Monday, March 25, 2013

Meal Planning 101: Week 27

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I would like to apologize for the lack o posting last week! All I gave you was a meal plan. I do promise this week will be better! Why? Because I refuse to use any of my spare time to bake therefore freeing up more time to blog. Why the refusal? Oh you know, just went through 23 sticks of butter, 2 bags of flour, 2 dozen eggs, 2 bottles of vanilla, 5 bags of powdered sugar and other assorted ingredients last week. 

 THIRTEEN HOURS OF LABOR! I was wise to plan no meals for the two days after the first catering order was filled. I didn't even want to go in the kitchen, much less cook in it. But it turned out great!

I made roughly 120 iced sugar cookies, 130 salted chocolate chip cookies, 85 red velvet cupcakes and 100 vanilla bean cupcakes. I'm pretty sure I've never felt so accomplished! And never fear, I was back in the kitchen today humming happily as I cooked my dinner. I can't stay out of the kitchen for that long! And thus I bring you this week's meal plan. This week's plan is weak as well due to another holiday and going out of town! Spring holidays are almost as stacked as fall/winter ones.

I scored another rotisserie chicken on sale! I will never get tired of Manager's Special labels.


Leftover Crock Pot Pork Chops, Rice and Gravy, Stewed Cabbage, and Balsamic Mushrooms


Cheesy Chicken Penne and Sauteed Kale (Using the rotisserie chicken!)


Leftover Chicken Penne


Leftovers (While packing for going out of town and baking cookies for the road trip. I know I said no baking, but I do have an excess of leftover homemade chocolate chip cookie dough! And the car ride to South Carolina is lengthy. I wouldn't be a good car rider if I didn't bring baked goods!)


Visiting South Carolina


Visiting South Carolina


Visiting South Carolina (and Easter!)

Lunch Ideas:

healthy tuna salad sandwich + cuties + leftover kale pasta salad

leftover kale pasta salad + leftover kale bagel pizzas 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Meal Planning 101: Week 26

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Happy day after St. Patrick's Day! Did you do anything fun? I'm not a huge fan of parades, but my version of celebrating holidays is usually cooking a themed meal and painting my nails festively.

Nails. Check! Ignore my horrible cuticles! I promise to get a professional manicure this weekend just for the sake of saving my cuticles. I tend to believe that every holiday can be celebrated with glitter. 

St. Patty's Day meal plan. Check! A friend challenged me to use my doughnut pan for something savory. I came up with these cute little mini bagel biscuit pizzas! I used canned biscuits, shaped them into bagels shapes in the doughnut ban, and piled them high with green ingredients! 

The pizzas had a pesto/alfredo pizza sauce, sauteed mushrooms, slivered red onions, chicken, and kale. I also made a green pasta salad with bowties, green peas, kale, pesto, red onion, and a little chicken. AND, last but not least, GREEN DOUGHNUTS!

Key Lime Baked Doughnuts with a lime glaze and lime zest sprinkles. So good! I'll post the recipe soon.

And now, this week's meal plan!

Manager's special label treasure hunt success! I needed chicken for two dishes on my meal plan. I planned to buy raw chicken, but then found this cold rotisserie chicken on sale! A. Cheaper than buying a bag of frozen chicken. B. ALREADY COOKED! Hello easy week of meals. I also went to the grocery store with the intention to get spinach and use spinach as my St. Patty's Day green meal star, but kale was 99 cents! Two dollars less than the spinach. Point? MEAL PLAN! Make a list. But look for special surprises like this to cut your budget!

Also, my meal plan is weak this week because I have exciting news. I HAVE MY FIRST CATERING ORDER! By Friday at 5:00 I will have made 180 cookies and 120 mini cupcakes. And so... Thursday night and Friday night there is no way I can cook! Saturday night, I won't feel like cooking! But all for a good reason.


Leftover St. Patty's Day Meal


Buffalo Chicken Salad Sliders, Buffalo Chicken Rice, Celery and Carrots with Blue Cheese


Leftover Buffalo Sliders


Cereal (Or food to go from one of the on campus places.)


Take Out - While resting my feet that will surely be hurting from all the standing! Note to self - don't bake barefoot this time! Wear tennis shoes.


