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Monday, July 7, 2014

Homemade Zucchini Bread

We have been getting lots of squash so far this summer from our CSA. Actually, it probably isn't "lots" to most people, but for a home that houses only two members and a chubby cat, one of which eats squash, we have been getting a lot of squash. I've been trying to eat it as fast as I can, but this week I had to get creative.  I've done roasted squash in stir fry, squash on my chicken vegetable skewers and have some more to use up fast. So, zucchini bread, it was.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Chicken and Vegetable Skewers

Happy 4th of July, everyone!
I hope you are all out there celebrating with your loved ones, decked out in red, white and blue clothing. Don't forget the nail polish! Today I'm sharing a healthy grill or oven recipe that uses up some of your summer produce.I know I've been posting a lot of chicken recipes lately, but chicken is a healthy food and we eat a lot of it in this home. I really like chicken because a little chicken can go a long way with the right recipes.
Today I'm going to show you how I make chicken and vegetable skewers. I know this is an easy meal idea and you could probably just look at the picture and know what to do, but sometimes people get into a meal idea rut. So, I just want to share this little recipe because it is one of Alec's favorites and an easy summer go-to meal.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Intentionally Focused: My First Bible Study

Remember way back on January 1st when we all made Resolutions for the New Year? Well, this year I really wanted to make them real resolutions. Not the kind where they are so steep that you quit 2 weeks later. Real, honest resolutions to improve my life. My first one was to "get closer to God, and closer to who he wants me to become." 
So, I started with a Bible Study. Something to keep me focused every day, to keep me talking to God and more importantly listening to God. I found the Good Morning Girls website and I absolutely love it. I highly recommend it for anyone seeking fellowship, friendship and a closer connection with God. My first Bible study was one that they created titled "Intentionally Focused," as a guide to becoming intentionally focused. It helped me learn how to become a better me, how to serve Him better and how to always act with intention. They give you all the supplies you need as free-print outs, post encouraging videos and send encouraging emails. It was great.

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

I know I just posted this irresistible recipe for Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese two days ago, but after serving that one up Alec immediately requested more. I still had half a bottle of buffalo sauce, so I decided I'd switch our usual pizza night into Buffalo Chicken pizza night. Per Alec's specific request, of course. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Storing Garlic Scapes

What are these squiggly, twisty green things? I didn't know either.
If you do know, good for you! You know more than I did about them a week ago! 
Remember the CSA I was telling you about? Well, this week I got garlic scapes in my little bundle of fresh produce.
 I love garlic.
I go through more garlic than most 20 year olds, I'm sure. I put it in as many dishes as I can. So, I was excited to try a new way of enjoying it. 
Apparently, these garlic scapes are the "flowering" part of a garlic plant, but they need to be trimmed off because if the plant is spending its energy on the flowering part it isn't growing a big garlic root base. So, this part is trimmed off right about now during the growing season. I took a bite out of it, too, just to see how garlic-y it really was. It tastes stronger than I expected considering it's scallion-esque appearance, but it is really flavorful.
You can store them in the fridge in a plastic baggy for a few days, but I had more than I could eat in a week, so I decided to freeze mine. They are really great frozen because you can just grab a handful out of the freezer and pop them into whatever dish you are making. So far they have been good in scrambled eggs, buffalo chicken grilled cheese and in hot roast beef loafs

Monday, June 30, 2014

Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese

If you choose to only make one pinterest recipe, let it be this one. It is so so simple, and will totally charm all of your friends. It is easy, cheesy and delicious. The perfect combination.
This recipe is especially perfect for hot summer days like today (can you say 95 degrees?!). Dinners that don't involve an oven are just what we need for this kind of weather. 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

7 Patriotic Quilt Block Ideas

It is almost the 4th of July! I love the 4th of July and always have. I know Red, White and Blue is a reallllyyy big trend right now, but I am not complaining one bit. I've got an All-American, Walmart Flag bikini, my toes are painted Blue and I'm ready to celebrate 'Merica all summer long. Have you been seeing the patriotic shorts around or is it just me? I posted a tutorial on how to make DIY American Flag Shorts a few summers back if you want to make a pair yourself! 
It is pretty obvious that I'm all for the patriotic patterns these days. So, I cut into my HUGE stash of Patriotic prints. I was going to make a table runner, but couldn't stop experimenting with new block concepts. So now I'm working on fitting a bunch of randomly sized blocks into a cute quilt. I figured I'd share my ideas on here so y'all have time to whip up some blocks before the 4th. Who cares if you don't get to it before the 4th, though, because this is something we can celebrate all year long, baby!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Hot Roast Beef Loaf

