Monday, March 30, 2015

Cooking Challenge March Results

This month was the month of meal prep. I've always wanted to spend a day creating meals for breakfast or lunch for the week, in part so that I didn't have to spend all my money on breakfast and lunch, but also to be able to control what I eat a little better. 

Pins I Tried: 

Low Carb Egg Muffins

Not only were these "muffins" delicious, but they were fairly healthy AND I got to use my muffin tin for the first time. This was definitely something I'll make again, they were super easy. 

Breakfast Burritos

I have a confession. When done right, I love (LOVE) McDonald's breakfast burritos. I have been wanting to make my own for a while and finally got around to it this month. Not only was it fairly easy to make, but I made a ton in a very short time. Dave loves grabbing these in the morning and has even forgotten to take out our dinner for the night (practically every morning) because he sees these and forgets to. These aren't as good as McDonald's burritos (when they're done right), but at least I know I'm getting a good burrito every time. 

Chicken BLT Avocado Salad

This recipe is another favorite of Dave's. I originally made it for myself and then he tried some and practically half of it was gone when it went to make my lunch the next morning. Between this recipe and the muffins I also got more practice with cooking bacon, which I rarely do. 

Recipes ripped out of magazines I finally made:

Bobby Dean's One Pan Roasted Chicken and Broccoli

Healthy, easy and I finally got to use my roasting pan (another thing I've never used before), and it was delicious.  I'm really liking this cooking challenge. 

So far I've learned quite a few techniques but I've also learned that I have too many items in my kitchen that I've never used. I'm glad I'm finally getting around to using them. Maybe I'll start incorporating the use of unused kitchen items into my challenge? 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Travel Bucket List

Dave and I are prepping for a quick vacation to Chicago this weekend and it got me thinking about all the places we want to go. I decided that I should probably document somewhere a bucket list of places we want to go. This list is not exclusive, just ones that I want to highlight for you. 

1. Stay in a tree house

Dave and I want to visit all 50 states, right now we're at 10 states so we have a long way to go. One place I definitely want to stay in is a tree house. Airbnb has quite a few tree houses on their site, but this one in Georgia definitely is one I'd like to stay in. 

2. Go to Paris and stay in a room that has a view of the Eiffel Tower.

I found this hotel on Trip Advisor. I think it would be incredible to be able to wake up while on vacation and be able to see the tower every morning. If you're going to go to Paris, why not, right?

3. Sleep in a hotel where one wall is missing and I can see the scenery. 

Who am I kidding? This place is insanely gorgeous. It's pricey, so I'm going to have to start saving now. Infinity pool? Yes please!

What are some places you want to go on your bucket list?

Monday, March 23, 2015

15 in '15 March Update

As of this month I am halfway through the reading challenge, even with an extra book thrown in the mix, unless you count the fact that I didn't finish two of them....anyway, here's what I read from the challenge list this month:

A Discovery of Witches

This book started out so slow, like first 200 pages slow but once it started to pick up, I really enjoyed it. It took me a while to get through this book, probably because it had such a slow start. It reminded me a bit too much of Twilight which made me not like this book as much as I probably would if I hadn't thought that. I'm interested enough to pick up the second book eventually and see where the story goes. 


It took me a full year to pick up the second book in the Divergent series and I have no idea why because I really enjoyed the first one. The second book was just as good as the first and since I finished it just in time for the movie to be released, it'll all be fresh in my mind to see how the film adapts the story. 

Here's the complete list (links will go to the post that I wrote about the book):

1. Sharp Objects
2. TV Gods
3. A Discovery of Witches
4. The Thousand Dollar Tan Line
5. The Serpent of Venice
6. I Don't Know What You Know Me From
7. Big Fish
8. Orange is the New Black
9. American Gods
10. Dead Until Dark
11. The Great Gatsby
12. The Glass Castle
13. Pride and Prejudice
14. Insurgent
15. The Clan of the Cave Bear
16. Paddle Your Own Canoe

I would love to hear about what you read this month!

I'm on Goodreads, if you'd lik
e to add me.

Monday, March 16, 2015

5 Things Every Adult Should Have

Getting hit by the deer last week made me realize that there are some things that everyone should have once they are an adult. It's things that we don't think about until we absolutely need them, and now that I have needed them, I'm glad I had them. 

