Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What's For Dinner: Greek-ish Beef Tortillas

I am making this stuff up as I go, can you tell?
Confession: I am a chronic pantry/freezer builder-upper. I love to STOCK UP. I buy stuff all the time with the idea that I am "stocking up." Stocking up for what? I don't know. Because every time I pull a pound of chicken or beef out of the freezer, or we use a bag of frozen vegetables or a can of something, I immediately put it on the list because I like to have a certain amount of EVERYTHING on hand. I pride myself in the fact that we almost never actually run out of anything :)

This week, we were going to try to live off of what we have, which of course is uber-plenty! I say "were" because it turns out I have to run to the grocery store tonight to pick up a prescription... so you know what that means... I can take my LIST, yay!! :)

Back to the point... We didn't really have a plan for dinner last night. I pulled a pound of stew beef down from the freezer to thaw. Didn't really know exactly what we would do with it... that was slightly stressing me out, but we made it up as we went along and actually came up with a pretty tasty meal!

Greek-ish Beef Tortillas
1 pound stew beef
flour tortillas
chopped romaine lettuce
frozen vegetables (we used Wegman's "Spring Mix" which included onions, red peppers, yellow squash and green beans)
olive oil
worcestershire sauce
salt
pepper
season-all (that's the name of the stuff, I swear by it)
Feta cheese

1. Heat up some olive oil and worcestershire sauce in a skillet.
2. Throw the beef in there, season with salt, pepper & season-all. Cook until pretty much done.
3. Mix in the frozen veggies, cover and simmer until your house smells like a restaurant
4. Place the tortillas in the pan over the meat/veggie mix one at a time. I made this step up, should have taken a picture... maybe I'll remember to do that next time? Anyway, this is a good thing to do because it softens up your tortilla and makes it much easier to roll.
5. Place a bed of lettuce on your warm tortilla.
6. Top with beef/veggie mixture.
7. Add lots of feta cheese.
8. Roll up.
9. ENJOY!

His and Hers

From our date night to Borders... a tale of his and hers. This is such a true portrait of how different we can be. Michael is so soak it in, take it easy, absorb every morsel of information. I am like a skimming, speed reading, surface scratching machine. Just look at the reading material we piled up. Haha!!

His:
Hers:

What's For Dinner: Fake Homemade Spaghetti & Meatballs

I'm on a roll this morning! I even have a "What's for Dinner" post! This one is kind of cheating. It's kind of like fake-homemade. Not even semi-homemade, I'm no Sandra Lee or anything!

Fake-Homemade Spaghetti & Meatballs:
1 box spaghetti noodles
1 jar store-bought spaghetti sauce
1 green pepper
1 onion
1 red pepper
salt
pepper
olive oil
Frozen meatballs (I don't remember how many I used, these were leftovers from our Ugly Christmas Sweater Party)

I like to serve spaghetti with salad and garlic bread on the side. Natch.
Chop up your peppers and onion, these are essential to making your store-bought spaghetti sauce look, taste and feel "homemade."

Boil your noodles with a little salt, according to the package.*

*Please do not judge me by the spots on my dishes. I blame the dishwasher, and I lack the time and follow-up effort to combat the spots.


Get the meatballs going in a pan with some olive oil, salt & pepper. I like to cook them until they look more like edible meatballs, and less like snowballs.

Then, mix in the freshly chopped vegetables and the jar of sauce. Let it simmer for about 5 minutes, covered. During this time, you can drain your noodles, and pop some bread + garlic salt + butter in the toaster oven. = Garlic Bread!

I get bonus points here for using the last of some sub rolls we had in the pantry. We are trying not to waste food. :)

Toss up a salad to your liking. Serve your sauce and meatballs over the pasta with fresh parmasean cheese (so much better than the shake stuff) and you will have............. drum roll please................

One. Happy. Husband. At least I did. Try it, it really is worth the 10 minutes it adds to just having jar sauce and noodles, and it will really take your meal up a notch!
The leftovers are yummy, too. Even cold. Cheers!

iPhones!


After researching prices for cell phone plans, we decided to take the plunge and got iPhones over the weekend!

We are both in love! (yes, of course, with each other, but also with our new little friends)

If you make a list, it's not hard at all to justify going to the iPhone. You get an iPod, a GPS, a camera, a phone... and the list goes on and on...
We got them Friday night, then had dinner at Chipotle (during which we talked to each other minimally and both spent time setting up our phones). Then, we went to Borders to read magazines and books and drink Very Large Coffees. It was another awesome date night. :) I'm so glad we are equally yoked as far as the nerdiness goes.

