Wednesday, March 27, 2013

sleepy ballerinas

The ballerinas I teach on Saturday mornings like to play games.  

This probably isn't news to you since they are 4-5 years old, and I'm pretty sure 99.9% of children in this age group like to play games.

Anyway, one of their favorites happens at the beginning of ballet.  We let them all put on a crown, hand them a wand, and tell them to, "go to sleep".    

Good night sleepy little ballerinas!

Then, we turn on the music (usually the soundtrack to a Tinkerbell animated flick), and they all "wake up" and prance around showing off their best ballet moves.


Frolicking about...

And sometimes they stop for a quick pose.

Real ballerinas always know when there's a camera around.

Today is my Friday, friends!  I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend and a very hoppy Easter.  I'm brainstorming a brunch that I'm excited to share next week :)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

taste of tuesday: my top 5 pinterest finds

I know I'm not alone when I say that I am totally in love with pinterest.  I really don't know what we ever did without it, especially when it comes to weddings!

I have all of my little wedding ideas meticulously planned out and organized, and every once in awhile, I make Austin look at the board and take things off that he deems too crazy, too cheesy, too girly, or too expensive.  It's nice to know that I've got him around to keep me in check.

The main thing I use pinterest for, though, is what's really important: food.  I have a bunch of boards dedicated to food...dinner ideas, breakfast stuff, side dishes galore, desserts, drinks, the list goes on.  Today, I thought I'd share my top 5 favorite recipes that I found while cruising the pinterest wave.  I've made all of these, and they have the barefoot ballerina's (and her fiance's) stamp of approval.  Read on!

All of these are delicious dinner ideas.  Give one of 'em a try next time you're looking for a new recipe!

Happy Tuesday, friends!  I'm linking up with Jessica and Ashley for taste of tuesday today...come read and post all about food!

PS- If you like what you see, follow my boards on pinterest here!

Monday, March 25, 2013

weekend update: rock 'n' roll 1/2 marathon

If you read the title to this post, I know what you're thinking.  "WOW!  The barefoot ballerina cooks, teaches, dances, reads, and now she's a half marathon runner too?!  Is there anything this chick can't do?!" 

The answer to your question is "Yes."  There are a lot of things I can't do.  I can't juggle.  I can't touch my tongue to my nose.  I can't train a camel to let you ride on his back.  

I also cannot run a half marathon.  My badass fiance, on the other hand, CAN run a half marathon!    

Austin ran 13.1 miles yesterday morning in the Dallas Rock 'n' Roll half marathon.  This was his first half, and he did awesome!!  

Austin's mom was in town to help me cheer him on, and we got a very early start to our day.  We dropped Austin off at the starting line around 7:15, and then we stopped for coffee/hot chocolate before heading over to mile 4 to give him a smile and a wave.  

Mile 4 was marked by a big fire truck (top), and we saw Austin run by with a big ol' smile on his face (bottom right).  He was doing great!  We also met him at mile 9 to give him another cheer, but this mile was a dangerous one.  They had three of the four lanes blocked off, but cars were still allowed to drive in the remaining lane.  This made it difficult for me to get a good picture, and I almost got clocked by a large van as Austin went by (bottom left).  

After my near "death by van" experience, we headed to the finish line to watch Austin run it on in.  He was still looking good!

Austin ran the entire 13.1 miles in 1 hour and 54 minutes.  I am so impressed/proud/happy/excited/a million other things for my sweet fiance.  His goal was to run it in under 2 hours, and he did it!!  Not to mention that it was about 40 degrees outside with ridiculous winds that made it feel closer to 32 degrees the ENTIRE run.  

WHOOP! Go Austin Go!

We went to brunch when it was all over and Austin got a well-deserved order of steak and eggs.  I had pancakes, and we both got mimosas.  YUM.

The rest of the day was spent napping, doing laundry, and just being lazy.  We met our friends Evan and Ashley for dinner at Blue Goose and called it an early night.  

I can't say enough how proud I am of Austin.  I'm so glad that his mom and I got to be his cheering squad while he accomplished such an amazing goal.  He is such a stud!

