creamy smokehouse chicken dip

January 28, 2015 in Blog, Blue Diamond, Food, Recipe, Review, Snack by lindsaymwright

This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds.  For more Game Changing Snacks, visit Blue Diamond Almonds on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Happy Wednesday!

Since the big game is this coming Sunday, let’s talk football today, shall we?  Or rather, let me tell you how little I actually know about the sport.

Lindsay’s Football Facts

1)  Football was invented in 1609 when two dueling countries decided to fight over an actual pig.  Hence the name, “pigskin” when we’re talking about the football*.

2)  The quarterback on every team must meet the following criteria or be kicked out of the league:  1) be “Nebraska-handsome”, 2) must date a super-model or actress and 3) must use the phrase “my hands are my work” in at least one conversation a day*.

Two.

Two facts.

*I actually have no idea how football got started or if “Nebraska-handsome” is a thing…(but it should be).  My mother uses the phrase, “My hands are my work!” when she doesn’t want to do manual labor.  She’s a dental hygienist so I guess it kinda makes sense.

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Blue Diamond Almond recently sent me some of their Wasabi & Soy Sauce and Smokehouse almonds to try out.  Umm…YUM to both flavors!!  Then they challenged me to come up with a GAME DAY snack in preparation for the big game on Sunday.  True to my core, I chose the easiest recipe I could and made some fun substitutions.  After playing around for at least 5 minutes in the kitchen, Creamy Smokehouse Chicken Dip was born.  It’s PERFECT for your football crowd – tangy, creamy and packed with protein!  The finely chopped almonds add flavor and a little bit of texture.  We ate our dip with Blue Diamond Nut Thins and celery sticks.

Give it a go (and then get over here and fill me in on this football stuff).

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Creamy Smokehouse Chicken Dip

Ingredients

  • 1 rotisserie chicken breast, shredded
  • 1/2 can of Blue Diamond Almond Smokehouse almonds, finely chopped
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened (I love using greek cream cheese – higher protein content)
  • 3/4 cup light ranch dressing
  • 3/4 cup pepper sauce (such as Texas Pete)
  • 1/2 cup barbeque sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Heat chicken and hot sauce in a skillet over medium heat, until heated through.  Stir in chopped almonds, cream cheese, ranch dressing and bbq sauce.  Cook, stirring until well blended and warm.  Mix in half of the shredded cheese, and transfer the mixture into an 8×8 pan.  Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top, cover with aluminum foil and bake for 12-15 minutes.  Before serving, top with any remaining almonds you have.  Serve with celery sticks and/or chips.  <-Blue Diamond happens to make a SMOKEHOUSE Nut Thin but I couldn’t find it at the store I went to so I used their Sea Salt flavor – still great!

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QUESTION:  Will you be watching the big game on Sunday?  What are you making as far as food goes (and can we come over?)?

splendid…lindsay

5 ways to beat the winter blues

January 27, 2015 in Blog, Lists by lindsaymwright

Hey!

How many of my Northern friends need to read this post today???  How much snow have you gotten??

If you’re like me, Spring can’t get here soon enough.  It seems like I’m in love with Winter from about Thanksgiving through Christmas and then I just want to fast forward to the warmer days, flowers blooming and taking long walks on the greenway.  Welp.  Sorry to say but we still have a few weeks to go of short days and cold weather.  It’s very common this time of year to experience a phenomenon called the, “Winter Blues” or “seasonal affective disorder,” a mild state of depression that is accompanied by low energy and a lack of motivation.  Anyone can experience seasonal depression, but it seems to affect women more than men.  I know that I myself have felt the blues a few times (and I don’t even live in a really cold part of the country!).

While there is no permanent “cure”, here are few tips that will help you beat those winter blues!

1.  MOVE!

Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise, five days per week!  Exercise has been proven to increase the levels of serotonin in the brain, a “feel good” chemical that helps to lift our moods!  If you can, try to incorporate strength training into your daily movement – this will also release “happy” chemicals similar to antidepressants!

