Saturday, December 31, 2011

Menu 1/1-1/8

Sunday: Buffalo Wild Wings/Pizza
Breakfast: Oatmeal with peanut butter, raisins, and fruit
Lunch: BLTs with fruit
Dinner: Grilled Chicken Breast with rice and veggies
Snack: Protein Shake
Breakfast: Egg white omelet with veggies and turkey bacon
Lunch: Tuna Salad/Fresh and Easy meal
Dinner: Spaghetti with garlic bread and veggies
Snack: Cottage Cheese with pineapple
Breakfast: Oatmeal with peanut butter, raisins, and fruit
Lunch: Chicken Salad/Fresh and Easy meal
Dinner: Steak with rice and veggies
Snack: Protein Shake and yogurt
Breakfast: Egg white omelet with veggies and turkey bacon
Lunch: Turkey Salad/Turkey Sandwich
Dinner: Salmon with veggies and fruit
Snack: Cottage cheese with pineapple
Breakfast: Oatmeal with peanut butter, raisins, and fruit
Lunch: Chicken Salad/PB&J
Dinner: Tacos with corn and fruit
Snack: Protein Shake
Breakfast: Egg white omelet with veggies and turkey bacon
Lunch: BLTs with fruit
Dinner: Chillis for S's birthday and early celebration for H's birthday
Snack: Birthday cake
Breakfast: Oatmeal with peanut butter, raisins and fruit
Lunch: Turkey salad/turkey sandwich
Dinner: Pot Roast
Snack: Cottage cheese with pineapple

Monday, December 12, 2011

One Picture

Hey I actually finished this challenge, maybe not as fast as I should have but I got it done! So here is a picture of me with H. This is one of my favorite pictures of the two of us. I just think H looks so happy and is obviously having a great time. 

I have also added a before and after picture of my weight loss because I am proud and would love to motivate others to become healthier too. 

Blueberry Muffins

We got some blueberries in our Basket this weekend and I knew right away I would be making some Blueberry Muffins. I love Blueberry Muffins, S isn't a huge fan and is particular about how hard the tops can be. I used Jonni McCoy's recipe from Healthy Meals for Less as a base for my recipe. I thought these turned out great and they made a lot too which is always nice.

Blueberry Muffins
Serves 18 muffins

2 cups whole wheat flour
1/3 cup Agave Nectar
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon Allspice
1 cup Skim milk
4 Egg whites
1/3 Mashed Banana
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1-1 1/2 cups blueberries

Combine all dry ingredients until mixed well. Add wet ingredients, except Blueberries. Mix until blended. Add blueberries and carefully fold into mix. 
Pour into paper lined muffin tins, filling them 2/3rds full. Bake at 400* for 20 minutes. 

Military Monday Blog Hop

I just discovered the Military Monday Blog Hop over at Semper Wifey, what a neat way to find out great mil spouse blogs! Head on over to link up or to read some great blogs by amazing military spouses. 

I am looking forward to reading these blogs myself! So Happy Monday and enjoy Military Monday Blog Hop! 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Two Songs

Seriously I think this is the hardest part of the challenge for me. I LOVE music and have so many songs that mean so much to me. How am I ever supposed to only list two? I can hear a song and be taken back to a certain place in time so quickly. I am mostly a country music girl but love songs from a variety of genres.

2. Eric Clapton. Tears In Heaven. This song was written by Mr. Clapton after his son, Conor, died in an tragic accident. It touches my heart so deeply because I think of my parents whenever I hear it, I know they are in heaven looking down and this song just hits home. I tear up whenever I hear it but I truly love it. I think Eric Clapton is an amazingly talented musician and love anything he plays. I also find that his music touches my heart because S can play many of Mr. Clapton's songs on his guitar beautifully. Some of the first songs I ever heard S play on his guitar were Eric Clapton's songs.

1. Amazing Grace. Wow I didn't pick any country songs as my favorites. :) Amazing Grace is such a touching song. It brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it. It was a song my Mom loved too so maybe that is why it is my favorite song. It is so touching. The version I linked is my cousin Amanda and my Uncle Roger singing it at my home church. (I love you guys!)

Here are some of my other favorites: Kenny Chesney I Go Back , Brad Paisley When I Get Where I am Going,  Audioslave Cochise, Creedence Clearwater Revival Have You Ever Seen the Rain? ,  Grateful Dead St. Stephen , Audioslave Like a Stone, Carrie Underwood Just A Dream, Terri Clark Poor Poor Pitiful Me,...well honestly I could go on and on and on so I better just stop before I bore you all to death!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Three Films

Today challenge is three films. I must say this isn't easy for me because honestly I don't sit still long enough to watch a movie very often. When I do watch a movie I am normally multitasking and not getting the whole movie in so this isn't easy for me.


Food Inc.  I know how does a documentary make the list right? This movie completely changed the way think about food. I wish I could live on or near a farm like Joel Salatin. I am forever grateful for this movie and authors like Michael Pollan for bringing my attention to our the problems within our food supply. If you haven't seen this movie I think it is extremely important that you sit down and watch it at least once. I have watched it many times and still learn things from it. 
Fried Green Tomatoes. It was hard to pick between Fried Green Tomatoes, Steel Magnolias or Driving Miss Daisy for the number 2 spot. I am weird aren't I, that these are my movies. But I love the classics I think that the wholesomeness of Fried Green Tomatoes and the others I mentioned that make it such a favorite of mine. Movies today are lacking so much that the movies of the past bring, sex isn't everything a movie and really isn't that necessary either right? 

