Tasty Tuesday: Baked Pesto Pasta

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Happy Tuesday!
Today we got to see baby C at my 24 week appointment.
I cannot believe how fas this pregnancy is going!
She looked great and her little profile kills me.
She's starting to kick quite a bit more now too, and that's always fun ;)
Anyways, I'm posting an old recipe of mine that Hunter absolutely loves.
So, please excuse the old pictures!
I'll be updating those later on!
Basically, one Saturday before Oaks was born and around 8 pm... I decided I should figure out what I was going to make for dinner Sunday night haha!
We had two pieces of chicken left, 2 biscuits, and well other things that just weren't going to cut it for a Sunday dinner. 
So, I hopped in the car and went to the grocery store.
I went having no idea what I was going to make.
I remembered I had some leftover carrots from the previous weeks roast, leftover bow tie pasta from another pasta dish, and pesto just sounded good.
And that, is how this recipe came to be. 
Sometimes the random ones are the best ones ;)


  • 10.5 oz. can cream of chicken soup
  • 6 oz. package provolone cheese
  • Foil packet of pesto (and ingredients to make it, oil and water) [Since creating this recipe some time ago, I have discovered I really like it with jarred pesto too.. so do whatever you choose!]
  • About 1/2 a pound bow tie pasta
  • Cooked and chopped chicken (about 2-3 breasts)
  • Steamed carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower (About 3 cups)
  • Uncooked cherry tomatoes (i grabbed a big handful and cut them in half)
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1/2 cup milk

1) Preheat oven to 375
2) Steam veggies, boil pasta, and cook chicken. 
(Remember that you will be baking all the ingredients so keep the veggies on the firm side, and the pasta a little less done)
3) Make Pesto as directed on package. Once it's brought to a boil, stir, then turn to medium low heat and add the cream of chicken soup, milk, and garlic salt. Whisk all ingredients together until combined. Let simmer a few minutes. 
4) Grease 9x13 baking dish. Layer 1/2 pasta, 1/2 chicken, 1/2 veggies, 1/2 tomatoes, 1/2 sauce, then 1/2 cheese in that order. Then use the remaining ingredients to make another layer. I added some shredded cheese in the cracks and saved a little extra sauce for the top. 
5) Bake for 30 minutes with foil on top.
 Remove the foil and broil a few minutes until the top begins to brown. 
Let sit for a few minutes so it can set.
6) Dish up, serve, and enjoy!

Like I said earlier, this is Hunter's favorite pasta! Every time I make it, he eats like half the pan alone haha.
I hope you all love it too!

All my love,
Aleigh Joy

Easter Weekend Wrap Up

Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Easter weekend was a blast!
I was completely wiped out by Monday morning from all the fun, but it was totally worth it.
The week leading up to Easter was one of my busiest weeks in a while, but if you know me... you know I absolutely love being busy haha.
I'm the type of person that begins thinking about holidays like... months and months in advance.
So far in advance that I may already have our Halloween costumes picked out this year, ha!
I got so excited thinking that Oaklyn would care a little more about Easter this year. 
I started to dream up her Sunday outfit and planned a little egg hunt for some local moms. 
We also hosted Easter dinner with some friends and that was so fun!
Soo... here's a little wrap up in pictures :)

Friday afternoon we had a little Easter egg hunt at a local park.
I was so excited for Oaklyn because she helped me stuff the eggs with jelly beans and she was trying so hard to wait patiently all afternoon.
When we got to the park she saw the duck pond and couldn't get her mind off feeding them...
I think you can probably guess how the egg hunt went... ha!
Right as it was go time she sprinted the other way towards the ducks looking back at me terrified that I would make her stop.
When I told her to come back she yelled, "Ducky hungry!"
Needless to say I picked up the eggs for her and she indulged in jelly beans after making sure the ducks were fed haha!

as you can see... she already had her plan set... bread in hand before the egg hunt haha

