Monday, April 29, 2013

Affectionate Honesty

As you might have noticed, it's Monday. It's Monday and I'm not posting a meal plan. It's Monday and I'm not posting a meal plan after not posting a meal plan last Monday either. This isn't a food post or a meal plan post or even a DIY post OR even a real life post. This is me, missing you! I miss blogging, I miss talking to you. I miss it all.

I'm going to be real and not make any promises that there will be any blogging until May 17th. There might be! But the end of the semester crazies make me want to confess that I can't make that promise (not that I've ever been so great at blogging promises). I might post five times this weekend, but just in case I don't, I want it to be out there! Finals start this week for students which means study break events, last moments with RAs and RDs, students moving out, a lot of oh-hey-I-guess-I-am-in-charge-of-this-building-full-of-students-who-are-leaving responsibilities. I'm tired already!

There's a formal banquet I'm partially in charge of, a last staff meeting with the best RAs I've ever had that I'm in charge of, a midnight movie premieres, a staff pool party, closing down buildings, checking every single room in the building, inputting every single charge to every single student from the building, writing end of the year reports. Fun mixed with crazy mixed with the emotions of a semester closing and the bittersweet quietness that is summer. Oh the life of an RD!

This post is not wise or earth shattering honesty. This post is pure affectionate honesty. I'm honestly saying I have a lot to say! I have food pictures to post, I have Jesus moments to share, I have recipes upon recipes. I miss sharing with you! I miss the emotional outlet that sharing with you provides (totally selfish!). I miss the community and the connectedness. I miss the feeling of accomplishment. So this isn't a full of wisdom post or a wonderful recipe post or a magical big deal life update post. This is me saying/screaming...

"HEY! I MISS YOU! ON MAY 17TH WE'RE GONNA CATCH UP! I MIGHT HAVE SOME TIME BEFORE THEN AND I MIGHT STOP BY. BUT I MIGHT NOT, AND THAT'S OKAY RIGHT? Oh, sorry, you're right, I was screaming. I'll stop, I was just really excited to see you. So as I was saying, I might have time and surprise you, but if I don't until May 17th, we can still be friends right? Okay good! Can I tell you a few things before I return to the craziness? Great!"

What? You don't have pretend conversations with your blog?

A few things: 

1. I dyed my hair red. WHAT?! I know. Every day I wish I was red headed and so I finally decided just to go for it. I like it.

2. I have a lot of recent thoughts about grief that I'll share with you soon. But go love on your friends who have lost loved ones this year! It's not over for them. Because it's not over for me I finally made an appointment with a counselor. It's tomorrow.

3. I am taking a vacation that I'm also calling Birthday-cation! I haven't taken a vacation in two and a half years! Turns out that all the vacation hours don't roll over. Use them or lose them you say?? I do believe I'll pick the use them option! I figured what better time to take off (since I have to use the hours before May 31st anyway) than my 30th birthday and one of my BFF's 30th birthday week?! I have to work on my actually birthday, but taking off from May 15th - 22nd and headed to New Orleans to bring in the 30s with a best friend (I turn 30 May 14th, she turns 30 May 18th).

4. I bought a computer for the first time in my life. I know most people have accomplished this by the time they are my age, but I've been blessed by computers from my dad, stepmom, grandparents, and hand me downs from friends. This one (the one I'm currently typing on) is way past on it's last leg! I bought a Samsung Chromebook and it will arrive tomorrow!

5. I'm reading through Hosea for the first time since college and it's breaking my heart in such great ways.

Like I said, no magical huge life updates, but I just wanted to talk and feel connected, so I did! Hopefully I'll be back before May 17th, but if not, I will see you then dear friend(s).

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Monday, April 15, 2013

Meal Planning 101: Week 30

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I had great intentions of posting my meal plan Monday post early, before night time even. But then my Internet decided to be fickle! After many attempts I gave up and am now posting from my phone. Since I can't format the way I like and am super OCD, I just made a graphic with an app on my phone. Thanks for saving the day smart phone!

What on your menu this week?

Lunch Ideas: 

leftovers: stroganoff + green beans + butter beans

leftovers: rigatoni baked pasta + blueberries + toast croutons 

leftovers made over: fish taco salad + lime pinenut couscous + tomato chick pea salad

sometimes you run out of time and have to get lunch on campus, BUT can still make healthy-ish
 choices: chicken ceasar wrap + side salad + pretzels and honey mustard

