Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Two Different Ways

There are two different ways to make a meal when you are referring to a recipe. For me, I keep the printed piece of paper right by my side, with all of the ingredients around me. The husband, on the other hand, takes the recipe and uses our cabinet as a holder.....


It's convenient and doesn't get messy, but it's not as portable as I'd like it to be.

The husband was helping me make dinners for the week, and he was in charge of the Mexican Rice and Bean Bake.

It was kind of hard to capture pictures while he was making this meal. I kept telling him to stop during various parts because I wanted to take a picture and he just looked at me like I was infringing in his "work area". It was pretty funny.


Beans and salsa mixed together.....

and then poured over the rice......



....add some cheese and bake for a bit...


....then you're good to go!



I enjoyed this meal, but if I were to make it again (or if the hubby were to make it again), I'd add some more spices. It was very filling though-gotta love that!

Question of the Day:
Are you a fan of beans? What's your favorite type?

I love chickpeas and kidney beans the best.

Until next time!

~Anne Marie

Monday, August 30, 2010

Arnold's Sandwich Thins

Hey everyone,

Happy Monday! I had a great time this weekend. Friday was the ultrasound and baby has turned around and is "in position." I could pretty much go into labor any time from now until the next 5 weeks. Kinda scary!

I was sent these Arnold Sandwich Thins from the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program to review for free. I've tried the whole wheat before, but they also sent me the multi-grain to try. I stuck the multi-grain in the freezer and have been eating the whole wheat flavor over the past week.



Why should you think about purchasing the sandwich thins? Well, for the whole wheat sandwich thins, here are a few reasons:

1. There are 19 grams of whole grains per serving
2. They are an excellent source of fiber (5 grams per serving)
3. Each Thin is 100 calories each
4. There is no high fructose corn syrup.


When they say "thin", they really mean thin!

I love the size of the sandwich thin. It's the perfect venue for sammies!
In fact, I've been making lots of roast beef and ham sandwiches using these guys.

I am such a fan of the whole wheat sandwich thins. You can't beat 100 calories per roll.....not to mention...they taste great! Check them out-you won't be disappointed!
Question of the Day:
What's your favorite bread product?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday!

Today, I'm thankful for the tag team effort of my mom and grandmom. They came to my house on Saturday night and helped me finish up the baby's room. We even went to Joann Fabrics so that my grandmom could make me a slip cover for a stool in the baby's room (which I hear looks adorable and she actually finished it in a day!) I have such great, strong and amazing women in my life, and I'm so very thankful for them.


Me and mom at my baby shower.


One of my favorite pictures of me and my grandmom....ever!!

Without them, I know that the baby's room would be far from complete. Thanks so much, mom and grandmom!! I love you!

I'll be MIA tomorrow-I have one last ultrasound to go to. I'm so excited because my mom is going with us for the first time!

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend!

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

In a Pizza Mood

For the first time in a long time, it was the hubby who was in the mood for pizza, not me! I think it started last week when we ate the bubble up enchilada casserole. I figured that we haven't had this meal in awhile and decided to make it for him.

I started off with some Pillsbury pizza crust laid out in a 9x13 pan.



Next, I browned some ground chicken (the store was out of the turkey that I usually buy) and added some pasta sauce to it when it was cooked through.

Pour the chicken and pasta sauce over the crust and bake at 425 for 12 minutes. Since it was so hot outside, I lowered the oven to 350 degrees and baked it for 30 minutes.


After it's done baking, add some cheese and put it in the over again until the cheese melts.



Yum!

Slice up and enjoy!



I have to say that I really enjoyed using ground chicken in this recipe. Call me crazy, but it tasted like sausage. Weird, I know, but I'm sticking by it.

Question of the Day:
What's your favorite pizza topping?

I love cheese and pepperoni. Someone suggested that I put turkey pepperoni on top next time. Genius, I tell you!

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Still Keepin It Simple

Happy Tuesday!

Just like yesterday, I decided to keep things simple when it came to dessert.

Take a little of this.....


....add a little bit of milk and mix like crazy for two minutes....




....pour it into a few glasses, stick it in the fridge and in 5 minutes, you've got....




PUDDING!!

I'm a sucker for the simple things, what can I say? I haven't had pudding in such a long time, and making brought back many memories.

Question of the Day:
What food makes you nostalgic?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Monday, August 23, 2010

Simplicity

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a fantastic weekend. I can't believe it's Monday already, although I'm only working a four day work week.

My mom and grandmom visited with me on Saturday for a little "let's get this baby's room finished" gathering. I made some ravioli's even though my mom had brought up some leftovers for her and my grandmom to eat.

Sometimes I forget how the simplest things can really hit the spot when it comes to food.