I'm linking up with Sami today for weekend shenanigans.  I hope everyone had a good one!! :)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

good (for you) eats

We've taken a turn for the healthy over here with summer/swim suit season right around the corner!  I'm loving all of the light dinners we've been having, and the best thing about eating something good for you for dinner is that you can load up on dessert! :)

Chicken Florentine Pasta
I made the PW's chicken florentine pasta two weeks ago, and it was a hit!  I cut back on the amount of butter, used whole grain pasta, and went easy on the cheese to make it a little better for us.  This would also be good with kalamata olives added in!

Simple Shrimp Salad
I did a whole post all about this salad last week, but I thought I'd share again in case you missed it.  This salad is both delicious and nutritious, so give it a try!

Creamy Tomato Soup
Okay, I'm taking a brief intermission from the healthy stuff to show you dinner from last Sunday.  Austin went and ran 10.6 miles, and when he was finished, he said he felt like he deserved to eat a big bowl of creamy tomato basil soup with grilled cheese.  I think you can eat just about anything after running over 10 miles haha.

Sweet Potato, Sausage, & Kale Soup
Because I did not run 10.6 miles last Sunday, I made myself a healthier soup!  I found this recipe on Pinterest, and it is definitely a winner.  It has sweet potatoes in it, so I was sold as soon as I read that part of the recipe.    

Since I was on spring break last week, I decided I would be a nice fiance and make Austin something good for breakfast.  I thought I'd give one of those "green smoothies" a whirl (no pun intended, ha), and it turned out really well!  I made us one every morning, and I think it might just be a new trend around here.

Green Monster Smoothie
I love the fruit version, but I created my own little "recipe" for a peanut butter banana smoothie, and it also tastes great!

PS- I add in either flax seeds or oats to give these a little more fiber, and that helps us stay full all morning long!

Chicken Fajita Salad
This chicken fajita salad was another winner!  The marinade makes the chicken taste so good, and the dressing ties everything together really well.  Austin and I both weren't crazy about the red onion, so I'll probably leave that out next time, but that's the only thing I would change!

I had a little bit of chicken leftover from the fajita salad, so I used it to make a quesadilla for Austin's lunch the next day.  How nice is it that we live close enough to his work that he has time to come home for lunch?!  I loved getting to see him in the middle of the day last week!  Anyway, to make the 'dilla, melt some butter in a pan, plop in a tortilla, sprinkle on a little cheese, throw in the chicken, top with another tortilla, flip, and enjoy!  I served this up with an apple.  Yum!

Spaghetti Squash
I tried making spaghetti squash for the first time last week.  I used the above "recipe" to make the squash, and I topped it with my traditional spaghetti sauce (ground beef mixed with a jar of marinara).  I roasted some zucchini (400 degrees for 10-15 minutes) to serve on the side.  This turned out alright.  I definitely prefer actual pasta, but this is a nice option for something a little better for you.

The last thing I made last week was this Mexican turkey casserole.  This was a simple, quick dish that turned out wonderfully!  I just love Jenna's recipes...I think the reason they work so well for me is because she and I are in a similar stage of life.  She's 20-something, lives in an apartment, and is engaged to an Aggie.  The only difference is that she lives in California and has a ridiculously successful blog :)

Turkey Taco Casserole
Hopefully you guys found something new or interesting you'll want to try out soon!  I would totally recommend all of the above...enjoy!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

liebster award!

Hey guess what?!  I was nominated for a Liebster Award by the lovely Jessica over at Blissfully Miller and the sweet Ashley at Let's Get Bananas!
This award is given to up-and-coming bloggers, so it is super sweet of Jessica AND Ashley to nominate me!  It's so much fun to ponder my answers and see what other bloggers have to say.

Here are the rules:
1. Link back to the person who nominated you. 
2. Write 11 facts about yourself once nominated. 
3. Answer the 11 questions from the person who nominated you. 
4. Nominate 11 blogs with 200 or less followers.  
5. Create 11 Questions for those bloggers to answer.

11 Random Facts about me:
1. I am absolutely terrified of birds. 
2. I'm getting married to a really awesome guy next summer.
3. I can kick myself in the nose with a straight knee and pointed toe.
4. I eat Chick-fil-a at least once a week.
5. I don't like coffee, and I rarely drink anything besides water (except for, you know, wine and vodka).
6. I hate wearing high heels.
7. I LOVE where I went to college...gig 'em Ags!!
8. My favorite TV shows are American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance.
9. I have kind of an unhealthy obsession with Justin Bieber.  
10. Ice Cream is my favorite thing in the world to eat (I even used to work at Cold Stone!).
11. I try and cook dinner for my fiance and myself at least 3-4 times a week. 

