Thursday, March 29, 2012

Veggie Tray

Today we had a nice little luncheon at our place for a few of my husband's friends and co-workers.  It was so nice to have the house full of Soldiers and their families.  It was also nice to finally put some faces to names.

If I could host luncheons every day, I would be one happy lady.

Everyone noshed on:

BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Coleslaw
Cheeseburger Sliders
Popcorn Chicken with BBQ Sauce
Potato Salad
Chips & Salsa
Veggie Tray
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Chocolate Fudge Cookies
Key Lime Pie
Brownies

I certainly intended on capturing everything on camera.  Unfortunately, I ran out of time and was only able to take one photo.


My veggie tray!  Of all the dishes from today, it's my simple-dimple veggie tray.  An effortless tray that only required chopping up the celery, red peppers and broccoli. 

Here's another photo that I captured.  



This makes me smile!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Our First PCS Move

After 4 years and 11 months in Virginia, we're leaving the state and the east coast and moving to Texas in seven weeks.  I think I should be freaking out right now, but thankfully I'm very calm.

This will be our first permanent change of station (PCS) move as a family and I'm told that there are a lot of details to figure out.  Numerous meetings and phone calls to schedule movers, temporary lodging, permanent lodging, transportation, finance, medial records, dental records, yada, yada, yada...  There's so much to work out in such a short amount of time.

Thank God I'm not doing a thing!  Hallelujah!

My husband has taken on the heavy load of moving our family from point A to point B.  Although he might be freaking out about now, he's certainly not letting me know.

At some point, I suppose he'll tell me when the movers are coming to pack up our stuff.  Until that day comes, I'm stress-free and enjoying each and every day left here in Virginia.  

Praise God for my wonderful husband! 




Saturday, March 24, 2012

Thai Mango Sticky Rice

One of my guilty pleasures is indulging in Thai Mango Sticky Rice. This dessert is a sweet rice, mango, coconut cream sauce creation that is to die for.  It's served with chilled mango slices.  To - Die - For!

I searched for recipes online and grabbed bits and pieces from various ones that appeared to resemble the decadent dessert that I love so much.

This is what I came up with.


It was every bit as indulgent as I had hoped for.  This dessert far exceeded all of my expectations.  My husband also loved it and we savored every single bite.  Enjoy!

Thai Mango Sticky Rice   *Printable Recipe*
1/2 cup sweet rice (available at Asian grocery stores or military commissary)
3/4 cup water
6 T coconut milk
1/2 tsp salt
3 T agave (or raw sugar)
1 Mango, sliced

In a small pot, soak sweet rice in water for an hour.  Once rice has doubled in size, add 2 T coconut milk, salt, and 1 T agave.  Bring to a boil and cook rice until tender, stirring occasionally.  In a separate bowl, mix 4 T coconut milk and 2 T agave.  To serve, scoop rice onto plate and pour 1-2 T of coconut sauce over rice.  Add mango.




Friday, March 23, 2012

Ensaymada

Do you ever have days when you just crave bread?  Soft, warm, and chewy bread?

Well, I sure do.  I love bread and a whole lot of it!

To satisfy this terrible craving, I made a quick little dessert that is very similar to a Filipino pastry called Ensaymada.  It's a buttery sweet bread topped with a little sugar and some cheddar cheese.  YUM!

Typically Ensaymada takes hours and hours to make from scratch.  My mother only attempted to make this one time, and was resolved to just buy them from local Filipino bakers afterwards.

I stumbled upon this simple recipe while visiting with a Filipino family several years ago.  Although these aren't made from scratch, they certainly taste like the real deal.  They're typically served as an afternoon snack with coffee or tea.  Enjoy!


Quick Ensaymada  *Printable Recipe*
1 Pkg Frozen Sister Schuberts Frozen Parker House Yeast Rolls
2 T sugar
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 T butter

Thaw yeast rolls.  Bake at 350 for 10 minutes loosely covered with foil.  Spread butter on top of hot rolls.  Sprinkle sugar on top.  Sprinkle cheese on top.  Bake for 3-5 minutes until cheese is melted.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Camera Bag

I love taking pictures.  I take them every day.  Capturing moments inspires me.

Two Christmases ago, my husband surprised me with a beautiful Nikon D5000.  Although I had been happy snapping photos with the little pocket-sized Canon PowerShot SD600 that my sister bought me several years before, I had drooled over the Nikon for some time.

My husband loves me.

