Double Decker Summer Burgers Double Decker Summer Burgers

Is it getting warm where you are?

This week, we have been having one lovely and glorious heat wave that has pushed us outside to the grill! Since my pots and pans are already en route to NYC, I’m sort of forced outside to use the grill anyways, so this recipe was a lovely coincidence.

Of course the most perfect dinner you can make with a grill is a burger! It never gets old and it tends to taste better the hotter it gets outside.

Over the *almost* 10 years I’ve been married, Gordon and I have been pretty big burger connoisseurs. We never turn one down. Even the super dry burgers my father-in-law makes 🙂

I’m confident everyone in the Brennan Family knows they are “very well done” but him.

Actually, for a time when Brooke was 2 years old, we lived with my in-laws for a few months and thats how we became familiar with the weekly “very well done burgers” my father-in-law made.

One week in August though, my mother-in-law approached me and said “could you grill the burgers tonight and not tell John that I asked you to?” So me, not being one to cause any trouble, grilled them with the excuses “I thought I’d grill them for you” and “I was hungry earlier in the day today”. What a nice daughter-in-law I am, right?

We had juicy burgers that night and all was well with the world.

Italian Sausage & Peppers Pasta Italian Sausage & Peppers Pasta
Loaded Carnitas Nachos Loaded Carnitas Nachos

This post was created in partnership with Kroger. All opinions expressed are completely my own.

When a craving hits you at 10pm at night, you just gotta go for it sometimes.

Now that my husband has been gone for a solid two months, I can safely say that I stay up late at night and worry…and then crave foods.

I worry about everything and then crave everything.

It’s typically very manageable because I don’t ever have the items on hand to make what I’m craving. But the other night when this Mama wanted nachos, she opened up her laptop, navigated over to ClickList and made all her nacho dreams come true.

Incase you’re wondering, ClickList is an online grocery ordering service through Fred Meyer (a Kroger store) and it is glorious. Basically, I order groceries from my bed late at night and then I go pick them up the next morning. Read: I don’t have to get out of the car! They bring all my groceries to me and they load them up.

Creamy Ranch Chicken Casserole Creamy Ranch Chicken Casserole

I’m currently en route to New York City and I wanted to make sure I posted this recipe for you all! I love a good casserole and I always forget how easy they are!! This recipe is a Ranch version of my Swiss Chicken Bake, but instead of using homemade cream of chicken soup, I used the can because I’m trying to get rid of the food in my pantry before our move. I’ll probably have a lot more random recipes coming up soon involving sweetened condensed milk, creamed corn and pinto beans. (Not used together 😉 )

So, I was generous in saying this recipe would take 10 minutes to prep. It’s really more like 7. You’ll wait longer for your oven to preheat than anything else. We ate our casserole with roasted broccoli on the side, but rice or pasta would work as well….I think I’d like the rice more than the pasta, but use what you got!

I also love using chicken tenders because they cook much faster than an actual chicken breast. Be aware that your cooking time will increase if you’re using whole chicken breasts. Chicken cutlets would work well and have the same cooking time as listed below.

Anyways, here are some photos I snapped from making this recipe. Be sure to scroll down to get my printable recipe and make this asap!!

Nutella Hot Fudge Sauce Nutella Hot Fudge Sauce

Tomorrow I’m taking my kids to Utah to stay with one of my best friends so I can fly to NYC to find an apartment this weekend. That came up quick for me. Time flies when you’re going insane.

I’m excited and nervous and excited! Story of my life.

I can’t believe I’m moving to New York City. I keep typing it out and saying it to myself, but it hasn’t quite sunk in. Maybe once I sign my lease and hand over a check for 6x my mortgage payment (gulp), then it’ll get a little more real? PS- the cost of living in the city is borderline ridiculous. Have you heard the term sticker shock? Well, I have sticker RAGE.

Speaking of rage, I get to see my husband this weekend! (Ha! Just kidding, honey.) Only for 37 hours, but I’ll take it! I think it’s been 9 weeks? 10 weeks? Lots of weeks since we’ve seen each other. I’m going to be super awkward incase you’re wondering. I’m awkward in most social situations…that’s why I blog. So, it’ll be fun and weird. But mostly fun!

Big items from my to-do list getting checked off this weekend.

Graham Streusel Coffee Cake Graham Streusel Coffee Cake

I’ve made it though another week!!!!! Yes, that sentence does need five exclamation point.

I’ve been a little radio silent these past few days because my children can’t get enough of their mother (read: they won’t leave me alone) and I can’t seem to stay awake long enough to write a cohesive sentence or edit a picture once they are all in bed. This solo parenting business is rough.

I thought I’d get smart and hire a babysitter to watch my kids so I could work in my office yesterday….I should have known better! Blake was banging on the doors with all sorts of questions (Does this monster truck come in blue? Did you get it from Target? Can I get a fire truck toy in New York City? Will we have a house in New York City? Are we living in Canada or New York? Can I have a yogurt?”) and Eddie would hear the sound of my voice and start whaling from across the house. So, that went on for a good 4 hours and I accomplished….nearly nothing. Well, I edited these photos in those 4 hours. That counts for something? I was hoping to post this recipe yesterday afternoon and obviously, that never happened. Sunday it is!

