Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Well, Halloween is not nearly the same as it used to be! Growing up, October 31st felt like a completely different day. Filled with candy, costumes, parties, pumpkins and fun. Today, it was filled with errands, cleaning house and other chores.

I did try to throw me and Josh a little "Halloween party". I decorated our kitchen counter, had pizza, orange soda, popcorn, candy and decorated sugar cookies (thanks to my darling pre-k student!). It was fun and it did help make it feel a little more like Halloween! And, yes, I did get a tummy-ache after all of that wonderful junk food!

I do hope that excitement comes back when we have kids or something....I miss the excitement that comes with holidays. I still love holidays and love celebrating, it just doesn't feel the same anymore. But, I did have a very happy Halloween and I hope you did, too!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Much better than the brownies....

In my pre-k class this week, we learned about pumpkins, fall, etc. So, today we made pumpkin muffins. It was fun and the kids got to do a "taste test" and tell us what they tasted like! It was cute! It went much better than the roasted pumpkin seeds from Tuesday which had comments ranging from "they taste like bugs" to "YUCKY!!!". I'm sure their parents have gotten a kick out of their papers this week!

Well, the recipe for the pumpkin muffins was VERY simple and much healthier than my mom's pumpkin bread, although I still like regular pumpkin bread the best! I found this recipe in our church cookbook (thank you, Janet!) while rummaging through.

Pumpkin Mini Muffins

-1 small can pumpkin

-1 box spice cake mix

-1/2 cup water

Mix together (batter will be thick) and put in greased muffin tin. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes.

By the way, the some of the kids said that they tasted like everything from blueberries, to chocolate milk, to corn! I bet you're just DYING to try them now!


Sorry for my lack of posts the past few weeks! It seems like there is constantly something filling my time! And it's not even TV or dirty dishes or even laundry!! I'm staying very busy, but everything is going well! I'm enjoying my more flexible schedule this semester, but it seems to almost be busier than when I was teaching that possible??? I've told Josh for the past few weeks every Sunday night that my Mondays and Wednesdays are completely open during the day and that I AM going to keep them that way and that I'm NOT going to commit to anything on those days. Has that happened yet??? Of course not!!! So, I guess I'm a liar:)

I'm going to An Affair of the Heart on Saturday with a good friend and I'm very excited!! I'll post if I find anything exciting! I am excited to look for baby bows, clothes, etc. for my niece (arriving soon!!) and maybe a Christmas gift or two!

I'm happy to say that I finally have a home for all of my "new" wedding glass serving dishes! Thanks, Josh, for putting together the shelves!! Now the empty boxes in the "baby's room" are another story.....

Monday, October 22, 2007

Pam's Sour Cream Chicken Enchilladas

Here is a great crockpot recipe from my mother-in-law:

Sour Cream Chicken Enchilladas (serves 4-6)

A ingredients:
3 chicken breasts (cooked, chopped)
2 cans cream of chicken soup
16oz sour cream
2 small cans diced mild chiles

tortilla Chips
grated cheddar cheese

Mix together "A ingredients". Spray crockpot with cooking spray. Layer twice: chips, mixture, cheese. Cook on low for 3 to 4 hours.

Lowfat version:
-reduced fat soup
-fat-free sour cream
-baked tortilla chips
-reduced fat cheese

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Happy Fall Break to Me!

Pictures of wedding gifts yet to be opened that are
now in the "baby's room"!

Tonight's dessert...yum!

Well, here's what my fall break looked like today:

8:00 alarm goes off-hit snooze

8:15 get out of bed/start coffee brewing

8:20 hop in the shower/get dressed

8:40 make cinnamon rolls for Josh and his old college buddy who spent the night last night

8:50 finish getting ready

9:00 take cinnamon rolls out and serve

9:15 guys leave for OC, where Josh taught today; eat my cinnamon rolls, clean up breakfast dishes, load dishwasher

9:45 re-clean house, start two loads of laundry

10:00 go to Target to shop for chocolates for school auction basket

10:30 got to Hobby Lobby to shop for school auction basket

11:00 go to Mimi's Cafe to p/up gift certificates for school auction

11:15 get home, unload car, heat up bowl of leftover chicken enchillada soup

11:30 clean up kitchen, get grungy clothes to take to my mom's, start another load of laundry, check email

12:30 leave for Edmond errands-p/up donations-gift certificates at Goldies and painting at art gallery

1:00 get to Mom's and start cleaning out my closet, bathroom, bedroom and garage w/ all of my old stuff from when I was a kid AND all of my wedding gifts that we have yet to use!

