Wednesday, March 28, 2012

How I became engaged

Be sure to read the first two parts of our love story before reading this post!

Today marks the second anniversary of my husband asking me to be his wife. Here is how it happened...

It was a Sunday. I had come home from college for the weekend and had gone to church with Kerry and his family. After church, we headed over to his dad and stepmom's house to celebrate Easter a week early with his extended family. I thought that we would be getting engaged that weekend, but it was Sunday and I was starting to get disappointed. After all of the extended family left, Kerry asked me to go for a walk in the woods behind their house. I did not really want to go for a walk because it had recently rained and it was going to be muddy! However, Kerry convinced me and off we went. We walked for quite some time and finally came to a log where we sat to rest. I noticed a hawk, Kerry's favorite bird, flying in the distance, so I turned to point it out to him. When I turned around, he was down on one knee with the most beautiful solitaire sapphire ring in his hand. I don't remember the exact words that he said because I was crying too much, but I do remember saying an enthusiastic "YES!" and shouting for joy :) We walked back to the house to tell his dad, sister and stepmom, then headed out to catch my train back to school. It was the shortest train ride back to Moody I ever took because I was enthralled the entire way there with my beautiful new ring!

Check back in August to hear about our wedding day!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Menu Plan Monday 3/26-4/1

While I did plan my menu for this week like usual, my pantry/freezer/refrigerator are WAY too full, so I am going to go ahead and cook what I had planned for this week, but try to not go grocery shopping (except for produce on Wednesday since HyVee has 10% off organics every Wednesday) until I run out of things to make.

So, here is the plan for this week!

  • Banana muffins, hardboiled eggs and fruit x 2
  • Soaked granola and fruit x 3
  • Sourdough pancakes, bacon and fruit
  • Scrambled eggs and sunrise smoothies
  • Standard lunch x 2
  • Leftovers x 2
  • Taco salad and fruit
  • Stuffed peppers and salad (recipe below!)
  • Hot dogs, fruit and fresh veggies
  • Leftovers, fruit and fresh veggies
  • Church lunch
Stuffed Peppers
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 c. brown rice
1 c. water
6 peppers (I usually use green)
2 cans tomato sauce
1 tbs. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. italian seasoning
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Place rice and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover. Cook for 20 minutes. In a skillet over medium heat, cook the beef until evenly browned. Remove and discard the tops and seeds of the peppers. Arrange them in a baking dish with the hollowed sides facing up. In a bowl, mix the beef, rice, one can of tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce and spices and spoon into each hollowed out pepper. Mix the remaining sauce in a bowl and pour half over the peppers. Bake for one hour, basting the peppers with remaining sauce every fifteen minutes or until peppers appear tender. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Menu Plan Monday 3/19-3/25

Since it has been in the 80's nearly every day for a week here in central Illinois, we nixed the oatmeal for breakfast in favor of smoothies all last week. I made up some granola and banana muffins over the weekend, so those will be in the breakfast rotation for this week, too. I put away all of our winter clothes, so hopefully this gorgeous weather is here to stay!

Here is our menu for the week!

  • Standard lunch 
  • Leftovers
  • Salmon patties, green monster smoothies, fresh veggies and dip
  • Sweet potato burrito bowls, fruit, veggies and dip
  • Italian stew, biscuits and fruit
  • Keema, biscuits and fruit
  • Hot dogs, fruit, veggies and dip
  • Church lunch
Banana Muffins
3 c. whole wheat flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
6 bananas, mashed
1 1/2 c. sucanat (or other sweetener)
 2 eggs
2/3 c. butter, melted
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a small bowl and set aside. Combine bananas, sweetener, eggs and butter in a large bowl. Fold in flour mixture and mix until smooth. Pour in greased muffin tins and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Enjoying March

We have been experiencing BEAUTIFUL weather this week and I definitely hope it lasts! This week we have picnicked with friends, taken several walks at the nature center by our apartment, slept with the windows open all night long and played in onesies. Thank you, Lord, for the sweet blessing of warm weather right when the cabin fever was setting in!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Julian: 10 months

Julian turned ten months old on the 5th of March. He has been crawling since January, and is now pulling himself up and cautiously cruising along various pieces of furniture. He has four teeth and continues to nurse wonderfully. He is still not all that interested in table food, although we do offer it every meal. We had a terrible time getting him to look at the camera this month, but I do think the photo we ended up with is pretty cute!