On Sunday I got up earlier than usual and Hunter was shocked, haha!
Seriously, I love my sleep!
I made some cinnamon rolls and scrambled eggs and we all got ready for church.
The cutest thing ever was after I got Oaklyn all ready in her Easter dress, she looked at me and said, "show dada new dress!"
She ran out and got so excited for him to see her all dressed up.
I actually had to wipe a tear away because it was the cutest.
She has such a crush on her daddy haha.
After church I ran inside to set up Oaklyn's Easter basket.
Hunter and Oaks came in after and the second she saw it, she sprinted full speed ahead!
She loved going through her goodies with dada and eating her favorite candy ever, jelly beans!
I started on dinner right after that while Oaks and Hunt played "egg hunt" over and over.
We had two of our couple friends over and my sister in law and her boyfriend for dinner, dessert, and games!
The menu was a pretty traditional Easter dinner with ham, funeral potatoes, bacon and garlic green beans, a yummy pear and spinach salad made by kiely, rolls from audrey, and then carrot cake and carmelitas for dessert!
The weather was so perfect we ate outside and all in all, it was just an awesome day!


Tasty Tuesday: Coconut Lime Skillet Chicken and Rice

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Ahh Tuesday, I like you so much better than Monday.
Our Monday was actually pretty good this week, but Tuesday just feels like we're getting somewhere in the week. 
It also means... Tasty Tuesday!
I love posting recipes because I just love cooking.
I always have and always will.
Dishes on the other hand... I hate those things.
Especially because we're living without a dishwasher right now.
It's kind of the worst.
That's why meals with less dishes, is much better.
This one is all made in one skillet with the exception of a pot for some rice.
You can also decide how spicy you want it based off how much chili flakes you put in.
It kind of reminded Hunter and I of a curry style dish which we absolutely LOVE!
This was another one that was just kind of made up as I went and I ended up loving it!
I sure hope you do too :)

4 skinless boneless chicken breasts cubed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
tbsp coconut oil
1/2 cup onion (always use yellow or white)
1 tsp dried red chili flakes (more or less depending on spice preference. I would start with less if you don't love spice and start with 1 tsp if you do like spice)
1 cup chicken broth
The Juice of 1 large lime
1/4 cup chopped cilantro 
1 can coconut milk 
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon corn starch mixed into 1 tablespoon water to thicken 
 2-4 serving rice (we went with white but brown or quinoa would be great!)

  1. Melt your coconut oil in a large skillet over medium high heat on the stove. Add the cubed chicken breasts and cook until slightly browned. Remove the chicken from your skillet and set aside. 
  2. Add the chopped onion to the same skillet and sauté for a few minutes to soften. Do not brown, just cook until translucent. 
  3. Add in your chicken broth and lime juice. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce down to a simmer. Let simmer for about 5 minutes. 
  4. Add in your coconut milk and bring back to a simmer again for another 5 minutes. Now add the starch and water mixture and whisk all together. You may need to raise the heat slightly higher to bring this to a boil to activate the starch so it'll thicken. Once the sauce thickens reduce it back down to a simmer.
  5. Add the chicken back to the skillet with heavy cream, cilantro, and red chili flakes. Cover and let cook for another 10 minutes or until everything is heated through.
  6. Serve over your rice and enjoy!

See, hardly any dishes in there!
It's so nice to just have to wash a couple dishes at the end of the night.
I made this on a cloudy, windy day and it perfectly did the job to warm us right up!
I hope you all love it too!

All my love,
Aleigh Joy 


A Little Easter Lady

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

I love having a little girl for several reasons, but being able to make her my little dress up dolly is definitely up there ;)
Before we knew Oaklyn's gender, I was convinced she was a girl. 
By the time we actually found out she was a girl, I had no clue what to think since I had just assumed she was a boy!
We listened to "All American Girl" by Carrie Underwood on the way to dinner that night and I thought my heart might burst.
Suddenly, I knew I was meant to be this little girly's mama and the thought of pretty holiday dresses, all the bows, and sparkly shoes had me beyond excited!
I've always loved everything about holidays but one thing I realllyy love is an excuse to dress Oaklyn up and take some fun photos ;)
We got together with some friends last week and had a picnic lunch in a local orchard and snapped some photos of our little Easter kiddos.
It was so dreamy being in the tunnel of trees that are so close to blossoming for spring.
Oaklyn and I were sitting alone one moment and she looked up at me and said, "I yov mama."
Those are the moments in motherhood that make all the hard ones beyond worth it!
I love remembering all these little moments and capturing them through photos so I never forget. 
This year we are going to be telling Oaklyn all about our Savior and the great sacrifice he made for all of us, but even more importantly, that He Lives! 
She may still be a little young to understand, but we'll be doing a little craft each year to show her :)
I'll be sharing that one with you guys soon!
For now, enjoy these pictures of my sweet little Easter Lady :)