Free Tastes Better


I know I preached about this on my personal blog, but this is a new place, so let me tell it on this mountain top.
IF YOU HAVE A STARBUCKS GIFT CARD... GO ONLINE AND REGISTER IT!!
Yes, I screamed that at you. Because it's that important. You will get free stuff. What could possibly taste better than a freshly brewed tall cup of Christmas Blend and a Perfect Oatmeal from Starbucks? A free coffee and oatmeal, that's what.
Last week, I had breakfast totally on the house! I had a coupon for a free oatmeal that I got in my email (because my card is registered) and a free coffee because we finished a pound of Morning Joe blend and I took my empty bag in for my free tall coffee.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Visitors!

One of the best things about living in the Washington, DC area is that every now and then... family and/or friends are in town. Whether they are stopping by for a long airport layover... or going to a work or church conference, it's always nice to get to see people who we otherwise would have to make a trip to see :) Recently, we've been blessed by two of these cases.


We got to spend an entire afternoon with my (Dana) little brother, Chris. He was re-routed on his way back to join his Army Unit in Germany after his leave for Christmas. It was awesome, because we found out he was staying like 7 miles from our house... so we went and picked him up, and did a drive-thru tour of DC, had dinner at Macaroni Grill and saw him off at the airport! Of course, I cried as i saw him walk away...


And this week, Michael's cousins, Kathy and Ronnie, were in town for a tourism conference at the Gaylord Hotel over at National Harbor, MD. Michael and Ronnie did the walking tour of DC while I worked and Kathy attended the conference, then we were all able to meet up for dinner at the end of the day.

It's always such a blessing to see family and friends when they're in town! If you're planning a visit, definitely let us know! :)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Time to Update



I have faced my computer screen at work for the past week feeling guilty for not updating this blog. So, now I'm just going to do it.



I cannot guarantee that this will be a particularly informative or inspirational post, I am literally just writing something to fill the space.


I'd love to show off something I've cooked recently, but other than a few loaves of Banana Nut Bread (one of which I gave away) there hasn't been much REAL cooking going on at our house lately. Well, I did make an impressive Roasted Pork with Apples & Sauerkraut and some homemade oatmeal dinner rolls a couple of weekends ago when we had a friend over. But, alas... no pictures.



Last weekend, I went to Richmond to cover Gov. Bob McDonnell's inauguration. I brought Michael along. And after I stopped freaking out worrying over his every move, it was a great time.






As you can see... we pretty much had the best seats in the house! Virginia does inaugurations right! It was full of pomp & circumstance! I think there were about three moments where I almost teared up: When the Governor's daughter sang the Star Spangled Banner, when the jets flew over (always gets me) and one other moment that I don't remember at this point. :)



It was a busy work day, but I'm so blessed to have a job that I absolutely love and that often gives me a front row seat to history! This is my third Virginia Gubernatorial inauguration. Good stuff!






The night before inauguration, we met up with some of my old WSLS friends. That's the first TV station I worked at right after college, in Roanoke. It was so much fun, so refreshing to hang out with Jay, he's like a big news brother. It totally took me back to who I used to be. That 20 year old producer with dreams and goals as big as the sky. It was fun to look back, a little scary to look within, but again, it's all good.



One of the hardest things for me to manage since getting married is finding that work/home "balance." I've always heard women talk about this, but always in the case of balancing work and KIDS... not work and a husband. Does that make me weak? Call me crazy, but throwing a husband into my world, which up until this point was pretty much 100% revolving around the news business... has been a bit challenging. And sometimes I feel guilt from all angles. Guilt that I want to leave work "on time" to get home to my husband. Guilt that when I get home I'm constantly checking my work e-mail, or listening to him with one ear, while listening to a press conference or a newscast with the other.








I decided it's not a balancing act. It's more of a juggling act. Something is always up in the air. And it has to be... or that means something has fallen to the ground, right? Maybe I will get better at juggling as the years go by. I don't know. Right now, I'm just on the basic level, and I have to be okay with that.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Cheerful Attitude

Sometimes the day-to-day gets to be very frustrating. Traffic, pets, phones, co-workers, and even our spouse can be the source of stress. We've all been there. Whenever Dana or I see each other getting frustrated we know their tank is running low. We do whatever we can to show each other love and affection to keep each other going. Sometimes the stress just gets to be too much.
This morning I noticed Dana smiling through a typically frustrating morning. Instead of shutting down or blowing up, she smiled, joked, and chatted. When I mentioned it, she said, "I can either have lots of bad days with a few good days or have lots of good days with a few bad ones."

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Love is... Folding Laundry

Yesterday, Michael and I celebrated 4 months of marriage. It feels like it has been so much longer than that in many ways. We constantly have to remind ourselves that we are still *so new* at this!