1. A savings account 

Everyone's got an opinion on how much you should have. Some say 3 months worth of income. Dave Ramsey says $1,000 until you have other debts paid off. It doesn't matter what you have, just have something. It's bad enough to get into an accident, it's even worse if you have to figure out how you're going to pay for the deductible. It's nice having the peace of mind. 

2. Rental car coverage on your insurance 

Is your car the only means of transportation you have to get where you need to go? If you live out in the country like I do, the answer is yes. I can't rely on public transportation to get me to and from work. If this the case for you too, then there is no reason why you should not have the rental car coverage on your policy. I pay maybe $10 a year for it on my insurance and that got me $30 a day for a rental. If I didn't have the coverage on my policy I would be scrambling to find a way to and from school and work while my car is in the shop. 

3. A 401k

Knowing I have money for retirement is great, but there's more to it than that. I'm going to say something that goes against popular opinion. I have used my 401k for closing costs on my house and to pay for tuition one semester. Do I think it should be used as a first case scenario? Absolutely not, but I also think that if you're young you should use it if you need it. 

4.  A go to meal you can make

Everybody needs one recipe they can make, whether its a dip for a party, or a dinner for two. You need to know how to make something and contribute. 

5. A solid group of friends

Do I really have to explain myself here? 

What are some other things you think all adults must have?

Friday, March 13, 2015

End of the Week Roundup

This week has been a rough one. For the most part, every bad thing that happened would not have been a big deal if it had happened on its own but when it happens along with a bunch of other bad things, it makes for a bad week. It's during weeks like this one where I am reminded of the song "Lonely Day" by System of a Down when the song ends with "Such a lonely day, and it's mine. It's a day I'm glad I survived". I think I can definitely say I survived this week. 

1. Saturday wasn't all bad. It started out rough with my hairdresser cancelling on me because she was sick (understandable!) and the receptionist at her salon not being accommodating to me at all (not understandable). After she felt better my hairdresser called me and squeezed me in next Thursday. Anyway, not the point of this bullet, I also met up with my cousin and we had a crafting day. We decided to try out the arm knit scarf and I think it turned out great!

2. Tuesday a deer hit my car. Well I should say that a man driving in the opposite direction of me hit a deer which then sent the deer into my car. I cried for the deer. I cried for my car which has never been in a major accident in the 8 1/2 years that I've had it. I cried for the shock of it. Then I moved on. Dave, being the awesome husband that he is, picked up the rental for me while I took his truck to school for the evening. I, being the unobservant wife that I always am, crushed the flowers he left in the truck to lift my spirits by throwing my purse on top of them and not realizing they were in the car until I got to school. I'm an ass, I know, thanks.

3. My Quilts by Nicole page hit 200 likes on Thursday (yesterday). I definitely needed a good boost yesterday morning and that did the trick. I was so happy I held a quick one day giveaway and gave a bear away! Speaking of bears, I also finished the She-Ra bear that I shared with you guys last week. 

4. Also occurring on Thursday: Me catching Squish practicing for America's Next Top Model. 

5. I know it's not the "same" but I kinda know what parents are talking about when they talk about how cute their kids are. This is going to be creepy, but I'm okay with that, but I swear my cats are so cute they could be models. Please judge me silently or behind my back. 

That's it for this week, thank God it's over! How did your week turn out? 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

What Would You Do? -Bridesmaid Edition

Today's post is another round of "What Would You Do?" This time around it's the bridesmaid edition.

I've been a bridesmaid four times in my adult life. I've been asked five, but I turned down one girl. I'm pretty sure that's unheard of. Here's why I chose not to be a bridesmaid to the fifth girl. 

This should be part of awkward family photos. 
Being a bridesmaid is a role I take seriously, which I'm sure we all do. Part of that means being a honest, loyal, good friend. It also means taking on all the financial responsibilities that is required of a bridesmaid.

The girl who asked me, asked me at the same time my Aunt Penny did. I knew I couldn't afford being a bridesmaid in both and Aunt Penny would always take precedence in this situation, so I told the girl I couldn't afford to be in both weddings and left it at that.

