Sunday, January 31, 2010


This past week was insane. That is why I've been MIA.

John was in Grand Rapids, Michigan for most of the week at a conference he goes to every year. (it was crazy cold up there too!)

It was a super busy here for me while he was gone. I have a huge event at work on Tuesday. The last minute planning consumed my week.

My productivity at home was next to nothing though. I had great intentions of doing lots of things around the house (organizing, cleaning things out, etc.) yet was completely unproductive until yesterday.

I did a little rearranging (read: I moved a chair), cleaned out the pantry. That involved taking everything out, cleaning the shelves and then putting the food back in an organized fashion. I also threw away LOTS of expired food.

That happens when you pack up your pantry, move, and then throw everything into your new pantry without checking dates or organizing. You forget about food that is way in the back.

And all the food that has not expired but doesn't not need to be in our pantry (read: processed junk with high fructose corn syrup) I have in a bag to donate to the food bank.

I don't feel right about throwing it away and yet at the same time I feel bad donating it to the food bank. I'll take some healthy things also.

I still have some blog catching up to do. Happy Sunday Friends!

Monday, January 25, 2010


me and d
picture taken last summer

I'm missing this girl!!! I haven't seen her since October and now I can't even talk to her on the phone because she is in Africa!

Dinah and I go way back. We met almost 9 years ago (OMIGOSH has it been that long) when we moved in next door to each other in the dorm at Baylor.

Dinah...I MISS YOU!!
UPDATE! I got a text from her today!!!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

2 different weekends, 2 different locations, exact same thing

Game Weekend
The first weekend of January was spent in Sugar Land. The Broadduses got a fabulous new game that they had been talking about for quite some time. We learned how to play and became hooked.

Game Weekend
We started the weekend off with dinner at PF Changs. Perfect.

Game Weekend

Settlers of Catan was played for hours and hours. And it was very difficult to call it a night. But we knew the next day would be more game playing.

Game Weekend
The very next weekend we got a call from Patrick and Courtney. They were on their way to Victoria and they were bringing Settlers! Actually, they said they were coming to spend the night and we told them they were only welcome if they brought Settlers.

So we played again. And I won for the first time. So did John but I was so happy that I won a game for once.
Game Weekend

Patrick and Courtney...when are we going to play again?!?

Game Weekend

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Apple Grilled Cheese

Apple Grilled Cheese

I asked John tonight (as we were eating this sandwich for the 4th time in 2 not like us) if he would rather eat this or The Ultimate BLT. He said he would eat one of each.

This is from the Clean Eating magazine and it is AMAZING. The sweet apple slices add so much to the sandwich and are a perfect pair with the cheddar. Then the coarse grain mustard gives the whole thing a kick that makes this the best sandwich. Serve with a yummy bowl of vegetable soup and this is a perfect, quick weeknight meal.

This recipe makes 2 sandwiches but you can easily double it for 4.

Apple Grilled Cheese
adapted from Clean Eating Magazine

4 slices whole grain bread
1 teaspoon olive oil
whole grain dijon mustard
2 ounces low fat cheddar cheese, finely grated
granny smith apple (I used honey crisp) very thinly sliced

Brush one side of each piece of bread with the olive oil. Turn bread over and spread mustard on each side.

Arrange 1/2 of the cheese on one slice then layer of apples and then the remaining cheese. Top with the other slice of bread, oil side up.

Heat griddle or grill pan over medium low heat. Place sandwiches in pan and cook until light golden brown on bottom. Flip and continue to cook until cheese has melted.

Calories 220
Fat 7g
Carbs 27g
Fiber 4g
Sugar 6g
Protein 14g
Sodium 450mg
Cholesterol 5mg

happy tuesday

I'm going to be playing catch up the next few days with things that have been going on. I'm a few weeks behind on blogging. In the a few random thoughts for today.

*I had the day off yesterday. Yay! I didn't know until Friday at 5:00 so it was a great way to start my weekend. I started my day off with a trip to the dermatologist and then spent the whole day lounging and doing nothing. I enjoyed it and needed it.

