Cilantro Lime Chicken & Broccoli Casserole Recipes

We all have those evening where we are tired from our long day at work but don’t want to eat take out and rather have a home cooked meal. This is one of my husband’s favorite dishes (pictured) that takes about 30 minutes.

First thing I do is get the Broccoli casserole going; while you have set it to forget it (for a little while anyway) you can cook your chicken and veggies.

Easy Crock-Pot Broccoli & Cheese Casserole

Ingredients:

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 package (16 ounces) frozen chopped broccoli (be sure to have it thawed out)
1/3 cup milk
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell’ s Condensed Cream of Chicken & Herb Soup
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell’ s Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell’ s Condensed Cream of Broccoli Soup
1 jar (8 ounces) pasteurized process cheese sauce (like Cheez Whiz)
2 cups minute white rice
1 cup of warm water
Large Crock-Pot

Directions:

Heat the butter in your crock-pot high on heat.
Stir the broccoli, milk, soups, and rice.
Bake at high heat for about 20-30 minutes, stirring every 5 or 10 minutes until the mixture is hot and bubbling. Then add cheese. After its ready, set your crock pot on warm. Then serve.

limeCilantro Lime Chicken:

Ingredients:

4 boneless chicken breasts (skinned)
1 lime (I like it tangy!)
1 bottle of Paul Newman’s lime dressing
1 small bundle of cilantro (chopped fine or minced)
dash1 tablespoon of Ms. Dash Salt-free seasoning
Pam Olive Oil Cooking Spray

Directions:

The night before I take plain skinned chicken breasts and place them in a big Ziploc freezer bag.  I cut and squeeze the entire lime in the bag over the chicken and spoon out the pulp. After that, pour the dressing making sure all the breasts are covered. I add my seasoning and minced cilantro, then shake up the bag to oilmix everything up and put it in the refrigerator so it can marinate overnight. When you are ready to cook the chicken, spray down your stick free pan with Pam olive oil cooking spray and it takes about 5-10 minutes to cook (depending on how thick the breasts are) at a medium heat.

 

 

Veggies: (pictured brussel sprouts & baby carrots)

 I halved my Brussels as you can see in the picture. In a stick free pan, I spray it down with a bit of Pam olive oil cooking spray; at a medium heat add in my veggies. I sprinkle a little bit of Ms. Dash seasoning also. The veggies cook in about 10 minutes and it’s easy to do so as you’re cooking your chicken. Hope you enjoy!

foodie

 

April M. Monterrosa is a Proud Latina from San Antonio, Texas, a Military wife, the mama of a dachshund, a beauty writer, lifestyle blogger, a licensed Cosmetologist of 18 years, Owner of The Lil Spa Room, & a Nuskin Skin Care Distributor. With beauty & blogging being such passions, Shine Beautifully was born. Shine Beautifully will feature beauty tips, home remedies, quotes, poetry, recipes, personal stories, travel adventures, bullshit, & randomness. Don’t forget to subscribe!

 

What I’ve Learned about Marriage in 2013

2013 I hit 3 years of being married. Having been very public about my separation on social media, I can honestly say it’s been very therapeutic for me and inspirational for others. I am nothing special, I’m just a woman that wants to be loved and adored like any other. Love hit me like a ton of bricks, hard and unexpected. But like anything else, it can’t always be fun and games. I can’t even remember when and how things got to where they are now between my husband and I. All I know is both sides aren’t perfect and have made mistakes.
This year, as a married woman, I’ve learned that when you love someone it can feel like you’re invincible one second and like you’re losing your mind the next. We as people make bad choices sometimes and fail to realize that we are only cheating ourselves and scaring those we truly love.
We were all taught how to love differently growing up. All we can do is love our spouses the best we can, appreciate them for all that they are, be patient, forgive as much as we can, but continue to love ourselves too.
As individuals we all have our weaknesses and strengths; but together, we have to figure out how they all mesh well enough to make things work.
I grew up with parents that have been married over 40 years, they’ve been an amazing example of what to do and not do in a marriage, no matter how angry you are your spouse still comes first, and just because vows were broken doesn’t mean you have to throw your vows out the window. In marriage, every couple makes their own rules and handles things differently.
The both of us have inner demons and struggles we need to overcome, that doesn’t mean there isn’t any love between us. With the new year approaching I know what I have to do on my end of the marriage for my husband, the both of us, and especially for myself. Only a higher power knows the future so all I can do is work with what I have in the present and leave the past behind.

