Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Here we are at another Thankful Thursday!

Before I get into what I'm thankful for this week, I should tell you that I'll have zero access to the internet tomorrow, so no blogging for me. This kinda ties into what I'm thankful for, so here goes nothing...

Tomorrow the husband and I are going for another ultrasound. This time, the radiologist is looking for the baby's organs-lungs, kidneys, brain, etc. It's hard to believe that I'm getting another ultrasound so soon, but I can't wait to see the little guy/girl. As far as I know, this will be the last ultrasound that I'll get.

Tomorrow night, my mom and I are heading down to Reading to spend some "mommy and me" time with this guy:


Sir Elton!

Whenever he tours, my mom and I try to make it a point to go to a concert. With the baby coming in September, life will get even MORE busy, so this is a perfect time to enjoy each other's company while rocking out to Elton John.




He's such an amazing performer. He literally takes the stage at 8:00 (with no opening act) and plays for three hours straight. It's an awesome experience, and if you ever get a chance to see him, definitely do it!

Question of the Day:
What are you thankful for today?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Product Review Time!

I've had this granola for quite a while and just yesterday I decided to break it open....without a camera in sight, which means that I don't have any pictures to share with you other than the package. I think I may be considered a bad food blogger by now.


This was a free sample given by Bear Naked Granola in the banana nut flavor.

Oh my goodness was this stuff delicious!! It was a little calorie-heavy, but it kept me full for quite awhile. I remember back in the day making my own granola that was low cal and very tasty. This package made me want to search for the recipe and make it again.

Question of the Day:
What's your favorite snack?

Until next time!

~Anne Marie

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Feel Free to Skip It

Happy Tuesday!

Thanks for all the birthday wishes for my brother yesterday. Despite the rainy weather, he had a really good day!

The title of this post comes because I think I've been making pizza for the last few weeks, and I'm sure you're getting tired of seeing it on the blog (but honestly, I'm not tired of eating it!)

The reason I decided to post this today was because the husband made this pizza. Halfway through, we decided that we didn't have enough mozzarella cheese. What was a pizza-loving couple supposed to do? The hubby raided the fridge and came up with the perfect idea....using Parmesan cheese in addition to the mozzarella cheese.


See the tiny bits of Parm?

This pizza actually turned out to taste so good. I think the husband may have hit the jackpot with this one!

Question of the Day:
What's your favorite kind of cheese or cheese substitute?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Monday, April 26, 2010

Happy 21st Birthday, Kevin!

Happy Monday! It's raining in Philly, which makes it harder to start a Monday, but on the positive side, it's my brother's 21st birthday today!! I can't believe he's 21 already. It's crazy how fast time flies. It feels like he was a teenager just yesterday!

We celebrated Kevin's birthday over the weekend. It was so much fun to hang out with the family again. I thought it'd be fun to share some pictures of the party with you....


The hubby, older brother, me, birthday boy and his girlfriend. I didn' t know you could fit that many people on a sofa!



The yummy cake!! I particularly enjoy the heart my mom drew over the "i" in birthday.

My cousin and I have to take at least one silly picture when we're together. It's pretty ridiculous that this is considered normal behavior for us.


And, of course, I can't leave out a picture of me and my brothers.


Love these guys.

Question of the Day:
What was your favorite age?

Until next time!

~Anne Marie

Friday, April 23, 2010

Going to the Chapel....

My friend Gina is getting married tomorrow (although sadly, I won't be able to make it to the wedding). You may remember Gina doing a few guest posts on the blog awhile back. I'm so, so, so excited and happy for her! I hope it's everything she dreams of and more!

I'm going to try to make the rest of this post pretty speedy....I got swamped with a ton of work this morning, and this is the first chance I've had to sit down.

This recipe for taco bake is something that I really enjoyed making and also tasted great. It's a winning combo in my book!

I started off by browning some ground turkey and peppers in a pan. You could also add some onion, but I didn't have any in the house. Once the meat was cooked, I added a can of pinto beans, a packet of taco seasoning and 16 ounces of marinara sauce.


Yum!

Next, I opened up a tube of Pillsbury pizza crust and laid it in a 9x13 pan. After that, I added the meat and pepper mixture.




Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or until the pizza crust is cooked.

I swear I took a picture of it with the melted cheese, but I think my camera ate it.



Sliced and ready to go!

I don't know about you, but I love casseroles. Adding a bunch of ingredients together to make something yummy is always a plus in my book!

Question of the Day:
Anything fun planned for this weekend?

We're celebrating my brothers 21st birthday-I'm so excited!

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thankful Thursday and Giveaway Winner!

Happy Thursday, and happy Earth Day! I'll announce the winner of the giveaway further down in this post, but first thing's first!

