Sunday, January 22, 2012

Things I am grateful for....

I spent today with some lovely peeps.
I got to have breaky with my "flock". My flock consists of my closest girls... Allen coined the term after he decided to call Emma and I his wolf pack. He decided that my girls are my flock!
After breaky I spent a couple hours shopping with my mom!

After my day today I was feeling pretty sentimental about how lucky I am.
A few things I am grateful for:

An amazing boyfriend.
I am so lucky to have such an amazing man as my best friend and "life partner"! :)

The best family a girl could as for. I would not be the person I am without my parents, brother, grandparents and extended family!

Amazing friends! I love that we can be ourselves. We are all so different but yet get along perfectly!

A crazy, hurricane dog! While she can drive me nuts sometimes, I am so truly lucky to have such a loveable, affectionate and beautiful dog.

A roof over my head. I am thankful to have such a nice house in a great neighborhood. I am so lucky to have a warm place to go home to every night.

I could go on and on for everything I am grateful for. This is just a snippet of what I love about my life.
What are you grateful for?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Energy Bites

The snow is starting to melt... I should say..the snow is washing away into a wet, slushy mess!! I was super happy that our street finally got plowed after three days of waiting...Im even more happy that the plow driver stopped right in front of our house with the massive pile of snow...NOT!!!
The end of my driveway is looking alot like a lake right now!
I am hoping for Spring...Summer and flip flops!!!

Anyways today I tried making these No-Bake Energy Bites. They were super easy and delicious.

I adapted the recipe a bit.

1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup coconut flakes
1/2-3/4 cup cheerios (sorta crushed a bit)

Combine all the ingredients into a bowl. Mix well then refridgerate for 1 hour. Once chilled roll into balls. Will keep for 1 week in the fridge.

I would totally recommend trying these. The recipe calls for ground flaxseed, but I only had whole flax, so once I grind up a bunch of flaxseed I will add it into the mix.
These are a perfect snack to keep me going throughout the day!!

I am pretty excited about tomorrow. I am meeting some lovely ladies for breaky, then going to do some shopping with my mom!!

Only a few more days till Allen is home from camp, too! WOOHOO!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


I had hoped that it would snow yesterday so that it would have been a snow day YESTERDAY...
Well the snow didn't come...
Usually when I think its going to snow I jump out of bed in the morning to check out the window.
This morning I didn't...but then I got a big surprise when I came down the stairs this morning!!
Check out whats happening out our front door:

I have a love/hate relationship with snow.
I love how it makes these seem so cozy and romantic. It can slow everything down...I love the sound of a fresh snow fall...

I hate driving in the snow..
I hate shoveling snow..
I hate the cold..
Right now I am loving it... I will report back in a hour after I go do my errands around town!!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Cheesy Quinoa Bites

I am still trying to figure out the perfect quinoa bites/burgers recipe.
I have tried two recipes now and have decided on some adaptations I am going to try again.
I may even try making them again this week.
Last night I tried Quinoa Risotto Bites from So Very Blessed
This recipe had you make a quinoa risotto that you baked in muffin tins.

I will let you pop over to So Very Blessed to get the recipe.
Here are some of my adapations that I will try next time.

*Add green onions into the mixture. I would add these when you add the cream cheese.
*I didn't include red peppers as I wasn't in the mood for them. I am happy that I didn't include them as I really liked the flavor of the bites as is.
*I added red pepper flakes and dried parsley
*Try using herb and garlic cream cheese instead of original cream cheese
*After combining all the ingredients, I will try rolling them into meat balls or mini pancakes and bake them is a dish or on a baking dish instead of doing it in a muffin tin. Even though I greased the tin, they didn't want to come out until they were cold.
*I may cut the amount of chicken broth I use down to half. I may make 3 cups of liquid with chicken broth AND water. I found the chicken broth added a salty taste, even though it was low sodium.

Thats all my changes for now. I will keep you posted on how it goes next time I try it out!!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Weekend update

I was really excited to show off a new recipe today...but the recipe wasn't that great so I won't bother you with it. I made Ranch Chicken Wings....they weren't too impressive.
Anyways here is a recap of my weekend..
Friday was a bust. I was sick..well not sick just incredibly dizzy. It was really freaky. Anyways I spent the day on the couch watching Modern Family. Hilarious show by the way!!