1. Hope Floats  I don't know what it is about this movie but it is my all time favorite movie. I remember watching it with my Mom when I was a teenager and this movie just struck a cord with me. This is the only movie that I know a lot of lines and I can seriously watch it over and over again with no problem. I think it is just a wonderfully heartfelt movie. It all seems so real I guess and I think that is important. 

Bountiful Basket: 12/10/2011

This week we got all kinds of great things in our Basket as you can see from the picture. We also got 5 loaves of organic 9 Grain bread that I didn't take a picture of. What I love is that everything in our basket is organic! We feel that organic is best so I love that for only $26.50 I can bring home all of this great produce every week.
This week's basket contents include:
-Cherry Tomatos
-Green Bell Peppers
-Butternut Squash
I based our weekly meal plan on this basket as much as possible and can't wait to try some new dishes out.

If you are interested in Bountiful Baskets check out their website for more details!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Meal Plan Dec. 12 through Dec. 18

Monday Dec. 12th
Breakfast: Eggs and Bacon
Lunch: Fresh and Easy Bowl with fruit
Dinner: Whole Wheat Pizza Pockets

Tuesday Dec. 13th
Breakfast: Cereal/Oatmeal (S and H love this new cereal we discovered at Fresh and Easy, its organic and only has 4 ingredients)
Lunch: *Out to lunch*
Dinner: Chicken Fajitas

Wednesday Dec. 14th
Breakfast: French Toast with fruit
Lunch: Turkey Salad with fruit
Dinner: Alfredo using this  Alfredo Sauce  with garlic bread and veggies

Thursday Dec. 15th
Breakfast: Eggs and Bacon
Lunch: Grilled Cheese with Popcorn and Fruit
Dinners: Whole Wheat Pizza

Friday Dec. 16th
Breakfast: Cereal/Oatmeal
Lunch: Tuna Sandwich with fruit and Popcorn
Dinner: Tacos

Saturday Dec. 17th
Breakfast: Cereal/Oatmeal
Lunch: BLTs with fruit and Popcorn
Dinner: Cheesy Vegetable Stuffed Eggplant

Sunday Dec. 18th
Breakfast/Lunch: Buffalo Wild Wings
Dinner: Leftovers/Chipotle

Zuchinni Bread
Trail Mix
Cheesy Crackers

Wives of Faith Christmas Carnival Day 5

Today's topic over at Wives of Faith is:
 You Might Be a Military Spouse at Christmas If . . .

As I read that topic I thought of so many of the military spouses that are spending time apart from their spouses for the holidays. I also think of the ones like Jill over at Keep Calm and Have a Cosmo  who is going to be able to enjoy having her husband home just in time for the holidays. As a military spouse we get used to our spouses being gone for special events, its all part of the job, but it doesn't make it any easier. 

But to get to the purpose of this post for me you might be a military spouse at Christmas if your holiday festivities are overshadowed by an upcoming deployment. This will be the second Christmas in a row that we are facing a deployment quickly after the holidays. Christmas has become somewhat bittersweet for me because I realize that once Christmas is over we will be counting down the days until S gets on that plane once again to head around the world. I love Christmas but the past two years have made me want to slow this time down. I want to enjoy every moment because I know soon after we will be facing the challenges of another deployment. 

I praise God for giving me the strength, courage and determination to get through the last deployment on my end and am even more thankful that he brought S home safely. This year I am praying to God for S's safety and safe return and asking for the strength and courage to push through these months apart. So to me you might be a military spouse at Christmas if you are feeling bittersweet about Christmas with another deployment looming. 

Head over to Wives of Faith to read what other spouses think about being a military spouse at Christmas. 

Mil Spouse Fill In Friday

Its that time again...FRIDAY! Time for another Mil Spouse Fill in. Thanks Wife of a Sailor for setting this up every week. 

1. My favorite song of the season is  oh my goodness, just one?!?! Let's see I love Christmas music and seriously there isn't a song I don't think I like. :) I guess my favorites (yes, I can't name just one) would be: Mary Did You Know?, Silent Night, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Santa is Coming to Town, and The Christmas Song (Chestnuts roasting on an open fire...). Gee that was hard. 

2. Anyone who is willing to help others is someone who inspires me because so many people in today's world are only concerned with themselves. It takes a lot to break out of the mold and give to others. 

3. If I had $100,000 to give to a charity, I’d give it to man another hard one. There are so many wonderful Charities out there that do amazing work. I must say that I believe if I had $100,000 and could only give to one charity I would donate to the Wound Warrior Project. They do amazing things for our wounded men and women coming home. 

4. If I had a theme party, I’d make it a 20s themed flapper party. I think the outfits from that time period are so gorgeous, think The Great Gatsby . I love history so I think making it a time period that would require some historical research would be fun. I guess I am a nerd and maybe that is why I never organize theme parties. :) 

5. If I had one wish for my kids/future kids/some young person I care about, it would be that he would have respect for others and have a strong work ethic. Some many young people today feel entitled to things and don't believe they have to work for what they want. I hope that H understands that nothing in life is free and he must work hard to achieve success and that he will respect others. 

