cooking

Menu

8:04 PM

Last week we gave our first shot at a set menu for the week, and for the most part we stuck to it! We may have flip flopped some days, but it helped! I lost three pounds, so we must have been doing something right!

So here goes the menu for this week!

Sunday - Ordering out pizza, that's right kids, ordering out pizza. I'm tired and Kurt isn't home so I've decided to get a pizza from a local place with lots of veggies :)

Monday - It's bachelor night! Small dinner of grilled chicken and edemame. Then some snacks during the big show.

Tuesday - Mahi Mahi steamed veggies and quinoa.

Wednesday - Grilled chicken, steamed broccoli, and dijon potatoes.

Thursday - G-free pasta, garlic and EVOO with mushrooms, tomatoes, and basil.

Friday or Saturday will be date night, whatever night we don't go out we will have:

Turkey burgers, small greens salad with balsamic dressing, and sweet potato fries.

blessings

It's time for BIG news...maybe

4:10 PM

I've been a little absent this week, I've actually worked every day, yikes! Off tomorrow, so there will be fun blogging!

But stay tuned folks...there may be big news on the job front at the beginning of next week!

P.S.- I swear it must have been a full moon because our little balls of fur did not sleep at all. Seriously, I think God might be trying to prepare us or children or something!

budget

Meal Plan

12:07 PM

That's right folks, I'm planning ahead! I'm making a meal plan this week for us in an attempt to actually stick to eating at home for dinner ALL week, so here goes!

Monday -  Beef Stew (yum!) with this current snowy weather (yuck!) will fit perfectly! Some stew beef, red skin potatoes, carrots, celery, pearl onions, and a little secret sauce. I'll actually probably freeze some of these left overs for us, or save it in the fridge for in case I decide to change up the plan this week.

Tuesday - Left overs from our Sunday Sauce. Sunday sauce, an regular in Italian family homes, is several kinds of meat in a home made tomato sauce cooked for a couple hours...yum! Now, I'm not Italian, but my FIL is and he loved it! I made homemade meatballs (healthy version kids!), chicken sausage, beef braciola, and a few pieces of lamb for flavor. All of that cooked in some organic tomatoes, garlic, basil, and onion for a few hours served over whole grain brown rice penne.

Wednesday - Chicken breast with Dijon herb potatoes and small side salad.

Thursday - Mahi Mahi with fresh steamed veggies, simple and fantastic!

Friday or Saturday - Balsamic chicken breast with broccoli over brown rice. The other night will be date night :)

fitness

Little by Little

7:00 PM

Thanks to WW I am taking off the LBS little by little...ONE POUND this week. Hey, at least it's something right?! It's not TOTALLY thanks to WW. I have been kickin' it into high gear and have been walking the dogs at least once a day, and doing my own workout in addition. I could let it bother me that it's only one pound (and it's taking some self control for it to NOT bother me), but instead I am focusing that it is still ONE POUND lighter than I was last week!

Look for a longer post tonight! In the meantime, take a look at a few other homes we like!

Adorable, Double Lot, and price friendly!

So, this first house you can take a look at by clicking here. It's very close to where we live now...not even a quarter mile. It's on a double lot, TONS of room for the pups. It's been completely renovated and check out that amazing deck. No formal dining room, and on a busy road, but we planned on immediately fencing in with a privacy fence.

Cute, media room in the basement, and a cedar ROOM
That's right kids...a cedar ROOM. Don't let the look of this house fool you, it's actually quite spacious. Three bedrooms, two full baths, pool, dining room, living room, and finished basement/media room with a wet bar! You can check it out by clicking here. Downfall is that it's not exactly where we'd like to be right off of Stefko, and the pool is actually kind of a downfall. Not really into keeping it up, and it takes up a great deal of the backyard, which is valuable space for the dogs. Also, I think it's a little over priced.

Feel free to leave feedback!

family

Here we go!

6:48 PM

So, today I gave in and decided it was time to go back to Weight Watchers (as the seester is getting married in November). I like the new points plus where basically all veggies and fruits are ZERO points. I decided the whole meetings thing just isn't for me due to lack of regular schedule, so this time I went we the online option, and granted only one day in, but LOVIN' it! I really need this so that I get my portion control in check, and it kind of forces me to cook at home and just make overall good choices. Another thing I like about this program, it's easy to come off. It's not some dramatic change in diet, it's just making better choices and eating the RIGHT portion size. Making it easier once I stop counting the points every day.

