Friday, April 11, 2014

dinner time

Happy Friday, everybody!  I am here with some recipes today, so I hope y'all are hungry!  These are things I've made over the past week or so, and I would recommend them all for dinner.  Try one out!

Hamburger Soup

I saw this on The Pioneer Woman's website, and since I'm always up for a new soup, I gave it a try.  It was very easy to make and was wonderful during that cold weather at the end of March that wouldn't seem to go away.

Crock Pot Beef Tacos

I think I've shared these crock pot wonders with you guys before, but here they are again in case you need a reminder!  These are from Eat Live Run, and I think Austin could eat them every single week.  I will eat just about anything if you top it with avocado and cilantro, so I'm always on board too.

Crock Pot Chicken Chili

I posted the recipe for this soup not too long ago, but I wanted to make sure no one missed it.  Let me just reiterate that I will eat almost anything so long as it's topped with avocado and cilantro.

Lettuce Wraps

These are another hit in our house from my girl Ree at The Pioneer Woman.  Lettuce wraps are kind of a pain to make because you have to chop up all of that chicken into such tiny pieces, but I think the result is totally worth it.

Greek Turkey Burgers

These little guys are a brain child of my handsome hubby-to-be.  I make regular turkey burgers all the time, but he asked if we could mix things up with a "Greek version".  To make them, I just bought regular turkey patties; seasoned them with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and a little oregano; and then I topped the cooked burgers with some romaine, kalamata olives, feta, and a tomato slice.  To finish, I wrapped everything up in a warm pita and served them with a side of fruit.  YUM! 

Have a great weekend, y'all!  I'm headed to Houston later today for my bridal shower tomorrow!  I can't wait!!!  Updates about that will probably happen on Monday. :)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

rose petals and teddy bears

Do you guys remember the show Laguna Beach?  It was one of the first "reality shows" that I can remember, and I was obsessed.  L.B. (The Real O.C.) was on MTV from 2004-2006 which was right after I started high school.  Naturally, I was extremely jealous of the show's rich, spoiled, totally scripted teens.  Everything they did seemed so glamorous!  I still remember pining over one episode in particular: The L.B. Promposals!!


Now, in case you're not familiar, a "promposal" is when a guy asks a girl to prom in a particularly cute way.  And let me tell you, the men of Laguna Beach had their promposals on point.  Does anyone else remember Talan wearing a suit and holding roses in Kristen's garage?  How about Trey spelling out "PROM?" in candles?  Swoon city, baby!

What you might not know, however, is that the barefoot ballerina had a promposal of her own...

It all started with my friend Raisa.  She was part of a prom group composed of mostly couples with a few stray dudes.  It was her job to find some single ladies to fill out the bunch, and it just so happened that I was boyfriend-less at the time.  (Let's be honest, I was boyfriend-less most of the time those days.) She started asking me if I would be interested in going with this guy George, and of course I was!  A date to prom?  Duh!

However, I never expected to walk into my 5th period student council officers class later that week and find a giant Build-A-Bear box on my desk!  What was that doing there?!

I could tell by Raisa's face that the box was intended for me, and when I opened it, I found a fuzzy little teddy bear dressed in the tiniest tuxedo I'd ever seen.


Even cuter, when I pressed his precious paw, I heard George's voice: 

Hey Jamie, it's George!  Would you like to go to prom with me?!

Absolutely adorable, right?  That George was such a sweet guy.  I was so excited to have a date to the prom!  Thanks for your meddling, Raisa! 

Here's a better shot of the bear.  I guess I was being shy that day...

George was a very nice date, and we all had a great time at prom.  I will never forget that bear and his voice coming out of its paw.


Here are some other fun facts about my prom experience:

1) My friend Michelle and I were both nominated for prom queen, but neither one of us won.  We were FURIOUS.  


2) One of the members of our group wore a kilt to the big dance!


3) We spent the weekend after prom at a beach house in Galveston.  (My suggestions for moving the trip to Laguna were rudely ignored.)  My friend Anna and I practiced our dance moves a lot.  


Did I mention that I didn't date much at the time?  I can't imagine why someone wouldn't want to hang around a girl who leaps everywhere she goes. 

Austin is a lucky guy, huh?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

staar feelings

Well, STAAR season is upon us!  My kids wrapped up the writing portion of the test today, and I think I can speak for everyone when I say that I'm glad it's behind us.


Everyone has an opinion about standardized testing, but the bottom line is that it happens whether we like it or not.  Personally, I can see why we need it, but it is definitely not my favorite part of the school year.  It's stressful for everyone involved.

