Back in Action!!

April 15, 2012 - One Response

I’m back!! The husband and I just got back from an 8 day vaca to sunny Florida with my family.  I couldn’t have asked for a better time….warm weather, an amazing house that my parents rented with a pool in the backyard, theme parks that were a blast, food that was divine and quality time with my family.  The only thing missing was younger brother and his wife.  We missed you two!  More posts to come about our trip, but before we left on Friday, we had my birthday to celebrate!!

The big 31!  Where has time gone?  Nick and I, along with my mother in law, decided to go out to dinner to celebrate.  I wanted to go to the local Japanese Steak House where they cook in front of you and my husband happily obliged.  I had a coupon for a free entree so it worked out well.

 

Celebrating with my husband!

 Love eating with chopsticks and the fact that it forces me to slow down and savor what I eat.

 

  I wish I had the special recipe for this.  It doesn’t look great but boy does it taste good!

 

  It doesn’t get better than soup, salad, veggies, shrimp, rice and addicting sauces.  Yummy!

 

Don’t try this at home! It’s the onion volcano.

 

  A birthday celebration is not complete without cake…a mini ice cream cake to boot!

So much more to come over the next few days with a vacation recap, things bringing me goodness in the month of April, recipes, encouraging quotes and more!

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Spring is here…

April 4, 2012 - Leave a Response

I think with the weather we’ve been having lately, I could say that Summer is here.  It’s been very warm and I’m loving it!  Spring is by far my favorite season of the year.  The season brings me so much goodness with the warmer weather, the flowers blooming, celebrating Easter, being able to take walks outside, ice cream evenings, cooking on the grill, etc.  I couldn’t help but take some pictures to share.  Enjoy my spring sampler!

What brings you goodness during Spring? Do you have any Easter traditions?  My husband and I are heading out of town to meet up with my family.  More on that to come!  Until then, enjoy this season…

“Spring is nature’s way of saying, Let’s Party!” – Robin Williams

“The day the Lord created hope was probably the same day He created Spring.”  -Bern Williams

Skip the brown bag…

April 3, 2012 - Leave a Response

So I had the opportunity today to skip my normal brown bag lunch and enjoy Chick-N-Que. What’s Chick-N-Que you ask? Well folks, it’s a local food truck that came to my work today. Crazy right? This is the 2nd time that a food truck has come to my work and I hope this is the start of many more to come!

I had my first food truck experience last year at a Food Truck Rodeo. In a nearby city, around 15 food trucks gathered to sell their yummy dishes and since then I’ve been hooked on the concept.  Who doesn’t like skipping the PB&J for something tasty and different?  You don’t have to ask me twice!  Food trucks usually have a specific food they offer and most of the time it’s for a reasonable price.  I’ve seen food trucks that specialize in cupcakes, ice cream, pizza, korean bbq, dumplings, etc.  Today I was able to get this Chick-n-Que sandwich with slaw, fries with cheese sauce (bad Kristin) and a Lemonade for $7.   The sandwich was similiar to a southern style pulled BBQ, but in the form of chicken instead of pork.  Not too shabby and pretty darn delicious!

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According to Wikipedia, the food truck, originally coined the “chuckwagon,” dates back to the 1800’s. Who knew? A cattle herder, Charles Goodnight, once used an Army truck to transport food during cattle drives.

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Today, food trucks can be found all over. Just google Food Trucks in your city and I bet you’ll be surprised. You can also check out FoodTruckTalk on Twitter for some tidbits about food trucks around the US. Most food trucks themselves can be located and followed on Twitter as well. A few in my town that I still want to try are: The Grilled Cheese Bus, Parlez-vous Crepe, Blue Ribbon Delights and the Doughnette Truck.

What’s your favorite food truck item? If you’ve yet to try a food truck, you are missing out on some goodness!!! Please make note that food trucks tend to draw crowds so make sure you are ready to stand in line, but I promise you, it’s worth it!

Thanks, Chick-N-Que, for bringing some goodness to my Monday!

A Year Older…

March 30, 2012 - Leave a Response

I can’t believe I turn the big 31 in a few days!  Where has time gone?  Here are some things I’ve learned over the last 3 decades, both the good and the bad in no particular order…..

