It is a long running joke with some of my friends that I am a hippie at heart or as we called them in Boone, a “granola”.  While I admit, I use cotton dish cloths instead of paper towels (I am a recovering paper towel addict), breast feed and cloth diaper my babies, buy local whenever I can, and recycle everything.  I also love designer jeans, Coach bags, and I drive a Yukon XL.  So, I am far from a true hippie or granola but the way I look at it, I might not be saving the world but I am not killing it either.  It all balances out in the end, right?  I’m not confused, just a pleasant contradiction.  I think you should be well rounded, that’s all.

In the spirit of one of my favorite towns, Boone, NC, where there is literally a place known as “hippie hill”, I am making GRANOLA tonight as I get ready to go camping tomorrow.   All I have for you now is the before picture because it is still roasting slowly in my oven.  It truly smells heavenly and is making me hungry.  I will add the dried cranberries when it is out of the oven and will post a picture of the finished product tomorrow.

If you need an easy week night meal that will make the kids smile, here is what I did tonight.  ZingZang Chicken on the grill, Shells & Cheese, and Field Peas mixed with green beans.  The field peas were just frozen so I popped them in a pot, added a slice of bacon for flavor, covered and simmered while everything else was cooking.  Jeff wasn’t going to be home for dinner and I was busy getting packed so I just needed to make the kiddos happy.  I made the shells & cheese and marinated the chicken early in the day then threw the chicken on the grill and mac n cheese in the oven.   Simple & made for happy kids and a happy mom (plus a happy Jeff when he got home and it was still warm for him!)  You will notice in the picture of the shells & cheese that the dish is half empty.  That is because Maddie May was literally in tears begging for her “roni cheese”. The fact that it was in the oven still cooking was not an acceptable reason for it to not be on her plate.  She absolutely would not have stood for me standing there taking a picture of it before giving her any.  Yes, we all know who rules my house right now.  Anyone who has ever had a 2 year old understands.

ZingZang Chicken

Slice 3 large chicken breasts into strips (like chicken fingers)

Put chicken in a large ziploc bag and pour in 1 cup of Zing Zang (it is bloody mary mix!)

Marinate for a few hours in the fridge

Grill chicken strips until done


Easy Shells & Cheese

Cook 3 cups shell pasta until just done (make sure you salt the water)

Drain pasta and place it in a baking dish or casserole dish

Beat 2 eggs into about 1 1/2 cups milk and pour over pasta.  Milk should just cover the pasta

Put about 4 oz mini mozz balls (the same ones from the pizza on Monday) down into the pasta and milk

Top with about 1 cup of shredded cheese of your choice.  I used colby jack tonight.

Bake on 375 for 45 min until bubbly and browned on top.


Try it one night!  Sometimes we do stuff like this, get the kids in bed early, then have a grown-up dinner.  You know, one of those rare evenings when you get to have a conversation!?!  It is healthy, well balanced, and easy.  What more could you ask for?