Head over to Wife of a Sailor to read more Mil Spouse fill ins or to link up your own. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Four Books

Okay here is where I disappoint all of because there aren't many books that I don't love and a lot of my favorites are classics. My friend Katie teases me because a lot of my favorites were assigned to me in school. So here is my list, which was very difficult to narrow down to just four.
4. She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb
3. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurty
2. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
1. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Some of my other favorites include: Terms of Endearment by Larry McMurty (Mr. McMurty is one of my favorite authors I don't think I have read a book I don't love by him). I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb, Catcher In the Rye by J.D. Salinger, Jane Eyre Charlotte Bronte, Water for Elephants by Sara Guren,  The Host by Stephanie Meyer and the list could go on and on and on. But those I think are my top four favorites.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Wives of Faith Christmas Blog Carnival Day 3

Today over at Wives of Faith they are talking about favorite Christmas memories. Boy do I have a lot of memories of Christmas time. My Mom always made sure Christmas was a magical time of year. I am so thankful for the memories that I am now able to treasure of Christmas past. My favorite memory though would be my Christmas Morning surprise when I was 5 or 6 years old.

My Mom worked as a Registered Nurse at our local hospital. This meant she worked every other weekend and some holidays. Since it was just my Mom and I (my Dad died when I was much younger) the weekends and holidays she worked I spent time with my extended family. This particular Christmas my Mom had to work at the hospital which meant I was staying at my Grammy's house.

On Christmas morning I woke up to celebrate the holiday with my Grammy, cousins, Aunt, and Uncle but I must admit I was a little sad my Mom wouldn't be there with us. We were all gathered around the kitchen table eating breakfast before heading downstairs to see what Santa brought us when I heard my Mom call my name. I turned around to find my Mom standing in the kitchen. She had somehow gotten the day off work (which was unheard of especially during a holiday) just to spend it with me and make sure I had a magical Christmas.

I will never forget that Christmas and how wonderful it was to spend the day with my Mom and my family. That is my favorite Christmas memory though I have many more wonderful memories of Christmas.

Head over to Wives of Faith to read more wonderful stories of Christmas memories.

Five Foods

I think I am a day or two behind but at least I am here still working on this I suppose. Today's topic is Five foods. So here are my five foods....
5.  Tuna Noodle Casserole. This is a Rodenhouser family meal I guess you could say. My Mom made it, my Aunt makes it (she even tries to remember the tuna), and my Grandmother makes it. It is one of my comfort foods you could say. It is such a basic recipe though it isn't very clean...I know I could make it cleaner though.
4. Buffalo Wild Wings. I post about this place weekly in my menus because it is our place. We go every week to watch our Chicago Bears play and Bdubs makes me feel a little closer to home. The waitstaff knows us and we get to watch our home team play. If it weren't for Bdubs we wouldn't be able to enjoy the games. It has become a family tradition and I really enjoy it.
3. Grandpa's Chili. I have learned to make this Chili thanks to my Grandpa who always is willing to share his recipes even if it is a little bit of that and a little bit of this type recipes. A nice bowl of chili is always a wonderful treat no matter the time of year. (Yes I have made chili in the dead of Summer in this desert we live in).
2. French Fries. Such a great treat right!?! I love french fries, especially homemade ones. I know pretty unhealthy but I sure do love them.
1. And finally my favorite food of all time is my Grandma's Tacos. I make my own version every Friday night but I will never be able to make them just like Grandma. They are a major comfort food for me that is for sure. The memories of Saturday Taco night with the D family will always be in my heart. The stories that were shared and the memories that were made make Grandma's Tacos even more treasured.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Wives of Faith Christmas Carnival

Today's Wives of Faith Christmas Carnival topic is: favorite Christmas dessert. I must say this was a hard one for me because I love desserts and love to bake so there were so many to chose from. Some of my favorites include: Pumpkin Roll, Oreo Fudge, Chocolate Dipped Pretzels, Cinnamon Rolls, Sugar Cookies (the frosted cut out kind of course), Molasses cookies, and Popcorn bars. But my favorite dessert, I think, is my Sugar Cookies. I know, I know probably a boring recipe huh?
I always use Betty Crocker's Christmas Cookbook for my sugar cookie recipe, unless I am making plain sugar cookies (no cutouts and not frosted), then I use my Great Grandma's recipe.
So without further ado here is my favorite Christmas dessert recipe.
Deluxe Sugar Cookies
1.5 cups Powdered Sugar
1 cup butter
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2.5 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tarter
Mix powdered sugar, butter, egg, vanilla, and almond extract. Stir in flour, baking soda, and cream of tarter. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours.
Preheat oven to 375*. Divide dough into halves. Roll each half 3/16 inch thick on lightly floured board. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake until edges are light brown about 7 to 8 minutes.
Creamy Decorators' Frosting
1 cup Powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon water
Beat ingredients until smooth and of spreading consistency. Tint with food color if desired. 

Head on over to Wives of Faith to find even more Christmas Recipes. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Six Places

Oh how I have been looking forward to this I get to write about 6 places...

6. Oh Las Vegas, NV. I have made a few wonderful friends out here (including E and M in the picture with me) but this not a place I would ever imagine living if I weren't here. Las Vegas has been home for the past 3 plus years, I have survived a deployment and will survive another all while living in Las Vegas. This city has taught be how to drive in traffic, to always lock my doors, to be thankful for friendly faces, and most of all how to be independent.
5.Sterling, Co. Okay this is a random place but a place that holds a special spot in my heart because it is the halfway point whenever we travel home (to Illinois/Wisconsin) and back. We always stay at the Super 8 in Sterling. After spending 14-15 hours or more in the car pulling into Sterling is always a relief. 

