Saturday, September 25, 2010

Sister-in-Laws, Babies & Easy Apple Crisp

Sorry I've been MIA the past few days! We've been busy bees with a houseguest, the arrival of a friend's new baby and the celebration of a friend's daughter's 1st birthday. Here we go with a little {long} recap:

WEDNESDAY:

Wednesday night we had a houseguest: my sister-in-law (a.k.a. Alex's sister)!!

She was passing through our part of Texas on her way to meet up with her boyfriend in San Antonio so she stopped in for the night. It was a quick visit but it was a lot of fun to catch up with her. She lived with me last summer when Alex was deployed and interned at my job so we have become close.

She's also a loyal Cupcakes & Combat Boots reader so she insisted that I take a picture of her to make it on the blog. In turn, I insisted that if this was to happen, it needed to be a photo of her eating. She agreed to my terms. :)

Chomp!

And yes, we ate dinner on the couch, even with a houseguest. We're casual like that. ;-)

So what did we eat? Well, it's a dish that's been seen on Cupcakes & Combat Boots before but it's certainly worth repeating.
Cajun Chicken Ranch Sandwiches
w/ sweet potato oven fries
Yummmmm. The flavors just go together so well!

As a military-related side note, my sister-in-law's boyfriend is also in the Army and he is deploying to Afghanistan next week. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers as he sets off on this journey. Also, please pray for peace for Andrea that she can remain calm during this deployment (it's the first she's had to deal with, besides her brother's of course) and that it goes by quickly.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

THURSDAY:

One of my very good friends, Connie, had her baby on Wednesday evening (!!!) so on Thursday night we headed out to the hospital to visit her and meet little Max.

Hubs with Max

Me with Max...he was so awake and alert...I was shocked!


Look at that big yawn! He's so adorable!

So since we had to drive 45 minutes each way to go visit Max & Connie, we were planning on just grabbing dinner along the way somewhere. When we spotted a Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburger we knew that was where we were eating.

We had both had Freddy's before in Wichita, KS (which is where the Hubs is from and, incidentally where the Freddy's chain began) and loved it.

I didn't take any photos of our dinner, but just trust me, if you ever have a chance to eat at Freddy's DO IT. It's a retro-esque burger & custard joint that specializes in super-thin "steak burgers" and delicious custard treats. The shoestring french fries are also TO DIE FOR.

I enjoyed a burger, fries, and a mini-Reese's concrete {basically a Blizzard by a different name}. It was sooooooooooo good and so absolutely worth the splurge in calories/fat/etc.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Friday night we went to a 1st birthday party for our friend's daughter but I didn't take any photos. They served hot dogs, chips & queso, potato salad, etc. It was a fun night but I was so very tired by the end of the night.

SATURDAY:

Saturday night we had another repeat dinner while hanging around the house watching football.
Seared Skirt Steak with Balsamic Cherry Tomatoes (click link for recipe from Men's Health)
w/ Roasted Potato Wedges
{I'm so annoyed that it's getting dark sooner at night now. It makes it almost impossible for me to get good natural light photos since we are post-7pm dinner eaters usually.}

We really like this recipe. It's easy, quick and super tasty. We had a few "issues" while cooking it tonight though so it wasn't our best work. ;-) The meat was extremely undercooked when we cut into it so we tried to cook it a little more but it ended up being rather tough. Also, we almost smoked ourselves out of the kitchen at one point...beware the searing! :)

For the roasted potato wedges I just coated yellow-skinned potato wedges in olive oil and then sprinkled with kosher salt & pepper. Then I spread them out on a rack placed on top of a baking sheet. Baked for 20 minutes at 425 degrees until crispy and browned. They were really good!

Then for dessert, I made an Apple Crisp!

We had a sack of little baby Gala apples in our fridge so I figured I'd use some of them up in a delicious, fall dessert!

Gracie at Girl Meets Health posted the recipe for this apple crisp earlier this week and she swore it was amazing so I decided to give it a whirl.
She was absolutely right! It was SO good! The best part though was how stinkin' easy it was to make. I seriously whipped this up in 10 minutes and then all I had to do was wait for it to bake. That's dangerous because now I'm going to want apple crisp all the time and I'll know that it's not hard to get it! Uh oh...

