Saturday, March 30, 2013

What Easter is all about...

We used our own natural egg dyes from this website. I loved how the colors turned out!
While I love fluffy bunnies, candy filled eggs and dying easter eggs pretty colors that is not what the essence of Easter is about. Easter is quickly becoming one of my favorite holidays because of what it represents...Jesus not only dying for us, but overcoming death to show us that we are his and that we are treasured. Just typing that overwhelms me.

The message at church this week hit straight through to my heart. It was as you could predict, about the events leading up to the death and resurrection of Jesus. My Pastor focused on the pivotal event that caused the high priests to get jealous and want to kill Jesus...the raising of Lazarus from the dead. Even though Jesus was being hunted he still went back to visit his friends where they gave a feast in his honor. Mary was so happy that her brother Lazarus was restored to her that she wanted to DO something for Jesus in return. So she poured out her expensive oil on his feet...She humbled herself and gave him her most prized possession. 

Jesus has done even more for us than he did for Mary...we were the ones dead in our sins who got resurrected. And how am I choosing to pour out my love to him? This week take some time to really think about the one who gave it all for you because that my friends is what Easter is all about. An undeserved gift...

"Like oil upon your feet,
 like wine for you to drink,
like water from my heart,
I pour my love on you.
If praise is like perfume,
I'll lavish mine on you
til every drop is gone
I'll pour my love on you"

Pour My Love On You by The Glorious Unseen on Grooveshark

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A NOTHING Party!!!

When March isn't full of blooming flowers and sunshine it's a pretty blah month. Since there was not too much going on, my girlfriends and I decided to have a "Nothing" Party! Nothing Party: (Noun)-A party to celebrate nothing in particular. We found the original idea here. We each brought something to eat or drink and some kind of activity. We ended up having delicious cocktails, macaroni and cheese, fried apples, olive cheese bread (recipe coming soon) and these red velvet  brownies. It was so random, which made it fun! We toasted to nothing and enjoyed a night of Justin Timberlake jams, eating and board games.
We decided that any month we don't have a holiday or birthday to celebrate that we will have a Nothing Party! I can't wait to see what the next one brings...

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A night at the ballet...and an outfit!

My friend Bekah got free tickets to the Cincinnati Ballet's production of The Prodigal's Son so she invited me to come along. I had been wanting to wear my new Anthro dress forevvver and this was the perfect opportunity! We got dressed up and then had dinner at a Gastropub called Nicholson's where we fell in love with a new beer and filled up on some amazing food including their pub fries with homemade ketchup! The restaurant was located directly across the street from the Aronoff where we saw the show. We had fun being in the hustle and bustle of things downtown and thoroughly enjoyed the ballet!
Linking up with Shanna, Lauren and Lindsey today.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Trader Joe's Tuesday: Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

The other week as I was strolling the aisles of Trader Joe's I discovered their butternut squash. It is already peeled and chopped for you and is exactly one pound of squash. My friend Andrea had just been telling me about a light macaroni and cheese she had been making with butternut squash so I grabbed the squash and ran home to start cooking!
Here's what you will need:
  • 3 cups cubed peeled butternut squash (Trader Joe's makes that part easy!)
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (fat free if you want this to be a healthier version of Mac N Cheese)
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 2 tablespoons plain fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) shredded Gruyère cheese
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) grated pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) finely grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 1 pound uncooked Macaroni noodles
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  1. Gather your ingredients (above)
  2. Combine squash, broth, milk, and garlic in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer until squash is tender when pierced with a fork, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat and pre-heat oven to 375.
  3. Shred your cheeses and have them will need them soon!
  4. Put the hot squash mixture in a blender. Add salt, pepper, and Greek yogurt. Remove the center piece of blender lid to ensure steam can escape and secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid to avoid a big mess. Blend until smooth. 
  5. Place blended squash mixture in a bowl; stir in Gruyère, pecorino Romano, and 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Stir until combined. It starts smelling really good about now...
  6. Cook pasta according to package directions and drain well. Add pasta to squash mixture, and stir until combined. Spread mixture evenly into a 13 x 9-inch dish coated with cooking spray
  7. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add Panko, and cook for 2 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from heat; stir in remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle evenly over the hot pasta mixture. Lightly coat topping with cooking spray.
  8. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle with parsley, and serve immediately.
And there you have it: a still delicious, but healthier version of Mac N Cheese!
Original recipe found here.

