Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Oven Roasted Chicken, Redskin Potatoes, & Green Beans

I'm excited to share my first recipe with you guys!! Tonight's dinner was inspired by ingredients I had left over in my fridge at the end of my grocery shopping cycle, not wanting to get too fancy after a good workout, and of course my attempt at being healthy. It was quick, easy, and oh-so-delicious! Hope you like it ☺

Oven Roasted Chicken, Redskin Potatoes, & Green Beans
Prep Time: 20 minutes   Cooking Time: 60 minutes   Eating Time: Really fast (I was hungry...)

Ingredients
3 Chicken Breasts, cut in half
8-10 baby redskin potatoes, quartered
2 handfuls of green beans (very scientific measurements, I know)
2 cloves of garlic
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Spices: I used Chipotle Chile, Mrs. Dash Chicken Grilling Blend & Garlic and Herb blend (both salt free!)

Steps
1. Preheat oven to 350*F. Prepare a 9'x13' pan with EVOO brushed along the bottom.

2. Wash, cut, and prepare green beans, potatoes, and chicken.
BE CAREFUL OF CROSS CONTAMINATION!! I proudly sent my fiancee a picture of my prepared meal and his first comment was "I hope you don't get sick." So of course I panicked and did my research. As long as you prepare the vegetables separately from the raw chicken and DO NOT use the same cutting board or wash/bleach it very thoroughly during the prep process, your finished meal will be safe to eat, given you cooked it for the right amount of time.


3. Season the green beans and potatoes by mixing them in a bowl with EVOO & your choice of spices (see ingredients for the ones I used tonight).



4. Add all ingredients to your pan in 3 pretty rows as shown below :) Spice your chicken and add your minced garlic to the top of the entire pan.


5. Cover with tin foil and place in oven. Cook for one hour. Make sure the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165*F (this is where you want to make sure that salmonella my fiancee warned me about doesn't happen). 


6. Optional: If you like your veggies and chicken to be a little more browned/crispy on the top, remove the foil and keep the pan in the oven for an additional 7-8 minutes with the BROILER on. I did this and it turned out golden brown and great.

7. Smile at your pretty creation and dive in! Enjoy your delicious, easy, and healthy homemade meal. Share with your family, friends, or significant other if you're feeling generous ☺


Yummmmmy!!



Let me know if you decide to try this recipe and if you like it! Did you change anything? I'd love to hear your feedback!


with faith, love, & coffee,

kellie ann

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day


I want to start off by wishing a very happy Father’s Day to all of the dads, grandpas, spouses, and husbands out there! Whether it’s your first or one of many Father’s Days, know that your presence, hard work, love, and commitment to fatherhood doesn’t go unnoticed by us females out there. And today is the perfect chance for you to be thanked for being the world’s best dad (funny how probably every father gets a card that says something similar… I’d like to see what would happen if we put them all in a room to duke it out over who really is the BEST ☺… clearly mine would be the winner haha).

Where did Father’s Day come from? In 1909, a woman by the name of Sonora Smart Dodd living in Washington put out a petition to honor a day for fathers, similar to the already recognized Mother’s Day. Her and her five siblings were raised by their father, a Civil War veteran, after their mother passed away during childbirth. The first Father’s Day was celebrated the following year on June 19, 1910. It became a national holiday under Lyndon B. Johnson in 1972 (took ‘em long enough, huh?).

Where did the word “father” originate from? It first appeared in Old English as fæder, which was derived from the Germanic fadar. Other forms of the word include the Dutch vader and German vater (“Luke, I am your father” –Darth Vader… ring a bell, anyone?). The funniest and most interesting piece of information I found out was the origin of the word “dad”… There isn’t one! At least not a profound, historical, trace-back-the-steps-to-the-first-time-it-was-used origin. It is thought that since one of the first sounds babies make (help me out my speech pathologist friends… hope I’m not making this up!) is the “da-da-da” sound, it was recognized and assigned to the baby’s father, which eventually took the form of “dad”. Crazy, huh? Pretty cool too though, I thought. When I have kids I can’t wait to make up and define words based on all their babbling ☺.