All my love,
Aleigh Joy


Tasty Tuesday: Balsamic Steak Salad

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

I never say "can't even" but... if there was the perfect time to say it, it would be right now haha.
In a matter of 48 hours we've dealt with replacing 3 tires, a cranky toddler, a flood in our home (and on the carpet, ugh), a plumber that came like 4 hours late, a lost debit card, an even crankier toddler,  a found debit card because the Sonic lady forgot to give it back to me, and a sassy Sonic employee that thought it was my fault... HA!
Guys, I'm so ready for this week to be over already!
And, it just started.
My saint of a husband however, knew I was a little more than frustrated over the whole ordeal, and brought home pizza and I thought I was gonna cry it made me so happy haha!
Alright, I feel a little better now that I ranted about my life ha...
On to the real reason why you came to this post!
I don't really like my bread dipped in balsamic... but when it comes to asparagus and salads, I want all the balsamic!
So, I made this little Balsamic steak salad based off cravings and Hunter literally had 5 bowls of it!
He's not exactly a "salad for dinner" kind of guy, but this one has steak so he was okay with it ;)

-Steak of any variety. (I used whatever was on sale but you can either go for the good stuff or stick with the cheap stuff. Whatever floats your boat. I also made a ton because I knew Hunter would want lots of meat, so make however much fits your family's needs/wants!)
-Bell peppers. (I got the mini ones and cut up about 5)
-1 package of sliced mushrooms
-1/2 cup sliced yellow onion
-1 package 50/50 salad mix (spring mix and spinach)
-Cherry or roma tomatoes (if you use cherry just cut them in half. If using roma dice them)
-1 avocado
-Parmesan Cheese
-Balsamic Vinegar
-Olive Oil
-Salt and Pepper

1) Grill your steak with some garlic salt and pepper until cooked to your liking.
2) In the meantime, sauté your bell pepper, mushrooms, and onion with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. Cook until al dente. No soggy veggies here!
3) Wash your salad mix and pat dry. Stick in a large bowl. Add in your cut up tomatoes and avocado.
4) Once everything is done cooking and slightly cooled add it to the salad mix and lightly toss with Balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and salt and pepper. I don't have exact measurements here because it's totally up to you how strong you want the balsamic taste to be. I would say I did 5-6 tbsp of balsamic to 3 tbsp olive oil give or take. Remember that you can always add more but you can't take it away!
5) I added a little parmesan on top and served with roasted sweet potato! 

Every now and then, a good salad for dinner is just needed!
I can't wait to make this all the time this summer!

All my love,
Aleigh Joy


Making Pool Days Stress Free With Sunsnap Swimwear!

Monday, April 10, 2017

This summer, we got passes to a local water park so Oaks can have some fun her last few months as the only child!
She has been talking about going down the "wawa slides" with dada for weeks now and cannot wait for the park to open!
I'll be pretty largely pregnant so no water slides for me... but I'm definitely looking forward to lounging around in the lazy river ;)
I'm hoping this insane winter is finally coming to a close... The weather keeps tricking us though so who really knows!
But seriously, this is the most snow we have seen since we've lived here and I'll admit that it's not my favorite ;)
Once February hit, I was pretty much craving warmer weather and walks with my little family.
At this point though, I'm craving dresses and sandals and dreaming of pool days.

