Monday, January 31, 2011

This dinner is brought to you by: Jenny!

My awesome friend Jenny gave me a pre-made bean soup mix in a mason jar, including the spices, and tonight seemed like the perfect winter night to use it. Add a piece of cornbread and it made a great warm meal! Thanks J-Bomb!! You're the best! :)
Step #1: Admire the pretty beans in the jar.
Step #2: Rinse the beans off in a colander...
Step #3: Cook the beans in the microwave covered in water for 15 minutes.....
Step #4: After rinsing the beans again, put them in a pot, add 8 cups of water, the spice packet and a can of diced tomatoes and you will soon have a million servings of soup!!
Step #5: Enjoy! :)

Who needs a snow day, when we've got cookies?!

So, tonight it's cold and icy and gross out.....what else are you supposed to do but make cookies to take to work to get through the fact that hospitals never have snow days?! I found this recipe on a blog that is great! Cara shares tons of recipes and actually gets to cook for a living as a high school cooking teacher. I bet the school kitchen has tons of interesting sights with lots of learning taking place! Anyway, I tried one (just to make sure they're okay) and I am a fan. I think whenever you combo peanut butter, chocolate chips and M&M's....things are going to work out!Hopefully my friends at work feel the same. :)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Good help isn't so hard to find....

This afternoon I have the pleasure of hanging out with one of my friend's's a mighty group with spirited personalities! I love spending time with these guys and they are really into the helping mood!

We are all VERY excited for the big K-State/KU match-up tonight. I actually went to my parents' house this morning and had pancakes and watched College Gameday. There is a lot of purple going on! So, the kiddos showed up this afternoon full of energy and ready to help decorate cupcakes for the game tonight. They did a great job helping! They all wanted to do the K-State ones. ;)

After the kitchen duties, they were still itching for more stuff to do....and my dad had told me to shovel the sidewalk before it snows again next week. I'm not one to deny him a task (I know...I'm generous).....but Lutey did it with no complaint!

Geo noticed that my table was dusty so she did some dusting of it and my glass tray. She does FINE work and informed me that she can clean my house, "no problem, just call my mom."

I had picked up two more dining room chairs last week at NFM and still hadn't put them do kids love sorting screws and bolts and nuts! Such good help!

After all the hard work, they relaxed with some popsicles, Snow White, played in the snow and we also did our nails. Way more productive afternoon than I would have predicted! Good luck to the Cats tonight!!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Over stocked...

The other day I came home from work and was absolutely sick of my kitchen pantry and the lack of organization that is going on in there! Turns out I have FOURTEEN cans of soup....btw, I don't have any roommates or anyone else living here. I, Michelle, am a soup hoarder. It's out of hand all of the non-perishable items that I have collected in the year and a half of living here. Wouldn't be a problem if I had a massive pantry like some folks, but my teeny space just can't keep up. Here's what happens....I buy stuff thinking that "might be good sometime" or "that's on sale, I'll buy 3" or "I should buy soup in case they stop selling it." What ultimately happens is that I buy things I know I like and I eat those instead of whatever other stuff I already have at home. For example, I have a freezer full of Lean Cuisines to "try" that I now think sound SICK!
I am envoking the Great Cupboard Clean-Out of 2011 at my house. This means, I am not going to buy an more non-perishable items at the store until these are gone....going to see how long it lasts but I am guessing probably for most of February. I am still going to buy fresh fruits and veggies and dairy products as I run out of those, but I'm going to clean this place up! I would really like to decrease how much processed foods I rely on for quick and easy things and start doing more natural foods.
Hopefully this will result in thoughtful meal planning, equally weight loss, more pantry space and a smaller grocery budget! :)

Here are a few pictures to show the massive quantities that I'm talking about....
My pantry with all of the following foods taken out....there's no room!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A sweet drawer for a sweet tooth...

I am seemingly always trying to eat healthy, lose weight and make good food choices.....and along with that, I need something SWEET in my life! I have developed a sweets drawer in my bar area and don't really have many other sweet treats in my house (with the exception of recently delivered Girl Scout cookies). This candy is not something that I have purchased to "just have around" but nevertheless it's on my property. It's mostly from leftover bunko snacks people have left when they have hosted at my house, my Christmas stocking, etc. It is not realistic for me to resist them all together as some people can with their crazy strong will power (Linds) that would be setting myself up for a binge of sweetness at some point down the road. So, I have developed the rule that if I am really craving something sweet, I can go get THREE and three only, pieces of candy. I have to eat them in the other room in a civilized fashion, not cramming them in my mouth as fast as I can over the drawer.....and then after that if I think I want more, I make myself really think about how badly I want them. It's working well so far! Nice little bit of sweetness at the end of a meal but I'm not committing to a bunch of calories! Wish me luck that this "program" continues with success. :)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Show Us Your Singles- Dallas Style!

So, I heard through a friend about a blog called Kelly's Korner. It's widely popular all over the country and rightfully so, she does a great job. Anyway, last week she did a post for people that are singles or who have single friends. She did it previously and there are three couples that have come from that, including two engagements. I thought that was really awesome that those connections happened through a blog post, and I thought, who better to write about than my baby sister Megan?! Here goes...

Meg (as I call her) recently turned 27 and has been in the Dallas area for several years. She is a CPA by trade; more specifically an auditor. This keeps her pretty busy during the accounting season and since she moves around to different sites and rarely works with the same people, it's difficult to make I thought I would do it for her!

