Monday, January 30, 2012

project 365 vol. 4

I can't believe January is almost over!  2012, how are you going by so fast??

...1/22 through 1/28 here we go:

Sunday January 22, 2012
Sunday was a day of football, as always.  In the middle of the first game I got restless and decided to make Austin and myself a snack.  Then, I put said snack on a tropical plate because I wish it was summer.  Have you guys ever made triscuitizers?  That's appetizers using triscuits in case you were wondering.  If you haven't, I think you should.  They're easy and they make your tummy happy.  The triscuitizer displayed above is as follows: cracked pepper & olive oil triscuits, a tomato slice, cheese (half of these are parmesan and the other half are goat), and a little basil to top it off.  I stuck these cuties in the oven until the cheese melted, and then I stuck them in my yapper.  Yum.

Monday January 23, 2012
I've talked on here about Pinterest.  I've also talked on here about the chocolate mug cakes from Pinterest that I love.  I put strawberries on top of mine because they taste delicious with the cake, and (I don't know if you know this or not), but if you put fruit on top of something that isn't very healthy, the fruit makes the not-so-healthy thing have zero calories.  It's pretty cool.  Here's a picture of my mug cake with strawberries and zero calories because I ate one on Monday night.  I might have also eaten another on Tuesday.  And Wednesday.  And Friday.  I took a break on Thursday and Saturday.  Saturday I had ice cream instead.

Tuesday January 24, 2012
Tuesday I got a call at 5:34 in the morning.  It was from my good friend, SubFinder.  SubFinder informed me that there was a substitute position open at an elementary school as a 4th grade teacher.  At 5:34 in the morning my brain wasn't completely turned on, so my thought process went something like this: "oh good, a job. elementary school...uh-oh.  never done that before.  small kids.  4th grade though...can't be too bad.  kids are big in 4th grade, aren't they?  no boogers or pants-wetters in 4th grade.  right?  what if I accept this job and someone wets their pants?  should I throw some extra pants in my bag today?  do I have pants that would fit a 4th grader?  ...At this point SubFinder cut me off and asked me to press 9 if I would like to accept the job.  I pressed 9 and taught 4th graders all day.  They were precious.  No one wet their pants.  The picture above is what we worked on all to make boring sentences more exciting and grammar practice.

Wednesday January 25, 2012
I decided to take the day off on Wednesday and get some things done.  I needed to work on applying for some jobs (since I usually can't get on the Internet when I'm, write a decent cover letter, do some laundry, iron, make dinner, sleep, watch TV, plan some dance classes that I was teaching on Thursday, yada yada yada...  This is what my computer screen looked like.  If you like writing resumes and cover letters lemme hear you say, "Hey-oo!" neither.

Thursday January 26, 2012
Thursday was a loooooong day.  I subbed for a Spanish teacher (whose students clearly drank a gallon or seven of sugar water before they came to class) all day.  Then I drove on over to the dance studio and taught cute little dancers from 4:30-8:30.  When I got home, I had a DVR full of goodies to watch (American Idol, Jersey Shore, Dance Moms...), so I did that and then went to bed.  Like I said, long day.  Good thing I had these dark chocolate hershey kisses to get me through it.  I love dark chocolate, and these kisses are the perfect portion for a small chocolate fix.  Over the course of my long Thursday I probably had about 14.  Perfect portion!

Friday January 27, 2012

I found this button on the wall in the Chemistry classroom I was in on Friday.  Where do teachers find all of these crazy things to put in their rooms?  I can't wait to have my own classroom and fill it with dog buttons.
Saturday January 28, 2012
When I teach my cute little ballerinas on Saturday mornings, hand sanitizer becomes my best friend.  I don't think I need to go into any further explanation on that one.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

eatin' good in the neighborhood

Here's some stuff we've been munching on over the past two weeks:

Arroz con Pollo: click here for the recipe

Pulled Pork with Ramen Noodle Coleslaw and Balsamic Glazed Carrots.

