Tag Archives: food

Birthday Present to You

March is my favorite month. Weather starts to get warmer. It’s the anniversary of Mr. A and I dating. Even more so, it’s my birthday!

I love birthdays. Love them. I always joke that I will be 90 years old, in a nursing home, and still excited about my birthday. I love the fun and the cake and the presents. Yes, presents. I KNOW it’s not about that, but it’s fun to get gifts that my loved ones thought about and put effort into.

But, this year, I’m not as excited. I don’t really know why.

It’s not a big deal number. We get to go home, and while I’m excited for that, there isn’t the level of anticipation that usually hits me on March 1st. Also, my actual birthday is a Sunday, so no real fun on the actual day.

So I thought I would do something different.

I’m giving one of YOU a birthday gift.

Yes, you wonderful readers have a chance to enter in for a giveaway from me.

So, what is in this fun little birthday basket?

First, you will get to choose between 3 different cookbooks. All focus on healthy eating, but I know people look for different things, so no point in me forcing one on you!

A. Bethenney Frankel’s The Skinnygirl Dish

skinnygirl (source)


B) Hungry Girl 300 under 300

hungry girl (Source)


C) Cooking Light Complete Cookbook

cookinglight (source)

All of these look great and I’m trying to share my new ways of trying to eat healthier. (Just ignore my tweet about the DQ tonight. I AM a girl after all…)

But a birthday package of just a healthy cookbook is lame. And I don’t want to be lame.

So, to add, I will throw in a $20 gift card to:

whole foods


You can use it for food for your new recipes in your new cookbook. Or if you use it on their awesome wine and dessert selection, I won’t blame you. Just tell me what you bought so I can make sure to get it next time.

If you win and aren’t close to one, we will chat and work something else out.

And because not everything should be about food, I shall throw in a…

iTunes (source)

$15 iTunes gift card!! Who doesn’t love new music? Or a movie? Or some apps for your fancy schmancy phone?

And knowing me, I might just throw in some other small treats just because…

I think it looks like a pretty awesome birthday basket. I hope you do too!

By now you are wondering how to enter this little deal. And I will make it simple for you.

All you have to do is leave me a comment telling me about your favorite birthday present/event/occasion/tradition.

You can get a bonus entry if you write a second comment with a link to your blog or Twitter account, even if I already follow you and read your blog. And if you’re new, it’s a good way for me to meet you! If you don’t have either, tell me one fun fact about yourself and we will call it even.

So you have TWO chances, but please put them as separate comments and please include an e-mail address in each so I can easily reach you!

I will use the random number generator to pick.

You have until 11:59pm Thursday March 24th to enter. No late entries will be allowed. And then, if all goes to plan, I will mail the package on Friday so the lucky winner will have their “birthday” present early next week!


Good luck!!



Filed under giveaway, Happy little posts

Food is my Favorite

Things have been hectic recently. Over Christmas break, Mr. A was home and I was working a lot, so we had a lot of pizzas and frozen things.

Then, I was working and trying to apply to grad school, which meant lots of library time to work on a paper and such, so lots of fast food.

And then last week happened. Which involved a lot of eating  out and junk food. We hadn’t gone to the grocery store in nearly two weeks, and with Mr. A’s limited diet last week, eating out was kind of our best option.

And when we got married, I was trying to cook more and work on my less than desirable skills in the kitchen.

So this week, I’m trying to get back to cooking more, eating more at home, and trying to be more domestic.

Sunday: I didn’t cook. BUT, my favorite brand of store bought garlic bread (Cole’s), has an entire meal in a box. Different pastas, sauce, and garlic bread. Was out of a box, but actually really delicious. You can’t really go wrong with cheese tortellini. 

Monday: Valentine’s Day!! I said it on Twitter, but our dinner was fantastic. We has baked asparagus, salmon pinwheels (one with lobster stuffing (AMAZING), the other with spinach and feta (VERY GOOD)), and then we had a French baguette with dipping oil. For dessert, Mr. A’s favorite, blackberry pie. We opened up our favorite bottle of wine from a local winery and it was a perfect dinner at home. The pinwheels may have been made from the seafood counter and all I had to do was bake it, but I cooked it and it was delicious.

Tuesday: Tonight we are having beer-braised beef, mashed potatoes, and broccoli. I found the recipe here and it looks pretty delicious. Also, we had some steak that needed to get used, so this was the way to do it.

Wednesday: I work until 6, so we’re just going to have spaghetti with spicy marinara sauce. Mr. A makes a fantastic sauce, so he gets to make that.

