Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: (Maybe Meatless) Taco Bake

This recipe is from Emily, who writes, "This is a common meal in my home! I love it because it's so versatile. I started making this with taco meat, but with meat prices being so high, I started adding some filler ingredients & eventually just left out the meat altogether. You can use any combo of filler ingredients, or go with only meat."

The Ingredients:

  • 1 can refried beans
  • shredded cheese
  • 2 boxes corn bread mix
  • taco seasoning
"Filler" Options -  you can use any combination of the ingredients below:
  • 1 can black beans
  • approximately 1/3 bag of lentils, cooked
  • approximately 1.5 cups of rice, cooked
  • ground beef, cooked

The Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 13x9 pan with cooking spray & spread refried beans to cover the bottom. It will be just a thin layer.

In a bowl, combine desired filling ingredients & add taco seasoning to taste, then spread over refried beans. Cover with shredded cheese to taste.

Mix corn bread according to package directions, then spread over the filling & cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Side Dishes

Many of our Tasty Tuesday recipes focus on one-dish meals.... but sometimes you need a new side dish to jazz up your meal! Here are a few side dishes recommended by Anderson MOPS mamas!

Roasted Corn on the Cob

... this is the easiest way to cook corn EVER. And it's delicious. Trust me. :)

The Ingredients:

  • 1-2 ears of corn for each person, still in their husks

The Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line ears of corn up on a baking sheet & put in oven for 30-40 minutes (when you smell it & the husks start to look crispy, it's done). Allow to cool & shuck... the husks & silks will peel off easily. Enjoy!

Sweet Baby Carrots

Easy & kids love 'em!

The Ingredients:

  • 1 lb baby carrots, uncooked
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 tsp canola oil or 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar (optional)
  • pinch of salt

The Directions:

Boil carrots in medium saucepan until tender. Drain. Pour orange juice over carrots & toss. Simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes. Stir in butter or oil, brown sugar & salt. Cook while stirring until salt & sugar are dissolved into a syrup.

Roasted Broccoli

... it's been called the best broccoli you'll ever eat! You be the judge :)

The Ingredients:

  • 1 large bunch of fresh broccoli (or more, if you have a big family)
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • salt (sea salt is preferred)
  • grated cheese (optional)

The Directions:

Cut broccoli into bite-size florets. Put broccoli & olive oil in a gallon-size ziplock bag & shake it until thoroughly coated (or you can put it in a large bowl & toss). Spread on a baking sheet & sprinkle with salt. Put in oven for 25-30 minutes, or until broccoli is slightly crispy. Sprinkle with cheese (if preferred) &  serve immediately.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Sour Cream Enchiladas & Rice

At our house, we have "Mexican Monday"& this meal is a favorite... for Monday or any day or the week!

The Ingredients:

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped or 1 tsp dried cilantro
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 8 large tortillas
  • 1/2 cup shredded mexican cheese blend
  • 4 oz can diced chilies (optional)
  • 2 cups mild salsa
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • 2 cups brown or white instant rice

The Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fill a large pot with water & add chicken breasts. Boil until cooked thoroughly, then use a fork to shred. Coat 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.

In a medium saucepan, mix together sour cream, soup, milk & cilantro. Heat through, stirring constantly. (This boils quickly, so please keep stirring!). Once heated, set aside. In a large skillet or pan sprayed with cooking spray, combine chicken, Rotel tomatoes, onions & green chilies (optional). Heat until onions are thoroughly cooked & transparent. Sandwich tortillas between damp paper towels & warm in microwave for 10 seconds, or until flexible.

Divide chicken mixture into 8 equal parts (will be approximately 2 tbsps). Spoon chicken mixture onto each warmed tortilla & wrap. Place in 9x13 baking dish, with seam side down (or they'll unravel). Pour sour cream sauce over enchiladas & sprinkle mexican cheese on top.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until bubbly & cheese is melted.

While enchiladas are in oven, combine salsa, water, & taco seasoning in a sauce pan & bring to a boil. Remove from heat & stir in rice. Allow to sit for 15 minutes, then fluff with a fork. Rice & enchiladas should finish about the same time.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

out of the comfort zone

This year, I'll be sharing the notes from each month's devotional on the blog... just in case there's someone who missed the meeting or who wants to go back & reread afterward.

September Devotional
by Sarah

At our Steering Team retreat this summer, the devotional sign-up sheet went around the room & I passed it on without a second glance because, um, I don't really do devotionals. Then the sheet made it's second round & September was the only month available. And I suddenly realized that ok, so devotionals aren't in my comfort zone. But this year is about brave, right?

So here I am.