Chicken Pot Pie 

Taco Soup
I got this recipe from one of my college dance friends, and I've tweaked it a bit.  Here she is:

1 lb lean beef, browned and drained
1 can of corn
1 small can chopped green chilies
2 cans stewed tomatoes, chopped
1 can of black beans
2 cans of pinto beans
1 packet of taco seasoning 
1 packet of ranch dressing mix
3 tbsp chili powder
12 oz of water

-Begin by browning the meat until completely brown; drain and empty into a large pot.
-Add each cup of vegetables, after being boiled until soft, into the pot with the meat one at a time
-Once adding in all of the veggies, mix in the taco seasoning and ranch dressing mix.
-Depending on the amount being made, it is optional to add a vegetable can sized amount of water. 
-Once adding all of the ingredients together let the soup simmer on the stove until it is time to serve. 

I served the soup with some Mexican cheese and sour cream on top and guacamole and tortilla chips on the side...

For my guacamole, I just mash up two avocados, chop up a tomato, and add in one of those seasoning packets you can find for 99 cents at the grocery store.  If I'm feeling frisky I might even squeeze a lime over the top.

Mozzarella-stuffed Meatballs with Spaghetti and a Bleu Cheese Salad.  
The sauce is just Classico's "Tomato and Basil".

This is the salad:

To make this salad, I just chop up about a head of lettuce, add in two or three diced tomatoes, sprinkle on two chopped hard-boiled eggs, and throw in some croutons.  Then we just scoop it onto our plates and let the bleu cheese dressing flow.   

All of these recipes turned out great.  However, if I had to give one the award for "Jamie's fave" it would be the pulled pork.  That stuff was so darn easy to make, and it was awesome.  It's very versatile too.  You can have it with BBQ sauce and put it on a sandwich.  Put it on some chips, add cheese, and you've got some nachos.  You could even use it to make tacos, enchiladas, soups...the list goes on.  AND it made a TON of pork.  The total cost of that entire meal was about $12, and it fed us for four or five lunches/dinners.  The next time I have a party/event with a lot of people, that will be my go-to dish.

Happy eating everyone!

Friday, January 27, 2012

stretching games

When I teach dance, the majority of the time it's to little girls ages 2-6.  Sometimes they are a lot to handle, and I'm very happy to give them back to their mothers after the hour is up, but most of the time they are just too stinkin' cute. 

In these classes, one of the ways that we get them to behave/actually dance and not just run around like a wild pack of wolves, is by playing stretching games.  Stretching games are basically a way to trick small children.  They think that we are giving them permission to take part in their wolf-like behavior, but really we are getting them to stretch.  We're so sneaky.

One game that we play is called the pizza/cake game.  We all sit in a circle, strick our legs straight out, and put our toes in the middle.  From there, we go around the circle and everyone gets a chance to say what they want on their cake or pizza.  The dialogue usually goes something like this:

Me: Ok (insert name here), what are you making today?
Ballerina/Wolfchild: CAKE!
Me: And what do you want on your cake?
B/WC: Sprinkles!!!!
Me: Alright, put 'em onnnnn....
*Everyone pats "sprinkles" all the way down their legs* (aka hamstring stretch)
*Repeat with all ballerinas/wolfchildren in the circle*

Now it's time to bake the cake/pizza!
So we reach upppp and put it in the oven...
Then close the oven door (lay down flat on our legs)...
And reach back up to set the timer *tick tick tick tick tick tick DING!*
It's ready!
So we pull our cake/pizza out of the oven...
Cut it down the middle...
Grab our first slice (pick up our right legs)...
Then blow on it, and eat it! (hold our leg straight in front of our face and make gobble gobble noises)
The grab the other slice (pick up our left legs)...
Then blow on it, and eat it! (hold our leg straight in front of our face and make more gobble gobble noises)

Obviously, the best part of this entire process is hearing what random cake/pizza toppings these girls desire.  sometimes they shout out the first thing that comes into their heads.  "Sprinkles!" "Pepperonis!!" "Chocolate sauce!!!"  Other times, you'd think we were asking them to decide which 4-year university they're going to attend in 12-16 years.  "Umm...(15 minutes later)...I want a Disney Princess cake!  With leopard sprinkles.  And glitter icing.  And 5 candles!!!"

