Thursday, May 27, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday!

Last Saturday, the hubby had to work until 11:00 at night, and my mom had a party in New Jersey to attend. This meant that I could either spend the time at my house alone or go hang out with family. I chose the family route. I went over to my grandmom and uncle Joe's house. Grandmom was away on retreat, and uncle Joe was watching my cousins. I don't get too much one on one time with uncle Joe, so today, I am thankful that I was able to spend last Saturday night laughing harder than I have in a long time with him and my cousins.


Mom and uncle Joe a few Christmases ago
Uncle Joe talked about everything from starting his business to buying his condo in Ocean Isle Beach (where the hubby and I honeymooned) to funny stories about my mom and aunt when they were little. He taught my cousins' and I card tricks, number games....it was really such a special time. I'm glad that I had the opportunity to spend more time with him.

Me and my cousin Allison at Longwood Gardens a week before I got married.
My other cousin Christopher. I realized that we need more pictures of just the two of us - this one is 4 years old!!
There's something special about spending time with family, and I'm glad I got the chance to do it.
I'll be away for the next couple of days-my best friend is getting married. I can't wait to do a recap!
Question of the Day:
What are you thankful for today?
Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Spinach Pie

Happy Wednesday!

I work at a law school, and today is graduation day! Congrats to all of the 2010 grads!

I forgot my camera today, so I apologize for the recycled picture. I made Italian Spinach Pie this weekend. I haven't had it in a while, and I had almost forgotten how rich it tastes!



In the mix went:

16oz fat free cottage cheese
4 eggs
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
8 oz mozzarella cheese
1 pepper
1 package frozen spinach, thawed and drained

Mix all the ingredients together and bake for 40 minutes in a 350 degree oven. The result is tasty, cheesy goodness!

Question of the Day:
What do you do for a living/what are you in school for?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Fresh vs. Frozen

I don't know about you, but I am a sucker for frozen veggies, especially during the week. Even though I love fresh vegetables, sometimes the process of chopping, sauteing, etc. takes too much time. The choice then becomes do I go for the frozen veggies or have no veggies at all?
I know that frozen vegetables are better for you than the canned ones, but sometimes I feel like I should be getting more fresh produce in my diet.

Frozen bell pepper strips - aren't they so pretty?

Admittedly, when I do have the time, I prefer the fresh over the frozen, especially if I am making fajitas or something like that. There's something about taking the time to prepare a meal that I truly enjoy.

The lighting is off in this pic, but it's red peppers and onions sauteing in a pan.
Question of the Day:
Which do you prefer - frozen or fresh?
Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Monday, May 24, 2010

An Ode to Sauces

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a fantastic weekend. Mine was pretty relaxing, which is always a positive thing!

One thing that makes my cooking easier and tastier is the use of sauces. Today, I'd like to highlight a few of my favorite.


General Tsao's Sauce

While it doesn't taste exactly like the take out I love, it's a great substitute for when I feel like making Chinese food at home.

Next up is olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It makes a wonderful marinade as well as an awesome salad dressing!



BBQ sauce-how could I have a list of my favorite sauces without this on it!

A new favorite of mine-salsa mixed with brown sugar and a tbsp of mustard. This sauce is one of my favorites!

Sauces are so versatile and make my cooking experiences more fun.
Question of the Day:
What's your favorite sauce?
Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Friday, May 21, 2010

An Old Favorite

I'm so happy it's Friday!! It's such a beautiful day too, which makes it even better!

For the last few weeks, I've been having cereal for breakfast because I haven't wanted anything else. Cereal is so refreshing but it doesn't hold me over very well.

This week, however, I've been returning to an old favorite breakfast.


Oatmeal and cinnamon with some fiber one on the side.

Even though it's warm, this is one of the few breakfasts that really satisfy me, and warms my belly. A winner combo, in my opinion!

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

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thankful Thursday!

Happy Thursday!

I'm happy the sun has returned, but unfortunately, the air conditioning in our building is being turned off. Apparently, there's a leak somewhere in the building and the air has to be shut off so that the HVAC guys can work. Never a dull moment, I'm telling ya!

Remember how I told you I was having company over on Sunday? Well, today, I'm thankful for the company we had.

