Thursday, January 31, 2013

january faves

Happy end of January, guys!  I can't believe we're already 1/12th of the way through 2013.  There are already so many moments and things that I'm loving about this year...


I started the year off with a little champagne and a big ol' kiss.  This is the fourth time Austin and I have smooched at midnight on January 1st of a new year, and it never gets old.  I like that boy.  

Another great moment of this month was when the Aggies took home that Cotton Bowl trophy.  Like I said in my original post, I'll root for the Aggies whether they win or lose, but it sure is nice when they win!


I told you guys about the app "face in hole" in this post.  I can't get enough!  It's SO funny to me, and I really don't know why.  Please tell me I'm not the only weirdo that likes sticking my face in random holes.  Wait, don't answer that.

Baby Lips!  Have y'all heard of this?  It's basically awesome chapstick that also has a little bit of color.  I'm kind of embarrassed to say that I heard of this chappy-stuff from my 7th grade girls.  Oh well, I like it!  I have this peach color, and I'm really loving it.  You can buy baby lips pretty much anywhere that sells cosmetics, but I got mine from the CVS right by my casa.

Another product that has been making me pretty lately is coconut oil.  You can use this for a million different things (cooking, cleaning, home repair, soft skin, etc.), but I just put it on my head.  I rubbed it all over my hair last Sunday night, left it in there for an hour, and then washed it out.  The result?  Super soft hair!  I think I'll start coconutting it up every Sunday from now on!

Santa Claus brought me these Vera Bradley binder clips in my stocking, and now that I'm back in school, I'm getting a lot of use out of them.  These look so pretty sitting in the little cup on my desk, and they are also very handy.  I just love it when things are both beautiful and useful.  


Watch these.  They are funny :)

Happy last day o' January!  Here's to hoping it's a fabulous February!!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

the dinner post

Here's a link!
We had a staple around these parts on Sunday night.  Blackened Chicken Caesar Salad!  This dish is so easy to make (especially if you use that pre-washed lettuce from a bag), and it turns out great every time.  It's the perfect thing to start off your week!


I tried out a newbie in my crockpot last Tuesday.  Crockpot Pork with Apples.  Austin and I had different opinions about this dish.  I LOVED it, and he HATED it.  We're in sync like that.

Austin said the reason that he didn't care much for this dinner was because the apples were "too mushy".  I, however, loved the consistency.  It was like eating apple pie filling on top of my pork chops.  Delish!  I suppose that if you are not a fan of delicious apple pie filling apples though, you could add the apples in during the last hour or so of cooking.

Get the recipe at EatLiveRun!


My crockpot was a busy bee last week!  I made Pesto Chicken in it for our dinners on Wednesday and Thursday.  This was a dish Austin and I could agree on--it was awesome!!  The chicken was also incredibly easy to make.  The original recipe calls for chicken thighs, but I chose to use a couple of breasts and some tenders I had laying around instead.  All you do is dump the chicken in the pot, sprinkle on a ranch dressing seasoning packet, pour in a jar of pesto, and add some chicken broth.  Presto!  Dinner's ready when we get home from work!  I served the chicken with a side of sauteed spinach and some mashed taters.

To make the spinach, I heat up about a teaspoon of olive oil in a pan and throw in a big handfull of spinach.  When the spinach wilts a little bit, it's ready!  I also sprinkle in some salt and pepper for some flava.

I make mashed potatoes the way that any normal person makes mashed potatoes.
Link for the chicken!

I used my leftover pesto chicken to make some wonderful chicken salad for my dinner on Friday and my lunch on Saturday (Austin was out of town).  To whip up this dish I shredded some chicken, added in some squirts of mayo and mustard, chopped up 2 hard boiled eggs, sprinkled in a few craisins, and topped it off with salt, pepper, paprika, and a dash of cinnamon.  YUM.

The perfect light dinner or lunch!