Where did MY father come from? My dad was born as the third of four children to Aurelia and Nicola, who had recently migrated to the United States from Italy. Their strong Italian heritage will always remain a big part of my family’s lives (RIP Mamia and Tatia!). My dad met my mom in 1984, married in 1985, and they had their first beautiful bouncing baby girl (yep, that’s me ☺) in 1987. Two more brothers and one more sister later for me, and my dad is a proud father of four. He is the hardest-working, most loyal, caring, and loving father there is and has always taught me and my siblings the importance of being on time, working hard, spending quality time with family, and keeping a strong faith. We love you Dad!

PS. I can’t end this post without a shout-out to my mom’s dad, my Grandpa. A father to eight and grandfather to more than 30, he is a true example of fatherhood at it’s finest, teaching us the value of faith and family as being the most important things in this life. Love you Grandpa!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Father’s Day today, and to all of those out there who may not have a father presence, whatever the circumstances may be, remember that Mom’s can double as a father too, and so can other male figures in your life, so take a moment today to thank them as well. Until next time…

with faith, love, & coffee,

kellie ann

Thursday, June 12, 2014

7 Ways Social Media Has Saved My Sanity During Wedding Planning

Ahhh the big day. Ask any bride what they’re feeling at any point in time between getting engaged and the actual wedding and my bet is you’re going to hear a lot of the same answers: Excited. Ecstatic. Sooooo in love. Overjoyed. Happy. Thrilled.  Busy... Overwhelmed... STRESSED.  Uh oh. Where did those last three emotions come from? Wedding planning is supposed to be fun! You’re about to marry the person you can’t imagine spending the rest of your life without and that’s all that matters at the end of the day…. right?? Ohhh if only it were that easy. Yes, of course your marriage is truly what matters- but let’s be honest, every bride that has dreamed about planning a perfect wedding since they were a little girl also wants to make sure the day that the marriage starts is exactly how they dreamed it would be. And let’s face it- that can be extremely stressful. My wedding is now officially less than four months away. I am feeling every bit of emotion that I listed in the second sentence of this post… including those last three. Lucky for me, I’m not the only one going through this! In fact, there are thousands of bride-to-be’s in the exact same spot as I am right now. All I can say is thank goodness for social media.

Here are 7 ways social media has helped me keep my sanity during the wedding planning process J

1. Facebook. You know those usually annoying ‘suggested posts’ that Facebook puts on your timeline based on your current interests? You know, the ones that if they were coming from a real person would most likely offend you (no thanks, Facebook, I’m actually not interested in losing 50 pounds right now, but thanks for the encouragement…). Well turns out they can actually be a good thing, especially if you were excited enough to post your engagement to Facebook (which duh, if you didn’t, it obviously isn’t really official, right?). Everything from local vendors including DJ’s, Bridal Shows, and Photographers/Videographers will pop up, giving you options you may not have even known existed. This is actually where I found my photographer/videographer duo (shout out to J & E Fusion!) and I can honestly say it is the best decision I’ve made so far (aside from the handsome guy I’ll be marrying of course ;)). So next time one of those obnoxious ‘suggested posts’ pops up, check it out- it may be worth your while!

2. Instagram. Instagram has been an awesome way for me to connect with fellow brides. Hashtags with anything wedding related has connected me with so many girls across the country and world who are also in the midst of wedding planning. It’s been so nice to make new friends, share ideas, and just follow each other along in our wedding planning journeys! Even though my bridesmaids make fun of me, I often find myself daydreaming about the next #wedding, #engaged, #sparklyring picture I’m going to post J (check out my Instagram here: Kellie Ann's Instagram

3. Instagram (part 2). Sort of in the same realm as what I just talked about, Instagram has also been a way for vendors such as photographers, calligraphers, and other wedding-related accounts to connect with me and share some of their services and ideas. It’s been nice to have people reaching out to me offering to help either with their services or advice during some of the hectic wedding planning. They are a friendly reminder that while everything can be overwhelming, it’s definitely manageable and worth it in the end!

4. Google. Well this is an easy and probably the most obvious one. Google searches have saved me so much time and effort in finding local vendors, reception halls, etc… Remember to include your location in your searches to get local results so you don’t have to filter through so many!