To hold my new camera, I bought a simple Nikon camera bag and toted it almost everywhere since.  UNTIL.... I brought my camera to my mom's group meeting and another mom, who is a professional photographer by the way, saw my little bag.


Of course I had several questions about photography for her, but one thing she kindly recommended was a new camera bag.  Okay, she didn't tell me I needed a new camera bag, but she did tell me about her bag which had me curious.  So I googled it and did a little research...

Ummmm......Hello!  Why have I been carrying a "man" bag this whole time?!  

There are camera bags for ladies out there people and I desperately needed one!


Isn't she beautiful?  She arrived on Monday and I couldn't be more thrilled and thankful for the recommendation.  This bag is so much more girly.  All I need it a beautiful mani & pedi to match.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Asparagus Salad

Asparagus is in season!  It's one of my favorite veggies and I'm so excited to make some yummy dishes for my family.  Actually just for my husband and I because the two-yr old toddler isn't a fan ... yet.

Discovered an amazing deal at Costco yesterday.  This big 2.25 lb bag of delicious green stalks were only $3.99.  WooHoo!


Threw them in a bowl of water to keep them nice and fresh in my fridge throughout the week.


Grabbed a few stalks today for lunch to roast them in my toaster oven and make this ah...mazing asparagus salad.  

Nom! - Nom! - Nom!


This is the plate I made my husband for dinner.  He loved it as much as I did.


The recipe I used is from recipes.com.  I modified it a little by using pine nuts instead of walnuts and lightly poached my egg instead of setting the yolk completely.

I love it when the yolks are a little runny.  Oh.... and the dressing is incredible!

Asparagus Salad   *Printable Recipe*
adapted from recipes.com
10 asparagus spears
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 T pine nuts
1 T goat cheese crumbles
1 radish, sliced
1 egg
1 tsp white vinegar
1 T olive oil
2 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp lemon juice
salt & pepper to taste

Snap off and discard woody bases from asparagus.  Coat with 1 tsp olive oil and 1/2 tsp salt.  Bake in the oven at 350 degrees until tender or crunchy depending on your preference.  Toast pine nuts in oven for approx 2-3 minutes until golden brown.

For poached eggs, lightly grease a skillet.  Fill skillet halfway with water; add white vinegar.  Bring water to boiling; reduce heat to simmering.  Break 1 egg into a measuring cup.  Carefully slide egg into simmer water, holding lip of cup as close to water as possible.  Simmer eggs, uncovered, 6 minutes or until yolks are set.  Remove eggs with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to drain.  Season egg with salt and pepper.

For vinaigrette, in a small bowl, whish together 1 T olive oil, 2 tsp white wine vinegar, lemon juice, and salt.

To serve, place asparagus on plate.  Top with radish slices and egg.  Sprinkle with goat cheese and pine nuts.  Drizzle with vinaigrette.  Serves 1.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Shepherd's Pie

Happy St. Patrick's Day!  To celebrate my husband's Irish heritage, I thought I'd attempt at making his favorite Irish dish last night - Shepherd's Pie.

I found a recipe online that might be a winner, made a few substitutions with the ingredients and measurements to suit our taste, and .... Erin go Bragh!  (Irish for 'Ireland Forever'.  I know the phrase doesn't really fit, but that's all I got.)

This dish was a hit!  My husband & I loved it and it's on our 'must make again' list.  Like all of my favorite meals, this one is also super easy to make.  Enjoy!

Shepherd's Pie  *Printable Recipe*
adapted from allrecipes.com
Betty Crocker's Creamy Butter Mashed Potatoes (1 pouch)
1 onion, chopped
1 lb ground turkey
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
5 carrots, chopped
1 cup frozen peas
1 T olive oil
2 T flour
3/4 cup water
3 T ketchup
2 T worcester sauce
1 beef boullion cube (I use knorr brand)
salt & pepper taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add carrots and cook until tender but still firm.  Drain and set aside.  Add water back to pot and boil.  Add peas until defrosted (about 1-2 minutes).  Drain and set aside.  Cook mashed potatoes according to package directions.  Set aside.

Heat oil in frying pan.  Add onion and cook until tender.  Add ground turkey and cook until well browned.  Drain excess fat.  In separate bowl mix water and flour.  Combine flour/water mixture into ground turkey.  Add ketchup and beef boullion cube.  Simmer for 5 minutes.  

Spread the ground turkey on the bottom of a 2 quart casserole dish.  Then spread a layer of carrots.  Spread a layer of peas.  Top with mashed potato mixture.  Bake in over for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Fill 'er up!