-song lyrics you make up are better than the real ones

-never stop dreaming

-tickle me too much and I might pee in my pants

-being a middle child meant I could always tattle tell

-losing a pet hurts

-your body pays after doing gymnastics for 10 years

-never stop going to the dentist or the doctor

-go on at least one vacation every year

-you’ll meet the man of your dreams when you aren’t even looking

-God is faithful

-cherish my family

-tastebuds change

-if I work hard, there will be payoffs

-pain brings strength

-Grandmother’s Sunday night dinners can never be replaced

-take risks

-sleep is bliss

-tomorrow is a new day

-happiness exists

-the show, Wonder Years, never grows old

-believe and it may just come true

-eat my fruits and veggies

-keep memories alive

-having small feet means cheap shoes

-my destination wedding was the best decision ever

-save money, it’ll help down the road

-keep good friends close

-there’s light out of the darkness

-find a hobby and keep it up

-face fears

-don’t worry so much about what other people think

-be prepared for ups and downs

-treat others as you wish to be treated

-talk about it, be honest

-seek out fun

-and lastly, Be myself!

Nature Calls…

March 25, 2012 - One Response

Last weekend my husband and I had the opportunity to see one of my old roommates get married in the town I grew up in.  Hence, we got to spend the weekend at my parents’ house.  One thing I love about staying at my parents’ is that their house is away from the hustle and bustle of the city.  This means nature is at my fingertips!  Thus, I brought out the camera and snapped away!  Squirrels and birds were on the agenda.

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Squirrels are in abundance in my parents’ backyard.  Granted, they aren’t the cutest creatures and they like to run off all the birds, but they can be quite entertaining to watch.

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Aren’t Chickadees precious!

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Pair of Goldfinches!

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Purple Finch

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By far my favorite picture of the weekend was this bluebird!  Don’t worry, this bluebird is getting its own post so be on the look out for it!

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The state bird, the cardinal

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His mate, the female cardinal

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Woody the Woodpecker

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Off to the wedding!

So there’s a few nature snapshots to last you until the next round.  Take time this week to notice nature and hopefully it’ll bring you the goodness I experienced when taking these pictures.  Happy Spring!

Pizza Pockets

March 21, 2012 - Leave a Response

I decided I wanted something quick, easy and tasty for dinner and thus Pizza Pockets were invented! If you’re looking for an easy, versatile recipe that doesn’t take much preparation or cooking time, I suggest you give this recipe a try!

Pizza Pockets

Yields 4 “Pockets”

Ingredients

13.8 oz “Classic” Pillsbury Pizza Crust (This comes in a can. You can substitute pizza dough as well)

1/2 cup Part Skim Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

1/2 cup Part Skim Ricotta Cheese

1 1/4 cup coarsely chopped raw mushrooms

3/4 cup coarsely chopped green pepper

12 Turkey Pepperonis

1 tsp dry Italian Seasonsings

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 cup Pizza Sauce (This can be bought in a jar or you can substitute your favorite marinara sauce)

Steps:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and lightly spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.

2. Unroll the pizza dough on the pan and flatten if needed to make the dough even.

3. Cut the dough into 4 sections and place to the side.

4. In a large bowl mix together all the ingredients.

5. Evenly spread the mixture into the middle of each section of dough.

6. Gently gather the corners of the dough and crease together so that all the ingredients stay inside the dough. Don’t worry about how the finished product looks just make sure that there are no holes or the filling will seep out during the baking process.

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7. Once you have all 4 Pizza Pockets assembled, place them in the oven for about 15-18 minutes.

8. When fully cooked, Pizza Pockets will be slightly brown.

9. Serve right out of the oven with a side of pizza sauce for dipping if you desire.

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Things to Keep in Mind:

*These can be made with any filling you desire and all 4 pockets don’t have to contain the same fillings. For example, my husband doesn’t like green peppers so I made 2 pockets with green peppers and 2 without. If there are certain ingredients you don’t want in all the pockets just don’t mix them together. Add them at the end before you put the pocket together.

*One pocket is quite filling. I served it with a side of fruit and it was plenty. It would pair well with a salad as well.

*If you have left over pizza pockets, I’d advise reheating them in the oven or a toaster oven. The dough doesn’t hold up as well reheated in the microwave.

*Experiment with the filling! Try a Hawaiin version with pineapple, canadian bacon and mozzarella cheese or an all veggie pocket with peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes and olives. Like BBQ Chicken pizza? Make it in a pizza pocket form with BBQ chicken, onions and the cheese of your choice. Go completely out of the box for a Mexican version that has black beans, corn, cheese and salsa, topped with sour cream. The options are endless!

I hope you find goodness in this recipe!  Let me know if you give them a try!

A Get to Know You Kind of Thing..