5. Wedding websites. Oh gosh, wedding websites. Who would have imagined there could be so many? From theknot.com to weddingwire.com to brides.com there are endless resources out there available to us frantic brides. Not to mention the ability to create your own personalized website for your friends, family, and guests to check out details about your engagement and the big day! (personal plug: check out ours here: Justin & Kellie's Wedding J).

6. Pinterest. As I sit here typing this, I’m not sure why I didn’t list Pinterest first. Every bride-to-be knows that even before they had a ring on their finger they had a secret wedding board with ideas and inspiration for their big day. At least I know I did (the first step is admitting….). Haha. Seriously though, Pinterest is awesome and amazing and everything you could ever want and need when it comes to planning for your big day. There are tons of ideas and inspiration involving every facet of your wedding- from dresses to engagement picture ideas to favor ideas to color schemes…. seriously, I guarantee anything you can think of is there. It’s also perfect to share with anyone (photographer, wedding planner, bridal party) who is wondering what your theme of the big day is. Showing them your Pinterest board is much more helpful than saying “well it’s kind of vintage-y/modern/classic….” (I may or may not have started doing this until I realized referring them to my Pinterest wedding board was much more beneficial). So if you don’t already have one- get one now!  (here’s a link to my Pinterest wedding board for those interested: Kellie Ann's Pinterest)

7. Etsy. I think I had to save the best for last. I also probably subconsciously saved this one for the end because every time I even think about Etsy my wallet gets a little thinner and my bank account a lot less. Etsy is a website (and app!) designed for people just like you and me to sell handmade goods. There are so many wedding related items on this site that makes it every bride-to-be’s dream. While it can get a bit costly, you can choose to have items personalized based on your theme and taste, which I think is totally worth the money. Etsy includes everything from invitations to bouquets to flower girl dresses to custom signs for the big day. It is seriously awesome. Check it out to find out for yourself (and make sure it’s close to pay day).

Well there you have it. Every stressed out future bride needs to know she’s not the only one and that there are ways to help ease the panic involved in planning for their wedding. I hope some of my experiences with social media will help make your big day even better than you could have imagined. Just don’t forget that at the end of the day, it really is more about the man you’re marrying and the life you are about to start together. In the meantime, know that you aren’t alone in the stress of making it to that day- and that at least you’ve got one fellow bride who is in your same shoes J


with faith, love, & coffee,

kellie ann

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

5 Foolproof Ways to Make it Over the Hump(day)

It’s not a secret. No one likes Wednesdays. While they aren’t nearly as bad as Mondays, I’d say they at least rank second in the ‘day-of-the-week-that-just-drags-on-forever-please-end-now-no-seriously-why-is-this-day-so-long-and-why-can’t-it-just-be-Friday-already’ ranking (yes, I just made that ranking list up, and yes Wednesday gets second place even before Tuesday because does anyone seriously ever even give a second thought to it being Tuesday except when you’re confused and think it’s Wednesday or Thursday already? Didn’t think so.).

