Sunday, January 31, 2010

10 for 10 Challenge Recap: January

My internet has been down so I am blogging to you from my dad's house until we get ours back up and running (thanks Dad!). It is the end of the first month of our new year and I'd like to keep a tally of how things are going so far:

1. 365 Days of Sexytime: We did pretty well, but we have to make up for five missed times plus today's, so six more times - I shouldn't be here! I should be at home in bed with the husby!!! AHHHH!

2. 20 + 10 = 30 lbs. to lose: For those of you who already knew this, last Monday I chose to eat vegetarian until this evening. I did pretty well until yesterday afternoon when I made my daughter a grilled cheese sandwich and then I lost it. I buckled and made myself one as well. It was amazing. Still, I have been keeping up with my gym time and yoga and I do believe my vegetarian weeklong cleanse helped because I LOST 5 POUNDS! I am now down to 150.

3. The Perfect Dinner Menu: I have found four definite meals that can qualify for cheap, yummy, healthy, and easy/quick to make. I have some great ones to try for February!

4. Pray Every Day: Sometimes it's hard to remember this one, I won't lie. But I do my best to say something to God every day, even if it's, Hey Man, thanks for sticking around. I need to improve it though, I know.

5. Become more organized: This one is coming along quite well! We are waiting on our tax returns so that I can go shopping and buy more totes and organizing systems for the house. We've been purging and going to the local Goodwill on an almost-daily basis all month.

6. Ten Percent Fund: I don't make alot of money per paycheck so insofar I have only saved $8.00. Bleh.

7. Keep In Touch: I've been doing about 50% on this one. There are people I intentionally avoid and lately my mother and I have been lacking in our communicative efforts when we used to speak daily. In fact she just called - I'll need to call her back in a few minutes.

8. Recycle: Such an easy one! Do you have any idea how easy it is to recycle?! And it really helps me with the volume of garbage under our sink. It also allows me to look at all of the containers we clean before recycling them to see if I can use them for another purpose in our home - for example, we save peanut butter jars to hold hardware, arts and crafts supplies, etc.

9. Stop Swearing: I REALLY need to work on this one. In fact, for Lent I have decided this is what I will give up. Just an extra motivation to keep me from polluting the air with my foul language.

10. Make Time For Me: I've done really well with this. Bathing to relax, naps, dressing up nicely, reading a good book. I hope to continue this pattern!

Friday, January 22, 2010


Yes yes it's your favorite resolution. Can we have sexual intercourse at least 365 times in 2010? Well, let's see. Today is January 22, 2010. Since New Year's Day my husband and I have had sex 16 times. Not so shabby! We will have to start making up for it though as I seriously doubt either of us will be able to handle that number in one day when the 31st comes! So it seems we will be stepping up our daily quota.

In other Resolution Revolution news...

I've been going to the gym every other day. On my off days I do yoga and core exercises. Next week as a tactic to lose weight and to help out my son (in case you don't already know, I nurse him and he is allergic to milk proteins, so no more dairy for me for awhile) I am going to eat nothing except fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. I already have blended juices for breakfasts - today I had one with a whole peach, a quarter cup of blackberry/raspberry/blueberry mix, and a cup and a half of orange juice - with a whole carrot and a stick of celery thrown in. Not the best one I've had this week - next week I'll buy some more bananas and add more berries. My favorite one this week had all the berries I mentioned, plus strawberries, a banana, and a cup of Greek yogurt. Alas, no more yogurt for me. I think mine next week will be orange juice, a banana, mixed berries, a whole peach, and possibly a little peanut butter to smooth it up.

I like smoothies, can you tell?!

I've also been spending lots of time with my dad lately. He's not feeling well. Tonight I brought him some of the leftover chicken pesto soup as well as some Robitussin, cough drops, and zinc tablets. If you are reading this, Dad - you had better be following my orders! Turn on your heat, eat the soup, take the meds, and get in bed!!

I just realized that I was so busy today that I did not take any photographs! I'm lame! What is a blog without pictures? My apologies.

Tonight we are eating a lovely lasagna that my friend Kerry in New Jersey makes for her family. She was kind enough to share the recipe. It has sausage and roasted red peppers in it! Yes it has cheese but I am allowed cheese in moderation - and I haven't had any all day! I have been VERY good.

