Wednesday, May 27, 2009


So since John has been logging in lots of hours with the yard (yes, I pulled weeds too!) I have been logging in some Dixie one-on-one time in the house (aka making sure she doesn't rip apart our place while we're only a few feet outside). After we've played fetch, gone on a walk and played a game sort of like chase (until she gets bored and wants to do something else) this woman gets tired! So naturally, I get on my computer to catch up on the blogs that I follow (I am a blog stalker...go figure) and as soon as I pop open my laptop the "content in the corner little puppy" gets very jealous. And I mean VERY...she does not hesitate to bound over to the couch, jump up on the couch without permission (going against everything we've trained her to do...go figure again), and start nipping and scratching me. She literally wiggles her body over the keyboard so I can't type or see the screen anymore. So, being the good dog owner that I am, I rub her belly and love her and go back to my computer. No, that is not enough. Needless to say, tonight has been a juggle of playing games, sitting on the computer, trying to appease a puppy with a looong belly rub and trying to go back to the computer. Fun times people.


On Monday John and I (finally) went to buy some flowers for our yard! We were able to buy all sorts including: rhododendrons, azaleas, peonies, hydrangeas and a rose bush! I forgot how much I absolutely love flowers! I guess I've just never had a yard all to myself (and John of course), so it was really thrilling to be able to buy flowers that we could help grow and show more of God's beauty. I was sad because I couldn't get all of the plants that I wanted but that's ok, maybe one day. Plants on my wish list: gardenias, honeysuckles, and crepe them! I also want to start a little herb garden in a few pots that we have...and one day when our yard is big enough we'll have a vegetable garden, yum!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

tasty black bean dip

Yep, I've got yet another recipe for ya'll...last night I made my own rendition of black bean dip and it was soooo gooood!! Here ya go:

Black Bean Dip
  • 2 (15 oz.) cans refried black beans w/jalapenos (if you don't have these just buy two cans of black beans...rinse and drain, add a couple of chopped jalapenos and a little of the juice then pulse in a food processor until paste-like)
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced (I LOVE garlic so I used 4)
  • 4 sprigs of green onions chopped
  • a couple of dashes of salt
  • a couple of dashes of cayenne pepper
  • a couple of dashes of cumin
Basically you take all of that and mix it up, then enjoy! It's so easy and delicious! I looked at a recipe on and then kind of created my own from what I had on hand. I think there was like less than a gram of fat in a serving and about 19 calories. So it's packed with protein and low in calories and fat...could this be any better!? I served it with tortilla chips but if you want to go real healthy serve with celery sticks and/or carrot sticks.

that time of year

It's that time of year again...graduation and wedding time! This time last year I was basking in the amount of gifts that I was receiving and now the tables have turned...which I also love! Most of you know that I LOVE to buy gifts for people! For those of you who have read "The 5 Love Languages" my love language is gifts--that's the way I feel love the most (no, this is not a materialistic thing--a gift can simply be a flower or a sweet note) and the way that I show love. I just got home from buying two gifts for graduates and a wedding gift! Now we have 3 more wedding gifts to go before the end of the season and I'm pretty sure I already know what I'm getting them too. I want to say thank you again to all of you who gave such sweet, thoughtful gifts last year during my graduation and our wedding, I felt so loved! I hope you all enjoy this time of year as much as I do :)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

i feel old

Lately work has been SUPER crazy leaving me super tired. I like to think of myself as a calm, laid back person however when things get crazy for a long period of time (aka few months leading up to my wedding) I go into overload and get very overwhelmed. In the few months leading up to the wed when someone asked me a question, for example "what center pieces are you envisioning?" and "what song will the mothers walk down the aisle to?", I would have to close my eyes in order to concentrate hard enough to answer the question. Fast forward 10 months and now someone asks "did you get that registration that I turned in?" or "have you heard the details on that worker's comp claim?" and I'm back to having to close my eyes in order to concentrate in order to answer the question. My boss even walked in my office today and smirked, then said "yeah, you look like a really frustrated, burnt out HR assistant" and I simply laughed when really I was praying he would just send me home and tell me he would take care of everything. Haha, wishful thinking. Anyway, back to being old...I've come home everyday for the past couple of weeks feeling like I could just pass out and fall asleep as soon as I walk through the door. But then there is a dog to be walked, a husband who I haven't seen all day, a dinner to be made, dishes to be cleaned and clothes to be washed...and oh yeah before I realize it, it's already 11:00 and I need to get ready for the next day. Lovely! How did I go from being a carefree, fun-loving college student to an overwhelmed, burnt out HR assistant? And oh yeah, a big shout out to all of the working parents! I don't know how you do it but more power to ya! I'M OLD!