So anyway, I figured everyone deserved a nice little foolproof game plan to make it through this day that has so infamously been dubbed ‘hump day’ for no other reason than that it falls in the middle of the week and everyone clearly knows that the definition of a hump is…. “a rounded protuberance”? (Side note: thank you www.dictionary.com for saving me from the other urban dictionary definitions that popped up when I did a Google search for ‘hump’). Ok so I don’t think “a rounded protuberance” is exactly the definition we were looking for here. Upon further research (and my own common sense) www.dictionary.com defines the saying ‘over the hump’ more appropriately as: past the most difficult, time consuming, or dangerous part or period. Well folks, here's some tips to help get you through the most difficult and dangerous day of the week ☺
  1. Caffeine. Speaking of common sense… this is just an obvious. If you haven’t had whatever it is that gets you going in the morning (I’m trying to keep this a PG-rated blog, let’s please stick to beverages here…), then have it and have double. Coffee, tea, Coca-Cola (shout out to my Momma!), energy drink… whatever you prefer, indulge yourself. You deserve it. Remember, it’s dangerous out there today.
  2. Water. No this isn’t going to be a blog post about turning your Wednesdays into liquid-diet-days. Water will give you the energy and stamina your body needs. It’s recommended we drink half of our body weight in ounces daily. I know it seems like a lot, but once you get going it really isn’t so bad. Plus it’s good for you. Throw in a lemon or other favorite fruit to give it a little extra flavor if you get bored easily.
  3.  Laugh. Clearly this is something that should be done every day, but make an extra effort today to make it happen. Ask your friend to tell you the corniest joke they know. Make a prank phone call to a place called Piazza Dance Co. and order a large pizza with pepperoni and mushroom (definitely not something my fiancé and I do on a semi-regular basis to get a really good belly laugh out of….). Have your significant other tickle you (disclaimer: I am not responsible for any injuries that occur as a result of this should you decide to try it). Anyway, you get the idea. Just find a way to have a good time sometime today, it’ll be worth it.
  4. Move. Move your body (not where you live because that is absolutely one of the worst and most unfun things to do ever). Get up, stretch it out, go for a walk, do a few jumping jacks, shoot a few baskets, go to the park and go down a slide—anything! Just get up and be active, even if it’s for 10 minutes. Bam. Refreshed.
  5. Reflect. Take a few minutes to yourself at some point today to just be alone with your thoughts. Make sure they’re good ones. Do whatever it is you do to relax- meditate, pray, sit in silence. Make a mental note of 5 positive things in your life. Now pass it on and tell a friend to do the same.
Think you can make it? I have faith. With these 5 tips, your Wednesdays will never be the same again. Ok that’s a lie, they probably will be. But at least now you have something to help ease you over that hump. See you on the other side ☺ 


with faith, love, & coffee,

kellie ann

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Perfect Person.


Have you ever wondered what it would be like to meet the perfect person? Or better yet, BE the perfect person? I mean like perfect in every way.

No flaws.

Has never made a mistake.

Always says the right thing at the right time.

Has no worries about the future; no regrets about the past.

Is always on time.

Always looks their best.

(I could go on, but I think you get the idea…)

Hmm… sounds pretty appealing, huh? Ehh…. maybe not so much. This idea of there being a “perfect” person has been on my mind a lot lately. Everyone makes mistakes (yes, even me!) and sometimes it’s hard not to wish you were immune to life’s trials and tribulations. After really thinking about it though, I decided I wouldn’t want to meet the perfect person, even if they did exist. And I definitely wouldn’t want to BE them. Here’s why.

The beauty of life lies in our flaws. Our humanly flaws that every single one of us has. That not one of us has the right to judge each other for, because we all have them, even if mine are different from yours.

In our mistakes. And in our right to make them and learn from them and sometimes even repeat them a few times… just to make sure it really was a mistake after all.

In our inability to say the right thing when it’s supposed to be said. Instead of when it’s 30 minutes too late. 

In our faith that the future is going to play out how it’s supposed to; and in our trust that the past has played out just as it should have.

In our being late every once in awhile, because those extra few minutes spent with our loved ones really are more important than our daily business meeting.

In our looking our absolute worst, and knowing that the ones who love us for who we are, and not what we look like, will be there no matter what. Even if we have kleenex stuck in our noses, eyes red from crying, and leftover ice cream stains on our shirts from feeding our feelings (this has NEVER happened to me, I’m just referring to someone I know that this happened to once…).

Do you agree with me now? You wouldn’t want to meet that perfect person after all, would you? And as far as being that perfect person… not so cool after all. I mean come on, even Jesus wasn’t perfect (no really, he wasn’t. He even says so himself: “"Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good--except God alone.” -Mark 10:18. How’s that for doing my research?).

In my opinion, the best thing we can do to strive for that inconceivable perfection is to have a little faith, a lot of love, and of course, some coffee. Have a good one friends ☺

with faith, love, & coffee,

kellie ann

Monday, June 9, 2014

COFFEE.


Mmmm coffee. It seems particularly fitting that this post falls on a Monday (shout out to my friend & wedding photographer Jess for requesting a coffee post today to get the week started off right ☺).