*I am LOVING clementine oranges right now. Been loving them for a couple months now. I love that you can get them this time of year (when other fruit isn't quite as good) and they are only 40 calories each!

*The weather is supposed to be in the 70s this week. I am SO EXCITED! This little North Texas girl is quickly adjusting to the South Texas weather.

*One of my favorite things right now is an amazing website called Rue La La. You may have heard of it. I got several Christmas presents from this site. It is a sample sale site of all things designer. Everyday they have new boutiques to check out and you can get some amazing deals on their stuff. But it is By-Invitation-Only. But don't worry, I am inviting you to join...

Rue La La is a By-Invitation-Only Sample Sale site. Click Here to sign up using my personal invitation link. This link will grant you immediate access to the site after you sign up. (FYI - If you just sign up the regular way you will just be put on the waiting list.)

Happy Tuesday friends!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Gingerbread People

I received an early Christmas present from my mother in law this year and it was this precious Gingerbread People Cakelets pan from Williams-Sonoma. These little guys are so precious.

*I'm calling them People to be gender inclusive. Girls wear pants too and because they aren't decorated you can't even tell. That's about as "political" as I will get on this blog. :)

Even if you don't have this pan, use this recipe and make cupcakes. It's very good!Gingerbread Men
When I made them I simply sprinkled them with powdered sugar because I didn't want to take the time to decorate. I was making many things that day and wanted something quick. But I can't wait until next year when I can make them again and create little people. Oh it will be cute! And the recipe I used was the recipe that came with the pan. It was SO GOOD. I don't think I will be trying another.

Gingerbread Men

adapted from Williams-Sonoma

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup molasses
3/4 cup whole milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the wells of the cakelet pan very well.

Over a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, ginger, cloves, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the brown sugar and beat until the mixture is pale and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and beat until incorporated, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl, then beat in the molasses.

Reduce the speed to medium-low and add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour. Beat just until combined.

Spoon about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the batter into each of the wells. Use a toothpick to spread the batter into the arms, legs and head. Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 10-12 minutes.

Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Invert the cakelets onto the rack and let cool completely. Continue baking the rest of the batter and decorate as desired.

*I had trouble with my cakelets just "falling" out of the pan on their own. I sort of had to pull them out carefully. The original recipe called to grease and flour the pan, but I found that just greasing very well worked best.


Devastation. I can't even imagine. Watching the news this morning was heartbreaking.

A daughter who was there for a school trip. Her parents got a message, "I'm okay" and they are rejoicing.

A family in Seattle waiting on final paperwork so they can bring their 2 adopted children home. They are relieved to find out their children are okay.

Photo credit here.

Hundreds of thousands dead. So many hopeless. Homeless. Hungry.

An orphanage owner this morning said that the people of Haiti are in the streets PRAISING GOD.

Praising God that they are alive.

There are so many ways to help.

Update: Pioneer Woman is doing something pretty amazing over at her blog...go help her out!

Text "disaster" to 90999 to donate to Compassion's disaster relief program.

Text "Haiti" to 90999 to donate to Red Cross.

Texting is such an easy way to help. It will take you less than 30 seconds to help. It will be billed to your phone bill.

Buy a t-shirt from here. (Thanks Sean and Ashley.)

Every little bit counts.

And join so many in praying for the people of Haiti and those who are there already helping and those who are on their way.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix

This is another one of those fabulous things that you just have to have around the holidays. It's creamy, chocolatey and just warms your soul.

And it's so chocolatey! So rich and yummy! I made one batch for gifts to friends and then had to make a second batch because my husband really hates it when I make things for other people and don't save any for him.
Hot Chocolate

2 vanilla beans
4 cups granulated sugar
1½ lbs. good quality semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 cups Dutch process cocoa powder

Split and scrape the vanilla beans. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine the vanilla beans, sugar, semisweet and Dutch process cocoa powder. Process in 4-second pulses until the chocolate is very finely ground and the mixture is well combined. Store the mix in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Serving Instructions:
Combine 2 tablespoons cocoa mix with 8 oz. of very warm milk and stir to combine until well blended.

Hot Chocolate
This is so wonderful and rich all by itself. Perfect for a cold wintery night. Or..