I wish I had some new, exciting dessert to show you guys, but all I've got are more of these microwave chocolate cakes.  Seriously, if you haven't tried one yet...what the heck are you waiting for?!?!?  These babies are delicious, and it's just a small serving, so it's not even bad for you. 

I hope everyone is having a happy Tuesday!  I know I am :)

Friday, January 25, 2013

face in hole

 Last week I discovered something. 

I was looking for an app, or website, or something of the sort where I could stick my face in a "wanted" poster.  I bet you can't guess which post that was for :)  During my journey, I stumbled across an app called "face in hole".  Basically, this app has a ton of different pictures, and you can stick your face in the face of the picture.  

They have a ton of great categories.  One of my favorites is "animals":
Stephen the polar bear, Zac the doggie, & Jamie the hedgehog
Another great one is "babies":

Baby Jamie, Santa Baby Zac, Gabey Baby, & Alan the Calf
Once I found this little gem, my day was pretty much wasted spent creating masterpiece after masterpiece.  I texted my friends requesting "funny faces", snuck up on people, and stalked facebook looking for the perfect face to fit the holes.
I thought I'd share some of my favorites here...

Watch out for me on the 2016 USA Gymnastics team

Monkey Gabey!

Little pup

Big pup

The Good, The Bad, and The Josh

I'm marrying The Sexiest Man Alive!!

Happy Friday, guys!  Have a FABULOUS weekend!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

an eventful weekend

This past weekend was really great!  Friday was pretty low key, so we did it up right on Saturday and Sunday. 

We did something a little different on Saturday afternoon/evening.  Our friend Zac found tickets to this thing called "Mystery Science Theater", so we went with him.  One of my favorite things about Zac is that I am constantly surprised by things that he is interested in.  One day he will want to learn to play the keyboard and the next he'll get a coo-coo clock tattooed on his arm.  Mystery Science Theater is just another example of his lovable randomness. 

The whole premise of this thing is pretty complex, but here's the jist: a guy and his two robot friends sit with you in a movie theatre and make funny comments during an old horror movie.  Austin and I were a little skeptical about this whole thing, but it ended up being really funny!  It was also a very cool experience because the movie theatre we went to was actually the place where Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested after he shot JFK.  That's a big chunk of history right there!

After the show, we headed out for some food.  We settled on a little bar on lower Greenville (that's a street in Dallas), and I had the pulled pork with sweet potato fries.  Yum Yum!

Sunday was also full of adventure!  We started the day off with lunch at a place called Union Bear.  I had the chicken salad sandwich.  Delish.  It was a GORGEOUS day outside.  We actually sat on the patio!  In January!  I loved it.

After lunch was all gobbled up, we went on a brewery tour!  For whatever reason, it's becoming quite the trend in Dallas to open a brewery.  We're definitley not complaining because these tours cost about $10-$15 each and they usually come with (at least) 3 free beers, a glass, and weekend entertainment.
Austin, Zac, & Ashley

Me with my man


I hope everyone else had a wonderful weekend!!  It's already humpday, so we are steadily approaching another one :)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

change of plans

Even though I had a menu all set up, the theme of last week was "there's been a change of plans".  

We kicked things off with fajitas, rice, and beans on Sunday night while we watched football.  Our friend Caesar came over and grilled up the meat, and Austin and I were in charge of the sides!  Here was our spread: 

Fresh guac and pico!
 I use the pioneer woman's recipe for pico de gallo and guacamole, but I usually make it with a purple onion instead of a regular one.  Both of these got good reviews from the boys!  Here's a link to the recipe in case you want to try it out: pico & guacamole

My plate!
Caesar got the meat (carne asada and ribs) from the Mexican Meat Market over by our apartments.  I don't know what they marinate it in, but that stuff is GOOD.  It's also interesting to me that they cut their ribs differently than we do (they're in slices instead of individual bones).

Our friend Zac came over for dinner on Monday night.  We made a calzone!

