Friday, September 30, 2011

Country Dinner for Two on a $ and Time Budget

Earlier this week I had a huge craving for cooking and Chicken and Pasta... What else... I immediately searched my Yum Yums board on pinterest for any ideas I have been wanting to try. I instantly saw a recipe that I wanted to cook. Crispy Chicken with Creamy Italian Sauce and Bowtie Pasta. I followed the link and found this awesome cooking blog - Jamie Cookes it Up!. I HIGHLY recommend going over and checking it out.

Well no surprise, work was incredibly stressful that day- After making a quick call to Kevin who always cheers me up and listens to my complaining- I decided to switch it up a bit and do something nice for him- Since I ALWAYS make chicken and pasta, I decided to make a big country styled dinner- his favorite. My mom - Penny Mom- always used to make this for me when I was little and it was my favorite! I loved helping her make it too. The hardest thing for me starting out is learning how to cook proper proportions and buying all the ingredients... it gets expensive! So I usually buy the big bag of frozen chicken breasts from Wal-Mart and thaw them out prior to cooking, buy great value items, and choose instant items- I wish I could say I made everything from scratch but with work, being on a tight budget and cooking for 1-2- thats not gonna happen.
After work, I usually have little time to cook and always want to stay on a budget. I decided to make Country Chicken, Baby Red instant Mashed Potatoes, steamed Broccoli and Cauliflower, and Cornbread.

This is what I used:
Chicken:
2-3 breasts
5 C of cornflakes
3/4 C of flour
1/2 tsalt
2 eggs (Whisked) or 1/2 C of milk
olive oil

1 package of Idahoan Mashed Potataoes (Instant/flavor of your choice) - Idahoan is the best
1 bag of frozen vegetables of choice- I get great value steamers from Wal-mart
1 box of cornbread mix

First I prepare the chicken. Use three bread pans/ containers of your choice. I only had 2 and a large tupperware. In the first - mix flour and salt - second, eggs-whicked (or milk)- third- cornflakes crunched. I dont have a food processor and naturally only had one large ziploc bag. So I used the end of the measuring cup to mash all the cornflakes in small small pieces.


Next, Put the chicken in a large ziploc bag and SEAL. Use a meat mallet to pund and tenderize the meat. Sadly.. I will admit... I dont have one.. I actually used the end of a small hammer. Don't judge people! Photo courtesy of Jamie Cooks It Up!

Next, use a butterfly cut on the chicken. I take a large knife to the outer edge, cut in half almost all the way making sure not to cut the whole way through. Open the chicken up to expose your butterfy cut.

Next, coat your chicken with flour. (Jamie recommends after this step is done with all the chicken- to place in freezer for about 5 minutes but I didnt have time- but it will help keep the coating on so I would recommend it). After, "Dredge" chicken in egg or milk - IMMIDEIATLY after, coat chicken in cornflakes.
Photo Courtesy of Jamie Cooks It Up!
This is the point where I quickly mixed up my cornbread and placed in the oven for 18 minutes.
Place olive oil in a hot pan and heat up. Carefully place coated chicken in pan. Cook for about 5 minutes or until golden brown on each side. Photo courtesy of Jamie Cooks It Up!

Cover pan with lid and reduce heat to medium for about 5-7 minutes. Photo Courtesy of Jamie Cooks It Up!
Next, I followed the instructions for the mashed potatoes. Put 2 C of boiling water in a bowl, mix in instant potatoes, mash and mix together, cover for 5 minutes. Heat the steamer bag of vegetables for about 5 minutes. Afterwhich I mixed in butter, salt, and pepper.
Put all into respective serving dishes - of which I don't have- pots and bowls work great for me! - and serve right up! The Chicken was awesome and juicy - Thanks Jamie! and other items turned out great! It was an amazing, inexpensive dinner that overall took about 45 minutes. Not too bad.. O and Kevin was incredibly impressed and happy :)

Enjoy!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Autumn and Boo

September 23rd marked the first day of AUTUMN... My FAVORITE season! So needless to say I was really excited to start decorating my place. As some of you know, this is my first year in my VERY OWN place! I am fresh out of college, on a budget, and just starting to aquire my seasonal displays little by little. Though each year it will be a work in progress, you have to start somewhere right!?

