Thursday, May 28, 2009

Happy Girl

After last week's very pessimistic post about things that I am sick of, I thought I would take another one of Mama Kat's suggestions and write about 10 things that make me happy!

1.  Having a house makes me really happy.  I love to keep it clean.  Yes I know I'm an oddity.  I like to decorate for the seasons and change things up too. Mostly though, I just like knowing that it's mine :)

2.  Blogging make me really happy.  I totally didn't expect to get such joy out of blogging when I first started.  It really has been something I look forward to everyday.  It's nice to have a way to document my life and I like that friends and family who I don't see all the time can read to keep up me!  And of course, I like all the blogs I read and the new "friends" I have met.

3.  Cooking.  This should be obvious.  I love cooking!  I like to make things for people as a sign of affection and my hubby loves it too.  Lets get real though....I mostly just like to eat.

4.  Gardening has recently became something that I really enjoy.  Since having a house I have loved getting to know different flowers and watching what everything turns into!  Here's a picture I took this morning out the window, because the weather isn't so good here today:

5.  I really like to read.  I come and go with how much I actually read, but when I get into a book I can rarely put it down.  I don't know why it takes me so long to actually start one.  I don't have a favorite but I am still really enjoying reading the series I wrote about here.  

6.  Babies also make me really happy.  I don't have any yet, but nothing can make be smile faster than a squishy little baby.

7.  Traveling.  I don't do it much, but when we do go somewhere it is so exciting!  I travelled to Europe for 2 months in high school, and I still have super fond memories of it.  I would love love love to go to Italy or back to the Dominican and lay right here:

8.  Menu planning makes me happy and also keeps me sane.  I know it's really weird that I would add this but I am able to save money this way by not wasting and make more unique and varied meals because I actually have time to plan them.  I also really hate going to the grocery store, so not having to go all the time makes me happy too :)

9.  My friends and family.  It sounds cliche but they really do make me so happy everyday. Whether it's my mom or my girlfriends, I love spending time with all of them.

10.  And the best for last.  My hubby.  He makes me the happiest.  I love all the time we spend together, especially the boring couch snuggles where he lets me watch all the Jeopardy and Real Housewives I want.

To check out what makes others happy or more assignments go see Mama Kat here!!!

Have a great day!!!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Old Clothes

Yesterday I had a little time on my hands and decided to go through some old clothes.  I took some to a consignment shop to sell and made $68.  I sold them at a place called Plato's Closet. I don't know if they're nationwide or not, but they pay a pretty good amount for clothes.  

Next, I separated some into a pile to give to Goodwill.  Then I had some shirts that were really stained, ripped, etc.  I didn't really want to give those to Goodwill because they were incredible hideous and I don't think they would even keep them.  But, I didn't want to throw them away either. So, being my cheap self I decided to make little rags with them.  I have been trying to reduce the amount of paper towel I use, but I don't like to dirty my nice dish clothes. Cutting up these yucky clothes were a good solution.  

I made three sizes.  Big ones for the hubby when he washes the car, does yard work, etc.  Middle size ones for larger clean ups and little ones for wiping the counter and other kitchen things. Now, I know you are wondering to yourself if I use them in the bathroom too. Ummm...maybe for the occasional light counter cleaning, but this girl will NOT be using these on the toilet.  I'm simply not green enough for all that.  The idea of washing anything with toilet rags makes me a little icky.  And I don't think it's worth wasting a load of laundry to wash them alone.  I'd might as well use paper towel with all the water I'd be wasting.  

So here they are:

Have a great day!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

No Bake Strawberry Cheesecake

I made this for a barbeque that we had on Saturday and it was so good and easy!  It had a great strawberry taste and didn't feel quite as heavy as a normal cheesecake.  Not that I've really had a problem with heavy desserts before....but. Ugh. Well, you know what I mean.


