Sunday, September 13, 2015

Morrows on the Move!

Well, friends, in case you haven't heard the news, we are moving!

It's been several years in the making, but in early 2016, Aaron, the girls, and I will be moving to Dubuque, Iowa to start a church!

This is obviously a huge transition for our family with lots of details currently settled in the "unknown" column.  In case you were wondering, I'm one of those people who prefers details to permanently reside in the "well planned" column.  

But, even though some things are kind of up in the air, namely selling our house and buying a new one, I'm really, really excited!  The girls have gotten used to the idea and are inching towards being excited, but I wouldn't say they are there yet.  And that's normal and okay!  Aaron and I have had several years to think about and get ready for this but the girls just found out at the end of the summer. A move, even a close move like this one, really does send a child's world into some sort of upheaval.  

If you are someone who sees Leah, Maggie, or Gracie, I think it would be best if you let them bring up the move with you as they are ready.  

'Even though this is an adventure that Aaron and I are excited to take, it is certainly bittersweet.  We love our life here.  We love our friends and our neighborhood and our home and our kids' schools and our church and the fact that we are 7 minutes from anything in town.  

But, we trust that seeing as this is something God has made clear that He wants us to do, we know that He will be caring for us and giving us strength as we go.  

We also aren't doing this alone!  We have partners and a team of people moving with us.  Later this week, I'll share more about this truly amazing group of people that God has put together.

While many people have heard this news from us personally, it still feels kind of awkward to just drop it like a bombshell.  But I figured that I just needed to get it out there so I can write about it.  This is something I want to be able to look back on and see how Jesus has grown us and sustained us.  Plus, I hope that YOU are encouraged and challenged by our story.

So, BOOM!  There it is.  We are on the move...

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Slow Cooker Salsa Verde Chicken Tacos

I am transferring all of the recipes from my soon to be defunct food blog to this blog!  Here's a good one!
There are lots and lots of slow cooker chicken tacos recipes out there, and I’ve tried a few.  None of them are really bad, but I haven’t tried any that I thought were anything special.
Until now!  (That sounds pretty over-dramatic, doesn’t it :) )
These are the winning-est slow cooker chicken tacos, PLUS I think there are a few factors that make them easily special.
First of all, salsa verde.
Slow Cooker Salsa Verde Chicken Tacos // Becky's Happy Table
If you’ve watched any Dora the Explorer, you’ll know that verde is green!  Salsa verde is made with tomatillos instead of regular red tomatoes.  I’ve heard that Herdez makes some great salsa verde, but I’m partial to the World Table Roasted Tomatillo salsa.  It’s made with tomatillos, roasted jalapenos, cilantro, and lime.  It’s actually distributed by Walmart, so I’m pretty sure that’s the only place you can get it.
Also special?  Instead of using chicken breasts, the recipe calls for chicken thighs.  These tacos weren’t dry at all.  I always think it’s weird when I’m eating a pulled chicken from the slow cooker and it manages to by dry even though it’s wet.  Does that make sense to anyone but me?
The last special factor?  The polblano pepper!  I’ve had stuffed and fried poblanos at a Mexican restaurant before, but this was the first time I’ve bought one.  I’m a fan.  They aren’t too spicy…they just add a nice little kick!  You should know that I’m a baby about spicy things, and I didn’t think this was too spicy at all.
Slow Cooker Salsa Verde Chicken Tacos // Becky's Happy Table
After cooking the meat for 4-5 hours on low, you stir in some freshly squeezed lime juice and cilantro.  I love these fresh additions at the end!  Sometimes I feel like food that is slow cooked can have its flavors muddled and kind of dull, but the lime and cilantro perk this right up!
We enjoyed these as tacos with monterrey jack cheese, sour cream, salsa, and lettuce.  I also had it on a salad with cubed jack cheese, black beans, and chopped tomatoes.  I made an easy dressing by combining equal parts of sour cream and salsa verde.  I would have added avocados to the mix if mine was ripe.
Slow Cooker Salsa Verde Chicken Tacos // Becky's Happy Table
I also think this would be great on nachos or in white enchiladas!
Aaron and I loved these (the girls had cheese quesadillas…whomp whomp), and I plan on making them again.  I’m also freezing the leftovers so I can defrost them for an easy dinner!
Slow Cooker Salsa Verde Chicken Tacos
Recipe type: Entree
Prep time:  
Cook time:  
Total time:  
Serves: 8-10 tacos
These slow cooker chicken tacos with a twist and perfect for a weeknight meal. Freeze the leftovers for later!
  • 2 and ½-3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 large (compared to the others in the bin) poblano pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup tomatillo (or green) salsa
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • additional salt and pepper to season chicken
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • ¼ cup minced cilantro
  1. In a large slow cooker, combine salsa, chopped poblano, and ¼ teaspoon each oregano, salt, and pepper.
  2. Season the chicken thighs on both sides with salt and pepper before adding to the ingredients already in the slow cooker. Be sure to nestle the chicken in there; don't just set it on top.
  3. Cook on LOW for 4-5 hours.
  4. Once the chicken is cooked through, remove to a plate. Shred with 2 forks and return to the slow cooker.
  5. Add the lime juice and cilantro. Give it a stir to combine.
  6. Serve in flour tortillas with your favorite taco toppings!

