Oh Pasta, I Love You!

Tomorrow is Greg's birthday and in honor of that I told him I would make him whatever he wanted tonight for dinner.  He asked for Cheese Filled Jumbo Shells.  They were delicious and I thought I'd share the recipe with all of you along with some easy ways you can include some Pampered Chef products to help make the job easier for you.

Cheese Filled Jumbo Shells
1 package (12 oz) uncooked jumbo shells, 4 cups ricotta cheese, 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 2 eggs, 1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley, 3/4 tsp. dried oregano leaves, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper, and 3 cups of spaghetti sauce (we use Prego Roasted Garlic & Herb)

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Cook pasta according to package directions.  For us, that was the San Giorgio shells and that meant boiling for 10 minutes uncovered and stirring occasionally.  Then let them cool on some wax paper before adding in the filling.  Combine cheese, eggs, parsley, oregano, salt, and pepper.  In 13x9x2-inch baking dish, spread 1/2 cup of sauce.  Fill each cooked shell with about 2 tablespoons cheese mixture.  Layer one-half filled shells in prepared baking dish; spread one-half remaining sauce over shells.  Layer remaining filled shells over sauce; spread remaining sauce over shells.  Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese; if desired.  Cover with foil and bake 35 minutes or until hot and bubbly.  This makes 8-10 servings.

Pampered Chef Tricks
First and foremost I hate using already grated cheese in the bag.  I love nothing more than to shred my own cheeses.  For the mozzarella you can use the Pampered Chef Adjustable Coarse Grater.  For the Parmesan cheese you can easily use either the Rotary Grater or the Microplane Fine Grater.   I also love using my Measure-All Cup to measure my ricotta cheese.  I use it from the solid side, so that it comes out easily.

To mix the filling, I put all of the cheeses, eggs, and spices into the Classic Batter Bowl.  I also used my new Tangerine Tango Classic Scraper to mix it all.  Any of the scrapers would work, I'm just partial to bright colors.

Now, for probably the best tip of all.  There is nothing worse than making a mess when attempting to fill any type of shell.  I put a gallon ziploc bag in the bowl of the Manual Food Processor to fill it with the cheese mixture.  Then I used my Professional Shears to cut a small hole in the bottom corner and then I filled away.

I hope you love this recipe as much as we did!

Greg's Birthday Palooza

This week is Greg's birthday!  I love birthdays and I love Greg, so that means that this week is completely dedicated to celebrating him in our house!  I want him to know this week how much he means to me and to everyone around him.  So from now through Saturday he will be getting little treats each day as a friendly reminder of how great he is.

I hope each of you will let Greg know just how much he means to you!  Happy Greg Palooza to you!

Let’s try this again.  I’ve done so poorly at this whole blog thing this year and I want to start over.  Maybe now that I’m past the wedding planning stage I can focus more on some other things in my life.  I still am at a loss as to how I have already been married for almost seven months!  It has been such a blessing to learn and grow with someone each and every day and I am so excited to do this for the rest of my life.

For anyone that knows me at all, you know that I love cooking and I love to do that for other people.  This has been one of my favorite parts of marriage.  I love when Greg comes home each day and I get to have dinner with him.  I know it sounds 50’s housewife, but it truly is one of my favorite parts of each day.  Knowing that I made a meal for him and I get to share that meal with him is great.  My hope is to share some of what we make and tips we come across with each of you.  Wish me luck :)

Rainy Days and Easy Dinners

Happy 4th of July everyone!

We are celebrating by staying in enjoying the sound of the rain and thunder, with the occasional flickering of the power.  Here's to time number 4.

We absolutely love married life and everyday realize that we love it just that much more.

Tonight, we think we are going to make Easy Chicken and Rice.  Below is the recipe.


Ingredients: 
1 tablespoon vegetable oil 
1 1/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves 
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) cream of mushroom soup 
1 1/2 cups water 
1/4 teaspoon paprika 
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper 
2 cups uncooked instant white rice 
2 cups fresh or frozen broccoli florets 
Directions: 
Heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken 
and cook for 10 minutes or until well browned on both sides.  Remove 
the chicken from the skillet. 
Stir the soup, water, paprika and black pepper in the skillet and heat to 
a boil.  Stir in the rice and broccoli.  Reduce the heat to low.  Return 
the chicken to the skillet.  Sprinkle the chicken with additional paprika 
and black pepper.  Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until the chicken is 
cooked though. 

