Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

I am actually planning on sticking to these resolutions/goals this year! 

1.  Lose 25 pounds by August 1st. That's roughly 1 lb per week...doable I think. I want to look like her:

2.  Eat breakfast.
3.  Eat at least one vegetarian meal per week for dinner.
4.  Eat at least 5 vegetarian meals per week for lunch.
5.  Start viewing sweets as a privilege not a right.
6.  Start trying to get pregnant by the end of this year.
7.  Finish a guest bedroom, bathroom, and bedroom in our unfinished basement.
8.  Finish flower bed outside this summer.
9.  Workout at least 3-5 times per week.
10.  Go on a Mediterranean Cruise/Italian Vacation this summer.  Has anyone ever done this? I need major advice please!

This isn't an option for me.  Can you remind me of that in 3 months when I've gained 5 pounds instead of lost it?  Thanks so much :)

Well, now I'm off to cook and clean my butt off for a party that we're having on Saturday.  Can't wait to go out tonight for New Year's!  

Check out some more writing assignments and resolutions at Mama Kat's awesome blog here!

Happy New Year!!!!!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Decade in Review

The lovely Lucy over at Lucy's Life did a wonderful post about her decade "in review".  I was amazed that she could remember all that so I thought I'd give it a try. I had such a hard time thinking of everything, but I'm so glad I did! Although I'm sure I missed a ton, this is nice to have :)  

  • Started my Sophomore year of high school.
  • Went to a bunch of NSYNC concerts.  
  • Was that all I did???
  • Turned 16 in Disney World.  Magical :)
  • Got my first car: a Ford Escort in Blue.  I loved it!
  • Went to see Dave Matthew's Band at Comerica Park in Detroit.
  • Continued my love of NSYNC by seeing them on the "Pop Odyssey" tour....twice
  • Started my Junior Year of high school.
  • Found out about 9/11 while sitting in my German Class. Horrible day for America.
  • Went to NYC for the first time and saw "Rent" & the "Lion King".
  • Went to Germany to visit an exchange student friend of mine for 2 months. We went to Paris, Amsterdam, and my favorite, Norway.
  • Started my Senior year of high school.
  • Very confused about where to go to college.
  • Graduated High School.
  • Saw Bob Dylan & the Grateful Dead in concert as a graduation gift from my uncle.
  • Decided very very late to go to Grand Valley State University.
  • Lost my Grandma "Oma".
  • Started College.
  • There was only one girl in high school who I really had a hard time getting along with...she was my "suite-mate"....unexpectedly.
  • Went in to the dorms "blind", but met my wonderful roommate, Kerri, who I am still friends with now.
  • Met my future hubby and had a little crush on him but thought he was too "country" for this Ann Arbor girl.
  • Started dating a different guy who was the total opposite of me...some good, mostly bad :)
  • Went to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon with my Mom and LOVED it!
  • Developed my fear of driving in the snow after having to drive the 2 hour drive home from college for the holidays that actually took 6.
  • Went to my first rodeo with my future hubby and some other friends.
  • Snuck away to Chicago for the first time to visit "different guy".  We fought. But, I did fall in love with Chicago!
  • Decided that my major in college was to be "Hospitality & Tourism Management".  I loved it, but I wish I would have thought of something a little more practical.
  • Got really into my love of cooking and baking.
  • Ended relationship with "different guy".
  • Started dating the love of my life in August.  Best move ever.
  • Lost my Grandpa "Opa".
  • Went to NYC for 2nd time with my cousin and aunt during Christmas time. So cool!
  • Turned 21 while at Disney World/Caribbean Cruise with my roommate, Heidi.  
  • Moved out of college apartments and rented awesome historic house with friends.
  • Got engaged in October to my love.
  • Mourned the 10 year death of my dad.  Miss him everyday.

  • Moved into Hubby and I's first apartment.
  • Graduated College.
  • Got married to the love of my life in October.

  • Blessed to have a new family with two brothers, a mom, and a dad :)
  • Went to Punta Cana on our Honeymoon and had the most relaxing week of my life.

  • Moved out of our first apartment and bought a house.
  • Lost my job two days after closing on house...
  • Fulfilled a dream and started a new "job".
  • Celebrated our first anniversary by going wine tasting in Traverse City.
  • Started Blogging.
  • Did tons of home projects.  You can see some here and here.
  • Joined an Episcopalian church nearby.
  • Got baptized.
  • Celebrated our second anniversary by going to Washington State and Vancouver on Vacation.

Resolutions to come tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Asian Spring Rolls

Since I was a little "overstuffed" from all the holiday eating I have been doing I decided to make something a little lighter for dinner last night. These are something I have made before and we always eat them up.  I like them because it uses up some leftover veggies in the fridge and also because they don't take a lot of time.  I don't really have a recipe but here is what I basically do. You can change any of the ingredients based on what you have on hand.

