Tuesday, March 10, 2009

What am I grateful for?

Over the last few months, I've been in a funk. There is no other way to describe it. It seems like we have had a run of "bad luck", for lack of a better word. I've noticed that I've been spending a lot of time focusing on what has been going wrong, which is probably what is contributing to my funk, and not enough time focusing on what is really important. So in an attempt to get myself out of this funk, I've decided to make a list of what I am grateful for. So here goes...I feel incredibly blessed to have:

- God. My relationship has come to a new place lately, and I really needed that.
-An incredible husband. He is my very best friend, and life is never boring with him
- My cats. I know that makes me sound like a crazy cat lady, but they really do make
my day. Until we have children, they are my kids, and thats pretty much how I treat
- My parents. I have such great relationships with both of them, and I am so thankful
for that. Its comforting to know that they are always there, no matter what.
- My sister. She is one of my best friends, and I am so lucky to have that. A
relationship between sisters cannot be matched.
- My job. In a time where a lot of people are struggling to find and keep work, I know
how lucky I am for my job. The people are wonderful, and the environment is almost
always positive.
- My extended family & friends. Some of those are one in the same. I have such an
incredible group of people that I get to call family. Growing up, I thought everyone's
family was as close as ours, but as I've gotten older, I realize that isn't true, so I know
how lucky I am to have that.

Well, I'm sure there is a lot more, but that is a start. My life is really pretty fantastic!! :)

Monday, March 9, 2009


This past weekend was not the greatest. We received a nice note from our apt manager that they have been made aware that we have cats in our apt, and that we have to find them a new home. Well, anyone that knows me knows that I am not going to be parting with my cats. They are like children to me. After a discussion with my landlord today, there is a small possibility that we may be able to keep them, but we won't know til Friday, when the main manager gets back. Anyway, we have been wanting to find a house to rent for a while now, until Dave Ramsey tells us that we are ready to buy a house, at least! We have just completely outgrown our apartment, and are ready for more space and privacy that the apt provides. So today, I started the rental house search, and I am quickly finding out that I don't enjoy it AT ALL!! There doesn't seem to be a lot out there. I have found 1 that I think I may fall in love with, but it is about $100 more than we want to spend in rent, and about 10 miles farther out than we want to live. So who knows. I just hope that it all works out.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Blog Awards!!

I received the "Lemonade Stand" and the "Your Blog is Fabulous" awards from Melissa at Mrs. Sac's Purple Kitchen! Thanks so much Melissa!! I didn't even realize anyone ever read my blog! Make sure to check out Melissa's blog for lots of yummy recipes, and check out the blogs I nominated below!

Erin ~ Erin's Food Files

Lindsay ~ Love Deliciousness

Molly ~ My Happy Meals

Mandy ~ Home with Mandy

Monday, March 2, 2009

Mini twice baked potatoes

I love potatoes. I don't care how you fix them, they are one of my all time favorite foods. I usually use whatever I have on hand to make twice baked potatoes. I've seen on several different blogs where people have used red potatoes, so I decided to create my own version of those this time. They turned out great!

Mini Twice Baked Potatoes
10-12 small red potatoes
2 tblsp sour cream
4 tblsp butter
a couple splashes of milk
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
4 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 green onions, chopped

Poke holes in potatoes with a fork and bake them in the oven at 4oo degrees for 45 min - 1 hour (or until soft). Let cool 10-15 minutes. Cut in half and scoop out center. Mix potato, sour cream, butter, milk, cheese bacon and onions until well mixed. Scoop filling back into potato shells. Bake at 400 for approximately 15 -20 min. These were great at room temp as well.

Green Bean Bundles

These are SO easy, and really great for bbq's. (they can be eaten with your hands!)

Green Bean Bundles
2 cans whole green beans
6 pieces of bacon, halved
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 stick butter, melted
1 tsp garlic salt
2 tsp soy sauce

Take 1/2 strip of bacon, lay 8-10 green beans across bacon, and wrap around. Secure with toothpick. Repeat until green beans are gone (this usually makes about 12 bundles). Melt butter, add in brown sugar, garlic salt and soy sauce. Mix together and pour over bundles in a 9x13 baking dish. Bake in the oven at 375 for 20 minutes. Switch to broil and broil for 5 minutes to crisp up top of bacon. Serve warm or at room temp.

BLT Pasta Salad

This is my husbands favorite food in the world. I got this recipe several years ago from a WW blog, and have adapted it and made it my own over the years. My measurments make a huge bowl, enough for cookouts for 10 - 12 people. And I eyeball a lot, so you may have to play around a little to create your perfect version.

BLT Pasta Salad
3/4 box medium shell pasta, cooked
1 lb bacon, cooked and chopped
4-5 tomatoes, chopped
1 head of lettuce, shredded
1 cup mayo
1 cup sour cream
2 -3 tablespoons sugar
2-3 tablespoons cider vinegar
(The sugar & vinegar usually vary from time to time for me. I have to taste it after adding each one to make sure it is right. It is really just based on your liking, but you want it to be a "salad dressing" consistency.)

Cook pasta by the box directions. Meanwhile, cook bacon, drain and chop. Chop tomatoes and shred lettuce. Add first 4 ingredients to a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, mix the next 4 ingredients, and wisk until smooth. Pour over pasta mixture, and mix well. Refridgerate 2-3 hours before serving.

Get Together update/Jalapeno Popper Dip

This past weekend, my husband & I had a few friends over. I LOVE hostessing, so I was pretty excited. I was thinking of something along the lines of a quaint dinner party, but because my husband thinks that if it doesn't come off the grill, it isn't food, my dreams of pretty food were squashed! He wanted to smoke a pork shoulder, so that is what he did. In the snow, wearing 2 hooded sweatshirts, he smoked a pork shoulder. My next few BU's will be the sides that I fixed to go with it.

I'll start with the appetizer. I made Jalapeno Popper Dip, and this was the best thing I've ever had, hands down. If you've never made this, you MUST try it now!!

Jalapeno Popper Dip
2- 8 ounce packages cream cheese, room temp
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1- 4 ounce can chopped green chilies
1- 4 ounce can sliced jalapeƱos
2 fresh jalapenos, diced

1 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 stick butter, melted

Mix first 7 ingredients until smooth. Spread the dip into a greased 2 quart casserole. In a bowl mix bread crumbs and the other 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese. Pour melted butter over top crumb mixture and mix well. Sprinkle crumb mixture evenly over the dip and bake in a 375° oven for about 20 minutes. You want the top to get browned and the dip to be heated through and bubble gently on the edges. Serve with tortilla chips or butter crackers.

You will be SO happy that you made this dip!!