Friday, November 22, 2013

Currently


My husband has been doing something he calls Schmidtzing. Basically when he starts to get angry at other drivers he yells at them as Schmidt. It is hilarious!

I've been trying to come up with a fun Christmas countdown calendar and can't come up with anything that I love. Most likely because I was spoiled with mine. My Aunt Connie would buy me 25 small gifts and wrap each one and number them. Each morning I got to open the gift numbered for that day. I loved it, I always felt so special and loved. Of course, I loved the gifts but the fact that she took the time and thought of me is what stands out in my memory. That's some big shoes to fill while I'm making one for my boys.

This is a game changer!

Date night with my honey tonight! Whoooo hoooo! Yeah, we need some time for us, badly!

Have you put your tree up yet? I normally have atleast one up by now buuuuuttttt I'm behind schedule. I plan on putting a couple up Thursday, maybe before, if I can swing it.

On the menu:
BBQ Salmon and Crispy Chickpea Salad with Greek Yogurt Ranch Drizzle
Thanksgiving
Canyon Creek Burger Copycat
Skinny Mint Chocolate Milkshakes

That's pretty much it. I've been more boring than normal this week.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Christmas Bucket List



I was inspired by this post. I love the idea of a Christmas Bucket List! The season always zooms by, and with a husband who works retail and is so busy this time of year, I feel like we miss out on some many opportunities for fun, memory making time. This is a great way I can do somethings with the boys and plan ahead so that the hubs can be there for the fun times. And this way, hopefully he can leave the rude customers, bad corporate decisions and decrees of extra tasks at work and just enjoy family and still enjoy the season instead of being filled with dread. Hopefully, our boys will look back on Christmas memories with fondness and love instead of remembering Daddy being exhausted and cranky. I am just like my Mom, we love, love, LOVE Christmas and that makes for an interesting combination this time of year but our boys bridge the gap for celebrating. For me its about love, spending time together and and intangible magic that happens but after a decade in retail he almost lost that. He changed his views when our oldest son was born and I work every year to make sure he doesn't become a Grinch. 

Here is our bucket list:
  1. Watch Elf as a family while we drink hot chocolate and eat cookies
  2. Make Chocolate Chip Cookies for Santa
  3. Help the boys make cards for friends and family
  4. Watch Love Actually with the Mr. on date night
  5. Put up 3 trees
  6. Coordinate my gift wrap
  7. Everyone gets new pjs on Christmas Eve
  8. Make treats for my co-workers and the hubby's employees
  9. Make treats for Caleb's Cubbies class
  10. Make homemade fudge and caramels
  11. Make hot chocolate on a stick for friends and family
  12. Give myself a festive pedicure
  13. Make and hang paper snowflakes with the boys
  14. Make salt dough ornaments
  15. Donate toys, clothes and food to charity
  16. Hang light in the dining room and the boys bedroom
  17. Drive around with hot chocolate and coffee looking for Christmas lights
  18. Do portraits with Santa
  19. Watch at least one other random cheesy Christmas movie
  20. Make 1 gift for each kid
  21. Make most of the gifts for our extended family
  22. Make a Nativity with the boys
  23. Make ornaments out of the boys art
  24. Listen to Christmas music on the daily
  25. Visit Rock City
What are your plans this season? Care to join in? I'll be sporadically posting about these actives and Instagraming them as well. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Currently.


I am on the mend! I've been to a Dr for a couple of my medical issues and I am beginning to feel more like myself! I've been on antibiotics for Bronchitis and I'm being monitored for my blood pressure problems. I have a few other things I need to figure out before I can say I'm 100% where I want to be.

Also...
*** HAPPY DANCE BREAK***
I lost 20 pounds over the past year! That doesn't sound like a lot, but as hard as I have struggled to lose anything, it is a major accomplishment! I've stayed away from scales, because I wanted to focus on how I felt and looked but, they weighed me at at the doctor's office and until then I had no idea how much I actually lost.

My being so sick the past couple of weeks made me realize, I really need to teach my husband a few easy dishes that we normally have the ingredients for. He can make quesadillas like a pro and make a basic breakfast, but, that is about it. He and I both have been planning on him learning a few of my recipes, but after resorting to take out and fast food, while I was just too weak or dizzy to stand for long periods of time, makes me realize we need to get on that ASAP! Especially when we are on a mission to save a major amount of money and payoff most, if not all debts over 2014, something like that can throw a major kink in your budget. Plus, eating out will wreck you diet and give your kids little to no nutritional items! Anyone have any healthy and delicious beginner friendly meals? I'd love some suggestions!