Today, I'm thankful that I get to see this guy this weekend.


He loves his Phillies hat! He hardly goes anywhere without it!

I don't get to see my nephew as often as I'd like too, but I'm glad that I'll see him this weekend. We're celebrating my brother Kevin's 21st birthday, and I can't wait! It's hard to believe that my baby brother is turning 21-it's insanity!!

My favorite thing about seeing my nephew is when he does this:



See the toy he's holding in his left hand? That's his "Melmo." I LOVE it!

Giveaway winner time!

The winner of the Green Giant Prize pack is lucky commenter number 7-Allison!! Allison, please e-mail (abinns3142@aol.com) me your address so that I can get MyBlogSpark to send out your prize to you right away! Congratulations!

Question of the Day
What are you thankful for today?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Confessions of a Food Blogger

Happy Wednesday! We're halfway through the week already!

So here's my confession for you. When I eat out at a restaurant, I hate taking pictures of my food. I feel like as soon as a whip out my camera, everyone turns and stares at me. Now, I know that's just me being paranoid, but it's just the way I feel.

I remember the first time I took pictures at a restaurant. I ended up with a picture of our appetizer, which I really liked....


You can't go to an Italian restaurant without ordering bruschetta!

Then it was time for our entree. I had gotten some pasta dish with chicken and peppers, but I felt rushed to get a good picture, and ended up with this, even after a few tries.


Blurry much?
While I have no problem snapping pictures at home, it definitely is an issue for me out in public. That's my confession for the day ;)
Question of the Day:
If you're a food blogger, how do you feel about taking pictures of meals out in public? If you aren't a food blogger, how would you feel if you saw someone taking pictures of their food at a restaurant?
Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Easy Peasy Chicken Pot Pie

I loved hearing about all your suggestions about being green on yesterday's post. If you haven't entered the giveaway yet, you have until Thursday morning at 9:00 a.m.!

I decided that the theme for this week's meals was going to be super duper easy. One of the recipes that came to mind was a quick and easy chicken pot pie. I usually double this recipe and make a huge casserole out of it (like I did here), but this time, I decided to make it as written.

I took a can of cream of chicken soup, an 8 1/2 ounce can of peas and carrots and 1 can of chicken and mixed it all together.


Pour it in an 8x8 dish like so.

Next, top the mixture with buttermilk biscuits that have been slightly flattened. The recipe called for one 7.5 oz can, but I thought it was a little too much bread!



Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes, or until the biscuits are browned.


Ta-da!

I think I like the casserole version much better because this was my portion size:



There's a lot of biscuit, but not too much filling! (Although most of it is underneath and you can't see it, trust me on the not a lot of filling thing).

It's still a great meal though, and something that I'll continue to make.

Question of the Day:

Do you have bread with your dinner?

I didn't grow up in a house that had bread with dinner, but on special holidays, I'm all about the bread basket!

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Monday, April 19, 2010

Meatballs and Eggs and Giveaway Time!

Happy Monday!

Remember last week when I told you that I hoped I had leftover meatballs so that I could make meatballs and eggs? Some of you requested that I post about it, so here it is, for your viewing pleasure.

I started off by chopping some meatballs and placing them in a skillet.



Next, I cracked an egg in the pan, added a little bit of milk and cooked until the eggs were done.

Right before taking it out of the pan, I topped it with some mozzarella cheese.


We're almost done!

I put some of the meatballs in a roll, and the others I left on the side.

Delish!

It's one of my favorite comforting meals ever!


Giveaway time!

Green Giant, through MyBlogSpark were super cool in giving me this awesome prize pack:

a coupon for free Green Giant frozen veggies, eco-friendly bamboo utensils, 100% recyclable grocery tote and a mini herb garden.


I'm missing the utensils in this pic-they were in the sink waiting to be washed off!

I was sent this pack because, as you know, Earth Day is right around the corner (April 22nd!) So, what has Green Giant done to reduce their environmental footprint?

According to their website, some of the things that I saw were:
1. Reduced the amount of land and water needed to grow vegetables
2. Packing vegetables in smaller, lighter cans, so it takes less fuel to deliver them to the supermarkets
3. Switching to more earth-friendly paperboard to package frozen vegetables. This alone saves 54,000 trees annually.

If you'd like to find out more about all the cool things Green Giant is doing, please visit them here.

Green Giant, through MyBlogSpark also has a "Seeds of Change" prize pack for you! All you have to do is answer the question of the day, and I will pick a random winner at 9:00 a.m. on April 22nd.

Question of the Day:
What are you doing (or planning on doing) to reduce your carbon footprint?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Friday, April 16, 2010

More Pizza!

Happy Friday!

