Thursday, February 24, 2011

My first love.

So when I was around 1st grade or so I started riding horses. I took lessons, and showed at a couple little shows in my home town. Then, my parents bought a ranch so we could have the horses in our backyard, and also made it a boarding facility. My first horse was Bassy, a bay Arabian. She was my best friend. I started showing Arabians, and even made it to Youth Nationals. Long story short, riding horses was my whole life. BUT, once teenager years happened, I lost interest. I had a trainer at one point who made riding horses miserable for me. It wasn't fun anymore. I remember multiple times crying during our lessons. But, in order to keep showing, it takes long hard practice, and maybe I just didn't want to do it anymore. I don't know. But I pretty much stopped going out and riding horses. I would have rather hung out with friends, I got a boyfriend, etc etc. Then, when I was a senior in high school, towards the end, I started going out there more again. But, shortly after that, I moved out with my husband (then boyfriend). So once I moved out, I pretty much never went out there for 6 years. In the midst of this my horse Bassy, passed away. Of course you get this overwhelming guilt. I wished I would have at least gone over there more, I'm very grateful for my mom taking care of her. This week, my parents are at a huge horse show they have every year in Scottsdale Arizona. So I am house sitting for them. While I'm here my mom needed me to work her two horses. Getting out there today was great. The smell of the horses, even just brushing them, it was great. I truly truly miss it. Of course, I now live 45 minutes away, so getting out there on a regular basis is kinda unrealistic. But it will be nice to relive it for a week at least.

Here is a picture of my moms horse, Wiz, while I was working him today.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Whats for dinner- Chicken Pot Pie

The other night I attempted to make homemade chicken pot pie. I say attempted not because it didn't taste good, but it didn't LOOK good! Oh well! It was the first time, and it tasted amazing.

I attempted to do homemade pie crust, which I will NOT do again. It was way to messy, and I actually didn't make enough. I only had enough to put on top, not inside the bowls which the recipe called for. However, I think I enjoyed only having it on top and not inside. Next time I will definitely use the pie crusts you can buy in the store. The bowls I used were a little too big, I didn't have as much filling as I thought I would, so the crust went inside the bowl a bit, next time I will use smaller bowls.

Here is a picture:

The lighting isn't too great, my camera was literally flashing red and the steam was fogging up the lens so that's the best picture I could get. I wanted you to be able to see the inside of it, sorry they aren't the best photos!

Here is the recipe:
This is the amount that was good for two medium/large bowls-

*1 chicken breast, cubed
*2 large carrots, diced
*1/2 cup peas
*2 celery sticks, diced
*1/2 onion diced
*1/4 cup all purpose flour
*1/4 teaspoon salt
*1/8 teaspoon pepper
*1 1/4 cup chicken broth
*1/2 cup milk
*unbaked pie crusts

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. In a saucepan combine chicken, carrots, peas, and celery. Add water to cover about an inch over the chicken and veggies inside, cover and boil for 15 minutes. Drain and put chicken and veggies in a bowl to the side.
3. In the same saucepan, over medium heat, cook onions in butter until soft and translucent. Stir in slowly the flour, salt and pepper. Slowly stir in milk and chicken broth. Simmer over medium-low heat until the mixture gets thick. Remove from heat.
4. Place unbaked pie crusts in individual bowls or into pie dish.
5. Mix in the chicken and veggie mixture with the thick liquid, and place it inside bowls or pie dish. Cover with top crust and cut away excess dough and seal edges. Make slits in the top of the crust to allow the steam to escape.
6. Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Allow to cool for about 10-15 minutes before serving.

Friday, February 18, 2011

What's for dinner: Meat loaf and Mashed potatoes

So the other night I made one of my husbands favorite dinners, meatloaf. Its the recipe my mom made, and one of the first dinners he had at my house when we first started dating. I was around 14 years old. He swore my mom made it best, little did he know, I made it a lot of the time! Finally he believed me and still loves it 10 years later.

Here is a picture, and I apologize, I tried to make it look as pretty as possible, but I don't cook food to look pretty, I cook food to TASTE GOOD! :)

Meatloaf Recipe:
*2 pounds ground beef
*1 envelope Lipton onion soup mix
*3/4 cup dry plain bread crumbs
*2 eggs
*3/4 cup water
*1/3 BBQ Sauce
*1 teaspoon garlic powder

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Try not to mix too much, the more you mix the tougher the meat will get. Just make sure it's all combined well.
-Spray with cooking spray a 13x9 pan, and put the meat into pan.
-Bake 1 hour or until done, let stand 10 minutes.

