Hey ya’ll! I know you’re wondering if I’ve fallen off the edge of the earth (hence the title) 🙂 No, I’ve just been busy, sick, tired, and dieting! 2015 kicked off with my family and I at our ranch in Texas with very little phone and internet service. We were snowed/iced in for a few days and weren’t able to communicate with the outside world, which, I have to say wasn’t the worse thing in the world! We enjoyed every minute of it! After we got home, I started my second AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge and lost a total of 11 lbs. and 6 inches! Go me! 🙂 But before ALLLLLL that, let’s rewind to Christmas Eve, when my best friend of all time, Ashley Franklin, got ENGAGED!! That’s right! She’s getting hitched ya’ll! And that my friends is called motivation! Now that I have a wedding in September I gotta hit this AdvoCare train a little bit harder! All kidding aside though, I’m super excited for Ashley and Aaron, they are so perfect for each other and I, for one, have never seen my friend so happy! She is practically a sister to me so as soon as I got back to town from my trip, we hit the floor running with wedding details galore! Not only are we planning bachelorette parties and bridal showers, we’re picking out dresses, cakes, venues, flowers, and colors. She picked a date and is now worried that she’ll have everything planned out MONTHS before the wedding 🙂 I told her that that is probably a good problem to have! On top of all that, my sister in law just had a new baby, my sweet little new niece, Waverly James!



She’s gorgeous!! And to add a little buttercream frosting to it all, I turned 26 at the beginning of the month and redecorated my bedroom! It’s just been a crazy start to what I’m sure will be a crazy fabulous year!

But, ya’ll didn’t come here for all of that! Ya’ll came for food! It’s no secret that food has been a big part of all of my family celebrations for as long as I can remember. Since this month has been full of those celebrations, I thought I would tell ya’ll a little about the food we enjoyed while celebrating! I will warn you all of my recipes are of the Advocare friendly persuasion 😉 but for those of you not dieting, these are great recipes too. I’ll tell ya’ll about the restaurants I chose to eat at on my birthday for my cheat days though too 🙂

First and foremost, a huge hit with my family to kick off my challenge right! The first couple of days are hard to get into the swing of things and a routine is a must! The morning of  January 11th dawned bright and early for me! I had a lot to do and a little time to do it! It was the day of the Premier Bridal show and we had plans to go! The show was from 1 to 5 and I knew that when I got home, all my family would  be there and they would be hungry! So, I tried to make things easy on myself and my family. I put Chicken Taco Soup in the crockpot! Easy peasy right? Right! My mom wouldn’t have to worry about supper and neither would I… How foolish I was! I made the mistake of telling my mom, “Oh, I’m excited to try this new recipe, it’s AdvoCare Chicken Taco Soup.” Of course all she heard was, “Oh, I’m excited to try this new recipe…. DIET, disgusting, soup!” I rushed to put everything in the crockpot and ran out the door. I sent my mom a text a little later letting her know I would be late but all she had to do was take the chicken out of the crockpot, shred it, and put it back in the soup. Imagine my surprise when I came home and there in the crockpot was my lovingly crafted AdvoCare Chicken Taco Soup and there on the stove was my mothers diet busting veggie soup and cornbread… There is just no faith in that woman I swear 🙂 I said, “Mom… what’s wrong? Is my soup nasty?!?” She replied with, “I don’t know, I just thought the others might not like it because it’s diet so I wanted to make sure they had something they would like.” It was like a knife straight to my heart! Meanie! I pushed it aside, like the adult that I am, with a little “Oh I see how it is” and a smile. Everyone started fixing their bowls and before we knew it my DIET, DISGUSTING soup was all gone and her “EVERYONE WILL LIKE IT” veggie soup sat lonely on the stove! Victory!

So, now you probably want the recipe huh? She sure did after she ate two bowls of it! 🙂 It’s really simple and full of flavor. As I said before, I usually take the chicken breasts out after they’ve cooked and shred them; however, this is messy, so if you want to chop them before that’s fine. It’s tastier to me if you let the breasts cook whole though. I used boneless skinless breasts, you can use whatever you like, even rotisserie chicken if you want! This is what you’ll need:
Crockpot Chicken Taco Soup (AdvoCare Approved):

3-5 chicken breasts, (depending on how many you’re feeding-using 5 stretched for 6 people)

2 cans black beans,

1 bag frozen corn,

1 jar black bean and corn salsa- I used Private Selection- (small jar for 3 chicken breasts, lg jar for 5)

24 ounces Swanson’s All Natural Chicken Broth,

1 can Rotel,

1 pkg. Taco Seasoning,

1 pkg. Ranch Seasoning.