Hot Chocolate
Topped off with a little whipped cream. This is the stuff from the red can but feel free to make your own. This was just easier. Or...

Hot Chocolate
Top with Homemade Peppermint Marshmallows! They melt a little and are just divine.

Hot Chocolate
Either way, it's going to be one of the best cups of hot chocolate you've ever had. Promise.

full-o-words Wednesday

I've got a lot going on in my head today and a lot to say so instead of Wordless Wednesday we're going to have full-o-words Wednesday.

A goal of ours this year is to buy a home. And we'd really love to take advantage of the first time homebuyers tax credit that goes until April 30, 2010. Or June 30, 2010 if you have a contract by blah blah blah....

I spent quite a bit of time researching last night about all this home buying stuff and it's pretty overwhelming, confusing and way over my head. But the more I read the more I understand so I guess I'm..what do you call it? Oh learning. Yes, I guess I'm learning.

It's exciting and crazy scary all at the same time.

We started back up with Netflix again. We thought it would be a good way to save money on going to the movies. As long as we watch 2 movies a month (which is way easy to do). I love movies and it's so fun to set up your queue. There's even an app for that. (Apple should pay me to be on their commercial.) It's called iPhlix.

We purchased a sound machine last week and it came in the mail today. It is going to be so nice because what we have been using as "noise" is so tacky. A fan. Not the ceiling fan, but a dusty plug into the wall fan. When it's in the teens at night and we are so cold that thing is still running because we like the noise. I can't wait to use the sound machine tonight.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Triple Chocolate Clusters

Just about that time you finally start eating healthy again I decide to show you all the holiday baking I did. I know, I'm temptation. But I just have to share these. They're heavenly.

Triple Chocolate Clusters
Triple Chocolate Clusters. White chocolate, milk chocolate and semi sweet chocolate. Yes. Yes please. Once again, so simple yet so delicious and amazing. The key here is to use quality chocolate. Not the most expensive out there, but don't skimp either. I use Ghirardelli and it's very good.

Triple Chocolate Clusters

Triple Chocolate Clusters

2 (4 ounce) white chocolate bars
1 cup milk chocolate morsels
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate morsels
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
1 1/2 cups broken pretzels

Melt all of the chocolate in a saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. (You do not want it to burn so low and stir constantly!) Stir in pecans and pretzels. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Refrigerate until hardened. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 1 month.

Monday, January 11, 2010

NYE 2009

New Year's Eve was very different for us this year. I guess last year was different too. We rang in the new year as we were unloading our car after driving in from our ski trip to Santa Fe. We kissed at midnight as we were lugging suitcases up to our apartment.

This year we went with the youth group to Port Aransas for their mid-winter retreat. The beach on NYE. Almost 100 youth. So fun!

Youth Retreat
On our way down, we had these sweet sweet girls in our car. They were troopers as we got lost, turned around (even though we had a GPS) and even as John got pulled over in a crazy-should be-illegial speed trap! (he got a verbal warning because we were on a church trip.)

Youth Retreat
We spent all day Thursday doing all kinds of fun games. First was a scavenger hunt and each team had a Flip video camera that they used to capture all the shenanigans. Then we headed down to the beach for games only a youth pastor could come up with!

Youth Retreat
I really think the purpose of this game was see how long it takes to make a bunch of youth tired!

Youth Retreat
But they never figured that out. They loved it and had a blast.

Youth Retreat
Okay, so this game. I'm not sure if it was part of the regularly scheduled games or if it just happened. But the goal is to get people out by having them touch the trash can. The guys were so rough. You have to keep holding hands the whole time.

Youth Retreat
So they just pull each other so hard until someone touches the trash can. This guy was pretty good.

Youth Retreat
But he eventually crashed into it and he was out.

Youth Retreat
Oh my, then the girls tried it.

Youth Retreat
They weren't quite as rough and brutal as the guys, but pretty close. And it doesn't help when a surprise trash can gets thrown in.

Youth Retreat
For ringing in the New Year we had a 50s Sock Hop. It was pretty fun. Complete with bubble blowing contests.