Ps. This makes for AMAZING meatloaf sandwiches for the next day for lunch!

Mashed Potatoes:

I experiment with mashed potatoes all the time. I always add new things. And I don't add exact ingredients into it. SO I'll tell you the "recipe" for what I do.

For two people I use 1 large russet potato. Yes ONE. It makes exactly two servings of the size you see in the picture. So obviously if you are making it for more than 2 people, add more potatoes.

I dice my potatoes in large chunks, and boil under tender, give or take 15 minutes. I then add it to a medium size bowl, and add a splash of milk (or buttermilk if I have it, I prefer buttermilk to regular milk but I don't always have it), about a tablespoon of butter, a tablespoon of cream cheese, salt and pepper to taste, and I also like to add garlic powder. Then with an electric mixer I combine. Add more of any of these ingredients to get it to taste the way you like.

Hope that made sense to you all. I hardly measure anything. A sprinkle of this, a handful of that...that's how I cook for the most part!

Anyway, if you try the recipes, I hope you enjoy it! Definitely yummy on a cold night.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

New entryway

So last summer my parents bought a new home, and my Grandmother had this wooden church pew bench that was in the kitchen. When she passed away and my mom packed up a lot of her things, there was certain items she wanted but didn't have room for in the house they were living in, so when they moved the new house which is at least twice or three times the size of their old one so she wanted to take the bench. This left a large empty space in my entryway. I needed to move something in there so we took this iron narrow table that we had in our bedroom in its place but the iron looked terrible and didn't match. One day my husband and I decided to organize the garage and I realized there was this old desk that was my moms when she was a child that I believe my Grandma used to do crafts on because there was over 10 colors of paint all over the top of it! I knew I could make it perfect for the entryway with a little paint. Then I went to Target, and ebay, and even the 99 cents store to find some frames to make a type of collage to go above the desk. I went and found some vintage pictures to print and put into the frames, and one of the pictures I already had, it was a picture of my mom, grandma and I when we had gone to Calico Ghost Town, I had to have been only 4 or 5, and we took one of those old western looking photos and it looked PERFECT in the large frame I found. Then I had gone to Toms Farm with my husband on the way home from a little trip to San Diego and I found these vintage food cans that I fell in LOVE with. I asked if my dad would make me a little wooden box for them, which he built, stained and painted for me. It looked great. Then I went to Michael's and found a tin can, and decoupaged it, and arranged some fake flowers in it. Little by little it was coming along. I found some old books my Grandma had that went perfectly also. On a trip to the mall I found this awesome box with a chalk board top (I'm a SUCKER for anything chalkboard) on clearance, it was originally around $40-50 and I believe we got it for less than $20. Here are some pictures of the new entryway...

Before: Desk-

Before: Desk-

New entry way collage:

Desk After:

This picture in the frame I had found in a cabniet that my Grandmother painted in 1969!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What I'm Burning...

Normally I go for fresh, citrus-y (is that a word?) scents, but I decided to change it up a bit.

What are your favorite candles? I love the scents Bath and Body works has, but I can't stand the smell right when you blow them out! Does anyone know what I'm talking about? Or am I just weird?

A fun little "about me" survey!

1. Your hair? Medium length, dark brown
2. Your favorite food? Hm, Italian food. I love pasta!
3. Your favorite drink? Water, I'm boring.
4. Your dream/goal? To be a mother. Plain and simple.
5. Your hobby? I love to cook, and do crafts. Does reading count as a hobby? And I am going to attempt to teach myself how to play the piano and to knit. We'll see how THAT goes. haha
6. Your fear? Not being able to get pregnant.
7. Where were you last night? At home!
8. Something you say all the time? when starting a conversation "Ok So..." I always say it!
9. Something that you’re not? Nothing other than ME!
10. Wishlist item? New carpet. haha :)
11. Last thing you did? Loaded the dishwasher, something I do every day, sometimes TWICE a day. lol.
12. What are you wearing? Workout clothes, thats on the agenda after this!
13. Your pets? 2 kitties, Sally & Chance, and 1 dog, Chloe
14. Friends? Yes, I have them. Are they awesome? Yes.
15. Missing someone? My Grandparents.
16. Something you’re not wearing? Socks.
17. Your favorite store? Pottery Barn. And Tai Pan Trading!
18. Your favorite color? I love lots of colors.
19. The last time you cried? Hm, watching "One Born Every Minute" last week with my husband, I cannot explain the empty feeling I have not being a mother, and watching baby shows makes me excited, sad, hopeful, a whole mix of emotions.
20. When's the last time you laughed? Today :)
21. One place that I go to over and over? Theres a few places, 1 Disneyland. 2 Monterey, Ca. I want to live there!
22. Where do you eat? At home! We don't go out to eat. I cook. :) But my favorite place to go is Anchos in Riverside, CA. Best fajitas EVER!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day