4. Galesburg, Il. My hometown. The home of corn fields and trains. I grew up loving my town, unlike so many that are always dying to run away from their hometown. Now I will say I never dreamed of living in Galesburg but I never imagined myself living too far away either. I have so many wonderful memories of Galesburg and some not so great either but I love my hometown.
3. Willow Beach, Az.I never thought I would say I loved anywhere in the desert Southwest but S, H, and I have come to love Willow Beach. We are down there as many weekends as possible even when it is cold, windy, and rainy. We love the water and the opportunity to fish so even though we don't really catch a lot of fish at Willow Beach we love to visit. 
2. The Midwest. I know this is a wide ranging place. I am a Midwestern girl at heart and believe that I always will be. I love everything that comes with the Midwest; winter, summer, spring, fall, snowstorms, harvest, thunderstorms, all of it! I love the unique small towns, fall football games, knowing your neighbors, friendly smiles, the slow pace of life.  I just love the Midwest and can't wait to get back there.

1. Boulder Junction, Wi. This where I dream of living. This is where I feel at home. Boulder Junction is our annual vacation destination. We drive 1600 plus miles across the United States to go to Boulder every year. Last year S caught this amazing Northern Pike on the waters of Northern Wisconsin, a quick drive from Boulder. The town is an amazing small town, with neat shops, friendly people, and the most beautiful lakes in the world. Nature is at your finger tips when you are in Boulder Junction. I can't wait to go back.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Weekly Recap and New Mini Challenge

So first I will start with the recap of how this past week went as far as sticking with the menu and our mini challenge.
What we did well:
-The majority of our meals through the week were clean.
-We stuck to our menu for the most part through the week.
-We ate at least 2 servings of fruit/veggies for a huge part of our meals. I think we missed a couple of meals but overall great.

What we didn't do so well:
-Let's just say the weekend killed us. S plays flag football on Saturday mornings and we have Basket pickup so it is hard to get breakfast in which then leads to bad lunch decisions and so on. I am hoping next weekend we can focus on better decisions.
-Drinking nothing but water, teas, etc. We drank some Pop a few days when we should have just drank water.

As far as recipes we won't be serving again from last week:
-Homemade Spaghetti Sauce. I have another clean recipe that I enjoy much more than this recipe.
-Whole Wheat Mac and Cheese. This may be made again with some extra cheese and milk. It just seemed pretty bland. (S doesn't like Whole Wheat pasta so it is kind of interesting these days).
-Tortilla Soup. Just not my thing I guess. I don't know not loving it.
-Banana Pancakes. These were okay but I think just plain pancakes would be better.

I guess we had a lot of recipes we didn't love this week. We did try everything and stuck with the meal plan the rest of the recipes I used were very good and I will be adding them to my cook again file.

This week's challenge in addition to eating 2 fruits/veggies with each meal is: “Real” beverages – Beverages will be limited to coffee, tea, water, and milk (only naturally sweetened with a little honey or 100% pure maple syrup). One cup of juice will be allowed throughout the week, and wine (preferably red) will be allowed in moderation (an average of one drink per day). 
Visit 100 Days of Real Food to learn more about the challenges. 

10 Day YOU Challenge: Day 4

Today is seven wants.....
7. 1987 Buick Grand National
6. to go to a Chicago Bears game at Soldier Field
5. To sell our house and at least break even before 2014.
4. To Graduate from College this Spring and to find a job.
3. To live in Northern Wisconsin and owning our own business.
2. H to grow up into a well-round happy young man.
1. To lead a long, healthy, happy life.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

10 Day YOU Challenge Day 3

Today is Eight Fears. This seems like quite the "downer" post to me so if you aren't looking for a downer post then you might want to skip today. :) So without any procrastinating here are my eight fears.

8. Getting stuck in Nevada. I have this fear that we will never escape the desert. I really don't want to raise H in this town beyond the years we are here for the Air Force but I am afraid we will be here forever. If the housing market doesn't turn around we may have to stay here a few years after S gets out of the Air Force because we bought our house. I am afraid that once we are here by choice not by Air Force orders that we may never escape.
7. Not Finding a Job. I don't want to have gone to school forever and not be able to find a job in my career field. I am enjoying studying for my degree and I want to work in that career field
6. Being stranded. I am always afraid when traveling of being stuck on the side of the road somewhere. Maybe that is because we drive 1600 miles one way every year for vacation. And we have to drive through Utah where there are signs warning you of no services for hundreds of miles and of course no cell phone reception.
5. Making big decisions. Don't we all fear big decisions. I am always afraid to make the wrong decision.
4.Cancer. My Mom died of cancer and the disease scares me.
3. Failure. I have a tremendous amount of fear about failing. Not at anything specific but I am always afraid I am going to fail at whatever I try.
2. Not raising H to be a good, well-mannered young man. I want to make sure he knows God, has good morals, knows how to behave etc. But he is a wild little dude right now and what if he never calms down and learns how to behave?
1. Losing S. I lost both of my parents at a young age and I will admit that I have a crazy fear of losing S too. I tend to worry if he is late getting home (traffic is crazy here) or if when he is deployed I don't hear from him at least once a week, etc.