In grad school I spent a ridiculous amount of time (something like 40+ hours) observing in a coffee shop for a research project. I had to write about the smells, the décor, the people, everything. The best part about this is that my degree has nothing to do with coffee (aside from the fact that I literally probably couldn’t function at my job without it every morning). I just love coffee that much. So it seemed fitting to do research on people who shared a love of coffee with me. Unless you are, for whatever strange reason that I would never be able to understand, NOT a coffee drinker, I know you totally get where I’m coming from. It’s just so delicious. It smells so good. It wakes me up. It makes me happy. Seriously, what kind of magic did God put into those beans?

With the way I’m talking about the stuff, you’d think I was born with a coffee mug to my lips. However, my coffee loving journey didn’t start until I was 21 years old. I had just started grad school and was working a new job part time as a caregiver for a child with special needs. I loved everything I was doing, but as you might imagine I was exhausted. There wasn’t really much time for sleep, so since that was out of the question, I was left with only one option: coffee. Ohhhh coffee. What a life-changer. And by life-changer I mean life-saver. And by life-saver I mean it became my life. Am I still talking about coffee right now? Haha ☺

I guess the moral of this post is if you’re a coffee lover like I am, then we’re already friends. If you go to sleep at night excited to wake up the next morning to Dunkin, Tim, Starbucks, or Keurig (yep, still talking about coffee here… although I think I might have just picked out some new names for my future children- luckily J is as much of, if not more of, a coffee lover as I am so I know he’d have no qualms about any of those names; although his vote would definitely be for his all-time favorite, Dunkin) like I am, then I like you even more. So coffee lovers everywhere, raise your mug and cheers to a good week! (If you don’t like coffee, then just go back to sleep because I really don’t know what else to tell you to do to have a good week. Just kidding ☺ Kind of.) Haha, have a happy rest of your Monday everyone!! As for me, I'm off to meet Jess (at Starbucks, of course) to pick up our Save the Dates that just came in for the wedding! So excited!!!!!

with faith, love, & coffee,

kellie ann

Sunday, June 8, 2014

LOVE.

What is love? Baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me no more….. Oops sorry, I couldn’t help myself. I hope you sang along with those first two sentences otherwise this is just awkward. Anyyyyyyway… ☺

Love. It’s one of those words that seems so simple but can carry so much weight at the same time. Love is a spectrum. It means something different depending on the person, the time, the situation. When I said in my first blog post that love is one of those things we cannot live without, as I sit here trying to put into words what love means to me, I now realize how true that is (gosh I’m in awe of myself at how profound I was just four days ago ;) haha).

Love isn’t something tangible you can hold onto. It’s a feeling. It’s that feeling you get when you look at your significant other (LOVE YOU J!—sorry, had to throw a shout out in there, I really do love my fiancé to pieces). It’s how you feel when you watch your grandparents celebrate a milestone anniversary (anything more than 50 years is seriously the most beautiful thing to witness). It’s the feeling you get when you watch your little brother score a basket in his special education gym class. It’s the feeling in the room when your whole family wakes up together on Christmas morning to exchange and open presents. Love is the feeling you get when you give- a hug, a smile, a kiss. Love is when you say your prayers at night to thank God for all of the blessings you have been given.

I love a lot of things. I love coffee. And puppies. And the Bachelor/ette reality show (I know this is embarrassing, but I’m seriously obsessed with it- I’m telling you, one of these times it’s going to work out and totally prove that you can find love anywhere… right??). I love summer and spring and fall (sorry Michigan winters, but you suck). I love thunderstorms. And rollercoasters. And babies. And taking pictures. I love love love laughing. And being weird. And my grandma’s cookies. I love good music. I love my job. I love my friends and family and all of those cool people I haven’t even met yet. I love being organized and cleaning (sorry but no, I’m not for hire. I really do love it though). I love coaching young girls at a sport I love to play- basketball. I love writing and reading. Seriously guys do I have to go on? I just love LOVE.

Who or what do you love? Write it down. I guarantee making a list will put you on the right track to having an awesome day and week. I mean it’s Sunday morning at 10:30 and as I sit here writing this and drinking my coffee I feel like I am the luckiest girl in the world to have so many things to love. And I didn’t even write down the half of it (mostly because I’m pretty sure y’all would either get really bored really fast or be super jealous of my life and I wouldn’t want that as I’m trying to gain a following here… haha). Seriously though, try it. Write down everything that you love, I promise you’ll be glad that you did. I hope everyone has a great start to their week and remembers just how lovely love is.

with faith, love, & coffee,

kellie ann

Thursday, June 5, 2014

FAITH.