Talking to his bear :)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Menu Plan Monday 3/12-3/18

I am looking for new breakfast ideas, so if anyone has any suggestions, let me know. Oatmeal is wonderful when it is cold outside, but this warm weather is making me not want to eat a bowl of steaming oats in the morning!

Here is our menu for the week...

  • Soaked oats x 6
  • Sourdough pancakes, bacon and fruit
  • Standard lunch x 3
  • Leftovers and smoothies x 2
  • Picnic lunch with friends (!)
  • Salmon patties, smoothies and veggies
  • Soup, biscuits and fruit
  • Hot dogs, salad and fruit
  • Church lunch
  • Standard lunch x 2
  • Leftovers and smoothies (or, in the case of tonight, popcorn and fruit!) x 3
  • Chicken cakes, potato wedges and salad
  • Shrimp curry, biscuits and fruit
  • White chicken chili, biscuits and fruit
  • Volunteer dinner
  • Popcorn and smoothies
Shrimp Curry
 This is by far one of my easiest recipes. I LOVE Indian/Thai/Vietnamese food and was super happy to realize how easy it is to recreate it at home.
2 cans coconut milk
2 tbs. red curry paste
1 tbs. fish sauce
24 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Bamboo shoots, pepper strips, baby corn, edamame etc. (optional)

In a skillet, combine coconut milk, curry paste and fish sauce (add any optional veggies at this point). Slowly bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low and add shrimp. Cook, uncovered, stirring frequently, until the shrimp are cooked and the flavors mellow, about 15 minutes. Serve over hot rice.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Super Easy Homemade Frosting

We are having a friend of Kerry's over for dinner tonight, so Julian and I have been busy cooking all day. I decided yesterday that we would have the Sourdough Chocolate Cake from Smart Sweets for dessert. I made the cake up this morning and planned on making the almond frosting that goes along with it this afternoon. I ended up not having everything I needed for the frosting, so I improvised and came up with this super delicious and healthy frosting!

Super Easy Homemade Frosting

1 c. greek yogurt
1/4 c. real maple syrup

Put the yogurt and the syrup in a bowl and mix (I used my hand mixer since I don't have a fancy stand mixer!) on low until well combined. Feel free to lick the beaters :) Spread on cake or cupcakes and enjoy!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Menu Plan Monday 3/5-3/11

I began reading Organized Simplicity this weekend and, although this is not the order she recommends in the book, tackled my kitchen on Saturday. I re-organized the pantry, purged kitchen gadgets and tools (some that have not seen the light of day since we got them as wedding presents!) and cleaned out the fridge and freezer. I made an inventory sheet of my spices and all my pantry items, as well as a freezer inventory. Needless to say, I am SO invigorated by the overhaul and am looking forward to cooking in my newly organized and simplified kitchen this week!

Here is our menu for the week!

  • Soaked oats and fruit x 6
  • Sourdough pancakes, bacon and fruit
  • Standard lunch x 4 (for Kerry)
  • Leftovers and smoothies x 4 (for me)
  • Soup buffet, biscuits and fruit
  • Snacky lunch on the road
  • Church lunch 

Sweet Potato Chili

1 large onion, sliced
3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 medium zucchini, diced
2 c. black beans
1 1/2 tbs. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. orange zest
1 c. chicken stock

Combine all ingredients in a big pot and bring to a boil. Then lower and simmer for at least four hours.