Saturday, February 28, 2009

Baked Potato Soup

Recipe: From this month's issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray. YUM-MO so good, and with a few substitutions pretty light!
2 large baking potatoes—peeled, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
3 cups milk (*I used 1%)
Salt and pepper
1/2 head cauliflower, cored and chopped
1 bunch scallions, white and green portions thinly sliced separately
4 slices bacon
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (about 2 ounces)(*I used 2% light cheese)
1/4 cup sour cream (*I used light sour cream)
1. In a large saucepan, combine the potatoes, 2 cups milk and 1 teaspoon salt. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat to medium-low, add the cauliflower and scallion whites, cover and simmer until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the remaining 1 cup milk, then puree the soup. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Microwave the bacon at high power until crisp, 3 to 4 minutes; crumble. Divide the soup among 4 bowls and top with the shredded cheese, sour cream, crumbled bacon and scallion greens.

It says makes 4 servings, I think we will get 6 out of ours. If 4 servings with my substitutions it is 7 points per serving, if 6 servings with substitutions it is 4.5 points per serving. And its a filling food with the potatoes and cauliflower!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Who wants to be a millionaire?

So the hubby and I just got back from seeing Slumdog Millionaire, I know we are probably the last people to see it, but oh well. It just got me thinking about how much random information people know just based on their life experience. So I want to know what random question would you be able to answer that most people really wouldn't know? I wish I could give away a million dollars but I will try to do something fun with the responses.
I think mine would be something random that I read in a book somewhere once. Like who was the inventor of wiper blades(I am reading Flash Of Genius now.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


I was lucky enough to coach most of these girls as middle schoolers and for the first time their high school is in the playoffs. I think I had a small part in that! I am so proud of you--Layla, Averie, Jamee,Kalie, Jessica, Dymond--who am I forgetting?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Check this blog out!

In need of some decorating ideas for your house? Thought about a new lampshade? Probably not, but wait til you check these out! I am in love with the purple one! Lindsay over at The Reality of Happily Ever After is sponsoring a giveway

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Gotta love a sale!!

Extra 20% off on final sale items at J Crew. I just snagged an awesome silk dress for less than 50 bucks!! Use the code EXTRA20 at checkout! Only good through Thursday!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Tilapia with Roasted Corn

From last month's Everyday with Rachael Ray.
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp chili powder
4 tilapia fillets(about a pound)
1 1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 lime, cut in 4 wedges(I skipped these)

1. Preheat the broiler. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, chili powder, and 1/4 tsp salt. Grease the bottom of a 9 inch square baking dish with 1 tsp of the mayo mixture. Place the tilapia fillets in the baking dish and coat with the remaining mayo mixture. Top with the corn.
2. Broil until corn is lightly browned and the fish is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Serve with the lime wedges.

This was a great quick meal(Although I think our broiler isn't working so I cooked it at 500 for about 10 minutes after I discovered a barely cooked dish under the broiler). Plus this is only 4 points!!!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

A great book!

Impossible Impossible by Nancy Werlin

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is an awesome book! I read young adult books and can't wait to recommend this to my students. The story of true love and how you can conquer anything together winds through this intriguing story of an ancient curse based on the sond "Scarbourough Fair:' Definitely put this on your to read list!!

View all my reviews.

Friday, February 20, 2009

I am grateful!

So my dad was sent to the ICU today with blood clots in his lung. A shocker to me and my family. I don't always handle bad news well, when I was finally reached at school. I was amazed at my new school family, before I could even fully react, they had arranged to cover my afternoon classes, got my lesson information, packed me up, and found someone to drive me home(I was in no shape). I am so grateful to have a second family like this. As of tonight we know my dad is awake and talking and getting medicine--and we'll know more in the morning. My brothers and sister are helping my mom and keeping me informed and distracted(Thanks Karen for making me think about LOST for a little while this afternoon.

Weight Gone!

So I went back to Weight Watchers--for those of you who have never met me in real life--about 6 years ago I lost 60 pounds through Weight Watchers and have kept off about 50 of it. I have let those last 10 pounds sneak back on through the past few months since we moved here. I decided that I am better than that and I need help to do it. So I went back to Weight Watchers, I have been working out a lot but haven't changed the way I eat in the vain hope that I could just work out harder and eat more--so not happening. So after 1 week, I got rid of 4.6 pounds. YAY!!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A little more blog love

A new blogging friend, Meg gifted me with this cute award. She was one of the first reponders to my pay it forward post and will soon receive some homemade goodies! She has a cute blog so check it out!

Here are the rules: “These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.

