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Monday, February 20, 2012

Healthy Food blogs?

The husband and I have decided to make some changes.  We joined the YMCA, and are making an effort to go consistently.  We were doing good at the beginning of last week and then a stomach bug hit all 3 of us and took us out for the rest of it.  So we're in a new week and making a new effort.  We like to go when the childcare is open so K can play with other kids and we can workout together.  He's doing pretty good at being left there without Mom and Dad.

We are also working on changing our diets.  We've done a good job of making meal plans, now I just need to make a better effort at making HEALTHY meal plans.  Especially lowering calories and carbs.  I found the Picky Eater Blog that I hope will have some good recipes, but if anyone has any other blogs that focus on healthy recipes I'd be grateful to know what they are.  So many of the ones I follow just eat the way we used to.

I'm really hoping that these changes will make a difference and I'll see some pounds disappear.


Friday, January 27, 2012

Holiday Meal Recap

Thanksgiving- I'm a traditionalist when it comes to Thanksgiving.  I want specific dishes that don't require a recipe because I know how to make them.  This year I wanted to change that a little so I decided to go out on a limb to make a different vegetable side dish instead of just cream corn out of can.  I found this recipe and was sure it would be good since it is a Paula Deen recipe.

Corn Casserole- This did not disappoint.  It had great flavor, wasn't dry, and went well with the rest of the meal.  I'll definitely make this again and not just at holidays.

Garlic Chicken Puffs- Made these as an appetizer to eat while we watched the Lions football game.  They were really easy to make and good.  A little overwhelming on the garlic powder, so definitely watch how much of that you add.

Christmas- Christmas dinner was up to me.  Since Thanksgiving is so traditional for me, I think to mix things up a bit.  I've done steak for just H and I in the past, so yeah I can go way out there with this meal.  I needed something easy but also popular for different tastes and likes.  Italian fit that bill, and I opted for 2 different pasta dishes instead of 2 of the same.  I'm glad I did this as it gave a little bit of variety to the meal.

Pioneer Woman's Macaroni and Cheese- I used regular sharp cheddar in this recipe.  While it tasted great and was certainly better than the stuff out of the blue box, it could have been better.  Considering this is a really basic recipe I'd say improvements could only come with the type of cheeses used.  I'll just have to figure out what works best.

Make-Ahead Unstuffed Shells- This was the favorite between the two dishes.  It had awesome flavor.  It was really easy to put together and leftovers did not last long.

Nilla Turtle Cookie Balls- These were OK.  Honestly I thought they were a little bland.  I was expecting more flavor from the wafers, so that was my mistake.

Praline Crumb Caramel Cheesecake Bars- These were awesome!!  So good.  I stored them in an air-tight container so they stayed nice and moist.

New Year's- New Year's was spent with my family at my grandma's house.  She provides the meal, and just said to bring any appetizers or desserts that we wanted to have.  Since the Nilla Truffles didn't go over that well at Christmas I wanted to change things up so I went with Nutter Butters.

Nutter Butter Truffles- These tasted pretty similar to a peanut butter cup.  I opted to use milk chocolate instead of the white.  I think they may have been better with semi-sweet.  They went over really well with my family.  


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Catching up

So I've been a major slacker.  Not in the cooking department, but in the blogging department.  I've continued to make new recipes, but I've failed to take pictures since I hate our camera which has led to me not blogging about those recipes. 

So I think I'll just do a post about a whole bunch of recipes and do a short little review about each.  I won't post ingredients and directions, just links back to that info. 

I'm thinking I'll do 2 separate posts.  One for the holidays- Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's.  And the other recipes in another.  Hopefully I can get these posts done quickly so I'll feel like moving forward with real posts again.  

Here's to getting back on track!


Thursday, January 12, 2012

New Year, New Goals


  Last year I set goals that were mostly personal to me, things that I wanted to accomplish in 2011. 2012 is going to be a little different.  The husband and I sat down and made a list of things that we wanted to accomplish this year as a couple.  We had no set number of items, just discussed things and wrote them down.  I'm not going to share every item on that list, but I'll share the ones that I'm comfortable with.  

1. Pay off credit card debt.  We each have a credit card left to pay off, so we want those gone by the end of the year.
2. Create a $1000 emergency fund.  We'll build from there, but we have to start somewhere.
3. Have a Daddy and Baby Rebel Day.  No Mommy allowed.  Somehow my feelings aren't hurt.  ; )
4. Find a family dentist and all 3 of us visit them twice this year. 
5. Lose weight.  A carryover from last year, but I really want to be thinner for my sister's wedding in June and H would like to lose a bit of weight that he's put on after his big weight loss.
6. Job search and interview for myself.  I really really want a part-time job for myself. 

I'll update as the year goes on, and hopefully we'll have some success. 


Friday, December 30, 2011

Review of 11 in 2011

 Since there is only 1 day left in 2011, I thought I'd do a quick review of the goals I wanted to accomplish this year. 

Finish my pharmacy technician class with at least a 95% average.  I only need an 80% to pass, but I want to do better than that.  Did.  Finished with 98.7%  Also took the certification test in August and passed it. 

~Save money for Christmas presents by October.  I want to be able to buy for more people this year, so H and I are planning on making a joint effort to save better and be prepared for gift buying ahead of time.   Did.  We did much better this year about planning for gifts than in previous years.  