Recipe barely tweaked from Taste and Tell.

Hospitality Hint: Sparkle

I am transferring all of the recipes from my soon to be defunct food blog to this blog!  Here's a good one!
I had a super fun 31 Gifts party last week, so now I’m sharing an easy hospitality hint with you!
Meet the sparkle:
Sparkle!  //  Becky's Happy Table
A lot of cooking and serving food (or beverage in this case) is in the presentation!
I feel like calling a beverage “punch” lacks a bit of, you know, punch!
I prefer the term “sparkle!”
Doesn’t that sound so much more fun?
Here’s the equation:
Sparkle!  //  Becky's Happy Table
In this particular sparkle, I used equal parts ginger ale, and cran-raspberry juice, and…
TA-DA!!  Meet Ginger Cran-Raspberry Sparkle.  Or you could call it a sparkler :)
You can even add a twist of lime for an extra little something :)
This particular sparkle was a little bit drier (as opposed to sweet), but you can certainly mix and match the soda and juice however your little heart desires!
What combination would you enjoy?

7 Layer Greek Dip

I am transferring all of the recipes from my soon to be defunct food blog to this blog!  Here's a good one!
When I have a little party or something like a girls’ night, I like to have something sweet to eat and something savory.  I’m a fan of balance in that department!
I mentioned on Monday (when I shared our beverage) that I had a 31 party.  This recipe was the savory snack!
I got the recipe from Our Best Bites, and I love that it is fun and beautiful and decently healthy!
7 Layer Greek Dip // Becky's Happy Table

I’ve made my own hummus when I’ve made this before.  This time, though, Aaron was out of town, and I wanted it to be easy.  I bought and thoroughly enjoyed Sabra Roasted Red Pepper Hummus.  I was going to buy my hummus at Aldi, but I forgot :)  And, because I’m sure you’re interested in such things, you can buy everything for this recipe, except the dill, at Aldi!
7 Layer Greek Dip // Becky's Happy Table
This recipe needs to chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours, so it’s great to make ahead!  You can even do all of the chopping the night before!
I served this with pita crackers, thin Triscuits (the little triangle guys), and carrots cut on the diagonal like chips.  I think my favorite were the Triscuit thins.  My friend, Kathy, observed that they were so much better than the regular Triscuits because it was less like “eating a haystack.”  I have funny friends :)
7 Layer Greek Dip // Becky's Happy Table
7 Layer Greek Dip
Recipe type: Appetizer
Prep time:  
Total time:  
This beautiful dip is made ahead and perfect for a party. The leftovers make a great lunch!
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill weed (or salt free greek seasoning, I used dill)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 and ½ cups hummus (choose your favorite flavor)
  • 1 cup seeded and diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup peeled, seeded, and diced cucumbers
  • ½ cup sliced kalamata olives
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • ½ cup crumbled feta
  1. With an electric mixer, cream the cream cheese until smooth. Add the dill weed, garlic, and lemon juice and mix until well combined and creamy.
  2. Spread onto the bottom of a pie plate or other shallow dish.
  3. Top with about 1 and ½ cups of your favorite hummus.
  4. Chop the tomatoes and place in a colander to drain while you chop the rest of the ingredients.
  5. Chop the cucumbers, olives, and onion.
  6. Layer the rest of the ingredients on top of the hummus: cucumber, tomatoes, olives, onions, feta.
  7. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  8. Serve with your favorite dippers!