This is delicious. If I could pick one dinner to have every single week it would be this.
The best part is the Italian bread. We got this loaf of Italian bread from Walmart for $1 and it was made that day. When it gets all toasty and cheesy and amazing it is hard to stop yourself from eating the entire loaf yourself. I wouldn't say this is a healthy meal, but it is one that is oh so worth eating. I made it for dinner, wrapped it up in tinfoil and Alec and I ate it in the car because we were pressed for time. I highly recommend this if you are going on a picnic date or want to skip the "fast food" and make your own dinner to enjoy on the go. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble

It is rhubarb season, indeed. 
Have I ever seen rhubarb before and known what it was? Nope.
Have I ever eaten rhubarb before? Nope.
Did I get it in the first week of our CSA? Yep.
Did I bake it into a delicious crumble? Yep.
Was it amazing? Absofreakinglutely. 
Here's How:

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Stuffed Chicken Breast

We have been looking for ways to spice up our usual dinners. We eat beef and chicken every single week. Now that summer has come, I have been trying to find ways to summer-ize our dinners. We had plenty of warm, comforting chicken noodle soup for the cold months and now it is time for crispy chicken paired with fresh vegetables. I got the idea to stuff chicken breasts when browsing through my finace's Men's Health mag. I came up with my own "stuffing" though. Here is how to make a quick, summer dinner that you can personalize to your family's flavor preferences:

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Perfect Products for a Woman On The Go

Influenster sent me another VoxBox. This one, The GoVoxBox, was packed with so many goodies I was amazed at how many amazing products that they stuffed into one box!
I know it has taken me a while to post on this lovely box, but I've been a busy lady. I have been thoroughly testing and enjoying all of the products, though.

Monday, June 16, 2014

A Perfect Proposal

Last Tuesday, Alec and I visited Sonnenberg Gardens during Rose Week. We only had a few hours, but Alec insisted that we stop by. We both love the place and it was Rose Week, after all. So, we squeezed it in between lunch at my Grandmother's and Alec's dentist appointment an hour away. 
After about an hour and a half of wandering around all of the gardens and in the mansion, we made out way back to this beautiful site, where many of the wedding ceremonies take place. We sat under the pergola for a few minutes and talked about what great potential Sonnenberg has as a wedding ceremony venue in general. Alec was being quite the romantic, kissing my forehead and telling me he wanted to spend forever with me. After a little while, we decided to get up and keep walking. As we stood up Alec offered me his hand, twirled me around in a circle and then pulled me in for a hug. While still under the pergola, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Grilled Caprese Sandwich

I hope everyone is enjoying this warm weather! After a winter that never seemed to end, I sure am. I'm sharing with you today one of my favorite food combinations in the world. 
This is a light, healthy lunch for warm summer days like today.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

I'm Officially an International Traveler

Hola, amigos! I just got back from traveling in Peru for two weeks. I went in a group of 6 nursing students, 6 spanish students and two instructors to The Sacred Valley in Peru. The ultimate goal of the trip was to travel to remote mountain communities with Sacred Valley Health and deliver basic health care to the children of these villages. 