As if Monday's post on pizza wasn't enough, I made some more pizza-like substances this week. I think I've got my pizza craving kicked for the week, but you never know!

I started off by placing a Pillsbury pizza crust in the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Next, I cooked some ground chicken and added some spices while it was browning. Of course, you could use ground turkey, soy crumbles or ground beef. The ground chicken happened to be on sale, so that's what I used.

After the meat is done cooking, combine it with one jar of marinara or pizza sauce and pour it over the pizza crust.


Like so.

Bake it in the oven for about 15 minutes. Next, top with cheese and place it back in the oven for another five minutes.

When you're done, it should look like this:


Yummy!!

The husband raved about this dish, and it was so simple to make. I added some cracked red pepper to my slice, which gave it a little kick.



Nom nom nom.

Pizza bakes always make me happy.

Special announcement-Get ready for a giveaway from Green Giant on Monday! I'm super excited about it, and I hope you will be too!

Question of the Day:
Do you prefer your pizza in slices or squares?

It doesn't matter to me, as long as it's pizza!

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Here we are at another Thankful Thursday! I couldn't wait to get to this part of the week so that I could show all you bloggie aunties (as Mari puts it) a picture from the ultrasound last week.

Today, I'm thankful for the opportunity to see this little guy/girl for the first time.


If you tilt your head to the right, you'll see baby C's face.

I thought this was the coolest picture from the ultrasound pictures we were given. The baby was busy kicking up a storm, although I still haven't felt any movement yet. At one point, he/she opened and closed his/her mouth. It was the cutest thing I think I've ever seen.

Question of the Day:
What are you thankful for today?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Shortcuts

Hello everyone! Happy Wednesday!

When I went food shopping last week, I had chicken breasts on the list. I normally pick up the store brand package of chicken, but there weren't any decent sales...until I saw some Perdue Perfect Portions on sale for much less than I expected. After looking around for a bit, I ended up going with the Herb & Pepper flavor.

In my package were five chicken breasts perfectly seasoned and ready to be baked.

Sorry for the bad lighting!

In about 20 minutes or so, I had dinner ready to go, and I didn't have to do a thing!




They were, in fact, perfectly seasoned. I loved every bite! I can't wait to stock up on these guys the next time they are on sale.

Question of the Day:
What's your favorite shortcut?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Meatballs and a New Pan

Last week, my friend Ron called me and told me that he saw something and had to buy it for me because he knew I would love it. He came over to my house and gave me one of the coolest gifts ever....this pan!



It has a rack on top where you can make meatballs, a small roast....whatever floats your boat. It catches excess grease on the bottom of the pan, which also helps get rid of any extra fat. The rack is removable, so you can use the bottom pan by itself, if you want. Little did Ron know that I had planed to make meatballs this week for dinner, so this came just in time. Thanks again, Ron! I love this pan!

The last time I made meatballs, I made them small. This time, I decided to make them "mom size" which is the size that my mom normally makes them. I also decided to make some turkey sausage for a little variety.


Sizzling in the pan.


I didn't do much in terms of measuring, but I used 2 lbs of ground turkey, some breadcrumbs, eggs, Parmesan cheese and some spices. I mixed it all together and formed them into medium sized meatballs.


Ready to be baked!

I let these bake for about 30 minutes or so and was greeted with this as the finished product:

Yum!

I should've made my own marinara sauce, but time was short, so I had to use the jarred stuff.

One big pot of goodness.

I tried the meatballs last night and they rocked. They weren't as good as my mom's, but then again, nothing I make compares to the way my mom makes them. I'm crossing my fingers for some leftovers at the end of the week. If there are some left over, I'll be able to make meatballs and eggs, which is one of my favorite meals ever! It probably sounds weird to you, but I used to eat it a lot as a kid!


Question of the Day:
Do you eat any weird food combinations like meatballs and eggs?

Until next time!

~Anne Marie

Monday, April 12, 2010

These are a Few of My Favorite Things

Happy Monday!

The weekend went really well. On Friday, the hubby and I had the ultrasound, which went really well. The tech said that everything she needed to see looked good and that I may have to go back in the next few weeks so that they can see all of the baby's organs. It was pretty amazing to see the little guy/girl kicking up a storm and opening and closing his or her mouth.

I know the title of this post suggests that I have a few favorite things, but that's kind of a lie...at the moment, it's one favorite thing....pizza!!

I haven't had takeout pizza in what feels like forever. For the past few years, I've been making my own by either using store bought pizza dough or making my own.

This time, I decided to go with store-bough Pillsbury dough and made some cheese pizza.....



And some white pizza....


What a great way to satisfy my pizza craving without all that grease.

Question of the Day:
Do you prefer to make your own pizza or get take out?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday!