Here's the most beautiful sign on display at the gas station on our military installation.


8 Gallons, no problem!  Ba - Bam......Mine - Mine - Mine - Mine!  


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

New Friends

One of the things that I appreciate about the military lifestyle is the opportunity to meet new and interesting people often.  I love learning about their backgrounds and am intrigued by their experiences.

This evening we had a beautiful military family over for dinner who had just moved to Virginia from Alaska.

They drove the entire way.

Intriguing....isn't it?!

Who drives from Alaska to Virginia?  People who are moving two dogs, a horse, and a goat...that's who.

They were such a lovely family and I am very blessed to have had our paths cross.  I enjoyed listening to their stories rich in humor and learning of their experiences.  I hope to spend more time with them before we leave Virginia in a couple months.

I mean, how often do you get to meet someone's pet horse and goat?

About our dinner, we threw it together on the fly.  Since it was a last minute thing, my husband picked up pizza and salad before coming home from work.  Nothing fancy.

However, I couldn't let this dinner happen without making something from my kitchen.  So I rushed to create these little beauties.


The inspiration for these colorful cups came from a lady I met at a mom's group.  This sweet lady brought something similar to our last group meeting and verbally gave me the recipe in less than a minute.  That's how easy these are to make.

I don't know what to call them so I'm calling them Fruity Dessert Cups.  They're super easy to put together, make a beautiful presentation, and are quite tasty.

Enjoy!

Fruity Dessert Cups   *Printable Recipe*
1 tube of Pillsbury Crescent Rounds
French Vanilla Yogurt
Blueberrys
Kiwi
Strawberries
Blackberrys
Paper cupcake cups

Cut crescent rolls in half.   Line muffin pan with cupcake cups and fill with each half of crescent round.  Bake at 375 for 8-10 mins.  Cool crescent rounds.  Top each round with 1 tsp of yogurt.  Decorate with fruit.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Happy Spring Forward Day!

I absolutely love this time of year.  We get to enjoy more daylight, warm weather, green grass, beautiful flowers, shorts, and flip flops.  These things make me happy.

More time outdoors.  More fresh air inside the house.  More car rides with the windows rolled down.

I didn't have much time today, so I threw together one of my family's favorite meals - Linguine with Clams.  It's very quick and easy.  We all love this dish including the super picky toddler who always asks for seconds.  I served it on my "new" 45 cent china.  Isn't it lovely?!!

Linguine with Clams   *Printable Recipe*
adapted from allrecipes.com
1 (16 oz) pkg linguine pasta
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup butter
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 pkg fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 cans chopped clams with juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente.  Meanwhile, melt butter  in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add olive oil.  Saute garlic and mushrooms until golden brown.  Stir in clams with juice, salt and pepper.  Cook over medium heat until hot.  Toss with pasta until evenly coated.  Serve with parsley and parmesan cheese.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Spicy Chicken Roll-Ups

I'm overwhelmed today with my little toddler and the amount of destruction the little guy can manage to create in a few short minutes.  Thankfully my husband has already had his cup of coffee and has taken over as his playmate for the morning.

He's so good to me.

While they played, I had some time to myself and chose to spend it buying a few groceries and browsing the Disabled Vets of America Thrift Store.  I donated some items to the store last week and while inside I spotted some beautiful china.

I'm crazy about china.

I've had that china on my mind all week, so I quickly drove by there and snatched it up for a whopping 45 cents.  WooHoo!

I just love a great bargain!

Here's today's yummy lunch served on my gorgeous little find.

Spicy Chicken Roll-Ups   *Printable Recipe*
adapted from  Homemade by Holman
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 can Rotel diced tomatoes, drained
10 oz cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp garlic salt
3 tsp ancho chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 T chopped green onion
salt to taste
4-6 large flour tortillas (I use Tomato Basil)

Season chicken breasts with salt, 1 tsp cumin and 1 tsp chili powder.  Add chicken to a skillet with 1 cup of water.  Cover and cook on med-high head until chicken is cooked through.  Once chicken is cooked, cool slightly and shred.  In a large mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, tomatoes, cheese, remaining spices, cilantro and onions.  Mix together until well incorporated.  Add cooled chicken and stir together.  Lay out tortilla and fill with a scoopful of chicken mixture.  Spread into a think layer in the middle of the tortilla avoiding the ends.   Roll each tortilla tightly.  Do not fold in the ends like a burrito but leave them free.  Use a sharp knife to cut into 1" thick slices and transfer to a serving platter.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Installation Living

It's been four months since we moved into an exclusive gated community surrounded by armed guards and heightened security.  Although it may sound like a federal prison, it's quite the opposite.  Our place, a military installation, is easy to leave, but not as easy to get inside.