Friday, May 9, 2014

White Cake with Fresh Strawberry Filling

Hello, everyone. Fresh fruits and vegetables are gracing our plates lately as Spring begins to finally show up. I know I haven't been posting many recipes as the semester consumes me, but I've got a few up my sleeve for all of you. First, I'd like to share this delicious, moist, fruit-filled White cake. Have you seen my Recipes Page? It is very full of dessert recipes, so it is pretty obvious what I like to eat...sweets! I have a few more actual meals coming soon, though. I promise.
I made this cake for Alec's 24th Birthday. I was out of butter (yikes!) and used Crisco (healthy, right?) for the "butter-like cream frosting." It tasted fine, but you can use a plain buttercream frosting for your cake. I made you some recipe cards to print for this recipe, but you can fill it and top it with whatever you'd like! This is just your stand-by, homemade vanilla/white cake recipe that you can use for any occasion. 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

A Birthday and A Road Trip

Alec turned 24 at the end of April. Twenty-four. The big two, four. Holy crow, does time fly. It feels like he just turned 21. It feels like we just celebrated his 23rd birthday at our brand new apartment. We have had our first apartment for a year! And again, time flies. 
Alec and I have enough stuff. We both have the kind of stuff that most young couples have in their first apartments. You know, the necessities. We've got hand me down dishes, thrifted kitchen gadgets, some sewing stuff, some work out stuff, plenty of tools, plenty of shoes and lots of clothes. We also have a cat who has an entire home-made "cat flat" to hang out on, and a Beta Fish with her own area, too. Did I mention we have two entire bookshelves? A coat rack, a kitchen-aid, and two TVs. So, like I said, we have enough stuff. Instead of buying more stuff, we decided to take a trip and see some of the world to celebrate his almost-a-quarter-century birthday. We packed up our bags, invited my brother and his girlfriend, ordered Alec's enhanced driver's license and headed to Niagara Falls, Canada. 

"Traveling is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer."

I love this picture because Alec is squished between my brother and I. We are clearly a close family.

Alec had never been to Canada before. He has never even seen the Falls before and we only live two hours away from them! We sang songs in the car, ate some trail mix and took more snapchats than we needed to. Do you use snap chat? We love it. 

It was kind of overcast while we were there. And by overcast I mean at one point we were fast-walking in the pouring rain with no hoods for 4 blocks to our hotel. The next day it was so foggy that you couldn't even see the person 20 feet ahead of you let alone the falls. Luckily, the fog rose after a few hours and a few cups of coffee, so by the time we got close to the Horseshoe falls it was as beautiful as could be.

We got to actually walk through a tunnel right behind the falls and peak out at the back of the waterfall. It was so beautiful and I'm glad we decided to do that part. There is something so humbling about standing next to such a massive piece of mother nature. I could just stand by and breathe in the fresh, misty air from the falls for hours and be happy. After we walked behind the falls we got pizza at a nice Italian restaurant, played mini-golf (a family tradition), and bought some Canadian fudge to take home. It was a refreshing little weekend trip.
Have you been to Niagra Falls before? What was your experience like? Is it still on your bucket list?

Friday, May 2, 2014

Uni Vox Box Contents Review and some Yoga

I'm an Influenster which means every so often Influenster sends me a lovely little box of products to test out and review. Then, I tell all of you guys what I loved or didn't love about the products. All of these products were complimentary for testing purposes from Influenster. The great thing about this "Uni Vox Box" made specifically for college girls like me is...all of the products were just what I needed!

I have really been struggling with foundation lately. I don't talk about this too often on here, but my skin is horrible. Always has been and I hope it won't always be horrible, but for now it is. So, cover up and foundation are two things that I need on a daily basis. I have been having a hard time finding a good foundation that doesn't make my face looked all caked on and greasy. This Rimmel London Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation is literally perfect for me. It is so creamy and goes on so smoothly that my face looks fabulous when I'm wearing it. My favorite part is my face feels so open compared to other foundations that make my skin feel all greasy. I have been using it almost every day since I got the vox box and will most definitely be buying it in the future! The above photo is a selfie I took in the foundation.  I'm not wearing the lipstick in this picture, but I  did try the Expert Last Lip Color that was included in my box. As I said in my un-boxing video, I was a little worried at first to try such a bold color like "Forever Fuchsia." I wore it this weekend at Niagra Falls, though. I have to admit, I really like it. It makes a great statement and really went well with my navy top. I just have to work up the courage to wear it more frequently! 

Remember how I said I've been working on my yoga poses? Well, I posted on my instagram a few weeks ago a picture of me almost touching my foot in this pose. It. is. so. hard. to. do. Well, I finally made contact! I have to have someone help push my foot towards my hand, but I touched my toe and I'm so excited! This is a very first step towards actually performing this pose with ease, but I'm getting there. Influenster also sent me some Playtex Sport Fresh Balance Tampons to try out. I don't want to get into too much detail on my blog but, this product really does work to keep you playing on and exercising the way you want to all month long! , which for me is Yoga!