They're not high maintenance.  They just know what they want and how they want it. 

I can relate.

Monday, January 23, 2012

blackened chicken caesar salad

Remember a few posts ago where I showed y'all this salad?

Now I want to tell you how I made it...because it was delicious!  And very, very easy.  

Here's the list of ingredients that you'll need:

-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
-Blackened seasoning (I used Kroger brand, but you can get whatever you'd like)
-Romaine lettuce (1-2 heads depending on how big they are)
-Croutons (buy 'em in a bag, or make your own...I got mine at Kroger for one dolla)
-Parmesan cheese
-Caesar dressing

And some step by step instructions:

1) Coat your chicken with the blackened seasoning, and throw them on the grill.  If a) you live in an apartment that frowns upon outdoor grilling, b) it's the middle of winter, or c) all of the above, you can use a grill pan:

2) Once it's been about 3-4 minutes and your chickens have a nice color on one side, flip them over...

3) After another 3-4 minutes your chicken should have a good sear on both sides, but it will not be fully cooked.  I just stuck these suckers on a roasting pan and threw them in the oven at 350* to finish cooking.  I don't remember the exact time, but I want to say it took about 15 minutes or so, give or take.

4) Chop up the lettuce, and cube the chicken into bite size pieces.

5) Throw some lettuce on a plate, sprinkle on the cubed chicken, parmesan cheese, and croutons, and then drizzle the dressing on top.

Five easy steps, six simple ingredients, and you've got a delicious meal that is definitely boyfriend approved.

Now I'm off to make a chocolate mug cake because all this salad talk is making me hungry...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

project 365 vol. 3

Sunday January 15, 2012
On Sunday, we went to Buffalo Wild Wings to watch the Texans in their 2nd playoff game.  They lost (womp), but it wasn't by much!  Also, there was a Raven's fan in the bar that was going CRAZY.  Every time Baltimore would score he would take a lap around the bar area, hollering his head off.  I will never understand how men can get so into football...

Monday January 16, 2012
In honor of MLK day, I spent my Monday on "SubFinder" (the website where I go to book subbing jobs), and watching cheesy shows like "The Bachelor".  For whatever reason I've started watching this season of "The Bachelor"'s ridiculous, but I love it.  And just for the record, I'm totally team Kacie B.

Tuesday January 17, 2012
I had never been to a professional hockey game until this past Tuesday: Stars vs. Red Wings.  Our friend, Jeff, got us great tickets that included an all you can eat concession stand.  ALL YOU CAN EAT CONCESSION STAND.  Nachos, soft pretzels, peanuts, popcorn, hot dogs, and soda was had by all.  And then had again.

Wednesday January 18, 2012
Season premiere of American Idol!!!! Ahhhh I'm dying!  My second favorite show (after So You Think You Can Dance) is back!  

Thursday January 19, 2012
Thursday January 19th was the most frustrating day of my year so far, mostly thanks to the brainiacs that work at The Hampton Inn and Suites in Conroe, TX.  The story behind my frustration is a long one, so here's the gist: back in September I stayed at this hotel for a wedding.  I left my glasses in the room.  About a week later I called to see if they had them, and I was told that they did.  When I went to pick my glasses up, they no longer had them.  I sent in a complaint to corporate, and now they are telling me that they are "not responsible for lost or stolen items".  Is an item considered "lost or stolen" if it was in the possession of a Hampton Inn employee and they threw it away?! 

Apparently so.    

Friday January 20, 2012
For Christmas our friend Zac got us a gift card to Houston's.  On Friday we decided to use it!  I got this delicious salmon with a caesar salad, and Austin had a filet.  Yummmmmmm.