The catch is that there was a deeper reasoning behind choosing not to be a part of her wedding. Honestly, if it meant enough to be I would have found a way, and the money, to be in both weddings. The bigger reason that I chose not to be in her wedding was because I didn't see myself being her friend in the future. 

I know that most of us usually have one bridesmaid that we lose touch with in our lifetime. It happens. The way that I see it is that that girl was an important part of your life at that moment in time but nothing lasts forever. In short, shit happens. But I believe that if you ask any of those girls at that time if they felt like they'd be friends forever, most of them would say yes. I felt that if I said I would be her bridesmaid while knowing that we wouldn't last as friends, I'd be doing a disservice to this girl and her wedding. 

Photo via Siousca Photography
I know you're probably wondering why I was even friends with someone if I didn't think we'd remain friends. It was a friendship of convenience, we were co-workers and didn't have many other friends in the company. She also wasn't a great friend to me, she was very bossy. It's not completely her fault, I allowed her to boss me around. We stopped speaking shortly after she left the company and she unfriended me twice on Facebook. There was no big blowout, no drama (well no major drama), we just drifted apart. 

 I'm glad I chose not to be a part of this girl's wedding day, not because of hard feelings I hold against this girl, because there are none, but because she won't have to look at a lost friendship when she looks through her wedding photos, which is something I knowingly prevented.

So what would you do? Would you be a part of someone's wedding if you didn't think you'd be friends in the end?

Monday, March 9, 2015

Egg in a Mug

This was previously a guest post on Steph's blog, Life According to Steph. It's too good not to share with you guys!
I love eggs with add ons like ham, cheese, tomatoes, or bacon. The problem is that when I'm at work making a decent breakfast isn't always an option. That's where egg in a mug comes in! 

It's super simple, all you need is egg beaters and then whatever add ins you'd like! I use 1/2 cup of egg beaters (which is the equivalent of 2 eggs) and prefer the Laughing Cow creamy Swiss cheese with some deli ham sliced up. I also highly recommend spraying the mug with some cooking spray before you put the eggs in for easier cleanup. 

Here's how you do it:

 That's all there is to it! Super easy and quick! Please come visit me at my blog, I'd love to hear from you!

Friday, March 6, 2015

End of the Week Roundup

Hello friends! Another Friday is upon us. This week has been slow, which is good for relaxing but tough for weekly roundups. 

1. Take yesterday for example, when a massive snowstorm hit. I stayed home and binge watched Breaking Bad and starting reading You. This is my idea of the perfect day, but most definitely not conducive to a thrilling blog post. You, by the way, is gripping. I hate how cliche that sounds, but it really has me sucked in. 

2. Cold days lead to adorable snuggling. 

3. Tuesday was another bad storm day. While waiting in traffic I decided to see if I could have any of life's philosophical questions answered. I should have known better than to ask Siri. She and I fight often. 

Is she calling me fat?

4. I started another bear this week, this time using She-Ra fabric. This particular fleece is a pain to work with because it's so soft and the fleece sheds a lot, but it'll be worth it for the end result. 

5. Snow days and cold nights leads to this, which is amazing until you have to get up and get huffed at.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

I'm apologizing in advance, I did not take any decent pictures for this post today. Please don't let the lack of nice photography deter you from making this delicious recipe! 

This soup is hearty, like one bowl and you're set hearty. One pot of this could give you soup for four plus another 4-6 servings for leftovers another day (or week!). 

What you need: 

-12 slices of bacon
-2/3 cup margarine
-2/3 cup all purpose flour
- 7 cups milk
-4 large baking potatoes, peeled and cubed
-4 green onions, chopped
-1 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
-1 cup sour cream
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp pepper

*side note: I normally cook/drink 2% milk, however for dishes like this I prefer to buy whole milk.

What you need to do:

1. Cook bacon in a large deep skillet, over medium heat until browned. Drain, crumble and set aside. 

2. In a stock pot or dutch oven, melt margarine over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth. 

3. Gradually stir in milk, whisking constantly until thickened. 

4. Stir in potatoes and onions, bring to a boil, stirring frequently. 

5. Reduce heat and simmer, 10 minutes. 

6. Mix in bacon, cheese,  salt, and pepper. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until cheese is melted. 

7. Enjoy!