~Be pregnant by the end of the year.  This one may be a long shot though.  We'd like our kids about 2 years apart.  I just have no idea when we feasibly can start TTC for Baby Rebel #2 because of my job situation.  Plus it took us just over a year to conceive Baby Rebel #1, and I'm not going to get my hopes that #2 will be easier.  So we'll play this one by ear. Not.  Was hoping to have good news to share on the New Year, but bad news arrived on the 22nd to spoil that idea.  We'll have to see what 2012 has us store for us.  

~Have a job shortly after getting my certification.  I'm very hopeful that with the internship I'll do and the bonus of being a Certified Pharmacy Technician that gaining employment won't be hard.    Not.  Need to make this more of a priority than it is right now if I ever want to be employed. 

~Lose weight by my class reunion.  I lost about 30lbs after having Baby Rebel, but I have gained quite a bit since high school.  So while I'm realistic that I won't be able to reach my high school weight by August, I would like to lose some more and feel better about myself.  Fail. Did nothing to lose weight.  Now my goal is to lose weight by my sister's wedding next June. 

~For Baby Rebel to have an awesome checkup with his specialist on February 10th.  He'll have another u/s on his liver to make sure the hemangioma on it is still gone.  I'm very hopeful that that appointment will be the last time we have to visit!  Pass, completely clear of hemangiomas by Feb.  All clear in May of the fistula the radiologist saw.  No more specialists and no more ultrasounds.

~To help my H find a better job.  He graduated from college in May 2007 and still doesn't have a "career".  He has jobs that pay our bills.  I would really like to help him get into a job that is long term and he loves.  Complete.  Got a job as security guard at a big hospital in June.  Much better insurance and better pay.  He quit the mall security job when he took the hospital job and quit Meijer in October.  For the first time in over 4 years he is only working 1 job.

~Get the sisters tattoo with my 2 little sisters.  We've been planning this for awhile, and my littlest sister finally turned 18 this past December!  We're getting a Celtic symbol for womanhood.  Completed on June 24th.  We got them on the inside of our left wrists.   We opted to get the first 2 initials of our names around the center.  I think they turned out pretty nice. 
<--Close up of my arm.

~Do something girly for myself.  Be it getting a mani/pedi, or something else.  Do something without Baby Rebel and H that is just for me.  Did.  Got a pedicure at the end of November.  H just told me to go one day, so I did.  And I loved it!

~Update my 101 in 1001, and see what I stand with accomplishing that.  My finish date is March 14, 2012, so I still have some time to work on the list.  I haven't done anymore since my last update.  There are some more updates I need to post, and some that are still in progress.  Finishing all 101 doesn't seem likely to happen. 

~Just enjoy everyday with H and Baby Rebel.  Time is flying and I can't believe that in 8 days I'll have a 7 month old.  So I want to cherish every moment with my 2 guys and make the most of our time as a family of 3. Absolutely have.  And I have photographic proof of everything.  Time flies so I have to enjoy every moment.  

Review- I managed to get through the majority of my goals.  A few were a complete fail, but they aren't anything pressing that really hurts that I didn't finish.  I'll have to think about whether I want to set similar goals for next year.  Or perhaps I should just focus on the weight loss, since it is something that is important to me. 


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Lasagna-Style Baked Ziti

Source-Real Simple Cookbook

  • 12 oz box of ziti (about 4 cups)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2lb lean ground beef
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 26oz jar marinara sauce
  • 1 bunch spinach, thick stems removed (about 4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup ricotta (used full 15oz container)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan 
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella (used 2 cups)
  • Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Cook the pasta according to the package directions. 
  • Drain the pasta and return to pot.
  • Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, 4-5 minutes.
  • Add the beef, 3/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.
  • Cook, breaking up the beef with a spoon until it's no longer pink, 5-6 minutes.
  • Toss the pasta with the meat mixture, marinara sauce, spinach, ricotta, and 1/4 cup of the Parmesan.
  • Transfer to 9x13 baking dish or 4 large ramekins.
  • Sprinkle with mozzarella and remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan.
  • Bake until the cheese melts, 12-15 minutes.
Review & Changes-  This had really good flavor.  I liked the freshness of the spinach even in a baked dish.  Of course the cheese was great.  If anything it could have used a bit more marinara sauce.  An easy meal that tastes good.  I'd make this again.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Southwest Chicken Skillet

Source- Betty Crocker Easy Family Dinners Cookbook

  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 lb bag frozen broccoli, corn and red peppers (mine also came with cauliflower)
  • 15oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup thick and chunky salsa (used full 16oz jar)
  • 2 cups coarsely crushed tortilla chips
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • Heat oil in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Cook chicken in oil 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until brown.
  • Stir in frozen vegetables, beans and salsa.
  • Reduce heat to medium.
  • Cover and cook 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisp tender.
  • Sprinkle with tortilla chips and cheese.
  • Cover and cook about 2 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Review & Changes- This turned out really good.  My husband was surprised at how much he liked the tortilla chips in it.  Of course in the leftovers the chips weren't crunchy anymore, but they still were good.   I definitely think the recipe needed the full jar of salsa instead of just 1 cup.  I started with just the cup, and it didn't look like enough, so I didn't immediately go to the whole jar.