Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I have a confession to make...

I am a cell phone-aholic! There I said it!

For the longest time (well forever) when it comes to technology I've always want the biggest, fastest, newest a person could get. I get serious cell phone envy when I think about a phone that can do something mine can't do.

Since 2007, I have had:
-a cheap blue camera phone
-a cheap red Motorola with no camera
-a red Motorola Razr
-a Blackberry Pearl
-a Blackberry Curve
-a cheap black nokia phone.

Yes, I realize that I have a problem.

Mind you remember that I did have 2 cell phone carriers (AT&T and Alltel) and carried two cell phones during that time though. (My original, Alltel, only worked in San Angelo...not Eden. So I had to get another service.) At long last...last November...I thought we had found a cure. The iPhone!

We all have coping mechanisms. When I come across that brand new piece of mind blowing technology that I can't afford...I convince myself I don't want it. I didn't want an iPhone, didn't need an iPhone, wasn't going to get an iPhone until... well you can read about it in this post.

Well so I got one...and FELL IN LOVE! I don't know what I ever did before I had this phone. I can find information and phone numbers in an instant using the internet. It enables my blogging, myspace, and facebook addictions nicely. I have all the music I want on hand at any point in time! I've also cut down the weight in my purse by quite a bit. (I used to carry around my cell phone, my video iPod, and my iPod shuffle at all times! That was nice and bulky!) I haven't even looked at another cell phone since or even read any reviews from www.phonedog.com like I used to do quite often.

That is until the horrible company that is Apple announced they were coming out with a new iPhone! A better one! The 3GS...Oh how could they! If they only knew how they were ruining the peace I had finally found at last! And so I've been pouting...quite noticably Kevin would say. I noticed my ears perking up when I heard Apple commercials on TV and then the next thing I knew...I was onto my old habit...the phonedog.com rumor and news blog. Then yesterday I went to read a post on the blog of a sweet girl named Tyly and found THIS.

Oh how excited I was! Someone had actually gotten one! That lasted all of about 2 seconds before the pout set back in. I was starting to depise my old, ugly, pitiful iPhone 3G. No folks...I'm still not done.

So this morning I wake up to my old, ugly, pitiful iPhone 3G and have a new email. It's from Apple and its notifying me of the free update that is available for my phone. All I have to do is connect my phone to iTunes to install the update and all of the sudden it will become a neato, wowza, yea haw "iPhone 3G almost S!" I can now forward text messages, cut, copy, paste, record voice memos, email voice memos, use stereo bluetooth, use MMS messaging(at the end of summer), and text ridiculously fast using a new wide screen large button keyboard!!!

It was a miracle! I was saved! I did a happy dance and flew to my office to update as fast as I could! With the iPhone updates its like I'm getting a new phone every few months...without the expense!!! Now don't get me wrong...it doesn't have the larger memory, larger battery, video camera, or compass that the 3GS has but thats ok. I can live without those. Finally a phone that can satisfy my ever roaming eye. Once again my iPhone is shiny, new, neato, wowza and ever so intriguing! And I once again can shop peacefully again without the green eyed monster of "I WANT THAT!" rearing its ugly head! Best Buy...Here I come!

Now when it comes to computers...well I'm still looking for a 12 step program for that addiction! But they do say that admiting you have a problem is the first step so at least I'm on the road to recovery!!!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Parts of our past..

I realized today that there are quite a few big events that have happened in our (mine and Kevin's) life that some of you might not know about. I've briefly mentioned them before but never given any explanation. I'm going to attempt to start a post that tells a little bit about the history of Kevin and I and some other topics. I have my big final project due on Saturday and my Journalism TEXES also on Saturday so it may be a couple of days before it gets posted. A work in progress... I know I have a couple of readers that visit but don't comment. I'm going to open myself up for some questions if you would like...What is something you would like to know about me? I'm really wanting to start blogging about a few topics that interest me but I don't really know what people like to see. If it is embarassing I might have to pass but I'll really try to answer it if you ask. If I get one question commented on this blog I will be beyond suprised. If I get more...I will be thrilled. So what do you say? Wanna make my day? :)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

to the most amazing man I know!