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2.  Catch some rays!

Similar to exercise, sensible exposure to sunlight aids in the release of serotonin in the brain, while also generating the release of Vitamin D from your skin – TWO things that will help fight off depression.  Spending just 15 minutes outside will make the rest of your day more bearable.  If it’s too cold to venture outside, try investing in some compact fluorescent bulbs.  This type of “indoor light therapy” has been shown to effectively reduce the symptoms of depression and seasonal affective disorder (source).

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3.  Watch your diet.

Our diets can effect every aspect of our life, especially our moods.  Even though brownies and cobblers sound more appealing, you won’t feel as fresh and energized eating junk as you would with whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables.  Aim for at least 5 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables every day.  These nourishing foods will provide your body with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are needed for cell renewal.  I always have a BIG green salad made up each week so the decision to reach for greens is much easier!

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4.  Invest in Peppermint Oil!

Dabbing peppermint oil on your pulse points (wrist and neck) has been shown to help with sadness and depression!  Another idea – add 5-10 drops of essential peppermint oil into a pot of warm water.  Simmer on your stove until the water completely evaporates.  Your entire house will be filled with a wonderful smell and your mood will lift! <-OR buy a diffuser.  We have this one and I keep either lavender, peppermint or lemon oils running in it.

5.  Find a winter hobby!

Instead of fighting against Winter, make friends with it!  Try out a winter hobby, such as skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, ice skating.  Volunteer to shovel snow at your local nursing home or hospital.  Enroll your kids in winter sports and then get out of the house and go cheer them on.  While it’s not really a winter sport, Travis and I have been playing Ultimate Frisbee with a local group almost every Sunday afternoon since before Christmas.  Try to stay busy with activities that make you happy.

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QUESTION:  How do you combat the winter blues??

splendid…lindsay

on the weekends we….

January 26, 2015 in Blessings, Blog, Family, Friends, Kids, Love, weekend by lindsaymwright

On the weekends we….

…play with new robots.

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..attend ribbon cuttings.

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…make the most of our time with dad.

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…make cookies for bible study.

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…then let mama lick the bowl clean (it’s what mamas do best).

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…track our steps! (11,000 for Saturday, 10,000 for Sunday – wootwoot! This is the Garmin Vivofit Fitness Band .)

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…spend an hour sweating with some really fun people.

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…drink a leisurely cup of coffee over pancakes.

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…feed our fish, Mert.

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…eat raw fish (which just seems weird after the Mert picture…).

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…take long walks with friends who also happen to be siblings.

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…celebrate a friend’s birthday with some tag football.

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…and spend LOTS of time in pajamas.

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It’s just what we do.

QUESTION:  One awesome thing YOU did this weekend?

splendid…lindsay

a day in the life {1/23}

January 23, 2015 in Blog, Blogging, DayInTheLife by lindsaymwright

FRYYYY-day!!

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This week seemed to snail-crawled for some reason so I’m happy to see that it’s over.  We have SNOW on the forecast for tomorrow (I’m not getting my hopes up) so that’s something fun to look forward to.  We’ve had ZERO snow days so far here in WNC.  I’ll take a few.  Brownies, chili, movies and sledding.  Yep.

I looked and it’s been a while since I did a “Day In The Life” post and they’re one of my favorite types of posts to read so I’m sharing.  This is what our Wednesday looked like – nothing too spectacular – just our little life.  It’s far and away my favorite.

A Day In The Life

4:30am:  Porter wakes to nurse.

7:10am:  I wake up in a panic – Porter is my alarm clock and usually wakes around 6:30 to nurse again but decided to sleep in today I guess.  He’s babbling so Travis scoops him up and lets me sleep for another 20 minutes.

7:30am:  I yell at Travis and he brings me the babe.  We nurse in bed (he’s pretty quick – we’re done in 10 minutes).  I get up and get ready for Trackstars.

7:45am:  Take my Spark and Catalyst pills with 1/2 a banana and a few almonds.  Corral the kids out the door and head for the gym.

