Sunday, December 14, 2008

6 Months of Happiness


So today is our 6 month mini anniversary! Yes I am cheesy and sentimental--but I love being married to Kevin!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A Day of Baking!




I found the Baking Gals Project through Melissa, a friend of mine from the June Knot/Nest Board and fellow blogger. You join a team and together you adopt a soldier who gets between 15-25 packages containing dozens of homemade cookies! I am on team JustAddNuts--this is their blog! Kevin and I baked 3 dozen chocolate chip cookies and 3 dozen oatmeal raising cookies to put in the mail Monday(OK I baked and Kevin acted as taste tester!). Pictures to follow of our cookies and package for our soldier!
Consider joining a team and saying thank you to a soldier!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Kevin Loves Christmas


Here is our snoopy inflatable--where we are going to put it who knows--we have no yard!

Friday, November 28, 2008

More Decorations



Love these vinyl decorations from singlestonestudios!! I know I am breaking our family rule of putting up decorations before my mom's birthday--but technically these are winter decorations not Christmas decorations!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving!!






A 5K, using our china and stemware finally! and our first married Thanksgiving! Kevin had mashed potato and dish duty!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Apartment Decorating



Since we can't paint our place and white walls are getting to me. I found this great alternative--vinyl stickers. Thanks to my fellow June knottie and fellow blogger Jennrs, I found this etsy seller--SingleStoneStudios. Here is what I have done so far! I have also ordered this lilac set of frames to change out every season. I stalk her blog and find stuff I love daily.

Friday, November 14, 2008

3 years ago...

I started trading emails with the man who would become my husband. We met on eHarmony and chatted on there for awhile before I eventually gave him my email and then my phone number. Here is the first email he wrote me
Amy,
Thank you for your email. It was awesome weekend for me. I am not trying to brag just it was fun. My brother, a friend, and I just watched the bronco game today. We were suppose to go over to my parents house but did not make it.
I am a laborer at Denver Water full time. I work Mon. thru Fri. from 8 to 4:30. I just have class on Monday and Wednesday nights at Auraria. I usually spend Mon. thru Thurs. at school after I get out of work.
How are your friends? Do you have many friends at work? Do you hang out with many people from work? Do you spend much time on the internet? Are you a fan of John Cusack? Where are you going for Thanksgiving?
I hope this week is better than last week,
Kevin

To which I responded
Hey Kevin
I am glad you had a good weekend. I did too. I shopped, met with
friends,watched The OC and othe chick flicks, watched the Broncos
beat the Raiders.Denver Water huh? Interesting do you do that
yearround? My friends are all good --just a little middle school drama but less
than usual. Yeah most of my friends are from work because where else
do you spend your time as an adult? I have some friends from my
masters program but they are just as busy as I am so I don't see them
much anymore. So mostly its my work buddies. I am not on the
internet much but more than most people I would say. I have my own
webssite and am constantly building stuff for my students and most of
my work stuff is now online. John Cusack yes I would say I am a
fan--mostly of movies like Say Anything and Gross Pointe Blank--you?
Thanksgiving I am going to a friends house here and debating running
the Turkey Trot with her she is such a fast runner I would end up
running by myself so we'll see. Is it a big day for your family?
Talk to you soon

Terribly exciting huh? It is so us. We talk about our days all the time, he knows the names of the students and teachers I talk about. He is a great friend to me above all--I could not ask for more in a husband. I never guessed that 3 years ago when I signed up for eHarmony for the third or fourth time that I would meet the love of my life but I did and now I wake up everyday thankful!! Love you Kevin!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Old School Polaroids from Digital Pics




You can do these with an application called Poladroid. Right now it's only for Macs but I think it's pretty cool!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Grilled London Broil Fajitas and Spicy Chipotle Black Beans




So I am kicking back after our great dinner while my husband does the dishes and I enjoy the last of my Pina Colada.
Both recipes are from the Bride and Groom First and Forever Cookbook.
Spicy Chipotle Black Beans
2 TSP Vegetable Oil
1 Small Red Bell Pepper--diced
1 TSP finely minced garlic
1/4 TSP Kosher salt
1/4 TSP Cumin
1/8 TSP Cinnamon
1 15 oz can of black beans rinsed and drained
1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp Chipotle chilies in Adobo Sauce Minced(add more to taste if you desire)
Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the bell pepper, onion, salt, cumin, and cinnamon. Cook until soft and fragrant(about 5 minutes). Turn the heat to low and add the remaining ingredients. Cook for about 10 minutes and then serve.