Last year, the husband and I went on a Marriage Encounter Retreat. When we came back, we were connected with a group of people in our area who also attended the retreat before we did. The husband and I have grown pretty close to these couples, and we meet once a month to hang out and catch up. We were able to get pictures of our group, so I'm able to share them with you!



MaryAnne and Bill, Ed and Lucy, Bette and Jim



JR and MC, Colleen and Mike, Dolores and Tony, me and the hubby.

Interested in finding out about Worldwide Marriage Encounter? Click here.

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

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Homemade is Better

Happy Wednesday!

I know I've mentioned this before, but part of the reason I love reading other blogs is because I get some wonderful ideas from other people. I've made sloppy joe's a few times on this blog and have found that Manwich is my best friend....that is until I saw Megan's recipe for homemade sloppy joe sauce.

While it is much more convenient to purchase a can of Manwich, I think it's much more satisfying to make your own sauce, especially when it consists of ingredients you already have in the house.

Megan, thanks for this recipe-I don't think I'll ever go back to the canned stuff!


Sloppy joe sauce=love.

The husband and I loved the sauce. I made it without the onion (I forgot to put it on the grocery list!) and it still tasted phenomenal.

Question of the Day:
Homemade or from the can? Which do you prefer?

Until next time!

~Anne Marie

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Rainy Day

It's raining again in Philly. We were teased a few weeks ago with gorgeous weather but ever since then, the weather has been a mix of cold, rainy days. I thought it was supposed to be Spring!

Yesterday I had one of those days where I was tired all day. After I came home from work, I did some laundry, fell asleep for an hour, talked to my mom and then fell asleep again until the hubby came home from work. Needless to say, I'm very well rested this morning!

This rainy weather makes it the perfect day for some baked ziti. I know you're probably tired of seeing it on the blog, but I don't think I could ever get tired of eating it!


How can this be anything but good, comfort food?




Love the cheese!



Sliced and ready to go.
Question of the Day:
Are there any meals you could again and again without getting tired of it?
Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Monday, May 17, 2010

Even When I'm Not Trying

Hey bloggies!

I can't believe we're at Monday already-it's insane! Mom and I went out to register on Sunday while the hubby went to Lowe's to price out new carpet for the baby's room. I am so thankful that my mom went with me-I would've been lost without her! I was hoping it wouldn't take us long to register, but it took almost three hours! There is so much stuff to get that it's ridiculous!

Last week, while walking from the train station to work, there were representatives from Quaker handing out free samples of cereal. Even when I'm not trying to be a food blogger, something like this happens.



Quaker Oatmeal Squares with a hint of brown sugar.

Normally I would take the samples home to the hubby to test out with me, but I was so hungry, and the nutritionals didn't look so bad.


I snacked on these little gems in the morning and they held me until lunch time. They had just the right amount of crunch without being obnoxious and the right amount of sweetness without being overly sweet. I think I'd buy them if they were on sale. They were really yummy!

Question of the Day:
Any good finds lately? Tell me about it!

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Friday, May 14, 2010

Getting Ready

Here we are at Friday!! YAY!!! Even though I've got a relatively busy weekend coming up (can we say baby registering and company coming over in the same day?), I'm looking forward to having the next two days off.

It's not that I don't have the best job in the world-I really do, but time off is always nice!

I had a lot to get ready for this week, so for dinner, I needed something that would be quick. For me, doing that means pop something in the oven and forget about it for awhile.

When I saw this guy on sale, I knew it was my answer:


Perdue Oven Stuffer Roaster

Seriously, I don't think it can get any easier than this-cut a slit in the bag, put it in the oven for 115 minutes and you're good to go. The best part? No cleaning out the chicken before hand. That just grosses me out!

After 115 minutes were up, I was greeted with an amazing smelling kitchen and this...



It has fed the husband and I for three nights. Can't beat that!

Question of the Day:
Any exciting plans for the weekend?

Until next time!