Something microwavable or easy!


Crock Pot Pork Chops, Brown Rice and Cabbage


-Tuna Salad for lunches
-Smoothies for breakfast (still loving theses!)

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Bloglovin Switch

Hello friends! I'm sure you all read about the closing of Google Reader. SUCH a sad day for me! I was obsessed and lead many people to also use it. I'm trying out Feedly and Bloglovin right now to see which I like better. So far I'm leaning towards Bloglovin because I love that they let the view from Bloglovin count as a view on each site! Google Reader didn't do that and I'm not sure if Feedly does. They both also have nice, easy phone apps! Google Reader never had a perfect one, for iPhone at least.

So all that to say, I'm trying out Bloglovin! Follow my blog with Bloglovin if you have it. If you're in the Google Reader crisis too and want to try out Bloglovin, do! Fellow blogger over at My Pretty Pennies posted a how to on merging your Google Reader blog follows over to Bloglovin. It's super easy!

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Five Things Friday: Feeling Pretty Things

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What girl doesn't like to feel pretty? I know I'm slightly a diva and probably way more on the girly girl side of the spectrum that some women, but I think deep down inside, in some way we all enjoy feeling pretty! Not for the men in our lives (husbands, boyfriends, fiances, or the single men we're subtly trying and failing to get to notice us). Not for the women we compare ourselves to and shouldn't. But for just for us! Feeling pretty feels good, fun, and confident.

Even baby girls know this! I'm visiting my best friend who has a beautiful one year old. Yesterday she was decked out in the cutest pig tails ever, a Cinderella princess shirt, a fluffy hot pink tutu, and sparkly shoes. She's always social, but was even more social yesterday! She's often happy, but was even happier yesterday! She walked around with princess-like confidence. Grown up girls can feel like princesses too! The things that make baby Alice feel pretty, the things that make me feel pretty, and the things that make you feel pretty might not be the same. That's okay! Know what makes you feel pretty and rock it!

Things That Make Me Feel Pretty: 

1. Wearing Lace - I'm currently OBSESSED! Truth is, I've always loved lace! It just hasn't been as accessible, available, and popular until now. I haven't bought a clothing item in months that didn't involve lace in some way. Lace makes me feel pretty! It makes me feel feminine. It makes me feel smiley. It makes me feel confident! Lace is EVERYWHERE! Plus size, skinny size, expensive, cheap, it's everywhere. I prefer my lace cheap. All four of the dresses below were purchased at Ross for $55! FIFTY FIVE DOLLARS! FOUR DRESS!

If you know me, you already know I love dresses. Dresses + lace?! And for $10-$17 each?! Yes please. This is about us feeling pretty, not other making us feel pretty, BUT other people like lace too! Every time I wear lace a stranger tells me I look nice. Feeling pretty is just for me, but I never hate outfit confirmation! Oh and the black lace pencil skirt below? I got it for $4 yesterday at Bealls Outlet. FOUR DOLLARS! 70% off. Major score. 

2. Pampering My Lips - On my drive to Georgia, I was fumbling in my purse with my eyes focused on the road to find the particular lip balm I wanted. I pulled all of these out one pocket of my purse and then lastly pulled out the desired one - Maybelline Baby Lips Tinted Lip Balm in Peach Kiss. I've never been a lipstick person. I used to love tinted gloss (and still do - like Bath and Body Works Metha Lip Tints), but it didn't have the same lip moisturizing effects and staying power as balm. Then I discovered tinted balm! Burt's Bees Tinted Balm is another everyday favorite, but loving the smooth nude Peach Kiss Baby Lips! I'm also obsessed with Revlon's Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains! Those are my fancy dress up lip day ones. They have the smoothness of a balm but the color lasts for hours! I also picked up one of the Covergirl Tinted Balm Glosses. Smooth like balm, shiny like gloss, and with color. Having soft, healthy, non-chapped, tinted lips makes me feel pretty!