Thursday: We are having DuolyNoted’s bruschetta because it is absolutely wonderful. Favorite recipe we’ve found. We’re also having these stuffed crab shells from our grocery store. They are super cheap and delicious. They coem frozen, so we buy them and then just keep them in the freezer for an easy dinner. Yummmmmm.

Friday: Mr. A’s stepmom gave us her chicken and rice recipe. I’ll have to type it up for you all. So delicious. Basically chicken, rice (we use brown), cream of mushroom soup, broth, and some vegetables and you bake it. So delicious.

Saturday we will probably go grab dinner just because one of our favorite things to do is to go out to eat, we just need to do it WAY less often than we have been.

What are some of your favorite dishes? Any new one’s I should try?


Filed under Foodie, Married Life

Good Eats

Last week, I asked on Twitter if anyone had done the South Beach Diet or knew anyone and what they thought. The responses were very mixed. Some said they had done it or someone they knew had with great results. Others were vehemently against it, or any type of “diet”.

However, my mom has started this and it has done some wonders. She doesn’t follow it 100%, but in two weeks she’s already gone down a pants size and her energy level has gone through the roof. This is the woman who would want to go to bed at 7:30 each night and still not really want to wake up each morning. She now wakes up early and is active all day and doesn’t go to bed till 10 or 11. She seems happier and is looking much better.

So, this is what I’m doing. I’m going to follow the first two weeks 100%. This means no bread, potatoes, rice, sugars, etc. I’ll be having lots of salads and turkey wraps and tuna in various forms and such. Then, after two weeks, I can start introducing some of those things back into my diet.

I know I know. I should just eat healthier and move on. But you don’t understand how atrocious my eating habits can be. My mother, who had the metabolism of a racehorse until she reached the age of 45, could eat anything she wanted, no matter the fat or butter or salt or sugar content and she wouldn’t gain a pound. This then became how she let my brother and I eat. Only, my brother inherited her metabolism and was athletic, and I did not. I had all of her sisters’ genes which means I gain weight super easily.

And I’ve been working on my eating habits and working out, but french fries and pizza and chocolate call my name on a daily basis. And telling myself to just eat better isn’t cutting it.

Also, my mom has said that after the first few days, she hasn’t craved sugar or carbs at all. She doesn’t put sugar in her coffee anymore and she doesn’t crave bread and pasta like she used to.

Umm….if I can quit having these cravings, then after these two weeks, eating better will be a million times easier. This is also forcing me to figure out healthy alternatives and how to make the food delicious for me. I am not planning on sticking to the SBD after these two weeks, but eating more vegetables and fresh foods and less processed crap and insane amounts of sugars. The book has some good recipes and I have no problem making those and using some of it’s tips, but I don’t want to feel tied to a diet for the rest of my life. I want to learn to eat better and to enjoy the foods I’m eating.

So that’s where we are. Yesterday was day one of this cleansing, as I’m calling it.

Mr. A is going to try to do this with me, but with his stomach issues he will have to be careful about what he decides to completely eliminate from his diet. Yesterday he ate a sandwich on white bread and I just wanted to steal his sandwich and eat it. White bread is yummy. Haha

But to help me, he cute up all the vegetables for me in snack sizes so if I’m hungry, I can go grab some red pepper strips or cucumbers or celery.



I even put all my vegetables and healthy things up front in my fridge so when I’m browsing for food, I see those things instead of pudding or something else I shouldn’t eat. And yes, that is a box of wine, but the Bota Box is delicious. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.

However, seeing as I’ve had one day, I’ve made some pretty delicious things.

For lunch, I made delicious lettuce wraps with smoked turkey, low-fat shredded mozzarella, red peppers, and a tiny bit of dill dip spread.


Ummm…holy crap these things were yummy. You wouldn’t believe how delicious and a tiny bit of dill dip goes a long way since it’s so flavorful. I made two and had some green pepper strips and celery on the side. I also added a handful of pistachios for a little salt and crunch to my meal.


I mean, if all the healthy stuff is going to taste this good, then I shouldn’t have any problems.

Tonight, I’m making red peppers stuffed with tuna salad with very little mayo, diced up peppers and onions and celery and a spinach salad. There is a restaurant where we went to school and they have the BEST salad dressing and all it contains is olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic. Mr. A is going to make a batch tonight and then I will have ready to go salad dressing for the week.