I'm posting the recipe the below with my slight alterations but I basically followed it exactly.

Easy Apple Crisp

Ingredients:

  • 4 apples, peeled and sliced {I used 6 small apples and cut them into small chunks, instead of slicing. I also left the peel on because I like it.}
  • lemon juice {juice from 1 lemon}
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 stick cold butter, cut into tiny pieces
  • 3/4 cup old fashioned oats

Preheat the oven to 375 and spray a shallow pan (I used a square pan) with cooking spray. Spread out the apples evenly along the bottom of the pan and sprinkle the lemon juice on top.

In a large bowl, combine all the rest of the ingredients and use your hands to work in the butter. In the end, you should have tiny pieces of butter throughout. You still want some chunks for optimal streusel.

Spread the streusel on top of the apples and bake for about 25 minutes {35 minutes for mine}. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

90 Degree Comfort Food

Tonight's meal was very Fall-ish.

Which kind of feels like blasphemy when the weather outside is still in the 90's everyday.

But, BUT, the weather has recently transitioned in low 90's instead of high 90's (or 100's)!! Here in Texas that's basically Fall. So that called for some Fall-like food.


Pumpkin Chili!!

This recipe was given to me by one of my friends and I knew I wanted to make it immediately. Pumpkin + Chili just sounds comforting.


Pumpkin Chili
Source: unknown

  • 2 pounds ground beef (1 lb ground beef & 1 lb ground turkey breast)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans kidney beans, drained
  • 1 (46 fluid ounce) can tomato juice
  • 1 (28 ounce) can peeled and diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/4 cup white sugar


In a large pot over medium heat, cook meat until brown; drain. Stir in onion and bell pepper and cook 5 minutes. Stir in beans, tomato juice, diced tomatoes and pumpkin puree. Season with pumpkin pie spice, chili powder and sugar. Simmer 1 hour. Makes 8 servings.


We served it with cornbread on the side and topped with cheese, avocado & plain greek yogurt.


Alex's only complaint with this chili was that it wasn't spicy, but he just added hot sauce to his portion and was happy. It makes a TON of chili, so I plan on freezing smaller portions of it for reheating later. Chili is very freezer-friendly!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Rewind to last night now. Last night's dinner was a recipe I spotted on one of my favorite blogs, Carrots 'n Cake.


Soy Glazed Fish with Sauteed Summer Squash (click link for recipe from Real Simple)


It was pretty good. My only real complaint with it is that the excess sauce on the pan BURNED (badly) while cooking. Next time I know not to dump all the sauce on the fish....just enough to coat it.

Also be sure you follow the directions and only add the sauce in the last 2 minutes of cooking...I ended up cooking my fish for about 4 more minutes after adding the sauce (because it wasn't done) which probably contributed to the burning of the sauce.

OH! And big news: Alex, Mr. I Hate Squash, actually admitted that the squash side dish wasn't half bad. Hellz yeah!

Anyone else watch the premiere of Biggest Loser? What did you think?

Personally I kind of liked the new way they "tested" contestants and made them earn their spots. I thought it weeded out the quitters and cop-outs, which is nice. My current favorite contestant is obviously the military wife...I can't remember her name. We shall see how the season plays out!

P.S. Grrrrrr I am really hating Blogger these days. I don't know WHY it keeps f-ing with my font sizes but it pisses me off! I can't even fix it because it shows up just fine in my window but then I hit "publish" and it freaks out. SO ANNOYING. Anyway, sorry about the randomly changing font sizes...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Colorful Dinner + Kale Pesto

I just love how colorful my dinner plate was tonight:
Yellow = spaghetti squash

Brown = crumbled pork sausage

Red = spaghetti sauce

Green = Kale Pesto (instructions below)

White = goat cheese

Put all those delicious components together and it was a PARTY IN MY MOUTH! So delicious!

After I impulse-purchased the adorable mini-spaghetti squash today I knew I wanted to use it for dinner tonight. Preparing spaghetti squash is pretty easy, but the hardest part is DEFINITELY cutting the squash in half.