1. C-Diddy over at 25 and 30 who is writing about her weight loss journey--a topic I can identify with all too well.
2. Megan over at So Now What a cleverly named blog is writing about newlywed life and her new house. She is one of my Knot/Nest buddies and she has a great sense of humor and perspective!
3. Lindsey over at Learning to be a Wife she left me a comment once that said I adore your blog and her posts about being married and in love make me smile!
4. Michelle over at Random Ramblings tells great stories.
5. Lynsey over at Foster Following a new blogger with great recipes and stories of life as a newlywed.
6. Amanda Joy over at 20 times A Lady she already has one of these but reading her blog makes me happy--its like coffee with a friend!
7. Dana over at Once a BrideJust love her ideas and know her business is going to take off!
8. Katie over at Tote's Lifeanother newlywed with great recipes and a great blogroll!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

want a little something?

My blogging friend Dana, over at Once a Bride, posted this. So I am going to try it to. The first three people to leave a comment on my blog will receive some spectacular homemade goodies(I am a wonderful baker according to my husband and students). The catch--you also have to pay it forward to three of your readers. So play along!

Monday, February 16, 2009


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Wordle is a Web 2.0 tool, that makes visual representations of the words that appear in a document and emphasizes which words appear a lot--notice my husband's name is the largest. Cool tool for teachers.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Workout Motivation

So I just ordered this cute bikini for our mystery honeymoon in June--I plan on keeping it visible as a daily reminder to hit the gym!! And then there is this cute coverup!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Here are the flowers I received Thursday night!! Kevin believes in buying them early in case they run out at the store. Today when we went to the grocery store there were tons of flowers set out and a line with a sign, "Valentine's Items Only" and about 5 guys buying cards, candy, and flowers. Kevin surprised me with a necklace from etsy seller Iris Accents that I have had my eye on and two tops from Ann Taylor. I got him a Snoopy poster by Tom Everhart. We went out to breakfast and spent a relaxing day together. I made one of his favorites--Slow Cooker Chili-Chicken Tacos!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Amazing Chocolate Dessert

If you love chocolate (and really who doesn't? I know people say they don't but whatever) you have to make this Baked Fudge from Pioneer Woman. Her commentary and step by step pictures are great but here is the basic recipe:
Baked Fudge

2 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 heaping tablespoons cocoa
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 300 to 325 degrees.
Beat eggs until light in color. Beat in sugar until just combined.
Add cocoa, flour, melted butter, and vanilla extract. Mix gently until well combined.
Pour batter into four large ramekins or 1 8-inch square baking dish.
Set ramekins or pan into a larger pan halfway full of water.
Bake 40 to 50 minutes, or until upper crust is crispy and the rest of the batter is firm but not set. Toothpick should come out…not clean, but mixture should not be overly runny. If you pull it out of the oven and have second thoughts, stick it back in for ten minutes.

This was such a great treat!! Kevin said it was too rich for him but that just means more for me right?
Serve with sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, whatever makes your skirt fly up.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Great Book!

The Hidden Messages in Water The Hidden Messages in Water by Masaru Emoto

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
On the recommendation of my best friend, I checked this book out from the library. It was a fascinating read about the effcts of words on water and then to a larger extent on us and our environment. Very cool pictures and an interesting hypothesis.

View all my reviews.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Etsy finds this weekend!

Comfort Food Day

This morning I watched Tyler's Ultimate on Food Network, today's episode: Ultimate Rainy Day. The link goes to the recipes for the Mozarella grilled cheese, Chicken Noodle Soup, and Amaretto Brownies.

I used store made pesto sauce and I did not put tomatoes on the sandwiches because my husband swears he will die if tomatoes touch his food--other than salsa and ketchup. These were so good. I also only spread pesto on one side of the bread(who knew it had so much fat in it, plus it is a strong taste so a little goes a long way). I made them on our George Foreman--almost looks like I used a panini press huh?

The soup was very tasty. I had a lot of trouble with the meatballs. First being a fairly small town, I couldn't find chicken apple sausage. I did find some chicken sausage and just threw in a diced apple to the processor. I also added 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs to help the meatballs bind. They really didn't bind so I just browned it all up and dumped it in the soup. I also used refrigerated tortellini(Butoni which was in our deli section) so it didn't need to cook as long as frozen tortellini. I also only used 10 cups of chicken broth and just 1 package of pasta--we still have a huge pot full.

My dad just called a little while ago to tell me this was his menu for the regular family Sunday night dinners(they all live in CA so I miss this tradition). I didn't make the brownies, so I told him to let me know how they go!