Asian Spring Rolls
Serves 2


Spring Roll Skin  *note and picture below*
Rice Noodles, Phad Thai Noodles, or any other noodle
1/2 pound of shrimp, cooked
1/2 cucumber, sliced thinly lengthwise
1 bunch green onions, sliced thinly lengthwise
1/2 bag of shredded carrots
lettuce, torn into smaller pieces

Here are some pictures of what I do:

This is the "Spring Roll Skin".  I've seen it in both packages.  One comes from the Asian Market and one comes from my local grocery store.  I haven't had a hard time finding them in our local store, but if you do the Asian Market is sure to have them.

Soak one "Spring Roll Skin" in warm water until soft. I would say this takes about a minute.  Lay "skin" onto a cutting board or paper towel and put your veggies and other things in.  Roll up like a burrito and slice in half.


Here is the dipping sauce I make.  I kind of just throw things in, so do it to your taste.


1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tsp chile sesame oil 
1/4-1/2 cup water depending on how strong you like it

Whisk ingredients together and serve in little bowls.

To see some more delicious recipes check out these fabulous blogs:

Have a great day!!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Menu Plan 12/28 - 1/2

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! Ours was super busy full of visiting family, driving, and eating!  On Christmas Eve we went to my Dad's side of the family to have prime rib and presents. Some of you know that my dad passed away when I was little. However, we still spend Christmas Eve with his family, which is really important to me.  I only have one cousin on that side of the family, so it's great to see her whenever I get the chance. After dinner we go drive around to look at lights and sing along (loudly) to Christmas songs.  So fun! I got an amazing cake dome from Crate & Barrel that I can't wait to use:

Christmas day was spent at Hubby's family in the morning then we quickly went to my mom's to open presents and have breakfast.  Later in the day we went to Hubby's grandma's to have dinner.  His grandma gave me her old cordial glasses and some fabulous cookie cutters.  I am so excited about the glasses!

This weeks menu plan is a little crazy because we are having a party on Saturday and I have LOTS of food to cook :)  So I am trying to make the rest of the week as easy as possible.  I will be posting some of the recipes I'm making for the party, so check back later.  Here is what I have so far:

Monday:  Asian Spring Rolls (I'll be posting this recipe with pictures tomorrow)

Wednesday:  Chicken Squares

Thursday:  Yummy New Years Eve dinner with just my hubby before going to a friend's party.  We're having crab legs and steak.  I'm also making broccoli with this vinaigrette:

Broccoli with Balsamic Vinaigrette
Serves 6


2 lb broccoli, cut into florets
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3/4 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp garlic, finely minced
fresh pepper
1 lemon


Bring a large pot of water to a boil with a tablespoon of salt.  When at a strong boil, add in broccoli and cook for 3-5 minutes.  I like mine with a little bite to it so I do about 3 minutes.  Drain broccoli and rinse with cool water.  Place in a serving bowl.

In the meantime, whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, garlic, pepper to taste, and 1 tsp salt.  Pour dressing over broccoli and squeeze lemon over the top.  I like to eat this at room temperature, but I think cold or hot would be good too.

Friday:  Pizza....because it's oh so easy :)

Saturday:  Party!!

Sorry for the jumbled plan but I will have recipes later in the week!

To check out more plans join in on the Menu Plan Monday fun here.

Have a great week!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Dinner Party

I'm not even going to get into the lack of posting. Everything is fine, other than I can't stick to a all :)  Instead, I'm moving on to more positive things!  My un-committed butt had a dinner party.  I stressed, of course, but I think everything went pretty well :)  Here are some pictures of the table as well as my china.  I rarely use it, but it is the love of my life. Sometimes, I want to wave at it in the morning when I wake up.  Sometimes, I do.

For dinner I was lucky enough to not have to make appetizers or a salad. So, I made Italian Beef Roast, Creamy Parmesan Polenta, and Broccolini with a vinaigrette. I'll have to share the recipe for the pot roast soon, but here is the one for the Creamy Polenta. Go make it now because it's really easy and really yummy.

Creamy Parmesan Polenta
Serves 8


4 c. whole milk
4 c. chicken stock
2 1/2  tsps salt
3 cups "medium" cornmeal       (It comes in coarse and fine too.  I prefer medium.)
8 Tbsp butter
1 c. parmesan cheese, grated


In a large sauce pan (I use a soup pot), bring milk, chicken stock, and salt to a boil.  While stirring, slowly add in the cornmeal.

Reduce heat until it is lightly simmering and continue to constantly stir.  Cook until it thickens, but not until hard.  (This will take about 10 minutes depending on the grain of your cornmeal. I would taste it after 5 minutes or so, to see if it is starting to soften.  I prefer mine to be like "al dente" pasta.  Not mushy, with a little bit of a bite.)

Remove the pan from the heat and add in the butter and cheese.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

**At this point I would serve it right away.  However, if you need to hold it over for a party, like I did you can keep it creamy for a little longer.  Polenta will harden once it cools.  This can be nice because you can cut it in wedges and grill, top with sauce, fry, etc.  However, if you want it creamy for a while it needs a little attention.  I just continue to add milk and a very low temperature while stirring.  I wouldn't do this for hours or anything, but I held mine like that for about 45 minutes. ***

You can check out some more great recipes @ Tempt My Tummy Tuesday & Tuesday's at the Table !

Enjoy your Christmas week!!!