I used the pioneer woman's recipe for the pizza dough, and then stuffed it full of sauce, mozzarella cheese, and pepperonis.  It was not necessarily the healthiest of meals but it was yummy!

I was teaching dance all night on Tuesday, so I made some spaghetti sauce for Austin on Monday night.  To make my sauce I just used a jar and a half of regular marinara, and then I add in a pound of ground beef, some fresh basil, and a few dashes each of oregano, parsley, and garlic powder.

Austin cooked up some whole grain pasta when he got home Tuesday night, and he had himself a simple, healthy meal!

Wednesday night started the whole "change of plans" theme.  While I was at work, Austin sent me an email: "Hey, do you want to go to the Mavs/Rockets game tonight?"  Yeah buddy!  I love a good sporting event.  Especially when there is an opportunity for us to be on the Kiss Cam!  

Needless to say, my plans to make a grilled chicken greek salad had to be switched.  I got a burger and fries at the game and stuck the chicken in the freezer for another time.

 The Rockets lost and we didn't get on the Kiss Cam, but we still had a lot of fun.  I love that we live so close to the American Airlines Center because it is really easy for us to go to games!

I had dance again on Thursday, so we ate the leftover spaghetti.

Friday was another "change of plans".  Austin had some issues with the battery in his car, so we spent the majority of the evening dealing with that.  We got everything all fixed and then headed over to Chipotle.

By the time we actually got to leave the car place it was like 8:30 or something ridiculous like that, so I WENT TO TOWN on this bowl.  I love me some Chipotle. 

Austin and I like to go out on the weekends (who doesn't, right?), so we went to a little bar close to our apartment on Saturday.  I got a pulled pork sandwich with sweet potato fries.  YUM!  

I hope everyone had a great weekend!!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

the "incident"

I had a little "incident" at the grocery store last Sunday, and I'd like to tell you about it.

My grocery store routine is pretty much down to a science.  On Saturday afternoon, I make a menu plan for the week and a list of groceries to go along with that menu.  I have been shopping at the Tom Thumb around the corner for almost a year, so I know their layout very well.  I even make my grocery list in the order that I am going to put things in my cart.  On Sunday afternoon, I go to the store and buy all of the items on my list.  It works for me.  

Last Sunday, I needed to buy avocados, among other things.  I grabbed a cart and headed in!  The first item on my list was sliced ham and cheese for sandwiches.  I got those things and started to place other produce-y stuff in my buggy.  Cilantro, check.  Yellow onion, check.  Lettuce, check.  Avocados, no check.  All of the avocados were still green...yuck!  That meant they were not ripe yet, and I really needed them to make guacamole that night!  I was in crisis mode.  

Then I had a light bulb moment!

Tom Thumb has this random display of things in the front lobby, and this week they happened to have avocados!   

Crisis averted!
I rolled my cart to the display that would save the day.  My plan was to get some ripe avocados and go about my shopping experience.  However, as I went through the doors, something happened to my shopping cart.

The wheel locked up, so I couldn't move it!!  Also, an alarm started going off and a man with a name tag came running after me!  What in the world?!  

Apparently, leaving one section of the store and going into another section constitutes shoplifting.  I quickly explained the situation, "I NEED RIPE AVOCADOS!", and the name tag man looked at me like I was crazy.  "You're going to have to get another cart, ma'am."

I got another cart.  I finished my shopping.  I paid for my groceries like every other honest, productive member of society.  I figured I was in the clear.  Then I saw this:  

Why do we need THREE police cars?!
I didn't know what the deal was!  I DO know that I'm a little scared to go back.  What if they follow me around the whole time?  What if I'm not allowed to buy avocados anymore?  

What if there is a big sign like this on the door???

Be thinking of me as I shop tomorrow...

Monday, January 14, 2013

back in the swing of things

Last week was my first week of school for 2013, so that meant one thing: it was back to a regular cookin' schedule.  The holidays are always crazy in terms of food and eating, so it was nice to get back on track.