Saturday January 21, 2012
Saturday mornings I teach little girls how to dance.  They are precious. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

foodie food food

Here's some yummy stuff we've been munching on lately!


Baked potato soup...yum!  For Christmas, Austin's mom got me a crock pot, and since then I have been searching the depths of the Internet to find some good recipes.  This was my first attempt at a crock pot recipe.  I found it here, and it was scrumptious! 

Cheesy chicken rice bake from The Tasty Kitchen.  I've made this recipe before, and I made it again because it was so good the first time.  The second go at this casserole of rice-y, cheesy, chicken-y goodness was also a success!  

This is something that Austin and I came up with on our own.  Here's how the conversation went:
Austin: "Hey we should make like a caesar salad with blackened chicken on it."
Me: "Ok, well we can just get some chicken breasts and some blackened seasoning, and then use the grill pan to cook the chicken.  While the chicken's cooking I'll chop up some-"
Austin: "Alright, you just do whatever you wanna do...I'll eat it."

I'll post the recipe for this salad was delicious! 

Chili!  The perfect thing to eat during these cold winter months.  Austin and I came up with our own chili recipe using a collection of other people's chili recipes.  It's SO easy to make, and comes together relatively quickly.  Here's what we do:

1 pound ground beef
1 chopped onion
2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 can diced tomatoes/rotel
1 can tomato paste
1 can chili beans, undrained (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large saucepan over medium high heat, combine the ground beef and onion.  Sauté for about 5 minutes, until beef is browned.  Drain excess fat.  Add the chili powder, garlic, bay leaf, cumin, tomatoes, tomato sauce and salt/pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 ½ hours, stirring occasionally.  Stir in the beans and heat through.  

Herb roasted chicken (using my poultry 3-pack!) I got the recipe for this from a guest blogger on the pioneer woman's website.  My pictures do not look as pretty as his, but this chicken didn't make it from cookie sheet to beautiful platter.  No way that's happening when I had two boys ready to tear into this baby as soon as I pulled it from the oven. 

This salad recipe is also from Ryan, the pioneer woman guest blogger, and it's the one I was telling y'all about in my last post.  It's delicious and very boy friendly (goat cheese and all)!

I'll round this post out with this BBQ chicken pizza from the pioneer woman.  After tasting this pizza, Austin proclaimed that it was "one of the best things I've ever made".  I would definitely recommend this dish, and I'm pretty sure you should make it as soon as possible.

With that delish pizza we had a quick bleu cheese salad.  I chopped up a head of lettuce, two tomatoes, some croutons, and some bleu cheese dressing.  Quick.  Simple.  Yummy!

I would recommend all of the above recipes.  None of them are extremely difficult, and they come together pretty quick!  If I had to pick my fave it would be that BBQ chicken pizza.  That thing was delish.  AND the pizza dough recipe makes 2 pizzas, so anytime I want I can make this baby again, and I already have the dough, yo.

This week I'm planning on making a classic Mexican dish, some comfort food, and another crock pot creation.  Austin and I are also going on a date to a restaurant that is supposed to be great.  I'll be back to tell y'all all about it! 

Monday, January 16, 2012

project 365 vol. 2

 Here are my pics from January 8th through the 14th!
January 8, 2012
On our way home from the lake last weekend, we stopped at exit 164 to visit a place called "Woody's Smokehouse".  Woody's is known for it's smoked meats, cheeses, and jerky, but I chose to purchase this mini pecan pie.  As I've mentioned before, I had never tried pecan pie until this past Thanksgiving.  I can't say enough how mad at myself I am for that.  Pecan pie is my new favorite thing, and when paired with some vanilla ice cream, it was the perfect ending to my weekend.  

January 9, 2012
If you've never had the chips and guacamole from Chipotle alongside your burrito bowl, then you need to go and get some right this instant.  Austin and I ate this amazing combo on Monday night while watching TV, and it was delicious.  A wonderful start to the week!