So, as a way to (hopefully) make all of the teachers out there chuckle, I thought I'd share some of my thoughts throughout the testing day.  I think they'll probably be relatable...

When I wake up and remember we have testing that day:


When one of the kids accidentally breaks the wrong seal:


When one of my students immediately starts on the final draft instead of doing all of the planning strategies we have talked about all year long:


When it's FINALLY time for lunch:


When I'm waiting for the last few kids to finish:


When everyone in the room is finished, but we still have to sit quietly, the kids are like:


And I'm like:


 When the kids are released from testing rooms:


When I get home after a day of testing:


And then:


Hopefully, when we get the scores in, I'll be like:

Monday, March 31, 2014

currently

Currently, I am...

Wearing

A Star Wars t-shirt.


The big, bad STAAR Writing Test is tomorrow and Wednesday, so the teachers and staff at my school dressed up in Star Wars garb today to help our kids "use the force" on their test.  I've never seen Star Wars, and I'd venture to say that it's probably not my cup of tea, but I'll do almost anything to motivate my students!

Listening to

Spotify!  If you haven't heard, spotify is a music program where users pay $10 a month and can download pretty much any song they want.  I have access to it all the time with the app on my phone, and it comes in real handy at the dance studio.  I think the 10 ducks a month is totally worth it!


More specifically, I am still loving Miley's new album, Bangerz.  Also, my favorite song right now is "Latch" by Disclosure.  I can't help but dance when it comes on!

Planning

Our wedding, of course!  We are getting down to the nitty gritty details these days.  Over spring break I got a lot of things accomplished, but there is still much to be done!  We are meeting with our videographer this evening so we can get to know each other before the big day, so that should be fun.  I am also anxiously awaiting the arrival of several packages- invitations, table numbers, etc.  At this very moment, I am trying to figure out what songs we want played during our ceremony.  It's times like this that I am so very thankful for the internet.  (I have found myself thinking that a lot throughout this entire process).


I can't believe the big day is less than 3 months away.  I can't wait!!  

Watching

American Idol- I have been a fan of this show from the beginning, and I am loving this season!  The new judging panel is just perfect, and the contestants are very talented.  My favorites are Alex, Jena, and Sam.  I hope Jessica and Malaya go home soon.

The Tonight Show- Have y'all been watching Jimmy Fallon?  In my opinion, he is absolutely killing it as the host.  Austin and I watch every weeknight, and we laugh and laugh.  This is one of my favorite things he has done:


Reading

Allegiant by Veronica Roth.  I read the first two books in the Divergent series awhile ago, and I've had the third book downloaded on my iPad for a few months now.  The thing is, I keep hearing how terrible the ending is, so I can't bring myself to read it.  I'm planning to just suck it up though because it will drive me crazy if I don't finish the series!


I considered including an "eating" category in this post, but I decided to dedicate an entire post to that for later this week.  Stay tuned!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

crock pot chicken chili

It's recipe time on the blog again!  

We had a luncheon at my school sponsored by our wonderful PTA not too long ago, and the theme was crockpot soups/stews.  The luncheon was delish, but one of the moms got the date wrong and brought her chili a week early.  It's always a nice surprise when there's food in the office, and this chicken chili went quick!  The mom was nice enough to email out the recipe since it was such a hit, and I'm going to be nice enough to share it with you all today!

For whatever reason there is still a little nip in the air these days, so this would still be something yummy to make for dinner.  Enjoy!  


Chicken Chili


2 chicken breasts, still frozen
1 can Rotel, do not drain
1 can corn kernels, do not drain
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 pkg. Ranch dressing mix
1 pkg. Taco Seasoning
1 8-oz pkg. cream cheese


1) Put the chicken in the crock pot.  Top with the undrained Rotel, undrained corn, drained and rinsed beans, ranch dressing powder, taco seasoning, and stir to combine.  

2) Cook on low for 6-8 hours, stirring once or twice. 

3) Shred the chicken into large pieces. Top with the cream cheese. Cook for 30 minutes, or serve immediately after mixing in cream cheese. 

**This would be good over cilantro rice, with tortillas, or alongside some tortilla chips.  You can also add avocados, shredded cheese, and/or sour cream when serving.

Monday, March 24, 2014

spring break rewind

The Monday after Spring Break has got to be one of the hardest days of the year for a teacher.  Coming back after a break is always tough, but other breaks are different.  Summer is so long that I'm usually itching to come back to work.  After Thanksgiving, there's only 3 weeks until Christmas.  Christmas break is like a shorter summer; I'm ready to come back and finish off the year.  Spring Break though...I'm struggling.  We still have 11 weeks of school before summer.  11!