Monday, March 25, 2013

A few weekend shenanigans...

one. This weekend I finally used my giftcard from my husband to buy some new running shoes! I wore them out of the store and straight into a workout that my husband made for me. (He was once a personal trainer.)
two. A spring break surprise from my sweet Mom! Real Simple magazine and a gift card for a pedicure! I love you Mom!
three. I finally got to "meet" Tara!!! I truly love blogging for bringing us together. Someday...we will meet in person!
four. I might have done a little damage at Old Navy...with a gift card, which makes it okay!
five. My friend Bekah got free tickets to the Cincinnati Ballet. We had a great time hanging out downtown for the show.
six. Dinner and drinks at Nicholson's Gastropub before the show.
seven. Had some cuddle time with this little guy.
eight. Drew and I tried out an Athenian restaurant that we've been wanting to try forever.
nine. My gyro...amazing!
This week is my spring break and I'm sooooo looking forward to some relaxation time! Happy Monday friends. I'm off to read about your weekends....

Friday, March 22, 2013

Friday's letters (in my kitty pjs)

Dear Kitten PJs, I'm really excited that I get to wear you to work today! (Benefit of being an elementary school teacher!) My kiddos are going to absolutely love you! Dear Spring Break, You are finally HERE!! If only you were actually going to feel like SPRING. Oh well...I have lots of fun things planned including an awesome DIY project, a Nothing party, a few day trips and lots of reading! Dear Quinoa, I made my first recipe using you this week and I'm in love. Now I'm obsessed and already have more recipes with you in them pinned to try! This one looks especially delicious. Dear Running Shoes, I'm going to purchase you this weekend and then start hitting the pavement (finally). Dear Sweet and Thoughtful Husband, I showed you a Pinterest project I wanted to do that involved a wooden ladder and you immediately went on Craigslist and found one, purchased it and then picked it up for me! You are so amazing!
Happy Weekend Friends!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Cincinnati Bloggers unite...

I'm only a week late in posting this, but better late than never right? All I have to say is that Cincinnati bloggers...they are pretty awesome. I met up with Erin, Katie, Sarah and Jax for Sushi and wine at Aroma and we acted like it was a usual thing. We talked about all the latest blog gossip or blogsip as Katie and Sarah would say, then we caught up on our "real" lives. I loved hanging out with these ladies and can't wait to do it again!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Trader Joe's Tuesday: Chicken Alfredo Pizza

I was lazy last week and didn't go to the grocery store so I searched my cabinets for something worth cooking. I had some leftover Alfredo sauce from Trader Joe's just hanging out in my cupboard so I decided to use it on a pizza. I made things up as I went along and it turned out pretty delicious. I used the Alfredo sauce as the pizza sauce and I used the Trader Joe's Garlic and Herb pizza dough as well. It is my favorite pizza dough of theirs followed closely by the wheat pizza dough. Other ingredients you need: chives, spinach, mozzarella cheese, garlic and shredded chicken (not pictured).
Simply follow directions on the pizza dough package then spread with Alfredo sauce. I boiled my chicken then shredded it using the handy Kitchen aid trick. I added some Alfredo sauce to the chicken to add more flavor then spread it over the pizza dough. Then I topped my pizza with chopped chives, minced garlic, spinach and mozzarella cheese. Trader Joe's ingredients score again!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Weekend update...

Friday. We went out Downtown to celebrate our friend Joe's birthday. We headed to the Moerlein Lager House for dinner. We had friend pickles and then I tried their B.E.S.T. pizza which had 2 sunny side up eggs on top of it. It was wonderful! After dinner we tried out Cincinnati's new Casino, the Horseshoe. It was packed and I was a little overwhelmed. I played the penny slots and lost and I was done.
Saturday. I road tripped to Kentucky with my Mom to celebrate my grandma's 87th birthday with her. All she asked for was a chocolate cake and lots of candy so my Aunt's put together a candy bar for her and she loved it! Not only was there cake and candy, but my uncle brought over some specialty cupcakes. I tried the Derby cupcake and it was incredible. It was so sweet being able to celebrate another birthday with my dear Mimi.
Sunday. Did some spring shopping with my 20% coupon at Kohl's (love me some Lauren Conrad), dressed in green and ate leftover corned beef.
How was your weekend???