If you wanna be like me, make your husband do it for you since you know you're incredibly clumsy and likely to cut off a finger (or two).
Yay, husband!! Success!

Scoop out the seeds and then spray a baking pan with cooking spray and place the squash flesh-side down.
Stick 'em in a 375 degree oven and let bake for 45 minutes, or until a knife slides through the squash easily.

Once done cooking, take 'em out and let them cool for about 15 minutes.
When they're cool enough to handle, use a fork to scrape the flesh from the skin. You'll end up with a pile of steaming spaghetti squash strands like this:
Then top with your choice of toppings. You can't go wrong with spaghetti sauce, but I also like just butter and parmesan.
I'm REALLY excited that I have a ton of leftover squash for my lunches this week. :)

P.S. In case you wondering, the hubs did not eat the squash. He cooked noodles for himself. He did, however, try a bit of mine and admitted that it was "pretty good". Baby steps!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I mentioned above that one of the toppings was Kale Pesto. I know it sounds odd, but it's really good!

I saw the idea for "Kale Butter" or "Kale Pesto" on Heather Eats Almond Butter and knew I wanted to try it. I figured it would be a great way to add some nutrients and flavor to a lot of dishes. Plus, it's a heck of a lot cheaper than buying the mounds and mounds of fresh basil that it requires to make basil pesto!

First I started off by tearing the kale leaves off the stems and placing it in a large stockpot with a steamer insert. The bottom of the pot had about an inch of water in it and I turned the heat to about medium.
Cover, let the water come to a simmer/boil and set the timer for 5 minutes.

Once the 5 minutes were up the kale had wilted a lot and turned bright green. Then I stuffed as much of the steamed kale as I could into my food processor.
If it doesn't all fit, just put in what you can fit and then let it whirl. Then add the rest.

Finally I added about 1 cup of pecans (you could use your nut of choice such as walnuts or macadamia nuts), about 1 cup of the leftover steaming water, the juice of one lemon, 1 tablespoon of coconut oil (this ingredient probably isn't necessary...I just felt like adding it since I had a new jar of it) 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of dried basil and a lot of salt (probably at least a tablespoon).

Let it all process for a long time until it looks smooth and buttery.
This made a TON!! That's a spaghetti sauce jar full of it! Good thing it's delicious!
I would say it tastes like a milder form of pesto, but it's definitely less oily and more buttery than your average pesto.
I can't wait to see what kinds of serving suggestions I can come up with for it. It was an awesome addition to our "spaghetti" tonight so we're off to a good start. It would also probably be great mixed right in to spaghetti sauce, or as a spread on sandwiches or pizza, or on potatoes. So many possibilities!


How would YOU eat Kale Pesto?

Jackpot Grocery Trip

I'm pretty excited about a few of my grocery store finds today! I feel like I hit the jackpot!

I know it's weird that I get so excited about food, but that's just the way I am! I managed to find some things that I had been searching for for a while now and that made me super happy! I also just stumbled upon a couple of really cool things.

Thought I'd share a couple of my fave purchases from today with you guys...

First up, DATES!!

I swear I had been looking for these things in my store for MONTHS now and never had any luck. I looked in all the obvious spots like with the other dried fruit (prunes, raisins, etc.) and with the weird "international" food but nothing.

Finally it struck me today as I was getting ready to give up forever to check one more place. Turns out, they were THERE! I seriously about squealed with delight when I found them.

For all you HEB shoppers like me, these dates can be found in the produce section on those shelves where they have a bunch of bagged nuts and dried fruit. (Should have figured this out a lot sooner.)

As soon as I got home I enjoyed one (or two) smeared in peanut butter:
Such a good, healthy, filling little snack! I know a lot of people in the blog world who eat this as a pre-workout snack. It's delicious!


Next up was a random stumble-upon item:
COCONUT OIL!!!