Let’s break it down. I figured with a blog title that has three parts to it, it would only be polite of me to talk about each one individually. I like doing things in order (I may or may not be slightly Type A when it comes to my personality...haha) so let’s go ahead and start with the first one.

Faith.

It’s a big word. Not literally speaking… don’t worry, I did make it through grad school knowing words with more letters in them than five. (side note: I did just have to count on my fingers to figure out that there are five letters in the word “faith”. Maybe I shouldn’t have admitted that, but it’s too late now and I’ve already spent way too much time talking about math and reading). So let’s get down to it.

What is faith? What does it mean to me? To you? To your husband/wife/significant other? What about to your parents? Or to your children? What does faith mean to a stranger you’ve never met? Well I certainly can’t speak for any of the people I mentioned, except for myself. I think one of the greatest beauties of this life is that we can learn and grow from listening to other people’s thoughts, stories, and opinions. Who am I to judge that what you believe in is any more right or wrong than what I do?

I consider myself a devout Catholic, born and raised “from the cradle” as they say, and I strongly believe in God, Jesus Christ, and everything else that goes along with the faith I feel so blessed to have come to believe in. As an adult, I have chosen my faith and set of beliefs on my own, but I also know that the solid foundation that was laid out for me growing up has helped me to get to where I am today. I could easily spend hours, days, months, years writing about all of the principles, rules, and traditions of the church, but let’s face it—this is a blog that has the word “coffee” in it and there are definitely far better resources to go to if that’s what you’re looking for (side note #2: if that really is what you’re looking for, my first recommendation would be to simply pick up a Bible and read a few verses… it might inspire you in unexpected ways). So aside from my religion, what do I think of when someone asks me what “faith” means to me?

I think of believing in something bigger than yourself.

I think of hope. Hope for a better tomorrow. For a brighter future. For those who are lost, hurt, broken, or alone.

I think of comfort, happiness, and true contentment.

I think of beauty.

I think of nature.

I think of diversity.

I think of forgiveness.

I think of trust.

Most of all, when I think of faith, I think of LOVE. The kind of love that we as humans can’t even imagine feeling. The kind of love that when we someday leave this life will bring more light and happiness to our souls than is fathomable here on this earth. To me, faith is love. And who doesn’t love love? I know I sure do. Next time you find yourself doubting your faith, whatever it may be, remember the way love feels. It might not dissipate your doubt right away, but it certainly can’t hurt to try. As my fiancé recently told me, “All we need is love…”. And faith. And coffee ☺.

More on LOVE next time. Until then….

with faith, love, & coffee,

kellie ann

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

why hello :)

I am so excited to officially launch my new blog. I've dabbled (yes, dabbled) in blogging before, but never enough to quite get my feet off the ground much more than a random post here or there. My love of writing has finally outweighed my constant excuse of having too busy a life to keep up with a blog, and this is my resolution to start fresh and keep at it! While I hope to gain some followers through this experience, more than anything my ultimate goal is to give myself an outlet to grow creatively as both a writer and a person.

My tagline pretty much explains who I am and why I'm here- so look forward to seeing posts related to any and all of the topics listed up there. However, the title of the blog is my favorite part of this launch- "with faith, love, and coffee". I, as every other person who has been living life on this crazy, beautiful planet for longer than a few years, have experienced ups and downs and highs and lows (because let's face it, before a few years old there's only so many times you can consider wetting your diaper or being hungry a true "low" in life... relatively speaking). Granted I'm not quite even 30 years old yet, but I'd like to think I have at least some wisdom and perspective on life (definitely more than my 21 year old self did anyway, and to me that's a big deal). In keeping this first post short and sweet, that wisdom has led me to believe that there are truly only three things that every well-intended adult needs in life: faith, love, and coffee. At the end of the day, if you have nothing else but these three things, I'd say you'd be pretty well off. At least I know I would be.

I'm excited to start this journey with you. Please, join me and invite your friends along too :)

with faith, love, & coffee,

kellie ann
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