With all the beautiful weather we've been having, I think it would only be appropriate to be thankful for the gorgeous flowers that are blooming this Spring.

For me, flowers signify new life, and a rebirth of all things beautiful. Sure, the snow can be beautiful, but isn't there something heartwarming about seeing the flowers bloom?


It looks like a hummingbird, don't you think?

Seeing flowers reminds me to slow down and enjoy life. I love walking through my neighborhood and seeing everyone's gardens.


Flower on a lily pad

These pictures were all taken at Longwood Gardens - one of my favorite spots to visit around this time of year. It's so beautiful everywhere you turn!


I love this time of year!

Question of the Day:
What are you thankful for today?

I'll be taking a blogging break tomorrow-I'm going for my first ultrasound.

Have a fantastic weekend!

Until next time!

~Anne Marie

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Tiny Chicken

Happy Wednesday!!

We're halfway through the week, which is something that always makes me happy. This girl loves her weekends!

For my chicken dish this week, I wanted to combine a few ingredients and turn it into something tasty. I mixed together some breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese and chili powder.


Ready for the chicken!

Usually when I buy chicken, I buy the larger chicken breasts. This time, however, I purchased the thin cut chicken cutlets. Ironically, I used to buy them all the time, but when I got a membership to BJ's, I bought their big package of chicken and the pieces were always huge!

I had forgotten how thin (but still filling) these guys are. Since they are smaller, it's a good opportunity to serve it with some veggies.

I dipped the chicken in the breadcrumb mixture without using eggs. It stuck to the chicken just fine!


Before going into the oven.

I had forgotten how little time the thin chicken breasts take to bake....they were in the oven for about 25 minutes.


All done!

This really reminded me of chicken cutlet with a bit of a twist. I loved the flavor of Parmesan cheese and chili powder with the breadcrumbs.

Question of the Day:
For meat eaters-do you buy the large chicken breasts or the thin kind? For non meat eaters, what's your favorite fake meat product?

Until next time!

~Anne Marie

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Easter Eggs!

Happy Tuesday!

As I mentioned last week, I bought a dye kit for the hubby and I to dye eggs this year. Somehow we missed the tradition last year, so I wanted to make sure that it definitely happened!

I initially started out with ten eggs to dye, but I broke three of them while trying to put them into the boiling water. I think I may have had the heat turned up just a little bit too high.

All in all though, it was a fun experience with the hubs, even if we were almost falling asleep while dyeing them!


Pretty!

I'm more traditional when it comes to dyeing the eggs, but the husband likes to make one egg two different colors. This year, he dyed one for the baby on the way. We've nicknamed the baby the "Sprite" baby. Why? Well because we aren't going to find out if we're having a boy or a girl, so we'll probably buy a lot of things in greens and yellows.

I present to you the Sprite egg.

Cute, isn't it?

I love dyeing Easter eggs....so, so pretty! Plus, I feel like they taste better when they are dyed. Weird, I know!


Question of the Day:
Do you dye Easter eggs?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Monday, April 5, 2010

Butterfinger Cake

Happy Monday!

I'm sorry I was MIA on Friday. I needed to take a break from blogging to get some stuff done before Easter.

I promised that I would post the recipe to my hubby's birthday cake, and here I am to deliver. I make this cake for him every year, and actually began making it because it was a Weight Watchers recipe.

I present to you Peanut Butter Better than You Know What Cake.

1 package chocolate cake mix (I used vanilla)
10 oz diet soda (I used regular Sprite because I'm not allowed to have artificial sweeteners while pregnant)
1 egg white
7 oz fat free sweetened condensed milk
2 tbsps of low fat peanut butter
8 oz of fat free cool whip (I omitted this and made cream cheese frosting-the husband's favorite!)
7 fun size Butterfingers

I started by mixing the egg white, cake mix and sprite together and baking it in the oven. While that was going, I chopped up these guys into little pieces.



A few minutes before the cake was finished baking, I combined the peanut butter and sweetened condensed milk and cooked them on low until they both melted.


Before it melted.

Next, I made a lower fat version of cream cheese icing. There's some low fat cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla.


The husband can't get enough of this stuff, and honestly, neither can I.

Once the cake is finished baking, poke holes in the top of the cake. Pour the peanut butter and sweetened condensed milk mixture on top of the cake and spread the mixture. Next, take about half of the chopped up butterfingers and sprinkle them on the cake.


The chocolate begins to melt and the peanut butter mixture starts to seep into the holes.
When the cake is cooled, frost it and top with the remaining butterfingers.

Yum!!
The husband requests this cake every year for his birthday, and since it is lower in fat than most cakes, I'm happy to comply.

Question of the Day:

What's your favorite kind of cake?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie