Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

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Well, I have been pretty busy the last couple of days. I still haven't blogged about the Joshua Tree camping trip or my pumpkin cheese cake. I swear Val, I will post this weekend!

Ok, what happened this week... on Monday I made beef stew even though it was in the 90's. I think I was hoping that maybe by cooking stew that maybe fall would actually come. Even though it was hot, the stew was really good. Sorry, no pictures though.

I also found out this week that at work, I have to move my desk. This is such a bummer, because I really like where I sit. I will be moving to the next room over, to be with my boss. Now my boss is really nice, but he is older and I can't really vent to him, like I do with the girls.

Last night, I was wishing for fall again and decided to make Split Pea soup. I had never made it before, but decided to give it a try. It was sooo good! Look for that post coming up.

I can't believe that today is the last day of October. It flew by so quickly. I have already been thinking about the holidays. Since tomorrow is November, this marks the start of National Blog Posting Month or Nablopomo for short. Awhile ago, I decided that I would give it shot this year. 30 posts in one month, is a lot especially when I only normally only post once or twice a week.

Anyways, look out for a lot of posts from me this next month! Oh, and Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

We are back!

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We survived our camping trip and are back home! It was so nice to take a shower, when I haven't had one in 4 days. I washed my hair several times but it still smells like smoke unfortunately. Overall, I had a great time. David on the other hand though, didn't. He thought it was too hot during the day and too cold at night. This was our first time going out there in the fall and I do think the weather is more extreme than in April. It also seemed like everyone had some sort of issues with the trip as well. Thankfully, we all arrived home safely and I think everyone enjoyed themselves. Anyways, I will post a more through update about the trip soon!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Things Don't Always Go As Planned

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Sometimes regardless of how well you plan something, things don't always go as they should. As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been very anal retentive about planning our camping trip. Well, last night I was up till 12:00am preparing and packing for the trip. My bedtime is normally around 9:30, so needless to say I practically had to drag myself out of bed this morning at 5:45. I am so very tired today!

I don't really know what happened. I was busy the entire evening and didn't even stop to eat dinner. Maybe, I just took on to much? I know part of it is due to the fact that I was on a quest to find cake mix, that only required water. Between the hubby and I, we went to 4 different stores over the course of 2 days looking for it. Note: we didn't go to all 4 stores just for cake mix. We already had to go there for other items. I'm not that nuts!

David is convinced it doesn't exist. I would too if I had not read the comments to the recipe for the Camping Cakes I want to make. Basically, I didn't want to worry about bring extra eggs and oil to make the cakes. Just adding water seemed a much better idea.

When I got off work yesterday, I stopped by Target on a long shot to see if they had it. We had already tried Staters Brothers, Vons, and Walmart by this point. I figured if they didn't have it, I would just buy the normal kind. Well of course they don't have it. They didn't even have "white" cake mix at all. Ugh! I then had to go back to Staters!

Thankfully, the Target trip wasn't a complete bust. I picked up candy for the trick or treaters next week, along with a red and white checker tablecloth for the camping trip. We are completely packed and ready to go. The hubby is heading out early to set up and I will be leaving after work.

The only thing left to do is stare at the clock and wish it would magically fast forward.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Goodbyes

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It is amazing how and where you can build friendships. About 2 years ago when I started planning our wedding, I ventured over to the Knot.com to look for ideas and get recommendations. I soon found a bunch of girls on the local community board, who were in the same stage in life. We were able to bounce ideas off of each other, vent about frustrations with wedding planning, along with finding reptuable vendors. This was how I found our amazing photographer Marlin, which I am so thankful for finding.

Little did I know though, that I would build friendships that would last after the wedding planning was done. After we were married, most of us transitioned over to the Nest.com, where we continued to get to know each even better and also meet other newlyweds. Instead of wedding planning our conversations now consist of cooking, married life, family and babies.

Because we are all so busy with our lives in the real world, it is hard to get all of us together. One of our girls Brandy, is moving away and leaving us, so we decided we had to get together to say goodbye. So last Friday night, we went to dinner at Cheesecake Factory. We all had a blast I am sure.

Here are some photos of our night:

Brandy and Becki

Me, Kristy and Kat


Lori and Becki


Val, Sharra, Me

Brandy, Blaire and Amy with baby Pierce

Brandy, I am sad to see you go! You have to come visit us when you are back in town. I know we are all going to want to meet Baby J once he arrives. And you are not allowed to replace us with the AZ nesties!

Thanks Lori and Becki for taking pictures as well!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Meal Planning for Camping

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I am so very excited, as we are going camping to Joshua Tree this weekend. I haven't taken a vacation day since our anniversary, so it has been awhile. 6 months to be exact! I am taking Friday off, so it should be a good amount of days to get away since we are heading out after work on Thursday night.

When it comes to camping trips though, I can be very anal retentive with planning. Most of the time I am very much of a go with the flow type of person, but camping seems to be the exception. I have pre-made lists from previous camping trips, which I just update to reflect the meals we will be eating this time around. I even plan out everything little thing I need to do to prepare, what to buy from the grocery store, how much to pack of each item. I also go to the extreme in packing a pre-determined number of slices of bread or measurements, like 2 cups of Bisquick.



All of this I enjoy immensely. That being said, I had 99% of my meals planned weeks ago for the trip coming up. I only needed to figure out lunch for one remaining day. I went online to the What's Cooking board and my local one on the Nest and I got some great suggestions and I am finally done.

So here are our meal plans for the trip!


Thursday

Dinner: hot dogs and chips. Something easy since we will be getting there after work and we have to set everything up.


Friday

Breakfast: eggs, bacon, Bisquick pancakes

Lunch: Turkey sandwiches along with homemade potato salad

Dinner: grilling steak and asparagus. David makes a great marinade using Whisky

Desert: S'mores


Saturday

Breakfast: breakfast burritos

Lunch: grilled cheese and Tuscan Style Couscous Salad.

Dinner: Firehouse Grilled Chicken and corn on the cob

Desert: Campfire Cakes


Sunday

Breakfast: for the hubby cereal and for me instant oatmeal.

Lunch: Turkey sandwiches if we don't leave before hand.


So there you go. I am making some faithful recipes which we love along with trying a couple new ones. Tonight we are hitting up the grocery store to pick up items we don't already have. Tomorrow, I will be making the marinades, potato salad, and couscous salad along with packing every else. Thursday, we head out right when I get home from work!


Photo Source: OutsideAway.com

Monday, October 20, 2008

Chili

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I can't remember when I mentioned to my dad that I wanted to make chili, but he sent me a recipe for it and just sat in my email inbox. It wasn't until the other day on the Nest, we had this long conversation about chili and how it was perfect for fall. It reminded me about the recipe my dad had sent me. I immediately added it to list of meals to make in the coming weeks. Well, I finally made it and it was great. I love adding uncooked onion, cheddar cheese, and tapatio sauce on top. I made a couple of changes and I marked them in red.

Chili
Source: Dad

Ingredients:
1 pound of blade or chuck roast, the hubby is picky and had me use top shirloin
3 cups of dry kidney beans, canned which was drained and rinsed
2 small onions-chopped
1 stalk of celery, diced
1 carrot, peeled & diced
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 pound ground sirlion
1/2 pound of ground pork ( can substitute turkey), used ground sirloin
1 cup of red wine (do not use cooking wine)
4 to 6 medium tomatoes
2 cups of tomato juice
1 to 2 tablespoons of chili powder
1/2 pound of Sharp Grated Cheddar cheese
a pinch of cayenne pepper
Tabasco or other hot sauce to taste, tapatio is the way to go!

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.

Place the blade or chuck roast in a large skillet and sear on stove top. Then roast in the oven. Cook until Medium Rare for about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the blade from the oven and let cool. Cut meat into cubes.

Cook kidney beans in covered water in a pot. Bring to a simmer and remove from heat. Let beans soak for at least 15 minutes. When using canned beans, no need to soak and immediately add the following ingredients. Add 1 chopped onion, carrot, celery, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook until almost done. Drain and set aside. Remove and throw away the bay leaf.

In a large pot or saucepan, heat the olive oil over a moderately high heat. Add the remaining chopped onion and cook until soft (about 5 minutes), then add the ground sirlion and ground pork. Saute until all traces of pink have disappeared, for about 5 minutes. Then add the beef chunks and heat through.

Add the tomatoes, chili powder, wine and tomato juice. bring to boil with moderately high heat, then reduce the heat to a moderate simmer for about 15 minutes, which allows the flavors to blend. Then stir in the beans, cheese, salt, hot sauce and cayenne pepper. Reduce your heat to low and simmer, covered, until the chilli is thick and rich which takes about 1 and half to 2 hours . Stir often to prevent chili from burning and sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Mexican Cornbread

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I really love Mexican Cornbread. I got the recipe from my mother in law and it went perfect with the chili I made. I used Fresh & Easy's cornbread mix, but you could use any other type, like Krusteaz Cornbread mix.

Mexican Cornbread
Source: My mother in law

Ingredients:
cornbread mix and ingredients the box requires, along with the following
1 can of creamed corn
1 small can of green chili's
1 cup of cheddar cheese

Directions:
Follow directions on cornbread mix, then add creamed corn, chili's and cheese. Stir until mixed and pour into 8 by 8 pan. Follow cooking directions and add 15 to 20 minutes to the time. This is so the cornbread isn't too moist. Allow to cool 5 to 10 minutes.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Perspective

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Of all the blogs I read on a regular basis, which are to many to count, only two are written from the male perspective. I currently read Matt Loglins blog, which I know many of many of you already read, along with Confessions of a Cf Husband. I guess I just haven't crossed paths with many male bloggers, since I have doing the whole blogging thing.