My first fall craft costed me about $13. Not bad! I got the lantern from IKEA for $7.99, the Leaf branch and harvest mix from Wal-Mart. Kevin referred to this lantern as my hobbit flashlight but agreed it was pretty cool after I told him of my inspired plans to change out the presented decor for each season.
All you need to do is:
1. Cut off all leaves of the branch
2. Place leaves and harvest mix inside lantern (I found it easier to lay the lantern on its back)
3. Mix and place accordingly
(Please note that due to my camera dying I didn't have much time to place and plan the inside so I snapped a quick pic) See picss below!



Now, as Halloween is approaching- My favorite holiday- I couldnt wait until the 1st of October to start decorating... Don't worry, I'll wait until this weekend before I put any outside decorations out. I apologize for not getting more pictures it was a race to get the ones I have. I got these fake large and small spiders from Wal-Mart for $2.50 each (2 big, 8 little). By adding little things here and there I wanted to make it more haloween-esque... but... I am not a fan of a "cute" halloween with smiling pumpkins... To each is their own...So I think I am going to retract the Fall items until halloween is over. I just got an entry way table and have a large mirror above it. It is a continual work in progress as I continue to adjust and play with what feels right. I would LOVE some suggestion. But for the mirror I got fake cobwebb for 99 cents from the dollar store and used the spiders I got from walmart. I thought it turned out pretty awesome... not to mention.. I HATE spiders... They freak me out! But thats what halloween is about!

Skull from Wal-mart-$1.98The last thing I did came from Pinspiration pinned here. On my center table in my living room, I usually have this little triple candle display shown below... So in light of Halloween I bought 1 bag of Candy Corn - $1.98 from Wal-Mart- and black cherry candles (These were the most expensive totaling about $22 for the set.

First I just placed my candles, emptied the bad of candy corn, and Viola'!

DISCLAIMER: The only downpart of this... Is keeping everyone from EATING all the candy corn.. no lie.. I made dinner for Kevin the other night and he was already full before I finished cooking... I suggest you buy 2 bags and hide prior to all served meals :)


Enjoy! Leave some comment love, some advice and any ideas to help out with new decor!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Confessions of A Modern Day Business Woman

So I was thinking today.... How different being back in Atlanta is from living in Idaho.. And how my life has changed so much this year. Honestly... with going to school for 4 years at BYU-Idaho... or as we like to say... BYU-I Do, I pretty much expected to be married with kids by now. But I'm not and I am perfectly happy with how much I have been blessed with where I am at today.
To be honest, a big part of me always wanted to know how I would do in Corporate America and another big part of me hungered to succeed at it. I always felt I could do great things in a business setting. From hustling grown ups to buy my girl scout cookes at the age of 7 or being a woman and one of the top ten selling sales reps in the nation for the pest control company I knocked door to door for... I have always had a drive to succeed.
In December of 2010 I graduated with a Business degree. A week and a half after graduation, I had a high paying job offer to work for Unisys Corporation's Federal Sector as a financial and Business Operations Analyst supporting the Center for Diseas Control and Prevention (CDC). What an INCREDIBLE blessing!

Today, I finally feel completely adjusted to corporate America. There are some days where I walk and feel like I am owning and dominating my job. That I am just on my A-Game. And then there are days I feel so inadequate and feel I'm going to lose my job from being to hard on myself. 9 months I have worked here and it has felt like 2.
It is so easy to be hungry for success and lose sight of whats important. I have continued to go church, be an incredibly family oriented person, and continue my duties as a woman. Just because today's society expects women to be full time executives and our past society has expected us to be the homemakers and care givers, doesnt mean we have to completely choose either or. I completely plan on and hope to be a stay at home mom once my children are born. For now I am a business woman and family woman. I have the best of both worlds.

