trifle until you are ready to eat! 

Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do. If you get a chance to make it, let me know by commenting and be sure to subscribe. 

                      Lance, Jude and me Easter 2014.

 And from my family to yours, Happy Easter everyone!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Mexican Black Bean Chicken and Rice Soup

Today is opening day of Little League here in our small town. This morning began the festivities with a ceremony introducing all of the teams, the National Anthem and a prayer. Then Jude's team (the Durham Bulls) played right after lunch. It's been a cloudy, windy cold day. Since this morning, I've not been able to get my body warmed up. My solution: make a big batch of belly warming soup. 

               (Jude on opening day before the wind kicked in)
           (Jude and his team at the opening ceremony) 

If you know me any at all, you know that I love to use my crockpot and I also like to use items I have handy in my kitchen to create my own concoctions based usually of old recipe favorites. I also love Mexican flavors and decided to create my own Mexican chicken and rice soup incorporating corn and black beans. It has great tortilla soup flavors with some extras added in.  I've gotten to where I use black beans in so many recipes. I actually doubled the amount of black beans in this recipe. You can cut back to one can. Also I used brown and wild rice for this soup, which is better for you than regular white rice. You can do either or. It's up to you as to which you prefer. Also, I added two cups of rice to this recipe, but you can used one. Two thickens it up a bit, which I like.

This is one again other tasty, flavorfully healthy soup packed with protein for you and you family to enjoy, particularly on a chilly day. Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do. Be sure to let me know if you make it, how it turned out and other feedback in the comments. And as always, please subscribe! Thanks friends!


4 boneless chicken breasts (sliced into large chunks) 
3 cans of low sodium chicken broth
2 15 oz cans of black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 can sweet corn
2 garlic cloves (minced)
1 onion (diced)
1 can Mexican lime and cilantro Rotel
1 can regular Rotel
1 teaspoon cumin
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups instant brown and wild rice 
Shredded Mexican blend cheese to top

Begin by combining and mixing everything to the crockpot besides the rice and cheese. Use 3/4 of the broth and add more as needed, particularly once you add in the rice. Cover and cook for 4-6 hours. The longer it cooks, the more tender the chicken will be. Once the chicken is cooked through, use forks and shred the chicken even more. When it has an hour left to cook, add in the rice. When it's done, serve sprinkled with shredded cheese and/or tortilla strips. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

What's For Dinner: Baked Bacon Wrapped Cream Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts and Sautéed Squash and Zucchini with Onion

This is an quick, easy, healthy and delicious meal you can prepare fairly quickly. I made the recipe salt-free but you can substitute garlic salt with garlic powder in the squash/zucchini and also add salt to taste to the chicken if you feel so inclined. It's such a yummy recipe that I made it two nights in a row. 

Chicken Ingredients:

4 boneless chicken breasts (thawed)
1 container chive and onion cream cheese
4 slices bacon 

Squash and Zucchini ingredients:

1 medium-sized summer (yellow) squash
1 medium-sized zucchini
1/2 onion 
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon black pepper 
3 tablespoons olive oil 
3 splashes of lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon garlic and herb Mrs. Dash

Bacon Wrapped Cream Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breast:

Preheat oven at 450F. Pound out each chicken breast to about 1/4". Spoon 1 tablespoon cream cheese onto each chicken breast and spread evenly. Roll up each breast and wrap each with a slice of bacon covering chicken completely. Secure each with two toothpicks. Spray non-stick spray evenly on a cookie sheet. Place each chicken breast on the cookie sheet and put in the oven. Bake for 35 min. (Depends on your oven for cooking time, so don't hesitate to use a meat thermometer to check) If bacon gets done too quickly, turn over the chicken breasts part way through. Remove from oven and serve. 

Sautéed Squash and Zucchini with Onion: 

Chop the squash, zucchini and onion into bite-sized pieces. In a mixing bowl, combine the vegetables with the spices, lemon juice and olive oil until everything is covered completely. In a non-stick skillet, sauté the mixture for 5-7 minutes or until tender but still fairly crispy. Be sure to stir often. Remove from heat and serve.