Thursday, December 10, 2009

cold, cold go away!

Tuesday night, Kyle and I made our monthly grocery run, so I finally got stuff to try some of the recipes I've been wanting. Yesterday morning, I made iowagirleats's morning oats, and it was delicious! My morning oats were:

  • 3/4 cup strawberry yogurt ( I got Dannon Light and Fit yogurt...110 calories pre cup, and no fat! I bought the large container instead of a bunch of small ones.)
  • 1/4 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • almonds, sprinkled on top
  • honey drizzled on top

It was D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S! And so filling. Much more than my usual Cream of Wheat or cereal. By lunch, I was hardly hungry, but I had a lunch meeting, so I just got a bowl of soup. I also bought raspberries and blueberries to use as morning oats topping.

Tonight we are getting together with some other couples from church, so I am making a salad I found on the same blog. It consists of:
  • Spinach leaves
  • Carrots
  • Roma tomato
  • Feta cheese
  • Chopped pecans
  • Raspberries 
Sounds so yummy! The recipe actually calls for mixed greens, but I prefer spinach, so I'm mixing it up a little bit. I got sun dried tomato dressing to top it. Probably could have just made a balsamic vinegar dressing, but this will be a little easier.

Last night, we had our friends over for dinner. I stuck to what I knew as far as the meal. I read somewhere that when you have people over, it's not he time to try something new. I don't know that holds true for everyone, but in my case, I think it's best. I made Parmesan chicken topped with lemon vinaigrette spinach salad, and it turned out great! And (bonus!) I didn't set off the fire alarm! The more I make this recipe, the better it turns out. We had our own version of a Christmas Cosmo to go with it. Tasty! After we ate, we braved the brutal cold and went to look at Christmas lights. We lasted about 20 minutes before we came back home to Meredith's black forrest cake (yum!) and hot apple cider. It's becoming a little bit of a tradition for the four of us to look at lights together, so I'm glad we kept it going despite the cold. Afterwards, I asked Kyle if we could move to the Caribbean. I was hardly kidding :)

Our friends!

Me and the Mr. being silly

I've been friends with this girl for half my life! We bonded over purple skittles, and I'm so thankful our friendship has stuck.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

getting in the christmas spirit

Look what we did last night! Christmas-ified our apartment with our very first married Christmas tree. We went out to the Owasso Tree Farm and took full advantage of the apple cider and gift shop. Had to buy an ornament to remember our first tree experience, right?

And then I made Kyle take cheesy pictures with me in these wooden trees.

Cute, huh? The nice guys at the farm strapped our 6 footer to the top of our Jeep, and off we went. I so wish I had taken a picture of the tree on top of our car. We felt like the Griswolds going down the highway, and I kept trying to make sure it was still on the car. But, we got it home, and the decorating began!

My family has, for as long as I can remember, had the tradition of drinking Christmas Coca-Cola glass bottles while we put up the tree. So, Kyle and I decided to adopt that into our little family too, and accompany it with a Calzone and Love Actually on the TV (we LOVE that movie.) Kyle got a nice fire going with the help of lighter fluid, and I got all the decorations ready to go.

Nellie was amazed by the tree, and kept trying to eat it. She actually still tries to eat it. I tried to google this issue, and apparently it's pretty common.

The decorating got going, and I have to say. Our plan was to get a real tree this year, and buy a fake, prelit one after the season, on sale. But our tree smells so amazing, I don't know if I could go back to a fake tree! I can't remember what kind we got, but it smells like pine and orange. Yumm. Probably why Nellie tries to eat it.

After it was all decorated we had to attempt a family pic. We seriously love how it turned out (the tree...the family pic could use some tweaking,) and had so much fun putting the tree up. It one of those things you just know you will always remember...your first married Christmas tree experience...and I think it was a great one to start with.

P.S. Like the painting above our fireplace? It was a wedding gift from our incredibly talented sister-in-law. Check her art out at She's awesome!