2 cups graham cracker crumbs
6 tbsp butter, melted
1 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
4 pkg (80z) cream cheese
1/2 cup strawberry preserves
2 cups fresh strawberries, chopped
1 tub (8oz) Cool Whip, thawed


Mix graham crackers, butter, and 1/4 cup sugar together.  Press into bottom of 13x9 pan. Refrigerate while making filling.

Beat cream cheese and 3/4 cup sugar until well blended.  Add in preserves and mix well.  Put strawberries in a small bowl and sprinkle 2 tbsp sugar over.  Mash strawberries with fork or potato masher.  Stir strawberries and Cool Whip into cream cheese mixture.  Spoon over crust. Refrigerate for 4 hours or until firm.  

Obviously we liked it....

To see more yumminess check out Tasty Tuesday here and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday here!

Have a great day!!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Menu Plan 5/25 - 5/30

Well I had a great weekend!!  It's so nice to just have that one extra day off.  It's amazing what a difference it can make in your week.  Last night we had some friends over for a barbeque.  I made a great dessert which I will post tomorrow.  We also had brats, burgers, corn, and the Broccoli Slaw I posted last week.  After dinner we had a fire in the back which went on way too late so I'm a little tired today :)

Well here is the plan for the week: 

PS... I was really bad about the picture thing.  I will try to post some later as I make them :)

Monday:  Hubby's Burgers with Special Sauce and baked sweet potato fries

1 lb ground turkey
1/4 cup green onion, chopped
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp orange juice
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp ginger, grated

Mix all ingredients together make 4 patties.  Grill each patty about 6 minutes on each side. Top with special sauce:


1/4 cup mayo
1/2 cup greek yogurt (or mayo)
2 tbsp green onions, chopped
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp orange juice
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp ginger, grated

Mix all ingredients together and spoon over burgers!  This is really yummy and a great burger in the summer :)

Tuesday:  Kung Pao Chicken

*I know that this seems like a lot of ingredients, which there are.  However, a lot of the things are just basic pantry items.  Once you make the quick sauce it's very fast from there.  This is really tasty and a nice change from normal stir fry*


1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
1 tbsp sherry
5 tsp cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vinegar
couple shakes of hot sauce (to taste)
1 tbsp cooking oil
2 tsp ginger, grated
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts
2 cups rice, cooked


Mix in a medium bowl chicken, sherry, and 1 tsp cornstarch.  Cover and set in fridge for 30 minutes.

In a small bowl stir together water, soy sauce, 4 tsps cornstarch, sugar, vinegar, and hot sauce. Set aside.  

Pour cooking oil into a wok or skillet.  Heat for a minute or two over medium high heat.  Stir fry ginger and garlic in hot oil for about 15 seconds.  Add chicken and stir fry until cooked through, about 4 minutes.  

Stir in sauce until thickened and bubbly.  Add in green onions and peanuts and cook for 1-2 minutes.  Serve over rice.

Serves 4.

Wednesday:  Flank Steak with roasted potatoes and broccoli

Thursday:  LO Kung Pao Chicken

Friday:  Rehearsal Dinner for the wedding I'm in on Saturday in Detroit

Saturday:  Wedding!!!!!!!!! I'm so excited!!

To check out more menu plans go to Organizing Junkie here!

Have a great week!!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Cute Cute Cute

I was on Perez yesterday and saw this video. Yes...I occasionally read Perez. Anywho, this is a really sweet video and one of my very favorite songs. Take a peek:

Happy Friday!!!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sick Of

So today I decided to do an assignment from Mama Kat. I'm listing 10 things I'm sick of because I wanted to be a Debbie Downer today :) Just kidding, I'm not in a bad mood at all, but hey it's kind of nice to write down what you're sick of. I wrote it down now I'm moving on! Okay here's me complaining.

I'm sick of:

1.  Flies.  As I'm writing this one flew past my head.  We live in the country and they are everywhere!  Seriously, being originally a city girl this has been the hardest thing for me to get used to.  Maybe if I dressed up like this I could scare them away.

