Saturday, August 31, 2013

Cherry Limeade & End of Summer Playlist

Summer is quickly coming to a close and so I thought maybe I should finally post my summer playlist… you know, before fall gets here. I have been posting summer music playlists for the past few years now and I always mean to post it early… somehow that never seems to happen. I have no idea why really other than this annoying thing called procrastination. But better late than never, right? So today I’m sharing all the tunes that have made up my summer! But first… a recipe!

One of mine and my family’s favorite places to go for a coke and a burger is Sonic. It’s one of the few fast food places in our small town so we go pretty often but I find myself frequenting it more in the summer. Especially during happy hour for half priced sodas (what I call the “non-drinkers version of happy hour” ;))! While my usual order is a Dr. Pepper with vanilla, every now and again in the summer, I crave an ice cold Cherry Limeade. But I just discovered that with a few simple ingredients, you can make it at home! And it seriously could not be easier.

This refreshing and sweet drink is the perfect pick me up on a hot day… and we Texan’s still have quite a few of those ahead. Be sure to fix you a pitcher before summer ends!

Sonic’s Copycat Cherry Limeade -

(Recipe found @


Who knew that a simple mix of limeade concentrate, Sprite, and cherry juice could be so delish?! That’s pretty much all this drink is and it tastes identical to Sonic’s!


Add in lots of crushed ice, a few cherries, and garnish with a slice of lime! It’s really the perfect summer drink! :)


1 can frozen limeade concentrate

1 (2 liter) bottle of lemon-lime soda

Juice from 1 (10 oz) jar of maraschino cherries

Fresh limes, sliced (optional)


Mix all ingredients together and serve immediately. You can also throw in some maraschino cherries if you would like. For a slushier drink, use limeade concentrate that is completely frozen. Add ice and garnish with a slice of lime if desired.

End of Summer Playlist -

“You bring the ocean, I'll bring emotion. Together we'll make a love potion.” – St. Croix by Family of the Year


(Photo of the pretty bay in my town.)

So in my crazed music obsessed mind every season, every holiday, every occasion needs its own soundtrack. And summer is always a fun one for me to make. Some of these songs are old favorites, like “Summertime” by Mae and “Love Love Love” by Tristan Prettyman. And some have become recent summer staples such as “When I’m With You” by Best Coast and “St. Croix” by Family of the Year. All of them make this hot & humid season a little more bearable for me. :)

Summer 2013 by Krystal Rodriguez on Grooveshark

Have a fun & safe Labor Day weekend and enjoy what’s left of your summer! :)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Stuffed Chicken Marsala

Hey, or should I say bwon jorno, fellow foodies! My favorite kind of food in the world to eat and to make happens to be Italiano! And my favorite meal is hands down this lovely dish of Stuffed Chicken Marsala!

The first time I ever had Stuffed Chicken Marsala was at Olive Garden (of course) years ago. I wanted something a little different than the manicotti both my sister and I would always order. The second I tasted it, I was hooked! It became my go-to order from then on.

I always wanted to attempt to make it at home but figured it might be a bit complicated, turns out it’s really not. And it’s truly just as good as Olive Garden… if not better. Yep, I said it!

But I will say, in the interest of full disclosure, though I could totally eat this everyday, it’s more of a meal I bring out for special occasions. It’s pretty rich, the ingredients can get a little pricey, and it’s somewhat time consuming. But please do not let that scare you away… trust me, it’s way too delish to pass up! Plus I cannot think of a better dish to impress your guests or especially a date!

So save it for a holiday or special occasion or call up some friends and make tonight a special occasion but just be sure to give it a shot real soon! Yes, you could go to Olive Garden, sure, but there’s something much more satisfying about making it yourself in your own kitchen.

So pour yourself a glass of wine (Okay, in my case it would be Dr. Pepper since I don’t drink but it just sounded right lol.), put on some music and get to cookin’. Ciao lovelies! :)

Mambo Italiano by Rosemary Clooney on Grooveshark

Stuffed Chicken Marsala -


(Recipe found @

When you taste this tender chicken filled with 3 kinds of cheeses, sun dried tomatoes, green onions, and garlic (among other things) covered in creamy Marsala sauce full of mushrooms… I swear you’re going to fall in love!


Some of the delish ingredients! Can I just tell you that I’m on a huge mushroom kick right now… love anything with mushrooms. Ooh and cheese, always cheese!


Onions, garlic. mushrooms, heavy cream, and of course Marsala wine make up the most heavenly sauce ever.


Pair this chicken with some mashed potatoes and garlic bread and you’re set! Bon appetite! :)

Cheese Stuffing -
1/2 cup smoked shredded cheese (provolone or gouda)
8-oz package mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 tsp fresh garlic, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, crushed
2 Tbsp sun-dried tomato, chopped (drain first if in oil)
1/3 cup green onions, thinly sliced
3/4 cup sour cream (6 oz)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Sauce -
1/2 large red small onion, finely chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups Marsala wine
1 cup heavy cream
1 8oz container of cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper to taste

2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken breasts
4 fl oz olive oil for frying
2 cups all-purpose flour

Pre-heat oven to 350°F and have a baking dish ready.

Combine all the cheese stuffing ingredients in a mixing bowl and set aside.

To prepare the chicken, butterfly the thickest section of chicken breasts to create 2 halves. Place each breast in a large ziptop storage bag and pound it with the flat side of a meat mallet until ¼” - ½” thick. Place the flattened chicken breasts on a plate and add a desired amount of cheese stuffing on one half of each chicken breast. Try not to overfill. Gently press stuffing down and fold over other half of chicken breast; it does not have to seal.