Enjoy :)
Greg and I got married a little over a month ago and we are still adjusting to married life!   We are loving every minute of it.  Thank you to all of our friends and family for supporting us during this new incredible journey.

Here is the trailer of our wedding video.

I'm Rather Fond of March

As a kid your favorite month tends to be the month of your birthday or December because of Christmas, however I believe mine might be March. It has quickly become a month very near to my heart. I have not had a change in heart simply because March is the month that Greg and I are getting married, yes that is a plus, but not the only reason.

I'm still quite fond of March last year. It is true that in 10 days Greg and I are getting married, but in 13 days Greg and I will be celebrating one year since we began dating. A few weeks ago, Greg's family had a wedding shower for us and his Mom asked me to tell her and everyone there the story of how we met. Neither one of us remember how or when we met, we do however remember lots of details of the beginning of our relationship.

It was March 27th, 2011, and I was frantically trying to figure out what to wear. Why, I don't know because I have no idea now what it was. Greg remembers skinny jeans and my red coat. He came to pick me up around 4 on a Monday afternoon and we went to Joyner Park for a walk. Who knows what we talked about or why we chose to walk that particular direction but we loved walking around Joyner. I do know for a fact that neither one of us will ever forget what transpired next. We got in Greg's car to go grab some dinner and it wouldn't start. I remember his expressions like it was yesterday. Here he was on virtually our second date and his car wouldn't start. I'm no guy, but I do know that most guys hearts probably would have sunk when that happened. It seemed like he attempted to start it about 50 times. I had no idea what to do. I just sat there with terror over what to do. I was afraid to say something or do something wrong and make it worse. I remember asking him for the key so he wouldn't keep trying. That might have been a bad idea. Before I knew it, I had put my hand out and took his. I had no idea how to get his car to start or what to do with it, all I knew was that I wanted him to know that I wasn't going anywhere.

Within the hour, we had went back to my apartment to get my car and I think he was still shocked that I still wanted to spend time him. We went and had dinner and then followed dinner with coffee at the Coffee Company. We continued to learn about one another and then all of a sudden Greg asks a question. I believe it went something like this...

Greg: "People keep asking me about us and if we are dating. Can I please just tell them that we are?"

Maybe it's not the most conventional way to ask, but I loved it and I loved that it happened in March.

Thank you March for continuing to become a month near and dear to me.


If Only We Had iMessage

I might have responded differently had a thing called iMessage existed last February.

As most of you know according to my last post this time last year Greg and I were in
the beginning stages of our flirting, talking, liking each other, and getting ready to begin
a relationship that would change both of our lives in ways we could have never even
imagined.

Currently most of you dating, engaged and married people are trying to figure out what
to do for your special someone for Valentine’s Day. It’s okay to admit that, because
I’m right there with you. I do not want to speak for Greg but I bet you he is at least still
contemplating some things.

I do know now what he was contemplating last year on Valentine’s Day. How do I
know? Hmm, maybe because he told me. No, he did not tell me that day but he did tell
me a few months down the road.

Last Valentine’s Day we had just celebrated my birthday and we had entered into the
funny flirting stage of our relationship. Most people do that in person and maybe even
over text, but Greg and I had not quite reached that stage yet. No, we flirted a little
differently. Our primary way of flirting was smack talk while attempting to demolish
the other person in Words with Friends. Yes, we are shameless iPhone lovers. Then
everything changed on the flirting front when we bumped iPhones and had each others
phone numbers. Let the crazy amounts of texting begin. I do not even want to know how
much my number of texts increased. I’m sure it was quite ridiculous.

I do know that on that Valentine’s Day Greg was probably quite thankful iMessage had
not yet been created. Why you ask? Well, he typed Happy Valentine’s Day probably
somewhere around 30-40 times. Happy Valentines Day! Erase. Happy Valentines
Day! Erase. Happy Valentines Day! Erase. I think you get the picture. My sweet Greg
was nervous about sending me a Happy Valentines Day message. I think later when
he was trying to erase it, he accidentally hit send and there was no going back. Sadly,
he was not the only one who had Valentines Day texting fears. I quickly opened the
message, however I did not quickly respond. I too, like my sweet boy deliberated over
my response for sometime. I did not type a response 30 different times, I just stared at
my screen in fear over what to put. The fear was not over not knowing the huge sense
of excitement that his three words gave me but the fear of not knowing what he was
trying to say. I was in this state of fear over the idea that it was just some group text and
I was not about to right this sweet mushy response to a group text. So, I responded with
something to the extent of thank you and Happy Valentines Day to you too.