I'm obsessed with this Christmas Bucket List! I'm making my own, probably to be post about later.

I've also started making some homemade Christmas gifts for this year. Here are some from last year. I love giving gifts, not over top crazy forget the reason for Christmas greedy gifts, but, I love giving something special and meaningful to people. Like, when my Brother-in-law realized he found his one and only soul mate and proposed on Christmas Eve, we bought them a silver ornament with "Our First Christmas" and the date engraved on it. It was also a locket for them to put a picture of the that night in it. That kind of gift is something that they will have on their tree for years and will always love. Things like homemade extract and spice rubs to the other food loving people in my family. And, of course we are making ornaments for the grandparents again this year because how sweet is that? Something that will remind them that we care when the use it or look at it. There are tons of suggestions on Pinterest.

On the menu this week:
Vanilla Salt
DIY Chocolate Coconut Sugar Scrub
Homemade Sriracha
French Silk Pie ON A STICK!!!
Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza
Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps
Crockpot Pulled Pork Chili

One last thing, well actually two things. What do you think of the "Pin It" buttons on all of the photos? Do my links on the top and sides of the page work/appear for you? I like the "Pin It" option but I know some find it distracting so I'd love to hear what you think. And, I can no longer see my link but if I scroll over where they should be, they work. Not sure what's going on there but I do need to know if I need to fix them.

Last, last thing I swear. What are you planning this weekend? I'm working at my real job and doing monds and mounds of dishes and laundry that I got behind on. Maybe some crafting if I have time.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thanksgiving for 4


   This year we are keeping it simple. Thanksgiving is going to be just the four of us. The mister works in retail, therefore he has an early morning coming the next day so driving and eating multiple places makes for a stressful day for us knowing we have to be back home and in bed early. This year he may be opening at midnight so which means he needs to sleep when we would normally be eating dinner. So, me being the control freak I am, made the executive decision to stay home. I'm roasting a turkey breast and making a creamy tomato gravy. Being that we are southern, we always have dressing instead of stuffing, but this year I decided to skip it and make a cheesy squash polenta instead. I'm making mac and cheese for the little picky fellow. We are adding mashed parsnips in our our mashed potatoes and I am roasting our sweet potatoes instead of making them into a casserole. For something green we are having roasted citrus balsamic brussels sprouts instead of green bean casserole. I just found a recipe for homemade jellied cranberry sauce, that's a must! And, I'll be making whole wheat spoon rolls. I haven't decided on desserts for sure but I'm thinking a caramel apple galette and maybe a french silk pie. Yum! I'm planning for lots of leftovers to send with him to work that night/next morning, a full employee is a happy employee! 

    I am so looking forward to our little family Thanksgiving! The kids will probably still be wearing their pjs and I'll be in yoga pants, I'm sure but I don't care as long as I spend the day with my three favorite reasons to be thankful! What are you planning for you day of thanks? 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Nutella Cheesecake Brownies Sprinkled with Pink Himalayan Sea Salt


 I made these for the, girls only crafty retreat, my mom and I usually go to twice a year. It is always a perfect combination of girl talk, crafting, relaxation, bad chick flicks, mostly from the 80s and tons of food. These brownies are based from my favorite brownie recipe, from Nigella Lawson's How To Be A Domestic Goddess, which also happens to be one of my favorite cookbooks. This recipes makes a large amount of brownies, not only do you use a 13x9 pan but they're thick too, so don't freak out when you realize you need 3 sticks of butter and half a dozen eggs. I usually cut them fairly small because they're so rich and fudgy this time I cut them larger than normal and got about two dozens brownies. I also made the "Elvis Blondies" that have been rolling around in my head but I think they need some serious tweaking before I commit to a recipe just yet. 