Youth Retreat
This girl was awesome. She got gum in her hair and didn't even let it bother her. She kept going!

Youth Retreat
Oh yes, even I participated and posted this so not cute picture of myself as evidence.

Youth Retreat
And LIMBO! What is a Sock Hop without Limbo!?!

Youth Retreat
How low can you go?

Youth Retreat
Okay, I must explain. These were 2 of our college leaders and they dressed up as if they were from the year 2050 because "they never said what 50s!" And they're Aggies. It explains a lot.

Youth Retreat
My hubs on the drums. Yes, we were some of the few who did not dress up.

Youth Retreat
I hope you all had a Happy New Year!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Best Pecan Bars Ever

Period. Seriously, these are out of this world amazing. The buttery crust with the caramely pecan top. Mmmm. Just wish these were still around.

Pecan Bars

I made these twice this season. Once as part of the gifts for John's co-workers and again right before Christmas when John's mom and sister came to visit. Why twice? Well they are delicious and EASY!

Pecan Bars

The Best Pecan Bars Ever

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups pecan pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar and salt at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add flour, beating well to combine. Press into the bottom of a 13x9 inch baking dish. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until the crust is lightly golden.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, brown sugar and vanilla. Stir in the pecans and pour over baked crust.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until set. Let the bars cool completely and the cut into bars to serve.

Friday, January 8, 2010

eating clean

So several people have commented, emailed and tweeted asking questions about this new clean eating I'm doing.

The idea started last year (I just like saying that..really November) when my mom and I were talking about eating healthy again after the holidays. She mentioned to me that a friend of hers had done this. So we talked about this for a couple months. Really getting ourselves pumped up to start in January. What we are following is The Eat Clean Diet.

It's amazing how great I am feeling after only a few days. And I love knowing everything that is going into my body. I love being able to read and pronounce everything going into my body. Nothing artificial (read: no sodas, diet sodas, splenda, sweet n low, etc.) To sweeten stuff, use honey or agave nectar. Everything is clean and natural.
John is enjoying it also. He doesn't follow to a T like I do, but he's doing great. And the yummy food we are enjoying helps. Last night we had salmon, roasted broccoli and whole wheat couscous with cranberries and almonds. And for dessert...spice broiled grapefruit.

Yeah, pretty good stuff.
You will start seeing some of these recipes popping up over at Lindsay's Kitchen. And a few holiday treats that I have not posted yet from November and December.
Check out the Eat Clean website. Also, the book is on sale at Target right now (my mom had to get it for me because our little Target here in Victoria did not carry it). But they did have the cookbook and I'm using that as well.
If you have any questions or comments email me or leave a comment.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Balsamic Vinaigrette

Balsamic Vinaigrette

John loves salad. My husband would rather have salad as a late night snack than anything else. I know..he's so weird. And he's so weird that it has to be a homemade vinaigrette. This one is one of his favorites.

Balsamic Vinaigrette

It is very easy to put together and can be stored in the fridge for up to a week.

Balsamic Vinaigrette

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons honey
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 small shallots, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup extra virgin olive oil

Combine first 7 ingredients. While whisking, slowly pour in olive oil. Serve over salad greens.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Homemade Applesauce

For some reason I had an abundance of apples (I'm talking 20 something apples). I usually do not buy that many apples but I had some, then honeycrisp apples were on sale for .99/pound which is super cheap!

So I thought about just eating a couple apples a day for several days but thought there must be something better to do with them.

Since we are eating healthy right now I knew a dessert wouldn't be the best idea. So I went with applesauce. I used Simply Apple juice to cook the apples, but apple cider would work great as well. I started with 1/4 cup of sugar because I didn't want to overdo it on the sugar and it was the perfect amount. Depending on the sweetness of your apples you can do more or less.

And a plus..besides tasting great this makes your house smell AMAZING!

Homemade Applesauce

12 apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
1 cup apple cider or juice
2 lemons, juiced
1 cinnamon stick
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 cup sugar

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat for 1 hour stirring occasionally. As the apples cook they will break down. Remove the cinnamon stick before serving.