Questions from Jessica:

1. What's your favorite color?
Green!  It used to be purple, but I kind of grew out of that.

2. What made you decide to start your blog?
Pretty much my entire family lives in Houston, so when I moved to Dallas, I wanted a way to keep in touch.  I also wanted to share my adventures in the kitchen!  Blogging has turned out to be a lot of fun, and I've loved getting to know other bloggers that have similar interests as me.

3. How did you decide on your blog's name?
Since I was going to write a bit about cooking on my blog, I decided to pay a little homage to one of my favorite chefs, Ina Garten (the barefoot contessa).  The "ballerina" part of the name comes from my love of dance!  It's also a nice little alliteration...the English teacher in me likes that :)

4. What's your favorite thing to cook?
I love to make big pots of soup that are chock full of veggies.  I like chopping up a bunch of stuff, throwing it on the stove, and watching it simmer away.  I also love to bake yummy desserts (chocolate chip cookies, in particular) that my friends and I can enjoy.  

5. If you could meet anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
I would love to meet my favorite dancer/choreographer of all time, Travis Wall.  I have been following him since he was on So You Think You Can Dance season 2, and I cannot get enough!

6. What's your favorite movie?
When Harry Met Sally.  I've probably seen it 100 times, and it never gets old!

7. Who's your blog crush?
I love Jenna at EatLiveRun.  She seems like such a sweet, genuine person, and she makes wonderful food!

8. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
TEXAS.  I love it here :)

9. How would you best describe yourself?
I would say that I'm very easy-going, patient, and kind.  I like to please other people, but I'm not super duper social.  My favorite things to do are cook, dance, and hang out with Austin and/or my family.

10. What's in your purse at this very moment?
Oh, sheesh.  My wallet, a pocket full of mints from various restaurants, 3 different kinds of chapstick, my camera, a coin purse, a pen, Advil, my sunglasses/case, a wine opener (you never know when you'll need to break that out!), headphones, a pack of gum, my iPod, and a coupon to yogurtville. 

11. If you were buying a house, would you want a fixer-upper or move-in ready?
Move-in ready.  It would take me waaaaaay too long to get everything done in a fixer-upper.

Questions from Ashley:

1. What is your dream job?
Being the Drill Team Director at a high school.

2. What did you want to be (occupation) when you were little?
An actress.  Ha.

3. If you could be the best at something, what would it be?
Hmm, I think I would want to be the best dancer!  That would probably make me a better dance teacher

4. What is the one TV show you never miss?
So You Think You Can Dance.

5. What is your favorite food?
Ice Cream! (chocolate mixed with cake batter with cookie dough mixed in).

6. If money wasn't an issue, where in the world would you like to travel to?
I would love to go all around Europe.  France, Ireland, Italy, Spain...

7. Heels or flats?

8. What's the best piece of advice you've received?
Just be yourself.

9. What's your favorite feature about yourself?
Probably my eyeballs.

10. If you could be the best at one thing, what would it be?
See #3.

11. What's the one food you despise?
Brussel Sprouts.  Yucky.

My Nominees:

11 Questions for my Nominees:
1. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
2. Who is/was your favorite boy band?
3. What is your favorite reality show?
4.  Your house is on fire, and you can only grab 3 things.  What do you scoop up?
5. What is your biggest pet peeve?
6. What was your best subject in school?  Your worst?
7. Who is your favorite cartoon character?
8.  Describe your perfect Saturday night.
9. If you could choose any career you wanted and money wasn't an issue, what would it be?
10. If you could be any animal for 24 hours, what would you be?
11. What is your favorite quote? 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

taste of tuesday: peanut butter banana green smoothie

Happy Taste of Tuesday, everybody!  I'm excited to share this quick, simple smoothie recipe with all of you guys today!  Before the food, though, I wanted to let y'all know that I signed up for Bloglovin'.  I don't use Google Reader, so I'm not too sure what all the hullabaloo about its disappearance is for, but whatevs. Click here to follow me via Bloglovin'.

Okay, back to our regularly scheduled smoothie...