Monday, December 7, 2009

behind closed cabinets

Some of my kitchen cabinets are perfectly (almost) organized, and others look like a tornado ripped right through. For example, this one is pretty in white and blue.

Then this's half random bowls and kitchen accessories (I do love my Williams-Sonoma colorful ones,) and half baking items so I can make a disaster of my kitchen (we have a seriously small pantry, so I have to stash things wherever I can.)

So here's a little kitchen inspiration to (hopefully) inspire me to get things a little more organized and pretty. And if not, these photos are still sure to make you drool.

Check out this gorgeous blue light shade.

Oh those gorgeous white cabinets with clear panes. Drooling.

This window shade is so cute! Love having a window over the sink. And check out those exposed shelves! pretty!

I don't think I would ever do blue cabinets, but check out that chandelier! So bold. So pretty.

This looks so very Ikea. Modern. Clean. And glossy cabinets. And that backsplash! Would love to know what that material is.

I LOVE this! White cabinets. Stainless appliances. White, clear and blue. And check out that built in wine rack. Santa, please?

I know I have shown this before, but I had to revisit it. I just love Katie Ukrop's home. Replace the pink with my Martha blue, and it's a kitchen dream come true! and Domino Magazine

Friday, December 4, 2009

lots of updates

The last few weeks have been so busy! With Thanksgiving, and trying to get some work done so I can really enjoy a nice Christmas break, it's just been kind of crazy. I'm SO glad it's Christmastime though, and have done some work on filling our place with a little Christmas cheer.

We still don't have a Christmas tree. Our original idea was to get a real tree at this place, because how awesome does this sound: "Enjoy the Christmas experience, after choosing and cutting your special tree, take a hayride back to the Christmas cabin.  Inside we offer hot apple cider to warm you up while you browse through our beautiful Christmas ornaments and items. "

But then we started thinking about how much easier it would be to just get a pre-lit tree. Considering Christmas is only 20 days away, and I have a Hobby Lobby bag full of ornaments, I guess we better decide fast!

What else have I been up to on my blogging hiatus? Well, finding other great blogs to read, of course. Check this one out, Iowa Girl Eats. Kristin, the blogger there, is all about healthy eating/cooking, and is always putting up great recipes. She makes this breakfast thing called "Overnight Oats." It looks delish, and I'm itching to try it. It's about time for the Mr. and I to make our next grocery run, and I'll be getting the ingredients to test first hand.

The last few weeks I tried several recipes I found on I love the recipes on this site because they give you all the calories, fat, etc. content for the meals. Some of them were pretty good, others were not my fav, or need adjusting. I tried wheat pasta this time around, and I just don't like it too much. Maybe I didn't buy the right brand? Anyway, here are the recipes I tested:

This one was really delicious, but I made it pretty different than the recipe. Instead of Proscuitto, I cut up ham in thin slices and added some bacon and mushrooms. And instead of Argula I was going to use Spinach, but what I had wasn't good anymore, so we just went without the greens. BUT, even with the adjustments (or maybe because of them?) it was really great.

Kyle and I both loved this one, but I went for regular pasta instead of wheat this time. I had never had eggplant before, but it was yummy!

I served shredded sweet potatoes with a little butter and brown sugar with this. The chicken and potatoes were pretty good, but next time I might use a different, more flavorful, cheese.

This was Kyle's absolute favorite, and I have to say I really liked it too. I made homemade sweet potato fries to go with this, and instead of rye bread, I put the patties on the sandwich whole wheat thins. Yum!

This was my least favorite. I also made this first, and used wheat pasta. I just felt like there wasn't a lot of flavor to it.

I made this one last night, and it was OK. I think I would like it a lot better with a cheese other than goat cheese. It's so tangy, it kind of overwhelmed the tastes of all the fresh veggies. But, look at how yummy these veggies look:

One of my favorite recipes is this one, and I think it's time to make it again. Add that to the grocery list!