Living on a military installation so far has been a great experience.  Maybe we have our rose colored glasses on, but in my opinion it certainly beats living outside the gates.

Everything we need is right here.  Walking distance to almost everything to include: commissary/grocery store; shopping mall with food court;  post office;  liquor store/convenience store;  fast food restaurants;  library;  church;  playgrounds;  medical clinic;  vet clinic;  fitness center;  banks;  schools;  day care centers;  gas station; and so much more.

Walking is something people do in this community.  It's relatively safe and secure, hence the armed guards at the gates.

Kids play outside in the streets and playgrounds all the time which is so refreshing.  Reminds me of the type of community I grew up in way back when before safety became a big concern and video games sucked everyone inside.

While convenience and safety are a plus for installation living, we are most thankful for being surrounded by people who share in the hardship of this military lifestyle and truly understand self-sacrifice in service to our nation.  It makes a HUGE difference!

Military life sure isn't easy.  It's filled with uncertainty, separation, inconsistency, and instability.  Fortunately, our gated community simplifies our life a little and sure makes it more bearable.


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Veggie Sausages

Often times I lose track of time and dinner sneaks up on me.  By the time I look at the clock, my husband is ten steps away from walking in the door and my son is banging on the pantry closet for snacks and juice boxes.

Unfortunately, this evening was one of those times.  

It was a busy day.

I had no idea what to feed the family. 


This is what I threw together.  No time to take a photo of the finished plate because we were scarfing down our food and rushing out the door to make a seminar.  

Honestly when my husband bought these sausages at the commissary, I had already decided that they would be terrible.  I mean, veggie sausages?  What?!

Happy to write that these were quite tasty paired with a warm bowl of white rice.  I suspect that the idea of these sausages doesn't really appeal to most folks, but I say.... just give them a try.  They're fantastic! 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Irish Soup

One of my favorite food blog sites posted a simple classic Irish soup called Brotchan Roy (also known as King's Soup).

I was intrigued.

Since St. Patrick's Day is right around the corner, I thought I'd try making an Irish dish or two.  My husband loves traditional Irish food like Shepards Pie and Corned Beef and Cabbage, but when I told him about making this soup of oatmeal and leeks, he looked at me and said, "Ewwwww!".

I, too, had never had soup with oatmeal and was also skeptical.  Plus, I had never cooked leeks before, but was willing to give it a shot.

After all, what does Irish soup taste like anyway? ...............

It tastes heavenly!  -  Absolutely outstanding!  -  Surprisingly delicious!

We loved it and were pleasantly surprised at how savory this dish was.  We'd recommend it to anyone looking for a nice hearty comfort-type soup.

Brotchan RoyClassic Irish Leek & Oatmeal Soup  *Printable Recipe*
adapted from skinnytaste.com

1 T butter
3 large leeks, white and pale green only, halved lengthwise, sliced thin
1/2 cup Irish steel cut oats
4 cups water
1 chicken boullion cube (knorr brand)
1 1/2 cup milk 2%
black pepper to taste

Soak sliced leeks in water to clean.  Melt butter in medium saucepan.  Add leeks.  Cook, stirring occasionally until leeks are soft.  Add water, chicken boullion cube, and milk.  Raise heat to high and bring to a boil.  Add oatmeal and black pepper.  Return to boil, stirring occasionally.  Reduce heat to low.  Cover and simmer until oats are tender, approx 45-60 minutes.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Parent's Night Out

Earlier today I was reminiscing over the past month while thumbing through my gallery of photos stored in my phone.

There's something about pictures that really warms the spirit.  

I stumbled across a couple pictures that made my heart jump for joy.

I couldn't believe what I was seeing and I wanted to go back to that exact day and time so I could relive the experience all over again.

Here are the photos I found:


Taken a couple minutes after receiving the sushi boat.  
Several yummy pieces already missing.....hee!hee!


Not one piece was spared!


Yum - Yum - Yum!  These were taken at our favorite sushi restaurant on our date night in February.  We only make it out one night a month, so I know the exact date this was taken.... Feb 4th.  The Child Development Center on our military installation hosts Parent's Night Out one night each month (1st Saturday of each month), which allows parents to go out in the evening while they watch the kids.  Let me tell you, Parent's Night Out has been a God-send!  Military families endure many hardships, but thank goodness for programs like this that provide support.  They don't replace the real deal like trusting relatives who can babysit often, but at least it's something and it works for us.