My Dad has been the best father a girl could ask for. He's always been there when I needed him and always made me feel like I could do anything in the world! He works so hard to give our family all we've ever needed and loves us unconditionally.

I realize how lucky I am to have a father like him and I thank God everyday for placing such a wonderful role model in my life. It just swells my heart to think about how wonderful of a grandfather he will be to my future children someday!!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Chocolate Ricotta Muffins

Chocolate Muffins with Real Milk Chocolate Chips and they are only 3 points a piece!!!

Wow! My 100th post and I can't think of a better recipe to celebrate the occasion! These muffins are WONDERFUL! I'm going to link to the original recipe and then post the simple substitutions I made.

I found this recipe on a sweet blog I read about a stay at home mom named Sarah and her life trying to be the best christian she can be. I've had the recipe for a very long time before I finally decided to make it.

I love chocolate and one of my biggest struggle on WW is wanting something sweet everyonce in a while. I love making the brownie muffins recipe that consists of only a devil's food cake mix and 1 can of pure pumpkin. Those muffins are also 3 points a piece but not near as chocolatey and moist as these!

Chocolate Ricotta Muffins
1 cup fat free ricotta cheese
2 large eggs
1 1/3 cup skim milk
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
4 tablespoons light butter, melted and cooled
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups granulated white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup sugar free cocoa powder
1 cup milk chocolate chips

Melt butter and place on counter to cool. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 12 cup muffin pan with non stick spray and set aside.

I started with my dry ingredients to allow time for my butter to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the ricotta cheese and then add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add milk, vanilla extract, and cooled melted butter, mixing well.

Pour ricotta mixture into flour mixture. Stir until just combined and fold in chocolate chips. Do not overmix or the muffins will be tough when baked.

Using a spoon, fill muffin cups until about 1/4 inch from the top. I only have 1 pan so I had to bake two sets. It filled 23 cups for me. The first set I used paper liners which did not work well. The next day the liner stuck to the muffin very badly. These are better without paper liners.

Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. A toothpick came out clean when done (as long as it didn't get stuck into one of the chocolate chips!) Cool on wire rack.

Enjoy! A little scoop of vanilla ice cream on one of these muffins would make a VERY decadent desert!!!

Something that has never happened to me before...

Warning! This post is very weird, very random, and slight icky!

Ok I've been debating about posting this for a few days because it is weird...BUT...it's driving me crazy so I'm just gonna talk about it. In April I went up to the hospital to visit my dad. He was having a very minor surgical procedure and my mom was waiting for him so I brought her lunch. When I was carrying in our food and drinks to a side door of the hospital I managed to smash the door into my pinky toe! (Wearing flip flops of course!) I didn't even want to look down. I thought I had cut it off.

I mean...we are talking pain like I haven't felt before. I almost fell over, the world spun, I thought I was going to black out. (Yes I realize I'm a wuss. I've never given birth but it was worse than when I broke my leg! lol) Luckily, my dad's room was just around the corner from the door so I hobbled over quickly and dumped the food onto the end table. I had to sit down and breathe deeply for several minutes before color starting coming back into my surroundings. I was laughing like a maniac and my mom couldn't figure out what was going on with me! Finally I managed to tell her what happened and about 2 days later it finally stopped aching.

I looked fine so I never thought anything else about it until the nail starting growing. It grew in with blood dried underneath it and wasn't connected anymore! It was so gross! I just kept getting pedicures and kept painted with pretty dark summer colors and so it looked fine.

Finally the other day I kind of drug my foot across some carpet Kevin has rolled in the garage and the whole nail fell off! I have never had this happen before! It doesn't hurt but looks terrible. I don't know what to do! It makes me so mad because I wear flip flops constantly during summer.