2.  Hearing about Twitter.  I don't care if people have it and there are some I even like to read. However, I think it's getting a little out of hand.  I don't need to know when you pee.  I don't think it's meant for all that.

3.  Hearing about the economy.  The more we hear about how bad it is, the more we worry. The more we worry, the more we don't spend money.  It's a vicious cycle.

4.  Tanning.  I'm in a wedding in a little over a week and the dress currently matches my skin color.  I never seem to have a problem tanning quickly, but for some reason it's not going so well this time.  I don't really like to tan and this is becoming very unfun.

5.  Texting.  Are you sensing an aversion to technology here?  I just think texting, like Twitter, is getting out of hand.  I don't think people talk anymore. I also think texting an entire conversation is a lot of work.  Why not just call me and we can discuss it in 5 minutes instead of spending 20 minutes typing it out. Oh, and have you heard of sexting?  I saw it on the Today Show the other day. all I have to say to that.

6.  Not being able to go the the beach.  It's still a little cold here.  But not for long!!!!!!!!!!!!!

7.  Feeling like I need to lose weight.

8.  Having giant cravings for things like this:

That's a peanut butter pie in case you were wondering. I think about them 24/7.

9.  Wanting to plan a vacation but not having the funds to actually do it because of annoying car/house things.

10.  Not having projects done in our house.  I want our bedroom to look like this:

There you go! I'm officially a big complainer! I promise tomorrow I'm going to have a very positive post :)

To check out more assignments go to Mama Kat's here!!

Have a great day!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Baked Macaroni with Chicken

I used to make this all the time, because it's one of my husband's favorite.  However, I kind of forgot about it and haven't made it in a long time. I made it last night though and it was very tasty!  I wouldn't say that it is incredibly flavorful but I like it because it's really comforting. Also, it's a breeze to make and pretty healthy.  


1 box macaroni *see my note below the pictures for an alternative
2 boxes chopped frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 eggs
1/2 cup onion, minced
1 cup parmesan cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese
salt and pepper to taste
you're favorite tomato sauce (optional)


Preheat oven to 375.  Poach chicken by simmering in salted water until cooked through.  (You could use any type of chopped chicken.  Rotisserie, left over, baked, etc)  Boil noodles.  

In a separate bowl beat eggs and mix in spinach, onion, parmesan, salt, and pepper. Once chopped chicken and noodles have cooled a little mix those in too.  

Place everything in a sprayed casserole dish and top with mozzarella.  Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

I like to serve mine with Vodka sauce :)

***Okay a note about the noodles.  You could also use spaghetti and bake it in a well sprayed bundt pan.  Then remove the noodles onto a plate.  Serve the sauce in the hole.  I have done this before but didn't have any spaghetti.  I think it's more fun for kids and a nicer presentation if you're having guests.***

To see more yumminess check out Tasty Tuesday here and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday here :)

Have a great day!!

Macaroni and Cheese on Foodista

Monday, May 18, 2009

Menu Plan 5/18 - 5/23

I had the best weekend!!  On Saturday morning 5 of my girlfriends and I left for Detroit for a friends bachelorette party.  We went to an 80's nightclub and it was so much fun!  The bar came complete with a giant dancefloor, disco ball, and plenty of Blondie.  It was a mix of all ages including an 80 year old man who could dip better than any woman I've ever seen.  So now on to my slightly boring menu this week.  I had to send the hubby to go grocery shopping on Sunday and didn't want to make him try to find anything too complicated at the store :)

Monday: Baked Macaroni with Chicken  (I'll be posting this tomorrow for Tasty and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday after I make it tonight)

Tuesday:  Gyros with a salad


1 lb lamb
1 lb ground turkey (or beef)
2 tbsp grill seasoning 
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp coriander
1 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp cinnamon
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup feta, crumbled
1 10oz pkg frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Mix all ingredients well and form into a 3 inch wide long roll on baking sheet.  Coat with olive oil and bake for 40 minutes.  Serve with pita, onion, tomato, and cucumber yogurt sauce below.


