Monday, February 27, 2012


Hey you!

Want something good to cook for dinner that's been approved by yours truly??  

Well here you go...

Try this Blackened Chicken Caesar Salad

This salad is very easy to throw together, and is super cheap!  I was full after eating about half of my plate, and there was enough left over for Austin to take some for lunch the next day.  I would definitely recommend this!

Get the recipe here.
Or give these Stuffed Zucchini Boats a whirl:

I saw these on Recipe Girl a few weeks ago, and tried them last week.  I thought they were SO good.  The filling for the boats is delicious on its own, so if you don't feel like hollowing out the zucchini, you could just use the recipe for the filling and toss it with the pasta and some tomato basil sauce.  You can find the full recipe here.

Ok, I have to stop the recommendations now. 

I made this Crock Pot Chicken and Vegetables last week, and I wanted to show you guys because I think it looks pretty...

It might look comforting and delicious, but I can assure you it is not.  I don't know why, but this dish tasted gross.  It was just meh...there was no flavor.  I think the sauce needs to be kicked up a little bit or something.  Who knows what went wrong, but I will not be making this again.  If you want to see the full recipe you can check it out here. 

Alright, back to the normal, "make this for dinner", blog post.

These Sloppy Joes were great:

Austin actually found this recipe and asked me to make it.  It was SO simple and quick to make, and I will definitely have it in mind any time I need a yummy, fast dinner.  If you want the recipe, go here.

Now that you have my recommendations for din din, here are my picks for dessert:

Cinnamon Roll Cookies:

Here's the recipe...
Ok, I realize that I like, just made these, but I made them again for Austin's kickball game on Tuesday.  Then his game got cancelled, and I was left with an entire batch of these PLUS these Red Velvet Cookies that I made the day before so we could have a little something sweet in our lunches for the week:

click here for the recipe!
Cookies cookies cookies galore.  We lead a tough life over here...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

project 365 vol. 7

Week 7 of we go!
Sunday February 12, 2012
On Sunday, Austin and I were making the trip back to Dallas after a weekend with the fam in Houston.  Because we are two humans of right mind, we stopped at Buc-ees on the way!  I got some kettle corn.  Austin ate a little of it.  That's ok.  He's my boyfriend, so he's allowed to have some.

Monday February 13, 2012
I already told you guys about the awesome present that Austin gave me for my birthday...the cooking class that came with the delicious meal?  Well yeah, nothing else happened that Monday that was more exciting than Austin and I in aprons, so here we are.  Cheese!

Tuesday February 14, 2012
Happy Valentine's!!  Austin was supposed to have a kickball game on Tuesday night, so we decided to have our V-day celebration on Wednesday instead.  However, it was still Valentine's, so I made one of our favorite dinners: lettuce wraps!  Yum yum those were good!

Wednesday February 15, 2012
Like I said, Austin and I celebrated Valentine's Day on Wednesday.  I already showed y'all the wonderful dinner he made me, but I wanted to show you guys what I got him!  I made him chocolate covered strawberries for dessert and put together a "man bouquet" and baseball tickets. 

Thursday February 16, 2012
On Thursday, I got a package in the mail!  I LOVE getting letters/packages/anything that comes in my box that isn't a bill.  I used the Amazon gift card that Austin's mom got me for my birthday to buy this HUGE cookbook and my very own rolling pin.  I can't wait to use them both!

Friday February 17, 2012
Friday was a rough morning.  I barely made it out the door in time for work, and by the time I had hiked up and down the halls of Allen High School, there was coffee everywhere.  ALL over my cute little to-go cup, ALL over my hands/arm, and ALL over my blue sub sheet that has my important info for the day on it.  I was in shambles...

Saturday February 18, 2012
Saturday!  Probably my favorite day.  On this particular Saturday, I woke up, taught a few dance classes, and then went to chick-fil-a to get lunch for Austin and myself.  Chick-fil-a is good.  Free Chick-fil-a using the Valentine's Day gift card from your parents is ama-zinggg.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

the birthday post.