To others going through martial struggles: It doesn’t matter what differences your spouse and you have, how much therapy you go through, what advice is given to you, & what your mind tells you…you can’t help who your heart loves. Do what makes you happy, take things day by day, and if you feel it in your gut not to quit, then don’t.
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Keep Busy During Deployments

Being a Military spouse is a tough job; no one knows how hard it is to keep your mind off thinking the worst. During a deployment there will be days, weeks, and sometimes months before you get to hear from your spouse. In the meantime, you are always on edge, waiting by your home phone, have your cellphone near you at all times, checking the mail and your email always…it’s crazy how your life changes at this time. Other military wives ask me how I survived during my husband’s (6) deployments… here are some of the things I did to keep busy.

deploy

List of Things to Do During a Deployment:

STOP CRYING!

Mediate

Hang out with old friends

Make new friends

Strengthen family bonds

Get better at your job

Take classes

Tend to the hobbies & passions you normally don’t have time for

Road trips

Visit museums, art galleries, or historical sites

Plan a girls picnic

Take fitness classes

Go Wine tasting

Go for walks at a near by track or park

Pamper yourself at home with a bubble bath

Catch up on the latest books

Try new foods

Start writing to let your emotions out

Keep a journal of your daily thoughts

Book a spa day

Go on vacation

Never turn down an invitation to do something fun

Go to local events

Volunteer in your community

Start a business

Buy a house, renovate and/or rearrange your home

Save money

Get to know yourself

The trick is to KEEP BUSY!!! Get out of bed, throw the box of tissues away, pick yourself up, get dolled up, and do things. Before you know it, time flies by and you’re love is home and back from deployment. These are just the things I can remember off the top of my head. Don’t spend to much time on driving yourself crazy…it’s stressful, wears you out, and not healthy.

About the Author:

Beauty Writer & Lifestyle Blogger April M. Monterrosa is a Proud Latina from San Antonio, Texas, a Military wife, the mama of a dachshund, a licensed Cosmetologist of 18 years, Owner of The Lil Spa Room, & a Nuskin Skin Care Distributor. With beauty & blogging being such passions, Shine Beautifully was born. Shine Beautifully will feature beauty tips, home remedies, quotes, poetry, recipes, personal stories, travel adventures, & an array of other topics. Don’t forget to subscribe!

Veteran’s Day: A Military Wife’s Memory

This Veterans Day brought back a memory of something I had never gone through before. I decided to share it…I’m sure other military spouses will know exactly what I went through and how it felt. Here it goes…

MarineI was the most non-military person you’d ever meet before I married my husband. Being raised in a blue-collar, musician filled family, the last thing I’d ever thought of doing was marrying a (USMC) military man. I had to learn so much about being a military wife; luckily my husband was very patient with me. His 6th and last deployment was coming to an end finally. We went through a year of being apart; though this wasn’t the first time, it was the first time being husband and wife. I thought I would be able to handle it just fine. I have to admit, I had a few bad days, but I kept as busy as I could. The good that came out of that year of being away from him was I started my own business, renovated our home, lost over 100 lbs, strengthened relationships with my close friends, and spent lots of time with family. The bad was the constant knots in your stomach, the stress, the fear, the not knowing where he’s at, always waiting by the phone, checking your email, going days without hearing from him, barely getting any sleep because you want to stay up to take his 5 minute phone call, not being able to call him after a bad day, him missing out on family outings and holidays, and most of all not knowing if he’s going to come home in one piece or alive.

