Saturday, June 30, 2012


I would just like to apologize on behalf of all of my posts. I am no English major. My grammar and spelling are absolutely terrible. If it weren't for Spell Check automatically checking my emails before they are sent out at work, I think I would have realllllly embarrassed myself on numerous occasions. So I apologize. For spelling errors. For leaving words out. For using the wrong conjugation of verbs. For.. I dunno... being human?? hah! Just don't judge me.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Favorite Recipe: Sante Fe Skillet

My mother has some recipes that she has made FOREVER and therefore they are some of my favorites. There were several recipes that I took with me to college and now re-create in the Foster home. One of these is Santa Fe Skillet.

Santa Fe Skillet is cheap, quick, easy, absolutely delicious and not to mention healthy. Yep, you heard me, its a Weight Watcher's Recipe, and you would NEVER know! After feeding this to Greg, I let him in on the secret that it was a Weight Watcher's recipe and he was shocked! So, needless to say, this is one that the men absolutely LOVE!

What you need:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 3/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 3/4 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 can Rotel, drained
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 cup instant rice
  • 1 1/2 cup beef broth
  • Grated Mexican Blend cheese (or cheddar)

What to do:

In a large skillet, brown the meat with the onion and green pepper. Once browned, drain the grease off of the meat. 

Add the rotel, salt and pepper, instant rice, and beef broth to the skillet. Immediately cover with a lid. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Sprinkle the grated cheese on top and re-cover for two minutes. Once the cheese has melted, serve with tortila chips and a salad. Viola!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Movies I am Excited About

In case you haven't heard, there are some pretty big movies coming out this year. Three of those movies are inspired from best-selling and must-read novels. I'm SO excited. Not only do I have three movies to look forward to, but three books to re-read before they come out!

The Hobbit
Movie Release Date: December 14, 2012

I had an absolutely insane English teacher in 7th grade who made us read this book. It was way beyond our reading level, but after she was able to walk us through it all, this is one of my very favorite books. The pre-cursor to The Lord of The Rings series, this book explains the back stort. I literally CANNOT wait for this one to be released!

Les Miserables
Movie Release Date: December 14, 2012

This is another book that I had to read during that same 7th grade year, but this book literally IS my favorite book of all time. If you haven't read this book, you HAVE to read this one before it comes out (subsequently on the same day as The Hobbit). If you decide to take on the task of Les Miserables, make sure you read the abridged version. It will save you a couple thousand pages of non-sense. Anyways, this movie will be starring some huge names: Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, and Anne Hathaway. I'm getting so excited about it already and I've already started re-reading this one. Worth the time it takes.

The Great Gatsby
Movie Release Date: December 25, 2012

Sadly, I did not read this one in 7th grade, but it was a book that I had to read for school. I remember liking this book, but unfortunately do not remember too much about this one. That's why I'm excited about reading this book again for the Christmas 2012 release date. This movie, starring Leo DiCapprio and Tobey Maguire, should not disappoint. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Favorite Recipe: Raspberry Pretzel Dessert Bars

Photo Courtesy of:
So what do you do when you visit the grocery store and it's "buy one package of Raspberries, get two free"? You buy them of course and immediately go to Pinterest to find some recipes involving Raspberries. At least that's what I did. After perusing several recipes, I decided to try these Raspberry Pretzel Bars because well, they involved cream cheese. And whipped cream. COUNT. ME. IN.

Good news: Tom Thumb has the same Buy One, Get Two Free deal going all week!! I might be making another batch.... :)

What You Need:

  • 1 1/2 cups crushed pretzels
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 8 oz. pkg cream cheese, softened
  • 8 oz. container cool whip
  • 6 oz. package raspberry jello
  • 2 cups water, boiling
  • 24 oz. raspberries (frozen or fresh)

What To Do:

Preheat oven to 325.

Crush enough pretzels (about 3 large handfuls) to make 1 1/2 cups of pretzel crumbs. Combine in a bowl with 1/2 cup sugar and your melted butter. Once well mixed, press into the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Bake for 6 minutes and then let cool.