Place flour in a shallow pan and season to taste with salt and pepper. Dredge stuffed chicken breasts in flour, shaking off excess.

In a cast iron skillet over medium heat, add oil and heat until shimmering. Sauté the flour coated chicken breasts in the preheated oil, cooking until each side is golden brown. Remove chicken from pan and place in the baking dish you have on hand. Bake the browned chicken in the preheated oven for 10-20 minutes, or until juices run clear and the center of chicken reaches 165°F.

Meanwhile, add the onions and garlic to the cast iron skillet and stir to loosen chicken drippings. After 2 minutes, add mushrooms and fresh chopped parsley. Saut̩ until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms begin to caramelize. Add the Marsala wine to the skillet to deglaze the pan Рmake sure to incorporate drippings from bottom of pan. Allow the Marsala to come to a simmer and then add the heavy cream. Simmer on low heat until reduced by half.

Place the cooked chicken breasts on a plate and top each with this Marsala-mushroom sauce. Serve with potatoes & garlic bread, if desired!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Currently Loving…

Songs in French – here, here, and here. I may not be able to understand a word of these songs but, it doesn’t matter,  they’re beautiful. Kinda obsessed with this language right now. It’s so lovely to me! Dying to learn it!

This poem by spoken word artist, Anis Mojgani… what can I say? It’s breathtaking. No matter how many times I hear it it always seems to affect me in the same way, chills. I find myself listening to this, eyes closed, smile on my face. He really believes every word he says in this poem… so do I.


These quotes from Breakfast at Tiffany’s! Okay, so I never actually watched Breakfast at Tiffany’s until just a couple weeks ago. I know, cray, right? I had seen bits & pieces of it but had never sat down and really paid attention to the whole movie. I fell in love with it! Loved the dialogue, Audrey Hepburn was so classy, and the end? Are you kidding me?! I was a train wreak!  Maybe it was the whole cat being abandoned in the rain thing… then she finally realizes that she needs the cat and the cat needs her and she needs Paul. Yeah, it had me in the “ugly cry”… glad no one was around to see it. lol.



“Paper Aeroplane” by Angus & Julia Stone. Everything about this song and video is perfect! "Gotta say mmmm..." Le sigh… :)


One of my favorite bloggers, Hannah Brencher  (who also heads up the organization The World Needs More Love Letters) wrote this beautiful blog back in June.  This girl has such an amazing gift for writing! Her words never fail to touch my heart and inspire me. This is one of my favorites!

Can I just tell you how much I love art journal & mixed media artist, Suzi Blu?! Her creative videos and quirky & whimsy personality so inspire me! Her outlook on art is that it should be a part of your everyday life and that everyone can make art. And she will help you do that in her online art classes!! She’s quirky, artsy, weird ( in the best way), and eccentric… and I kinda love people like that.  :)

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Nostalgic Christian Rock Playlists


Music is such a funny thing, it's amazing to me how just the first few notes of a song can bring back a rush of memories. It can be a time machine transporting you back to different times in your life; good and bad.

This post is kind of a special one as I have my sister, Cecily, guest blogging with me!! As kids we both grew up listening to a ton of Christian music and going to lots of concerts. And while yes, looking back some of that music may have had a slight cheese factor to it (cough, Carmen ;)), it played a huge role in our lives. And going to concerts & experiencing live music at such an early age was a really fun way to grow up & I wouldn't trade it for the world.

This love of Christian music and concerts continued into our teen years and into adulthood. But our tastes definitely changed... instead of Carmen or Point of Grace we were now listening to Switchfoot, Hawk Nelson, Showbread, and Underoath (to the complete horror of our parents who gave us many lectures about listening to screamo ... or bands who "sound like the world" ;)).

Even though in recent years a lot has changed, I lost my concert buddy as my sister is now married & living in GA, and I think both our tastes in music have changed a little. But we both still love these songs. Not only because their nostalgic and bring back lots of fun and happy memories... but also because it's just really good music. I think we'll always love them. So in honor of that love we wanted to share our Christian rock favorites with you guys today!

It's hard not to be nostalgic when it comes to these songs but I'll try not to be overly sentimental. After all these are rock playlists and how rock 'n roll would that be, right? ;)

Cecily’s Christian Rock Playlist -

Oh, the nights my sister and cousin spent listening to these songs. They are all beautiful memories to us. I had so much fun putting this list together because with each song I was reminded of a night or year or a specific time in my life…these songs followed us. I sound sappy but that is because a lot has changed over the last couple years. I have moved to another state and can’t always see my family as often as I want so the memories these songs hold for us help me to feel like I am not so far away. I can put on a song and it’s like they are right there next to me. Skillet says it the best in their song “Those Nights” –

“Through all the hard times in my life
Those nights kept me alive” – That they did and still do.

Old Skool Christian by Cecily Priscilla on Grooveshark

Be sure to check out Cecily’s blog, Bluebonnets & Peaches!

Krystal’s Christian Rock Playlist -

The songs I chose remind me of every Friday and Saturday night sitting down with my sister and watching our music video shows. It may sound dorky but watching our music videos (and sometimes baking up a pan of brownies) was something we looked forward to every weekend... we were just wild & crazy like that lol. We started watching TVU's "Ten Most Wanted" back in 2004 (rarely ever missed an episode) as well as many others that we discovered so many bands we now love through. They also remind me of rocking out at concerts with my sister and cousin! Those were some of the most fun times ever... so these songs bring back those memories and really make me miss them like crazy!

Nostalgic Christian Rock Playlist by Krystal Rodriguez on Grooveshark