Friday, September 30, 2011

A baby shower in a bicycle shop

Last weekend hubby and I drove to Indiana for a couples baby shower for our friend's Todd and Carrie. The shower was held at a bicycle shop, which was very fitting for this couple. We ate food, played a little family feud (where of course the girl's dominated), opened gifts and played with bikes.
I am in love with these pinwheels!
That night we stayed with our friends and I got to see their cute house and get a taste of what Life at the Liles is really like. I love this couple and wish them all the best. Baby Simon will be here soon!

Saturday, September 24, 2011


I'm proud to tell you that my meal plan has actually been working. Hubby and I have tried some great recipes and I can't wait to get into all of our fabulous fall Crock pot recipes we have on file. A few recipes we've made so far Pioneer Woman's Spaghetti and Meatballs, Sweet herb salmon and asparagus, Calzones, Caribbean Kielbasa stir fry, Hawaiian BBQ Pulled Chicken from the Tasty Kitchen Blog...BBQ Chicken pizza...Mmmm. The other night I tried out one of my sister in laws recipes: Steak with Peanut sauce and broccoli. This meal was full of firsts for me. First time I used a meat thermometer, first time I marinated steak, first time I broiled steak...I am happy to report that everything turned out better than expected minus the fact that I ended up breaking the smoke detector out of pure frustration. I promise nothing was burnt, but the smoke detector for some reason enjoyed seeing me get upset and run from the oven to it and back fifty billion times (until I got smart and broke it OOPS).

On to the ingredients you will need...
-1 1/2 lbs. Flank Steak
-1/2 C. Smooth Peanut butter
-1/4 C. plus 1 Tbsp. Soy sauce
-1/4 C. plus 1 Tbsp. Rice Vinegar
-2 Garlic cloves
-1 Tbs. Ginger paste
- 1/4 Tbsp. Red pepper flakes
-2 Tbsp. Vegetable oil
-4 Scallions
-1 Tbsp. Brown sugar
-1-2 heads of Broccoli

For this recipe to have all the amazing flavor you marinate the flank steak from breakfast until dinner time. Here are the ingredients for the Peanut sauce, which has an amazing oriental flavor (Thank you ginger!)
Combine the...
-Garlic, ginger, peanut butter 1/4 c. rice vinegar, b1/4 c. soy sauce, brown sugar, red pepper flakes and 2 Tbsp. water.
-Blend until smooth and then take out 1/2 cup of sauce to save for later
-Put the thawed out steak into a large Ziploc and add all the sauce except for the 1/2 cup to use for later. Make sure that steak is covered and bag is sealed. Refrigerate for several hours.
When you are ready to cook the meat use a broiling pan and let it cook for 8-12 minutes or until it reaches 145 degrees (medium rare).  I don't know why, but I felt really cool using my meat thermometer. Make sure to flip the meat once before it is finished.
While the meat is cooking you can prepare the broccoli, which is the best broccoli I've ever had!
-Cut florets of broccoli
-Thinly slice the scallions keeping the white sections and green sections separate
-In a large skillet heat oil over medium heat then add the broccoli, scallion WHITES and 1/4 C. water.
-Season with salt and pepper
-Cover and cook until broccoli is tender (8-10 minutes)

-Uncover add remaining Tbsp. of rice vinegar and soy sauce. Cook, tossing until liquid is evaporated (1-2 minutes)
-Mix in scallion GREENS
-Thinly slice steak across grain and serve with broccoli and remaining peanut sauce.

**Alternatively you can grill the steak over medium-high heat 8-12 minutes**
Please, please let me know if you try out this recipe. You will thank me if you do!
Oh my gosh so yummy.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A grown up kickball game

Saturday was a gorgeous fall day. The sun was out, the leaves were just getting that tint of color and my husband's cousin (age 33) decided for his birthday all he wanted was a grown up game of kickball. We met at Drew's family cabin, which was built by his Uncle in 1992. This place is full of good memories. We have had baby showers, family Christmas parties, graduations and more here. It is such an amazing place to have in a big family!

We ate yummy food...and then we walked to a nearby park and played kickball. Some of us came prepared with cleats while others played in white dress pants...but everyone who played wore a smile. Corny but true. Here are a few pictures from our amazing game of kickball.