Grilled London Broil Fajitas
Salsa
2 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
1/2 TSP Salt
3 TBSP Picante Sauce
3 TBSP Minced Onion
1/2 Jalapeno Chilie, minced
2 TBSP Chopped Cilantro
3 TBSP Fresh Lime Juice
1 1/2 TSP Minced Garlic
Put tomatoes in a strainer with the salt and let drain for 15 minutes. Combine the rest of the ingredients. Refrigerate. You can make this up to 8 hours before.
Fajitas
1 1/2 pounds London Broil
2 TSP Chili Powder
1 TSP Garlic Powder
1 TSP Onion Powder
2 TSP Salt
1 TSP Cumin
1 1/2 TSP Packed Dark Brown Sugar
2 TBSP Vegetable Oil
2 Red Bell Peppers thinly sliced
1/2 Onion thinly sliced
1/8 TSP freshly ground pepper
8 Flour Tortillas

Place the London Broil between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and pound with a rolling pin or mallet until it reaches a uniform thickness of 1/2 inch.(We could not get this to happen so no biggie).
Combine the chili powder, garlic powder, onion, powder, salt, cumin and brown sugar together in a small bowl. Rub into both sides of the meat and let rest for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours. Grill 3-4 minutes on each side.(We cooked it on our George Foreman for about 10 minutes at 350). Remove from grill and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
In a skillet heat the oil until hot but not smoking. Add the bell peppers, onion, and pepper and saute for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Warm tortillas if you choose.
Serve with sour cream, cheese, guacamole.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Morning Joe says whats on my mind

I am a proud American! Even though I did not vote for Obama I am hopeful that he will be able to bring change and inspiration to our country. I am done with the name calling when people don't agree with you--after being jumped out on by Obama supporters at the Palin rally and have students tell me that they get dirty looks for wearing a McCain Tshirt. Everyone has the right to their opinion, even if they don't agree with you. Conservatives were painted as the voice of fear in this election--that's not fair of the media to do. Watch Joe speak his mind.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election 08

Sunday, November 2, 2008

life is good

it was a crazy week at school, one of my student's mom's died suddenly and unexpectedly and watching 8th graders struggle with grief, made me thankful for my family and my life. I have been feeling homesick and dealing with the reality of not being home with my family for the first time ever for the holidays--and my amazing husband just keeps taking care of me and telling me how beautiful I am as I stuff my face with the tons of Halloween candy we bought for the trick or treaters who didn't show up. I am so blessed!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Chicken Tacos



I got this off my friend Melissa's Blog -- Hot Stuff in the Kitchen
Slow Cooker Chili-Chicken Tacos
From marthastewart.com
INGREDIENTS • 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs • 4 garlic cloves • 1/2 cup salsa (I used chunky stuff) • 1 to 2 teaspoons chopped chipotle chiles in adobo • 1 T chili powder • Coarse salt and black pepper • Taco shells
• Cilantro, cheese, sour cream, lime juice (optional)
INSTRUCTIONS 1. In slow cooker, combine chicken, garlic, salsa, chiles, chili powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and teaspoon pepper. Cover; cook on high, 4 hours (or on low, 8 hours). 2. Transfer chicken to a serving bowl, and shred, using two forks; moisten with cooking juices. Serve in taco shells, with toppings, if desired

We used the Stand and Stuff Shells--love them--they are 3 points for 2, the chicken is approximately 2 points per taco, and then figure the cheese and light sour cream--all together for 2 tacos my dinner was 10 points--not bad for Mexican food!

The chicken came out very moist and flavorful--to my sister it wasn't spicy to us--you could reduce the chili powder and use mild salsa if you are worried.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sort a Soba Noodle Bowl

No pictures, but it was so good!!
Ingredients:
1 pound whole wheat spaghetti or soba noodles
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 package medium sized shrimp, tails off and de-veined (we made ours with steak)
1 bunch of scallions, cut into 3 inch pieces
2 handfuls (about 1/2 pound) of string beans, cut lengthwise into strips
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 green bell pepper, cut into strips
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 jar (about 1/3 to 1/2 cup) orange marmalade
1/4 cup tamari
1 tablespoon chili oil
1/4 cup chicken stock (if needed)
1 palmful sesame seeds and/or slivered almonds
Yields: 6-8 servings
Preparation
1. Place a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the noodles and cook according to the package directions to al dente.
2. Toast sesame seeds and/or almonds in a skillet over medium-high heat. You can tell they're done when you can smell them!
3. While the noodles are cooking, heat the marmalade, tamari, chili oil and a pinch of freshly ground black pepper in a small saucepot over low heat. Stir to combine.
4. Place a large skillet over medium-high to high heat and add 1 tablespoon canola oil, about once around the pan. Once the oil starts to ripple, add the shrimp to the pain and cook, about 1 minute on each side. Once the shrimp start to turn pink add the veggies to the pain and cook until the shrimp are cooked through and the veggies are tender, about 3-4 minutes.
5. Drain the noodles and add them to the skillet with the veggies. Pour the tamari/marmalade mixture into the skillet and give it a good toss to make sure everything's nice and coated with the sauce. If you need more moisture to coat the noodles, add a little chicken stock.
6. Plate the noodles onto dishes and garnish with toasted sesame seeds and/or almonds.