Happy Valentines Day!

I was excited for Louie to take the cupcakes to work, truthfully, I hoped they would make it to his work in one piece. Luckily, they did, and were a hit. I was glad. He also took a ton of avocados to work as well today. Seeing that we have, oh, SEVEN trees it doesn't hurt to have more people to give some avocados to!

While Louie was at work, I spent the day cleaning and doing laundry. More than I normally do in one day, I wanted the house to be perfect when he got home. The plan was to surprise him with dinner on the table, BUT, my crock pot didn't cook the soup quick enough (boo!). But we'll get to that in a minute.

So I didn't decorate for Valentines Day this year (gasp!, I know) but since the plan was to surprise him with dinner I wanted to have the table decorated. So I went downstairs to fish out a few of my favorites to put on the table. After I decorated the table I was finishing up the dishes and something made me want to look under the sink. I honestly don't remember why or what made me want to look down there, I don't recall looking for something specific and as I opened the cabinet water was spraying out of the pipe. For a good few seconds I freaked out, I didn't have Louie here to yell for to fix the problem so I knew for the first time, I had to fix it. Silly, I know, but I never have had to with my dad around when i was young, and my husband generally around all the time. So I collected myself and realized I should turn the water off. The issue really wasn't a big deal, but I was proud of myself for doing it none the less! So anyway, I got the rest of the house done, and I noticed it was almost time for Louie to get off work, I go to the crock pot and realize it isn't done. The recipe (which i will post in the bottom of this) calls for 4-6 hours. It definitely needed to go for six, and I only planned for four. I was bummed, but its okay.

Louie came home and surprised me with chocolates (which is exactly all I wanted this year). We had a nice dinner.

All in all, it was a great Valentines Day. How was your Valentines Day??

Here are some pictures...

Here is the recipe for the soup:

Fajita Soup-
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon of garlic (or more if you love garlic like me)
1 cup corn (if you do frozen, make sure it is thawed)
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 14.5 can of diced tomatoes with liquid
1 tablespoon chili powder
Cayenne pepper if you like spice
Salt & Pepper to Taste

Put in slow cooker and cook 4-6 hours. Mine took 6 hours.

Put into bowls, and top with Monterey cheese, then melt in broiler. Bowls will be VERY hot!

If wanted, add a little sour cream (sour cream always makes it better!)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Day before Valentines Day

So tomorrow is Valentine's Day! We have never been huge Valentines Day fans, we always celebrate but we don't make a huge deal out of it. A few times we have gone out, 2 years ago Hubby went ALL out with a fancy resturant, tons of roses, and a pearl necklace I love, but I don't need that every year. So this year with money tight, I wanted to do something special at home. I thought I would make some cupcakes to start, for Louie and his office. I have never claimed to be a very good baker, I can cook, but baking is a whole other ball game. But even I was surprised at how cute they turned out. For me, anyway. :)

I also make Louies lunch every day for work. I have this little press out for sandwiches that cuts off the crust of bread into desgins, and it cuts the sandwich into two hearts. So I did that for his sandwich, and to keep with the red/pink thing I also packed him some dried cranberries. To go inside his lunch I made a little homemade valentine as well. I went and found a cute little vintage valentine picture and made my own little valentine with my picture editing program. Then I glued it on some red scrapbook paper, and used a cute little red and white ribbon to tie it together. Hopefully he likes it!

Here are some pictures!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Open Face Meatball Sandwiches

So I made this recipe before deciding to get back into blogging so I have no pictures for this, BUT I will be making this again because we really enjoyed it so when I do I will try to remember to take some pictures. Now on to the recipe!