I think both Greg and I look back at the last year and at times think we were silly, a bit
ridiculous, and down right weird. I think those thoughts are quite often followed by an
overwhelming thankfulness that the other person looked past those crazy moments and
decided to jump at the opportunity to start an incredible journey with the other person.

Happy Valentines Day to my sweet fiancé Greg! I love you!

Oh, the Side Hug

Most birthdays you roll out of bed and say another day, another year. Most birthdays you are asked about a dozen times if you feel any older or if you feel any different. And most birthdays you answer those questions by saying no, not really.

Not this birthday. No, I do not really feel older. However, I can say that I do feel different. I'm now 24 and I can see quite easily that I feel much different then I did when I turned 23.

Turning 23...
Last year seems like a whirlwind to me and honestly that is okay. I woke up as a 24 year old today and realized that while 23 my life changed in ways that it never will again and I am perfectly okay with that.

The other day, Greg and I were talking about my birthday last year. Yes, I did know who Greg was last year and no we were not dating. In fact, neither of us had any idea about what was about to happen in the upcoming weeks and months. For my birthday, I asked some of my closest friends to go to dinner with me. FYI, I remember this day like it was yesterday so pardon my details...

We went to Olive Garden. We being me, Crescen, Ashleigh, Kayla, Chad, Gia, Josh, and Greg. I had just got my new iPhone and Ashleigh & Greg would keep trying me cool things about it and which apps I should get. I can remember we had this waiter that was trying to be super cool all night and it was rather interesting. I do not remember what I ordered, but Greg would say now that it was fettuccine alfredo because I always order that now. I just know that I love their salad and breadsticks, so the rest does not really matter. Now to be clear we can all tell you what Josh and Greg ordered because they both ordered cheesecake because they were not that hungry. When it was time for salad and breadsticks the waiter brought us out plates and salad bowls for all 8 and then quickly removed their plates since they had only ordered dessert. At which point they both got a little sad/mad and Greg within a minute had an entire breadstick in his mouth hiding it from the waiter. The rest of our time at Olive Garden was just great conversations up until Chad and Ashleigh debated as to who should pay for my meal.

From there we did what a lot of 20 year olds do, we went to Starbucks. I have no clue what the 4 or 5 conversations were about. I do remember what happened as we left Starbucks. I had said bye to most everyone and then Greg pulled me aside and gave me a card with a iTunes gift card and oh yes the side hug. We still laugh about the side hug and how funny we both were. Neither one of us really knew what was happening, but now we know that in those moments in February we were in the process of falling in love.

Today, I'm 24 and no I am not getting a side hug from Greg. At least I hope not. I do know one thing and that is that this year is going to be different. In just 49 days I will no longer be Emily Eaton, I will be Emily Harrison and I will get a real hug from Greg that day.

Here is to being 24 and to being able to watch my life change in so many ways! I am so excited!

Love Never Fails

It is hard to believe that in less than 60 days I will be marrying my best friend. We are wrapping up our premarital counseling, we have planned out our entire ceremony, we have bought our wedding bands, and even mailed out all of our invitations. I at times are stressed over little details and then there are moments that I have to make sure there are not lots of people around before I let out a shreek of excitement.

This week my mind has been full on the weight of what this all means. I could think of nothing else that I would rather do. I love my sweet boy so much and it is my great honor to be his wife in just fifty something days. The thought of being his wife allows me to understand all the better what it means for me to be a part of the bride of Christ. I have been chosen, I am loved more than I could ever understand, and I get to spend all of eternity with my bridegroom.

My sweet Greg, you continue to amaze me. Every day you choose to love me, you choose to take care of me, you choose to laugh with me, to hold me, and to do everything in your power to make sure that I know that you chose me. I am forever grateful for that and forever humbled to be the one that you have chosen.

So, as we enter these last few weeks before we become man and wife I want to remind both of us to remember that this marriage, this covenant, is one of the clearest demonstrations of the Gospel that either one of us will ever be a part of. I love you sweet boy!

I have had this particular song in my head for the last few weeks and I hope that this song reminds us all of the great love of Christ and what He has done for us.