While I was taking out the dishes, my mom asked if I had any paper plates. Of course I did....although they were Christmas paper plates with Frosty the Snowman on them.


Too bad Frosty is hidden by the ravioli's.

A simple meal, a simple serving dish.....but yet it was so perfect.

Question of the Day:
What's your idea of simplicity?

Until next time!

~Anne Marie

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday!

Last night, the hubby had to work, so I switched up my routine. Usually Thursday is my food shopping day, but since the hubby wasn't around, I thought last night would give me a good opportunity to get the food shopping done.

Today, I'm thankful that I have one less chore to do tonight!



After putting everything away, I realized that I completely forgot to buy extra lean ground turkey. Oops! I suppose I'll have to stop at the store on the way home from work tonight, but at least it won't be a full-fledged grocery trip.

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

I probably won't get a chance to blog tomorrow - my office is doing a volunteer clean up of a local park beginning at 8:30. Since I'm preggers, I'll be doing the "supervising" which means that I get the key to the porta potties to let students and faculty in. Lucky me! lol.

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

12 Years Ago Today.....and Bubble Up Enchilada

Happy Wednesday! I called my aunt this morning at 8:30 and wished her a happy anniversary. Anniversary of what? Twelve years ago today, I saw Hanson in concert for the first time, and my aunt Nette took me to see them. I remember when she told me that she would take me (she also took me to my first New Kids on the Block concert when she was 8 months pregnant, so maybe she felt obligated. lol). I was super excited, especially when she didn't mind me bringing their tape to listen to in the car and storing my "I love Taylor" poster in the front seat with us. Dorky, I know, but I couldn't resist making a blog post about it.

This week I decided to try something new. When I saw this recipe, I knew I had to make it.

Bubble Up Enchilada

1 pound ground turkey
1 (10 ounce) can enchilada sauce
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 can reduced fat refrigerator biscuits
1 1/2 cups shredded low fat Mexican Cheese
*add ins-peppers, beans, etc.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brown turkey and drain if needed. Mix in a can of enchilada sauce and tom sauce. Cut the refrigerated biscuits into fourths and stir them in the meat mixture. Then you just dump it all in a greased casserole and bake for 25 minutes. Take out of oven and sprinkle cheese on top. Bake an additional 10 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
You can make this into 6 or 8 servings.
Sounds easy enough, right? It's similar to the bubble up pizza except it has a Mexican twist.
I started off by browning the onion....
Next, I added the turkey and cooked it until browned. I also added in the black beans, tomato sauce and quartered biscuits.

Once it was all mixed together, I poured it in the casserole dish and baked in the oven.


Once that was done, I put some cheese on it and baked it again for another 10 minutes.

Delish!
The hubby and I really liked it. When he first saw it, he thought it was bubble up pizza and wanted to know if we could have that on the menu next week. You'll be seeing a blog post in the near future about his request :)
Question of the Day:
Are there any silly dates that you remember? I.E. the first time you saw a band in concert or the first time you tasted a piece of chocolate cake?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Helper in the Kitchen

Happy Tuesday!

Orientation for school started yesterday, so I've been busy, busy, busy getting the professors ready for classes. I miss the summer already, even though it's not even over yet!

On Sunday, the hubby and I were invited to a picnic. I offered to bring a dessert, so I opted for brownies because:

1) they are super easy to make
2) who doesn't like brownies?

My only issue with making brownies is cutting them. For the life of me, I can't cut them without them falling apart and looking scary. That's why I took a picture of them whole....I wanted to spare you the picture of torn up brownies.


Maybe I should've stuck to leaving it as one giant brownie. What do you think? haha

It was at that point that I decided I needed a helper in the kitchen.

Hello there, hubby!

Doesn't he look like he's concentrating super hard on getting the brownies not to flake up? Yeah, he didn't have much luck either. Does anyone know the secret to cutting brownies? I'd love to know!

Question of the Day:
How do you feel about helpers in the kitchen?

Sometimes I like it, but other times I'd rather do things without people in my way.

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Taste of Grandmom's Kitchen

Happy Monday! I can't believe we are starting another week. Where is the time going?

My grandmom is a daily reader of the blog. (Hi, grandmom!) Last weekend, she was talking to me about my pasta and peas recipe and told me that she makes something similar with whole wheat shells instead of rotini pasta. When I told her that I've never seen whole wheat shells, she gave me this to try.


Using grandmom's suggestions, I made what I think is her version of pasta and peas.


I started by sauteeing an onion in a pan.




While that was going, I cooked the pasta and took out my leftover homemade gravy.


Once the onions were soft, I added them to the gravy and continued to let the flavors blend together.


Soon, the pasta was done!

I seriously need to find these in the store!