This year's theme, "be you, bravely," is about pushing yourself. It's about going a little bit beyond your normal. It's about doing a new thing. Our theme verse reads:
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!

Isaiah 43:18

So at risk of getting a bit vulnerable (because we're being brave, remember?), I'd like to tell you a quick story.

In 2006, when I was 28 years old, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. She died 10 months later. And y'all? It was really terrible. Like, REALLY terrible. I tried & tried but I couldn't fix her. And when she died, I was devastated.

A year later, I was still reeling. I went from talking to my mom on the phone 3 times a day to nothing & I didn't even know how to process that. Then I found out I was pregnant & it felt like maybe, just maybe, things were looking up. Except then I had a miscarriage. And then next year, another miscarriage. And the year after that, another miscarriage. And by this time, I was a scary, bitter person. Like the kind of person you avoid because, yeah, that girl? She's got the issues.

So then in 2011, I was doing fertility treatments & jumping through all these hoops & my husband was still hanging in there, & I got pregnant again. And this time, it actually worked. My daughter Rose was born in September of that year.

When Rose was 5 months old, I found myself in a MOPS meeting. I was still in a bad place emotionally... I had this baby that I loved more than anything, but my mother was still gone & I had no idea what I was doing & nothing was like I always thought it would be. So I walk into this MOPS meeting & there were all these moms who really had themselves together. They're laughing & cute & nice & happy & skinny & pretty much awesome. And I thought "dude, this is not going to work. These people are WAY too happy." I felt like a total fake... like at any moment, someone was going to tap me on the shoulder & escort me out.

But then when I got home that day & started thinking about it, something happened. I realized that if I was ever going to progress, to change, to move forward at all, I HAD to take a chance. So I came back to MOPS the next month. I showed up. I took a risk.

There have been times when I just feel awkward. There have been moments when I feel totally disconnected, like I don't fit in. I think if we're honest, everyone in this room has had those feelings, even if we hide it really well. Whenever you open yourself up to new people, or a new group, or new experiences, there is risk involved. Risk brings vulnerability.

But when I came back to MOPS, I found something totally unexpected, something fabulous & healing & beautiful. I found relationships... real, honest relationships.

So this morning, I just want to challenge you -- & myself -- to do a brave thing this year. You get to decide what your brave thing is... whether it's coming to next month's meeting, or inviting someone else, or picking up the phone & making that phone call you've been dreading, or coming to a mom's night out even if you want to stay home & rock your yoga pants. Let's gather our courage & our guts & try something new.

In closing, I want to read an excerpt from the feather handout that you'll find here... I think it's beautiful & so appropriate:

A bird will fail to experience all it was made for if it fails to fly. 
{The same is true for us} 
May this year change your life.  
May you hear whispers of hope stirring in your soul.  
May MOPS remind you to breathe in & breathe out,
because we're all in this together.  
The first step may test our bravery, but courage is the key around our necks. 
Be you, Bravely. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Be you, Bravely!

Yesterday was our first meeting of the 2014-15 year, & it was fabulous! So, so glad to see y'all again... thank you to everyone who came!

Mark your Calendars!
  • MOPS on the Town (MOTT) - Wed, Sept 17 at 10am. Bring lunch & a picnic blanket for a playdate with the kiddos at Grace Episcopal Church's playground (address: 711 S McDuffie St Anderson SC 29621).

  • Moms Night Out (MNO) - Thurs, Sept 25 at 7pm. Come enjoy a sweet treat, sitting under the stars & great conversation at Figs Beanery & Creamery (address: 200 N Main St Anderson SC 29621)

Business Recap:
  • If you haven't paid your dues yet, they are due at the October 9th meeting. It's $35 per semester or $70 for the year. If you'd like to apply for a scholarship or payment plan, please click here.

  • Sonia R is sponsoring a Tupperware fundraiser for Anderson MOPS, which is awesome! Each mom was given a flyer, & whatever we sell, MOPS gets 40%. Woohoo! If you'd like to sell or order for yourself & need a fundraising brochure, please let us know. Orders are due by our meeting on Oct 9th, & products will be given out at our Nov 13th meeting.

For our kick-off meeting, we watched a wonderful inspirational video featuring Sherry Surratt of MOPS Int'l. The topic was facing our mom fears, which often prevent us from being our best brave selves. Sherry encourages us to put a name to our fears... that labeling it with a finite word makes it more controllable & less scary. Also, leaning into other moms & talking about our fears will help. It's often the unspoken fears that grow in our minds until they are larger than life. In closing, Sherry encouraged us to "step into the brave mom that God designed us to be."

need help with dues?