I estimate this to be about 4 points for a serving.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sarah Palin Rally



So Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin visited our little town last night. I went to the rally with a friend of mine from school. We stood in line with thousands of other Mesa County residents eager for the chance to see her in person. The crowd was excited and enthusiastic. People waved signs and pom poms, wore buttons and t-shirts showing their support for McCain-Palin. I have to say I am glad I went.

Her speech targeted the economy and the difference between McCain and Obama. She talked about how they would give tax cuts while Obama would raise taxes to give checks to other people, a policy she likened to socialism. She also promised that McCain would balance the budget by the end of the first term. While I would love a tax cut, I am not sure if in the current situation they are feasible or even possible. She also talked about energy and how we need to responsibly and safely drill for oil domestically and develop clean coal and nuclear technologies. She also highlighted the experience she and John McCain have and their support for the military.

The part of the speech that got me was when she spoke about special needs children and the need to protect all children. She spoke about how all life is precious and special. She really seemed to be speaking from her heart and it was really touching. I prefer those moments to the attacks on "our opponent."

Walking out people were in high spirits and really energized. There were protestors dressed up in skull masks jumping out at families with their signs--really. This is America, you have the right to protest, I won't stop you--but do you really have to try to scare people to make your voice heard? A young man shouted out to my friend and I, "If you vote McCain you are all going to die!" The news reported that the protestors tried to stop the motorcade and threatened the police. Really--say your piece, wave your signs, get into discussions with others about your position--thats effective protesting.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I heart Etsy!



So my friend Rebecca is having a baby boy and my old school is throwing her a shower. While I can't be there, my fabulous gifts that I found at etsy will be! Can't wait to have my own baby and shop at etsy.
Sock monkey onesie from mamamade
Baby XXX shirt from CustomBlingApparel

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Life of a middle school teacher


So we went to this awesome field trip sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce today, and I got to operate a backhoe! Yep that's me with my group of students cheering me on. Never did this in denver!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Pumpkin Theme Day




So we finally saw "fall" temperatures here in the Junction. Its was above 90 every day since we moved here in June and then its been above 80 since mid September. Today it was only 60 and rainy--a perfect fall day to try out some recipes. Pumpkin Sausage Lasagna from Rachael Ray's show and a family favorite Pumpkin Bars.
Lasagna--estimated to be 4-5 points per serving
You Will Need:
2 TBSP Olive Oil
1 1/2 pounds bulk sweet Italian Sausage (I did about 1 1/4 pound low fatturkey and 1/4 pound pork)
1 large eggplant, peeled and chopped into small pieces
1 medium onion chopped
2 garlic cloves, grated
salt and pepper
3 TBSP butter
3 TBSP flour
3 cups milk (I used 1%)
1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
nutmeg ( a few dashes)
1 box oven ready lasagna noodles
1 1/4 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (i just used grated Parmesan cheese)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Heat oil in large saute pan. Add the sausage, breaking up the meat and cook until golden brown. Add eggplant, onion, and garlic. Cook 7-8 minutes, until tender, then season with salt and pepper.
3. While veggies are cooking, in a medium sauce pan melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for about 1 minute. Whisk the milk into roux, breaking up any clumps. Bring the mixture to a bubble and add the pumpkin and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper, reduce the heat and let simmer for 2-3 minutes.
4. Spread 1 cup of sauce into bottom of a 13 by 9 pan. Layer 3 noodles over the sauce, top them with about a cup of meat, a cup of sauce, a handful of cheese. Repeat these layers 2 times, topping the casserole with a layer of noodles. Spoon the remaining sauce over the noodles and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover with foil and bake until sauce is bubblibg, about 45 minutes. For the last 10 minutes of baking uncover. Once out of the oven, allow to sit a few minutes before serving.

Pumpkin Bars
You will need
4 eggs
1 2/3 cup sugar
1 cup oil
1 can of pure pumpkin
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp soda
Frosting:
1 3 ounce package of cream cheese room temperature
1/2 cup margarine room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Beat eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin well. Mix remaining ingredients together and stir into pumpkin mix. Spread in an ungreased 10 by 15 pan and bake for 25-30 minutes.
3. Let cool and then frost. To make frosting--blend all ingredients together using a hand mixer.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Tackling Mt. Garfield--not quite





Kevin and I joined Carol, Wanda, and Lori from my school to try to hike to the top of Mt. Garfield. We made it up to the first leveling off, found a geocache, surveyed the rain heading in, and headed back down. We plan to try to hike to the top another time!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Egg Chili Casserole and Banana Cream Pie



And believe it or not they are low in points!! The egg casserole is 3 points a serving and the pie is 5 points per serving(not bad for a dessert). This egg casserole comes from a recipe from my Grandmom's church.