I didn't even want to calculate the points on this(I didn't skimp on any ingredients and I used the full fat versions of everything)


If you saw my earlier post about my project on, I am happy to report that my project has been funded! Thanks to a stranger and a family member, my students will get a great set of books. I am so happy that I put this out there, and am inspired to find a project that I can contribute to!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Help some Hungry Gators

I have a project posted on DonorsChoose is a site that allows people to donate money to projects that go directly to teachers and classrooms. My project proposal will help me get a set of historical novels for my classroom. Please check the site out and if you can donate please do, any amount helps!

White Bean Stew

From Rachael Ray Magazine

1/2 pound baby potatoes, halved
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound pork sausage links, cut into 1/2-inch rounds (I used turkey sausage0
Two 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, rinsed (I used Nacy Beans)
3 cups Meat Sauce (recipe in post below0
2 cups chicken broth
4 teaspoons herbes de Provence
Salt and pepper

1. Place the potatoes in a large, heavy pot and fill with enough salted water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes; drain in a colander.
2. Using the same pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook, stirring, just until no longer pink, about 8 minutes. Stir in the beans, meat sauce, cooked potatoes, chicken broth and herbes de Provence; season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 20 minutes.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Great Hair Day

So today while I was at Body Pump class and suffering through the seemingly endless bottom halves squats, I looked in the mirror and smiled. I had the best looking ponytail, you know the one that celebrities and the teenage girls I teach always seem to have, the little bit of bump at the crown, the loose bangs in the front, the few whisps in the front. Now this will probably not happen again, and I unfortunately have no pictures as the next exercise of chest presses had me smashing the back of my ponytail down into the bench. But I was reminded of a segment I saw on Rachael Ray--she had a former beauty queen try these Bump-Its, I might have to try one!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Meat Sauce

This was an all afternoon adventure--perfect for SuperBowl Sunday. Picture from Rachael Ray Magazine

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped pancetta
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 pounds ground beef
1/2 cup dry red wine
One 28-ounce can tomato puree
Salt and pepper

1. In a large, heavy pot, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the pancetta and cook until the fat is rendered, about 5 minutes. Increase the heat to medium, add the onion, carrot and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the beef and cook, breaking it up, until no longer pink, about 8 minutes. Stir in the wine and cook until the liquid is cooked off, about 5 minutes.
2. Stir in the tomato puree and 1 cup water; season with salt and bring to a simmer. Partially cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally for the last 30 minutes, until thickened, about 2 hours. Season with salt and pepper

Inside Out Pizza Rolls

This is actually a big pizza roll--serves about 6!

1 cup lukewarm water
1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
Extra-virgin olive oil, for greasing
2 cups Meat Sauce(see Meat Sauce Post)
1/2 pound mozzarella cheese, cut into ½-inch cubes
1 large egg, lightly beaten

1. Using a standing mixer fitted with the hook attachment, combine the lukewarm water and yeast; let stand for 5 minutes. Add the flour and salt and mix on medium speed until the dough is smooth and wraps around the hook, about 5 minutes. Grease a large bowl with olive oil, transfer the dough to the bowl and let rise, covered, for 1 1/2 hours.
2. Preheat the oven to 375°. In a medium skillet, cook the meat sauce over medium heat, stirring, until reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 10 minutes; let cool.
3. Punch down the risen dough and transfer to a lightly floured work surface. Using a rolling pin, roll out to a 12-by-16-inch rectangle. Scatter the cheese on top, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border. Spoon the meat sauce over the cheese. Brush the border with some of the beaten egg and roll the dough up loosely, beginning at the short end. Transfer to a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet, brush with more egg and cut 3 vents on top. Bake until golden-brown, about 40 minutes.

I had a lot of trouble getting the dough to rise--not sure what was going on--so I actually made 2 batches(one with whole wheat flour and one with white flour--the white one rose a little better). It was quite tasty and I calculate it at 8 points per serving.

Help a Friend

Through the wonders of Facebook, I have found one of my best high school friends,Jennifer, that I had lost track of in life. In catching up on life she told me she was diagnosed in 2005 with MS and is doing a walk event to raise money for research. If you would like to donate to her walk, please click here. No amount is too small.
In her own words:
This is my third year participating in Walk MS, and together with my friends and family, we have raised more than $10,000 for this event. That money goes to support the much needed research to find a cure for this devastating disease, and to repair the damage it has caused so that I will no longer wake up with the fear that my limbs will be numb, my vision blurry, or my memory impaired.

With the support of my loved ones, I continue to fight. I was diagnosed in 2005 and felt as if my dreams were out of reach. Now I know that nothing, not even MS, can keep me from my dreams.

I walk because I can. And because I can, I must. Help me to fund hope and find a cure, so that someday I will be able to say, "I used to have MS."

A little bit crafty!

I made this collage on Shutterfly of my brother's wedding and our adventure in Vegas. They are on sale for only 5 bucks for an 11 by 14!