I combined the pasta, peas and gravy and came up with this...
Yummy! I loved the taste of the onions mixed in with the gravy.


Thanks for the tips and recipe, grandmom!

Question of the Day:
Whole wheat or white pasta....which do you prefer?

I'm a whole wheat girl all the way, even though I grew up on white pasta.

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Friday, August 13, 2010

Kraft's Macaroni and Cheese

As part of the Kraft First Taste program, I received a coupon in the mail for a free bag of Homestyle Deluxe Macaroni and Cheese. When I was younger, I would make a box of mac and cheese and eat the entire thing for lunch. Hmm...I wonder why I had weight problems growing up? lol.

Anyway, mac and cheese has always been one of my favorite comfort foods. Think about it-pasta, cheese.....how much better can it get? I haven't had the boxed stuff in a long time, and I don't think I've ever made my own, but when I saw the coupon for a free bag, I knew it was something I wanted to try....and fast!




What made this macaroni and cheese different from the boxed variety was that it tasted like something out of someone's kitchen rather than something out of a box. It was creamy, delicious and even had a breadcrumb topping that you could add if you wanted too.


Mmmmm!

Since I was serving this as a main dish instead of a side dish, I added some peas to it. Don't judge...I've been on a pea kick lately! I'm not sure if I would buy this again - I'd prefer to either make my own (which I still have to do) or eat someone else's homemade goodness.

Question of the Day:
Are you a mac and cheese fan?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday!

I hope you are all enjoying your day. Last night, when I came home from work, I saw this in the baby's room.



Now, this may not look like a big deal to you, but two weeks ago, the hubby decided to redo the closets in the baby's room. There were sliding doors on the closets originally, and they desperately needed to be replaced. The hubby decided to take on the project of not only replacing the doors, but actually ripping out most of the closet so that the new doors would actually fit. We needed at 48 inch opening and only had 47 inches to work with. I didn't know how/if/when the hubby would finish the project, and at the time I was completely freaking out. I snapped this picture right before the hubby started painting the other door, hence the two colors. Now they are both white!

I'm thankful that this project was completed before the baby arrived. A new baby + projects in the baby's room = madness.

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

Until next time!

~Anne Marie

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

You Gotta Use It

Boy oh boy - some days I really struggle to come up with a title for the day's post. Today was one of those days. Any other bloggers that can relate?

So Monday, I posted about the homemade gravy that I made over the weekend.


Love this stuff!

I had to use it for something this weekend, and pasta it was!!



I love the tiny bit of chunkiness that the homemade version added to my pasta this week. I know you are all probably exhausted of looking at and reading about pasta so much on this blog, but I love it so, so, so much!

Tonight I have another doctor's appointment to see how the baby is doing. I'm 34 weeks today. Isn't that insane? Where did the time go?

Question of the Day:
Tell me a fun fact about yourself!

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Dealing with Fast Food Restaurants

Well, it looks like my summer at work is winding down. Orientation starts in two weeks, and the professors are in and filling my days with lots of work. Even though I sort of miss the lazy summer work days, it's nice to be busy again.

Yesterday, my mom found an article about how to navigate through some of the most popular fast food restaurants. The article can be found by clicking here.

Some of the tips that I found interesting:

At Starbucks you can order any drink in a "short" size and your drink will be in an 8oz cup. This can save you anywhere from 140 to 350 calories depending on your drink.

At Moe's Southwest Grill you can order your burrito "streaker style" and they'll skip the tortilla. This can save you 310 calories.

At Subway, you can order any sandwich as a salad, saving you up to 520 calories (depending on what the sandwich was).

I thought this was a pretty neat article! Even though I don't eat at a lot of fast food restaurants, it's good information to have if I happen to visit one.

Question of the Day:
Do you have any fast food restaurant tips?

At Subway, I almost always get the Veggie Delight. It's yummy, filling and packed with veggies!

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Monday, August 9, 2010

Mmmmm Gravy!

Happy Monday!

I hope you all had a fantastic weekend! Yesterday, my family and I celebrated my twin cousins' birthdays. I can't believe they are 24 already-where did the time go?

Growing up in a very Italian family, my mom made her homemade gravy (which some of you might refer to as marinara sauce) every other week. I remember coming home from school and smelling the sweet aroma of the tomatoes cooking on the stove. Fast forward a bunch of years....my mom still makes it every other week! I think both she and my grandmom make the best tasting gravy around. It always tastes fresh and delicious!

I've become so lazy in the kitchen that lately, I've resorted to jarred gravy (grandmom, please don't be upset! haha). I decided I have had enough and wanted to go back to my "roots" of making my own gravy.

Typically, I use crushed tomatoes, but Aldi's didn't have any, so I bought the next best thing-diced tomatoes, stewed tomatoes and some tomato sauce.