I went to the grocery store last Sunday afternoon and bought all of my goodies for the week.  In addition to the stuff for dinners, I also bought things for breakfast (eggs, Chocolate Cheerios, etc.) and lunch (AMY's soups and frozen meals).   

My food going for a ride...

I made a big ol' green salad for dinner on Sunday night.  

I started with a bed of greens (spinach and romaine), and I put some oven roasted chicken on top (top left).  From there, I loaded on the toppings (top right)!  We had tomatoes, avocados, apples, and feta cheese.  The dressing was a simple dijon vinegrette that went really well with all of our ingredients.  

This salad was delicious!  I think next time I make it I will add in some pecans or walnuts.  Yum!  Here is a link to the salad I originally planned on making: shrimp cobb salad.  However, the only things I kept the same were the dressing and the fact that there is lettuce of some sort.  Oops.  That's what I love about salads can just throw in whatever the heck you want, and it (usually) tastes great!

I kept up the healthy theme on Monday night.  I made a simple pasta from one of my favorite websites, The Pioneer Woman.

I didn't make too many changes to this recipe.  I cut down on the butter because Ree goes a little crazy with it sometimes, and I also used multigrain pasta instead of regular.  

This pasta was another hit!  Austin and I both scarfed it down, and we ate on it for lunch too.  If you want to try it for yourself, click here.

After Monday, my week got a little nutzo.  I worked our school's basketball game on Tuesday night until about 9:15 (I was "gym manager"), so it was up to Austin to hold down the kitchen.  I assembled everything for his dinner in my crockpot on Tuesday morning, Austin turned it on during his lunch break, and come 6:00 he had perfect pulled pork!  

(this picture is old because I was not home to take one last Tuesday)

He ate the pork on a sandwich on Tuesday, and we had it on top of baked potatoes the next night (I taught dance on Wednesday night, so Austin was in charge again).  He did a great job making the potatoes.  This pulled pork recipe is good so many different ways!  It's a great thing to make if you need leftovers because it's so versatile.  This is the recipe I use, but you do not necessarily have to use an entire pork shoulder.  This week, I just used a 2 pound pork loin, and it worked very well. 

I taught dance again on Thursday night, so Austin was on his own (poor guy).  He ate Schlotzsky's, and I made myself some noodles when I got home (that is a very weird thing to say, but it's true).  

We usually go out to eat on Friday nights, and this past Friday was no exception.  I found a Groupon for this place called Deep Sushi, so that is where we ventured to!  We met another one of our couple friends there, and we all really enjoyed the meal.  Austin and I got Spring Rolls to start and then shared 3 rolls: California, Caterpillar, and Love at First Sight.  

Saturday was filled with football.  We are officially in playoff season, people.  It was also raining and cold for almost the entire day.  There was only one thing I could think of to make.  Chili.  

This chili comes from one of my favorite bloggers, Jenna at Eat Live Run, and it is always good for a crowd.  We had a couple of our friends over to eat this up and watch the games.  It was the perfect thing for a day like this past Saturday!

Alright, y'all didn't think I could get through a whole post without showing you some dessert, did you?!  I didn't get too fancy with the sweets this week, but what I made turned out great.  If you're on Pinterest, I'm sure you've seen the famous "microwave chocolate brownie in 35 seconds".  I'm here to tell you: that shiz works.  I use my spiffy new ramekins that I got for Christmas to make these (you can also use a coffee mug), and it literally takes me about 5 minutes start to finish.  The original recipe (found here)says to microwave for 40 seconds, but I usually microwave for 40 seconds, let it rest for about a minute, and then microwave for 5-10 seconds longer.  You just have to figure out what works best in your microwave.  Here's how they turn out:

Love in a ramekin.
This week is another busy one for me (I'm a dancing queen Tuesday-Thursday), but we're still cooking some yummy stuff!