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8:00am-9:10am:  Trackstars – we do a fun team workout and finish with some glute and core work.

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EX:  One person “travels” (suicide, bear crawl, etc) down the court and back while the rest of the team does the stationary move (knee drivers, plank push-up, etc).  A fun way to break monotony and spread people out.

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9:30am:  Drive home.  Nurse Porter again.  Put him down for his morning nap.

10am-11:30pm:  Shower, breakfast, coffee, homeschool H & C.  They’re working out of a few Kumon workbooks at the moment.  Group text with Janetha & Lauren about Blend stuff.012

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11:30am:  Porter wakes.  I nurse him.

12:00pm:  Throw coats on everyone and we walk down to see Travis at work and to check in at the coffee/yogurt shop.  Pick up free books at the sharing library.  Sample the peanut butter (solely for quality control purposes Smile).

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12:30pm:  We walk around main street and then make our way back home (with Travis in tow).  Practice throwing the frisbee (I’m getting a little better – one level up from “you don’t want her on your team/she’s the worst.”).  Travis walks back to work.

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1:00pm:  Lunch with kiddos (big salad with chicken, avocado and Good Beans) + a couple of finger swipes in the almond butter jar.

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(so stinking good!  Did you see that the Vanilla
almond butter is on Amazon again?!?!)

2:00pm:  Put Clara and Porter down for their naps.  Start Henry on some math (double digit addition).  I work on this post a little along with some prep work for our Grand Opening/Ribbon Cutting at the shop (LOCALS!  TODAY from 1-2pm everything is 50% off!!).  I make a graphic for the sale and post to FB.

3:00pm:  Porter wakes up.  I nurse him.  040

3:20pm:  Door bell rings – it’s the salesman from the local radio station.  We’re placing an ad for the grand opening and he needs payment.  I write him a check and then quickly go put on PJ pants for the rest of the day.

3:30pm-5:30pm:  Work with Henry on school, fold laundry, Blend conference call with a potential sponsor (it went WELL!!), play with Porter, drink some Throat Coat tea (little tickle in my throat that won’t go away) and eat a Kind bar.  Put Porter down for a quick nap.  041

6:00pm:  Travis arrives home from work.  Hallelujah.  Four hands are way better than two.  Porter wakes/nurses.

6:30pm:  Dinnertime.  Mac n’ cheese for the kids, spaghetti squash/ground turkey concoction for adults.

7:00pm-8:00pm:  Clean up, bathe the baby, let Travis entertain the big kids.

8:00pm:  Put the kids to bed!

8:15pm-10:00pm:  Work on this post, talk to Travis about our days, eat CEREAL (tonight it’s a combo of Honeycomb and TJ Fiber Twigs), watch two episodes of Friends, & nurse Porter one last time.

10:15pm:  BED!

Phew.

All in a day’s work.

QUESTION:  What’s the highlight of your FRIDAY???  Any plans for the weekend?

splendid…lindsay

the best skincare products for the ethical buyer

January 22, 2015 in Blog by lindsaymwright

Skincare.

It’s kind of important.

I used to laugh as my mother would slather her skin in Oil of Olay cream every night.  Why would you want to put greasy stuff all over your face?!?  But as I get older, I KNOW that I should invest in quality skincare products (and I should remember to actually use them).  My laugh lines are becoming more prominent (I have a pretty great time laughing with this family of mine so it’s a GOOD thing) and I’m seeing some discoloration and age spots.  Not cool.  Your face is the first thing most people see and I want to keep mine looking pretty good, without the expense of botox and laser treatments (although ask me 10 years from now and I might be all over that stuff).  I’ve actually been using Rodan & Fields for a few months now and can see a difference for sure (a post for a different day).

Today, I’ve got a post on the best skincare products for the ETHICAL buyer.  If you’re going to be investing in your skin, you should be probably know where all the ingredients come from.  Whether they’re safe.  Whether they’re not only good for YOU but for the planet as well.  It is a positive sign of the times that the market for ethically sourced skincare products has grown exponentially in recent years.  As consumers become globally aware and wish to support fair trade practices, avoid animal cruelty and use organic ingredients on their skin, companies have taken note and risen to buyer’s demands.

Let’s take a look at some of the best skincare products for the ethical buyer.

1.  Murad Exfoliating Blemish Treatment Gel

The powerful anti-inflammatory power behind Murad’s blemish treatment gel is strong enough to combat the worst blemishes while still being gentle on the skin.  Murad has committed to sourcing only ingredients that are not tested on animals and they do not test their own products on animals.  They have also consistently given back to animal rescue groups and military organizations.

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2.  Dr. Hauschka Tinted Day Cream

The mineral pigments in Dr. Hauschka’s tinted day cream provide a natural, beautiful glow that is good for your skin.  Dr. Hauschka has a long standing commitment to sustainable practices, supporting fair trade initiatives and conserving resources at every step of the manufacturing process.

3.  Odylique Aloe Vera Body Wash

For a fabulous all over body wash that is ideal for the whole family, Odylique’s aloe body wash is perfect!  The vegan formula is packaged in a fully recyclable bottle and is completely free of sulphates. Odylique is a family run company that never tests on animals, supports fair trade practices and works hard to ensure their packaging is easily recyclable.

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4.  Akamuti Shea Butter

Akamuti’s fair trade Shea butter is like a miracle cream for a wide range of skin ailments.  Not only does it treat dry skin, but it is also beneficial for eczema, and combating the signs of aging.  Akamuti sources its Shea butter from specialized co-ops in Ghana.  The partnership between Akamuti and the co-operatives are mutually beneficial, providing employment opportunities and fair working conditions in Ghana while also sourcing organic Shea butter to pass on to consumers.

Every consumer has a different idea about what they deem to be ethical. Luckily, many companies have covered all their bases by producing skincare products that are good for people, animals and the environment. Any of the above listed skincare products will leave your skin looking beautiful and your conscience feeling clear.

QUESTION:  What do YOU use on your face/skin as far as products go??

splendid…lindsay

crockpot chicken and beans

January 21, 2015 in Blog, Dinner, Food, Recipe by lindsaymwright

Y’all.

I feel silly even typing this “recipe” out.

Like I’m hanging my head in shame.

You see – I’m a simple cook (I’m use that term loosely) and I was raised by the best.  Growing up, we always had a hot meal and we ate at the table together as a family.  My mama (God bless her) can cook two things well and about four things that are edible.  I have the best memory of this one time that she made chuckwagon steaks (like frozen, fried patties of meat), burned them, put them on white buns, and served them with tator tots for dinner one night.  As soon as she dished up the plates, my daddy (who was raised by one of the best cooks I’ve ever known) just laughed and laughed at this dinner.  My daddy loves my mom so he grinned through every burnt bite.  A story we still talk about to this day (along with the time she threw his scrambled eggs out into the yard because he complained…but that’s a story for a different day…).  Anyway, I am my mother’s twin when it comes to the cooking thing.  We just can’t…so we don’t.

But this dish…this dish I can do (and I do do at least once a week Smile ).  I’ve perfected all the measurements and cooking times and I feel like this is MY dish.  The dish my children will tell all their friends about on the school yard.

My daddy’s grinning so big right now.

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CROCKPOT CHICKEN AND BEANS*

Ingredients:

4-6 boneless/skinless chicken breasts

1/2-3/4 cup BBQ sauce

1/4 cup Texas Pete (or other hot sauce of choice)

1 can (16oz) black beans, rinsed

Place chicken, bbq sauce and hot sauce into a crockpot.  Cook on low for 4 hours.  Shred chicken using two forks, pulling apart the meat.  Stir in the drained black beans.

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*We like this chicken as a main dish with a few sides, in quesadillas or atop a big salad.  Find what works for your family!

QUESTION:  Can you cook?  Bake?  Do you enjoy it?  <-no

splendid…lindsay