Friday, September 13, 2013

Country Crock & A Rockstar Casserole.


One of my Mom’s best friends is a wonderful woman named Ardell, and I count her as a second mother. I don’t bandy this term around lightly; two of my requirements for bestowing Second Motherdom upon someone is whether or not they've even driven me to the E.R., and whether or not they've created one of my all-time favorite dishes.

You know how some people are just ridiculously marvelous cooks? Ardell beats ‘em all. And one of those aforementioned all-time fave meals is something we've oh-so creatively dubbed “Ardell’s Chicken.” This dish is amazing. It’s the kind of casserole where a magical cook can take a handful of seemingly ordinary ingredients and create something that makes everyone’s heart (and belly) happy. 

Country Crock, that fabulous spread featuring a whopping 70% less fat than butter per serving (also zero partially hydrogenated oils, trans fat, or cholesterol, if you dig that sorta thing), is gathering up the best quick fix casseroles for this rather hectic time of year. And I'm thrilled to include the world-famous Ardell's Chicken to the list. (Check out Country Crock's Pinterest board for yummy inspiration!)

This casserole is perfect for cozy Fall nights- or when you'd like a Fall night to be cozy, despite having to drive around like a madwoman taking care of everyone's everything. And with ingredients you've probably already got on hand, it's a cinch to prepare.

While I will never be a renowned dinner photographer, it's important to note that this picture is hazy
because of all the fragrant steam coming from the casserole dish. And now I'm hungry again.


While no one in the whole world can make Ardell's Chicken quite like Ardell (really, we've all tried), I've added my best approximation below. And seriously, the beauty of this recipe is that so many ingredients can be added or swapped based on what you have. (I do it all the time and forget to write down the changes, much to the irritation of my sisters.) This casserole is so comforting and so delicious that it's absolutely impossible to go wrong.



I've served this dish to friends and family and at least one husband (okay, he was mine). It gets rave reviews every single time. Feel free to check out Country Crock's Facebook page for even more awesome dinnerific casserole ideas- some might even be as wonderful as Ardell's Chicken.

Who has the fanciest dinners of them all? It's a trick question.


But that's some pretty stiff competition.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

In Case You Missed It...

Friends, I've decided to do a wrap-up post for this week? Why? Let's break it down:

-I've been lucky enough to have bunches o' things posted around the internets...
-I've been purty awful about the self-promotion of such...
-I've been super, super warm this week...
-Which doesn't excuse laziness...
-But yeah, I'm gonna play that card today.

(I'm also pretty terrible at lists.)

SO. I call this In Case You Missed It/In Case I Never Told You About It (catchy and passive!):

On Friday, my article about awesome Fall-tacular stuff to do in the Chicagoland area posted at The Little Style File...(and yes, I'm considering Friday as part of "this week."Add it to the list of complaints, people.)

That same day, my review of Orthaheel wundy boots went live. Good Lord, I love new boots.

Monday, Nora went back to school and I showed a video of the best Extra gum commercial/tear-jerker silent film of the year...and everyone I know bawled.

Is she running towards me in glee?
Or is she ecstatic to be outta school?
Either way, she's happy.

The next day, I extolled the virtues of Savers Thrift Stores, and promptly made myself wanna go back there immediately.

Yesterday, I featured the sadder side of Back To School (and no, it has nothing to do with gum this time. Or overly hormonal mothers. Ahem).

And Wednesday also brought this happy-making piece over at The SITS Girls. Spread the love, yo.

Which brings us to today. And since you're already here, I shan't link to it.

But stay tuned, pals! I'm about to make the humongo jump over to a fabulous Wordpress site with all sorts of sparkly features. Also in my future? A snack.

(Possibly two.)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Back To School Isn't All Fun And Games.

Apparently, one kid at the table suggested the word "sad" and the hordes of impressionable classmates
all chimed in with ME, TOO! I asked Nora if she was really sad- she said, "Not really. I painted a great project!"

And yes, she was this sad. "Whaddaya mean we're just gonna LEAVE her here?"
"Whaddaya mean I don't get to PAINT A PROJECT?!"

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Savers Thrift Stores And Unabashed Joy.

Yay for deals! This is a sponsored post by Savers Thrift Stores. I am le happy about this.

***

There are few things in life more swoon-worthy than making A Find.

Fellow thrifters know what I mean: that heart-stopping moment when you discover The Perfect Item, realize it’s in your size/color scheme, and that it’s priced crazily cheap. Marathoners can keep their adrenaline rushes and 5k “fun runs”- I’ll take the tingle of winning deals any ol’ day. (Also? We need to stop referring to 5ks as “fun.” You know what’s really fun? Not running a 5k. Digress.)

Last weekend, I experienced a whole lotta winning and some downright amazing finds at the newest Savers Thrift Store in Franklin Park, IL. Guess what, Chicagoans? It’s totally close by (25 mins from my house in non-highway traffic!) and what awaits you there is worth every. Single. Block.
Here’s what I love about thrifting: the thrill of the chase, the discovery of the unknown, and the sheer potential for finding STUFF.

Here’s what I don’t love about most resale shops: sometimes that STUFF can be thrown about rather willy-nilly…and they tend to be more than a little filthy.

And here’s what I simply adore about Savers: It’s clean, it’s brightly lit, organized within an inch of its life (seriously, I saw at least five employees constantly shelving and re-hanging items exactly where they were labeled to live), and it’s a resale emporium that reads like a department store.

Wanna see my finds? (I know.) A smattering of the spoils which [briefly, safely] stopped my heart:

Nora's Halloween costume: purple dragon, $9.99. BOOM.

Itty bitty adorable clothes: Most were $3.99, max.

Mama's new shoes: And yes, those are Franco Sarto leather slingbacks...
which usually retail for $80...going for $5.99. YES, THOSE ARE.

Name brand baseball mitts! Sure, they're pink n' purple, but it's a start! 

An adorbs hanging frame- which I've been dying to find to hold
ultrasounds of my three teensy babies...all for a whopping 99 cents.
We also picked up a bunch o' clothes for P.J. (average of $5 apiece), a crazyadorablesecret Halloween costume for Susannah ($6), a supra-cute maternity sweater ($4), a buncha frames (.99 apiece), and the happiness that comes from scoring ALL of The Finds at ridiculously fabulous prices. (And my cashier informed me that stuff simply flies off the shelves there- and thousands of new items are stocked daily. Which made me want to return immediately.)

You’re seriously gonna want to go play at a Savers near you. (Check here for locations!) And tell them I said hi.

And pull aside anything in my size/color/d├ęcor scheme.

I’m totally not kidding.

***

While this is a sponsored post by Savers Thrift Stores- and you know I would do just about anything for a thrift store bargain- you can rest assured that all thoughts, opinions, and AWESOME SHOES are my own.