3. Dressing Like a Ballerina - Ballet flats + high waisted, preferably fluffy, skirt + sock bun (or any kind of bun) + tucked in girly shirt + hair accessories = BALLERINA! I have many versions of ballerina outfits. The one below is just my most recent ensemble that's gotten me more compliments than any other outfit (again, not about that, but proof that feeling pretty for YOU shows for others!). I can't imagine very many things girlier than a ballerina. I'm as clumsy as a big headed baby with shoes that are too big at bed time. I'm NOT a ballerina in any way, shape, or form, but I sure do love to dress in ballerina inspired ensembles. Try it!

4. Treating Myself to a Pedicure - I used to do this often, once a month or every other month, after I had a severe ingrown toenail that lead to surgery! I was scared that my self pedicures were causing my ingrowns since I never got them when I had professional pedicures. I've learned to be less choppy with my toes and have gotten great at giving myself pedicures. Self pedicures work! They do make me feel pretty and it's what I do the majority of the time. But every once in a while, it's just so over-the-top and fabulous to get a professional pedicure. I can't stop staring at my toes for days. I only get about four a year now. Soak your feet and give yourself one OR splurge and get a professional one. I promise it will make you feel pretty.

5. Painting My Nails - If you follow me on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or see me semi-regularly in real life, you know I have an obsession with painting my nails. It hasn't always been so! This obsession started last summer after a best friend's wedding. My nails were painted by a fellow bridesmaid for the wedding and it made me feel so pretty! I started collecting polish and have gone less than 5 days total without polish on my nails since August. There are lots of expensive polishes out there that can make the task and hobby seem daunting. Don't let that happen! My favorite polish? Wet-n-Wild Megalast! They have mega staying power and the best, easiest brushes ever! Cost? $2! Walgreen's and Walmart have them, but I discovered this week that Dollar General has them in three times as many colors as Walgreen's or Walmart! Go! Stock up! Don't avoid the glitter! Painted nails will make you feel pretty.


If you do brave the glitter... WARNING! It's mega hard to get off. Any brand, all glitter, it's hard to get off. BUT, I saw this handy tip on Pinterest and it works! Put a normal amount of polish remover on a cotton ball. Place the damp cotton ball on each of your fingers then wrap the tips in tin foil. Let sit for 3 minutes, remove, and the glitter is no more! 

What makes you feel pretty?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Meal Planning 101: Week 25

The title of this post is slightly misleading. I don't have a meal plan for you this week. However, I am going to give you resources for meal planning! And I do have a good excuse (for not having a meal plan AND for missing posting it on Monday). I'm not a student, in fact, I get grumpy when people think I am sometimes, but I do work at a university. My boss let us have off for Spring Break with the students! So I drove to Georgia to visit my BFF, who happens to be one of my biggest fans and most loyal blog readers, and her beautiful baby Alice. Alice can now say my name! Or a version of it at least, KK. So I'm dining with them this week and get a week off of cooking and meal planning in exchange for baby hugs and helping my BFF settle into her new house.

So resources! You know how obsessed I am with meal planning. I could, and have, gone on and on about the benefits of it! It's healthier and way more budget friendly! If me constantly advocating for it isn't enough, allow me to share with you the many other blogs I've found that post weekly meal plan! I use these fellow meal planners for inspiration in creating my meal plans often. It's easy! Copy us!

Blogs that post weekly meal plans: 

There is even a Meal Plan Monday Facebook! I liked this the instant I found it. She posts tons of great tips, ideas, and resources.

Lunch Ideas:

Next week won't have lunch ideas since I'm not working this week and therefore not taking my lunch, but I did last week! Sad news... I microwaved one of my lunch containers a little too much! It got a hole. I WILL be buying more of these Ziplock containers though. In case you can't tell, I'm obsessed!

top left: asian chopped salad + leftover baked breaded chicken tenders + peanut dressing + celery + homemade peanut butter 
top right: leftover beef stew + crackers + a cutie
bottom left: fancy sandwiches + yellow cherry tomatoes + leftover corn grits + coconut crack bar 
bottom right: caesar salad + yogurt caesar dressing + leftover broccoli cheese twice baked potatoes 

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Friday, March 8, 2013

Real Life: Influence

Influence is defined as, "the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something."

Influence is powerful! I had the opportunity to teach at an event for women this weekend with Total Woman U (one of my passions!). One of my fellow teammates during her session said, "We teach with out lives. We're constantly influencing others whether we mean to or not." I can't even fully grasp how true this is! 