Emma is missing Allen I think...
After work on Saturday I took Emma to the beach for some playtime..
It was gorgeous out!

*Note the treat on the ground in front of her...she was being very patient!
Last night I hung out with Miss Emma and did some major reading.
I finished Nineteen Minutes this morning. It is about a school shooting and is written from the point of view of a number of characters from the story.
It was sad...terrifying but good all the same.
Not sure what book I am going to start next. I have a few choices :)

This morning I met Amanda for coffee and a good catch up!
After coffee I decided to go check out VV to see if I could find any good second hand finds.
I sure did!!!
My kitchen colors are olive green, brown and mustard yellow...
Look what I found:

I managed to get a set of 4 plates and 3 bowls (: all for 6 bucks!
They are the perfect color!
I was so happy with my purchase...even if its a bowl short!

Anyways tonight I am going to try making Cheesy quinoa bites! I am going to serve them with a poached egg...thanks pinterest for the ideas!!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Pinterest, fitness, books... oh my!!

I feel like I constantly reference pinterest in my blog posts now, but I gotta say I love the website. I spend...waste alot of time looking on pinterest for recipes, fashion, DIY ideas and teaching ideas.

Usually I just test out recipes, but I finally got to test out some of my teaching ideas. I found some great ideas for some of my special ed. students and decided to actually make the resources and use them.

This resource was super easy to make and I am pleased with how it worked.
I simply divided a plate up into sixths. I then labeled each piece with a letter.
On clothespins I wrote sight words (highly used words) and key words that my student has been struggling with.
When I went to tutoring, I had my student read the word then find the corresponding first letter on the plate. Working on his fine motor he had to clasp the clothespin and attach it to the plate.
I am pretty stoked with how this went!!

In other news, sadly Allen went back to camp today :(

He will be home in 2 weeks.
I think the next 2 weeks may go by slow... as I get used to him being away again.
We started a competition before he went though.
We are going to see who can go to the gym, or go for a run the most in the next 2 weeks.
The loser has to buy dinner for the winner!!
Totally going to win!!!

I started things off today.
I worked my ass off at the gym today :)
I did 20 minutes on the elliptical (kinda died a bit)...the rest of the time I spent doing abs...abs...abs...squats...push ups..triceps...
I can already feel good ways and bad ways.
I love the feeling of a good work out...however I did an oopsy and kinda tweaked my neck while doing some situps.
I am going to have a real hot bath here pretty quick to help relax it...and read my book!!

I just finished Blood, Bones and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton on my kobo.
I was really looking forward to reading this book.
I was let down.
Didn't love it.
I just started reading 19 minutes by Jodi Picoult...after that here are my choices:
Catching Fire (second book of Hunger Games)
Night Circus
Water for Elephants

Reading anything good right now??

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Quinoa Salad and Muffins

I have managed to try a couple of new recipes this week. I am super pleased with the results of these recipes!

I always have a large amount of frozen bananas, taking up space in our freezer. I usually make banana bread or banana chocolate chip muffins, but I have been trying to cut down on the chocolate. I found this lovely recipe on pinterest for whole wheat banana nut muffins.

They were delicious and perfect for an afternoon snack! I am super pleased with another muffin recipe especially when they have no chocolate in them!!!

Another recipe I am tried this weekend was Quinoa Salad.
I found a recipe for Quinoa salad with pears, baby spinach, and chickpeas in a maple vinaigrette on pinterest and I instantly wanted to check it out.

I did adapt the recipe a bit.

Quinoa Salad

Spinach or mixed greens
1 pear
1 apple
Walnuts or pecans

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp pure maple syrup

Combine the ingredients in a bowl. Combine dressing ingredients in small bowl. Then toss salad with dressing. Serve and enjoy!

If you are wanting to use this as leftovers or preparing ahead of time, hold off on dressing the salad. Also hold back the nuts and fruit until you are ready to eat.

Allen and I had this salad for dinner with a few perogies the other night, then last night I took the leftovers for dinner at work. It was delicious with the apples and pears!
I would definately try this recipe. I just played around with this salad to make it work for us!
Any good recipes you have tried lately?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Squares

I have never really made cheesecake before...and Allen is a huge cheesecake fan. Allen and I went to a friends for dinner last night and I was in charge of dessert so I decided to give cheesecake a try for it.
I found this cheesecake recipe from Annie's Eats.
Check out my finished product!