But the day was finally here! He was coming home and for good! The 12 years my husband was in the Marine Corps he was never300685_2373408335086_4078829_n greeted by anyone but personnel from his unit when he returned home. By this time I have a full-time corporate job, my business is getting started, and two blogs…a full plate. But…with my husband never having family there to greet him home after a deployment in his 12 years of active duty service, there was no way I was not going to be there when he got off that bus. You can only imagine all the planning I had to do to make this happen.

The Plane Ride

300192_2373404654994_109124_nDuring the time I was back and forth between San Antonio, Texas and Jacksonville, North Carolina where he was stationed, I was very fortunate that my family and friends were always available to take me to the airport, whether it was from home or work…both being a bit far. I made to the airport on time (San Antonio) to make my way to North Carolina to finally see my husband after a year. When I landed in Atlanta to hop on my connecting flight, not only did my plane arrive late, the connecting flight departed a few minutes early. There aren’t very many flights that go to Jacksonville, NC…after my flight, there was only one more. I was beyond devastated…so upset…I went into the nearest restroom and puked my guts out. What was I going to do now?  First person I called was my mom, I started balling! Crying and trying to tell her what had happened, I could barely breathe. After our conversation I went to the nearest customer service desk, I explained to them what had happened, that I needed to get to Jacksonville and that same night! All the representative could say was that she was sorry and they would try their best to get me on the next flight. When I turned around to look behind me, there were so many people, angry, crying, going through the same thing I was and going to the same place. I called the Delta airline customer service line, what did I have to lose, I was stuck in Atlanta anyway! They told me the same thing the front desk people said…that they would try to get me on that last flight there or the flight first thing in the morning. If I would have agreed to take the flight first thing in the morning I would  miss my husband walking off that bus…I would not be the first face he saw coming home from deployment. I even looked into renting a car and driving there, but with the distance, there was no way I would make it there on time.

Now What?

297561_2373412095180_5446855_nI paced that airport back and forth…I had not slept due to excitement and hadn’t eaten since I lost my appetite. What the hell was I going to do now? I needed to get there! Not sure how this popped into my head but …I remember meeting a client when I was working at the Marriott that was an airline attendant…I don’t quite remember the story but I remember her saying airlines usually held emergency seats. I walked over to the nearest help desk, cut in front of everyone like a crazy women, and demanded they get me on that next flight. I was extremely loud, yelling, crying, telling them to have a heart and that I could not miss seeing my husband get off that bus, and I know they hold emergency seats! At this point I had nothing to lose! The representative was so sweet; she was a military wife herself. She told me to calm down, had someone get me a bottle of water, and gave me some tissues. She asked what my name was and said so calmly, “Mrs. Monterrosa, we WILL get you on that next flight, don’t you worry”.  My flight from Atlanta to Jacksonville left within that hour and I was to land at midnight. My husband’s bus was arriving at 4am…I still had time to freshen up and get dressed. I had been in jeans and a t-shirt for hours by this time and I looked like a raccoon from all the crying. 297845_2373399654869_8042675_n

I Made It!

Arriving in Jacksonville, North Carolina, my husband had set up for a good friend of his who was also a Marine to pick me up from the airport. He was already there when I landed. There was just one problem…my luggage was lost! I had nothing to change into, no toiletries to bathe and freshen up with. Thankfully I had my makeup bag in my purse which I normally do not. My husband’s friend was a total gentleman; he picked me up at midnight, drove me to Wal-Mart so I could buy a few things to freshen up with; I even looked for something to change into but had no luck, plus I didn’t want to be late. We get to the house I shower, freshen up my hair and make-up, and then we make our way to the base (Camp Legeune). We get there and we are one of two cars in the parking lot; after sitting for an hour, we find out the bus is running late. I felt so bad for my husband’s friend, it’s now 1:45am and he has to be at work by 6am. He never complained once. We both even napped in his car. I remember barely opening my eyes and I see the bus pull up. My husband’s friend says,” well there’s his bus, he’s here!” I immediately jump out of the car, at this point I could care less how sleep deprived I look. I made it! After missing flights, vomiting, crying, screaming like a mad women at the airport, losing my luggage, not eating, not sleeping, none of that even mattered…I was there when he was going to walk off that bus!