We don't ever, ever, EVER want finances to be the reason that you can't join Anderson MOPS!

If you'd love to be a part of our MOPS community & the dues are just not possible for your family, we have full & partial scholarships, as well as payment plan options.

. . . because accepting help from your fellow mamas is sometimes the bravest thing you can do!

Click HERE to download our scholarship application & contact our Finance Team (Sara or Sarah).

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Pork Chop (or Chicken) & Rice Casserole

This recipe was shared by Shelley, who writes, "This is an easy one-dish recipe... I love it!"

The Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rice, uncooked
  • 1 envelope dry onion soup mix
  • 6-8 boneless pork chops (or 6-8 boneless chicken breasts or thighs)
  • 1 can cream of mushroom or cream of celery soup
  • 1.5 cups water
  • garlic (optional... I add it because I love it!)

The Directions:

Pour uncooked rice in a 9x13 baking dish. Sprinkle dry onion soup mix over rice.

Lightly brown pork chops or chicken, then put on top of soup mix & rice in a single layer, covering fully so juices from meat help cook the rice.

Pour cream of mushroom or celery soup over meat. Add water. Cover with foil & bake at 375 degrees for one hour.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Hey Mama, you are amazing!

During the past few weeks, I've published daily introductions of this year's Steering Team.... & to get all those fascinating facts & stories, each member was asked to fill out a questionnaire.

One of the questions was "Who has influenced your life the most?"  And there was one answer that kept popping up: "my mom."

So here we are, in our 20's & 30's, all grown up with jobs & degrees & responsibilities & mortgages & families of our own... 

and the influence of our mothers is still so very prevalent. 

It's easy to get caught up in the minutes of the day... staying on schedule, cleaning, planning, worrying. But reading these responses reminded me that now I AM the mother. And even if you're running late & your kid's shoes don't match & your family has fast food for dinner tonight, 

you, me, WE really are amazing in the eyes of our children.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

ST Intros: meet Kelly!


I'm on the Anderson MOPS Outreach Team this year! 
This is my 3rd year on Steering Team...
I love meeting new people
& ST is a great way to make friends!
I have three kiddos - Trace (age 6), Zack (age 4), & Brinkley (age 2). 
My fav is Mexican! 
I order #11. It's the same at most restaurants... burrito, enchilada & taco. YUM!
The last song I sang was "Let It Go" with the kids in the car
In the last week, I've realized that
it's impossible to have a Pinterest- or Facebook-perfect life. 
People only post the good stuff, ya know?
My childhood celebrity crush?
Joey Lawrence... I loved "Blossom"!
If I had 2 hours of unexpected free time, I'd go to dinner with friends. 
My favorite time of day is bedtime.
After the kids are in bed, I can snuggle up with my husband & watch our TV shows.
The worst place to be stuck waiting?
A doctor's office with three kids!
Those facebook quizzes? Nope, I skip 'em...
My fav dessert is chocolate chip pecan pie.
My favorite thing about MOPS?
The friendships & fellowship & knowing that I'm not alone!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

ST Intros: meet Anita!


I'm on the Anderson MOPS Outreach Team this year! 
This is my 1st year on Steering Team...
one of my goals after leaving my full-time job was
to volunteer & get involved wherever my girls go.
MOPS is our group!
I have two kiddos - Ellyana (age 3) & Emilia (age 1). 
The last book I read was "Unglued" by Lysa Terkeurst. I actually heard about it at MOPS
& I would really recommend it to any mom.
My favorite book is "The Glass Castle"
by Jeannette Walls.
The last movie I saw was "Oblivion"... yes, I would recommend it. It's great!!
My fav movie is "The Princess Bride"
My fav is Chinese food. I always get shrimp fried rice with no onions & an egg roll.  
The last song I sang was "God is Bigger Than the Boogie Man" with the kids in the car. We were all singing loudly :)
In the last week, I've learned that
if I manage my time correctly & stay focused,
I can finish big tasks that might seem impossible.
My childhood celebrity crush? Menudo & Hombres G
If I had 2 hours of unexpected free time, I'd buy a pretzel & big drink from QT,
head back home & watch "The Big Bang Theory."
My favorite time of day is naptime! From 2-4 in the afternoon, I have quiet time, make phone calls & get lots of stuff done.
Something I've been meaning to do?
Learn to sew
& finally use the sewing machine I got for my birthday three years ago!!
Most random thing I've done?
My husband & I, along with two other couples,
TP'ed a friend's yard while he was visiting his secret girlfriend. ;)
My favorite dessert is chocolate chip cookies. YUM.
My favorite thing about MOPS?
the love each person has for the Lord, 
their family 
& their community!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

ST Intros: meet Becca!