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Perfect St. Patrick's Day Meal...

For some reason I decided that 2013 was the year to try Corned Beef. Never have I ever had a desire to try Corned Beef let alone cook one, but I was at Trader Joe's and saw one and plopped it in my shopping cart. Before I knew it I had red potatoes, carrots and cabbage in my cart as well. I searched online for a recipe and found one that involved Guinness so I started cooking. Turns out I love corned beef! Here's what you will need:

-10 small red potatoes (quartered)
-1 yellow onion (chopped)
-4 large carrots (sliced)
-1 head of cabbage (cut in half and roughly chopped)
-4 cups water
-6 oz. beer (Guinness if you want to be festive)

First, quarter your red potatoes and spread them out on the bottom of your crock pot. Then add the chopped up onion and carrots. Cover with 4 cups of water. Add the corned beef brisket on top of the vegetables and pour 6 oz. of beer over it. Add spice packet to the top of the brisket, cover and then set your crock pot on high for 8 hours.

An hour before brisket is finished cooking, coarsely chop half a cabbage and add to the crock pot. Stir to make sure cabbage is mostly covered in the liquids. Let it cook with the brisket for another hour. Serve warm!
Make sure you are wearing green and eating Guinness Beer Bread with your Corned Beef to make it a complete and festive meal!

And you would make me feel like I found the pot of gold if you would follow me on Bloglovin here. Haha...had to get that in somewhere. Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Original recipe found here!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Friday's Letters

Dear Erin, Katie, Sarah and Jax, I loved hanging out with you girls last night! Someday we won't pay for our girl's nights, they will be paying us! :) Dear Corned Beef, In honor of St. Patrick's day I made you this week and I honestly doubted I would love you, but oh my are delicious! Dear Spring Break, One more week until you and I are BFF. Dear Nails, I'm sorry I've neglected you for so long. I finally decided to paint you and I really like how you look. Please don't chip! Dear Horseshoe Casino, Please be nice to us tonight because we don't really know what we are doing. Show me the money!!!


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The BEST Nutella cookies ever + Bachelor

This week has been rough....let's just say it might be because I stayed up way too late on Monday night watching the Bachelor finale with my girlfriends, painting my nails and making the best cookies ever. Yep the best. I'll prove it...they have Nutella, sea salt, chocolate chips annnnnd brown butter. Have you ever browned butter before? I hadn't and I think that's the key to these cookies, besides the Nutella of course. Click here for the recipe for the best cookies won't regret it, but your hips might.
I don't want to be a *SPOILER* if you haven't watched the finale although if you haven't heard by now I have no idea how, but I'll just tell you that my heart is happy and I'm really hoping this relationship actually lasts unlike the last oh 15 or so. And I'm noticing that it is becoming a trend for me to make a new desert and watch the Bachelor finale. I really like this trend.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Trader Joe's Tuesday: Michigan Baked Oatmeal

Since I am obsessed with Trader Joe's and the products they sell I decided why not have some fun with it? I'm going to start Trader Joe's Tuesdays where I will be featuring recipes made with some of my favorite Trader Joe's products. And no I'm not being paid for this advertisement, but of course I wouldn't turn free money down if they did want to pay me. *wink*wink*

Today I'm featuring their Quick Cook Steel Cut Oats, which come in a normal size oat container perfect for a family of 2. I used the quick oats to make Michigan Baked Oatmeal, which turned out delicious!
The thing I love about this recipe is that there are so many other ingredients you could add. Several recipes recommended adding dried cherries and sliced almonds (also sold at Trader Joe's), which I will be trying next! Drew and I talked about making a batch of this on Sunday nights so that we can have it for breakfast all week during the work week. Re-heat and go and you have a healthy and nutritious breakfast that even someone recovering from oral surgery can eat!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Weekend update...

one. Chocolate chip oatmeal pancakes.Thanks Rach for sharing the recipe. I've already made them twice! Yum!
two. Beer flights at Cock N Bull. My husband knows how to pick the good ones.
three. My oldest friend who is now living out in Colorado came to visit! We hiked, we reminisced, we drank, we was like she never left.
four. Delicious Japanese tea in a cute cup and some awesome appetizers at Bangkok Bistro.
five. My sister in law had her artwork featured in an art show. We also got to see where the magic happened behind the scenes in her art studio!
six. A lazy Sunday. Grading papers and drinking hot tea in my sweatpants by 3pm.