One thing that I think is awesome is over the last 4 months, Michael has continually stepped up how much he helps with chores and what not around the house. I look back to those first few weeks when I really felt like I was "doing everything" and I wonder how I even did it.

I depend on him. And I'm so thankful for his willingness to help and his faithfulness in doing so.

Michael jokes when he figures out how to do something new "oh, darn... guess I'll be doing that now!" Yep. Sure enough.

One chore that he does regularly is folding the laundry (and he's also started putting it away, score!). All I have to do when I leave for work in the morning is take the load of clothes out of the dryer and set them in a basket on the ottoman. I also put out another empty laundry basket.

Then, at some point during the day, Mr. Wonderful folds the clothes.

Yesterday, I came home to this folded load. You see the gLOVE?
I love you too, Babe.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

What's For Dinner



Tonight we are having a repeat of what we had for dinner last night.

Brunswick Stew
(I started with a recipe from my Fix It & Forget It Crockpot cookbook, but I freestyled quite a bit, so this is essentially MY recipe, ha!)

Leftover Chicken, peeled from bone & separated (I probably had about a pound, it was what was left from the chicken I made on New Year's Day)
Chicken Broth (I used what came from the chicken itself, plus one can)
1 Large Can, Chopped Tomatoes
1 Can of Corn
1 Can of Lima Beans
1 Fresh Red Pepper, chopped
1 Fresh Green Pepper, chopped
1 Cup Fresh Carrots (chopped or baby carrots)
1 Cup Fresh Celery (chopped)
1 Can White Potatoes, sliced
1/2 Large Fresh Red Onion, chopped
1/4 cup Worchestershire Sauce
Salt, Pepper, to taste
Tobasco Sauce, to taste
2 Bay Leaves

I cooked it for 4 hours on low in the crock pot. Michael had it with crushed peppery crackers mixed in. I had it with a piece of Challah bread. It was good! Looking forward to more tonight!

For dessert, we had Warm Apple Crisp, which I totally did NOT make from scratch! I did peel, core and cut up the apples, though. We ate it with Vanilla Ice Cream. Mmmmm!! (confession: we may or may not have also eaten this for breakfast...)

Back to Work



I am back at work today, and for that, I'm grateful. This year, I am living a dream, working from and reporting about the White House.

So, that's my Project 365 pic for today, January 5th. I'm thankful this is where I work.

I'm also thankful for the man I have behind me who supports me, no matter what. I can't wait to leave this house every day to go home to him.

As for yesterday, I have to say I'm thankful for the phone the Hubs dug out and configured for me. It was FREE! Frugal points! He called himself "The Frugal Boy," haha! He even went the extra step and configured the bluetooth so I can literally drive my SUV and talk on the phone through the car. I think the system is called SYNC. Who knows? This is one of those things I would think is cool, but wouldn't ever take the time to set up.

Being married to The Geek Squad definitely has its advantages :)




Good Company on A Tough Day

This weekend we ran into one of those unexpected hurdles that comes with the whole paralysis gig. On top of that, Dana's phone died and we needed to go shopping. Now, we usually do pretty well keeping up with life's demands, but this box of monkey wrenches definitely clogged up our New Year. Even yesterday Dana ended up sticking around the house because the night before was miserable. Really cheery -- right?

A few days being pitiful in bed makes us both stir crazy. Monday we eventually got up and at 'em, dogs bathed, hooked up Mike's smart phone for Dana, and hit the shopping. A fresh episode of Brothers and Sisters and dinner w/ dessert and we hit the hay. When we finally settled into sleep Dana realized, "this is the most time we've spent together since our honeymoon."

It isn't the perfect little life, but the love we share and encouragement from family and friends that get us through the tough days.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Project 365: Gratitude

I'm borrowing a page out of the Kolette Hall playbook. I followed along last year on her blog as she took a picture each day of something she was grateful for. I do not know Kolette or her husband Jason personally, but we are internet friends, and Kolette has already been a shoulder for me to lean on because we are in somewhat similar situations. I enjoyed and was encouraged by her journey in 2009. So, I'm attempting to do the same this year. I'd like to share my pictures here, as I try this year to focus on just how much I do have to be thankful for.

January 1: I am thankful for the bottle of champagne that symbolizes our New Year's turning around. We saved the cork to keep as an "altar" to remember that turning point.
January 2: I am thankful for Skype. And for the conversation I was able to have early in the morning with my dear friend Ann, who is in Thailand. Her friendship is exceedingly special to me and her smile and voice are always an encouragement.

January 3: My couch cushions. I have never been so thankful for my couch cushions! I made breakfast burritos yesterday morning, and because of those two back couch cushions, we were able to enjoy breakfast in bed together.