2:00 take a load of old junk to the thrift store; do more cleaning out/loading up

3:30 realize there still is tons of junk and the old antique furniture that I had planned on taking to my house is disgusting, so we make another trip to the thrift store w/my Mom's SUV filled completely

5:00 finally done sorting, cleaning and loading...head to my house

5:30 finsh unloading massive amount of wedding gifts into the "baby's room" ; check email

6:00 start cooking dinner (grilled chicken...thanks Josh!, roasted veggies, salad w/ homemade dressing, grapes, garlic bread)

6:30 start eating:)

7:00 eat leftover apple pie (a la mode, of course)!

7:30 Josh is good and heads to the gym, Aubrey is tired from manual labor today and decides to blog and take a hot bath instead:)

Now, doesn't that all sound like so much fun?!?!?

I will say that I'm VERY excited about all of the serving pieces that I get to use 31/2 years later!!! It felt like Christmas everytime we dug another gift out of the giant box in the garage! Yay for great wedding gifts!!!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

We're Back!

Josh and I just got back from a fun and relaxing extended weekend trip to Kansas City. Oddly enough, neither of us had ever been there before! Here is what we did, don't worry, you don't have to read the whole thing. I just wanted to be able to look back and remember what we did!

We left Friday night for Wichita and stayed at the Hyatt there, which was really nice. We went downstairs to one of the restaurants and had a tasty molten chocolate cake with raspberry sauce, which we devoured in under 3 minutes. We just watched TV the rest of the evening and relaxed.
Saturday morning we went to a different hotel restaurant and had a big breakfast buffet, which was really good! They had tons of different toppings for your cereal, even. They had dried fruits, nuts of every sort! We then packed up and headed out for the remaining 3 hours of drive time to Kansas City.

It rained the whole way to KC, so we were thinking that the rest of our trip would be ruined, but fortunately, the weather was great! We checked into our hotel, an old renovated apartment building w/lots of character and a great view of the city and then headed to the most over-rated BBQ joint ever! We went to Arthur Bryant's, a nasty hole-in-the wall place that was supposed to be the best ever, but wasn't. It was hyped up with celebrities, presidents, etc. all over the wall. We were not impressed. After waiting about an hour in line to go up and get our greasy BBQ, we were pretty tired. It was, however, an interesting experience.

We spent the rest of Saturday going to Union Station, which was beautiful, the Crown shops, an art museum w/ performance and going for gelato (not the best ever, but still good).
We woke up Sunday and actually went to workout downstairs...yay for us! Sunday was gorgeous! We stayed in the Country Club Plaza area, which was really fun! We were able to walk everywhere from our hotel, which was nice. We went to a fun coffee shop, Scooter's, for lattes and pastries for breakfast, shopped at all of the fun stores, had lunch at Mi Cocina, shopped some more, had a wonderful strawberry shortcake at the Cheesecake Factory, went to the contemporary art museum, took pictures at the WWI memorial and then ate at The Mixx for dinner, a fun local slightly more upscale sandwich and salad shop. We went back to our room and crashed!
Monday we woke up, went back to the Crown Center Shops for some fudge to take home with us. It was the only fudge that even comes close to my mom's fudge. My mom's fudge is still definitely the winner! Then we headed to another local BBQ joint, Gates. It was much cleaner and nicer and we actually liked it better. Plus you could get your BBQ on a bun, not just Wonder Bread, and it tasted much better! We then headed out of town. We stopped off in Wichita to shop and stretch.