   We had a few brownies left since we had a massive amount of food as usual. In sweets alone we had these brownies and my blondies along with some butter pecan cookies that were delicious and addictive, a sinful chocolate cake with coffee filling, chocolate butter cream and chocolate ganache, banana pudding that was so light and creamy, grabbed that recipe up, some chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, stole that recipe too, and guava and cream cheese empanadas that were redonkulously good. That was just the sweets, don't even get me started on the hearty stew, chips, onion dip, AREPAS, got that recipe too, HOLLA, muffins, bagels, veggies and Mediterranean salad that I need that recipe for, so good! Its amazing we weren't sick from gorging ourselves. So needless to say I had some brownie leftovers that I sent to work the mister, mostly to keep me from eating them ALL. According to what I heard back, his employees LOVED them too, like rolled their eyes back in their head and started muttering things, that kind of good. I highly recommend you make these for someone with a sweet tooth or for a chocoholic, they will be indebted to you for life! 


Adapted from: Nigella Lawson's Birthday Brownies
1/4 cup Nutella
1 1/2 cup butter (3 sticks)
14 oz super dark (but not unsweetened) chocolate, chopped
6 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup semi sweet mini chips or chopped hazelnuts
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup Nutella
1 egg
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon Pink Himalayan Sea Salt (or any type of Sea Salt, preferably a coarse grain)

Preheat over to 350° F. Butter and 9x13 baking pan and line with parchment paper. In a medium to large sauce pan, melt, Nutella, butter and chocolate over medium heat. Once melted remove from heat. In a separate bowl whisk together vanilla, eggs and sugar. Stir egg mixture, flour and chocolate chips or nuts into sauce pan. Pour batter into prepared pan and set aside. In another bowl, (I would recommend using a mixer here) whisk, cream cheese, Nutella and sugar together until smooth. Spoon medium sized dollops over the surface of the brownie batter and swirl with a knife and sprinkle on sea salt. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until mostly firm but not totally set.Allow to cool before slicing. Makes a maximum of 48 small brownies or 24 large brownies.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Currently.

Beef Tongue Tacos is where it's at!

Sorry I missed last weeks post. I was running around like a crazy woman packing at the time I would have normally been writing. And I'm sorry I haven't posted this past week and that I'm three days late with this weeks post, I have the plaque. Well, it's not the plaque but it feels like it. The husband took a sick day so he could take me to the ER, we actually decided to go to the CVS Minute Clinic, and I'm glad we did, I was in and out within an hour and had my prescriptions filled while I waited, which meant I came home and slept the rest of the day. Apparently if I had waited until Monday like I planned I would have been an much worse shape, the nurse was shocked I didn't have pneumonia, yikes! I also learned my blood pressure was waaaaaayyyyy up, which coupled with this sinus infection and some of the other issues I have been having explains why I'm so exhausted all the time and why I have been having some serious vertigo problems. I'm way too young to be feeling this bad and honestly, we eat pretty healthy around here so I'm confused as to what's going on. I feel like I'm getting too complainy, yes, I did just make that up. So I'll just say, that I'm sorry if my posts get kind of sporadic, I just have too much on my plate right now.

My little sister, who shares my brain when it comes to food, recently made those tacos pictured at the top. She made them with beef tongue and I know some of you are thinking, what, the what is she talking about, or that's gross, but they were delicious! And, beef tongue is a normal part of the cow to consume in many parts of the world and apparently, even here in the states but it's just not as common. She also made the tortillas too. She's kind of a power house in the kitchen, she just doesn't know it yet.

I'm dying to either starting redoing our house or find a new place. It's all because of things like this kitchen, or this kitchen, or this bedroom. I guess I'll be working rearranging and doing some cheap up dates after Christmas until we decide what the future holds. Maybe it's all because I've watched a trillion episodes of Color Splash this week, while I layed around and trying to heal myself with my brain powers.

I planned to do a Halloween re-cap for y'all but didn't get great shots so for the time being this will have to do.
Caleb in his amazing Jack Skellington costume and throwing up the rock fist, cause, ya know, he's awesome!
Liam the little Minion. He's never likes hats but he wore the glasses and hat for almost an hour before he realized it was there. I threw together a Minnie Mouse costume out of things I already had. My poor husband didn't have time to come up with anything and was too busy helping me get everything together for all of us that he got left out this year. I think I want to do a family costume next year. I'll have to get all my boys on board though.

One the menu this week:
These adorable mini chocolate chip cookies
Carrot Coconut Soup
Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Pizza
Crockpot Pulled Pork Chilli