We all have different purposes in this life: mom, business owner, wife, executive, caregiver, ful-time job worker... Woman...

Whether we are one or the other, we can also be both in our own way. For now this is my calling and I'm enjoying it to its fullest.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Weekend and Randomness

So this is just a little recap of the weekend and some random events that have been sitting on my memory card FOREVER...

Friday Kevin took me to Vini Vidi Vici's... Where we had one of our first dates over 2 years ago! It is by far my most favorite place EVER! Kev always gives me a hard time because I could eat pasta and chicken for pretty much every meal.. But the night was very special and alot of fun! O and the gang of guys in the back made for some highlighted entertainment.. I think they are high up music industry people because they talked about managing these high named music groups... Cool! We ate TONS of food, had incredible conversation as always, and just had a really great evening <3

Saturday was followed by yet another afternoon motorcylce ride. Again, the weather was absolutely perfect! Now that it is officially Fall, the colors in GA are amazing! I will admit though that I am still crazy sore... The only thing that I am still getting the hang of is holding myself up when we break or change gears so I dont crush kev against the handles... no bueno... I am developing new muscles in my hips and butt from trying this and it is not enjoyable the next day.... but still entirely worth it! I have always loved going on rides and always will.

Saturday Night I got to have a date night with my momma!- My Lori (Dad's Wife) Mom! We went to yet another favorite place... ASAHI! We LOVE Japanese Hibachi... Afterall, it is in my blood right? It was a really awesome evening and was a much needed mom daughter time. I had a blast- mom is seriously hilarious. After pacing ourselves on the food overload... it was movie time. I was surprised I didn't go into a food coma. We went to go see "The Help" and it was an awesome movie. Very informative and very enjoyable. It really was an eye opener for me on how closed minded people can be and how that affects others. And Yes, I cried a lot... haha but I really would recommend it! The movie that is... not crying...
And lastly below is just a bunch of random randomness... I have the most awesome friends who are crazy and who I am awlays laughing with.


Cant you tell the Japanese resemblence we both have?? 1/2 vs. 1/4 :) haha

Hope you all had an enjoyable weekend! Leave some comment Love!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Craftin It Up pt. 2

Scrabble Frames
So my mom- Lori mom- and I saw these online and LOVED them. However, we were on a budget. This craft was fun, easy, and turned out pretty cool.

Estimated Expenses: $15-25 (depending on what you already have)

What you will need:
1. Frame
2. Scrapbook paper-Scissors
3.Tacky Glue/ or another type you prefer
4. Scrabble letters- I went to ALL the craft stores in my area- about all 7 of them- and no one had nice looking scrabble letters. Target had a sale on board games so we just bought the game for about $12.00

First we found scrapbook patterns that we liked and cut them out to fit inside the frame. We just got frames from the dollar store to keep our costs down. Initially we were going to put them in a small shadow box so the letters would fit behind the glass but they were kind of expensive.- if you dont mind the cost, it's a cute alternative-

Next we picked out words/sayings that we would want to frame- we ended up choosing "Love You" and "Home".

Because the letters couldnt fit behind the glass, we just glued them on top! We just took a little bit of tacky glue, applied a q-tip'ed drop on the back of the srabble letter and pasted them right on the top of the glass! Because the glue doesnt dry instantly, you have freedom to make sure the letters are evenly spaced and aligned.

I found a really neat pattern that I fell in love with- I love the colors. I decided I wanted to display it on my new entry way table so I chose "Home". We had some burlap laying around so I cut small triangles and added them to the corners for more of a personal touch.