I just wanted to give a quick update on my other resolutions' progress as all I've written all week are recipe resolutions. I'll come back tomorrow with pictures to make up for what will surely be a very boring entry.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Recipe: Chicken & Green Bean Soup with Pesto

My final recipe experiment for the month of January 2010. Another one from Rachael Ray's website. Here's what's up:


•1 cup basil leaves, lightly packed (a trick I learned - if you don't have access to fresh herbs, you can cook dried ones in warm water and achieve the same effect)
•1/2 cup flat leaf parsley (a couple of handfuls)
•1/4 cup dill (a handful)
•1/4 cup lightly toasted shelled pistachios or pine nuts
•1 clove garlic, finely chopped and mashed into paste with a little salt or grated
•1/3 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (a generous handful)
•Salt and pepper
•1/3-1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), plus 2 tablespoons, divided
•3/4 pound chicken tenders, chopped into 1/2-inch dice
•1 medium to large onion, chopped into 1/2-inch dice
•2 ribs celery from heart, chopped
•1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
•1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
•1 bay leaf
•8 cups chicken stock or 6 cups chicken stock, plus 2 cups water
•2 cups frozen French-cut green beans
•1 cup small cut pasta, such as small penne or ditalini


Combine the herbs, nuts, garlic and grated cheese in a food processor. While the machine is running, stream in the EVOO, about 1/3 cup, to make a pesto. Scrape the sauce into a small dish and reserve.

In a large Dutch oven or soup pot, heat 2 tablespoons EVOO, two turns if the pan, over medium heat. Add the chicken and lightly brown, 3-4 minutes. Add the onion, celery, carrot, bell pepper and bay leaf and season with salt and pepper. Sauté for 4-5 minutes more.

Add the stock and/or water and bring to a boil. Stir in the green beans and pasta and keep at a low boil until the pasta is cooked to al dente.

Serve the soup in shallow bowls and stir in rounded tablespoonfuls of pesto.


Chris gave out another "8" rating tonight - he said the soup felt "lonely" without a grilled cheese sandwich. It was really tasty though, probably the best homemade chicken noodle soup I've ever had and definitely the fastest (it only took 40 minutes, excluding chopping time). My whole house smells like chicken noodle soup now and makes me think of my mom. Also, I learned to make my own pesto - pretty cool! Of course it was missing a little something that I couldn't put my finger on, so now I'm determined to continue experimenting with that.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Recipe: Tomato-Pesto Chicken Pasta Bake

This is not the recipe I was intending on making this evening but I am currently out of chicken stock AND chicken broth and just didn't feel like going to the store. So tonight my wonderful husband assisted me in making this amazing and simple dish.

Here's what's up...


1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast tenderloins, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 cup basil pesto
3 plum tomatoes
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Shredded parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Spaghetti noodles


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Put pesto and chicken in bowl. Toss until chicken is covered. Place in casserole dish. Bake for 20-25 minutes, uncovered.

Meanwhile, in a pot of boiling water cook spaghetti noodles until al dente. Strain and toss with remaining pesto.

Place slices of tomato on top of chicken and sprinkle with cheese. Bake another 3-5 minutes.


We have eaten this meal before and it really is AMAZING. Chris rates it an "8".

Also, we treated ourselves to a yummy dessert that my friend Chelsea likes to make. It's very simple. It's banana "ice cream" - basically a frozen banana pureed in a food processor. We also made some simple homemade chocolate sauce out of a cup of semi-sweet morsels and 3/4 of a cup of heavy cream (with three teaspoons sugar added).

My son apparently has a milk protein allergy and because I am nursing him I'll have to seriously cut back on all things dairy. I am allowed cheese in moderation but aside from that, tonight is my last night with dairy for the next month. So it looks like February will be a BIG challenge for finding good meals!

Recipe: Crayon Cupcakes

Now, while this is not an edible recipe, I just could not resist posting it for all of my mommy friends. Lots of people do this but apparently not as many as I'd thought! It is very easy and lots of fun. Here's what's up:


Crayons (preferably broken nidbits but if all you have are nice pretty perfect ones those are fine too - but you'll have to break them)

Foil cupcake liners

Cupcake tin


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place cupcake liners in tin. Place broken pieces of crayons into each liner. (For example greens in one, pinks in another.)

Bake for 10 minutes, let cool. Peel liners off and have fun scribbling!

I'll be back later tonight with my final January recipe experiment.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Get your game face on

Today my husband and I started attending our church's new adult Sunday School program put on by our old friend Colin Kerr. It's a 23-part series and today was the first day of the series. The opening segment focused on the importance of truth and the Bible.

I love going to church. Not only does it allow me time with God, it forces me to take time for myself in the make up and cute outfit department.