This is another one that I had been searching for but was never able to locate. Unfortunately I'm actually still not sure where it's home is in the grocery store because I actually found this one sitting misplaced on an end cap. Ha! It was like it was put there by God for me to find. :) :) :)

Coconut oil is a great substitute for oil or butter when cooking or baking because it can aid in maintaining cholesterol levels, weight loss, increased immunity, proper digestion and metabolism, relief from kidney problems, heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV and cancer, dental care, and bone strength. (Source)

I'm so excited to start using it!


As I was walking through the produce department I spotted this ADORABLE little spaghetti squash:
Couldn't resist that one! It was so cute and compact...perfect for a family of two!


I also spotted these giant Honeycrisp apples in the produce department...
I'm not the biggest fan of apples in the world so they have to be REALLY good apples for me to buy them. Honeycrisp are delicious though and they were on sale so I went for it! I just wish these were available year-round.


The final exciting purchase was La Croix flavored sparkling water:
I'd seen these floating around the health blogger world a lot lately so I figured I'd give it a shot. I got the berry flavor and I really like it! When I first took a sip I was thinking it would be sweet but it's not...it's literally just sparkling water with a slight hint of flavor.

I like that it's refreshing and has the bubbles and flavor for a more fun drinking experience than just plain water. I'm hoping these will help me up my daily water intake, since I'm pretty horrible about drinking enough water everyday.

Have you tried any of the above items? What did you think?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fake Friday Confessions & Favorites

Today is Friday! That should excite me, but alas, it doesn't because I have to work tomorrow. On a Saturday. And it's already been really freaking long week. Somebody kill me now.

Because of my Fake Friday, I'm feeling venty and super random so I'm gonna throw out some of confessions on here to try to make myself feel better:

1. I'm counting down the days until we move just so I can have an excuse to leave my current job. I do love parts of it and I'm grateful to have had the experience but I am so ready for a break. The non-stop stress really wears on me. And I'm not gonna lie, the thought of being able to be a stay-at-home-wife for 6 months makes me REALLY happy. I am fully aware that I will probably get bored and wish that I had a job again about 1 month into this (maybe less).

2. I wish geckos and giant spiders did not exist. Or at least could not find their way into my house. I found one of each of those things in my house yesterday and just about lost it. ::::shudders:::: Oh also: I don't feel the least bit guilty about killing them. If there is a PETA movement to protect the lives of geckos and/or spiders I should probably be their main target.

3. I don't find it funny when people make fun of me for being pale-skinned. "You're so pale that you reflect" or "I need sunglasses to look at you" is not freaking funny. But now I usually try to deflect those comments by making fun of myself by saying them first. Actually, come to think of it, that's the way I deal with a lot of my insecurities.

4. I judge people who smoke and/or go to tanning beds (I guess this one goes along with the pale comments). I just don't understand why you would willingly do that kind of harm to your body.

5. I often wish I wasn't such a jealous person. It's not a good personality trait and it's not worth it to compare myself to other's situations. I often have to remind myself that no one's life is perfect, despite the way it may appear. One person's life shouldn't affect the way I feel about mine.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I almost ended my post there but then I decided that it was getting a little too heavy up in here so I thought I'd throw in some Friday Favorites too!

FRIDAY FAVORITES:

-Breakfast for Dinner (which is what I had last night...in case you were wondering)

-People who adopt their pets from shelters, instead of supporting breeders or puppy mills.

-Girls Nights (which I will be having tomorrow night)

-Lindt "A touch of sea salt" Dark Chocolate (just discovered this one and I have been LOVING it as my after-dinner, mini-dessert)


Do you have any confessions or favorites? Do share!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

25 Books in 2010: Books #8-10

A much needed update on the books I've read lately. I'm never going to make it to 25 books in 2010 at this rate but oh well!

A lot of the books I've been reading lately have just been "eh" and therefore I've been reading them sloooooooowly. The last book I read (Edgar Sawtelle) seemed like it took FOREVER to get through. I stayed up super late reading it last night just so I could finally say I was done with it!