My mom and I just learned how to make these flowers- will explain in a future post- She wanted to display this in her newly painted bedroom and also wanted a personal touch- so she went with a quick hand made flower. (For a quick FYI you take polyester silk- cut 4-5 circles in descending size, burn the edges with a lighter so edges curl- put a quarter size amount of glue in the center and add pearl craft beads)

You can see how they turned out below- Leave some comment Love







Craftin It Up

So my Mom (Lori Mom- Dad's awesome wife) and I have started this weekly somewhat tradition of "Saturday Craft Day". It's Awesome. Through trial and error we now have somewhat of a method going on. We find ideas on craft blogs, Pinterest, magazines - and commit to one to do on Saturday. We found that it's best to get supplies throughout the week that way when Saturday morning rolls around you're not wasting your whole day.

A few weeks ago we tried this one out. We wanted to start getting ready for Fall and Halloween. Hobby Lobby was having a sale on colored mason jars. We picked a bunch up and even used another coupon.

Print a coupon for yourself here.

My mom has an awesome Cricut machine that cuts out vinyl and all sorts of stuff in whatever design you want. They have tons of different cartridges of fonts, stamps, stencils... you name it. This was a pretty easy craft and only took about 30 minutes. We chose a font, printed the Letters for "BOO" and stuck them right on! Voila'! so very easy.
Right now the jars have tealight-candles in them but I want to find mini-lights to put in them that way I dont have to try and light them over and over again. See results below!

Estimated expenses-$8

As Always, Leave some COMMENT Love and let me know your thoughts


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Something Powerful

I find it interesting as time goes by, how easy it is to forget the simple things in life that we must do. For instance, as I get older, my life gets busier, crazier, and more chaotic. And I will admit that I do forget the simple things- most importantly- Prayer. But even though I completely take this for granted, my faith and knowledge of this amazing blessing will never falter. I have been blessed by and through prayer my whole life. And we, I including, need simple reminders of just how important it is.

Now to all my non-LDS friends who are reading this: Some of you are christian, athiest, or just have no opinion at all. But please know whatever atmosphere I am in or People I spend my time with, my faith and my beliefs will never change.

I know that prayers are answered- and if unanswered, that is the answer.
Some of you know that I have been sick the past month- main symptom being vertigo which completely incapacitates you. Now this is not some poor me, amazing miracle or extravagent experience, but it is a simple tender mercy in my life.

When this symptom occurs as it has done about 5-6 times the past month, I can't do anything but turn off all lights, have no sound, bury my head in pillows, and keep a bucket close by for about a 12 hour period. And that's sugar coating it. Prescribed medicine makes it liveable throughout.
Now I have come to the point where I am just ready to move on and be done with this. Twice in the past week I have felt it coming on and coming on strong- once in the middle of work. Trying to catch my balance in the ladies room, sitting on the floor, I quietly texted my family and kev to say a quick prayer that I would make it through the day and that this would not turn into another episode. within ten minutes it went away. Never before has that happened. I was lucky to finish out my crazy work day and enjoy my evening. Its easy to forget the Lord when you dont need him. But even when you do need him, He is always there. This was just one of the many small, tender mercies I was blessed with this week.

I sometimes think, what if we woke up with only the things we thanked God for last night, or this week or even past month? I am truly blessed beyond measure... and I am thankful.

Leave some comment love of your tender mercies or just anything <3

Below are some of my favorite quotes pinned Here.



Monday, September 19, 2011

Weekend-tivities

So this weekend was pretty much a blast- I am still suffering from sleep deprivation. I got to go out with some of my favorite people on Friday, go on a long motorcycle ride on Saturday- enjoying the perfect fall weather, go to a friends concert and be with another bunch of favorite people, and eat tons and tons of pasta and lasagna at my ward's linger longer.
*Side note, still recovering from how much I ate.

So I must admit I am IN LOVE with this Fall weather. Also... one thing that still holds true as it did when I was living in Rexburg... I LOVE motorcycles. Kind of have a love for all things adrenaline... You can see by watching two videos here and here.
Lucky for me though my legs are too short to even try owning one of these. So when Saturday came with its' perfect Fall weather and cloudless skies, I had to take advantage of it. This is Kevo's new baby. Let's just say... It's freakin fun.