The Bus

297596_2373415055254_3365688_nI was so excited, my heart was racing…I was thinking do I wait for him to walk up to me, do I run up to him at the doorway of the bus…what do I do now! He walked off that bus with the biggest smile, it was the same smile he had on our wedding day. We both just walked really fast to each other. The first thing he did was hug me tight, he couldn’t even let go and seeing him tear up, I knew all I went through to get there didn’t matter; I was literally at a loss for words. That is a feeling that I will never forget. Not only was he home safely, seeing his wife after a year, someone who he loved was actually there the minute he walked off that bus like he always wanted. I was so overwhelmed, I couldn’t even cry. I wasn’t even tired, hungry, and could have cared less if my luggage was found or not. My Marine was home, safe, and I was the first person he got to see. (A big thank you to Teekie for picking me up from the airport, getting me on base, & taking pictures of this moment for me.)

Military Wife Duty

Yes, our military goes through training, they’re suppose to be tough, go through war, protect us, and serve our country. But they are still human. Support your loved ones that are in the military, we can only imagine what they go through, what they see, what they feel. They need patience, understanding, and most of all love. After all, it’s because of them that we are free. Happy Veteran’s Day to all of our precious military.

Easy Crock-Pot Broccoli Cheese Casserole

Instead of the original recipe that takes quite a bit of time to bake in the oven, I experimented with some of the ingredients, took some out, added my own, and used a crock pot instead. This recipe is always a hit at parties, potlucks, and family gatherings. It’s quick, easy, and yummy! Enjoy!

Easy Crock-Pot Broccoli & Cheese Casserole

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 package (16 ounces) frozen chopped broccoli
1/3 cup milk
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell’ s Condensed Cream of Chicken & Herb Soup
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell’ s Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell’ s Condensed Cream of Broccoli Soup
1 jar (8 ounces) pasteurized process cheese sauce (like Cheez Whiz)
2 cups minute white rice
1 cup of warm water
Large Crock-Pot

Heat the butter in your crock-pot high on heat.
Stir the broccoli, milk, soups, and rice.
Bake at high heat  for about 20-30 minutes, stirring every 5 or 10 minutes until the mixture is hot and bubbling.
Then add cheese.
After its ready, set your crock pot on low or warm. Then serve. :)

Healthy Sex Life=Healthy Skin

As they say, love and laughter is good for the body and soul. But it’s not only good for the body and soul; it’s also great for your skin.  Now in the beauty industry for over 17 years and in my mid 30’s I am beginning to take extra care of my skin and pay close attention to the fine lines that are now starting to appear. What I have noticed is how my skin glows a bit more these days since I’m taking better care of it, I have had less breakouts, and my tone and texture seem a tad more even.  It’s been while since I have had an intense chemical peel or anything aggressive that would give my skin such benefits.

I remember when my husband had come home after a long deployment; I finally had a chance to enjoy being a newlywed & was living, laughing, and most definitely “loving” a lot more.  What I didn’t realize is how all the newlywed bliss had really made an impact on my skin. Total flawlessness…(in my eyes at least). Its amazing how being in love, being loved back, and having a healthy sex life improves your skin. Next to luxurious spa treatments, happiness, and laughter, sex is the ultimate spa beauty treatment.

 Stop searching for the fountain of youth, getting busy could set your clock back a few years as far as your appearance is concerned. Sex increases blood circulation, which in turn increases oxygen supply to the skin cells, resulting in a natural brightening effect, better hydration and keeps that skin from being on the dry side. This doesn’t mean you can replace your eight glasses of water a day either, so keep drinking that water.  Since it also boosts collagen production, it fights off age spots, sagging, and keeps those wrinkles from creeping up on your skin, maybe even better then some of the facial masks on the market today. Your skin is not the only thing gaining strength and luster, so are your nails and hair.