Menu 12/5-12/11

This is our weekly meal plan. We try really hard to stick to a clean diet and base our meals off our weekly Bountiful Basket contribution.
Breakfast: Oatmeal with fruit (still trying to get S and H to like this meal)
Lunch: Inside Out Lasagna with Garlic Bread and Green Beans
Dinner: Grilled Cheese with fruit and popcorn
Breakfast: Omelets with fruit and veggies
Lunch: Red Beans and Rice
Dinner: Left overs from Monday
Breakfast: Oatmeal with fruit
Lunch: Pork Chops with rice and veggies
Dinner: Leftovers from Tuesday
Breakfast: French Toast with fruit
Lunch: Pot Roast
Dinner: Leftovers from Wednesday
Breakfast: Omelets with fruit and veggies
Lunch: Grilled Cheese with fruit and popcorn
Dinner: Tacos
Breakfast: French Toast with fruit
Lunch: Leftovers from Thursday
Dinner: Tuna Melts with fruit and popcorn
Breakfast: Buffalo Wild Wings
Lunch: Buffalo Wild Wings
Dinner: Chef Miserly Beefy Mac with veggies

Bountiful Basket Recap 12/3

I keep forgetting to update you with my weekly basket contents and now that I remember I cannot for the life of me find my camera. So I had to list what we got rather than show a picture. All of the produce listed is organic and cost a total of $26.50. I haven't priced a basket out in the grocery store lately but I must say I think you would be hard pressed to get this much organic produced for $26.50 at the grocery store. If you are interested in getting your produce from the Bountiful Baskets Co-op visit their website here to see if they have contribution locations near you! They offer conventional baskets as well as breads, tortillas, and other specialty items. This is a great way to get great produce at a great price. It is also a wonderful way to introduce produce that your family doesn't typically eat.

Cucumber (2)
Green Bell Pepper (2)
Roma Tomato (1lb package)
Avocado (3)
Fingerling Potatoes (1.5lbs)
Gala Apples (4)
Granny Smith Apples (4)
Oranges (4)
Honey Dew Melon (1)
Pears (3lbs)

I will be posting our weekly meal plan based off of our basket in the next day or so too. I try to base our meal plan off of what we get in our basket. This allows us to try new recipes and make sure we eat all of the produce we receive.

Visit Bountiful Baskets to learn how to get your own basket!

Friday, December 2, 2011

10 Day YOU Challenge: Day 2

Today is nine loves....
9. 4 seasons. We don't get four true seasons here and I miss them. There is just something to love about the changing seasons.
8. Music. I love that a song can take me back to a place in time. There are so many songs that can bring the memories rushing back. I treasure those songs and love that music can remind me of memories and life experiences.
7. America. I may not always agree with the way things are being handled in this country but I love this country. The opportunities we are given and the rights we have. America is a beautiful place and I am truly proud to be America. I love our country. 
6. My friends. I have a few amazingly supportive friends. A couple of them I have never met in person and a couple don't live near me but they are amazing and I don't know where I would be without them.
5. Home. Where ever home is at the moment. I love home. Walking into our home with S and H is such a warm, relaxing thing. We don't love where we are living right now but it is home and I love being home.
4. My family. They are all so amazingly supportive and loving. I am so blessed to have each of them in my life.
3. H. I am so blessed to have such an amazing little boy.
2. S. He is an amazing husband and a great best friend. I am so lucky to be married to him.
1. GOD. I think that one should be pretty obvious.

Mil Spouse Fill In

I haven't done one of these in a while so I thought I would get back on the wagon so to speak! Head over to Wife of a Sailor to see more fill ins or to share your fill in.

1.If I could be on any reality TV show, I'd want to be on the Biggest Loser. I am not obese though I still have a few pounds to lose but I think the healthy life lessons that are taught to the contestants would be awesome to learn. 

2.This past Thanksgiving was not so much fun. H got the flu Tuesday before Thanksgiving, I then got it on Thanksgiving and finally S got it the day after. We spent our entire holiday and the weekend on the couch....not so fun. 

3. I am looking forward to December because I love the holidays and everything that comes with them. December is a warm and cozy month full of family and making memories. I love it. 

4. One thing I would like to accomplish this month is taking the time to really enjoy the holidays and not just rush through them and remember what this time of year really means. I want H to understand that Christmas is much much more then Santa, presents, and Christmas lights. 

5. To me winter is one of the most magical times of year. I miss true winter, here in the desert we don't get much snow. I treasure all of wonderful snow memories. Before S joined the Air Force we lived in a house that sat next to a railroad track and nothing was prettier than seeing a train pull into town with the snow blowing around. There was just something magical about seeing the train's light shining through the beautiful snow. 
If I could be on any reality TV show, I'd want to be on

Thursday, December 1, 2011

10 Day YOU Challenge Day 1

I have never done one of these before but saw this on another Air Force Wife blog and thought it would be fun to try. I tend to slack on things so hopefully I can stick to this and in 10 days you will know a little bit more about me. So on to day 1 which is 10 secrets.