March 20, 2012 - 2 Responses

A is for age: 30 years old but that we’ll be changing in 16 days

B is for breakfast today: Whole Wheat Pita with Peanut Butter and a mug of Motts Hot Apple Caramel Cider

C is for currently craving: TCBY Cookies and Cream Frozen Yogurt which I’ve never actually had, but I just saw it at the grocery store and it looks yummy!

D is for dinner tonight: Pepperjack Parmesan Chicken and Green Beans..recipe to come!

E is for favorite type of exercise: Kick Boxing

F is for an irrational fear: Fire. I always have this fear that my house will catch on fire. Alot of times I think outlets might spark a fire or the washing maching/dryer or the Christmas tree or an electrical shortage. The list goes on and on.

G is for a gross food: Raw tomatoes.  Give them to me cooked, in the form of ketchup/pasta sauce/tomata sauce and I’ll devour them, but raw…YUCK!

H is for hometown: A city known for being the furniture capital of the world..impressive right?

I is for something important: Getting at least 9 to 13 hours a sleep a night. No joke folks.  I can’t function without my sleep and lots of it.

J is for current favorite jam: A Case of You by James Blake

K is for kids: Soon but not just yet!  Dare I mention that we could have twins?!

L is for current location: The couch in the living room

M is for the most recent way you spent money: Groceries at Walmart and Harris Teeter

O is for occupation: Submissions Coordinator aka work with Continuing Education

P is for pet peeve: People who are lazy

Q is for a quote: Life is what happens to you when you are busy making other plans. -John Lennon

R is for a random fact about you: I trained in Russia for gymnastics at the age of 8

S is for a favorite healthy snack: Banana with Peanut Butter

T is for a favorite treat: Juicy Pear Rita’s Italian Ice

U is for something that makes you unique: I only weighed 1 pound 13 ounces when I was born

V is for favorite vegetable: Okra

W is for today’s workout: Does grocery shopping and cooking count?

X is for x-rays you’ve had: My nose and some fingers…all gymnastic related injuries

Y is for yesterday’s highlight: Eating lunch with my parents

Z is for your time zone: Eastern

Well I know this one is short and sweet, but I’m exhausted.  Spring pictures and recipes to come later this week. Stay tuned!

Look up in the sky..it’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s….

March 15, 2012 - Leave a Response

It’s finally starting to feel like Spring is on it’s way!  It’s been unseasonally warm lately and this past weekend I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take advantage of the nice weather.  There was a nearby Kite Festival going on so I decided to check it out. 

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I didn’t know what to expect as I had never been to a kite festival before and unfortunately I didn’t make it to the park until after the festival had been underway for a good hour or so.  Needless to say, I was a bit shocked when I saw a crowd of people, all ages, still flying their kites.

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I loved that it was a family event and better yet, it was free!

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From an airplane, to a butterfly, to a circular kite with a rainbow of colors, the variety of kites at the festival were endless!

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Who knew, pigs could fly?

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This kite had a tail like no other!

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Even though I didn’t fly a kite at the festival, I’ve been known to kite fly…..

Circa 1985

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Happy Flying!

Bring on the Goodness..

March 12, 2012 - Leave a Response

I thought I’d try and do a monthly post called, “Bring on the Goodness,” highlighting things that are currently bringing goodness to my life…

Quotations found on Pinterest: I love to collect quotes and have a whole journal full so finding all these quotes on Pinterest are not only encouraging, but also a good pick me up!

Cuddl Duds PJ pants:  By far the most comfortable Pajama Pants I’ve ever owned.  I received mine from my mother-in-law as a gift.  They only come in limited styles.  Looks like the website is running a sale now with free shipping!  You might also be able to find them at Stein Mart stores.

 

Gevalia’s Chocolate Raspberry Coffee:  A light roasted coffee with a hint of chocolate and a burst of rapsberry yumminess!  What I love about this coffee is that the raspberry flavoring tastes like the real fruit; not artificial.  The coffee itself is also light and not bold, so it not only makes for a sweet morning treat, but would also make a great dessert coffee!

Cupcake Couture Briesta’s Shoes:  I wear a size 2 in children’s shoes.  Yes, you read that right.  This means I can’t fit into any shoe found in the women’s department.  Not even a size 5.  Thus, I’m usually left to a selection of light up sneakers, dress shoes with bows, or sandals with sparkles.  When I needed a pair of closed toe dress shoes for a wedding this upcoming weekend I knew I’d be in for a scavenger hunt.  After multiple failures at Stride Rite due to the website advertising two styles of shoes that were no where to be found in a store near me, I scrambled at multiple other kid friendly shoe stores.  Rack Room’s Cupcake Couture brand saved the day!  They are actually ‘adult looking’ and have a heel!  Hopefully I won’t twist my ankle next weekend.