In a separate bowl, cream together the softened cream cheese and the last 1/2 cup of sugar. Once well mixed, mix in the container of cool whip. Spread on top of the cooled crust with a spatula.

In yet another large bowl, pour 2 cups (2 1/2 cups if using fresh raspberries) boiling water over the package of raspberry jello. Whisk until the jello powder is completely dissolved. Once dissolved, add your raspberries and mix well. Place bowl into the freezer for about 1.5-2 hours, or until the mixture turns into the consistency of an egg white. Pour over the creamy layer. Refrigerate until the jello has set. Best if left untouched overnight!

Sorry for the ugly corner where Greg and I taste-tested this before approving!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Fitness: Best Treadmill Workout I Have Found

Hehe. Yep I do this. Every time. Competitive Much?

At the beginning of last December (December 2011), I decided to commit and go against all odds and become one of those "hard-core-I-wakeup-at-the-crack-of-dawn-and-workout-before-work" kind of people. It was really an experiment. More of a challenge. 

There was a day when my sweet endearing husband said "I don't know if you could do it". Of course, he only said this because my nature is to stay in bed and sleep till noon, given the choice. Well, if anyone knows me, they also know that me being told that I "can't" do something is straight up a challenge. Something to immediately prove that I CAN do. And that's also what he was doing. By telling me that I couldn't do it, he knew that it would spur me to want to prove him wrong.

And it worked! Almost 8 months later, I still wake-up early 4-5 days a week and go get a good workout in. Naturally, I've had to change my workout every so often to give me something to look forward to, but I've gotten into a rhythm and have developed some staple workouts throughout my week that I absolutely love. One of those workouts is the one that greets me every Monday Morning.

Brace Yourself.

I start out every Monday with some cardio. Actually, let me clarify. Its hill intervals on a treadmill. Aka death on a Monday. On the blog I pulled this from, Sweet Tooth, Sweet Life, she titles this workout "Sweaty Mess" Incline Intervals. That should give you some insight into what you could get yourself into here. But in the end, after I'm sweating profusely and vastly out of breath, I love it!

If you're looking for something that will burn a TON of calories, help improve your endurance, and tone up your legs, this is a great workout to try out this upcoming week. Keys to success for this workout: a water bottle, some good tunes to keep you pumped up, picking your knees up on the hill sprints, and "driving" your elbows to keep you moving. You'd be surprised at how easy hills become when you pick your knees up and drive/pump those elbows. Just a little trick I learned from my distance running hubby.

Have funnnnnn! :)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Quick Cajun Chicken Penne

For one of my Christmas presents, my Grandmother gifted me with a year-long subscription to Taste of Home. At first, I was not excited about this. To the point that I left the first magazine in the wrapper for like a month. But, after finally deciding that I should at least look at it, I opened it, and to my surprise, ended up ripping out 10 pages of recipes I wanted to try. This magazine has transformed from something I thought was lame to something that I look forward to receiving in the mail every month! I've tried some recipes and look forward to sharing!

Photo Courtesy of: Taste of Home
Serves: 6
Prep & Cook Time: 30 minutes

What you need:

  • 1 lb penne pasta
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • cajun chicken seasoning (I made my own!)
    • 4 tsp cayenne pepper
    • 3 tsp salt
    • 2 tsp black pepper
    • 2 tsp cumin
    • 2 tsp paprika
    • 2 1/2 tsp dry mustard
    • 1 tsp dried thyme
    • 1 tsp dried oregano
    • 2 tsp onion powder
    • 2 tsp garlic powder
    • 2 tbsp Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 2 10 oz. containers refrigerated Alfredo sauce (I used Bertoli)
  • 2 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced

What to do:
Cook the pasta according to package directions. Melt your butter, and dip your chicken breasts in the butter and place on a plate. Sprinkle with the cajun seasoning and cover on both sides of the chicken. Grill the chicken, covered, over medium heat for 5-8 minutes on each side. Once cooked, cut into bite size pieces.

On the stove, heat the 2 containers of Alfredo sauce until warm. Once warm, toss with the cooked pasta, chicken, chopped tomatoes, and sliced green onions. TA-DA! 