10. I miss having a job. I realize I am a stay at home Mom and full time student and both of those are jobs in themselves but I miss earning money.
9. I am terrified of trying to find a job this summer after I graduate from school. The job market here is TERRIBLE and I don't want to fail in my job search. I am also worried about how I will handle leaving H at daycare/preschool all day.
8. I miss having friends in the same town let alone the same state. I haven't met any great people out here (besides one special friend that moved to Texas over a year ago) and miss my best friend S.
7. My cats drive me NUTS! I am not a cat person and have a love hate relationship with my cats...that makes me a bad person huh?!?
6. I like junky TV.
5. I can't wait to move back to the midwest. Everyone talks about how much they want to leave their hometown but I am dying to get back to the area at least.
4. I love to people watch.
3. I have very strong political opinions. I try to keep my mouth shut but I can't always do that. I lean very strongly in one direction that is for sure!
2. I strongly dislike people that feel entitled. You have to earn what you have not just expect to get it for free. :)
1. I can't wait for S to get out of the Air Force. (I know everyone is going to burn me at the stake right!?!) The AF just isn't for our family and I am eagerly counting down the years, months, and days until we can enter the civilian world.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Walnut Trail Mix

I have been looking for some decent snacks lately to replace all of the junk that we have eliminated from our diets because sometimes fruits and veggies just aren't what I am wanting for a snack. I have been crazy a salty/sweet snack so I thought I would try to make my own Trail Mix type snack. I wasn't in the mood to head to the grocery store so I just went through my (newly "de-junked") pantry to make my mix. I am loving what I came up with. I am learning to get creative with foods and go beyond the recipes which is fun.

Anyway here is what I came up with for my Walnut Trail Mix

1 cup Walnuts
1 cup Raisins
1/2 cup Chocolate chips (I used these) They may not be the best but better than some of the options, I think.
1 cup Popcorn (air popped, no butter or salt)

Mix it up really well and serve or set aside for later.

Obviously you can use whatever you like best in your own mix but I think it is important to find clean snacks when replacing the junk snacks that you and your family have gotten used to eating. Eliminating is very important but if you don't replace the junk I would be willing to bet you get bored and end up eating the junk again...eventually. I could be wrong about that but I know for my family eating fruit and veggies for every snack is going to get a bit boring and make it easier to fall back into old habits. So find some snacks that can replace your junky snacks.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Mini Pledge: Week 1

Over at 100 Days of Real Food  they have 14 weeks of Mini Challenges to help kick start your clean eating lifestyle. As you know we are already working on our eating clean lifestyle but I thought these mini challenges would work hand and hand with our lifestyle change to get us on the right track. The goal would be to stick with each of these challenges past the challenge week, looking over all of the challenges I am hopeful they all will stick.

So anyway this week's challenge is to eat 2 fruits and or veggies with every main meal, meaning breakfast, lunch, and dinner! I am excited for this challenge because I really love fruit and think this will be a good one for the entire family. We don't eat enough produce as it is so this will be a great opportunity to get it all in. Starting today I challenge you and your family to join me in this week's mini challenge! Try to eat 2 fruits and or veggies with every meal, obviously if you can eat organic that would be best. Let me know how it goes! I know you and your family can do it!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Pear Sauce

Next week's meal plan includes a recipe for homemade Apple Sauce, which I made the other day. As I was rearranging things in my kitchen this evening I noticed we have a lot of Pears from out Bountiful Baskets produce basket that needed to be used. This abundance of Pears got me thinking...if I can make Apple Sauce why can't I make Pear Sauce? So I am giving it a shot tonight since it is such an easy thing to do!

5-6 Pears
Dash of Cinnamon
1/4 cup Apple Juice
1 teaspoon Honey

Cut pears up into pieces. Leave skins on unless you have the time to peel them...who has that much time right? Mix pears, cinnamon, juice, and honey in a pot. Cover and Simmer over low heat for 20-25 minutes. Then blend in a blender or if you are so lucky with an immersion blender. Store in the refrigerator or freezer.

Here are the pictures of my Pear Sauce!

This week's snack ideas

Since we are trying to eat clean I am planning what snacks I will have available for the week as well. This will help prevent us from eating well during meal times but not so much when we choose to snack. I am hoping that having a plan will allow me to keep us on track. No excuses with a plan right!?!

Air Popped Popcorn
Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Protein Bars

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Menu 11/28 through 12/4

First of all I must say I cannot believe I am working on a menu for the month of December! Where has this year gone? As you can see by looking at the menu I am working on cleaning our diet up and this is the first week of entirely clean meals. I realize we are still eating at Buffalo Wild Wings and we may or may not eat at Chipotle as well. Now BDubs clearly is just a bad place to eat if you are trying to eat clean. We still enjoy our football though and will continue our Sunday morning tradition for the rest of the football season but we will try to make wiser choices and I am a firm believer in "everything in moderation". As far as Chipotle goes they are, in my opinion, one of the best choice if there is such a thing in the fast food world so since S is in love with that place and I don't feel it is too bad for us we will continue to eat there on occasion.
Breakfast-Oatmeal with honey, cinnamon, and raisins
Lunch- Butternut Squash Soup with toast
Dinner- Grilled Cheese on Whole Wheat, Applesauce , and Air Popped Popcorn
Tuesday: Happy Birthday to me! 
Breakfast-Whole Wheat French Toast  with fruit
Lunch- Spaghetti with homemade sauce  with veggies and whole wheat garlic bread
Dinner-Whole Wheat Tortilla with Refried Beans & Cheese, and fruit
Breakfast-Scrambled Eggs, Bacon, and Toast
Lunch- Tortilla Soup 
Dinner- Leftovers from Tuesday's lunch
Breakfast-Oatmeal with honey cinnamon, and raisins
Lunch- Whole Wheat Mac and Cheese with veggies 
Dinner- Grilled Cheese on Whole Wheat, Applesauce, and Air Popped Popcorn
Breakfast-Scrambled Eggs, Bacon, and Toast
Lunch-Tortilla Soup 
Dinner-Tacos with Whole Wheat Tortillas and Refried Beans 
Breakfast-Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes
Lunch- Leftovers or Chipotle
Dinner-Steak with brown rice and veggies
Breakfast & Lunch-Buffalo Wild Wings
Dinner-Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes

Thanksgiving Desserts

We are not doing  a traditional Thanksgiving dinner this year as it will only be the three of us and neither S and I are big fans of turkey. But with that said there are some desserts that are a must serve for Thanksgiving. The first being my Mom's Pumpkin Roll, she was the only one in our family to master this recipe and I have tried to follow in her footsteps. It is my favorite dessert ever and I always enjoy the opportunity to make it even if it causes me a bit of stress. (My Mom was a perfectionist in the kitchen and she handed that trait down to me too). The second with be S's favorite Pumpkin Pie. In recent years I have learned to make my own Pie crusts, much thanks to my Grandma and S's Mom for helping me learn!

The recipe I started with this morning was the Pumpkin Pie as it was a recipe that H could "help" with. I used my mother in law's recipe for the pie crust and then used this recipe for the pumpkin filling. I found the pie crust was a bit more than I needed for my pie plate so I let H roll his only little pie crust while I prepared the pie for baking. Everyone always talks about how hard pie crusts are to make and I have to disagree. I find them to be pretty easy, though I will admit my crusts aren't always the prettiest. Since learning to make a pie crust I really do enjoy making them. I also like the fact that I can control what goes into my pie crusts, though not the healthiest ingredients I know there aren't a ton of unpronounceable ingredients and preservatives in my homemade crusts.
Joyce's Pie Crust
2/3 cups lard (Crisco)
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
5-6 tablespoons cold water
Mix lard, flour and salt together and add water as needed. Once mixed roll out on a floured service until thin or the desired thickness. Then transfer to a pie pan. 

Next I worked on my Mom's Pumpkin Roll. This is my favorite dessert as I mentioned but it can also be a bit challenging too. The cake itself has a bad habit of sticking to the pan and rolling it can cause it to crack...which makes for a not so pretty dessert. My Mom always made 2 just in case one cracked. 

Lori's Pumpkin Roll
3 Eggs
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
Shifted powdered sugar (for the towel during inverting)
1 cup shifted powdered sugar 
6 oz. cream cheese
1/4 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
In a larger mixing bowl beat eggs on high for 5 minutes, gradually beat in sugar. Stir in pumpkin and lemon juice. 
In a small bowl stir flour, cinnamon, baking powder, ginger, salt, nutmeg. Fold into pumpkin mixture. Spread batter in a greased and floured jelly roll pan. (IMPORTANT: Use shortening and flour to grease pan). Sprinkle with walnuts. Bake at 375* for 15 minutes. Immediately invert cake onto a towel sprinkled with powdered sugar. Roll up cake with towel jelly roll style starting form the short side. Cool completely and then unroll the cake. 
For the filling in a small bowl beat 1 cup powdered sugar, cream cheese, butter and vanilla on medium until smooth. Spread over unrolled cake. Reroll, cover, and chill. To serve cut cake crosswise into slices. 

Both of these desserts are so yummy and great for the holidays. Since we can't be home with our family for the holidays it is nice to be able to bring a small piece of home to us and I am able to do that with our desserts for Thanksgiving. I am not the best at taking photos of food or photos in general so please ignore the photo quality. :) Happy Thanksgiving to each of you! I hope you have a blessed Thanksgiving and a Blessed holiday season. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Obvious Starting Point?

I started reading, The Eat Clean Diet for Family and Kids, tonight and one of the things that popped out at me (though a lot popped out at me) was the idea that what we choose to eat can be influenced by our environment. I will be the first to admit that I am not the greatest housekeeper and my busy schedule makes it even easier to let our household fall into disarray. I am not saying it is dirty or disgusting but its not as clean as I would like so I have decided that in order to implement this lifestyle change I must get our household in order. I am not saying that everything is going to be in its place at all times....I do have a toddler after all...but I am going to make sure this house is visitor friendly at all times. (No one ever comes to visit, we live 1600 miles from our families, so it is easy to let it fall into that really lived in state). 

Clean eating is about food of course but I think it is about the life we chose to live and this includes the environment we chose to live in as well. I guess for me I am more likely to take the time to cook a wholesome, clean meal if my house is clean and in order. Seriously who wants to cook in a dirty kitchen or eat in a cluttered dinning room? If I am more likely to prepare a meal at home then I am obviously less likely to hit a drive-thru, which I have a bad habit of doing when I don't feel like cooking. 

My goal is to have my house in "clean-eating" shape by the end of the week. I have been working hard this evening and can't wait to get the house deep cleaned for easy maintenance as we begin our clean eating lifestyle change. I know if I take the time clean our lifestyle up in all areas it will make our clean eating lifestyle much easier to follow and stick with. 