Austin and I have been on a bit of a health kick recently, and one thing that we've been doing differently is breakfast.  Instead of our usual sugary cereal or eggs and toast, I've been making us green smoothies.  I've tried several different recipes, but this PB banana is my favorite so far.

3 tablespoons oats (you can also use flaxseed)
1 big handful of baby spinach
2 bananas
1 giant spoonful of natural peanut butter
2 cups of almond milk


Throw the oats into a blender...

Then add in some spinach.

Next, break up the naners, and toss them in too.

Add the peanut butter...

And pour in the almond milk!

Now, you could stop here and blend away if you wanted.  Everything would taste great!  However, I like to add in a little something extra to really make this sucker taste incredible: chocolate milk mix!  Hey, I'm drinking spinach...I think it's okay to add in something a little sinful mwahahahaha.

I only put in about a tablespoon of nesquick (reduced sugar!), and it really sends this baby over the top.  

Anyway, blend everything until it's smooth and all mixed up.

This recipe makes two servings, which is perfect for my little family of two!  

This stuff is delicious, and I really feel like I'm starting my day out right when I drink one for breakfast.  Adding in the oats or flaxseed helps me stay full all morning long, and that's saying a lot since I'm running around teaching 7th graders to write all day, ha.

I'm linking up with Ashley and Jessica today for Taste of Tuesday...come browse everyone's recipes and food posts!

Monday, March 18, 2013

weekend update: st. paddy's shenanigans

This weekend was St. Patrick's Day!  Dallas does it pretty big for ol' Paddy, and we have a giant parade that goes down a major street called "Greenville" (how appropriate!).  Austin, a bunch of our friends, and I had a great time on Saturday morning/afternoon thanks to all of the festivities! 

We started pretty early (6:45) on Saturday morning.  Austin woke me up, we donned all of our green gear, and we headed to our spot in the parking lot of Office Depot.  Our parade "tailgate" had a pretty cool set-up.  Austin and some of his guy pals had parked their cars there the day before, so we had a prime location facing the street where the parade would go by.  Our spot had a big tent, a table for games, tons of snacks, and (of course) green beer!  Cheers! 

Everyone goes all out in as much green and Irish stuff that they can find, so it is a GREAT place to people watch.  I was proud of what our friends came up with.  Our friend/neighbor Paul was even IN the parade because his company had a float!  He gave us swag from his float when they passed by us during the parade.

The highlight of this whole extravaganza is obviously the parade, and I had a blast watching all of the crazy floats/people go by...

We caught beads, koozies, coupons, shirts, hats, frisbees, and flyers as everyone went by us.  Like I said, everyone goes all out!

By the time the parade was over I was hungry and exhausted, so we went to Freebirds and then came home to shower and rest up.  We were supposed to go over to our friend Zac's to hang out and grill afterwards, but I guess we are just too old haha.  I spent Sunday getting geared up to go back to school (dishes, laundry, grocery shopping, errands)...wahhhh.  I miss Spring Break already! 

Happy Monday everybody!  The countdown to summer starts now!!

I'm linking up with Sami today for weekend shenanigans! 

Friday, March 15, 2013

a barefoot book review: white jacket required

A few weeks ago, my sister and her hubby went on a trip to California.  While they were gone, Austin and I kept their doggie, Riley.  Riley is such a sweet guest, and she always brings her babysitters wonderful "thank you" presents.  The book White Jacket Required was my latest "thank you" gift from that little pup.  I read it right away because I'd been itching to get my hands on a copy for quite awhile.

The book follows one of my favorite bloggers, Jenna Weber of, on her journey through culinary school, and I felt like I got a good glimpse into what her life was like while she was trying to "figure herself out".  

I've read all of Jenna's posts, so I already knew her "story", but it was cool to read it through her eyes as she looked back on all of the events in her past.  I also loved that at the end of each chapter she included one or more recipes that had to do with the previous chapter.  

I wouldn't say that this is necessarily the best book I've ever read, but it was entertaining!  I think it would be the perfect thing to take on a vacation or to read while you're relaxing by the pool this summer. 

I'm looking forward to Jenna writing an actual cookbook because I love love LOVE her recipes.  Here are some links to my favorites:

Creamy White Chicken Chili

Sweet and Spicy Crock Pot Ribs

Buffalo Chicken Dip

If you've never checked out Jenna's site, give it a whirl!

Happy Friday, friends...have a great weekend and happy St. Patty's!!