Egg Casserole Serves 12
6 eggs
whole green chilies( 2 cans usually work--we had fresh roasted ones, a benefit of living in Western CO)
1 can evaporated milk
1 bag reduced fat shredded cheese
Line a 9 by 13 pan with the opened lengthwise chilies. Beat the eggs and evaporated milk and pour over chilies. Dump in the bag of cheese and bake covered at 375 for 45 minutes.

Chocolate Banana Cream Pie
1 cup fat free milk
1 pkg vanilla flavor instant pudding
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups fat free frozen whipped topping(thawed)
1 reduced fat graham cracker pie crust
2 medium bananas
chocolate ice cream topping--for garnish

Mix milk, pudding mix, and vanilla with a wire whisk. Fold in the whipped topping. Pour 1/3 of the mix into the bottom of the crust. Slice bananas and create a layer of bananas, then pour rest of pudding mix. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Drizzle with chocolate sauce when serving.

Happy Birthday Karen!


My sister turns 30 today!! Happy Birthday Karen--love you!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Scrapbooking the wedding






I have been taking a Scrapbooking 101 class at a local store here in the Junction. I was the only person who signed up so it was like a personalized lesson every time. I don't have much done, but here are some not so great photos of what I have done so far. I also made a little digital books on MyPublisher for my wonderful bridesmaids that turned out awesome and a book on Shutterfly of our Alaska trip that came out so cute!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Surf and Turf Tacos


A big hit here in the Junction!
One thing I miss about southern California is the great fish tacos at Rubio's, Snapper Jacks, Fresh Catch or any number of little seafood places near my parent's home. This recipe captured that taste so well. It's from Rachael Ray's Magazine--love her!!
You will need:
1 small head cabbage(we used cole slaw mix)
Juice of 6 limes (about 1/2 cup)
2 cups sour cream
16 6 inch tortillas
1 TBSP garlic powder
1 TBSP paprika
1 TBSP ground cumin
1 TSP chili powder
salt
pepper
vegetable oil
1 pound skirt steak, cut crosswise into 1/2 inch strips
1 pound red snapper fillets, cut crosswise into 1/2 inch strips(we used orange roughy)
store-bought guacamole
store-bought salsa

1. In a large bowl mix the cabbage with 1/2 the lime juice. In a small bowl whisk the sour cream and the remaining lime juice--cover and refrigerate.
2. Preheat the over to 250 degrees. Spread the tortillas out on cookie sheets, cover with foil, and warm in the over for 10 minutes.
3. In a large bowl, mix together garlic powder, paprika, cumin, chili powder, and 2 TBSP salt. Add the steak, tossing to coat.
4. In large skillet, heat 1/4 cup vegetable oil over medium heat until rippling. Add the steak and cook, turning occasionally, until browned. Transfer to a plate. Add 2 TBSP oil to skillet. Season the fish lightly with salt and pepper. Cook, turning once, until golden.
5. Spread guacamole on tortillas, top with cabbage, then the meat and fish. Serve with salsa, lime-sour cream, and guacamole.

Definitely on the make again list

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Flatbread Sandwiches




My result.









Magazine Picture that tempted us.









Rachael ray's magazine had this recipe in the No Recipe Zone and we decided to try it. Well I am not sure what I did wrong but I couldn't get my pizza dough to flatten out to make a flatbread they puffed up so we ate them as mini-calzones. Quite tasty and worth a try.
Here is what I did:
1. Took a can of pizza dough and divided it into 4 parts. Put them on a cookie sheet drizzled with oil. Flattened them as much as we could and then layered cheese, diced jalapeno, and corn kernels on them--sealed them up and sprinkled them with paprika.
2. Put some sausages onto our George Foreman to grill.
3. Put the pizza dough into the oven to bake(following directions on the package.
--In the recipe she puts them on a grill but we live in an apartment so no grill for us. They are supposed to turn out as flatbreads that you then wrap around sliced sausage, portobello mushrooms, and tomatoes and serve with a yogurt sauce. Kevin doesn't like tomatoes and I don't like mushrooms so we didn't even follow that part.
Here is the link to the whole recipe. Grilled Corn and Sausage Flatbread Sandwiches. Next time I will put the sausage inside and just make mini calzones!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Lazy Sunday

We are celebrating Kevin's birthday here in town. No cooking for me today!! So here are some pictures from our adventures thus far here in Grand Junction.
These are pictures from the 4th of July Fireworks Show in town!