Here's hoping that looking back at my break will help ease the pain of this Monday.  

What I ate:


One of the things that I love about being out of school is that I get to eat lunch with my main squeeze.  Austin works close enough to our apartment that he can come home for lunch, so I made us food almost every day last week.  When we weren't munching on dinner leftovers, I whipped up some good ol' fashioned tuna salad served with a side of wheat thins and berries.  Yum!


Pizza was also on the menu last week.  I always use The Pioneer Woman's recipe for the crust, and then just use whatever I want for toppings.  Last week it was fresh mozzarella, thin slices of tomato, and basil leaves.


Something that I always like to do during a break is cook a dish I've never made before.  Last week, I tackled chicken tikka masala.  I'd never attempted to make Indian food before, and I'm so glad that I started with this recipe.  It wasn't Austin's favorite (he's not big on Indian cuisine), but I gobbled this up!  If you like Indian food, this recipe is a must try!

What I watched:


We kicked the break off by watching the Dallas St. Paddy's Day parade.  We've gone to this parade for 3 years in a row now, and it always ends up being really fun.    


A few girlfriends and I went to see The Wizard of Oz last Thursday as part of our "Dallas Summer Musicals" experience.  The actress starring as Dorothy was really channeling Judy Garland, and she had a beautiful voice to boot!  The little doggie that played Toto stole the show though.  He was just adorable!!


My most frequent viewing choice, however, was one of my all-time favorite shows: Gilmore Girls.  I don't really know how many times I've watched this series, but it just doesn't get old.  GGs and Friends: my two television staples.  I watched seasons 4 and 5 (aka Rory's early Yale years) throughout the week, and now I want to have pancakes at Luke's Diner and dye Austin's hair blonde to match Logan's.  

What I read:


I haven't finished this one yet, but I did find some time to read over the break.  I'm liking (not loving) it, so I'm glad it's short.  I know this is a classic, and I feel like I'm supposed to love it since I'm an English teacher and all, but I'd really rather read something that totally hooks me in.  Gatsby hasn't quite done that for me.  

What I checked off the "Wedding To Do" list:

I had a couple of big tasks (and a lot of little tasks) on my wedding list that I really needed to take care of over this break, and I managed to get all of them crossed off!  Yay for me!  They included but weren't limited to: ordering the invitations, purchasing ties and socks for the guys, taking my bridal portraits/test driving my hair and make-up (that was a fun one!!), ordering table numbers, signing the contract for our flowers, getting my wedding band re-sized, purchasing Austin's ring, and sending about 700 emails.  Only 88 days to go!

Ties on ties on ties...

The countdown to summer officially begins today.  Say a prayer for me and all of my co-workers so we can finish the year off strong!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

dinner is served!

It's been a little while since I've posted about my kitchen happenings, so I thought today we'd play a little game of categories!

Something New:


Instead of going out to eat like we usually do on Friday nights, Austin and I decided to stay in and cook recently.  I made these sea scallops with roasted potatoes and sauteed spinach.  I'd never made these recipes before, but they were both very tasty!  

The Usual Suspects:

I've made all of these recipes before, and they are a part of our normal dinner rotation.  Cooking something I'm familiar with is fun and it usually takes less time.  Not to mention, I already know the end result will be yummy! 

Stuffed Peppers

BBQ Chicken Pizza

Beef Short Ribs

Chicken Parmesan*

*I don't use a specific recipe for this, but here's one that's pretty similar: Chicken Parm.

Totally Twisted:

For these two dinners, I took our regular recipes and made a change or two.


Instead of using real deal ground beef for our favorite chili, I subbed it out for some ground turkey.  We seriously cannot tell a difference, so it makes for a healthier, lighter meal. 


I typically don't turn to Sandra Lee for recipes, but I was randomly watching her one day and saw this Caesar Pasta Salad.  I knew Austin wouldn't eat it as is, so I added in some grilled chicken and romaine lettuce.  It reminds me a lot of the chicken caesar pasta salad from Cheddar's.  It was both Jamie and Austin approved!

When the Fiance's Away...:


I call this kind of dinner "girly food".  If I were to serve this to Austin on a regular weeknight, he'd scarf it down and then probably ask for the main course.  When he went out of town the other weekend, however, this was the perfect thing for my Friday dinner.  I stopped off at Central Market after school on Friday and got my loot: simple green beans, crackers, good cheddar cheese, brie (aka my newest obsession), salami, and a tiny loaf of bread.  Serve with a bottle glass of wine for best results.