Open Faced Meatball Sandwiches:

Prep: 5 Minutes
Cook: 6 Hours

*24 frozen cooked Italian Style meatballs, Thawed (I used Trader Joes frozen meatballs, I used LESS than 24 since its just the two of us)
*1 jar of favorite pasta sauce (I used Trader Joes Tomato Basil)
*1 14.5 oz Italian style diced tomato's
*1 5.5 spicy tomato juice (v8 has some, I didn't use it this time, I added just a splash of water instead)
*Hoagie Rolls, split and toasted (or you can just pop them in the microwave a bit)
*Shredded Mozzarella Cheese to top

Combine first 4 ingredients in slow cooker.
Cover and cook on high for ONE hour. Reduce heat to LOW, and cook for around 4-5 hours. Mine only took four, or even a little less, just make sure sauce is slightly thickened. Spoon mixture evenly into rolls and top with cheese.


Friday, February 11, 2011

So funny!

A friend of mine posted this on facebook and I had to share. SO funny. My husband and I were cracking up.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Broccoli, Ham and Cheese Soup

So I don't have a picture for this recipe, from now on when I post recipes I am going to try to take a picture of them to go along with the recipes, but this one was SO good I had to share it tonight. If you don't have a crockpot you MUST go get one! I love them. They are so easy! Especially for a busy lifestyle or if you aren't a fan of cooking they are great to have. And did I mention how EASY they are? :)

5 large russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 garlic cloves roughly chopped (or a few more if you love garlic like me)
1 onion chopped
2 14oz cans of chicken broth
2 cups diced cooked ham (I use the thick ham steaks)
1 1/2 cups fresh broccoli florets
2 Cups whipping cream
2 cups Cheddar Cheese

*Combine the first 8 ingredients in at least a 5 qt slow cooker.
*Cover and cook on Low for 8 hours (mine only took six) or until the potatoes are tender.
*Process half of the soup in a food processor until smooth.
*Add puree, whipping cream and cheese back into the crockpot and combine well.

If its too cool for you, you can leave it in the crock pot on low for an additional 30 minutes, but I found that it was perfect to serve right away.

Serve with desired toppings, I just added a little cheese.

My husband LOVED it!

Fast forward 5 months!

Why hello! Haven't posted much in 5 months! Quite a bit has changed!

Louie got a job!!!!! Since this is public, I won't say where, but its been such a BLESSING. The people are great, and the job is great. He loves it. It is pretty close to our home as well, so no commute which is great. He really can see himself working there for a very long time, so we pray that over time opportunities for him to advance will come about. We are so thankful!

As for me, I went back to school to finish up my child development classes. After this semester I should be able to apply for a permit to work within childcare which is great. I am really enjoying school, and being home to be a housewife. Life is pretty good at the moment. :)

We have also discovered Dave Ramsey who has pretty much saved our (financial) life. He is a Godsend to us. We have been following his Total Money Makeover plan and loving it. We should be debt free by the fall. I will vouch to say we will NEVER EVER use credit cards again! No new cars ever again! The buyer is slave to the lender and we will never be slaves again. With the exception of a home, whenever we buy our first home since now that we live at my Grandmas home since shes passed, the how is paid off so there is no mortgage to worry about currently.

I have also gotten back on track with weight loss again. I hate having to say that! lol! But I have, and I hope to stick with it THIS time. The holidays really threw me off, but I have lost about 25 pounds total.

Which leads into baby making! Now that Louie has gotten a job, and we will be getting insurance again shortly, and our debt will be paid off, we are going to be getting back to trying to conceive in the next few months. Well, probably more than just a few months, our goal is to be pregnant BY the end of the year. In the mean time we want to pay off our debt and loose weight while we wait until around the end of summer to start really trying. My dad turned 70 this past January, I refuse to wait much longer. My parents are the most important people in our lives, and I want my child to KNOW them, to really KNOW them. Not to mention, I have been dreaming of becoming a mother for years, and years. I am ready. My husband is ready. So that's exciting.

I was thinking of doing some posts about cooking as well. We never eat out, I'm always cooking so I figured maybe I would do posts about some of the meals I make, along with the recipes. We'll see. It was actually my husbands idea. :)

This past weekend I chopped my hair off also. Which was great! I wish I would have done it years ago! I mean its still to my shoulders, but it was around the middle of my back before, so that's a lot of hair to me!

2010 wasn't a very great year for us, and already 2011 has been great. We are in a very good place in our lives and the only thing better would be to add a little addition to our family which HOPEFULLY will not be too far off into the horizon.