Raspberry Cream Brownies

I am transferring all of the recipes from my soon to be defunct food blog to this blog!  Here's a good one!
You can’t go wrong with brownies…which means you can’t go wrong with brownies topped with amazing-ness!
Raspberry Cream Brownies // Becky's Happy Table
I got this recipe from a Taste of Home magazine when Leah was a baby!  I don’t know why I don’t make it more often, because it is so delicious!
All you need is a 9×13 inch pan of your favorite brownies.  You are more than welcome to use a box mix, but I literally always make these brownies.  I can personally attest to the fudge-y awesomeness of them!
You top the brownies with what is basically a cloud of white chocolate with raspberry pie filling gently spread on top.  I bet you could use your favorite berry pie filling…I think blueberry would be great, too!
These Raspberry Cream Brownies were the sweet element of what I served at my 31 party.  If you need a refreshed, the savory snack was 7 Layer Greek Dip.
I had the great idea to cut these into triangles which didn’t turn out quite like I had hoped.  I ended up cutting them into skinny rectangles, and that worked out a lot better.  Obviously you can cut them into squares, but I wanted to try something different.
These are great at room temperature, but perfection when they are chilled.  The cooler the dessert is, the more fudge-like the brownies become.  Yum!
Raspberry Cream Brownies
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 24
Fudge-y brownies topped with a cloud of white chocolate and raspberry pie filling! You are free to mix and match the pudding and pie topping for different flavor combinations!
  • 9x13 inch pan of fudge-y brownies
  • 1 small box (3.3 ounces) instant white chocolate pudding
  • 2 cups heavy cream, divided
  • 1 can raspberry pie filling
  1. Make brownies and allow to cool completely.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the pudding mix and 1 cup of heavy cream until thick. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whip the remaining 1 cup of cream until soft peaks form.
  4. Gently fold the pudding mixed with cream into the whipped cream.
  5. Spread on top of the brownies.
  6. Gently top with pie filling.
  7. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  8. Slice and enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Scones (THE BEST)