This weekend I'm hoping to tackle some Christmas shopping. Kyle's Christmas list was complete with a "chimpanzee that knows karate" and a "Baron 58 P (325)" which is a $300,000 airplane, so I'm hoping I can find some more realistic things to get him. Wish me luck!

Hope you are enjoying the start of the Christmas season!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

relating to pam

Being an advertising major in college, I have, for quite some time, had an appreciation for great commercials. It has, however, been quite a while since I have seen a commercial I completely related to. Until now. Seriously. I saw this commercial, and could practically see my face in this situation. Check it out...

See what I mean? Things burning and fire alarm going off all while trying to be dressed cute and put together something nice for the hubby. I've seen that scene time and time again. One thing I am pretty sure I won't have to ever deal with though: my husband forgetting our anniversary. Even if he didn't remember on his own, I kind of love special events and start talking about them a good several months before they happen. So, there is pretty much no way I'd ever give him the chance at forgetting.

On the menu tonight...Portobello and Beef Patty Melts. Guess I better get out the PAM!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

cryin' macaroni

I hate failing at things. Especially things I know I should be perfectly capable. For example, in the third grade I represented my class in the annual spelling bee. I was so nervous that morning I tossed my cookies before I even made it out of the house, but after the nerves worked their way out, I went on to school in my snap button jean skirt ready to take home the prize. I had made it to the top three, and I just knew I had it in the bag. I stepped up for my next word..."diamond." I confidently spelled the word "D...I...M...O...N...D" only to hear "I'm sorry, that is incorrect." I was heartbroken. But you know what, I have never in my life misspelled diamond again.

Well today I had another spelling bee type failure of the domestic kind. We were to have a big Thanksgiving lunch with parts of Kyle's family we won't get to see on Thanksgiving. I had volunteered to make mac and cheese, my specialty. Being my first official Thanksgiving making food with Kyle's family, I certainly wanted my dish to be perfect. We picked up the goods on the way to my in-laws house, and I started to work my magic as soon as we got to their house. I did everything just as usual, and the bottom of the cheese pan burnt a little bit. "No big deal," I thought. It had, after all, happened before. After I had everything prepared, I took a taste. Oh....emmm...geee. It tasted awful. Remember the burning in the cheese pan? Well the mac and cheese tasted exactly like that burning smells. I was horrified.

With the help of my wonderful mother-in-law, who kept telling me it was fine, we added in more butter (more butter is better, right?), milk and Velveeta. No result. I thought if anyone would know how to fix it, it would be my mom. So I went upstairs to call her, only for her to heartbreakingly tell me the only way to fix burnt cheese is to throw it out. Then, just like the rushing of a river you can't stop, the tears came. I had ruined my Thanksgiving dish for 11 people! And not only was I embarrassed at my inability to cook even mac and cheese, I now had to somehow make it looked like I hadn't been crying. FAIL. That was basically impossible. Kyle came upstairs and tried to make me feel better, but my mac and cheese failure had crushed my little heart.

Downstairs everyone assured me it was fine, and wouldn't even think of allowing me to go buy a replacement. Even though it tasted awful, it was put on the table, and everyone took a little bit of it.

In all of this, I was reminded of a few things. 1: I am so not Martha, and my mom, who is as good as Martha, has a lot she can teach me. 2: I am incredibly thankful, even more so at this time of year, for marring into such a great family who loves me despite my burnt mac and cheese (who knew that was even possible?!)

And I can assure you of one thing...I'll never burn my mac and cheese again.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

splitting the holidays

I know, I know. I've been a bad bad blogger this last week. But, I'm back, and with a topic for discussion.

For the last couple years, the holidays for Kyle and I weren't really an issue. We kind of did our own thing with our own families, and then after the main event, we would make a round to each others families so we could spend some time with them too. Well, this year it's a little bit different, and while I think we are VERY lucky being that both our families live in the same city, it still isn't easy to have to tell one side of the family you won't be there for x, or the other that they won't have us for y.