That about sums up our fun-filled, relaxing weekend! I'll try to post more regularly now:)

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Lifetime Supply

I remember staying up late in college snacking, watching movies and laughing it up with my great friend, roommate and maid of honor, Kara. One recipe she gave me in college, that she would make often, was for "cookie salad". Although the name is odd, it really is tasty!

I of course still have buttermilk left from two weeks ago and it still has another week before it expires, so I made Kara's Cookie Salad for small group tonight. So, thanks, Kara for your recipe and the great college memories!

Cookie Salad (or as Shanna renamed it tonight, "cookie delight")
-2 cups buttermilk
-2 pkg. vanilla instant pudding
-2 small cans mandarin oranges, drained
-1 16oz tub cool whip
-1 pkg. fudge striped cookies, broken or use the minis

Mix the buttermilk with pudding mixes. It will look like a thick pudding. Fold in cookies, cool whip and oranges. Cover and refrigerate.

Friday, October 5, 2007

So I went against my usual "makeup policy" and did not wear any makeup today! I showered and left my hair to air-dry, too! (No, I'm NOT posting pictures! )Wow....I'm getty brave! But, luckily I've been home all day, so I guess it's okay! I must say, I've been very comfy all day (in my workout pants) and I've enjoyed not having to fuss over hair and makeup.

Josh was doing yard work, so I needed something that didn't require a whole lot of timing for dinner. I couldn't figure out what to do, so I improvised with my own off-the-cuff version of chicken chili with what I had on hand. . I pretty much just threw everything into a pot. But, Josh seemed to like it. He went back for seconds, if that's any indication:)

Chicken Chili (for 2)
-1 boneless, skinless chicken breast (cooked and chopped)-I used frozen and cooked it in the microwave
-chopped onion (approx. 1/4 cup)-I used frozen
-cumin (to taste)
-chili powder (to taste)
-minced garlic (to taste)
-salt (to tasted)
-1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
-1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained (I didn't have any, but they would have been good)

Cook the onions in saucepan until transparent. Add rest of the ingredients and heat thoroughly. Serve over brown rice and top with shredded cheese and crumbled tortilla chips.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Roasted Vegetables

Yay! I finally got to cook tonight! It has been a weird week, so I haven't cooked much. Tonight Josh grilled chicken for us and then we had roasted veggies, roasted potatoes and apples for sides. It was a pretty healthy and tasty meal!

Roasted vegetables are my favorite go-to side! They're always flavorful and a great way to get my veggies! Fresh produce always goes bad at my house, so I prefer frozen!

Roasted Vegetables (serves 4)

1/2 bag frozen brocolli

1/2 bag frozen carrots

1/2 bag frozen non-breaded okra (optional, but good)

1/4 bag frozen pepper stir fry mix (r,y,g peppers and onions)

2 squash or zuchinni, sliced (if you want to use some fresh veggies)

1/2 cup (or enough to liberally coat veggies) Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)

Kosher Salt (or regular salt)- to taste

Pepper-to taste

1 tsp. dried rosemary

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Toss until well coated. Add more seasonings and EVOO as necessary. Pour onto large cookie sheet and spread into a single layer. Bake for 1 hour, tossing veggies occasionally, or until veggies are nicely browned.

My quick version: combine all ingredients in a large pot and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, for about 15 to 20 minutes or until vegetables are nicely browned.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Easy Cookies

Today was a great day of nothingness! I did a little early Christmas shopping, slept late, ate Chick-fil-a for lunch with Josh, worked out, went to church, had McAlister's Deli for dinner with some friends, and had Starbuck's with Josh for "dessert". It was a great day!! I love Mondays and Wednesdays! I'm getting a little spoiled! I didn't even work a wink today, and yet I didn't have to! That's the life!

Now for tomorrow....back to the real world! Work, cooking, cleaning, etc....

Here's a very easy and inexpensive recipe for ya! I pretty much always have the ingredients ready to make them.