One of my favorite blogs: Say It, Don't Spray It, Nanette recently had her husband blog an entry about impending fatherhood/birth . His entry was so sweet and made me laugh. It got me thinking about the differences in male and female bloggers. I really enjoyed reading her husbands perspective on the birth of their daughter. It had the different point of view, than the blogs I normally read.

Maybe I need to I need to add a little bit more variety to my daily dose of blogs? Heck, even though I read way to many blogs already, I know google reader can handle a couple more subscriptions. What's one or two more in the grand scheme of things.

What blogs are you currently digging? Include any blogs that you currently enjoy regardless of whether it is from the male or female perspective. Just ones that you think are unique and not the norm.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Not Again

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We began the week with the stomach flu and I am now ending the week with a cold. How can this be possible?

I am over being sick! As soon as House is over I am going to bed.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

We Have Been Invaded

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We have been in our apartment for 2 years. Well I haven't, but David has been there the full 2 years and I have been there since we got married. So a year and a half on my part. During, this time we have never had any issues with any ants, not even one until now. We currently have an ant invasion on our hands.

Now, if you knew our area, you would probably be wondering how that is possible that we never had any ants before. Everyone here has issues with ants, but we didn't for some reason. If I believe correctly this area has a lot of ants, because it all used to be orange groves. The sweet smell of orange blossoms in the spring time, oh how I love that smell! Almost all those beautiful orange groves have torn down so money hungry developers could to make a buck! Oh wait, I am going off on a tangent. That's a whole other post.

Anyways back to our ant situation, we have never had ants before. I don't know what changed or what has caused these new developments, but I hate it! Yesterday, the invasion started and according to the hubby they swarmed the cats food. Poor kitties! They then entered our kitchen cupboards. We had to pull everything out and throw some stuff away. They are all over the bathroom as well, in search water or anything sweet.

Thankfully, Chinese Chalk has saved the day for now. I am sure the ants will be back tomorrow though, through some new crack unfortunately.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Weekend Recap

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Being sick is no fun. I haven't posted anything since Monday, because we unfortunately came down with the stomach flu. I am feeling a lot better and went to work today. The hubby on the other hand, was still not feeling well this morning. I really can't remember the last time I was that sick. I seriously thought it was never going to end. But thankfully, we are finally getting over it!

On a positive note, we had a really good weekend. The wine tasting party was a lot of fun. I made my pasta salad and it came out really good. I didn't follow a recipe, but just threw in tomato, cucumber, red onion, feta, salami, Kalamata olives, cilantro, and TJ's balsamic dressing. Oh and of course the pasta!

The wine that got to most votes was Relax. It was also my favorite out of all of them. You can find it at Stater Brother's for $9.99! There was a lot of other really great food, including some good curry chicken. I was really surprised at how well the Rieslings went with the spicy Asian food. I really feel like I am learning a lot about wine.

Sunday, after church we headed over to Fresh & Easy and picked up some groceries, along with some pretty yellow mums and a pumpkin for the front steps. I put up the fall wreath on the front door as well. I still have some more fall decorating that I want to do as well, before I am done.

Since, the weather was very fall like all weekend, I made Chili and Mexican Corn Bread for dinner. Both were great and hopefully I will post recipes sometime this week. Yell at me if I forget!

So that's the update with what is going on with us.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Please Pray

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Take a second today to read and pray for Staci, Spencer and baby Issac!


He Will Carry Me


Tomorrow their lives will be changed forever and they need everyone's prayers.

P.S. Grab a tissue before hand.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Work, Weather, Wine

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I have almost completed a full week of work on our old work schedule. No more Fridays off, thus why I am here today.

::Insert sad face::

Even though, I have been sad to not have Friday's off anymore, it has been quite nice getting off work at 3:30 each day. I actually feel like I have time to do stuff after work again. Maybe my house won't be such a wreck anymore. But, I am sad that I am here right now, when before I would have still been in my comfy bed sleeping!

Other than work, things are going well. I am really excited about how it is supposed to cool off this weekend. I am so over the 100 degree weather that we had on Wednesday. It is fall darn it! What is crazy though, tomorrow it is supposed to be 62 degrees. From Wednesday to Saturday that is almost a 40 degree drop in temperature! 60's is going to feel very cold but great!

We also have a fun plans for the weekend. Tonight, we are supposed to head over to a friends house to have dinner and watch the Angels game. Then on Saturday, USC is playing Oregon. We are also going to a wine tasting party. The wine tomorrow night is a Riesling, which is my favorite! I am supposed to bring a pasta salad that will compliment it, which I haven't done any research on either. I guess that's what I should probably do now.

Anyways, it should be good weekend. Definitely, fall like with the cool weather, college football and baseball playoffs!

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