Should I have a fake nail put on? Put a band-aid on and ignore it? Ah! If this has happened to you before...please let me know what to do! I'm going to post a picture so you can see how dorky it looks. Sorry that this was kind of gross!!!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Menu Plan Monday 6/15/09

Well after my mini meltdown last week...lol...I finally got things accomplished. I was able to get our menu plan and grocery shopping finished for this week. Some good, simple recipes this week so I'm very excited.

*Please remember even though I post point values for my recipes they are only estimates that I build in the WW Recipe Builder! You need to double check the point values for yourself because they can change drastically with simple changes in product. (Compare the point value of a regular can of cream of chicken soup with the healthy choice can of the same soup...it is ridiculous!) You also may notice that my dinner meals are a little high in pts per serving. This is because I usually eat very few points during the day and save most of my points for the evening. It is hard to find good dinner recipes that are extremely low points. If I do good during breakfast and lunch I'm less likely to blow my whole day.

I found a new website called the Weight Watcher Chick and I really like it! Most of this weeks recipes came from her site! Go Check it out!

Monday-Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti (10 servings/7 pts each)
Tuesday-Sweet & Sour Pork (4 servings/8 pts each)
Wednesday-Cheese Stuffed Chicken (I LOVE cheese! Can you tell? lol) (3 servings/7 pts each)
Thursday-Bubble Up Pizza Casserole (Serves 8/7 pts per serving)
Friday-Chicken Parisienne (Serves 3/7 pts per serving) Remember to add points for any pasta you use!)

Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti

This is a take on my mother's recipe. Her recipe didn't include cheese. :) We love this and there are never leftovers that get thrown away. We may eat on it for days...but it ALL gets eaten.

13 oz Whole Wheat Spaghetti
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
1-10 oz can 98% fat free cream of mushroom soup
1-10 oz can 98% fat free cream of chicken soup
1-10 oz can Rotel
1-4 oz can of mushrooms (drained)
1 lb reduced fat Velveeta Cheese (cubed)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9x13 casserole dish with non stick spray.

Bring large pot of water to a boil. Add chicken breast and salt to water. Boil until chicken is completely cooked through (about 20 minutes).

While chicken is cooking, combine mushroom soup, chicken soup, rotel, drained mushrooms, and velveeta cheese in large bowl.

Remove chicken from the pan and bring water back to a boil. Add spaghetti to boiling water and cook for about 7 minutes. Spaghetti will be firm. While spaghetti is boiling shred chicken into bite sized pieces and add to soup mixture.

After spaghetti is finished boiling, drain and add to soup and chicken mixture. Stir to coat and place in casserole dish.

Heat in oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. This is to warm the soup mixture and melt the cheese! Enjoy!

Serves 10/7 pts each)

Monday, June 8, 2009

A Funk

Well... Things are really crazy right now. We took a little time to eat lunch with my parents on Saturday and everything has snowballed since then. I'm taking two seconds to post and probably regret it later. Kids College starts today from 1 - 5:15. It will be every night this week. I've been writing curriculum like crazy and I have a feeling after the first class today...I will probably end up completely redoing it tonight. I have an assignment for grad school due tonight that I haven't started and another I haven't started due on Wednesday night. I think we're supposed to play Bunko again tomorrow night but I haven't heard anything so I'm kinda hoping they change it.

I haven't had a chance to make a menu plan much less shop for groceries and we are completely out of several staples (like my morning oatmeal!). I've got to get up the the Extended Studies center at ASU this morning to fill out paperwork and make copies and then get to my computer lab ahead of time to set up the computers. The Senior Adult College classes I'm teaching start next week also.

Both my Office class and Careers class made this week and my photoshop class is already full for the week after next. I have only had 1 person sign up for a finance classes next week and I'm really hoping we don't get enough students to do the classes. I think I may have bit off more than I can chew with grad school, teaching summer classes, and I still haven't gotten back up to Trinity to work on the computers. That might have to wait until July.