See this crazy jumble of words? This is how I study for exams in nursing school and this is how I plan to pass the NCLEX. I write the topic in the center and then branch off topics related to it that I need to know. For example, I'd put "hypothyroidism" in the center and make branches for "What is it, signs and symptoms, risk factors, nursing diagnosis, labs, surgical interventions, medications, nursing care...etc" As you can imagine, I go through a lot of pens. I have been using my Pilot Acroball PureWhite pen religiously for school. It writes smoothly, matches my white scrub top (which is a vital component, don't you know) and apparently holds a ton of ink, because it hasn't run out yet! I also got this great Broadway Nails imPRESS Press-on Manicure set, but I haven't been able to use it yet. Us nursing students are not allowed to wear nail polish during clinical rotations. I am going to put them on and post about them as soon as I am done with my last clinical next week, though. They are chocolate brown which might sound like a bizarre color to be excited about but it is my favorite!

Finally, I have been drinking up this Red Rose REAL TEA Premium Water Enhancer like it's nobody's business. Iced tea, hot tea, you name it. This would also be good to make Long Island Iced Teas with now that I think about it. How convenient is it to just squirt some tea into your water without having to worry about steeping time or if the tea is too strong or not. Just squirt how much you want in and enjoy. I'm a tea junkie, though. I love tea bags and fresh tea, too. I just have been using this kind a lot lately because it is just so easy when you are running late to class...ahem. Also, it is healthy which is really important for us college kids. If you start eating taco bell and Doritos all the time you look into the mirror one day and BAM you are 15 lbs heavier. Trust me, I've experienced it. 

Thanks for stopping by to see what I've been up to!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Recipe Writers: May's Fresh Flavors

Little did we know, It was just going to keep on with March weather all through April in Upstate NY. It was more like April snow brings May showers instead of April Showers brings May Flowers. If it didn't snow where you live this month, you are one lucky duck. We did end up with some amazing recipes being linked up last month, though. Did you see (or try) Fiddlehead Hash, Pappardelle with Summer Vegetables or these Veggies with Cous Cous
Anyway, May is here! May is full of lots of wonderful things. May 1st is Mayday, so don't forget to find some flowers to appreciate and bring them to your neighbor! We also have Cinco de Mayo, Mother's Day and Memorial Day. We could have called this "Recipe Writers: Mother's May", but there are just too many other holidays and flavors that we would be skipping out on. So, I present to you this month's Recipe Writers Theme:
May's Fresh Flavors

We are crawling out of our winter habits here (for real this time). No more stews or heart breads. We are welcoming the fresh ingredients that are beginning to grow. We are firing up our grills and cooking up some kabobs! What are you doing to celebrate the warm weather with food?  According to the Farmer's Almanac, we will be getting some fresh spinach, asparagus and rhubarb this month! 

Friday, April 25, 2014

A busy weekend and a trip to Monkey Run

Hello, everyone.
I hope you all had a beautiful Easter weekend (if you celebrate it). We had a pretty wonderful weekend. We went home to the hills on Friday night, and went to Alec's niece's 2nd Birthday party. I personally can't believe that she is already 2 because I remember the phone call from his sister saying that they were pregnant like it was yesterday. I also remember how small she was when she was born...Alec refused to hold her until she was almost a year old because he was afraid to break her! Anyway, she is two years old already and absolutely adorable. She is all smiles and giggles. Please excuse the blurry i-phone photos, but trying to catch a fast 2 year old on camera proves to be quite the challenge. 

Grace was more than happy to have her Uncle Alec come visit with her in her toy house. Alec turns 24 today, too! He doesn't mind climbing into a tiny plastic house to please his niece at all. 

Grace got a little plastic cleaning set for her birthday. Alec and her went around "mop, mop, mopping" and "sweep,sweep,sweeping" the entire living room. Every few swipes across the floor, Grace would "rinse off" her mop in the bucket, complete with "swishhhh" sound effects and "slurp slurp slurps" while cleaning the floor. Needless to say, it was adorable. 