I am transferring all of the recipes from my soon to be defunct food blog to this blog!  Here's THE BEST one!
If I ever become famous for something I bake (which, who are we kidding, that’s never going to happen), it will be these Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Scones (barely adapted from my sister-in-law’s college roommate).
Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Scones // Becky's Happy Table
This is somewhat funny, because if scones were a person, I would have to apologize to him or her.
For the longest time, I assumed that scones were like biscotti.  And, I mean no offense to the biscotti, but I’m just not a fan.  A cookie that is hard and dry on purpose is just not my thing.
But, we were in Aaron’s hometown a few years ago, and I ran into a great little coffee shop.  Their drinks were less expensive than I was used to, so I impulse purchased a scone.
It was amazing, and I’ve never turned back.  I heart scones 4-evah 😉
So, you can see why I owe scones an apology for judging them by their frenemy the biscotti.
Anyway, I’m going to show you some step by step photos to demystify the scone making process and give you my scone making secrets/tips.  You can feel free to scroll down to the end, though, if you want to just read the recipe.
First of all, you stir together your dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda) in a large bowl.
Then you are supposed to cut the butter into the dry ingredients.  I pretty much hate cutting butter into dry ingredients.  Regardless of how chilled my butter is, it always gets stuck in the pastry blender and it’s just a pain.
I solve this problem using my trusty grater.  <— Tip #1
Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Scones // Becky's Happy Table
I make sure that I’m using frozen butter.  It should be in the freezer for a minimum of an hour to be nice and solid.  Often times I’ll just leave a stick and a half of butter in the freezer to be ready for scones at any moment.  I make these scones so often that I have the recipe memorized…they’re Aaron’s favorite!
So, I grate/shred the butter…
Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Scones // Becky's Happy Tableand dump it into the dry ingredients.
Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Scones // Becky's Happy Table
I incorporate the butter into the dry ingredients with my fingers, being sure to break up any big clumps of butter.  It should end up looking a lot like this…
Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Scones // Becky's Happy Table
Add the chocolate chips and buttermilk.
Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Scones // Becky's Happy Table
I often have buttermilk on hand, but if you don’t, you can make your own!  <— Tip #2
Stir it all together.
Now, this is where you might need the pictures.  You see this dry patch?
Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Scones // Becky's Happy Table
You’re going to need a little bit more buttermilk.  <— Tip #3  I drizzle in about a tablespoon more and it’s just right.
Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Scones // Becky's Happy Table
I realize that’s not as definitive as we want recipes to be, but it’s just one of those things.
Turn your dough out onto a lightly floured surface,
Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Scones // Becky's Happy Table
and knead it 12 times, ending in a nice ball.
Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Scones // Becky's Happy Table
Cut the ball in half,
Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Scones // Becky's Happy Table
and press into 2 circles that are about half an inch thick.
Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Scones // Becky's Happy Table
Cut each circle into 6 triangular slices.
Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Scones // Becky's Happy Table
If you want to bake them right away, you can do so at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes.
Or you can be like me and freeze them.  I place them on a plastic wrap lined cookie sheet and freeze until solid.
Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Scones // Becky's Happy Table
After they are solid, I pop them into a freezer bag and then bake them as needed (at 400 degrees for 16-18 minutes).  <— Tip #4  Fresh scones are the best!
Be sure to sprinkle the scones with sugar before baking.  I use the chunky sugar, but regular sugar is totally fine.
Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Scones // Becky's Happy Table
ALWAYS use a silpat or parchment paper when baking scones.  <— Tip 5  This eliminates burned bottoms.  Ain’t nobody got time for burned bottoms 😉
Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Scones
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time:  
Cook time:  
Total time:  
Serves: 12
Truly the best scones you'll ever enjoy! And, yes, they do live up to the hype :)
  • 3 cups flour
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 2½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ cup (which is 1 and ½ sticks) butter, frozen
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • additional sugar for sprinkling
  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda.
  2. Grate your frozen butter and add to the dry ingredients. (Alternately, you can can cut your butter into your dry ingredients...whatever floats your boat :) ) Use your fingers to incorporate the butter into the dry ingredients, resulting in pea sized or smaller clumps.
  3. Stir in the chocolate chips and buttermilk. Add up to a tablespoon of buttermilk if there are dry patches.
  4. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead 12 times, ending up with a ball.
  5. Divide ball in half.
  6. Press each half into a circle about a half an inch thick.
  7. Cut each circle into 6 slices.
  8. Sprinkle each scone with sugar.
  9. To bake immediately, place 2 inches apart on a silpat or parchment paper lined cookie sheet at bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned.
  10. To bake later, place on a plastic wrap lined cookie sheet and freeze until solid. Place in a freezer bag until ready to use. Bake from frozen on a silpat or parchment paper lined cookie at 400 degrees for 16-18 minutes or until lightly browned. Don't forget to sprinkle with sugar before baking!