1 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 chopped cucumber
1 grated clove garlic
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp salt
juice of half lemon

Mix everything together and spoon into pita

Wednesday:  Brats and Broccoli Cole Slaw

Thursday: Left over Gyros

Friday:  Left over Brats

Saturday:  Sonic!!!!!!!!

To check out more menu plans go to Organizing Junkie's Blog here :)

Have a great week!!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Gardening Class

Last night I took my gardening class at Home Depot.  It was a lot of fun and I learned more than I thought I would.  I really wanted to learn about organic vegetable gardening because it's something I want to do next Spring.  They didn't really talk as much as I'd hoped about that, but I learned some other really cool tips for container plants.  

First, if you have a big pot that you're filling with flowers, herbs, tomatoes, etc and you don't want to use a ton of dirt to fill the pot you can take a smaller pot and turn it upside down and put it on the bottom, to save on dirt.  Kind of like putting a brick in your toilet to save on water.  You can also put packing peanuts in the bottom of the container to take up some space and help with drainage.

Second, they talked a lot about how it is important to use a soil that retains water well in container pots so you aren't constantly watering.  They said though that another option is to mix sphagnum moss into the soil and put a little on top too.  They said that it can hold like 40 times its weight in water and will release it gradually.  I thought this was a great tip since I usually kill my plants by the middle of July because I get sick of watering them.  

Ok well that's it!  I'm off to Detroit tomorrow for the weekend but I am seeing Angels and Demons tonight with the hubby.  I'm pretty excited but mostly just curious!

Have a great weekend!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Chicken Squares

I got this recipe from my hubby's mom a couple of years ago and have been making it ever since. They're really easy to make and the filling will keep in the fridge overnight if you want to make that part the night before! 


8 oz (1 block) cream cheese, room temp
2 c. cooked chicken, cubed
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
3 tbsp milk
2 tbsp onion, finely chopped (you could easily omit this for the little ones if you want)
8 oz crescent rolls
Preheat oven to 350. Blend cream cheese and milk together until smooth. Add in chicken, salt, pepper, and onion. Unroll crescent rolls and shape two triangles together to make a square. 

Like this:

Put 1/4 of mixture in center of each square and pull up corners and pinch tops and sides together. 

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Eat :)

You can check out more great recipes at Tasty Tuesday and also Tempt My Tummy Tuesday!!

Have a great day!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Menu Plan 5/11 - 5/16

I hope everyone had a great Mother's Day!!  I had a lot of fun with my mom over the weekend. She came to visit and we ate out a couple of times, went shoe shopping, and bought summer flowers.  It was nice to have the bathroom that she uses done as well as the yard so I could get some gardening advice.  

Finally, this week is going to be a little less hectic so I can make a recipe that I saw on Barefoot Contessa a couple of weeks ago.  I've been wanting to do it, but sometimes when you have a busy week it is so much easier to make something you know is easy and quick instead of hoping that it is! Here is what I'm planning:

Monday:  Chicken Squares

Tuesday: Roasted Potato Leek Soup with Spinach Salad

Wednesday:  Grilled Italian Chicken (Chicken Breasts marinated overnight in Italian Dressing) with Grilled Asparagus & Melon Salad

Thursday:  I have a gardening class at Home Depot to go to so hubby is on his own!

Friday:  Left over Roasted Potato Leek Soup

Saturday:  Off to Detroit for a Bachelorette Party!

To check out more menu plans go check out Organizing Junkie's Blog for Menu Plan Monday!!

Have a great week!!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Bathroom Redo #2

Dear Blog,

Sorry I neglected you this week.  You see, I've been fighting off this cold thing and also really busy around the house.  I promise to get better.


Ok, now that we got that out of the way I am happy to say that cold and all I finally got the bathroom done!  Yay!  At least there is one project that feels like it is completed.  