Obviously, we indulge on our night's out, but who cares.  Without a screaming toddler sitting at the table, we get to take our time and savor ever minute of our time together and every morsel on our plates.

Monday, March 5, 2012

SOLD!

Today was a very big day for our family.  The past eleven months have been hard on us as we struggled to sell our home in this terrible housing market.  My husband had received orders to move to Texas so we really wanted to sell our home before he reports to his new unit.  Praise God, we found a qualified buyer and finally turned over our home this afternoon at closing.  What a relief!!  The odds were stacked against us, but thankfully God answers prayers.  We are now finally able to move forward and move to Texas without the burden of our home lingering over our heads.

Immediately after signing the mound of legal papers finalizing the transaction, my husband & I stopped by our favorite mediterranean restaurant located nearby.

It was our little celebratory meal.

Just the two of us.

Relishing our time together.

Praising God for the experience and lessons learned during this trial.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. - 1 Thessalonians 5: 6-18

Here are some photos of our scrumptious meal.....it was divine!  Thank you Jesus!

The appetizer we shared:  Hummus and OUT-OF-THIS-WORLD Pita Bread

My amazing sandwich:   The BEST Gyro Sandwich ever!

My husband's dish:  Pepperoni Pizza with Black Olives - - - YUM!

Chicken Marsala

It's 5pm on Sunday, my husband & I look at each other and asked, 'what's for dinner'?  I scoured my online recipe bank for some ideas on a scrumptious recipe that included ingredients in the fridge and pantry.  Voila --- Chicken Marsala!  My husband's favorite Italian dish.  I tell myself, he's going to love this and will be so excited.  Of course, I've never made this dish before, so having high expectations was a little stressful.  I'm very very very happy to report that my first attempt at pulling off this dish was a two thumbs up from my foodie husband.  He loved it so much that he asked if we could add this to our 'must make again' list.  SCORE!  Here's my recipe that I adapted from allrecipes.com.

Chicken Marsala  *Printable Recipe*
3 boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/2 pkg of sliced mushrooms
1 T onion, chopped
1/2 cup dry Marsala wine
1 slice bacon, cut into 1/4 in strips
1/4 cup & 1 T butter
1/4 cup olive oil
flour
salt & pepper

In large saute pan, melt butter and add olive oil.  Season chicken with salt & black pepper.  Coat seasoned chicken in flour then add to pan.  Cook one side of chicken for 2-3 minutes until browned.  Flip and cook other side for 1-2 minutes.  Add mushrooms and bacon and cook until mushrooms are tender.  When chicken is almost cooked, add the Marsala wine and onion.  Allow of the wine to reduce by 90% and almost evaporated into thick syrup.  Remove pan from heat and toss the chicken and mushroom well.  Remove chicken and set aside.  Return pan to low heat and fold in butter into the reduced wine sauce.  Stir constantly so the sauce and butter do not separate.  Place chicken on a plate and spoon wine sauce over the chicken.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Brown Rice Krispies

After discovering brown rice cereal at the commissary last month (click here to see my recent post), I've been eager to attempt a healthy version of a tasty favorite....Rice Krispy Treats.  These turned out lovely paired with a hot cup of pomegranate raspberry green tea.

Brown Rice Krispies
6 cups brown rice cereal
1 pkg small marshmallows
1/4 T butter
1 tsp flax seed meal


Melt butter in large pan over medium heat.  Add marshmallows and stir constantly until melted.  Stir in flax seed meal.  Stir in brown rice cereal.  Pour cereal mixture into lightly greased pan and cool.  Cut into bars and serve.

Tropical Green Energy

Where do I begin?  Oh, I'll just say it ...  I LOVE GREEN SMOOTHIES!  I've heard so much about these type of smoothies for years and finally decided to give them a try.  Now I'm wondering why I waited so stinkin' long.  These are very refreshing, surprisingly delicious, and packed with tons and tons of vitamins and minerals.  Instead of my usual breakfast meal of gluten-free toast, peanut butter, and coffee, I indulged in these yummy green drinks for the past two days.  I honestly believe it has given me more energy and has kept me full and satisfied until lunch time.  There are so many green smoothie recipes out there, but this is the one that my husband & I found to be our favorite.  For information on the plethora of health benefits provided from this single green drink, click here.