I'm passionate about transparency. Where there is transparency - real, raw, Biblical community happens. Transparency in community is nothing but influence! In and out influence. In this beautiful, messy kind of community we're constantly influenced by others and influencing others. It's magnificent. 

I don't know about you, but I want that! If you ever get to experience it, you want it more and more! I'm in the more and more craving stage now and NOT mad about it at all. First God gave me an amazing accountability partner, almost a year and going strong - messy, difficult and all. In the last month God lead me to a new small group. Just after meeting with them three times, I've been beyond blessed! I reconnected this week with an old college roommate, nothing but transparent, raw, real conversations - beautiful! Enough you say? NO! :)

Today I joined The Influence Network. It's an online community full of beautiful believers living out their lives transparently in their day to day on goings and on the internet! Bloggers! Bloggers committed to using their words to influence others. 

My friend, fellow blogger, fellow church member, fellow instragramer, fellow teen drama show lover, and fellow nail polish addict Jessica, of Meet the Magnolias, told me about this network. I'm brand spanking new, but I want to jump in and get involved.

The Influence Network is having a link-up meet-up! And so, this is me participating. 

1 photo that you love of yourself:

First professional photo shoot! It was with my aunt and girl cousin. At first I felt weird about the individual shots, but I've never loved a picture of myself so much!

3 things about yourself:

1. As I mentioned above, I am highly passionate about transparency! I grew up in the great state of Mississippi. Mississippi has given me some things I'm proud of - my hospitality, my cooking roots, my accent, my good hair, my ability to make great sweet tea. But Mississippi, the southern culture, and particularly the southern church women culture, taught me some things that ended up not being good for me that took me years to overcome, Southern women and southern church women are not taught to be transparent AT ALL! They learn to save face at all cost and that the most important thing, other than "cleanliness being next to Godliness" is that at all times you must appear to have it all together. LIES! Oh how much I love everything I've learned and become that is opposite of this! It's not Biblical, it's not healthy, it's not normal. Get thee away from me shame! So much power in transparent, raw, ugly, hard, accountability  There is FREEDOM! Told you I was highly passionate about it, I'll shush about that one for now.

2. I love cooking and baking. You might be saying duh, but I can't introduce myself without saying that! Allow me to somewhat briefly expound on that. I LOVE IT! Not only do I have a blog dedicated to it, I'm for real obsessed ya'll. I recently realized that all but one of the things I collect has to do with cooking. I collect cookie cutters, days of the week notepads (used for writing down meal plans), aprons, cookbooks, kitchen towels, cloth napkins, unique silverware, mason jars, cool dishes and owls. And truth be told, many of my owls are kitchen item owls! I am also in the beginning (VERY BEGINNING) stages of planning/dreaming about opening a bakery.

3. I'm almost 30, single, and beyond ready to mingle. I thought it would be funny to say that, and yes, it is true, but a big part of who I am and where I am right now this year is being fervently committed to prayer for my future husband, that God will allow him to find me, and that my purity will be protected. There have been years where I lost hope, years where I tried to take things into my own hands, and other unfortunate years. But what there hasn't been is years where I drew close to God in this area and allowed Him to do whatever He wanted with this desire. The closer I get to Jesus, and at times the more I beg Him to take away the desire to be a wife, it only get stronger. Know any single Godly guys? JUST KIDDING! Kinda...

1 thing you've learned on the Network:

Being a blogger, wanting to blog, wanting to talk about Jesus on your food blog, wanting to connect with other bloggers, it's not weird! I'm not as dorky as I thought I was, okay maybe I am, but not for those reasons! I'm not alone. I'm not the only one struggling with grief. I'm not the only one who wants to be proud of the gifts and talents she's been given (writing, cooking, baking, blogging) but sometimes feels weird about it. And most importantly, I'm not the only one who feels passionate about transparently living out her life.