Monster Truck Cake Monster Truck Cake

Since I posted all about Blake’s birthday party, I’ve been getting lots of questions and emails about how I made this cake!! I was surprised because for me, this is nothing special. Super easy cake without fancy structural tricks. The glorious thing about having a boy is boy birthday cakes can look messy and you can totally get away with it!! I didn’t need any special piping bags or equipment for this cake, which I LOVE.

You can still make a lovely, delicious, nice looking finished product without having to spend money on things you’ll use once. My methods mean you don’t have to try too terribly hard to get fun finished results 🙂

(some affiliate links below)

Brown Butter Alfredo Baked Ravioli Brown Butter Alfredo Baked Ravioli

My days are getting all mixed up! Between the move and the box packing and the cleaning and the sick kids (yes, my kids are sick again because the universe likes to play cruel jokes on me) and the waking up 6 times in the night because of the sick kids, I thought I was posting this recipe on Friday because that’s usually when I post new recipes. BUT, here we are on Saturday morning.

Just when I think I have my life together, surprise!! I definitely do not.

Also, yesterday I was so tired/out of it/delirious that I forgot to buy tape to wrap Blake’s birthday presents. It was written on my list and I still forgot. So I sat down to wrap them last night and could not find scotch tape I didn’t buy anywhere. Thankfully, I have two huge rolls of packing tape that worked great 😉

So the gifts got wrapped and he’ll never be able to open them. Score.

Simple Chili Simple Chili
1-Hour Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls 1-Hour Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls
Healthier Egg Salad Healthier Egg Salad

Oh egg salad, how I love thee. Let me count the ways.

You guys, happy belated Easter! How many of you have already made your egg salad sandwiches and I’m late to the party?

Well, in typical Lauren fashion, I am a wee bit late on posting this recipe, but who’s to say we can’t enjoy egg salad year round? Not this girl. I love salads of every kind, egg variety included.

Normally, I use up all my colored, hard boiled Easter eggs, regular mayo and a variety of finely diced vegetables in the egg salad I make the week after Easter. This year has been no exception, except I changed my recipe up a bit:

Liquid Sunshine Liquid Sunshine

I meant to post this recipe a few days ago because its what I’ve been CHUGGING…trying to get rid this cold (and subsequent man voice.)

Did you know that Portland got me hooked onto juicing? That city certainly knows their health food.

That city also knows their pie. I’m talkin’ about you, Tilt. But I digress.

There are lots of little juice bars and health food stores in and around the downtown area that made amazing concoctions, but when it came to recreating them at home, my husband was and continues to be the real professional at juicing. But since he’s gone until June, mama had to take the reins.

Butter Drop Biscuits Butter Drop Biscuits

My cold rages on.

My immune system left my body weeks ago and went on vacation or something. Things are not within homeostasis levels in really any part of my life. I got a cold then just as I was getting over that one, I was hit with another! Jerky germs. GET OUT OF MY BODY!!

My boys caught something too and it is not pretty. I think they have minor versions of what I have. (Thankfully its not the full-blown version!)

Since I seem to have this illness the worst and I’m the Mom and in charge of three little people and there is no Dad around to help, I haven’t been the normal ray of sunshine that I usually am. Shocking!

So, what is my answer to this problem and the rest of life’s problems? CARBS! (And Diet Coke.)

I’m not much of a stress eater, but I’ve been known to eat large quantities of anything when I’m not feeling well, emotionally or physically…or pregnant, but that’s another story.

So, I made a version of my Mom’s biscuit recipe the other day in hopes it would make me feel better and I fell in love all over again.

Marshmallow Potato Chip Easter Nests Marshmallow Potato Chip Easter Nests
Carrot Cake Pecan Cookies with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting Carrot Cake Pecan Cookies with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
Banana Chocolate Chip Walnut Pancakes Banana Chocolate Chip Walnut Pancakes

Thank you all so so much for your kind words of support, recommendations and overall well wishes from our last post. It’s going to be a busy and crazy adventure, but its one we are ready for! We are so excited to move to NYC and just GET THERE. For those of you worried about whether or not I will continue blogging, you can rest easy. OF COURSE I’m going to keep this up! I’ve been blogging for 7 years so far and I feel like once we are in New York, there’s going to be SO MUCH MORE to talk about. I’m so nervous and excited and nervous and excited!

Since we are moving in June and Gordon is away at training, I’m holding down the fort, trying to sell our house, keep it annoyingly clean and pack all simultaneously. It’s a circus and this mama is sick….and stressed!! We’ve had an open house and a few showings, but no bites. Mind you, it’s been on the market literally one week. So, fingers crossed we can get our beautiful dream house sold sooner than later. *tear*

These pancakes were made a few days ago when I was really starting to get hit by this virus and I had no will to live, let alone make a dinner for my children. Well, thankfully my brilliant 8 year old reminded me that we can have breakfast for dinner! Initially, Brooke wanted banana bread waffles, but waffle makers are a PAIN to clean, so I coaxed her into pancakes.