1. The Gastronomy of Marriage by Michelle Maisto {click here for my review - 5 stars}
2. Shelter Me by Juliette Fay {click here for my review - 3.5 stars}
3. Dear John by Nicholas Sparks {click here for my review - 2 stars}
4. Dead as a Doornail {Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood, Book 5} by Charlaine Harris {click here for my review - 4 stars}
5. The Mercy of Thin Air by Romlyn Domingue {click here for my review - 1 star}
6. The Year of Fog by Michelle Richmond {click here for my review - 2 stars}
7. Definitely Dead {Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood Series, Book 6} by Charlaine Harris - 4 stars

8. All Together Dead by Charliane Harris - 3.5 stars
9. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson - 2.5 stars
10. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski - 2 stars

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Don't Judge a Recipe by its Ingredients

Okay I'll be the first to say that tonight's husband-less dinner was a random mish-mash of ingredients thrown together that is....well....just a little bit weird.

Enchilada Sauce + Chickpeas + Artichoke Hearts


But I can assure you, that although odd, the finished product was seriously GOOD and just what I was craving.

I came home from work today wanting to make some sort of Indian-inspired, vegetarian chickpea and tomato dish because that is most DEFINITELY something that my husband would turn his nose up at normally.

The only issue with this craving was that I had no recipe and not many ingredients on hand....so I just winged it and used what I had in the pantry and/or fridge.

One of those things hangin' out in my fridge was the majority of a can of enchilada sauce, leftover from when I made enchiladas. I figured that could be the basis for a semi-homemade spicy tomato sauce (Sandra Lee would be proud).

I also had some artichoke hearts that were calling my name...so I tossed those in too. Why not, right?

Served over jasmine rice and a few mixed salad greens and I called it a meal!


Chickpeas and Artichoke Hearts in a Semi-Homemade Tomato Sauce
Source: Me

1 tsp Olive Oil
Half an onion, chopped
Half a red bell pepper, chopped
1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 can of red enchilada sauce
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup of chicken broth
3 artichoke hearts (canned in water), coarsely chopped

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper and cook for about 5 minutes, until tender. Add chickpeas, enchilada sauce & garlic and cook for about 3 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium-low and add the chicken broth and artichoke hearts. Let the whole mixture simmer for 5-10 minutes until the sauce reduces and thickens a bit. Serve over jasmine rice and salad greens, if desired.


Before I go I just have to share this picture of our little furball.

We call this her "smile face" and it always makes ME smile in return.

She sure is enjoying having "her" side of the bed back to herself now that Hubs is gone again. Enjoy it while it lasts, Libs!

I'm gonna get back to watching The Waitress on Lifetime now. Even though this movie got horrible reviews and it's a little weird, I have always loved it. I'm a sucker for a movie about pies! Makes me want to jump up and bake a "Bad Baby Pie" or a "Naughty Pumpkin Pie". :)

Have you ever made or eaten something that has odd ingredient combinations? How was it?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Let's Talk About Being Alone

So my dinner posts are going to be few and far between this week because my husband is in the field (a.k.a. away from home, for all you non-Army types) all this week.

If you'd really like an overview of what I ate for dinner tonight then here you go:

-Cereal
-Frozen bagged veggies (obviously not frozen when I ate them)
-Wine

There ya have it! I think it's pretty well-rounded! (LOL)

Let's move on to tonight's topic: Dealing with your husband or significant other being gone.

Now, I think there are two major pools of people when it comes to this topic:
1. Those who deal with being away from their spouse or sig. other frequently.
2. Those who rarely (if ever) have to be away from their spouse or sig. other.

I obviously fall into category numero uno, as do most military wives. But this also includes couples where one or both of the members has to travel for work a lot.

I am at the point, after surviving an 11 month deployment and numerous shorter periods of time away from my husband, where I feel like I'm somewhat of an expert at being away from my spouse.

Do I prefer to be away from him? Hell no!

But do I fret and get upset over him being gone for a week (or more)?

No.

In fact, I actually kind of enjoy my alone time. Why?

Because I can forgo making a "real" meal and just eat cereal and wine for dinner.

Because I can watch whatever trashy TV I want for however long I want.

Because I don't have to talk to anyone if I don't feel like it. (Not that I don't enjoy talking with my husband, but sometimes it's nice to just be quiet.)