I'm a member of the Anderson MOPS Outreach Team this year! 
I've been on Steering Team for several years...
because this will be my last year at MOPS, I wanted to help make it the best year yet!
I have three kiddos - Cailyn (age 10), Lydia (age 7), & Evan (age 5). 
My least favorite chore? Housework of any kind!
My (new) favorite restaurant is FOGO de CHOA in Atlanta... I recently went for the first time & it was amazing! 
The last song I sang was John Legend's "All of Me"... it's been in my head for months.
I can't get it out. Help!
If you hear me singing it, you have my permission to punch me.
In the last week, I've learned that
I can't do all that I want to do & achieve perfection... 
something always gets neglected.
(For example, if I want to read my Bible every morning, I won't get around to exercising. If I want to play with the kids & take them somewhere fun, I won't get around to cleaning the house. If I want to actually print out photographs or mail a birthday card, I'll neglect the laundry.) 
It seems that something important gets left undone everyday.
But in the end, very few of these things actually matter.
So I'm not choosing perfection... I'm choosing people & God.
Most random thing I've done? I've gone through the underground tunnels from one side of my college campus to the other. It was strange & full of
many, many creepy crawly creatures. I was into caving, so
it made perfect sense at the time. 
My favorite time of day is the morning when I drink my beloved coffee & snug with
my kids.
I would love to learn how to ballroom dance with my husband.
If I were one of the Seven Dwarfs, I would be Bashful.
My favorite thing about MOPS?
There are so many amazing women at the meetings. I enjoy meeting new moms tremendously... if I haven't met you yet, please come find me &
I'd love to get to know you!

Tasty Tuesday: Crescent Sausage Bites

This recipe is from Katie, who writes, "This is one of my favorite go-to meals... seems to please everyone!"

The Ingredients:

  • 1 package of your favorite Jimmy Dean sausage (I like Hot, but the Sage is also good)
  • 2 tubes refrigerated Pillsbury crescent rolls
  • 2 packages cream cheese, slightly softened (I use reduced-fat... doesn't seem to make a difference in the taste & you can save a few calories!)

The Directions:

Preheat oven according to package directions on crescent rolls.  Brown the sausage, then drain fat. Mix the cooked sausage with slightly softened cream cheese.

Unroll crescent rolls out flat on a baking sheet covered in foil. Spread the sausage & cream cheese mixture on the crescent rolls. Place the other tube of crescent rolls flat on top of the spread, pinching the edges as you go.

Bake according to directions on crescent packaging (approximately 11-13 minutes).

Monday, September 1, 2014

ST Intros: meet Ashlee!


I'm a member of the Anderson MOPS Craft Team this year! 
This is my 1st year on Steering Team...
I wanted to join because I love serving others & I believe that by serving others, we can become more like Christ. 
I have four kiddos - Teigen (age 8), Jasmine (age 8), Brookelyn (age 5) & Landyn (age 2). 
The last book I read was "Jesus > Religion"... it was awesome!
My favorite books are The Twilight Saga, Of Mice & Men,
Island of the Blue Dolphin, & anything by Nicholas Sparks.
My fav movies include "A Knight's Tale," "Forest Gump," "The Notebook," "Titanic" & "Shawshank Redemption"
My fav restaurant is Carabbas! I love Italian food... my fav thing to order is
the Polo Rosa Maria. Yummm!
The last song I sang was "Let It Go." Loudly. My kids are addicted to Frozen, so if I hear "Do You Wanna Build a Snowman" or "Let It Go" one more time....
I may just let it go.... right out the car window going 65.
In the last week, I've learned that Goo Gone is an 
excellent clothing stain remover... it's awesome!
My childhood celebrity crush?
John Stamos. ummmmm, loved me some Uncle Jesse. (still do... shhhh)
If I had 2 hours of unexpected free time, I'd SLEEP!! I love to sleep. I miss sleep. Oh my, & when the sheets are fresh out of the dryer?! 
My favorite time of day is bedtime. When everyone else goes to bed, I can
finally relax & enjoy a show, pee in private or take a bath.
But let's face it... by bedtime, I just want to sleep.
Something I've been meaning to do?
Clean the house. Maybe I'll get around to that one day...
Yep, I love those facebook quizzes! If all the quizzes I've taken were true, I'm Ariel, I should be married to Eric, my villain alter ego is Cruella de Vil, & my old lady name is Pearl.
My favorite thing about MOPS?
I love Anderson MOPS... it's amazing!
I have met some wonderful friends & love being in a group that loves everyone & tries to make our community better!