That's a lot of cans, no?

The basic recipe is to open the cans, pour contents in a pot, add a bunch of spices (garlic, oregano, basil, bay leaves, etc.) and let it simmer on the stove for a looooonnnnggggg time. The result?


Delicious gravy!

I added some sugar to mine to cut the tartness of the tomatoes. I've always liked my gravy to taste a little bit sweet.

I'm not used to chunky tomatoes in my gravy, so I took a bunch of it and put it in the blender for a smoother consistency. It worked like a charm.
One of the best parts about making your own gravy is the leftovers!

More for next time!

Question of the Day:
Do you make your own sauce or use the stuff in a jar?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie



Friday, August 6, 2010

Home Grown

Happy Friday!

I don't know about you, but this week flew by.

I love, love, love home grown produce. Growing up, my mom had a garden at home, and I remember summers of fresh tomatoes (even though I wasn't a fan of them at the time), scallions and peppers. It was awesome.

Now that I'm on my own, my hubby and I don't have much room to make our own garden. Plus, we have rabbits in our area.....any tips on how to get them to steer clear of home grown produce? I think that's a big reason why we don't start our own.

Anyway.....

Yesterday, my friend Donna brought me in some produce from her garden. You may remember that she brought me in some peppers from her garden last year (which, by the way, rocked!) Check it out!


Tomatoes and peppers!

Apparently, the peppers are super duper hot, and I've been warned to have a glass of milk nearby when it's time to eat them. I can't wait to eat the delicious veggies-thanks so much, Donna!

I've got some plans for those tomatoes already-I can't wait to show you!

Question of the Day:
Do you have your own garden?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday!

I've been waiting to write this post since Sunday. It's such a trivial thing to be thankful for, but it's Thankful Thursday, and I've got to be thankful for something, right?

You see, in the process of getting the baby's room together, we've also been trying to organize the rest of the house. We've had a kitchen table set that we've been trying to get rid of with no luck. We tried Craigslist, Goodwill Stores, the Salvation Army....we couldn't find anyone to give it to or anyone who would come and pick up the table so that we could donate it. After much decision, the hubby and I decided to do the next best thing....we put it outside on our lawn and waited until someone came by and picked it up.

So today, I'm thankful that we got rid of this.....


Bye bye table and chairs!

And now have this in our living room......

SPACE!!!


This is where we are going to set up the Pack N Play for the baby. Now do you see why I wanted that table gone?

Space is a glorious, glorious thing!

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

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A Little P&P

I'm always up for some R&R (rest and relaxation), but tonight I'm in the mood for some P&P (pasta and peas!) Seriously, could the "P" have stood for anything but pasta?

I've had this can of peas in my cabinet, and it was time to use them.



I usually use the large peas, but I accidentally picked up the small peas instead.

Blurry, but aren't they cute?

I'd forgotten how much I like the small peas. I'll have to make this mistake more often! I combined the pasta with the peas and made a quick, easy meal.



A taste of deliciousness in every bite!

Question of the Day:
Are you getting enough rest and relaxation during these summer months?

Until next time!

~Anne Marie

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Oldie but Goodie

Happy Tuesday!

I've been so busy at work today and this is the first second I have to blog. I'm super excited for tonight's dinner....sloppy joes!

I stopped at Aldi's and picked up two cans of sloppy joe sauce for $0.85 a can. You can't beat that!


I always use ground turkey in my sloppy joes. I think I've kicked the ground beef habit.



Up close and personal.

This is one of the ultimate comfort meals for me. Plus, it's cheap and easy.....does it get much better than that?

Question of the Day:
Tell me an oldie but goodie that you love to make.

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Genius of Bloggers

Happy Monday! I can't believe the weekend is over already! I must admit that I had a pretty productive weekend, which always makes me happy.

Yesterday the hubby and I got into a "cleaning mode" and packed up lots of stuff to donate to the Goodwill Store. Even though we brought a bunch of boxes over, we realized that we still have so much more stuff to go through! It's amazing how events (like having a baby) motivate me to clean up, reorganize and get my stuff together.

I know I've mentioned this before, but one of the reasons I love blogging and reading blogs is to get ideas from other people.

I've been making banana soft serve a lot lately because of all of this heat. I read recently on Jolene's blog about how she adds frozen blueberries to her banana soft serve to create an entirely different flavor. I tried this a few days ago and I LOVED it! Thanks so much for the idea, Jolene!

I used one frozen banana, a splash of fat free milk and a handful of frozen blueberries.

Yum!


This made the traditional banana soft serve really, really tasty!


Question of the Day:
Why do you read food blogs?

Until next time!

~Anne Marie