Bath and Body Works Stress Relief Aromatherapy:  I have both the Pillow Mist and the Body Lotion in this scent and it stays on my bedside table.  The “Stress Relief” scent is one of eucalyptus and spearmint.  The smell totally reminds me of being at a spa.  It’s calming and relaxing and a perfect way to wind down right before bed.  I also like that the lotion isn’t heavy or greasy and the scent isn’t too overpowering.  It just the perfect!

Tijuana Flats Taco Tuesdazes!:  Every Tuesday night is Taco Tuesdaze at Tijuana Flats.  What’s Taco Tuesday?  It’s 2 tacos, chips and a drink for $5!  Can’t beat it.  You can choose between flour, whole wheat or crunchy taco shells and either chicken, pork, steak, black or refried beans as your filling.  They also over a variety of free ‘toppings’ for your tacos and even offer a ‘power lite’ version which is a healthier version of toppings.  For those who love heat and spice, Tijuana Flats is known for their “Hot Sauce Bar.”  A large offering of various sauces that range from mild to very hot.  There’s always friendly staff waiting to greet you at the door and the customer service they provide is great.  My husband and I frequent Taco Tuesday quite often.  Check here and see if there is one where you live!

 

What are some things that are bringing goodness to you? I hope some things that are currently bringing “goodness” into my life, might make their way into yours.  I’d love to hear from you if they do!

 

Let the games begin!

March 11, 2012 - Leave a Response

Who says games are only for kids?  I’ll admit that I’m quite the board game junkie.  Luckily, my husband doesn’t mind, so once a month we get together with another couple that we met at work and have “Game Night.”

We alternate houses each month so each couple isn’t always stuck cleaning up!  We meet up around 3 or 4 and usually don’t finish the night out until around 10.  When we first started Game Night we would play a few games, grab dinner and then play more games.  More recently, we decided dinner was too much and we’d stick to just snacking all night long and it’s worked out fabulous.  Each couple brings snacks and drinks to share and the games of their choice.

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Some of our favorite games are:  Charades, Phase 10, Cranium, Bezzerwizzer, Uno Attack and The Game of Things.

Charades:  A game of acting out based on the theme you land on.  Granted some of the things you are given to act out you may have never heard of so it takes some imagination and creativity, but lends its way to alot of laughs.

Phase 10:  One of my favorite card games by far.  This game does well with at least 3 players and can become quite competitive.  There are 10 ‘phases’ one must complete to win the game.  “Phases” can include making sets of the same number of card, having a certain number of cards of the same color, having sets and runs of cards together.  There is a ‘quick’ version and a normal version depending upon how much time you have to play.  Points can be kept if you like a challenge.  I highly recommend this game and it’s easy to learn.

Cranium:  This game has to be played with a group; teams of 2 work best.  This game offers a wide range of activities from acting act, humming song lyrics, creating objects with clay, drawing with your eyes closed, etc.  My favorites by far are the clay creations and drawing activities.

Bezzerwizzer:  One of my husband’s favorite games and one that he always wins.  This is quiz game where there are questions to answer from 20 different categories.  You are able to choose which categories you think you are most knowledgeable in to help you win points.  If a player is unable to answer his/her own question, other players are able to chime in and try and win the point.  I find the questions can be a little difficult sometimes but it’s still a fun and quick party game.

Uno Attack:  Take your normal UNO card game to the next level!  This game is very similar to the traditional one except instead of having a “draw” pile, cards are placed in a machine and a button is pressed each time the player needs to draw.  You are then subject to none or multiple cards flying at you.  Another fun and quick game that’s suitable for all ages.

The Game of Things:  Love this game!  Put your creative juices to use in this game that is sure to cause some laughs.  This is another game best played with a group.  Each round, the group is given a topic such as “Things you should never do at your work desk” or “Things you shouldn’t put in your mouth.”  Each player writes down his/her answer..the funnier the better.  Then the answers are read aloud and you have to try and guess who said what answer.

 

I was recently given a new game, Quelf, and can’t wait to try it out next game night.  If you are looking for a website that has good information about board games, check out:  Board Game Geek.

Happy Playing!

“Just one game,” they said, and started to play–that was yesterday. -Chinese proverb

 

Special Thanks:  I wanted to send out a special thanks to TJ for making my new blog header this weekend.  TJ and his fiance’ are actually the couple we play Game Night with.  They have a wonderful cooking blog over at:  3 Minute Kitchen.  Check it out for some easy and fun recipes!