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Monday, March 4, 2013

Meal Planning 101: Week 24

I love prep work. LOVE. I know I'm a bit OCD, so do you by now, and prep work feeds that, but I want you to love it too! Why should you love it? It makes cooking faster, easier, and more enjoyable! I posted this prep work picture earlier in the week when I was making the baked breaded chicken tenders that were to be dipped in all those filled dishes. One of my fellow foodie friends, Jenny @ JennyBakes, commented on the picture and said, "First rule of a cook - Mise en place!" I didn't know what it meant, so I googled it. I would like to suggest to you, that it's true! Mise en place is a french cooking term that means everything in place, as in all set up. Professional kitchens use it. Though I'm not a professional, and you might not be either, we are professionals in our own kitchen! We can love cooking just as much as any professional chef by taking steps to make it less stressful! Do prep work the day before. If you get home from work early, do some prep work then so when it's time to cook dinner mise en place! I got all my dredging bowls ready and cut up my potatoes for roasting before boot camp. When I came home all I had to do was dredge a little and pop things in the oven! 

You know what else takes the stress out of cooking? MEAL PLANNING! So on to this week's plan. 


Leftover Sunday Dinner Stew


Twice Baked Broccoli Cheese Potatoes & Caesar Salad (Never got to it last week due to a bonding dinner with some of my staff. Life happens and sometimes it's good!)


Leftover Potatoes


Lazy Chiles Rellenos, Tortillas & Guacamole Salad (Never actually made this meal 2 weeks ago, forgot ingredients!)


Leftover Rellenos


Buffalo Chicken Salad Sandwich, Hummus & Veggies


Crock Pot Pork Chops, Brown Rice & Brussel Sprouts


  • Smoothies: Strawberry, Blueberry, Pineapple Mango, Peach, and Vanilla (Flax seed + almonds + milk + greek yogurt + frozen bananas + assorted frozen fruit)
  • Some healthy version of baked doughnuts, haven't gotten to use my pan yet! 

Lunch Ideas (The DOs and DON'Ts): 

DO - leftover veggie pizza in moderation (1 slice) + hummus + veggies + a cutie

DO - asian chopped salad & peanut dressing + leftover baked breaded chicken tender + celery & peanut butter + fruit

DO - if you must eat out for lunch meetings, veggies + grilled chicken isn't bad
DON'T - eat all that rice (I didn't, but I did eat too much!)

DO - say yes to your brother paying for your lunch + a grilled chicken sandwich
DON'T - order fried homemade chips like I did

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Saturday, March 2, 2013

Philly Cheesesteak Crock Pot Stuff Peppers

Another Pinterest recipe find! I already loved meal planning, but Pinterest makes it so much easier guys. I altered the original recipe by making it a crock pot recipe. The original recipe didn't call for blanching the peppers, which I know from stuffed pepper experience that you must do if you are just oven baking them. So if you want to use the original recipe and skip the crock pot, be sure to blanch (bring whole peppers with tops cut off and seeds removed to a boil in water so they will be soft and easy to cut when eating). Slow cooking them in the crock pot means no blanching, the slow cooking method makes the peppers perfectly tender.

Recipe slightly adapted from Peace, Love & Low Carb.


  • 3 1/2 large green bell peppers
  • 12 slices of deli roast beef
  • 12 slices of provolone cheese
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 8 oz sliced button mushrooms (I got the pre-sliced ones from Sam's!)
  • 2 tablespoons low fat butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 teaspoons minced garlic
  • salt and pepper


Slice onions and mushrooms (if not pre-sliced). Cut the tops off of the 3 peppers you'll be stuffing. Dice the other 1/2 pepper and the pepper tops. Heat olive oil and butter in a skillet over medium heat. Saute sliced onions, mushrooms, garlic, and diced peppers over medium heat until onions start to caramelize  Salt and pepper to taste. 

Slice roast beef and add to the mushroom/pepper/onion mixture. Slide the 3 remaining bell peppers in half length wise, removing seeds and ribs. Line peppers halves in the bottom of crock pot. Push one slice of cheese into each. 

Spoon beef/onion/pepper/mushroom mixture into each pepper half. Fill to the top and then over fill with the remaining yummy mixture because it's sooo good and you don't want to waste it! Cover and cook in crock pot for 3 hours on high or 5 hours on low. 20 - 30 minutes before serving cover each pepper with the other slice of cheese. Allow it to get melty and perfect. 