Egg Noodles

I love pasta but hate what is in the store bought stuff. I have been searching the internet for a good egg noodle recipe that isn't full of off the wall ingredients. I found this recipe on Pioneer Woman's website and decided to base my egg noodles off of it.
I started with 2 cups flour, 4 eggs, and 1.5 tablespoons flaxseed meal. I try to add flaxseed to our meals whenever I can and I thought this would be a great opportunity to add some in. 

I measured the flour into a bowl. Then I created a well in the center of the flour for the eggs. I used my hands (its messy) to mix up the flour and eggs until the dough was well mixed and created a ball. 

Then I let the kneaded the dough on a floured surface until it was no longer tacky. It should look like the above picture. 

Once the dough was ready I rolled it out until is was very thin. These noodles get BIG when they are boiled so make sure you roll the dough really thin. 

Once the dough was rolled out I simply cut the dough into pasta like shapes. As you can see I didn't cut them perfectly they are edible. :) I used a pizza cut to cut the dough. 

To cook the noodles bring the water to a boil and add salt. Boil the noodles for 2-3 minutes, they cook super fast! Then drain and serve. 
To save for later toss with a bit of olive oil and store in the fridge. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Clean Eating Challenge

I have mentioned before the importance of cleaning eating to me but I must admit I have struggled, well honestly failed, at providing my family with clean meals. This is a lifestyle change that isn't easy to make. I mean think about how many different ways advertisers throw food advertisements at us. We see ads for the newest industrial food creation on TV, in store, as we are driving around town, and honestly even in our own kitchens. I am determined to succeed and provide clean foods and meals for my family, no matter how many times I fail trying. It is a constant struggle for me that is for sure.

Food has always been a challenge for me though. I have had weight issues most of my adult life and have finally conquered them or at least gotten to a healthy weight, though I am still working on those stubborn last pounds. So the thought of eliminating all the processed junk from my kitchen is a bit overwhelming. Food has always meant a lot to me, memories often come from meals, food is comfort to me, etc. I must find new ways to fill the void that some of my favorite industrial foods have filled but I know I can if I focus on my goal.

I am currently in the research phase and plan to begin slowly implementing my family's clean eating plan. I don't want to go through my cupboards and just throw everything processed out instead I want to find healthy replacements and start changing our lifestyle. I think in the past I have always started full force and gotten overwhelmed and failed. So rather than burning out in the next few weeks I am going to go slow and steady...that wins the race right?!?

As we start changing our lifestyle I will be sure to share our experiences with you so that you too can change your eating lifestyle if you so choose. I will also share what I learn while I research what it means to eat clean and the tips I find about how to successfully eat clean.

There are a few things we are already doing in our household that I believe are good starts to our clean eating lifestyle change. They include:
-all of our beef is Grass fed, hormone, antibiotic free, as is our chicken which is also free ranging.
-the only milk we drink is Organic milk.
-our weekly basket from Bountiful Baskets is organic and for the most part all of the produce we eat is organic.

I don't have a solid plan for implementing our clean eating lifestyle yet but will be creating a flexible plan soon and of course will share it. Clean eating is important to both S and I so I know that if we are determined to eat clean we will. It just takes determination and willpower to ignore all of the industrial food advertisements thrown our way day in and day out.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Menu: November 7th through November 13th

First of all how is it November already? This year has flown by I guess partly because S was deployed for a good part of the year and then we took a long trip back home. I can't believe how time flies. I love the holiday season though so I am always excited to see November.
Monday: Baked Spaghetti Squash with Garlic Bread and mixed Veggies
Tuesday: BLTs
Wednesday: Oven Baked Salmon with Mashed Potatoes and mixed veggies
Thursday: Baked Potato Soup
Friday: BLTs/ Tacos
Saturday: Leftovers/Baked Potato Soup
Sunday: BDubs/Leftovers

I am still alive

Sorry I have been MIA for a few weeks. Life got a little busy for a while and unfortunately this blog didn't take priority. I apologize for that and hope to get back to regular posting now. I haven't been getting getting our basket from Bountiful Baskets regularly lately simply because Saturday mornings have been fully. But I am back on track to start getting it so I will share our basket this weekend.
It is starting get chilly here in Las Vegas, FINALLY, so I am looking forward to preparing more comfort foods and the "warm" foods that I love. I also look forward to cooking from our basket as it seems the cooler weather foods I have a harder time finding recipes so I get to broaden my horizons now too. I am working on next week's menu and will share it once I get it done. Again I apologize for falling off the face of the earth for a bit.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Mil Spouse Fill In

1.A word that always makes me laugh is ice cream. I used to babysit a little girl that called it, "asscream". Whenever I hear that word I think of Kenzie telling my Mom all about "asscream"!

2.If you looked in my refrigerator right now, the oldest thin you'd find would be red wine. S and I don't drink ever but a recipe this past summer called for red wine so I bought a bottle and used 1/4c, I think, and the rest is just hanging out in the fridge....I really should just throw it away. 

3.If I were written about in the newspaper today, on the front page, the headline say Woman Still Working on Her Degree

4.The last movie I saw (in the theatre) was um....still thinking....yeah still thinking....honestly I can't remember, that is BAD! S deployed for a good portion of this year and I guess we just haven't made it to the theater. I want to see Contagion but haven't done it yet. 

5.The best thing that happened to me in the last few weeks was S & I got a new, to us, truck. My current truck is an older vehicle that was starting to need some serious maintenance. This new truck is truly a blessing we will be forever thankful for. 

Head over to Wife of a Sailor to check out all of the other Mil Spouse blogs!