Monday, May 18, 2009

pittsburgh pirates

That's right, John talked me into going to a Pittsburgh Pirates game on Friday night. Well not so much talked me into it but asked if I wanted to go and me being the sweet wife that I am said yes because I knew that he would have a great time. (He was able to get discounted tickets through his graduate program) Well, if any of you know me well you know that I'm not a sports person and certainly not a baseball person, I find it particularly boring (except the intro music for each batter!). So I was dreading it to be honest. But we arrived at PNC Park and I have to say that it is a beautiful ball park! Not that I'm an expert at ball parks but it was very clean and nice and seemed pretty new. Plus the view from our seats was INCREDIBLE! (Don't tell John but that's what I looked at most of the time--well that and the big screen) Despite my initial feelings, I quickly found out that I was really enjoying myself! I really had a good time and wouldn't mind going back! We got "baseball food" and sang "Take me out to the ball game...". The night was perfect too, the temperature was great and only white fluffy clouds were in the blue sky. And I think John was very happy to have attended his first MLB game even though the Pirates lost. So yes, I would (gasp!) go again! Here's the view from the park:

light alfredo sauce

One of the delish recipes I tried this weekend was a light alfredo sauce...enjoy!

  • 1 pound uncooked fettuccine
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 1/4 cups half-and-half
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add half-and-half, cheese, salt, and pepper; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Reduce heat; add pasta, tossing gently to coat.

I used fat free half and half (as always) which I'm sure knocked a few grams of fat off the sauce. This sauce is quick and easy to make and its sooo good! And trust me, I'm very picky about my alfredo sauce, I hate it thick and creamy/fatty...this is a thinner sauce and very tasty. Its a very versatile dish for example you can top it with sauteed shrimp or with asparagus (can you pick up on who ate what?). Also here's a tip I learned, its better the next day after the sauce has had time to soak up in the noodles.

Here's the nutrition facts (these are the facts with real half and half):

Calories:427 (31% from fat)
Fat:14.6g (sat 7.8g,mono 4.2g,poly 1.3g)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

something borrowed, something blue

Here are my two latest book reports:

Something Borrowed by Emily Griffin

I first came across this book because my cuzzie Emily sent it to me, however what made me pick it amongst its 20 brothers and sisters that she also sent me was because my book club was reading it. Well they already read it. Yeah, the meeting I went to, I decided too late that I was going and they already read it and talked about it. For the next session they were reading the sequel, Something Blue. So I decided that I could read both before the beginning of May. Haha yeah right. In that time period I had my family visit and I got a puppy. Anyway, I LOVED this book! I don't want to give too much away but its about a hard working lawyer, Rachel White who's the typical good girl and her best friend Darcy Rhone who is the gorgeous party girl. Anyway, Rachel has an affair with Darcy's fiance...and I'll let you find out the rest. Its great! And, yes, I know it sounds bad to say that a book about an affair is great--no I'm not promoting affairs, but it is a good book! If you like a little bit of drama (why yes I do!) and "chick lit" (I hate that term) books, then this will bode well with you.

Something Blue by Emily Griffin

Of course after I finished Something Borrowed I ran to Target to buy Something Blue and I would say it's just as good as the first, if not better. So if you read Something Borrowed you MUST read Something Blue to follow up with...I mean who likes to be hanging at the end of a story? I always love to find out how it ends! I can't loan out Something Borrowed (not mine) but I can loan out Something Blue if you would like to bypass buying it. Again, if you like a little drama and love books with women as main characters, you will love this! (Side note: Neither of these are life changing books--they're just for fun) I give them both 5 out of 5 stars! Enjoy :)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