If you want a prettier presentation, you can carefully transfer them to a cast iron skillet with tongs and put them in the oven on broil for a few minutes to brown the cheese. They are perfectly fine without that step, I'm just currently obsessed with my cast iron skillet and serving anything and everything in it. 

These are so tender, yummy, and a perfect Philly Cheesesteak fix! I couldn't eat a whole pepper, I ate one half and half of another. But with good sides you could really just eat one half! So this recipe with great sides would feed 6. For boys or super hungry people it would feed 4-5.

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Friday, March 1, 2013

Five Things Friday: Healthy Things

Some of the blogs I love (Cashmere & Cupcakes, Slender Kitchen, This Healthy Endeavor) do some version of Five Things Friday. I'm not committing to it, just trying it out this week and I had some relevant content! This week I give you the healthy things I'm loving! 

1. Bolthouse Farms Creamy Yogurt Salad Dressings -  I love salads, but salad dressings can be a calorie killer for something that should be healthy. Most brands do well with low-cal vinaigrette style dressings, but the creamy ones are normally mayo based and loaded with calories. These aren't! So far I've tried the Chunky Blue Cheese and the Caesar Parmesan and they are super yummy! New staple.

2. Avon Therapeutic Cracked Heel Relief Cream - Your eyes aren't deceiving you, those are my fingers and not my toes or feet and yes, this product is for feet. HOWEVER, if you ever find your fingers covered in as many hangnails as mine were this week, this stuff works! It's also good for your heels, but it is the only product that helped my damaged cuticles at all! I tried every hand cream, even an online suggestion of chap stick and this product healed it! (If you would like to buy this, or any Avon product and don't have someone you buy from, you can order from my Aunt's Avon page! It ships to you, not her. AND it's actually on sale right now!)

3. Williamette Valley Granola Company Granola Chips - These caught my eye in the grocery store and I had to try them. I was also hungry, and it's hard for me to say no to things that catch my eye while hungry in the grocery store. One day I'll learn that rule, you know the don't go to the grocery store when hungry rule. BUT, this is one impulse hunger grocery store buy I didn't regret! They are full of healthy things: oats, barely, quinoa, and more. I tried the Vanilla Bean flavor and they're great just by themselves or dipped in peanut butter! 

4. Calendar Journaling - This still fits my healthy theme! My whole life I've heard that journaling is healthy, helpful, a good thing to do, etc. I've tried a million times and failed a million times, never having consistency. I'm OCD, so I like the daily thing, but sometimes I lack words so I'd miss a day, then two, then a week, then a month and never finish. I happened upon this idea of calendar journaling on Pinterest. It intrigued me, so I made a New Years Resolution to try it out. I have successfully filled out every day of January and February (and the 1st day of March)! I missed some days here and there, but it was easy to go back and fill in the space. It's just a small box so the pressure is off to write huge paragraphs or pages. I hit highlights and have a symbol system. It has helped me SO much! I've been able to notice so many negative patterns and figure out the source of many struggles by doing this. This one act has been healthier for me than the six weeks of boot camp I've had so far! And guess what else? Doing this gave me a desire to write my prayers in a journal too. My times with Jesus have been completely transformed! If you've ever struggled with journaling, DO THIS! It helps track grief patterns and sin patterns. It reveals right before your eyes that the good days far out weight the bad, and that does tremendous work for my life and attitude just by itself. I can't talk this up enough. DO IT! Next year I'm going to go with one of the calendars that has lines for each day and not just boxes. Genius idea Pinterest! 

5. Manager's Special Labels - Kroger has these. I'm sure other grocery stores do as well, but for sure Kroger does. I've become obsessed with finding these, it's like a treasure hunt! When things are still on the shelf and about to expire, sometimes they'll mark them down at least to half price with these little labels. This week I got fresh rosemary for 99 cents! I also got this Asian Chopped Salad that is normally $3.50 for less then $2! I was able to eat the salad twice for lunches and I'm still finding ways to use up the rosemary! Also a little plug for fresh rosemary, IT'S SO MUCH BETTER THAN DRY! Dry rosemary, though tasty and fragrant, feels like pieces of pine straw in your mouth. Fresh rosemary is just so perfect and tender! Someone teach me to grow an herb garden?? 

What are you most excited about for this weekend? 

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