Smoked Sausage Asparagus Pasta Smoked Sausage Asparagus Pasta

Have any of you seen the trailer for The Thinning? It’s on Youtube Red, so that means if you watch anything on Youtube than you’ve probably seen the ad pop up here and there before the videos you REALLY want to see.

Anyways, here I was watching Jimmy Fallon hashtag videos (because I’m obsessed with that man) and the ad for this movie pops up.

I literally watched 10 seconds of the trailer and nearly peed my pants. If I could have the option to not watch and of the scary movie ads, I’d do that. I don’t mind ads, but the scary movie ads before the hilarious Jimmy Fallon clips? HEART FAILURE.

Have I mentioned my pure hatred of scary movies…ever? Have I never mentioned this before in the last 7 years I’ve had my blog? That’s can’t be possible….right?

Well, I hate scary movies. They make me pee my pants and give me nightmares.

I had a nightmare last night because of that damn 10 second clip before I could click the “Skip Ad” button.

Wish I was kidding and wish I knew how to counteract the way my brain reacts to horror in general.

When I was 17, I watched Children of the Corn…out in a corn field in the middle of the night with a group of my friends. I should have know better. Right at the end of the movie when the credits were just about to roll, one of these friends popped out of the corn field with a ski mask on and a very loud chain saw. That may have something to do with the complex I now have.

Southwest Crockpot Egg Noodle Casserole Southwest Crockpot Egg Noodle Casserole

I’ve got another cream-cheese-filled dinner for ya today! Remember this Italian Crockpot Recipe? Well, I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from that, so I decided to throw cream cheese into this southwest-inspired chicken dinner! (Except, I’m actually throwing cream cheese into everything, so you had it coming?) Every so often, I can’t stop cooking dinner in my crockpot and these past few weeks have kicked my slow-cooking addiction back into gear!

Not only is this a relatively healthy dinner, but I’ve forgotten how much I love egg noodles! They are light and wonderful and work really well with the creamy sauce. And did I mention that you throw everything into a crockpot, then set it and forget it? Crockpot meals are where it’s AT!

Here’s how to make it:

Easy Homemade Ramen Easy Homemade Ramen

Yesterday evening, Eddie slept 13 1/2 hours…as in he didn’t wake up once!!!!!!!!!!!!! There are not enough exclamation points in the world to convey the joy I feel.

I’m a new woman.

Also: hallelujah!!

Since the moment I found out I was pregnant, I’ve been waiting for this moment. Is that awful? Don’t answer that.

The first 11 1/2 months of his sweet little life were touch and go to say the least. He had a rough time figuring out what sleep actually meant. Anything past a 3 hour stretch was amazing for him. That happened maybe once every two weeks. The bags under my eyes were a little out of control.

But we’ve turned a very obvious corner and the older he gets the better he sleeps. It is glorious.

I know I keep bringing this up, but I thrive on a good nights’ sleep. If I don’t get it, my day that follows is AWFUL. According to my mother, I’ve always loved my sleep since I was a baby. A trait that Eddie and I do not share.

Getting a solid 8-9 hours means I have a teeny tiny bit more energy to use towards: going to the gym, making a better dinner, playing with my kids or watching Netflix without falling asleep.

Gordon used to make fun of me for falling asleep on the couch every night, but now I can stay awake!! (mostly)

Crockpot Italian Chicken Pasta Crockpot Italian Chicken Pasta
Mojito Lime Fish Tacos Mojito Lime Fish Tacos
Superfood Kale Salad Superfood Kale Salad

A few nights ago, Brooke couldn’t sleep. Allegedly.

She always comes up with excuses at bed time. It’s usually a different excuse everyday and sometimes a combination of them all:

she has a headache
she has a cough
she has a “really bad” sore throat
she’s not tired
she doesn’t want to go to bed
she didn’t get to watch enough TV that day
her bed isn’t comfortable
her blanket is annoying
her blankets aren’t warm enough
her blankets are too hot
her pillows aren’t comfortable
her pillows are too hot
her pillows are itchy
her stomach is itchy (or any other body part)
she can’t hold still
she forgot to do her homework
she doesn’t want to go to school tomorrow
she’s too excited to sleep
she’s thirsty
she’s hungry
we forgot to give her vitamins in the morning
…and the list goes on.

Honestly that girl will talk about ANYTHING to get us into conversation to avoid heading to bed. I’ve gotten so used to it that I usually reply with a “that’s too bad….go to bed.”

Of course she doesn’t like that response, but giiiirl, I love you so much that I put you to bed at 8!

Actually Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies Actually Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

I am in love with these cookies.

After googling and searching and researching and testing (yum!) I’ve figured out the perfect combination of ingredients and baking methods to get super soft and chewy cookies.

I hate making and eating crispy cookies. I think they should be illegal, plus, who wants to eat those? What a waste of calories.

ANYWAYS, after a lot of trial and error, here is what I’ve discovered whilst creating super soft cookies:

Double Chocolate Silk Cream Pie {a.k.a. the pie that got me married!} Double Chocolate Silk Cream Pie {a.k.a. the pie that got me married!}