When I became a parent, I quickly learned that pool days definitely weren't quite as relaxing anymore.
It also meant a whole lot more preparation to make it actually go smoothly.
I'm talking snacks (a new one for literally every 15 minutes haha), towels for the whole family, pacifiers and other "essentials", a change of clothes, lotion for after because my little girl has eczema,  pool toys, the list goes on and on...
But what's really the hardest part about swimming with a baby/toddler?
Hands down changing diapers!
We've been lucky enough to have caught any sort of accident before it meant shutting the pool down haha, but I'm just waiting for the day Oaklyn poops in the pool. 
Changing diapers at the pool means taking off the entire bathing suit and trying to cover up your completely naked baby while trying to change their diaper.
Then you have to try to get that wet bathing suit back on and the whole thing is just a whole lot harder than it needs to be!

That's why I was beyond excited when we found SunSnap Swimwear!
These bathing suits have snaps to make changing diapers at the pool a million times easier!
They are cute, trendy, easy, and convenient so your pool day can be spent having fun without hassle!
Baby onesies have snaps to make our lives easier, so why not put them on bathing suits?
I don't know why more baby and toddler swimsuits don't have these because they seriously make life so much easier!
We weren't able to use this swimsuit until recently because as I mentioned earlier, the weather has been totally hit or miss with the sunshine... but we had a warm day last week and got the hose out!
Oaks had so much fun running around in her suit and kept saying, "oohh mama, baby suit pwetty!"
These suits come in so many cute styles, patterns, and prints so you are sure to find something you love!
As a mom that is already busy and has enough to worry about, I'm so glad that this is one less thing I have to stress about!

Make sure to check out SunSnap Swimwear and get a cute suit for all your summer adventures!

All my love,
Aleigh Joy

Toddler Girl's Easter Basket Must Haves!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017
a photo from last year because look how tiny!

I love holidays of all sorts!
I think I just love having something to look forward to.
It's the best when you look at the calendar and see that there's several fun things to look forward to and anticipate, right?
I hope my kids always look forward to holidays and traditions.
Our family is still pretty young, but I have some traditions already started and a few I can't wait to start!
I'd love to hear some of your favorite Easter traditions and I'm excited to share some of ours in the future :)
One thing that I think pretty much everyone does is an Easter basket.
I always looked forward to waking up and seeing what was inside the basket my mom put together.
Each year I'll be including an Easter Sunday outfit to wear to church, some candy, a toy or two, and matching accessories for the outfit!
Other than that and an egg hunt, our family will be focusing on the spiritual side of Easter in our traditions :)

So if you're planning on putting together an Easter basket this year, here are a few things I think you should/could include!

All my love,
Aleigh Joy


Tasty Tuesday: Baked Manicotti

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

One of Hunter's favorite meals ever is lasagna. 
However, he only really likes it when his mom makes it haha.
I've tried making it several times but we have very differing opinions on how it should be made.
I LOVE ricotta cheese and he just likes regular cheese, meat, noodles, and sauce.
I like to get fancy, and he likes to keep it simple haha.
So, I've decided to leave the lasagna making for his mom when we go home and visit ;) 
Sometimes though, I get a craving for lasagna made my way and have decided manicotti is basically just the same thing in a different form.
And, I've managed to trick Hunter into loving it the way I make it!
Win, win!
I also like to think that because I do part of my filling with cottage cheese and spinach, that it's just a bit healthier ;) haha!
Anyways, I hope you like this recipe as much as we do!
Pair it with some balsamic asparagus and you are golden!


-1 lb ground beef
-1 package manicotti noodles
-1 jar favorite marinara sauce
-1 Cup and 1/2 cup shredded cheese (I've used practically all of them but I like to use whatever I have which is usually the Mexican blend from costco) 
-1 cup cottage cheese
-1 cup ricotta cheese
-1 tsp garlic salt
-1 tsp dried basil
-1 cup chopped fresh spinach
-salt and pepper to taste

1) Brown your ground beef in a pan with some salt and pepper to taste. At the same time, boil your manicotti until al dente. You don't want them to fall apart because it gets reallllyy hard to stuff them.
2) In a bowl or stand up mixer combine all cheeses reserving the 1/2 cup of shredded cheese for the top. Add in your ground beef, spinach, and seasonings and combine. Add in salt and pepper to your taste preference. 
3) Put 1/3 of your pasta sauce at the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Now you get to stuff your manicotti. This can be a really messy step so I highly recommend adding your filling to a gallon size ziploc bag and snipping off the corner to fill your noodles. It just makes it easier on everyone haha. Once you fill one, place it on top of the sauce in your pan.
4) Add the remainder or your sauce on top of the stuffed noodles and sprinkle the rest of your shredded cheese on top. I also do a few sprinkles of parmesan cheese and a little chopped spinach on top. 
5) Cover with foil and bake at 375 for about 20 min. Then uncover and bake another 10 minutes. I like to broil the top for an additional 1 or 2 minutes at the end to make the cheese on top crispy ;)