My hair was a little crazy thanks to the ultra sexyyy humidity that is so famous in the South. It was one of those off-again, on-again rainy days.

I collect vintage flower pins (and earrings too). You'll see me wearing them as often as possible. This one is a favorite.

It's hard for me to match these boots to the right outfit. So far this is actually the only one that they look good with. I think it's the pencil skirt and the tights that make them work.

My dad watched the kidlets today while my husband and I went to church. This is the first time we haven't brought the children with us to church. But we really needed the break. Here's Chris playing soccer with some of the kids from our church.

All the girls decided they wanted to be on his team.

The team taking a break.

This is Betsy at my dad's house when we went to go pick up her and her brother.

Tonight we are going to my stepmother's because we don't have cable and Chris wants to watch the Chargers-Jets game. These are his two favorite teams so it will be interesting to see him react to whatever the outcome may be.

GO...Chets? Hm.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Recipe: Mini Cannelloni Bake

Here's what's up:


•1 pound ziti with no lines or ditalini
•2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
•1 1/2-2 pounds ground veal, beef or chicken
•1 large onion, chopped
•3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
•2 boxes frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed of excess water
•3 tablespoons butter
•3 tablespoons flour (again, I use cornstarch)
•2 cups milk
•A few grates of fresh nutmeg
•Salt and freshly ground black pepper
•1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese


Pre-heat the broiler.

Place a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring it up to a boil. Cook the pasta to al dente, according to package directions. Drain and reserve in the pot it was cooked in.

While the pasta is cooking, place a large skillet over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons of EVOO, about two turns of the pan. Add the ground meat to the pan and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until evenly browned throughout, about 6-7 minutes.

Add the onion and garlic to the pan and continue cooking until the onion has softened, 6-7 minutes.

Add the spinach and cook for about 1 minute to heat through, then season the mixture with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

While the onion is cooking, place a medium size pot over medium heat and melt the butter. Sprinkle the flour over the butter and cook the mixture for about 1 minute. Whisk the milk into the butter-flour mixture and cook until the liquid has thickened up. Season the sauce with nutmeg, salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Add the meat-onion mixture and the sauce to the pot with the cooked pasta and stir to evenly combine.

Transfer the mixture to a casserole dish and sprinkle the grated cheese over the top. Place the dish under the broiler until the cheese is melted and golden brown.


This was pretty darn tasty. Chris gave it a rating of "7.5" - he said he thinks it would be better if we were to use Italian sausage. Of course that would defeat the point of it being healthy. Betsy loved it - she fed herself and ate almost all of it. The grown-ups had seconds, and there was plenty left over for later.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Recipe: Peanut-Curry Chicken w/Jasmine Rice

Here we are at Recipe Resolution Attempt #4. Here's what's up:


•1 cup jasmine, basmati or Texmati rice
•1 small bunch scallions, coarsely chopped (I used a whole red onion and it worked just fine)
•1 inch ginger, peeled and grated
•2 large cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped and mashed into paste
•1 small red chili pepper, seeded and chopped (I used ground chili pepper because the store did not have fresh ones in stock)
•1/2 cup cilantro leaves (a couple of handfuls)
•2 rounded tablespoons curry powder (a couple of palmfuls)
•1 1/2 cups chicken stock or broth, plus an additional splash, divided
•1 tablespoon vegetable oil
•4 pieces boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders, cut into bite-size pieces
•1/3 cup chunky peanut butter (I used creamy since my daughter can't eat chopped nuts yet)
•1 cup Greek-style yogurt


Prepare the rice according to the package directions.

While the rice cooks, combine the scallions, ginger, garlic, chili pepper, cilantro, curry powder and a splash of the chicken broth in a small bowl and process into a paste.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat with the oil. Add the chicken to the pan and brown, 2-3 minutes.

Add the spice paste and stir for 1 minute to combine.

Add the peanut butter to the pan and whisk in the stock.

Bring to a bubble and whisk in the yogurt; lower the heat and simmer for 7-8 minutes. Serve over rice.


WOW! This was amazing! Chris rated it an "8" but I thought it deserved a "10" so I averaged it out to a "9". It was really, really yummy and easy to make. Less than 35 minutes (not including chopping time). ANOTHER PLUS - many of the ingredients are constant fixtures in our household; chicken, spices, rice, peanut butter. So it's cheap and convenient too! Probably going to be making this one often. Again, I found this recipe at Rachael Ray's website.