How was YOUR weekend???

Friday, March 8, 2013

Strangely dim...

                                                                                                    found here

When all the worries are piling up and you feel like you are spinning out of control, seek the face of Jesus and somehow the craziness and chaos will grow strangely dim.

"I've had all these plans piled up sky high
A thousand dreams on hold
And I don't know why,
I got a front row seat
To the longest wait
And I just can't see
Past the things I pray

But when I fix my eyes on all that You are
Then every doubt I feel
Deep in my heart
Grows strangely dim
All my worries fade
And fall to the ground
Cause when I seek Your face
And don't look around
Any place I'm in
Grows strangely dim

Sometimes where I stand
On this narrow road
Is in a raging storm
Or a valley low
But oh

When I fix my eyes on all that You are
Then every doubt I feel
Deep in my heart
Grows strangely dim
All my worries fade
And fall to the ground
Cause when I seek Your face
And don't look around
Any place I'm in
Grows strangely dim

I don't know, I don't know
What tomorrow may hold
But I know, but I know
That You're holding it all
So no matter what may come

I'm gonna fix my eyes on all that You are
'Til every doubt I feel
Deep in my heart
Grows strangely dim
Let all my worries fade
And fall to the ground
I'm gonna seek Your face
And not look around
Til the place I'm in
Grows strangely, strangely, strangely dim."
-Francesca Battistelli

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The makings of a perfect snow day!

one. Extra cuddle time with my husband (he had a snow day too!) and my kitties
two. PW's Sour Cream Pancakes and blog time
three. Tried a new recipe: Chicken Alfredo Pizza (recipe coming soon)
four. The view out my window

I'm really hoping that this was the last snow of the season because hellllooooo it is March, but Ohio doesn't care what season it is, the weather always keeps you on your toes! Happy 1 day closer to Friday! 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Sometimes...I like to pretend I'm a fashion blogger and post outfits on my blog,
but...I always feel silly doing it, especially in the snow!
Sweater: Express, Shirt: Banana Republic, Skirt: Banana Republic, Tights: Target Shoes: Michelle D from Dillards

Sometimes...I like to look back through old pictures and relive some of my favorite days,
but... I wouldn't change the present for anything
Sometimes...I like to eat melted cheese and peanut butter sandwiches, grosses people out so I only do it in the privacy of my own kitchen. Haha.

Sometimes...I don't wash my hair for a few days,
but...only if it's straight. I have to make it worth my time!
Sometimes...I wish working out didn't require me to get off the couch,
but...I always feel good after I get up and just do it!

Sometimes...I like to build forts under the covers for my cats,
but...I think I've spoiled them now.
Sometimes...I post unflattering pictures of myself on my blog (see above for proof),
but...this is real life and I'm not a super model. What, you didn't know that?

Sometimes...I wish winter would just hurry up and end already,
but...I do love getting snow days like TODAY!

Sometimes...I wish I could teleport to the beach until winter goes away,
but...I can't so I'll just start counting down until spring break
Sometimes...I wish my report cards would finish themselves,
but... I'm not that lucky so I'll just stop procrastinating and do them myself.

Sometimes...I wish I knew what my cats were thinking,
but...if I did then I'd probably wish I didn't.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

My go to meal for new mommies...

Whenever I hear of a family or friend who needs a meal (lately it's been all my friends who've had babies) this is my go to meal. It's simple, it's easy, it's not lasagna! One of my mom's best friends gave me this recipe for Taco Pie at one of my bridal showers and I've been making it ever since!