I still haven't heard about a job position for the fall and it is driving me crazy! I went to the doctor last week to set up a primary care physician. I've been supposed to have one for years and never got around to it. They drew blood, which was a horrifying experience...they couldn't find a vein and now my arms and hands are bruised all over. The results were supposed to be in on Friday but they didn't call and when I called my doctor had left for the day at lunchtime. Ugh! So I've been worrying about what the blood tests will say about my insulin levels and testosterone levels all weekend.

I'm stressed and cranky. I've got to get over this. I hate feeling this way. I have been doing good about getting up and working out on the elliptical in the mornings. Other than that...I need to get out of my funk and can't figure out how! Whew...that feels a little better. I guess I needed to complain a little...lol.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Briar Claire

Hello Everyone! The other day Kevin comes rushing in the house after he got home from work. He says, "You got a package!" And then proceeds to nonchalantly plop a small package down on the desk in front of me.

There in the return address at the very top left hand corner of the package in the most adorable pink pen was the name that made me laugh out loud! MckMama!!! I shouted, "Kevin!" and he popped out from around the door. He had been waiting for my reaction after I saw who the package was from! He knew I had won MckMama's contest and was supposed to recieve a prize! I was thrilled!

I quickly opened the package and as fast as my fat little fingers could fly I opened the top of the cute pink bag and spread my goodies across the desk! Please excuse the quality of the picture. I've been taking pictures with my iPhone lately. I need to charge my camera battery.

The Briar Claire clips are even more adorable in person! Oh how I wish I had a little girl right now! I can't wait for the day I get to put them on a bunch of beautiful pig tails!

I could put them in the hair of a cute baby I know. I do have the world's most adorable God son. You just have to agree. His name is Callen. He might not appreciate that though. Here I'll just show you how adorable he is.

See I knew you would agree. We will look at another just for grins.

Anyway...back to the subject. I'm putting my clippies in the drawer with my other secret baby goodies and someday...God will bless me with a little baby that will look adorable in them. Thank you MckMama! Thank you very very very much!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Chicken Divan

I made the Chicken Divan last night and it was wonderful! We definately loved it. I kind of reminds me of Ritz Chicken Casserole but it has a very different taste. I think it might be even better if the mayonnaise was replaced with sour cream! Not sure how it would affect the points though! I'm going to type up the recipe now.

1 1/2 lb chicken, cooked and chopped
3 cups broccoli florets, lightly steamed
2- 10 1/2 oz cans condensed Healthy Request Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 cup fat free mayonnaise
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 1/2 oz of Wheat Thins Toasted Chips Garden Valley Veggie, crushed
2/3 cup fat free shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. I used 1 1/2 lbs of boneless skinless chicken breasts for this recipe. I boiled the chicken at the same time I boiled the chicken for the Chicken Squares earlier this week and then stuck it in the fridge. It was a great time saver! The original recipe called for fresh broccoli florets to be steamed but I just bought a bag of the microwaveable Bird's Eye Steamfresh Broccoli florets and used that. Another timesaver! Chop the chicken into bite size pieces and place in the bottom of a 9x13 pan. After steaming the florets scatter them over the chicken. In a small bowl, combine soup, mayonnaise, and lemon juice. Pour mixture over top of chicken and broccoli. In another small bowl combine crushed crackers, cheddar cheese, and melted butter. Stir with a fork to coat the crackers and cheese. Pour cracker mixture on top of the sauce and spread evenly. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Menu Plan Monday 6/1/09

Update 6.4.09: I added a link for the Chicken Divan recipe!