my big fat greek experience

A couple of weeks ago we received a brochure in the mail for a Greek Festival in Oakland (a part of Pittsburgh that's really close to us). John was really excited when he saw it because he looooves gyros. I decided that we should go, how fun! The festival was held this past week at the Greek Orthodox church in Oakland. When I got home last night I remembered the festival and remembered that I didn't want to cook, perfect! Festival time! So we went...and we walked up on a huge crowd of Pens fans (I think they're in the playoffs for the Stanley Cup??) under a few large white tents along with very Greek looking women and men serving up gyros like it was a Greek McDonalds! After I looked at the slim menu (there were 4 options, including baklava)...I frowned because the brochure weeks before advertised many more dishes (and you know me, I love to try a new dish!). I then saw a huge sign welcoming us into the church. We ventured in only to find a looooong line coming out of a fellowship hall bigger than any high school gymnasium I've ever seen. We quickly jumped in what looked like a cafeteria line for Greek cuisine. I picked out delicious Spanakopeta and a similar dish but I think it was just cheese and what seemed like scrambled eggs (not as good as the Spana.). I also added a little roll of rice, mint, and dill rolled in grape leaves (mmmmmm!!). John picked a Greek version of meatballs and some other Greek casserole looking thing. It was soooooooooooo good!! And not only was the food incredible, there was a live band playing Greek music (opa!) and traditional Greek dancers dancing in the middle of a huge crowd. Let me tell you what, there was some major Greek pride in that hall! And let me say that Greek women are beautiful, they have rich brown eyes and THICK, CURLY brown hair, gorgeous! Once we were finished with our dinner we filed in a line for pastries (it took up a whole wall of the hall!!). John is a huge fan of anything with honey and all of their pastries are some variation of phyllo, cream, honey, nuts, and cinnamon. Needless to say we walked away with one of almost everything. Best baklava I've ever had (eat your hearts out Mom and Cis!). What a wonderful experience! I wish I could go back and get more baklava, too bad last night was the end of the festival. We're definitely going again next year!

corn and potato chowder

I figured since I was making something special for hubs I may as well have something special myself. Since I knew I would have an abundance of potatoes (from making the "mash" in bangers in mash) I decided to steer my search to a potato dish...I came up with Corn and Potato you go:


  • Cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 cups prechopped green bell pepper
  • 1 cup chopped green onions, divided (about 1 bunch)
  • 2 cups frozen corn kernels
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon seafood seasoning (such as Old Bay)
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 pound baking potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese


Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add bell pepper and 3/4 cup green onions, and sauté 4 minutes or until lightly browned.

Increase heat to high; add corn, water, seafood seasoning, thyme, red pepper, and potatoes; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Remove from heat, and stir in half-and-half, chopped parsley, and salt. Place about 1 1/2 cups soup in each of 4 bowls; sprinkle each with 2 tablespoons cheese and 1 tablespoon green onions.

The only alteration I would make is this: when you add the ingredients to the bell pepper and onion mix, you might as well add the half and half and the parsley. I would cook it a little longer just to make sure the potatoes cook well. (I had trouble with them not cooking that quickly, so I timed it a little longer) This is also a "good for you" dish--only 340 calories per serving. I chose to use fat free half and half, which I'm sure lowered the calories even more. I had broccoli on the side, mmm mmm so good!

Much thanks to :)

bangers and mash

If we don't go out somewhere on a Saturday night I typically make something "special"/aka a dish I wouldn't have the energy to make after a full day at work. Last week it was stuffed shells, yum :) And this week I wanted to make something that John would really love (gosh I am such a good wife! only kidding, I promise I am modest). With that thought in mind and the book that I'm currently obsessed with is set in London, my mind went to English thought, bangers and of John's fave dishes! So I figured why not? Here's the recipe:


  • 8 large baking potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 2 teaspoons butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup milk, or as needed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 pounds beef sausage
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1 (.75 ounce) packet dry brown gravy mix
  • 1 cup water, or as needed
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place potatoes in a saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain, and mash with 1 teaspoon of butter, and enough milk to reach your desired creaminess. Continue mashing, or beat with an electric mixer, until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the sausage until heated through. Remove from pan, and set aside. Add remaining teaspoon of butter to the skillet, and fry the onions over medium heat until tender. Mix gravy mix and water as directed on the package, and add to the skillet with the onions. Simmer, stirring constantly, to form a thick gravy.
  3. Pour half of the gravy into a square casserole dish so that is coats the bottom. Place sausages in a layer over the gravy (you can butterfly the sausages if you wish). Pour remaining gravy over them, then top with mashed potatoes.
  4. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until potatoes are evenly brown.
I kept it a secret from him until it was time to eat, he was very surprised and very happy. He LOVED it (yes! one more point for me!)! So apparently its a delish dish, you must try!