We look pretty cute with a baby right? Haha. Someday...
 Cast of Characters:
1 lb. Ground Turkey, Pillsbury Crescent Rolls, 1 cup crushed Taco Flavored Doritos (or Fritos), 1 packet Taco Seasoning, 8oz. Sour cream, Shredded Cheese
one. Cook ground beef until browned, add taco seasoning and 1/2 cup water, stir and let simmer for 5-10 minutes
two. Press crescent roll onto bottom of pie pan or casserole dish
three. Add cooked meat to crescent roll crust
four. Add 1/2 cup of crushed Taco flavored Doritos on top of meat
five. Add 8 oz. sour cream, spread over meat and chips
six. Add cheese and top with remaining 1/2 cup of crushed chips

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, cut and serve warm OR if you are taking it to a friend, keep refrigerated until delivery and pass along baking instructions and a recipe card because they will ask you for the recipe!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Weekend Update

This weekend was one of the most relaxing weekends I've had in a looooong time. Since I was at home most of the weekend playing doctor to my husband, I was forced to do nothing but eat ice cream, watch Netflix and cook him scrambled eggs. Tough life right?

My sister and brother in law were in town on Saturday so I did manage to get out of the house for a few hours. My sister was craving LaRosa's so we had a girl's date to LaRosa's then headed to Trader Joe's where I randomly ran into Sarah. I also picked up some Coffee Bean ice cream to try along with a bottle of my favorite wine. The biggest adventure Drew had this weekend was trying out Dr. Oz's green drink which I will admit I doubted would taste good, but it wasn't bad. I'm sure your weekends were more exciting than mine so I'm off to read about them!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Just call me doctor...

My husband got his wisdom teeth taken out on Friday so this weekend I've been playing doctor.
The cats made sure to do their part in making sure Drew gets better!
I took the day off work on Friday, which was amazing because I got Drew settled in at the dentist and they said they'd call me 20 minutes before he was going to be out of nice. So off I headed to Panera for an Asiago cheese bagel, hot chocolate and some reading time. I started reading Below Stairs and am really liking it so far! It was one of the books that inspired the show, Downton Abbey so if you like the idea of Downton, you'll enjoy this book.
When I picked up my husband he was all drugged up and so tired. He could barely keep his eyes open or finish a sentence without falling immediately to sleep. It was adorable actually and very entertaining. He kept trying to tell me something that the dentist told him to eat and then about how he really needed to order a new gun holster, but then he'd fall asleep mid sentence...(leave it to my husband to talk about guns in the midst of his sedation)
He slept for a few hours when we got home and I took pictures and video taped him in his grogginess so we could laugh at it later. Aren't I a good wife? I made sure he ate all the good stuff and took his medicine like a good little patient. Drew actually requested baby food (the guy loves the stuff) and scrambled eggs so that is what he got.
When he was alert I set up the pull out couch and we spent the day watching episodes of Breaking Bad and eating ice cream in between changing gauze and getting new ice packs. It's been nice to do nothing but make sure my husband has what he needs. I don't think I could be anyone else's doctor, but I actually like being that for him.

Have you had your wisdom teeth out or had to take care of anyone who had?

Friday, March 1, 2013

11 years!!!

To my sweet, strong, thoughtful and hunky husband,
Today marks 11 years of total together-ness for us! Can you believe you have stuck with little old me for 11 years now? Today I'm going wayyyyy back to our first date. You were an awesome senior getting ready to graduate and I was not, but that didn't stop me from dropping big hints that I wanted you to ask me out. You finally asked me out and we went to dinner at good old Applebees and then you took me ice skating. I secretly already loved you when you asked me to go ice skating and I knew we'd have to hold hands since I'm not the best ice skater (or at least I pretended not to be.) We skated the night away and then ended up heading to the Mason Heights playground swings to talk. We talked so long that I ended up being out past my curfew, which freaked you out because you didn't want my parents to not like you. That would have been impossible...they loved you from the start, as did the rest of my family.

I treasure that we have so many shared memories together and that you have known me through so many phases of my life. You knew and loved my childhood dog Charity and then the many dogs and cats to follow,  you knew me when I was part of that "annoying girl's softball team" who cheered you on at all your baseball games, you knew me as the honor student who did her homework as soon as she got home, you knew me as the spandex wearing volleyball player with bruised up knees.

We watched each other graduate from high school and then from college. We attended the same church, served in Africa together and then I got to see you get baptized. Now we are old married people with two cats, a house and a lot of love to show for it.

No matter how much (or how little) we have, I look at you and feel so blessed. You are one amazing man and I am one lucky lady to get to spend the rest of my days with you! 11 years and counting and I wouldn't trade any one of them for the world.
Your Allie Girl