Weeknight Meal: Trader Joe’s Chicken Sausage with Bell Peppers & Onions

Let’s face it, we are all busy and tired Monday through Friday, and the last thing we want to do after working all day is come home and cook dinner.

That is why quick, cheap, and easy meals are a huge hit in our house. And if they are low-calorie, that’s even better.

I’m not even going to pretend that I do the cooking in our house — that’s all Justin, and I am 100 percent OK with that because he is amazing at creating his own recipes and preparing beautiful meals nearly every night of the week.

However, from time to time, I like to pour myself a glass of wine (or two), roll up my sleeves, and see what I can come up with at the stove.

This week I wanted to experiment with some items from Trader Joe’s. I picked up a package of their sun-dried tomato chicken sausage and a bag of their frozen fire roasted bell peppers and onions. The best part was the chicken sausage is fully cooked, so the chance of me giving us food poisoning was cut from probable to minimal.

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How I ‘popped the question’ to my bridesmaids

As a woman, having girlfriends I can depend on at every stage of life is a blessing. I truly have some of the best, most selfless, friends anyone could ask for.

That is why when Justin and I began planning our wedding there was no question on who I would ask to stand at my side on the happiest day of my life.

I didn’t want to ask these women to be in my bridal party in any simple way, though. I wanted to make it special and do something to demonstrate how thankful I am for each of them.

Being the DIYer that I claim I am, I did many Pinterest searches for “Will you be my bridesmaid?” gifts. There were a lot of great ideas that popped up, but the one that stood out most was a wine bottle with a personalized label for each lady.

It was something that would be fun for me to easily recreate and it would be a gift that my bridesmaids could keep and display in their home (if they want).

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Adventures in cast-iron skillet seasoning

Several months ago while my best friend was visiting for a weekend, we spent Sunday morning watching Food Network. Honestly, this is something I do every Saturday and Sunday while I sip my morning coffee. However, on this particular day when Em was in town, my girl Trisha Yearwood was demonstrating how to properly care for a cast-iron skillet and showing how versatile cast-iron skillets are by crafting recipes such as hash browns with cheesy eggs and avocado, country ham carbonara, and buttermilk strawberry skillet cake with strawberry whipped cream.

As I sat drooling at the TV, I realized I had to have a cast-iron skillet. According to Trisha, they are a staple in any Southern kitchen, and tradition states that a woman is often given her first cast-iron skillet as a gift — like a right of passage — usually by her mother. Trisha’s mom gave her, her first skillet.

Well, I am all about some traditions, but unlike Trisha, my mom isn’t here to gift me my first skillet. Hell, even if she were alive, she still wouldn’t give me a skillet. She spent as little time in the kitchen as possible; it was my dad who did 90 percent of the cooking in our house and I have never seen him use cast-iron cookware.  Continue reading