Easy Cookies

1 cake mix (any flavor---I use yellow or devil's food usually)

2 eggs

1/2 cup oil

1 cup chocolate chips (optional...I always use them:))

nuts, coconut, m&m's, etc. (optional)

Mix all ingredients and spread into ungreased 9x13 pan and bake at 350 degrees for approx. 15-20 minutes or until lightly golden. These can also be dropped by teaspoon and baked for 6-8 minutes, or until lightly golden.

Cool on a cookie sheet and serve.

I love to put extra chocolate chips and m&m's on top! These aren't healthy, but quite the easy treat! The guys in our small group always laugh and call these "Aubrey cookies" because they are always LOADED with lots of chocolate and m&ms!!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

These are a few of my favorite things....

I have a few new favorite things that I've discovered lately:

Harry and David's Dark Chocolate Maltballs!!!

These are SOOOO good!!! I am following in my mother's footsteps and really loving dark chocolate! I found these on clearance today at Target (no, they weren't expired) and they were wonderful!!! I've had at least 8 so far....I keep craving more! The chocolate on these is very good and very thickly coating the malted center, which is also perfect! YUMM-O!!! Now I'm just hoping they don't discontinue these!

Bandaid's Blister Block

I am constantly buying cheap shoes that are cute, but VERY uncomfortable and always getting horrible blisters. Not anymore!!! Thanks to this product, which is like a miniature deoderant stick you can carry in your purse, I no longer get blisters from my cute ballet flats! YAY!!

Starbuck's bottled Frappucinos

I no longer have to put cream and sugar in my coffee, because I just dump 1/2 a bottle of mocha frappucino into my hot coffee and my coffee is now perfectly sweetened, creamy and not so hot!

Oil of Olay Daily Regenerist Face Wash

I am trying to get my skin back in shape, and this cleanser is perfect! It exfoliates, cleanses and leaves your skin very soft! I love this product! Even my mom and sister-in-law use it, or at least they have in the past!

Target's Apricot Scrub

For $2.09, you can get gentle exfoliation! I bought the kind for blemish-prone skin. I love using it in the shower and it's gentle enough to use every day! How can you beat a $2 product?!?

Vitamin Water

I've been trying to stop my coke addiction and so far I'm surviving! I still will have the occasional Coke, but now, thanks to these Glaceau Vitamin Waters, I don't even crave cokes very often! They come in many great flavors like strawberry-kiwi, fruit punch, blueberry-pomegranate, orange and more! I have actually made it the entire first month of school without caving in and getting a coke, thanks to these waters that last me all afternoon, due to the size. Yes, they still have calories, but they aren't nearly as addictive. And, I'm getting vitamins....that counts, right?!?

Monday, October 1, 2007

Nice and Sweaty!

Josh and I just got back from our kickboxing class. It's really fun, but very intense! It was nice tonight because we basically got a free 1 hour personal training session, since we were the only ones to show up! We try to go every Monday night. It's something fun we can do together and he (the trainer) pushes us much further than we would push ourselves in our other weekly workout sessions.

On another note, one of the great perks to working part time right now is the ability to have more time to help my family and spend valuable time with them. Last Wednesday I was able to drive Gran with my mom to Enid. It gave me the opportunity to visit with my grandmother and have lunch with her. It was also fun to do a mini roadtrip with my mom, which we rarely do! Today I was able to spend the afternoon taking Grandma to the doctor here in OKC with my mom and aunt. Once again, I was able to spend some valuable time with my family. I don't get to see my grandmothers very often, so I was so fortunate to have my days free to be with them.

While I don't mind working at all, I love the opportunities my "new life" is allowing me! I can now spend time lunching with friends, spending time with family, and I can be a better and more attentive wife! I thank God every day for my "new life". I am so much happier and less stressed now than I have been in our 3 plus years of marriage. Thank you, Josh for allowing me to quit my full-time teaching job to teach pre-k twice a week, keep babies and be a wife! You are AMAZING!!! Also, thanks for letting me drag you to the kickboxing classes! Speaking of....I've GOT to hit the shower!!!