PS-Much thanks to (where I found the wonderful recipe!).

Thursday, May 7, 2009

yummy yummy yummy...

...I got love in my tummy. Here's my latest recipe...Linguine with Creamy Mushroom Sauce. Yum! Its from a new cookbook my mom sent, sanks Mom!

  • olive oil (2 tbsp.)
  • button mushrooms (6 oz., thinly sliced)
  • cremini mushrooms (6 oz., thinly sliced)
  • garlic (1-2 cloves, minced)
  • dried thyme (1/2 tsp.)
  • dry vermouth or dry white wine (1/4 cup)
  • salt and pepper
  • linguine (1 lb.)
  • sour cream (1/2 cup)
  • cayenne pepper (pinch)
  • fresh, flat-leaf parsley ((2 tbsp., chopped)
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. In a frying pan, warm the oil over medium-high heat. Add he mushrooms and saute until they have released most of their liquid, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and thyme and cook, stirring until the mushrooms are golden, 4-5 minutes. Add the vermouth and cook, stirring until the alcohol has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.

2. Meanwhile, add 2 tbsp. salt and the pasta to the boiling water. Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking until al dente, according to the package directions. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Add the pasta to the sauce along with the sour cream and cayenne. Stir to combine. Warm briefly over low heat to blend the flavors. Add as much of the cooking water as needed to loosen the sauce. Stir in the parsley, and serve.

Voila! Delicious dish :)

you got boyfriend?

Yes, I'm pretty sure Dixie may have a boyfriend. Today as we began our walk she met what looked like a Shepherd/Husky mix. After they growled a little bit and semi-pounced on each other they had a smell-fest--that's right, they smelled everything...bums, bushy tails, bellies, and faces/it looked like they were kissing (I kicked myself for not having the camera). After the awkward duration of smell-fest '09, I made up an excuse that "we really needed to get to our walk"/Dixie pulling me up and down hills while I try not to trip over her when she abruptly stops to smell concrete, again. We left her new beau and not even 15 feet later she decided to poo. Classy. Way to make a first impression, Dixie. Oh well...we went on our "walk" and 35 minutes later returned to see Dixie's beau still outside with her owner, thne proceeded to continue smell-fest '09 as the other dog owner and I indirectly talked to each other through the dogs. That's awkward. He seemed a little introverted so I just kept cooing at the dogs and saying things like "aww you're sweet Dixie" and "look you've found a friend, aww". Awkward. Being a dog owner brings you into a whole new social realm. For instance a week ago we ran into Crazy Dog Lady. Yes, she exists and she lives on the street behind us (eek!). She decided to talk through her dog as well by saying "ohh let's go meet your new neighbor" (all the while staring at Dixie and not making eye contact with me until about 1.5 minutes had passed). She then pointed to EVERY house on the street, told me the last name of the family, how many dogs lived there and what the dogs' names were. Nice. She's totally crazy. Needless to say we try to avoid her at all costs. Yet, another adventure in the world of being a new dog owner, I know you all enjoyed it :)

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Thank the Lord for springtime! I don't think I've ever appreciated spring as much as I have this year. I mean, green is such a beautiful color and all of the other colors of the flowers are gorgeous, I just can't get enough of it! Thankfully the people before us had a vision for the backyard and planted some beautiful flowers and bushes (I am incapable of a green thumb, so let's see how long this lasts). I decided to take a few pics and share them with ya'll. By the way, not only do they look beautiful but they smell wonderful! Everyday when I come home from work and walk in the backyard its just like I walked into this big puff of fragrant perfume, I love it!

yellow bells--I'm not sure of the technical name, but that's why I call them

closer up yellow bells

beautiful, fragrant flowers on a tree/bush in the backyard

bleeding heart blooms