~Anne Marie

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday!
I loved reading all of your comments on yesterday's post. I think I need to ask for to-go boxes more often.
The husband and I have a pretty busy weekend coming up, and on Sunday, we're having a few guests over the house. This can only mean one thing.....it was time to do a major cleaning!
I don't know about you, but I hate to clean. I mean absolutely hate it. Don't get me wrong, I can't stand when the house is messy, but the thought of doing everything at once-dusting, vacuuming, wiping down the floors....it gets me overwhelmed.
On Monday I started cleaning the house a little bit at a time, and here we are at Thursday, and I'm almost done! I still have to vacuum and clean the downstairs bathroom, but that shouldn't take long at all.
So today, I'm thankful for my almost spotless house.
Confession time! This is actually a picture from when the hubby and I first bought the house almost two years ago. Not too much has changed, other than the gazillion pictures that now flood the front of the fridge.
I love the feeling after cleaning-of knowing that everything is just as it should be, but getting there is a struggle!
Question of the Day:
What are you thankful for today?
Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I'll Take it To Go!

Here we are at the middle of another week. Wednesdays have always been one of my favorite days of the week. There's something about knowing that I'm halfway through the work week that makes me happy.

Today I want to talk about restaurant portions. On Saturday, I went to my best friend's bachelorette party. We went to see Rent at a local theater and then headed on over to Stephen's on State for dinner. I had never been to Stephen's but the menu looked so good!

I ended up ordering the Stuffed Eggplant, which came with two eggplants filled with ricotta cheese and peppers and a side of pasta. Normally, I would've eaten the entire meal, but after I heard one of the other girls at the table ask for a to-go box, I knew that it would be the better option. I was definitely too full to eat the second eggplant and the rest of the pasta, but I was mentally hungry....if that makes any sense!

I decided to get a to-go box and give the rest to my hubby who had just gotten home from work.


Pretty decent leftovers, huh?

Turns out that I was easily able to get a full meal for the both of us from the one meal I had ordered.



The inside of the eggplant.

I think the husband enjoyed this almost as much as I did. Although getting a to-go box is something I rarely do, I'd like to make it more of a habit. I hate leaving restaurants stuffed to the gills.

Question of the Day:
How do you handle restaurants? Do you eat until you can't breathe or do you get a to-go box right away?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mother's Day Meals

Happy Tuesday!

For fun, I thought I'd show you some of the yummy eats my brother and I made for my mom on mother's day.

Kevin was in charge of the salad. He added tomatoes and croutons. Just a note about the croutons-seriously, they are the best croutons ever, and I don't even know what brand they were. All I know is that they were cheese flavored. Cheese flavored anything doesn't taste bad, in my opinion.



My mom thought it would be a good idea to make some rice to go with the chicken we were having. After the rice was done cooking, I looked over and saw my mom add a bag (yes, the entire bag!) of shredded mozzarella cheese to the rice. Did I mention that my mom is lactose intolerant? Yeah, cheese is a big thing at my mom's house.


So, so good!

The best part of the entire meal was the chocolate cheesecake that my mom made. She iced this with fat free cool whip. It tasted phenomenal.


This picture made me realize that I should've taken a picture of the inside as well.

Question of the Day:
What's your favorite side dish?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Monday, May 10, 2010

What's Cooking: Eric's Grill

Happy Monday!

I hope you all enjoyed your weekend! The hubby and I spent Mother's Day with his mom in the morning and my mom in the evening. We had a lot of fun spending time with our moms.

I was all set to do a post on what we ate, but that will have to wait.....I got an e-mail from my brother Eric with some pictures and an idea.

He wasn't able to make my mom's dinner last night, so instead, he snapped pictures of what he made and sent them on over to me. I couldn't decide which pictures to use, so I put them all in here-they were just too pretty not to include them all!

He made veggies and shish kabobs on the grill.


Veggies on the left, shish kabobs on the right. Is it just me, or do you love the shish kabob holders? They rock!



Left side

Full shot



Right side

From another view.
Eric told me that he made the kabobs with chicken, eggplant, yellow, red and green peppers, onions and squash. So, not only was this an "awesome" meal as he put it, but it is also a very healthy way to get in your veggies!

Eric, any time you want to make your favorite sister the above shish kabobs, let me know. :)
Thanks for sharing your pictures!


I mentioned above that Eric made a suggestion, and one that I really like. He thought it would be a good idea to make a post a week dedicated to what other people (bloggers or non bloggers) are making. If you are interested, e-mail me (abinns3142@aol.com) the food pictures, what it is that you made and a recipe if you have one. I think this is a great idea to see what others are cooking in their kitchens.

Question of the Day:
Do you grill?


Until next time!

~Anne Marie

Friday, May 7, 2010

Weird but Good

Happy Friday! We're finally at the end of the week! Even though this weekend is going to be jam packed, it doesn't stop me from loving a few days off!