Whew! We had a busy week last week and an even busier weekend! With the last week of school, bridal showers, graduations, and summer school starting I'm exhausted and now it's only Monday! lol After some inpromptu dinner plans popped up last week we didn't get two of our dishes made. We will make those this week and eat leftovers. We loved our meals last week but of what we got made our favorite was the Spinach & Bacon Stuffed Chicken! It was wonderful and we made a lot of them and ate all the leftovers!!! We also made up some 4 Cheese Macaroni to go with this meal. I just happened upon the recipe on the internet and it was FANTASTIC!!! I really recommend it!

Monday-Chicken Squares (4 servings/9 WW pts each)
Wednesday-Chicken Divan (8 servings/ 5 WW pts each)
Thursday-Mexican Tortilla Casserole (12 servings/5 WW pt each)
Friday-Italian Bacon Wrapped Chicken (6 servings/7 WW pts each) We LOVE these!!!

I had three cousins graduate from high school this weekend. I'm so very proud of all of them! Yesterday was my Aunt Sheila's birthday so my mom asked if we could invite her family to my house for dinner. I cleaned up a little clutter and ran to the grocery store yesterday morning to get ready. I had 22 people in my little house last night and it was a blast! I'm tired but so glad we got to see everyone. It was the first time that all 5 of my mom's sisters and brother were together since my grandfather's funeral in 2005.

4 Cheese Macaroni

I'm retyping a recipe I found on the internet because I had to make some substitutions due to what was in my pantry but it was WONDERFUL!!! I'm really picky about Mac & Cheese and loved this! You can find the original recipe here. I am a very picky eater. I hate squash and mustard! This has both in it and you can't even taste it!!! What a way to eat veggies!

4 Cheese Macaroni (10 servings/ 5 points each)

1 pound elbow macaroni
2 Medium Yellow Summer Squash
2 Cups skim milk
1 1/3 Cups reduced fat Shredded Mild Cheddar Cheese
2/3 Cup reduced fat Colby Jack Shredded Cheese
1/2 Cup Fat Free Ricotta Cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
The original recipe calls for a baked breadcrumb crust but I left that out. Extra points I don't need.

Bring large pot of water to a boil. Add macaroni and cook until desired firmness achieved. Drain macaroni( but retain about 3 inches of the water in the pan) and transfer to a large bowl. Return water in pan to a boil. Meanwhile wash and chop squash into 1/2 inch pieces. Place squash in boiling water until soft. Drain water and place squash pieces into a food processor or blender. I pureed the squash in my Magic Bullet for just a few seconds after they were soft. It worked perfectly.

Add 2 cups of milk and pureed squash to drained pot. Cook mixture on medium heat until almost simmering. Remove from heat and stir in Cheddar, Colby Jack, Ricotta, Salt, Dijon Mustard, and Cayenne Pepper. Stir until all ingredients combine and cheese melt. Serve. We loved it this way!

Mexican Tortilla Casserole

This is a favorite casserole we've been making for years! My high school Home Ec teacher taught it to me! It is very simple and very delicious! We serve it with salad, chips, and sour cream. It is always a huge hit!

Mexican Tortilla Casserole

8 Flour Tortillas (I use Mission Brand Fat Free flour tortillas. They are 2 pts a piece. Be careful because tortillas can vary in pt values easily! I actually compared the Mission brand whole wheat tortillas with these fat free tortillas and the calories and fiber were the same but the wheat tortillas had 2 grams of fat instead of 1.5 like the flour tortilla!)
1 lb Ground meat
2 cans Campbell's Cream of Chicken Soup 98% reduced fat
1 Can Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup 98% reduced fat
1/2 Cup Picante Sauce
1/4 Cup Milk
1 cup fat free shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 X 13 pans with flour tortillas. Brown ground meat in large skillet. Add the cream of chicken, cream of mushroom, picante sauce, and milk to the browned meat. Pour 1/2 of meat mixture over tortillas in pan and sprinkle with 1/2 cup grated cheese.

Cover meat mixture with another layer of tortillas and then repeat meat mixture and cheese layers.

Bake at 350 degrees until bubbly and cheese is melted. This is usually about 20-25 minutes for me.