This would be excellent served warm over vanilla bean ice cream or just by itself!

Monday, January 4, 2010

2010 resolutions

this year i will...

..take at least one picture everyday. my goal is a 365 project and even have a blog for it. i actually created this blog 1 year ago attempting to do the same thing but it never took off. i'm going to try again.

..continue with my weight loss journey. i lost 40 pounds last year and gained some back after we moved to victoria. i want to finish this journey and hopefully my resolution next year will be to maintain.

..keep a clean and organized house. our first house this year.

so that's my list.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Gonzales Meatloaf

This meatloaf is INCREDIBLE. It is so flavorful, different and fabulous. Serve this with the Roasted Poblano Mac n Cheese for an amazing meal. Great for a weeknight and perfect for entertaining on the weekends. Your family and guests will love this!

Gonzales Meatloaf

Gonzales Meatloaf
Lady's Recipe

2 pounds ground sirloin
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup fine, dry breadcrumbs
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium-size red onion, chopped
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons hot sauce
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Combine all ingredients. Shape into a 9- x 5-inch loaf, and place on a lightly greased wire rack in a baking pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes; increase heat to 425 degrees, and bake 15 more minutes or until done. Let meat loaf stand 10 minutes before serving.

Roasted Poblano Mac n Cheese

Happy New Year friends! I hope you all had a wonderful and blessed Christmas and a fabulous New Year!

One of my New Year's resolutions is to blog more here. I did an okay job last year, but I want to be much more consistent.

Roasted Poblano Mac n Cheese
After Christmas we went up to Dallas to visit my family. One night at my mom's house she made this AMAZING meal. She knew John loved meatloaf (recipe coming soon). I'm not kidding, this is probably one of the best meals I've ever had. And it is so easy to prepare ahead of time.

This mac n cheese is very similar to most homemade baked versions but with the addition of the roasted poblanos it has an extra zing. And the goat cheese makes this SO creamy! Even if you do not like goat cheese, you should still add this. You can't taste it. It just adds amazing creaminess.
Roasted Poblano Mac n Cheese

Roasted Poblano Mac n Cheese
Lady's Recipes

4 poblano peppers
1 pound uncooked elbow macaroni
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
3 cups (12 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
1 4 ounce package goat cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Parmesan cheese

Broil poblanos on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet 5 inches from heat about 5 minutes on each side or until poblanos look blistered.

Place chiles in a zip-top plastic bag; seal and let stand 10 minutes to loosen skins. Peel chiles; remove and discard seeds, and dice. Set aside.

Prepare macaroni according to package directions; drain and set aside.

Melt butter in a Dutch oven over low heat; whisk in flour until smooth. Cook 1 minute, whisking constantly. Gradually whisk in cream and milk; cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, 5 minutes or until mixture is thickened and bubbly.

Stir in 2 3/4 cups Monterey Jack cheese, goat cheese, and salt until smooth. Stir in roasted poblanos and macaroni.

Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Top evenly with Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese.

Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes. Remove from oven, and sprinkle evenly with remaining 1/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese.

Broil 5 inches from heat about 3 to 5 minutes or until cheese is golden and bubbly.

Christmas Day 2009

Our first Christmas in Victoria. It was so much fun hosting and cooking Christmas Eve snacks and appetizers, Christmas morning breakfast and Christmas dinner.

John's mom, Susan and his sister, Sara came for Christmas this year and we all had so much fun together.

Obviously Santa showed up and brought a huge loot!


Sara, she is so in style right now with that huge bow on her head!

John using a Williams Sonoma ribbon as a Karate Kid type headband. It came off quickly because of the headache it was causing.

My favorite moment of the day..John opening his tickets to go see Jim Gaffigan live. His favorite comedian.

Love that look!

So happy!

Our Christmas dinner..praline glazed ham, corn pudding, spinach and cheese puff, mashed potatoes, mixed greens with avocado cranberries and walnuts and PW's buttered rosemary rolls.

We finished off the day with long game of Phase 10. John's hands were pretty tired so he used the next best thing. (PS: these last couple photos were taken using my new lens that John gave me!)

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!
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