Ta-da! Your manicotti is all done! I like to serve this with a salad or some grilled veggies and it's even better when you eat it outside. 
I just feel like eating outside makes anything better haha.

I hope you all enjoy this recipe!

All my love,
Aleigh Joy


She's A GIRL!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

I already posted my announcement photo on social media, but figured I'd also write a little something about adding another little lady to our family!
First off, I cannot begin to explain how relieved I am!
As all expecting parents, we were really just hoping for a healthy baby and a healthy pregnancy.
We would obviously have been happy with either a boy or a girl, but of course were kind of "hoping" for one or the other.
From the moment I saw that very clear positive, I was hoping it would be a girl.
First off, a girl just felt right to me.
I have a two year old girl already, a whole lot of little girl clothes, have changed hundreds of little girl diapers, felt totally comfortable with raising a girl, and just loved the idea of reusing basically everything we already have.
I purposefully got all of our baby gear the first time around to be gender neutral so we wouldn't have to worry about that in the future, but when it came to wardrobe... there was nothing "neutral" in her closet ha.
Since Hunter is still in school, it just felt so much more comfortable to have a little girl.
Not only that, but I have been obsessed with our girl name since I was 18 and was just dying to use it.
So, at 12 weeks we had an ultrasound and the tech says "are you guys going to find out what you are having this time around?"
I responded, "yes, but probably not until 20 weeks because we don't want to pay at 16 weeks this time..."
He then looks at me and says "well I know what you're having already, do you want to know?"
I looked at Hunter and said "Do we? Do we want to know right now?"
I was worried I wouldn't know how to feel about what he was going to say because I wasn't prepared to know that early but blurted out a big 'ol yes!
He then says "okay, I'm 90% sure you're having a girl!"
I immediately felt relief and was so happy we wouldn't have to worry about buying much of well... anything!
He of course then says " I'm not usually wrong, but this is a very early guess so we'll make sure to check again at 20 weeks."
Because it was so early we only told close friends and family but if I'm being honest... I really didn't want to tell anyone haha.
I felt like it would be "less exciting" news to have another girl even though for me, it was exactly the news I was hoping for.
So, we just continued to pray for our "baby" and knew there was still a possibility of hearing something different at 20 weeks.
Fast forward 8 weeks and we're at the 20 week ultrasound.
The tech is going through all the anatomy and then says, "So what did I tell you you're having at 12 weeks?"
After telling him a girl he says, "Okay! Let's find out if I was right!"
Suddenly I panicked and thought "wait... what do you mean 'if'... What if it is a boy? I'm not prepared for a boy!"
Next thing I knew I was staring at the screen where he typed out that we were in fact having a girl!
I let out the biggest sigh of relief and whispered "oh thank goodness."
Like I said earlier, we absolutely would love to have a little boy... but at this particular time I am SO grateful this little one is a girl!
I am already dreaming up matching dresses on holidays and watching them play dolls together!
Hopefully they get along haha.
At some point, I absolutely want a boy... and Hunter of course does too!
We are definitely not stopping at two kids.
However, right now, I know the Lord was very mindful of us and placed this baby girl into our family at the perfect time.
Oaklyn gets a little friend, I get to be at ease while Hunter finishes school, and ya know... I get to use my name ;)
So anyways, we just wanted to say a big THANK YOU to all of you for the congratulations and well wishes!
We are thrilled to welcome another baby girl into our family and can't wait to share her name!
For now, we will be calling her baby C :)

All my love,
Aleigh Joy

I just had to include this picture because Oaklyn's face is the best haha! And no... Hunter didn't buy pink Nikes for this picture haha. He already had them from Breast Cancer awareness month (BYU makes sure to support!)