Monday, April 8, 2013

Meal Planning 101: Week 29

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It's 10:42 pm on Monday night as I'm writing this Meal Plan Monday post. Brief explanation (or excuse) for the lateness: I usually prep these posts on Saturdays or Sundays. Saturday I attended a fundraiser pancake breakfast, had Jesus time at Starbucks for several hours, prepped blog picture for future posts, conquered the art of self pedicures and manicures (DIY cuticle care included!), straightened my hair, put on makeup (for the first time since... Christmas?), attended a BFF's 30th birthday celebration, hosted the Nancy Drew watching, nail painting, after party, and then spent the night with her so she didn't have to have the unpleasant after party every one is gone feeling. Sunday I attended a membership class at church, went to church, grocery shopped for a dinner party I forgot I was hosting when I did last week's meal plan, cooked ALL afternoon (pictures of the dinner ensemble below), hosted the dinner party, went to the new RA reveal night, had my first meeting with my new next year RAs. Today for my day off I slept for a significant amount of time for the first time in days, got a needed hair cut, attempted Starbucks Jesus time, grocery shopped for my next two weeks of meals, worked out, filed my taxes, ate dinner, had my weekly meeting with my accountability partner, packed my lunch, and made coconut quinoa granola (pictures below, recipe to come soon!). AND approximately 2.5 minutes after I post this I will fall asleep, all exhausted and the like.

My RAs picked an Italian theme for our dinner party, chipped in money, and I cooked! Pizza Dip + Homemade Baguette Chips
 (not pictured) + Garlic Bread + Baked Rigatoni + Salad with Homemade Italian Herb Dressing (not pictured) + Fruit Pizza. 

I'm trying to be super healthy this week to go along with finally starting to work out again. Confession: Today was my first time to work out since boot camp, which ended on March 21st. It felt good! So lots of green things on the menu. 


Leftover Baked Rigatoni (Basically used Pioneer Woman's Baked Ziti, except using Rigatoni and changing up the sauce a little.)


More Leftover Rigatoni (Did I mention there were A LOT of leftovers? Pasta dishes really are made to feed armies!)


Greek Fish Tacos (tortillas + honey lime baked tilapia + baby kale for lettuce + hummus + julienned cucumbers + tomatoes), Chick Pea Tomato Salad and Lime Pinenut Couscous (As mentioned earlier, I forgot I had the dinner party when I planned this meal! So it got pushed back, which is okay because it's just allowed my excitement over it to build!)


Leftover Fish Tacos


Some Combo of Leftovers (My town is playing a movie on the old town brick streets! I volunteered to help serve popcorn, so I'll probably pack a to go dinner of some sort.)


Big Steak Mushroom Entree Salad


Leftover Steak Mushroom Entree Salad

Lunch Ideas: 

new michelina's lean gourmet meal test + green giant singles corn & peas + CHEERWINE (brought a case back from SC)

another new michelina's lean gourmet meal test + green giant singles corn & peas + cuties


Coconut Quinoa Granola for snacks and breakfast!

If it's wrong to own every size of mason jar, I don't want to be right! 

What's on your menu for this week? 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Go To Nachos

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Ever have moments when all of a sudden there are 4-6 hungry college students in your apparent? Oh, right, some of you don't live in dorms. Maybe you have you have hungry kids' friends that showed up after a sweaty outdoor play session. Or neighbors bringing jars of jam that want to stay and chat (I want jam jar carrying neighbors!). Or maybe it's your turn to host small group and it's been a REALLY busy week and you didn't have time to plan a fancy snack. Or you're a pastor's wife and people show up at your house unplanned and hungry often. Or maybe you're just hungry! I am. These nachos are so easy it seems silly to call it a recipe. Maybe we can just call it a project. First step - always have these ingredients on hand! They are pretty basic pantry/cabinet/fridge ingredients anyway. I can't even count how many times I've fed these to people. They feed a lot of people, are super fast, cheap, and easy to make. And people love them! My RAs ask for these all the time. 

Be kind to your guests and know if they like jalapenos or not. Half of my RAs do, as do I, but half don't. Half and half is a perfectly fun game to play with this project for any and all ingredients you choose to pile atop your nachos. Nachos are sort of like ice cream sundaes - a blank canvas to create your tastiest version of yumminess. All of the ingredients I'm listing are optional (except chips and cheese I'd venture to say) and interchangeable a give or take situation. Like it? Try it! Don't? Leave it off! Like something else you think might taste yummy in the mix? Try it! This is a project, not a recipe, get involved!