I don't know if it's the whole pregnancy thing or what, but sometimes I crave food combinations that others think are strange.

For lunch this past week, I've been having something filling, minorly spicy and somewhat veggie related.


Bulgar, hot salsa and peas.

It's so good but I get so many weird stares!

Question of the Day:
Any fun weekend plans?

I have a bachelorette party on Saturday, a mother's day brunch on Sunday and a mother's day dinner at night.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday!

I hope you have been enjoying your week. I know that I have!

Since we're getting ready to celebrate a sweet holiday on Sunday, today, I thought I'd be thankful for moms. As I know you all already know, my mom and I have a very close relationship to the point where I would consider her one of my best friends. She's the person who knows me inside and out and still loves me despite anything. She's someone I can laugh with, cry with and act silly with. She's the best mom a girl could've ever asked for.



Mom at my house two years ago. I love this picture!

Not only am I thankful for my own mom, but also for the other women in my life who are mothers - in particular my aunt Nette and my grandmom.


Grandmom, mom and aunt Nette.

They are such strong, loving and nurturing women, and I'm so blessed to have them in my life.

To all of you mothers, may you have a wonderful mother's day on Sunday!

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

Until next time!
~Anne Marie





Wednesday, May 5, 2010

New Find Fri....Wednesday

Happy Wednesday! At least we are halfway through the week!

I think the title New Find Friday sounds much better than New Find Wednesday, but I'm just going with the flow. Last week, while my mom was clipping coupons, she clipped this out because she thought that it would be a good post for the blog. Isn't she adorable?


I had to pick this up and take a pictures of it because it got wet right as I was getting ready to take the picture!

This was a "coupon" that said to visit www.sunmaid.com for free recipes and recipe booklets. I had the chance to visit the website this morning, and I loved what I saw. There were many recipes that I can see myself making in the near future. They even had a section for healthy recipes, which rocks.

Thanks, mom, for finding this little gem in the weekend paper! I love finds like these!

Question of the Day:
What's your newest "find?"

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A little of This, A Little of That

Happy Tuesday!

As I'm sure you've all figured out by now, I love to follow recipes when I'm making meals. I don't have to follow it exactly, but I like guidelines so that I can that I'm doing something right. For this food concoction, though, I decided not to use a recipe. Instead, I added a little of this and a little of that and came up with a pretty decent meal.

I started off by sauteing some green peppers and an onion.



While that was going, I cooked up some egg noodles. Even though I've eaten them before, I've never made egg noodles. I didn't realize that they were more voluminous than whole wheat pasta. In any event, more pasta is always a good thing, so I wasn't going to complain.

While the egg noodles were boiling, I added some lean ground turkey to the pepper and onion mix. When everything was finished cooking, I combined everything together and added some marinara sauce.


Comfort food, no?

In order to keep portion size in check (something that I stink at when it comes to pasta!) I put it in a 9x13 dish and added some mozzarella cheese.


Like so.

When the cheese was melted, I took it out of the oven and let it cool down for a little bit.


The hubby cut a slice, so I took a picture pretty quickly.





All in all, we both thought it was a fantastic, filling meal. I will definitely be cooking with egg noodles more often!

Question of the Day:
What are your favorite pasta "add-ins?"

Until next time!

~Anne Marie

Monday, May 3, 2010

Buffalo Chicken with a Side of Elton

Happy Monday!

Thanks for all of your well wishes on Thursday's post. Everything went well with the ultrasound, minus the fact that the baby was being extremely stubborn! The baby was flipped one way, and they needed him or her to turn over so they could get a picture of the four chambers of the heart. It was the last picture they needed, and literally, it took them almost an hour until the baby decided to cooperate. I hope this isn't an indication of things to come! ;)

After the ultrasound on Friday, I came home and cooked up my meals for the week. I decided to make some buffalo chicken since the hubby and I haven't had it in a while.


Some fat free blue cheese dressing and hot sauce mixed together.


Baked and ready to be eaten!

So I have to say that the Elton John concert on Friday night was so much fun!! We had decent seats, and it was awesome to see my mom dancing around having a great time.

Mari, this one's for you! I apologize in advance for the shakiness of the video!







Question of the Day:
Who's your favorite musician?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie