Spicy BBQ Ranch Burgers

I just want to say Thank you! Thank you for the comments, tweets & emails about yesterday’s post. It was just a topic that really hit home for me, and sounded like it did for you too. Isn’t it funny how God can speak to us in the most mysterious ways?!

Another thing I’ve been ‘learning’ lately is to just kind of sit back & ENJOY life. Take it ALL in! You know how teaches me this the most?? Gabriella.

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I just love how you can see her soaking up the world! EVERYTHING is new for her, and she really does take the time to stop & smell the roses. Winking smile She enjoys just sitting outside playing in the grass, she will just sit & pick at the grass piece by piece. Just observing & feeling the textures. It is just so cool to watch.

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I’m a very ‘go go go’ type of person. It’s rare that I take the time to sit down & just relax. It’s just so important to relax sometimes, just to enjoy the world around you. She shows me how to do this, and I appreciate that.

She also got into some of her Daddy’s old toys that we brought out of storage while we were packing up her infant stuff, and had a blast playing with them. Her favorite was Slimer. Smile

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As I mentioned in a previous post, quick dinners are a Mother’s dream! Nothing like a home cooked meal that you can get to the table in less than an hour, or preferably less than 30 minutes.

While browsing through the grocery store the other day, I saw that Hidden Valley Ranch had a new seasoning mix- Spicy Ranch.

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I have used the traditional mix before. I really love putting the mix on diced potatoes & then roasting them in the oven, it is a great side dish to almost any dinner.

But when I saw the spicy version, I had something else in mind. One of my favorite things to make are chicken burgers- there are SO many different variations that you can make! Using a prepackaged seasoning mix makes this meal EVEN easier! I just added a few other things into the meat & they were on the table in under 30 minutes. The best part is that they were husband approved. (He even went back for another one!)

Spicy BBQ Ranch Burgers

Ingredients:

– 1 lb. ground chicken (I used 94% fat free & it worked perfectly)
– 1 package spicy Ranch seasoning mix
– 1 tsp. onion powder
– 2 tsp. minced garlic
– 3 tbsp. of your favorite BBQ sauce
– 4 hamburger buns, sliced in half
– toppings of your choice, I used guacamole, American cheese (for Craig’s) additional BBQ sauce, lettuce & sliced tomatoes (other ideas: Ranch dressing, sliced onions, ketchup, chili sauce)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease or line a baking pan with foil and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the first five ingredients.

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3. Divide the chicken mixture into four equal parts, and shape in the form of hamburger patties. Place them on your greased baking sheet.

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4. Bake in the preheated oven for about 12 – 15 minutes, or until the middle of the burger is cooked thoroughly. (Not pink in the middle). Remove from the oven, and add a burger to each hamburger bun. Top with your choice of toppings.

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So EASY! & so delicious!

And for dessert?

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Jeremiah’s Italian Ice, because Gabriella made me do it. Winking smile

Do you have a favorite burger recipe? (one that I can use ground chicken instead of ground beef)
Italian Ice or Frozen Yogurt?

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Unanswered Prayers

Yesterday morning I had an awesome run. I definitely got a ‘runner’s high’ about halfway through. I haven’t been feeling well lately, I came down with a head cold last Thursday. I told myself that I would do at least six miles, and if I wasn’t up for anymore then I would head home. Six miles is my ‘minimal number’ of miles that I typically run each day. So I knew I could do it, I just planned to take it easy & just enjoy being outside. (Does being outside make anyone else feel SO much better when they are sick???)

Well, around five miles something just came over me. I just really wanted to run today. Run until my heart’s content. A long run just sounded SO good, and I felt like it’s what I NEEDED. Not only to clear my head of sickness, but just to think. Have some ‘me time.’

Being a Mom having any ‘me time’ is a rare thing, and that’s ok, but our morning runs is my ‘me time.’ Gabriella plays with her toys in the stroller, usually falls asleep, and I just run.

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Sounds silly, but honestly I love this part of the day. I feel like it’s time I get to spend with Gabriella, even though she is snoozing. Once she wakes up we usually go to the park so she can swing. Smile

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Something that I don’t discuss on here often is religion. I know that religion & politics are topics that really should not be discussed in a social situation, but there is a topic I really want to bring up. Feel free to skip this part if you don’t want to hear about my personal beliefs regarding God & religion.

I wanted to mention how much I LOVE my Thursday Bible study. The women that I meet with are such STRONG, inspirational people. Not only do I feel like I’m growing spiritually, but it’s also so nice to meet with other Moms who are going through similar situations or have been through the situation & can offer suggestions & advice.

While discussing our devotionals this week, the topic of unanswered prayers came up. It’s often a thought that we don’t think about. I mean who remembers to say ‘thank you’ to God for NOT answering a prayer request?

I know for me personally, I had really never thought about it. Remember that high school or college boyfriend that you prayed to God about? The one that you would do ANYTHING for to make the relationship work? I know I do, and I think most women can relate to that in one way or the other.

It really put things into perspective. If God had answered my prayers, I would not have the wonderful family that I have today.

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I wouldn’t have my little G baby, and I probably would have never met my best friend, my husband.

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(they melt my heart)

It’s EASY to say ‘thank you’ for answered prayers. Getting the new job, positive changes in your health, making it through a day you thought was impossible, & many other things. But what about all of those prayers that God said ‘No’ to. At the time you may have been mad or upset. I know I have, I even pushed away from God for a while.

Now I have to just remind myself that when I do get a ‘no,’ that He may have a better future for me. As I was doing my devotional Monday night, I happened to stumble upon this verse:

“In their hearts humans plan their course,
but the Lord establishes their steps.”
Proverbs 16:9

I think He may have directed my eyes to that verse for a reason. God knows our future. He has everything outlined for us. Even in times of despair & heartache, He knows what He is doing and you have to trust in Him.

And I just want to end with a verse for a song I still love, ‘Unanswered Prayers’ by Garth Brooks.

Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers
Remember when you’re talkin’ to the man upstairs
That just because he doesn’t answer doesn’t mean he don’t care
Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers

A Fun Age

Good Morning! TGIF! Hope you have some fun weekend plans, or just have some time to sit back & relax. Sometimes the weekend with NO plans are the best weekends, am I right?!

Today’s post is FULL of pictures of the little miss…so if you aren’t in the mood for picture overload, please feel free to skip out on this one, I totally understand! 🙂

Four months is SUCH a fun age. Gabriella is acting like a little person now. I know that may sound strange, but let me explain. As a newborn, babies don’t really have much personality. I mean, yes, you get the occasional smile (but it’s usually because they have gas 😉 ), and they START to show their personalities. But at four months, their little personality really starts to shine through.

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Not only has Gabriella’s personality started to show, but things in general are getting easier. And I say that lightly. Raising a child is no ‘easy’ job, I just mean that we really understand each other now. Before it was a lot of a guessing game. Now we have our little routine, and the best part is that SHE knows it too.

She’s pretty predictable now (**knock on wood, this could all change tomorrow). We have a pretty set schedule, of course NOTHING is ‘set’- I just mean that MOST of the time it’s the same. She goes to bed around 6:30/ 7pm and she’s up usually twice during the night/ early morning- typically around 12am/ 1am to eat & then again around 5/6am to eat again. Sometimes if she wakes closer to 6am, she may just be up for the day…depends if I can get her back to sleep or not. Either way is fine with me. She takes two naps a day- a morning nap (around 8am until 10am) and then an afternoon nap (around 1pm until 3:30/4pm).

Like I said before, of course we have days that are no where near that schedule, but that is what our normal day looks like. Thankfully during her naps (& before she gets up for the day), I’m able to do some work & house stuff.

Other than getting into some what of a routine, there are some other REALLY fun stuff about this age.

1. She has a new best friend. That best friend would be her feet.

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She CANNOT get enough of them. It’s HILARIOUS! I usually leave her socks off now, only because she pulls them off to get to her feet. And sometimes if she wakes up in the morning, and isn’t doing her normal talking yet to let us know she’s awake, she will suck on her toes THROUGH her pj’s. I go to change her diaper & her little pj toes are all wet! Silly girl 😀

2. She is IN LOVE with her Daddy.

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Craig would CONSTANTLY tell me how much G loved me more & that she didn’t like him. (he’s a bit dramatic 😉 ) But I would remind him that the reason she was more attached to me was that: a. I’m the food source. b. I’m with her 24/7. But now she has REALLY come around to him. She LOVES her Daddy time. I let Craig go in & get her when she wakes up in the morning, just because she’s SO happy then. It’s AWESOME! He also comes home from lunch & the SECOND she sees him she lights up & has this big ol’ smile. Like I told him when she was born, she may have me wrapped around her little finger right now…but just give it time, she will have him wrapped like no other! Totally Daddy’s little girl. I cannot wait to see their relationship grow, it warms my heart so much.

3. She has the BEST laugh in the world!!!!

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There is NOTHING better than hearing a baby laugh. I WILL get it on video & put it on her. When you get her going, oh man, it is the funniest thing ever. & she always sticks her little tongue out (like in the above picture. Funny thing is, Craig did that until he was like 10.)

She also ‘talks’ all the time. You just lay her on her back & start to ‘talk’ to her…and she will have a full on conversation with you. 😉

4. We started solids!!!

Last Sunday we gave her rice cereal (mixed with breast milk) & she LOVED it. She literally attacked the spoon.

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^trying the first bite.

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^after a few bites.

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& then the toy got more interesting. I don’t know what it is about that toy (it’s the one attached to her bebe POD) but she is OBSESSED with it.

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^& that would be an end shot. Belly full of rice cereal…and face too. 😉

When I went to her four month check up, her doctor (whom I LOVE- if you are in the Orlando area & need a pediatrician recommendation- I have one!! He is AWESOME!!!!!!!!) suggested trying to start her on solids within the next month or so. He said to start her with the rice cereal, and pretty much to make it super watery…so you just spoon it into her mouth. He also said to look for clues as to when a good time to start solids would be. He said to look for when she was interested in what you were eating, or if she started making ‘smacking’ noises with her lips when she would see some of our food. Well, both were happening, so we gave it a shot. And she LOVED it.

The best part was seeing her. It was a total mess, and Craig swore he was going to get sick because she was such a mess. Mommy is now in charge of the end part of the feeding. 😉 He starts the feeding, and I finish it. He seriously cannot take the mess- he’s like ‘H, I’m going to vomit.’ Haha! NOTHING phases me anymore…life of a Mom. 😀

We are looking forward to seeing how much she changes in the next few months. I swear she changes SO much EACH WEEK! It truly is incredible.

And because it’s Friday, I feel like I should leave you with a laugh.

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That was the look she gave the bowl of cereal once she started to get full. She’s giving it ‘the eye.’ Ahh, I just love that girl, she’s so full of personality!!