Also, started c25K (couch to 5k) today. I really wanted to get back into running, and let's be honest, Bailey can ALWAYS use the activity. Especially when it comes time for a baby in this household I want to be one fit/healthy momma!  So far so good, and Bailey was pooped when we got back, she loved it too!

So, here we go!

P.S.- I might have some exciting news on the job front here soon, so stay tuned!

blessings

I've been slacking...

9:55 PM

Sorry kids...I've been slacking this week, but for good reason! It was hubby's birthday and we both were a little under the weather..yuck I know! Let me catch you up on the first part of this week.

Valentine's Day (we actually "celebrated" this on Sunday) we treated ourselves to the AMAZING Emeril's Chop House here in Bethlehem, and YUM-O! Seriously, best steak I've had in my life. I now actually know what it's like to have steak melt in your mouth. We then were just a bunch of bums on the actually Valentine's day, we just love each other, we don't need no stinkin' special day! 

Tuesday was the hubs birthday, he's the big 2-9! We had his mom, dad, and sister over for some yummy dinner and chocolate cake (the hubs fav). It was great fun and great company.

Then I worked all day today. That's the extent of our week thus far. I promise to be more exciting tomorrow!

blessings

My favorite day

11:44 PM

Sunday, is honestly my most favorite day of the week. I really hope that one day I can have a job that ensures that I have every Sunday off. It starts by attending church, then teaching an amazing group of 4h and 5th graders Sunday school, followed by brunch with the fam, and usually concludes with several hours of hopping from one open house to the next.

This week, I think I discovered a dream house for us...I adore it! Ok, well I found two that are just great, and are at total opposite ends of the spectrum.

First, there is the move in ready house (other than buying a washer/dryer and getting a fence). It's an amazing brick house that has been recently renovated. We basically would never have to move and could raise our family here. However it may be at the top of our price range right now. Check it out here.

Second, it's a total fixer upper with lots of potential, but lots of work. We'd consider this a starter home and want to either re-sell or consider it for a rental property by the time our kids were going to go to school. It's a great area, but not so great schools. It's a great price, but like I said we'd spend a lot of time/energy to get it up to par. Check it out here.

Please feel free to comment and give feedback on if you guys like/suggest.

Back to Sunday school...something I look forward too ALL week. One of my most favorite ages of children, these kids are amazing. This week we started discussing parables. It's awesome to see these kids dig into God's word and get excited about it. They worked together and got into some really deep stuff. Seeing it "click" for them and relate it to their lives as 4th and 5th graders is such an amazing thing to witness. We decided to start a blog for them and their families, and they are going to do weekly podcasts about what they are learning, and it's so exciting! 

Tonight we celebrated our lurve early (we celebrate it as often as we can), but you will here more about that tomorrow. Hope you all had a great weekend!


DIY

Dog Food Venture...Update

1:02 PM

So, the dog food venture I blogged about last week...that's about how long it lasted. Big 'ole fail in this book! The doggies loved it, but it took up too much time an energy on my part feeding two very large beasts. If we had only one slobbery mouth to feed it would be do-able, but when it's all double, it's too much work. 

Venison Meal & Whole Brown Rice : The pups new fav food!
We're back to kibble and it's the good stuff, and the doggies love it! We used to feed the dogs Nutro, and thought we would switch to less expensive food and that just didn't work either. Now after a wonderful chat with a Nutro rep last night, it was great, and we've started again on it and the dogs wolfed it down when I got home with it tonight. 

Long story short, homemade dog food is great, but time consuming!

blessings

The Thunder Shirt

12:11 PM

Seriously, God's gift blessing to dog owners!

Our problem child 
Ok, so like I mentioned before we are totally dog parents, and we love our dogs to death. Bailey, while she's super sweet...is super stubborn and has been really difficult to train. She is a lab something mix, and is the exact opposite of Bear (the laziest and pretty much most perfect dog anyone can ask for). Bailey will bark until she gets what she wants, will often do exactly what you ask her NOT to do, and has endless energy. Overall, she really is a great dog. She is loving, and very playful, and is super smart. One of our biggest issues is that when people come over to "play" with us (in her eyes), all she wants to do is play with them. Jumping on them the minute they get in the door, barking like crazy, and chooses to use them as a personal jungle gym. 
The trainer that we recently took Bailey to explained that this actually may be nervous excitement, or anxiety. She taught us this little trick with a leash that immediately calmed Bailey, it's amazing how it works, but I hated that there would be this leash hanging off of her while she is trying to walk around our house. The trainer instructed us that it was based off of The Thunder Shirt. This thing is AMAZING and I'm currently ordering a second one, because we must have a back up. Bailey really had no issues with putting the thing on, she didn't fight it and never tried to get it off. She was so calm and basically just laid around with it on, and I thought "Eh, maybe she is just being a bum". The true test came when "Daddy" got home...and not ONE bark came from Bailey. She greeted him at the door tail wagging waiting for his kisses and love! 