*The only downside... My butt and thighs are so SORE from the full afternoon ride. See image below for jealousy.

Then the afternoon was followed by a LONG evening...of awesomeness. Minus making sure everyone got home safe by loving my DD duties- My friend Kyle had a show at "The Earl" in Atlanta and he never disappoints. It was an awesome show- Vonnegut did awesome and it made for a memorable night. They're style of music is refreshingly different. They have worked incredibly hard to get to where they are.



Find Kyle and Vonnegutt and LIKE them on Facebook found here and here. My favorites are "Follow Us" & "Ex-Girlfriends are Stupid". Check out their main page Here
- some material explicit

Enjoy and Leave me some COMMENT Love!



Thursday, September 15, 2011

Another reason for Fall excitement

So I am a little embarassed to release more reasons why I am excited for Fall. I'm usually not a TV junkie and really like to be out doing things... but when it comes to these series below... I can't help it. Every year, I get so excited for these shows, love every minute of them throughout the season, then get heartbroken when I watch the last one. Then the anticipaction KILLS me til the next season begins. So here you have it... my fall series excitements.

1. Vampire Diaraies..
Everyone in this show is Beautiful! And they film right in Decatur. My friend actually works on the set and says everyone is way cool and incredibly chill. bonus. This brings me back to being in Rexburg when it was -7 degrees out and you didnt dare go outside. So I would bundle up in a blanket and watch the series until I could barely keep my eyes open. Not to mention the nice eye candy of all the guys on the cast.. this ones a favorite.

2. Private Practice
Talk about drama drama drama. I know its probably humanly impossible to have as much drama as these people do, But I just go with it since they're doctors. I really like how last season they got to the core of some really serious issues and exposed it in a light that no other shows do. They got to the heart of what some victims actually go through on a day to day basis and dont just show it in a 30 minute period. It was commendable.

3. GLEE
Okay....In highschool I was a big choir nerd. Like the biggest. And was president of Show Choir. Needless to say we were nowehere near as good as these people but it still was a highlight of my highschool experience. And to top it off, I may or may not get excited everytime they bust out into an awesome rendition of some song. And last but not least... The Secret Circle. I have a strange love for anything supernatural. weird I know.. But dont worry I know how to separate this from reality. But its who I am and what I enjoy- ever since I was little. we will try and give this one a try... We will know after tonight!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Its the Simple Things

So lately I have come to be reminded again that... Its the small and simple things in life that make you happy.
Life and God have blessed me far beyond than I deserve. Lately, I have been in this entitlement phase where I have felt... "I work hard...I deserve this"..."This needs to be done my way"... or my personal favorite..."I do what I want!". Yah..

But luckily the small and simple things have brought me back to reality so that I can see just how blessed I really am.

I Love:
Being a nerd with my best friend
Being with my family
Laughing
Big hugs from my little brothers
Dancing in my car
Kissing
Smiling
Working Hard
Reunions with Best friends who live far away
Learning new things
Succeeding
A good work out
Waking up

Life truly is a Beautiful Thing.
So please.... When you are having a crappy day, feel that others have more than you, are waiting for the next best thing, craving that one thing you cant have just right now..... Remember... Look at what you do have and know, someone else is dreaming to have a life as good as yours.

Thats my little tid bit for the day. My good friend told me I need to write more often so I can write less in each post lol. So I'm finishing with some pics of my favorite small and simple things.

Being Goofy with my best friend

Random phone pictures with my little brother
Little boys who are so clean... after getting dirt and stickiness all over your work clothes :)
Being remembered in your little brother's homework- to draw a family tree...

Oh and last but not least... My issues featured in my previous post here. I got like 10 more spider bites... This is the third and hopefully the last of 2011
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