Tropical Green Energy  *Printable Recipe*
adapted from skinnytaste.com

1-2 cups of fresh spinach
1 T plain greek yogurt
1/2 banana
6 pineapple chunks
1 T shredded coconut
1/2 cup of water
2 ice cubes

Blend until smooth.  Serves 1.  Enjoy!!


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Black-Eyed Peas & Bacon

There's nothing like a nice warm bowl of black-eyed peas and bacon on a lazy Saturday afternoon.  I perused a few sites for recipes, but couldn't find one without hamhocks, butter, or vinegar.  So I defrosted some bacon and just went for it.  I was prepared for a backup meal of mac & cheese if this one didn't turn out well.  I'm happy to report that my little creation was amazingly delicious.  Thank God....no wasted food and no mac & cheese for lunch!  My husband & I loved it and we both went back for seconds.

Black-Eyed Peas & Bacon
2 cups dry black-eyed peas
6 cups water
1.5 chicken boullion cubes (knorr brand)
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
6 bacon strips
1 tsp thyme
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Soak black-eyed peas in a bowl of warm water.  In the meantime, slice two bacon strips into small strips.  In a medium pot, cook bacon.  Add garlic, onions, and celery and saute until tender.  Add black-eyed peas, 6-cups of water, thyme, carrots, pepper, garlic powder, chicken boullion cubes.  Cook on medium until beans are tender.  While beans are cooking, cook remaining four strips of bacon in frying pan.  Crumble bacon and set aside.  Serve over white or brown rice and top with crumbled bacon.

Commissary Shopping


Yesterday I learned my third lesson in commissary (grocery store on a military base) shopping to add to my lessons learned list.

1.  Do not go the day BEFORE pay day
2.  Do not go the day OF pay day
3.  Do not go the day AFTER pay day

Holy cow!  These are the most busy times to attempt to shop for groceries.  There was a sprinkle of both active duty folks, their families, and retirees.  Not sure when the retirees get their pension checks, but it seems to coincide with the active duty folks.  The crowd was unreal!  When I had asked the store clerk what was going on, she looked at me with a terrible scowl and growled, "pay day".  After shopping at the same commissary for four and a half years, this was my first and last visit on the day after pay day.  Good grievances!

Friday, March 2, 2012

It's a Tea Party!

It's so much fun being girly!  Today, my mom's group had a lovely Tea & Testimonies meeting where we sipped hot tea and noshed on some tasty treats.  Also, a couple amazing moms shared their testimonies on how God has changed their lives. I have to say, I absolutely loved every minute of this tea party.  As a Christian, I can completely identify with their stories as I have a testimony of my own.  In my case, it was a long road filled with peaks and valleys, but it was a very deep valleys that made all of the difference.  I know most Christians have a testimony and I love hearing them all.  I become a blubbering weepy mess every single time I hear them.

Okay, now about the beautiful tea party.  It was fabulous.  Each of us brought tasty treats to share.  I  filled my 3-tier stand with scones from a local grocery store, fruit, and almond biscotti.  The recipe I used to make biscotti was one I discovered a few years ago on allrecipes.com.  It's an amazing little italian cookie that goes so well with tea (or coffee).  If you'd like the recipe, click here.


Here are some photos I shot from the lovely tea party.
The china was stunning
Every girl needs this tea set
My scone, fruit, and biscotti display
Love My Lady Grey

My plate of goodies to include one monster strawberry!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Rainy Day Comfort

On cold rainy days like today, I love to indulge in some good hot comfort food.  After taking inventory of my fridge, pantry, and spices, I settled on making a childhood favorite - Chicken Tinola.  This filipino recipe is another that I adapted from my mom's kitchen.  Honestly it was tough to get a good shot of this mouth-watering dish and I didn't want to mess with it too much because I couldn't wait to dig right in!  This photo doesn't do it justice.  Trust me.....it's deeeelish!

Chicken Tinola   *Printable Recipe*
1 pkg boneless, skinless chicken thighs (6 pieces)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 T olive oil
1 T ginger, chopped
1 1/2 cups water
1 chicken boullion cube (I use knorr brand)
1 tsp garlic powder
salt & pepper to taste
1 bunch of spinach

In a medium-sized pot, saute garlic and onions in oil until tender.  Add ginger and saute for about a minute.  Add chicken thighs, water, boullion cube, garlic powder, salt & pepper.  Cover and let boil over medium heat for 30-45 minutes stirring occasionally until chicken is tender.  Add spinach and cook for an additional five minutes.  Serve over white or brown rice.
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