Also, this week:

Tuesday: steak salads with seared steak strips and low-fat bleu cheese crumbles

Wednesday: Sarah’s homemade tomato basil soup

Thursday: Roasted chicken with cauliflower mashed “potatoes” and sautéed asparagus

Friday: Turkey bratwurst and salads

Saturday: Omelets with veggies and turkey sausage

Not sure about everything else yet, but I have some delicious snacks to keep my hunger down and I’m still working out. I’m actually pretty excited about this and ready to see some changes, not only in my pants size, but also in my food mentality and desires.


Filed under Foodie, Life After College



As of Friday afternoon, I will be here. Looks relaxing, doesn’t it?

Unfortunately, Mr. A will not be going with me, but he needs to study and he is going to his hometown to see friends on Saturday, so it works out. He needs a good boys night with his friends that he’s known since grade school. Admittedly, I’m a little jealous. I love his friends and wish I was going, but oh well.

Anyways, I will be in Missouri at a place that does weekend concert series and other various events. They have a ton of different cabins and houses and it should be a lot of fun.

It will be me, my dad, my stepmom, stepsister, brother, Dad’s friend M and girlfriend, and Dad’s other friend S and wife. My dad has known M and S since he was in his twenties and these guys are great. They’re like super cool uncles. I love spending time with them.

Dad, brother, S, and M and their significant others have done this every year for about 5 years now. There may be a couple additions here and there, but that’s the main group. I wasn’t originally on the guest list for this year, but since my brother and his girlfriend broke up, he had an extra ticket, so now I’m part of the cool kids club. They are actually very selective about who they invite. It’s their weekend to get away and relax, so I feel a little honored that I’m an adult now so I can go.

Lameeeeee. Oh well.

Except, I think my stepmom invited my stepsister since I was going to be there. As if I needed someone to keep me company. Really, I would have much more fun without her. I’ve hung out with all of these people my whole life and I don’t need her attention-whoring attitude, but whatever. My brother and I will drink our C@rona, talk about our dad’s eccentricities and it will be great.

Also, my brother is riding his motorcycle down, so maybe he can give me a ride on it. I don’t normally like motorcycles, but I figure I’m safe with my brother and he won’t be trying to show off or anything.

They also have this down to a science. Everyone is assigned different dishes or meals to take care of.

Friday night, everyone brings their own meat and they grill and someone brings a salad and a potato dish. I was in charge of dessert, so I made the peaches and cream cupcakes and the chocolate chip pumpkin cupcakes for that since my stepmom has heard me talking about all of my new baking adventures. Saturday morning M and his girlfriend will make individual omelets, which are apparently to die for. During the say is just snacky foods and such. That night we’ll eat dinner at the lodge before the concert and Sunday morning, S and his wife make a breakfast casserole and I made my cinnamon swirl bread.

I’m looking forward to it. I brought a couple books for relaxing time on Saturday. Everyone kind of chills on the porches and hangs out. Apparently M naps a lot. My dad has a lot of pictures of M napping. Weird.

But I hope all of you have a great weekend. Find time to relax and do something for your self. All of you deserve it and more.

I’ll recap all the funny stories when I get back.

1 Comment

Filed under Happy little posts, Normal Family?

I sure do love food

food-photo (Source)

I wish I could be a food critic, but there are certain foods and types of food that I just won’t eat, so there goes that job.

Last week or so I cut back on new recipes. I was getting a little burnt out and things were hectic and I didn’t feel like spending hours on new recipes or anything.

Basically, I was being lazy. Oh well.

This week isn’t all new stuff, but I have a TON of baking to do for my little family trip this weekend and I didn’t feel like baking all day Wednesday and Thursday and then still having to try a new recipe.

Cooking is hard.

But, here’s a little rundown of what’s to come.

Tonight (Sunday) we had our FAVORITE spicy turkey sloppy joes. If you have not tried them, you must. I know sloppy joes sounds like crap food, but these are spicy and smoky and pure awesomeness. Go make them. Now. You won’t regret it.

I also made this cannoli dip. Umm….delicious. A friend had made something like this for our Superbowl party and it was so yummy. We dipped teddy grahams and pecan halves in it. Yum yum yum.

Monday, we are having slow cooker cheese steaks. They sound delicious and super easy. But since they take 4 hours, I hope I remember to put it in around 4 so we’re not eating at midnight.

Tuesday we’ll probably have little smokies wrapped in crescent rolls and soup of some kind. Mr. A LOVES the little smokies this way, and since I’m leaving him all weekend, I’m trying to make up for it.

Wednesday we’ll probably have leftovers or a hodgepodge of stuff. Wednesday I will be making chocolate chip pumpkin cupcakes and peaches and cream cupcakes for the weekend. The pumpkin ones I won’t be using their frosting or making them look like witches, but they reviews rave about them, so I hope they turn out well.