I love Drew's family and we are so incredibly blessed with all the people God has surrounded us with. We plan to have many more family kickball games in the future!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Spaghetti and Meatballs...PW style

I haven't posted a Pioneer Woman recipe in way too long!
I did include several of her recipes in my meal plan so there's more PW recipes to come in the near future.
I love spaghetti and meatballs and PWs are delicious and fun to make especially if you have someone else in the kitchen with you. Thankfully that hubby of mine likes to cook too.
Here are the  Step by step instructions for making this delicious version of a classic comfort food. She makes it so easy with pictures at each turn so you know it looks like it's "supposed to!" There are also printable recipes near the bottom of each recipe FYI.
Oh and there's me with the best cook book ever.
Did you know that the Pioneer Woman is now on the Food Network?! She is adorable and hilarious. I want to be friends with her, but in the mean time I'll just continue stalking her. Haha. Just kidding...kind of.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


It has been way to long since I've been able to do a What I'm Loving Wednesday! So here I am with my Wednesday loves...
I'm loving my free subscription to Real Simple magazine. It is my favorite magazine because it is full of recipes, new uses for old things, fashion and exercise tips. This months magazine has a whole month of easy dinners already planned out for you. Yes please!
I'm loving that I am craving pumpkin everything. I want to make this pumpkin butter this fall!

I'm loving that I work downtown and that I am within walking distance of so many great places to eat!
I'm loving that I got to see my bible study girls and catch up this week. One just moved back from Thailand, one was home visiting from NC and the other just back from Africa. My friends are world travelers and I miss them when they are gone!
I'm loving teaching second grade! My kids have been great and I love how independent they are (compared to my little kindergartners God love them)
I'm loving my cute little cats and their funny habits
I'm loving my husband...who has been so patient with me while I'm readjusting to being a busy bee teacher. He definitely makes me a happier girl!
Link up with Jamie and share what you are loving today!

Saturday, September 10, 2011


I've been reading posts about Fall and literally feel giddy about all the fabulous Fall activities I get to enjoy soon...
Corn mazes

Apple Orchards and goodies
College homecoming weekend
Costume parties
Q102 Bosom Ball
 Renaissance Festival
 Bonfires, camping and hobo dinners
Pumpkin picking
Pumpkin buying
Pumpkin carving
Oh I just can't wait! What are some of your favorite fall activities?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Our little family

Sometimes my favorite nights are nights where hubby and I stay in, cook dinner and cuddle up on the couch with the cats. It was so nice to have an extra day in our weekend so we were able to do just that. We jammed to my Maroon 5 station on our Pandora radio and made a delicious and super easy BBQ chicken pizza.
Here's what you need: Any pizza crust, Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce, 1 pound chicken, 1 can black beans, 1 can corn, chopped red onions and lots of cheese. Cook and cut up the chicken, prepare and spread out the pizza dough, spread the sauce and add toppings as you desire. Top with Pizza cheese and bake!

After dinner we played Family game night on the Wii (Battleship, Boggle, Sorry, Connect 4...) I won in Boggle and Connect 4...we will not speak of the other two games. Haha.
And then we took family pictures, but the cats decided they weren't up for a family photo shoot so this is the best we got. I hope you all enjoyed your long weekend!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Something nice to come home to...

The other day I got not one package in the mail, but two. One I was expecting the other was a surprise from my dear friend Carrie over at Life of the Liles.

The first package was a Pampered Chef Food Chopper that I won from Sweet Peas and Bumblebees when they had their Birthday Bash giveaway.
I am so excited to use this baby! I have just the salsa I want to try with you...
My surprise package was "a just because" package. Carrie found this adorable apron, packaged it up with a sweet note and sent it to me. It made my day.
What am I using this cute little apron for you ask? No not for the kitchen...try again. Think classroom.
I'm using it as my conferencing apron!  Let me explain. When I am trying to assess my students or do guided reading groups during Reader's workshop I often get interrupted. I have heard of other teachers wearing a "conferencing hat" letting students know that they are not to be disrupted when they wear it, but hats and I don't get along. So when I saw this adorable apron with its big pockets and perfect length I imagined a conferencing apron. The pockets will be for post-its, pens and paper clips and when I wear it my students will know I am conferencing...then if I travel I have all my materials with me ready to use! Thank you Carrie Jo! It's always nice to have surprises waiting for you on your door step.