Sunday, January 3, 2010

What's for Dinner (New Year's Edition)



One thing I plan on blogging about frequently is what we eat! We do not eat anything special, or different than anyone else. I just love to cook and try new recipes and nothing puts a smile on my face faster than plopping a good, home cooked meal down in front of the Hubs for him to enjoy! So, I plan to share with you "What's For Dinner" on a regular basis. Please comment and share your tips and recipe ideas! I read several food blogs and get lots of recipes online - so bring 'em on!

Here's our wonderful New Year's meal: Roasted Maple-Walnut Glazed Chicken, Warm Spinach & Portabella Mushroom Salad (a favorite side around here) and The Frugal Girl's Homemade Challah bread.


Doesn't my bread look like it's shaped like an animal? Haha. I'm still learning how to braid bread dough!

*Side note: I met The Frugal Girl this week and she's awesome! What a thrill and a blessing!



Hello, 2010

We unfortunately ushered in 2010 with an, ahem, setback. I'll spare you the details, but what I will share is that this setback has led to Mike having to spend a lot of time in bed, healing. This is the first time we've faced anything like this together, and I am learning that I have a lot to learn! How fun, right?

I am such a routine addict. I love my routines and feel very uncomfortable whenever they're thrown off. Mr. I'm okay with anything and everything is fine, of course. While I was sobbing my eyes out thinking "this is the worst New Year's EVER!!!"

The truth is, with a little perspective (I'd happily give up what is apparently my new addiction... learning all about "perspective") it really wasn't that bad after all.

Here we are, January 3rd. Still standing (so to speak). Definitely closer than ever. And looking forward to all that 2010 has for us.

We were able to get out and about for a little "date night" last night. So glad we did.

video

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Christmas 2009

Our first married Christmas was a blast!  We road tripped it (in the snow - White Christmas!) down to NC to see M's family.  I always love seeing them because they are all so sweet and I'm just completely surrounded by that deep southern accent, and what doesn't sound sweeter through that accent, right?  

Michael and I exchanged presents Christmas Eve and read the Christmas story from the book of Luke, that's now our tradition and I love it!  Christmas morning, we packed the SUV, you should see all that we take with us when we travel for just one night, it's obscene.  Pretty much need a U-Haul trailer.  The "granny cart" is a total must when packing/unpacking the car.

We had an awesome dinner.  Tonja made these little green bean things wrapped in bacon that I'm drooling over just remembering.  And I finally got to taste that Dirt Cake and Butterfinger Delight, and boy am I glad for that!  Bonus - we got to take quite a bit home and enjoyed it all week.

M and I rocked the night away playing Rock Band with Caitlin and Shanhui Xu (their Chinese foreign exchange student - another cute, sweet accent!!).  It was such a blast!!  You know I loved playing the drums, even if I never advanced past the "beginner" level! Haha.  I loved hearing M sing and Caitlin was cracking me up, she's such a pro - she's got the rocker posture and everything!

Seeing the little ones, Marissa, Brody & Grey was awesome too.  Love those little people.

Here are a few pictures.. and I edited a video of our first Christmas Season (I know, totally yupped out but I have no shame.  I own like 8 scarves and I bought M one for Christmas, whatever!)  I hope y'all enjoy:

Love to all of you!

DSC_0163 No denying this family resemblance!

DSC_0171 Pops is a man after my own heart... devouring some of my homemade cinnamon bread :)  And this man almost always has a cup of coffee in his hand! Gotta love that!

DSC_0180 The girls rocking out!

DSC_0188 Get a load of this crooner!! This is now the wallpaper on my laptop, I don't even remember what he was singing but he was into it! :)

DSC_0233 And look at M's concentrating face here.  Haha.  I'm glad no one snapped a picture of me, I'm sure mine was worse!  It gave me such joy that M was able to fully participate in Rock Band.  Last year, we played Wii and he was just sitting back telling everyone else what to do, haha.  But thankfully, yours truly thought of sticking the drumsticks down in his gloves so he could "hold" them.  I think it was a pretty good workout too! :)  Haha.  FUN!

DSC_0196 Crystal always looks like a celebrity.  And Greyson, don't even get me started.  I love him, he's the cutest little chunk on the planet.  And you should hear his baby laugh!!! Aaaahh, nothing like the sound of a baby laughing!

DSC_0216 Marissa is so domestic.  

DSC_0220 Brody rocking out to the Chipmunks on his new walkman.

19668_224208663787_695953787_3023248_4430750_n We had an awesome first married Christmas!  I'm such a lucky girl.

Here's our cheesy, yuppy Christmas video:


 
 If you want to watch more videos like this, and read the latest from us.. check out OUR NEW BLOG!!  We'll be documenting our lives over the next year at: www.lovelikethislife.blogspot.com


Love you all.

Happy New Year!
 
 
 
  
 
 



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