Here are some before pictures:

And here is the completed project:  (take a look at the candle sticks--i'm not sure about them yet.  what you do think?)

Now, I'm off to work outside!


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

White Chicken Chili

I made this last night for dinner and it was so good!  I don't know where I got this recipe but I've been making since college.  I completely forgot about it until I was going through a (very unorganized) pile of recipes.  Give it a try!


1 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 1/2 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
1 can (15 1/2oz) white beans, undrained
3 (4 oz) cans chopped green chilis **don't worry these aren't spicy.  If you want a spicier chili add a couple chopped Jalapenos in with the onions**
1 (8oz) pkg cream cheese
3 tbsp lime juice
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp white pepper
salt to taste


Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat and add the onion. Cut the chicken into bite size pieces and add to the pan, stirring frequently so the chicken cooks on all sides. Add garlic and cumin. Run the beans with their liquid through the blender. (This makes the chili thicker and people who don't like the beans won't notice them. However, if you like a looser chili and beans, just skip this step.)  Add the blended beans, chilies, lime juice, salt, and white pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes. Cut the cream cheese into chunks and add it gradually to the pot, stirring until it’s melted and mixed in. Add the corn, heat through.

I serve this with sour cream, cheese, olives, onions, tortilla chips, or whatever else sounds good!

To find more recipes join in on Tasty Tuesday at this fabulous blog here!
Also check out Tempt My Tummy Tuesday here!

Have a great day!!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Menu Plan 5/4 - 5/9

Well I had a busy weekend!!  Saturday we went to a great wedding in Ann Arbor.  It was a lot of fun and nice for my hubby to see some of his old high school friends.  Yesterday we were pretty unproductive and feeling a little um.....quesy after all the wedding festivities :)

Here is my menu for the week.  I am posting the White Chicken Chili recipe tomorrow after I make it tonight!

Monday:  White Chicken Chili

Tuesday:  Bowtie's with Creamy Mushroom Sauce


1 lb bowtie pasta
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
**you could use mini bella, shitake, button, etc.**
1/2 c. white wine
1/2 c. chicken stock
1 c. mascarpone cheese 
**This is like Italian cream cheese.  My grocery store carries it, but if yours doesn't or you don't want to spend the money, I would just use cream cheese that is softened**
1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese
2 tbsp. chopped chives

Boil water and add pasta to salted water and cook.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add in onions and saute until almost soft.  Add in garlic and saute until both onions and garlic are soft.  Add in mushrooms and season with salt and pepper.  Saute until mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes.  

Turn up the heat to high and add in the wine.  Simmer until almost completely reduced.  Add in the stock and simmer until about 1/2 reduced.  Take the pan off the heat and stir in the mascarpone cheese.  Stir in the drained pasta and parmesan.  If the sauce is too thick add a little pasta water.  Garnish with chopped chives and eat!!

Wednesday:  Taco's 

Thursday:  Salmon Salad with Grapefruit Dressing

Grapefruit Dressing


1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1 cup olive oil
2 tsp lemon juice
4 tsp grapefruit juice
Dash of worchestershire sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp grapefruit zest
1/4 tsp black pepper

In a blender or food processor combine the egg and mustard with 1/2 cup of olive oil.  Blend at low speed.  With the motor running add in the rest of the olive oil in a steady stream.  Add the remaining ingredients and pulse 4 to 6 times.  Dressing keeps 5 days and makes 1 cup.

Friday:  Left over Taco's

Saturday:  Dinner out with Mom to celebrate Mother's Day

To see more menu plans visit Organizing Junkie's Blog here!!

Have a great week!!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Stand By Me

Well I'm heading back to Ann Arbor today for the weekend!  We have a wedding to attend but you better believe I'm hitting up Whole Foods and Trader Joes!!!!!!!!!!! Believe it or not, my mom doesn't have the internet so I won't be posting for a bit.  But I did find this sweet video online yesterday and wanted to share it with all of you.  It definitely brightened my morning :)

Have a great weekend!