Because the house stays significantly more clean when my husband's away. He's a serial-clutterer and he sure knows how to dirty up a toilet. :)

Because I don't have to fall asleep with the TV on at night if I don't want to. My husband has trouble falling asleep at night unless the TV is on in the background. Isn't that so weird?! I feel like that's the opposite of how it should be and it sometimes keeps me awake. (I will say though, that throughout his deployment I actually found myself turning the TV on at night as I was falling asleep because it reminded me of him and comforted me.)

As you can see, there are plenty of reasons for me to actually look forward to a little time away from my hubs. I always try to focus on these positive things when he is getting ready to leave for a while.

Then there are the people who are all doom and gloom when their partner has to be away for any amount of time.

"My husband is going to be gone ALL WEEKEND!! First time we've been apart from each other for more than a day since we were married! Wahhhhh!"

Ever seen one of those status updates on Facebook? Yeah....I'm not gonna lie....they piss me off.

The thought running through my head when I see one look something like this:
Really? REALLY?! Do you KNOW how lucky you are that this is the first time you've had to deal with any time apart? Why aren't you ENJOYING the fact that you will get some alone time instead of complaining and pissing me off?

I'm always tempted to write something along these lines on those people's status:
"I think you'll be fine. If I did a year, you can do 2 days. You're welcome."

But when I get all Bitter Betty about people like the above, I try to remind myself that they live a different kind of lifestyle than I do and they have a different outlook on things because they haven't experienced what I have. They are in pool #2.

And that's okay too. It's okay for them to complain about it, because they really do feel nervous/scared/upset/whatever about the prospect of being away from their partner.

And to be quite honest? I remember feeling that way too at one point in my life (before I was thrown mercilessly into this thing called being an Army wife). But I've also always been the type of person who enjoys having "me time".

Now I'm off to finish watching my trashy TV, drinking my wine and falling asleep with the TV off. :)

So which pool do you fall into? How do you feel when you have to be away from your sig. other? Do you look forward to "you time"?

Disclaimer: I really hope this whole post doesn't come off as too judgy or "holier than thou" because that is not my intent at all. I was really just trying to point out how interesting it is that two people could view the same thing in such different ways.

Also, all that said, I am REALLY looking forward to my husband's return this coming Sunday. Life is just more complete with him here.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Remembering 9/11

Remembering 9/11/2001 today and always.


And those who lost their lives that day.

And those that gave their lives fighting for our country since then.

Friday, September 10, 2010

New Haircut + Workout Achievement


I got a haircut today!

Lately my hair had been really bugging me because it was looking frayed and unhealthy. Most days I had just been tossing it back in a ponytail or a bun, so I knew it was time for a cut.

I'm a bit of a weirdo when it comes to my hair. I actually like to change up my looks and I'm pretty laid back about it. Many times I'll just tell the stylist to "do whatever you think will look good". Also, I'm notorious for growing my hair out and then chopping it off short the moment it gets "long enough" and then repeating the cycle over and over again.

Lately though I've been enjoying having it longer because I can do so much more with it...curl it, braid it, put it in a bun, etc. So I decided I wanted to keep the length but just cut off the frayed ends and such.

I basically just told my stylist to "clean it up a bit" and let her have at it.

This is what I got:


I'm really happy with it! It's pretty similar to my last haircut except I didn't want the short bangs this time. She cut off 2-3 inches (she said 2 but I definitely think it was more like 3, which is fine), so it feels significantly shorter and lighter.

I also really like the way she styled it (she blow-dried it with a round brush), but I know it will never look like this again. :) I told the stylist that I don't understand how they always manage to make it looks so great. I don't have the hand and wrist dexterity to manage all that brush and hairdryer coordination!

With a snazzy new hairstyle, I felt like I should have gone out or something. But instead, I pranced around the house for about 5 minutes to let my husband get a good look at the new hairstyle and then I changed into workout attire and pulled my pretty new hairstyle back in a ponytail.

What can I say? My life is so glamorous!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I have to tell you a little bit about my workout today because I finally, FINALLY moved up to Level 3 of the 30 Day Shred.

I've been on Level 2 for at LEAST 2 months now (if not more) but was too scared/intimidated to move up to Level 3 since Level 2 was still kicking my ass.