We came up with a plan that I really think will work great, but being that I am the oldest in my family, and the first to go through this, it's a lot harder for my family to be OK with the changes.

For my entire life, and even before it, my dad's side of the family has spent Christmas Eve at my MeMe's, and that is one event I'm not willing to give up, and Kyle is totally fine with that. But, the family Kyle gets together with on Christmas Eve also does Thanksgiving, so our solution was to do Thanksgiving with them, Christmas Eve with my fam. Well, a few days ago, my mom said "so then you will spend Thanksgiving with us next year then?" I guess in my mind we would do Thanksgiving with Kyle's family, and hopefully make it to mine for some dessert later in the day. Trading off every year hadn't really crossed my mind since we aren't trading Christmas Eve's. Not spending a holiday with my family is no more easy for me than for them.

Once Christmas Day rolls around, it actually works out beautifully since my family does Christmas morning, and Kyle's does Christmas afternoon.

So, anyone else have to split the holidays? Any advice? I honestly feel incredibly lucky we even get to spend parts of each holiday with each family. It could be much more difficult if our families were in different cities, or even states. But that being said, it doesn't make it any easier to miss out on a family event.

Because of Kyle's career path, we already know that some Christmas' and Thanksgivings' throughout our lives may be spent in a hotel room while Kyle has a layover, where the holiday feast is a pancake platter at Denny's (if there are any open any more!) But I'm very thankful this year isn't the year for that, and we get to enjoy the holidays with everyone we love the most!

And now for some pictures from last year's Christmas. Can't wait for new memories this year.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

copy cat

If you know me very well, you know I LOVE mac & cheese. All kinds. Kraft is my favorite for home, but around Tulsa, I have found mac & cheese goodness at The Brook and Outback, and I hear Oliver's Twist has a great one too. Well, tonight I made use of Copy Kat Recipes, a great website that gives you food's equivalent to a knock-off handbag. I made one of my favorites, Outback's Macaroo n' Cheese. It was delish.

We followed that up by attempt #2 at Chocolate Chip Cookies. Sounds so simple, but we made a batch last night that turned out terribly. There's a certain website that has failed me more than once now...not mentioning any names...ahem,, ahem. You know the saying, fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice...well, you won't fool me a third time. Tonight, I turned to trusty Food Network, and the cookies were perfect. I'm not saying the first batch wasn't some sort of user problem, but the last recipe I pulled from that site didn't turn out either, so you can imagine my skepticism.

I uploaded some pictures from my camera last night. There are some good ones. Enjoy! Hope you are having a great week!

These pics are from when we made Mexican Manicotti!

And here are some Halloween pics. Popeye and Sandy. Haha. Not quite the normal dynamic duo, but my Olive Oyl costume didn't quite work out. Maybe next year!

Monday, November 9, 2009

meet miss nellie

Over the weekend we made an addition to our little family.

Her name is Nellie, and she's a 4.7 lb black Cocker Spaniel. She is absolutely precious, and in the 36 hours we have had her, we have fallen completely in love. We have been talking about getting a dog for a long time, even before we were married. We kept debating on whether or not we should wait until we had a yard, but we just couldn't resist her. We played with her at the pet store, and even left to "think about it." But I think we both knew we were coming back for her.

She already is a lot of fun, and she brings with her a whole new adventure. We are going to be very informed "parents," and have already bought a book on training a cocker spaniel. This Christmas will be a lot of fun with her running around tearing into the wrapping paper.

Last night she got to sleep with us, but we got a kennel today, and are crossing our fingers she will sleep in it tonight without crying....too much.

I love seeing Kyle play with her. He loves animals, and is so great with Nellie. He even taught me a little trick yesterday about using Windex for carpet cleaner. Who knew?! That's a trick we may be using quite a bit in the training process.

And now some pics :)