Put it all in the crockpot, stir it up, and turn it on low and slow for 8 hours. Once it’s done, you can pull the chicken out and shred it up. Put it back in the crock pot for about 15 minutes. I know it sounds a little different, but give it a try! You won’t be disappointed! 😉

Something I really love but rarely make, for some reason, is pork tenderloin! It’s so easy and simple and delicious! I got the idea for the recipe from a recipe for Crockpot Balsamic Chicken recipe. The recipe looked delicious but I didn’t have time to put it in the crockpot and didn’t want to go to the grocery store for chicken. I did have a pork tenderloin that I could work with though so I set to work trying to make it work! My mom HATES balsamic vinegar though, so I had to sneak it in. I had bought some Kroger brand Balsamic and Basil Vinaigrette dressing and since I didn’t have straight Balsamic Vinegar it seemed like the next best thing. It called for Olive Oil anyway so it worked out for the best. It’s all about workin’ with what ya’ got folks! So! Here’s what you’ll do:

Creole Balsamic Tenderloin:

1 pork tenderloin,

1/2 cup Balsamic & Basil Dressing,

1/2 cup creole mustard,

1 lemon,

1tbsp. garlic powder,

1tsp. sea salt,

1 tsp. lemon pepper.

The tender loin I buy is really thick. I always split it down the middle. It cooks faster and is easier to season. So, split your tenderloin down the center. Pour your balsamic and basil vinaigrette over the top of it. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze some of the juice over the tenderloins. Now, coat the outside of them with creole mustard. Sprinkle on your seasonings. Cut the lemon into rings and bake at 375 degrees for 40-50 minutes.

My favorite go to meal is always salad. Just any kind of salad. My dad’s favorite go to salad, just so happens to be my least favorite! He wants a big ole bowl of iceburg lettuce with a bunch of hamburger meat and ranch dressing on top. I prefer what he calls fancy lettuce. Baby spinach or leafy greens. I’ve been trying to change it up a bit so I made a little taco salad bar. This time I used a mixture of extra lean ground beef and deer meat.  But I didn’t stop there! I added taco seasoning to the meat first,Nathen a can of corn, and a can of black beans… I let that simmer while I opened up some black olives, green olives, salsa, chopped lettuce, and onions. I also crushed up some tortillas and sliced an avocado. It was an awesome break for everybody and the kids ate them as tacos.

Speaking of tacos… For the past 16 years my family and I have been going to the same restaurant to celebrate my birthday. When I was 16 my dad bought a sombrero from them for me to hang in my room. When I was 18 they shoved whipped cream so far up my nose it took 10 minutes to get it out. At 21 I had my first alcoholic drink in front of my parents. And I can’t wait to go back next year. For those of you who don’t know, the restaurant I’m talking about is named El Charro. It’s a little place on Lakeland Drive before the Ridgewood Road intersection. Yummmmmyyyy! Ya’ll go check it out! Not only did I go to El Charro, my mom took me to Amerigo’s, another favorite. Instead of a birthday cake I get tiramisu from Amerigo’s… We all know how much I love coffee… This place has the BEST tiramisu and my mom and I love their lasagna! And then on Friday night, my sweet best friend took me to Ratliff Ferry for a huge steak… And it was amazing… The most perfect birthday I could have asked for!

Both before and after my birthday I started “Spring cleaning.” I decided I wanted a new bed so I asked my dad to make me a new one… Out of pallets 🙂 I started researching on Etsy and found a few little things I wanted, found a new comforter, and picked a paint color. When I was in high school I thought pink was the best color ever so this is what my room looked like:


And this is now:



It’s not done yet… I still have another piece of furniture ordered, a bed skirt, curtains, comforter, and rug coming in, and a couple things for my walls ordered.  I’m super excited about it! I’m hoping to have it all done by April, which is when the last piece of furniture will be done. Now that this month is almost over and the next is right around the corner, I hope I’ll have a little time to write more blogs 🙂 I’m hoping I’ll be done with all my Spring cleaning!  I’m looking forward to what this month will bring! Y’all have a good one!