Well, it's two weeks after my birthday, and we are finally done celebrating.  Talk about a birthday month...

On my actual birthday weekend my parents came to Dally!  We went shopping on Saturday afternoon, and then met my sister and her hubby for dinner at P.F. Changs...

Austin and me at the table
My plate...this was gone in about 5 minutes...
Making a wish*
After dinner, we all came back to our apartment and had dessert...

Pecan Pie is my new weakness
 ...and we played "the game of things":

Austin and Justin tied for first.  I lost.  Womp.
On my birthday morning, this was my breakfast:

French toast, fried eggs, and fresh strawberries.
Then we watched the Superbowl.

Yay Giants.  Actually, I didn't really care who won.  Yay commercials!
The weekend after I turned 23 I went home to Houston to celebrate with my dad's side of the fam.  We went to Lupe Tortilla's and I ordered fajitas... 

And a couple of these:

Then we went back to my Aunt and Uncle's and had cake & ice cream and presents!

I had a great weekend with the fam!  I like hanging out with them :)

I had a wonderful birthday, and I love and appreciate all my family and friends for making it so special.  Twenty-three seems like it's going to be a great year!

But I know what you guys are really interested in...the loot!  Here's all my presents...

The first thing I received for my birthday were these beautiful flowers from Austin:

They looked great on my new bookshelf from my parents:

I LOVE this parents are awesome for getting it for me!
I also received a TON of birthday cards/money/gift cards from my fam bam, and I SO appreciate it all!  Makes me feel very loved :)

Oh and shoes!! I got three pairs of flats that I love...a black pair, a tan pair, and a dark brown pair.  My sister also got me the book The Help.  Can't wait to start reading it!

As if all of that didn't make me feel loved/spoiled enough, Austin surprised me with this:

A cooking class at Central Market where we got to prepare a 4 course meal and then eat it!  I died.

Here we are in our aprons:

We started the class with some bread and the best butter I've ever had in my life.  I could not stop eating this:

While I was stuffing my face with the B&B, we started to prep our dinner.  Our chef instructor (who knows anything and everything there is to know about food, wine, cooking, etc) walked us through dicing strawberries, chopping herbs, making salad dressing, slicing oranges into pretty shapes, marinating shrimp, grilling, frying artichokes, preparing mashed potatoes using a "ricer", and macerating berries!  I felt so educated, and Austin even said he liked it!  

Here we are at our station:

Austin getting down and dirty with a lemon juicer:

It was so much fun to cook dinner with a trained chef by my side.  I loved every second of this evening, and Austin is the best boyfriend ever to have given me this present.  

Here is our meal, course by course:

Oyster with Strawberry Mignonette 
Butter Lettuce with Citrus Vinaigrette and Chilled Asparagus
Seared Filet Mignon with Prosciutto-Wrapped Shrimp, Fried Artichoke Hearts,  & Sun-dried Tomato Mashed Potatoes

Grand Marnier Macerated Berries with Hand Whipped Cream & Sorbet 

Thanks again to everyone who made my birthday oh so special!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

what's been cookin'

It's about time for a food update!  Here's what we've been stuffing down our gullets for the past two weeks...

Giada's Roman Chicken:

Get the recipe here!
A few weeks ago Austin and I were perusing the "healthy" section of and we came across this recipe from my homegirl, Giada.  Austin requested it for dinner, so I obliged--despite the bell peppers (I just scooped mine on his plate).  This chicken was fairly easy to make and has a really great Mediterranean/Italian flavor.  It's perfect over rice!


I know I know.  I've really outdone myself with this one.  Don't worry too can make your own tacos!  Just buy one of those cool taco kits on the Mexican isle, and follow the instructions.  I like to top mine with tomatoes, avocado, lettuce, and cheese.  Hey, sometimes the easiest dinners are the most delicious! 