January 10, 2012
On Tuesday of this past week, I went grocery shopping.  I had planned to make a roasted chicken for dinner at some point during the week, and the recipe I was using called for fresh thyme, rosemary, and sage.  I wasn't really looking forward to spending money on three individual herb packets because I knew most of those packets would end up not being used.  Bummer.  But then, as I was pushing my cart by the cantaloupes, this little guy caught my eye.  A poultry herb 3-pack!  1/3 of the price I was expecting to pay for my chicken herbs, AND none of it went to waste!!  Am I getting too excited about a little box of herbs?  Probably.  Oh well, it's the little things...

January 11, 2012
On Wednesday, I got to sub for the teacher that I did my student teaching with!!! It was so much fun to be back with my 7th graders!  Seriously, if I'm ever having a bad day I am just going to walk into that classroom because those kids make me feel so special.  All day as I was standing in the hallway in between classes, I heard my students yelling out things like, "Miss Chandler!! You're back!!!" or "Where have you been?! We missed you!!!" and "You have to stay here forever!"  I had the best day back in 7th grade again.

January 12, 2012
On Thursday nights we have a tradition.  Our good friend, Zac, comes over and we all eat dinner together while watching some Thursday night TV.  I love coming up with things to feed the three of us.  This week, I roasted a chicken (using my poultry 3-pack!!) and made this salad.  I was a little nervous to feed these two manly men a spinach salad featuring goat cheese, apples, and oranges, with a honey balsamic vinaigrette.  However, they ate it all up, and both declared that it was, "a LOT better than they thought it was going to be".  Victory for this little chef!   

January 13, 2012
My Friday the 13th was anything but unlucky.  I landed my favorite sub job thus far...a dance teacher!  I got to hang out in the Allen "Tallenettes" dance room all day, and got paid for it!  On top of that, the actual dance teacher was popping in and out all day, so I got to talk to her all about my dance background and how I want to be a dance team director one day.  It was a great day!

January 14, 2012
 On Saturday night a group of us went out in Dallas.  The second place that we went to sold these contraptions, known as "beer towers".  Obviously, our table ordered two...

Saturday, January 14, 2012

a trip to the lake

Last weekend, we went to the lake.  

It was kind of a spur of the moment trip, but I'm so glad we went.  The group included a handful of us from Dallas, some Houston pals, and even a friend from Austin.  It was so great to see A&M friends that we haven't seen since graduation back in May, and shout out to our friend, Ryan (aka "Cobra"), and the rest of the Gentry family for letting us use their amazing lake house for the weekend.  

Obviously we did not partake in any water activities, but we had a great time all the same.  Everyone got there pretty late on Friday night, so we just hung out for awhile and then called it a night.  On Saturday, we did lots of things that you do while you're at the lake!

Like play washers: 


Grillmaster Zac
And feed the deer:

Feeding the deer was probably my favorite part of the trip.  I don't know that I've ever been so close to a deer before, and I liked it!  

Ryan was kind enough to take all of the girls out to our deer feeding adventure while the rest of the boys stayed inside and watched football.  Here's all of us girlies in the golf cart:

So, we drove and drove....

...and finally found some deer to feed!  

Ryan held the bucket, and attempted to get these wild beasts to eat out of his hands.

"Hereeee deery deery deeeeeeer.  I have yummy corn for y'all!"

Ok, he didn't really say that.  But I bet he was thinking it!

Either way, Ryan must have done something right with that bucket o' feed because take a look at this pack of deer that came running up to us when he shook it:


After we marveled at the majestic animals that roam free in nature, it was time for dinner.

We had: bacon-wrapped, cream cheese filled dove to start, chicken fried venison and grilled venison for the main course, and some pork sausage on the side.  Sorry nature.  Sorry majestic animals.  We were hungry.

We topped the weekend off with a win from those Texans.

What a glorious way to spend the weekend.

I think we'll go back soon.