  • tortilla chips (Cheap ones! Don't be fancy here because you are piling a lot of ingredients on these chips. Kroger 10 for $10 is perfectly acceptable.)
  • shredded cheese (I usually use the mexi blend or the queso blend)
  • canned black beans
  • canned dark or light red kidney beans
  • frozen or canned corn 
  • frozen diced cooked chicken (I always keep the Kroger version of this on hand to use for salads - or impromptu nachos.)
  • frozen cooked fajita steak strips (I often keep these on hand as well.)
  • lime juice
  • taco seasoning (I make it homemade so I always have it on hand, put the packet works fine!)
  • jalapenos
  • sour cream (I use fat free)
  • salsa (any ol' jar will do)
  • diced avocado


Heat oven to LOW broil. If broil scares you or you have a tendency to forget about things broiling, just get it on a high temp, 400-ish. While the oven is heating, heat a skillet with a tiny bit of olive oil or cooking spray. Saute your frozen meats. They are pre-cooked, so you're just warming them up and giving them a little searing color. Drain and rinse your beans. Add in beans and corn. Splash in a few tablespoons of lime juice and shake in some taco seasoning. Tip - never skip lime juice in Mexican dishes! People always wonder why their at home taco nights don't taste as good as Mexican restaurants, and it's the lime! Add lime to all things Mexican. Stir and let all the ingredients get warmed up and seasoned then remove from heat.

This project wouldn't be easy if it didn't also have easy clean up, so I always line a large baking sheet with tin foil. Layer the baking sheet with chips. Heavily sprinkles half of the cooked mixture over your nachos, you want them good and covered. Sprinkle cheese. Layer more chips, add the rest of the cooked ingredients mixture, sprinkle cheese, and then add jalapenos! Bake in the oven until cheese is ooey gooey all the way melted. Serve with sour cream, salsa, and avocados on the side. I pile the avocados high on my portion and then dip the hearty nachos into salsa and sour cream.

Are you hungry now? Because I am! I'm going to the grocery store right now to stock up on these stables again. Wait, NO! I'm not. I always forget NOT to go to the grocery story while hungry. I'm going to go eat lunch, THEN stock up. Crowd approved, tummy pleasing, perfect for this Friday night for the impromptu friend gathering that might happen at your house tonight OR perfect for your PJs and Hulu night at home.

What can you add to these to make your taste buds love them even more? 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Meal Planning 101: Week 28

Facts are facts and the fact is I'm slack! I said I'd post more last week and I didn't! Heck, I barely made this post on Monday (But it's still Monday! Before midnight counts right? Especially if I was in a car for 10 hours!)! I was pressed for time with going to South Carolina and FINALLY organizing my closet (pictures coming soon!). I promise to at least post two more times this week than last. For real! I just can't even believe March is gone! It's April. How the heck did that happen!? Here's to hoping April is calmer than March (It has to be, Spring Break and Easter were in one month!). Since April is going to be slower, I really am gonna post more!

So that being said, I'm posting my meal plan and I need us to agree that you won't judge me. It's going to be hard, but allow me to explain. Easter was GREAT! Went to South Carolina with a best friend to have Easter with her family. It was seriously perfect and amazing. However, holidays are still sad with my dad being gone. I processed, I grieved, and I'm okay, BUT sometimes your soul craves comfort food! I just really do believe memorable food can provide comfort for the soul the same way a hug can sometimes. Not like over eating emotional eating kind of reliance on food, but just soul comforting food! So all that to say, I can cook so many things and am mostly not afraid of a food challenge, but good-old-super-easy-anyone-can-make-it Hamburger Helper is one of my comfort foods. Yes, I could make it homemade! But Hamburger Helper brings me back to childhood when my dad ate the leftovers off our plates (and often grossly picked at the browning hamburger meat before it was brown enough). And so, I'm making it this week and we're just going to all nod, smile, and not judge because we don't do that judge thing. Sometimes you just have to eat cereal and "cook" Hamburger Helper.

To the meal plan! See what happens when I go weeks without posting anything other than a meal plan? I get too chatty. On track. Kale. I'm obsessed with it right now. You know I don't repeat things often, but kale has appeared in my last three meal plans. I was doing so well and not going to use kale this time, but then I saw the baby kale! How can anyone see adorable baby kale for the same price as the lettuce they were going to get and not change their mind?! I couldn't. I didn't.


Cereal (Home from 10 hour car ride!)


Leftover Cheesy Chicken Pasta and Sautéed Garlic-y Kale


Hamburger Helper Stroganoff (Added mushrooms and Greek yogurt - I gotta doctor it up a little!), Butter Beans and Garlic Toast


Leftover Hamburger Helper


Yummy Snacks from the International Festival


WingStop (For best friend's birthday.)


Greek Fish Tacos (tortillas + honey lime baked tilapia + baby kale for lettuce + hummus + julienned cucumbers + tomatoes), Chick Pea Tomato Salad and Lime Rice Pilaf

Lunch Ideas: 

I made buffalo chicken salad from a rotisserie chicken, loved it, ate it all week for lunch & made road trip sandwiches. 

buffalo chicken salad sliders + baked lays (not pictured)

buffalo chicken sliders + carrots & celery with yogurt bleu cheese dressing