***Warning, this recipe does have a bit of kick to it, so beware if you're not the biggest fan of spicy foods. Being someone who LOVES spicy food, this was pretty mild for me, but absolutely delicious. LOVED the flavor of this one! Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Remember that one post that I wrote ages ago about a bedroom-face lift?

Well we've been making progress. Slowly but surely. I apologize in advance for the poor iPhone pics.

Stage 1:
This awesome antique mantle that I found on Craig's list for only $20 came in pieces (as opposed to well over $100 for being all in one piece!). So, with a little elbow grease, my dad and Greg put it alllllll back together. The next step was to figure out how to hang this bad boy on the wall. That thing was HEAVY. It's solid wood, so Greg had to get creative with how to hang it. Good news, my hubby is a genius and figured out a way to let the studs in the wall hold it up because it probably weighs a good 20-30 pounds. So, once it was up, Stage 1 of the re-do was complete!

Stage 2:
Stage 2 entailed moving the Coffee Filter Wreath in from our living room. Obtaining some antique glass bottles from my mom and a local antique store, and redo-ing some cardboard letters to mimic the expensive brushed metal letters found at Anthro. To make the letters, I just bought 3-d carboard letters (found at Hobby Lobby or JoAnn Fabrics, and painted them with "Hammered Metal" Spray Paint (also found at Hobby Lobby). They don't look exactly the same as the Anthro letters, but I still think they look pretty darn awesome!

Stage 3:
Stage three entailed finally hanging our Anthro-letter inspired monogram in a re-vamped frame. I used an old frame that my mom had stored in the attic (and she so graciously gave me - FOR FREE!). I spray-painted the frame with a clearance bottle of off-white spray paint that I found at Hobby Lobby for a couple bucks. After the spray-paint had dried, I ran a piece of sand-paper over the frame to "antique" the frame and have the brown peeking-through on all the ridges and designs. It turned out better than I would have hoped and looks like I paid quite a bit of money for it! We hung the letters with 3M strips, which was super easy and obviously meant no more holes in the walls! In addition, I stocked up on white candles at Hobby Lobby this past week as they were all 50% off. Definitely the way to go to save lots of money!

What's Next???

Stage 4:
Adding some baby's breath (or dried baby's breath) to the bottles for some more height and texture elements.

Stage 5:
Using the leftover fabric from the curtains that my mom and I crafted to make some 18x18 Grey & White Chevron Throw pillows. Cannot wait for the patterned element that this will add to our bed.

Yes, I know that I'm mixing designs and styles in our bedroom, but isn't that what Anthro does? Modern with antique like things? I like to think so.. haha! Maybe I'm just fooling myself but I absolutely love the way that things have been turning out. Once all is said and done, be looking for the final before & after pics!!!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Movie Must-See: The Intouchables

This weekend, Greg and I ventured out to see a movie on our date night. Since we were already in downtown Dallas, we decided to go to the Angelika to goo see a smaller independent film. After watching some trailers on our iPhones, we both collectively decided that The Intouchables seemed like it was going to be a great movie. And what a good choice we made! I can't remember the last time that we laughed so hard throughout the entire movie (along with the rest of the theatre), but also found ourselves tearing up at other points during the movie. We both agreed that it was worth the late showing that we chose. We even both woke up the next morning and talked AGAIN about how good it was over breakfast. That's sayin' something...

The movie is actually a French production, so the entire thing is in French with English Subtitles. In no way does this take away from the film itself. There is some choice language occasionally used throughout the movie, but bottom line, this storyline of this movie will charm your heart.

The Synopsis:
A rich quadriplegic, living in a mansion in Paris, requires a live-in caretaker. A young offender from the projects turns up for an interview, but he is not looking to get the job. However, to his surprise, he is hired. As the movie unfolds, the two men, from opposite walks of life, develop and form a close friendship that cannot be replaced.
The Trailer:
     Makes me smile every time!

Bottom line, everyone should make it out to see this movie. Not to mention, Omar Sy (the caretaker), ended up winning a Cesar Award (France's version of the Oscars) for Best Actor for 2011. Seriously, it's that good.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to the two men whom I am SO blessed to be able to call my "Father's"!!! I am so fortunate to not have only grown up under the leadership of a Godly man that I will forever call my Daddy, no matter how old I am, but I've also lucked out and married a man who had the same example set for him. It's days like today, days when we get to celebrate and honor those we love, that I truly realize how lucky I am. Love you both very much!