I would highly recommend this to anyone having anxiety issues with their dogs. It helps with crating, travel, storms, and with guests in your home.  Check it out here!

family

Seven Things

5:35 PM

Pawley's Island 07.08.09
I think like many other people I know, I can't STAND chain mail. They take up space in my inbox, and I rarely ever even open them, and they go straight to the trash. I did read a fun post about 7 things on my good friend Lauren posted, and I decided to jump on the bandwagon for once. My blog is new, and why not let you all know a little more about me :)! So here goes...

1 - I met my oh! so fantastic husband online, just like Lauren, and I will give her credit for convincing me to go onto Christian Mingle and it actually working (seriously, it's great!). I almost wrote the hubs off because I found out he was in the military and was stationed in SPAIN, while I was finishing up nursing school in Cincinnati, Ohio...talk about long distance. However, I couldn't resist his charms and fell in lurve.

2 - I am totally a dog mom. I have always loved animals, but I never really pictured myself as a "dog mom", but I totally am. People share stories about their kids, and I then have a story that I think somehow relates to raising a child, to raising our dogs. Our dogs are 130 lbs, and 90 lbs and sleep in bed with us (this soon will change with the purchase of new dog beds), thank goodness for a king size bed. 

3 - I am a true nerd at heart. In high school I was a cheerleader, ran track, grew up playing select soccer, all while belonging to science club, competing on science Olympiad, working as a lab assistant for our biology teacher, and working on yearbook. Not too mention, I LOVE Harry Potter. Yes, I am 23 (almost 24) and will be at the midnight showing, as I always am, for the next movie....I even have a shirt I wear to it!

4 - I want to run my own business. I love working as a registered nurse, but I strive to do something else. I love photography, baking, cooking, crafting, and event planning. I'd love to really get my photography business of the ground, open a bakery, start an organic baby food company, become a wedding planner, flip real estate, or really anything. I just want to have something that is my own, that Kurt and I can run together and be flexible when we have kids.

5 - My parents get along great! When I say my parents, I mean ALL of my parents, including Kurt's parents. In fact we all vacation together every year (can you believe it!), to Pawley's Island, SC where Kurt and I got married.

6 - I'm neither a wino, or a beer fan...I'm BOTH. I love wine of sorts, but mostly reds (especially in the winter!). I love beer, and my fav is pretty much anything from a local brewery here in Bethlehem, PA named Bethlehem Brew Works

7 - We want four kids, yes four. We're each one of four, and love it! Let's get this family growin'! (after we get insurance, and I lose the lbs!)

blessings

Dog Food Venture

11:51 PM

How could you not love these faces??
These two loves of my life inspired this most recent venture...to make our own dog food. This all started because Bear has a sensitive tummy to almost every food we buy, except for the bag that is a whopping $50.00 which will last the two of them a whopping two weeks at most (the price we pay for owning two large and in charge dogs). So, it's been recommended that we make our own food, it won't contain the corn gluten that seems to upset Bear's tummy. Also, let's face the fact that our dogs are just plain spoiled and it is a huge pain the you know what trying to get them to eat that $50/bag food. They'll pick, and Bear when he decides to eat will eat both his and her food. So, more often then not we end up putting something like olive oil or an egg on it just so they will eat it at the same time, and even then that isn't always successful. Bear is also has epilepsy, and needs to lose some major lbs (he's up to 135!). His medication makes him even more of a bum than he already is, and gives him the munchies big time. 

So, with all of this we decided to give making food at home a shot! Honestly it was WAY easy, and seems like it is going to be pretty cost effective, in comparison to what we have been shelling out to feed these beasts. 

The Food

Made of lean ground turkey, broccoli, cauliflower, brown rice, and raw carrots, raw egg, and will add a calcium supplement to each bowl.

You start with 3 lbs of lean ground meat (turkey $7.49)
While meat is browning cook grain (brown rice $0.99)

Ground the veggies in the blender, but I left a few large pieces ($1.00)

Add raw carrot (I read on a blog somewhere this was important $1.00)

The finished product ($10.48)

She likes it!
The guideline was one cup of food, for every 30 lbs of dog to maintain weight. The large stock pot was almost full by the time I was done. The recipe was very basic and you can switch out lean proteins and grains (oats, barley, etc.).