I helped Alec's sister, Melissa, decorate the cakes with fresh fruit. I definitely stole the fresh berry idea for Alec's Birthday cake.
I had to run back to the "city" for a bachelorette party Saturday night, where I proceeded to ride a mechanical bull (I lasted 45 seconds!) Then, I came back to the hills Saturday night so I could go to sunrise service on Sunday morning.

We got to spend a lot of time outside on Sunday. We all pitched in to get some yard work done. My mom and I did about an hour of yoga in the yard. We even all piled into my dad's new truck, went mudding through some seasonal roads and ended up with this view. I wore my little hiking shoes the entire day to try to wear them in before I leave for Peru. If you look way into the distance you can see the city skyline (an hour away). Now we're off to Canada to celebrate Alec's Birthday!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

As of Late

Hello everyone.
I have been busy over here. Like crazy busy.
I just wanted to kind of update everyone on what I've been doing so far this month, since I haven't been posting very much on my blog. 
As you know I'm a nursing student. It is also the "final stretch" of the semester. So, there's that. 
I also presented at my schools Scholar's Day this week and a Nursing Leadership Conference at a local hospital. It was so exciting to get to be presenting research at these events, and I learned a lot. 

On Monday, I got in a car accident. I am completely okay (aside from some soreness), but getting in a car accident is a very stressful situation. Luckily, I was found to be not at fault because an elderly woman hit me in a parking lot and ended up getting a "failure to yield" ticket. She is okay, too, thank God. I've been on the phone with insurance companies all week long, though. It seems like a never ending process to get all the details sorted out and the car repairs taken care of. At least we are both okay and my car is drivable, though. 
So aside from a very stressful week, we had our quilt guild meeting and my friend Marty brought me a jar of homemade cinnamon extract! It was so sweet of her to think of me and I can't wait to use it. 
Do you have any good recipes that use cinnamon extract that I should try?
I also roped Alec into going to a free quilt show with me down the road from our house. In hindsight, I shouldn't have worn my "Hooters" shirt to this show, but I don't think any of the nice ladies minded too much. In my opinion, any guy that will go to a quilt show with his girlfriend is a real keeper. 
I have also been getting outside more and trying to fit some exercise back into my routine for stress relief. I was going to post a photo of a pose I've been working on, but the Instagram website is apparently down today. So, you can just enjoy the obnoxious memes that describe my life, instead. 
Do you have any suggestions for other ways to relieve stress without taking so many breaks from actually doing your work that you get nothing done?

Enjoy the warm weather!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Recipe Writers: Spring Delights

Guys, we made it! Spring is officially here. We had fun baking Christmas cookies, enjoyed some Irish food (Shamrock Hot Cocoa or Irish Roasted Shallots, anyone?), and now it is time to embrace all of the freshness that Spring has to offer. March really went out like a lion, too. We ended up with another 6 inches of snow on Saturday! So, I am ready to move forward. Are you with me? Let's celebrate the changing of seasons with this month's theme:
Spring Has Sprung

This month is all about fresh food. We are transitioning from cold and cozy foods to crisp, light and fresh flavors. Maybe you have a new twist on a salad, or a family standby for when the weather gets warmer. I can't wait to see what spring foods you are cooking up in your kitchen!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Influenster UniVoxBox Unboxing Video

I received my first influenster voxbox in the mail today! Yipee!

Also, Congratulations to Cynthia G. for winning a custom "Home is Where The Heart Is" pillow. 
Thank you for everyone who entered, I think it was a really fun way to kick off spring.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Corned Beef and Cabbage

This is a classic "St. Patrick's Day" meal. Is it Irish? I have no idea. Is St. Patrick's Day even an Irish holiday? I read that it is an Irish-American holiday that people in Ireland don't even celebrate. Does all of this affect how yummy and hearty this meal is? Absolutely not.
I know most of us know how to make corned beef and cabbage. But, there are lots of people who have never made it before on their own! This year was my first time making it so, I spent some time looking at people's favorite method of making this traditional dish.
To be honest, I even tried one method and switched to another 4 hours in after I realized it wasn't working!

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