As you start to sweat during a heated rendezvous sweating releases natural oils that lubricate and hydrate your skin. Those natural oils are what keep your skin looking dewy and fresh. Sweating can also help cleanse and detoxify the skin which can get rid of toxins and impurities in your pores. Think of your sexual perspiration as a free mini facial; just be sure to give your skin a cleansing before going to sleep to eliminate clogged pores. With all that blood circulation going on just think of the noticeable glow you will have after your love session. You’ll have pink lips, rosy cheeks, dewy skin, & shiny eyes for at least a couple of days …who needs a trip to the cosmetic counter with all that!

The big O not only reduces stress, it also lowers blood pressure, calms your nerves, eases the mind, and hits you with an intense wave of calmness. So maybe you can put off going to the spa for some relaxation or taking that sleeping pill to help you fight off those sleepless nights. Adding sex to your bedtime routine can very much relieve stress. After enjoying the deed for a while with a happy ending is sure to put you into a peaceful sleep which can help resolve those sleep issues. Post-sex sleep is restorative, so you’ll wake up refreshed, looking alive, and with reduced under-eye circles and puffiness. 

Many of us are so determined to stay looking young as long as possible that we invest in all sorts of makeup, creams, lotions, and potions. Although all of these things certainly go a long way to help us accomplish younger looking skin, it can get a bit expensive. Regular sexual engagement can be our “magic anti-aging product” and help make us look younger while not costing us a dime. Sex is a physical action that stimulates the body and mind. With proper diet, regular exercise, take vitamins, and healthy sex life, you make sure you get older with a healthy process. So heat up that bed and remember, putting more wrinkles in the sheets =fewer wrinkles on your skin!

April M. Monterrosa is a Proud Latina from San Antonio, Texas, a Military wife, the mama of a dachshund, a licensed Cosmetologist of 18 years, & Owner of The Lil Spa Room,  PCA Skin Chemical Peel certified, a Nuskin Skin Care Distributor, & freelance beauty writer. With beauty & blogging being such passions, Shine Beautifully was born. Shine Beautifully will feature beauty tips, home remedies, quotes, poetry, recipes, personal stories, & travel adventures. Don’t forget to subscribe!

Like You’ll Never Be Loved Again

Has someone ever loved you so much they know your every move? The kind of mood you’re in just by the tone of your voice. If you’ve had a good day, a bad one, or just an ordinary one.  They know the curves of your face, the exact detail of your eye color, how your hair smells, and how your hands feel.  They know the kind of soup you like when you’re feeling under the weather; they show up with flowers just to make you smile for no reason at all. They look at you and see right through you, they know when you’re fibbing, when you’re scared, or when you’re the most confident.  You’re the most beautiful thing they have ever seen, even on your ugliest days. They write you poetry, send you song lyrics that remind you of them, and every site of beauty they see has your face imprinted on it. They constantly ask you questions about your past, show interest in your present, and hope to be a part of your future. They know when to back off to give you space, how to comfort you on a sad day, and act silly just to make you laugh. They can’t get enough of your company, are saddened when you have to part ways, and make plans to immediately see you soon.  When they lay right beside you still in the night, no conversation is needed and a bond is still felt even in the silence.  When the two of you make love, all disappears from your mind; you’re so wrapped up in the moment tears stream down your face. When you say goodbye it seems like forever till you’re joined again. Love

If you’re loved like this now, treat it preciously, guard it with your life, and make sure you take care of it because you may never have the chance to have that again. I believe only one person comes along in our life that loves us this much. Most of the time we take it for granted and treat it as if it would last forever. Forever only lasts when we give the same kind of love in return, if not, we lose it. No matter how hard we try to replace it when it’s gone, it will never be the same. Love those more that love you this way.

aprilmaemonterrosaApril M. Monterrosa is a Proud Latina from San Antonio, Texas, a Military wife, the mama of a dachshund, a licensed Cosmetologist of 18 years, & Owner of The Lil Spa Room,  PCA Skin Chemical Peel certified, a Nuskin Skin Care Distributor, & freelance beauty writer. With beauty & blogging being such passions, Shine Beautifully was born. Shine Beautifully will feature beauty tips, home remedies, quotes, poetry, recipes, personal stories, & travel adventures. Don’t forget to subscribe!