Friday, June 15, 2012

Southwestern Stuffed Peppers

**Recipe Adapted from

Found this recipe and was skeptical that I could get the hubby to eat these. After looking at the ingredients, I knew I'd have no problem convincing him that these would be delicious. And that they were! Not to mention, each pepper only has about 375-400 calories. AKA, I eat one and Greg eats two. Win!

Serves: 10 (AWESOME for leftovers!)
Total Prep & Cook Time: About an Hour

What You Need:

  • Olive Oil
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 2 heaping tablespoons homemade taco seasoning (or the packaged kind)
  • 2 cups cooked rice - I used Minute Brown Rice
  • 5 large bell pepper, cut in have and seeds removed
    • I used 3 and did 2 poblano peppers since my hubby is picky about his peppers!
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 (15 -16 oz) jar of salsa 
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • Sliced Avacado
  • Sour Cream

What to Do:

Pre heat the over to 400 degrees. Once all of your peppers have been sliced and seeded, lightly coat the peppers with the olive oil and roast in a 9x13 baking dish about 20-25 minutes. 

While the peppers are cooking, brown your meat, cook your rice, and chop your onions. Once the peppers are done, remove the peppers from the oven. In a very large bowl, combine the cooked ground beef, chopped onions, taco season, rice, black beans, corn and salsa. Stir and mix well.

Carefully spoon the mixture into each of the peppers. You will have enough to make them almost overflow. Cook the peppers for another 15-20 minutes. 2 minutes before they are done, remove the peppers and sprinkle the tops with cheddar cheese. Place back in the over for 2 minutes or until the cheese has melted.

Remove from the oven. Top with some avocado and a dollop of sour cream!  

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Meal Planning

One of my least favorite things is to go to the grocery store. I'm a one trip a week kind of girl. If I need to go more than that, I tend to default and just go grab a bite to eat from a restaurant or fast food. A habit that I was more than ready to get rid of post-college.

Getting married and being a wife now responsible for feeding my always-hungry husband, that whole eating out thing had to change. A) It gets expensive. B) Eating out isn't necessarily the healthiest option (gotta keep up with the LGN diet, ladies!). C) Contrary to grocery shopping trips, I actually enjoy cooking and making creations in the kitchen!

So, to make eating dinners at home and packing lunches actually work, I was able to use my organization skills and create a meal-planning method that works for us. We've been doing this for several weeks now and it has saved us from several grocery store trips a week as well as many restaurant bills! Not to mention, when I get home from work after sitting in traffic for a while, I never have to waste time thinking about what to cook for dinner. It's already planned and I can immediately start cooking!

I started with just planning dinners, but after many weeks of running out of cereal mid-week, or not having anything for lunch and having to go out to eat, I changed my strategy and now plan all of our meals. Its more of a strategy to make sure that we have enough food to allow us to make it though a week, and it works! I plan my meals and sides before we head to the grocery store and then make my list accordingly. Your grocery bills might increase a tad, but the free time you have throughout the rest of the week is totally worth it. Since this method has worked so well for us, I wanted to share the spreadsheet you'll see on the front of our fridge each and every week!

If you try this out, let me know how it works for you! You can download it here.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Enjoying Life

I've been bad. Again. And by being bad, I mean I've been a very inconsistent blogger. Oops.

But, what has been taking the place of blogging has been hangout time with my hubby (have I ever mentioned how fun he is?? Seriously, he's my best friend. Love him), weddings, trying new meals, food truck parks, baby showers, Baylor baseball games, watching a whole season of Revenge, laughing, road-tripping, working, work trips, finishing good reads, pool days with friends, crafting, re-decorating, intense Frisbee golf games, etc. The list could go on and on.

While I've been absent from the digital world I feel like my life has been so rewarding of things that matter: intentional time with friends and family. I've been loving it. But don't you worry. I'm making a comeback. Prepare yourself. :)

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