For this weekend, everyone gets assigned food to bring and somehow I got put on the list for cupcakes and either cinnamon rolls or cinnamon bread. I have the greatest homemade cinnamon roll recipe, but they’re kind of tedious and it’s easier for me to transport homemade cinnamon swirl bread, so that’s what I’m going to make Thursday.

Thursday night we will probably go out to eat since I’ll be leaving Friday.

Looking at this, I make a lot of sweets and not a lot of real food. I promise we don’t only eat cakes. Promise.

Thursday I will also be making Sarah in the City’s super easy chocolate pie for Mr. A since I’m making all these yummy things and he can’t enjoy them.

Next week, because I promised Mr. A I would, I’m also making Sarah’s homemade basil tomato soup and homemade pimento cheese sandwiches. I personally can’t stand pimento cheese, but it’s one of his favorites and he can take the leftovers for lunch, so I’ll go for it.

What are you making this week? Any new recipes I should try?


Filed under Foodie

This New Hobby

With all this time on my hand, I decided that I needed to find a hobby that would benefit the husband and I.

I have started scrapbooking, but that is more for me and the husband doesn’t get so much out of it.

So I’ve been working on my previous lack of skill in the kitchen. I had started this little endeavor a while ago, but I would only make like one thing new and the rest came from a box or Mr. A made it.

My new favorite thing? Meal planning.

It makes everything so much easier.

I used to go to the grocery store and just buy random stuff with no clear meals in mind. By Wednesday, we were out of main course food and just had a lot of side dishes and snack food. I love mashed potatoes as much as anyone, but I can’t shouldn’t live off of them.

So now, during the week, I start looking online for new recipes to try. It has been so much fun to find either new things to eat or recipes for meals I already like.

My favorite places to look are The Pioneer Woman and Tasty Kitchen. I just love the Pioneer Woman’s sense of humor and love her pictures that go along with her amazing recipes. I have also found a lot of recipes from other blogs. You guys sure are crafty in the kitchen!

From last week’s meals:

Sunday: Grilled chicken

             Spinach salad with dried cranberries, pecans, and strawberry vinaigrette

             Brie and peach biscuit bites from ARealLifeWIfe

***I think I just don’t like grilled chicken by itself. The salad was amazing, as were the biscuits, but the chicken was just blah. Anyone know a good grilled chicken recipe?

Monday: Turkey sloppy joes (spicy)

             Leftover salad

****Amazing! I got the recipe here. They were so yummy and definitely not the blah sloppy joes you had as a kid.

Tuesday: Stuffed crab

               Baked rice

****The stuffed crab we buy at our grocery store and it is so delicious. The rice? For being as simple as it is, it was yummy. It was full of flavor and I could have eaten it every night.

Wednesday: Frozen lasagna from MIL and garlic bread

Thursday: Turkey Chili

****I got the recipe for this here. One of the best chili I have ever had. I didn’t follow the directions exactly. I added a pinch more heat to it and a whole can of corn, a huge onion, and instead of the smelly juice from the canned beans, I used some chicken stock and some water for the liquid. It was spicy and delicious. Add some shredded cheese and sour cream and you’re set!

Friday: Leftovers or go out to eat

Last week’s meals all turned out pretty amazing and better yet, no one got sick!

So this week, this is what’s ahead:

Sunday: Use leftover chili to make chili-mac and I made The Bread

Monday: Borrowing a couple recipes from Duoly Noted. We’ll be having her bruschetta and her linguine with clam sauce that is apparently “to die for”.

Tuesday: Fried round steak and mashed potatoes and green beans.

Wednesday: Hot dogs and homemade mac and cheese. Nothing fancy but Wednesday is usually Mr. A’s late night, so this should be easy and can be made whenever he makes it home.

Thursday: Outback’s coconut shrimp with spicy orange sauce, grilled vegetables, and fingerling potatoes. We received a cookbook with restaurant “secret” recipes and I have been craving coconut shrimp for a while.


These meals are a little less healthy, but I have been working out more, so I’ll go for it.

I’m also planning on making a derby pie tomorrow. This is a chocolate nut pie with some bourbon. Mr. A loves bourbon and being from the state he’s from hopefully he will love the derby pie. I have a recipe that I’m not crazy about, but if you have one, please share!

I’m pretty excited about these upcoming meals. I hope everything turns out well, especially the shrimp. I can’t believe I have to wait until Thursday!


Filed under Foodie