Well today was the day to conquer my fears.

And it was freaking hard...
but I made it.


(Apparently I was in the mood to mug for the camera tonight....red-faced and all!)

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend! We're headed back to College Station to watch another Texas A&M football game!

Are you the type who likes to stick with the same haircut for a long time or are you a changer-upper? I'm usually a changer-upper but apparently I was more in the mood to stick with the same this time.

P.S. No dinner post tonight because we had leftovers from last night.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Finger Lickin' Good


Tonight's meal was a recipe I have heard about for many years, but for some reason had never made.

Now I'm kicking myself for that. I don't know what was holding me back because 1) this is super duper freaking easy to make (I heart my slow cooker) and 2) it is finger lickin' good!


Slow Cooker Root Beer Pulled Pork
with Roasted Brocc & Red Potatoes


Look at all that juiciness!!! So. Good.

The best part is that to make this pulled pork there are only three ingredients: Pork Tenderloin & this......

(Diet) Root Beer and Barbecue Sauce. Toss it all in a slow cooker in the morning, set it on low for 7 hours, come home to a house that smells AMAZING, and you get this:


Well actually first you have to shred the pork but it's really easy to do since it's literally falling apart.

Toss it on a bun, top with some pickles and red onion and FEAST on the deliciousness!


Oh and FYI, this meal is VERY husband-friendly. The hubs was practically worshipping me after this meal. Success!

What's your favorite slow cooker "recipe"?? This might be my new favorite.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Postpartum Enchiladers


Last week one of my really good Army wife friends gave birth to a beautiful baby girl named Erika.
Precious baby.


And the proud poppa.

I wanted to make them a meal for when they came home with baby so they would have one less thing to worry about. Cuz you know, babies are like hard work, yo! (That's my Teen Mom impression)

So over the long weekend I prepped a double batch of enchiladas, packaged one up for them and kept the other for us to eat for dinner tonight.

Dinner tonight was superrrrrr easy since all I had to do was pop the enchiladers (that's what my dad calls enchiladas) in the oven and let 'em bake for 30 minutes. Gave me plenty of time to fit in that workout I've been putting off for several days now. Oopsie!

When the timer beeped we had gooey, cheesy comfort food enchiladers waiting for us.


Don't worry, though! These enchiladers aren't TOTALLY devoid of any nutritional value.


See that? There's SPINACH in there! Gooey, cheesy spinach but SPINACH nonetheless! It's practically health food!



Chicken & Spinach Enchiladas
Adapted from this source (my changes in pink)

1 (10 oz) package of chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 (10 oz) cans of red enchilada sauce
1 (16oz) jar of medium salsa, divided
1 (8 oz) package of reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
2.5 cups of shredded rotisserie chicken (I baked 2 split chicken breasts (bone-in) at 425 degrees for about 45 minutes and then chopped it up...this is enough chicken for TWO batches of the enchiladas so you could probably just do one if you are only making one batch)
10 (8 inch) whole wheat tortillas
1 (8 oz) package of shredded Mexican cheese blend (I only used about half to three quarters of the bag)

Combine both cans of enchilada sauce with 1/2 cup of salsa in a bowl. Pour about 1/2 cup of the sauce mixture in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking pan and spread around. Set the rest aside for later.

Combine cream cheese, chicken, spinach & salsa in another bowl and stir until well blended. Place about 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture in the middle of each tortilla and then roll up. Place rolled up tortillas, seam side down, in the baking pan.

Pour the remaining sauce on top of the tortillas and then top with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes, or until bubbly. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

NOTE: If you're making this as a meal for someone, don't bake it. Just prep everything and then package it up. At this point you can freeze it if you'd like (or your recipients would like) and thaw and cook it later.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

These were super delicious and Alex LOVED them! I enjoyed them too but might make some changes next time. I don't think the cream cheese in the chicken filling is completely necessary and I could probably make a few other changes to healthify them a bit.

Can't wait to play around with it a bit in the future! Which, apparently will be soon since my husband asked me to make them again next week. Um....no.

But soon enough!