Meg (on the left) and me in New Zealand...

Megan grew up in Kansas and still bleeds purple for our K-State Wildcats where she got both her bachelors and Masters degrees. She is an athletic, kind, funny and smart girl....oh yeah, and beautiful!! Whoever ends up with my sis will be one lucky guy!

Meg by the Opera House in Sydney....

My sister enjoys going to concerts, spending time with friends and traveling. She recently worked abroad in Australia for three months and I was lucky to get to go visit her and travel a bit when she was done. It was such a great experience together!

Meg and me in front of the Sydney Harbor Bridge...

I could go on for days, but that's a little snippet about my sis- love you Meg! :)

Meg and me before the K-State vs. North Texas in Dallas this fall...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Non-Wedded Bliss....

So....I don't typically write about dating....nor do I plan on making it a habit, but just need to vent about how tough it can be! It's such a complicated and complex process that I think only gets more difficult. I'm fairly particular when it comes to what I want AND don't want in a person, but there are really only a few things that I am strict about. I wouldn't say I am picky (some may disagree) but I just know what I'm looking for and there are certain things I won't compromise on. Not that I don't love what I've got going on in life and at times really value being single and the freedom that comes with that, but dating can be a daunting task!

Anyway, I went out with a guy last weekend that I had met through a month membership of one of the dating websites. I've done them before and had some rocky encounters but this guy seemed promising and it was actually a really good time! We even talked about how he had a crummy date the night before and how much fun he was having. And he said he would call. And he didn't. Not the end of the world. Obviously not the right guy for me if he's going to do that.....but SO FRUSTRATING! Why go through the antics of acting interested and saying you're going to do something if you're not going to? Life will go on and I'll meet my Mr. Right sometime, but I'm so sick of having to deal with all these frogs in the meantime!

Another example of poor behavior....a good friend of mine (who shall remain nameless) met a guy, went out for drinks with him, and he goes as far as setting a day and specifies a location where they should go to a movie the following week and leaves it as, "I'll call you." And.....he doesn't! And she doesn't hear from him again. WHAT THE TRUCK!?!

Now, I know that there could be other things going on with these guys or things that change in their life, but bottom line, "He's Just Not That Into You" and that stinks. I try to stay excited about meeting my prince, but geeze, life makes it tough! Any words of wisdom on where to meet the guys that are worthwhile?!

Wedded Bliss

One of my BFFs got married this weekend in KC and I had the pleasure of being her Maid of Honor...Tisharria and I played basketball together in high school and have been friends ever since. She married a cutie pa' tootie Reis....they are so sweet and he is so kind to her. Definitely sweet to see. I only teared up a couple times during the wedding and once was when he was crying during his vows. T made an excellent choice in Reis and I'm very excited for them! Congrats you two love birds! :)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Holiday Baking

Perhaps a bit late, but wanted to share a couple new things I tried in the world of baking over the holidays with my family....both are treats that I would recommend.

I have had my mom's breadmaker for quite awhile but have never used it. My friend Sarah has the same one and uses it a lot. She frequently makes cinnamon rolls for her kids and I thought it would be good to learn how to do it. So, she showed me and I replicated my lesson the day after Christmas for my family. I ended up using cream cheese in the frosting, which surprisingly, I didn't care for....but the rolls were pretty good!

Also, a few days before Christmas, my sis said she was really wanting some homemade bread pudding. I have never made it, but our grandma did frequently and we LOVED it! I know it's not a dessert that everyone would probably like (for those that don't like desserts without chocolate....ahem, Kylie), but it brings up lots of good memories of growing up and sneaking a bite of it from our grandma's stove. :) So, I found a recipe online and tried it out. We didn't put the sauce over it, but maybe would try that another time. We ate it Chrismas evening while we watched "The Holiday"....will definitely make it again sometime. But we won't have it anytime soon as my sis and I are having a Biggest Loser battle that started this week.....more on that soon....

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Resolutions for 2011

Welcome 2011! Today is 1-1-11. Craziness. As many people do, as we bring in this new year, I am in the mood of reflecting, processing, and contemplating my life, as well as what I can do to improve it as we are given this fresh start in a new calendar year. I feel like 2010 was a good year for me and have many blessings to be thankful for. Here are some resolutions I've made for the upcoming year. Hypothetically, I would like to check back to them a few times during the year and see how I'm doing. I couldn't narrow it down to one or two. Perhaps I think if I make enough of them, then my odds are higher at meeting a couple of them. Hope everyone is pleased with 2011 so far (it's been 22.5 hours as I write this). My best to you all. xoxo

1. I will remember to take my reusable bags into Dillons. I am chronically a failure when it comes to this. I will do better.
2. Complain less. Be thankful more. Pray more.
3. Keep my checkbook more balanced-ish. Used to be SO good at this but haven't been so good since vacation this fall. Should be an easy fix. Should be.
4. Be kinder to my parents and sister. Might be hard to believe, but I can be perfectly, downright unpleasant. It's true. And in my world, I'm the harshest with those I love the most.
5. Find a local church that I am excited about and get involved!
6. Keep my office/craft room more organized. (It's somewhat my "Monica's closet" for you Friends fans.)
7. Read more. Watch less TV.
8. Less multi-tasking. More focusing on a single task wholeheartedly.
9. Run in an official 5K race.
10. Find a volunteer mission I'm passionate about....suggestions welcome.