I'll keep you informed if we'll keep up with it, and if it's a money saver!

blessings

Valentine's Day Card

1:35 AM

Our wedding bands and 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7
So, this post is inspired by a Valentine's Day Card competition. This photo will soon grace the wall of our bedroom. It's our wedding bands with a portion of scripture read from our wedding, and many other weddings, 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7.

The photo, taken by me one day at the first house we had together in Cincinnati, represents us a lot. Our marriage and lives are Christ centered. Christ is who brought us together, and we try to live our daily lives putting Him first, and letting our love grow in His image. The scripture is right, Love never fails. Our love for each other, for Christ, and His love for us never lets us down. Times may be tough, not always a walk in the park, but our love for one another, and our love and trust in Him gets us through it all...the good, the bad, and the sometimes ugly. 

Spoiler Alert: I think photo may be the winner for the homemade card that the hubs gets this year :)

Along with Valentine's Day comes another great day, the day after in fact, which is the hubs birthday. Seriously, we jam pack events in a couple of months. Christmas, New Years, Valentine's Day, Kurt's Birthday, and my birthday all before April. Not to mention that the Momma-in-Love, both Scott and Jana's (brother/seester-in-law), my dad, my aunt, and my uncle's birthdays are all in the mix as well, yikes!

The Paper Mama

cooking

What's For Dinner?

1:07 AM

Seriously delicious dinner for two!
What's for dinner you ask? Oat crusted chicken and pasta with a homemade tomato basil sauce (so yummy and SO easy!). For those of you who don't know, I have a wheat intolerance. Not celiac's (where you can't eat gluten), just the wheat. Part of what I wanted to do this year was eat less wheat. You might ask, "why do you eat wheat, if you are wheat intolerant?" The answer is because it's a big pain, in the you know what, to avoid eating wheat. It's in nearly EVERYTHING. Also, my reactions are different each and every time I eat the stuff. Sometimes I just get a tummy ache, sometimes I break out, and sometimes no reaction at all (if there is VERY little wheat in it, or if I pre-medicate with benadryl). More often then not, I break out all over my face, or am stuck in the bathroom for the remainder of the day after consuming it. Therefore, I've decided to just be better about it! 

This means we eat a lot of gluten free food, because they don't really make just "wheat free" products, and quite honestly the food is all good. I think a lot of people have a misconception of g-free/wheat free food is, I know I did. This dish isn't g-free, but it is wheat free, which = a happy stomach/face for Stephanie! In turn this also means more cooking at home, which is just fine by me! While I love some great take-out, or all the great little restaurants around us, I LOVE cooking. Not to mention, it's so much better for you, wallet friendly, and should help us in the weight battle.

Here's the recipe:

WARNING:
No real measurements, I use guess-timates in my kitchen most often!

1. Two chicken breast, brushed with egg mixture (whisked egg, salt, pepper, and some garlic) then rolled in g-free oats.

2. In a hot pan, put a little EVOO (extra virgin olive oil), and brown the crusted chicken about 7 mins on each side.

While the chicken is browning I have the pasta (brown rice g-free pasta, but any pasta will do) boiling, and the tomato basil sauce starting. Maybe start pre-heating the oven to 350 here.

3. Tomato basil starts with a little EVOO, and garlic put through the garlic press. We love garlic in this house so, its a LOT of garlic. 

4. Add a can of diced tomatoes (crushed or puree will work as well, use whatever strikes your fancy!), a little salt & pepper, a little sugar (helps with the acidity) and bring to a boil.

5. Once at a boil tear some fresh basil and throw it in with the tomato sauce. Add however much you'd like.

Right about this time your pasta should be finishing up, along with your chicken.

6. Drain pasta and place in casserole dish and ladle some of that yummy tomato basil sauce over the pasta.

7. Place chicken over pasta and ladle the rest of that tomato goodness on top, and sprinkle with fresh parm and pine nuts...I threw on some more basil.

8. Throw the dish in the oven for about 15 mins and enjoy!



fitness

Day 1 = Fail!

8:16 PM

Quick update:

I did great all day until dinner, and i received a call to work tonight 11p until tomorrow 3p....resorted to pizza delivery and curling up on the couch until work a 10:45. Because of the yucky weather I didn't make it into work to weigh in, but apparently not too many did.

So, long story short...day one was a big fat FAIL! Back in the saddle tomorrow!

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