I was so nervous the whole time I was making the dessert, worrying that I was going to screw it up somehow. Overall the recipe was pretty helpful. I did have to bake the crust longer than suggested, but otherwise it was pretty simple.
This would be a great recipe to try during the summer when blueberries are in abundance!
Check out Annie's Eats for the recipe. I won't bother retyping it out as I didn't change her recipe besides the crust baking time.

Check out the recipes I am going to try this week:

Photos and reviews to come!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Kitchen Goals for 2012

"The discovery of a new dish does more for happiness
of mankind than the discovery of a star."
Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

My lovely friend Morgan gave me a great idea for blogging about my goals for 2012, in particular, my cooking goals.
The last couple of years have really inspired me to become a great cook and baker. I have tried some great recipes this past year....

My kitchen goals for 2012 are the following:

Attempt to make pizza dough
Make gnocchi like this recipe
Try out black bean burgers
Attempt to make Pad Thai
Perfect a quinoa burger recipe *I've tried one...going to keep looking
Make carne asada from scratch

Theres more...but thats all for now!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Crockpot Chicken

Thanks to pinterest, I have found some great crock pot recipes that I want to try out this year. I got a new crock pot for Christmas and I am loving it!
I tried out Cafe Rio Chicken last night and it was good. Allen said its his new fave chicken dish.

So after eating my chicken dinner, I realized that I didn't exactly follow the recipe. I forgot a couple things.... OOPS!

Cafe Rio Chicken
4-5 chicken breasts
1/2 small bottle of Zesty Italian Dressing (approx. 3/4 cup)
1 ranch dressing package (mixed with 1/2 cup water)
1/2 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tbsp ground cumin

Combine all the ingredients into the crock pot. Cook on high for 5 to 6 hours or 8 hours on low. Shred with a fork and serve with burritos, tacos, salads or rice.

So guess what I forgot? I forgot the 1/2 cup water...and the garlic. I will definately try this recipe again properly, but needless to say it still tasted delicious. I served my chicken over a bed of spinach, tomatoes and corn. I tossed it with a bit of ranch dressing, but really you don't need much extra flavor. Allen had his chicken with rice and he loved it!
So this is a very easy recipe to try out!

Stay tuned for my next post. I will be giving you a list of cooking goals for the year.
Check out Miss Morgz blog as she was my inspiration for this topic!
Take care,

Monday, January 2, 2012

Christmas Catchup

I have some major catching up to do from Christmas holidays. I have a number of things to go over in this post.
First things first.. check out what my mom and I made for some DIY gifts!

Christmas Joy Cookies-in-a-jar
*We changed the name to Christmas Joy cookies instead of Girlfriend cookies

My mom and I made these cookies in a jar for a bunch of my family members. Everyone seemed really excited about them. We put all the ingredients into jars, then attached some little recipe cards.

Our other DIY gift:

Chocolate Oreo Cookie Bark

Before I give you this recipe I must make a disclaimer. THIS IS SWEET and you may have a sugar high after eating some of this.
My mom found this recipe for Chocolate Oreo Cookie Bark on the Kraft website.
We followed the recipe on our first batch, then made some adaptations for the second batch. We found that when mixing peanut butter and oreo into white chocolate...the white chocolate looks kinda "meh". So we mixed the peanut butter into the semi sweet chocolate. This made the white chocolate keep a "whiter" color.
After the bark had cooled and hardened, we broke it up into pieces and wrapped it up into fancy gift bags.
This is a super easy recipe and gift to give at the holidays!

So other than baking and crafting, I have taken part in some great Christmas festivities.

Ugly Sweater Party

New Years Party

And lots of wonderful family time! Allen and I had 4 family dinners for Christmas which was awesome!
I am very thankful for the wonderful Christmas I had....and
I am very excited for the beginning of 2012!
Here are a couple of my resolutions for the year:
  • Continue with a fitness plan. Try to find balance between the exercising and good eating.
  • Be more openminded...think outside the box
  • Consume less sugar
  • Work hard to save and cut down on my debt levels
  • Work lots
  • Take more photos
There they are...hope I can stick to them!