Lemon Garlic Chicken with Green Beans:

Recipe for the chicken here
I'm always looking for new ways to cook chicken.  This is a really simple/healthy recipe, and it's ready in a flash.  To make thinner, crispier chicken, I just cut the breasts in half and used panko instead of the bread crumbs that the original recipe calls for.

I found the recipe for the green beans here (looooove recipe girl).  What makes these beans more exciting than regular greenies is the addition of caramelized shallots.  The shallots give plain ol' green beans a great flavor.  Here's what my shallots looked like before I put them on top of my beans:

Grilled Salmon with Dijon Sauce over Steamed Spinach with Roasted Vegetables:

For Valentine's Day Austin and I have a tradition.  He cooks me dinner, and I eat it.  This year he made me this amazing salmon.  It was ready in about 10 minutes, and the sauce on top went with the fish very well. 

To steam the spinach he just used our rice cooker (that thing has so many uses!), and to make the veggies he used my usual method (toss vegetable medallions in olive oil, salt, pepper, & garlic salt, then roast at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes).  He bought that garlic bread from the Kroger bakery.  My compliments to the chef!

Thank you Robert Flay for the recipe!
Chicken and White Bean Enchiladas: 

here's the handy dandy link...
These enchiladas were not the easiest things that I have ever made.  However, the end result was very popular around here.  It wasn't that the directions are super complicated, or that I was working with crazy ingredients, but by the time we were sitting down to eat, my kitchen looked like a bomb had gone off and there wasn't a clean dish anywhere to be found.  There are a lot of steps, and it is a little time consuming, but would I make these again?  Yeah buddy.  

I loved how these weren't like the enchiladas you can get at a Mexican restaurant.  Instead of using corn tortillas, a dark sauce and yellow cheese, here you use flour tortillas, chicken and white beans as the filling, a green chile/sour cream based sauce, and Monterey Jack cheese.  To me, all of that spells Y-U-M.  

I served up my high maintenance enchiladas with some Mexican rice... 

To make this rice I put 1 1/2 cups of uncooked rice, 3 cups of water, a drizzle of olive oil, 1 diced tomato, and a pack of Goya seasoning (can be found on the International isle) into my rice cooker.  Then I pressed start.  The next time I opened the lid, rice magic had happened.  

I don't know what the future holds for my kitchen, but whenever I figure it out you know I'll share!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

project 365 vol. 6

Sunday February 5, 2012
Superbowl Sunday My birthday!  Because it was the Superbowl and everything, my bird day dinner was a delicious extra large pizza with pineapple and pepperonis.  

Monday February 6, 2012
Monday is usually the day that I go to the grocery store.  I love watching my future lunches, dinners, and snacks take a ride on that conveyer belt.  I do not love swiping my credit card at the end of the conveyer belt adventure.

Tuesday February 7, 2012
On Tuesday Austin was doing boy stuff, so I had the apartment and (more importantly) the DVR to myself.  I poured myself a glass of Riesling out of this adorable mini-wine bottle, and watched The Bachelor from Monday night.  I don’t know if any of y’all are Bachelor watchers, but can I just say that Courtney makes me shout at my TV every single week!  If Ben proposes to her at the end of the season I will lose my mind.  

Wednesday February 8, 2012
On Wednesday night Austin and I were enjoying our first of two weekly doses of American Idol when he realized, “I need to go and get thank you notes!  Let’s go on the next commercial break!”  …so off to Wally world we went.  

Thursday February 9, 2012
 Thursday was a long day.  So was Wednesday.  So was Friday.  During those three days I was subbing for the High School band director, and I only had two classes.  One was from 8:15-9:15 and the other was from 2:35-3:35.  Pretty long lunch break, huh?  During the break this was my set-up.  Gilmore Girls makes everything better.

Friday February 10, 2012
On Friday, we headed home to Houston so I could celebrate my bday with the Chan Clan.  On the way, we stopped at Pei Wei.  "Number 85!" ...happy Jamie.

Saturday February 11, 2012
My grandma made me this chocolate cake for my bird day.  I love this cake allllmost as much as I love her!