Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Well That Was Eventful......

Good morning!

This morning I had what I would call a "Monday" day. Everything that could go wrong this morning pretty much did. When I left the house to drive to my mom's, I put down all four car windows because I couldn't see out of them. As soon as I got onto the highway, I heard a wooshing sound. I briefly glanced behind me and noticed the back window on the driver's side wasn't closed. I tried to put it up and I realized it wasn't working. After freaking out remaining calm, I decided to try to put the window up when I got to my mom's. 

I felt terrible for the little guy who had to deal with cold air coming into the car for forty minutes.  I turned up the heat and hoped he wouldn't freak out.  Thankfully, I was able to get the window up with no problem and took it to Meinike, right around the corner.  I was able to make it to work on time (thanks for driving me to the train station, Kev!) and even though it's only 12:00, I feel like I've had a full day already.  Can someone tell me why these things happen on a Wednesday?  If if were Monday, I'd almost expect it. 

I know I need to be grateful for the way things happened though.  Thankfully I can get my car back after work, thankfully it won't cost an arm and a leg (just an arm...haha), thankfully the little guy didn't complain about being cold and thankfully I was able to make it work on time.

Sheesh, all of this ranting has caused me to crave something simple.  Thankfully I made another version of Simple Chicken.  This time I used cracked red pepper, oregano, basil, garlic powder and a drizzle of olive oil.

Yup, you can bet I'm ready to get this day over with!

Question of the Day:
Do you tend to freak out in situations or do you remain calm?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

500 Posts In!

I looked at my dashboard today and saw that today was my 500th post!  How awesome! I never dreamed I'd write 100 posts let alone 500!  Thanks so much to everyone that takes a second to come over to my corner of the blog world and read about little ole' me and my obsession with chicken. 

Since many of you were interested in my Personal Questions post, I thought I'd answer some more thought provoking questions.  Besides, you don't really want to see another chicken recipe right now, do you?  (Don't worry, one is coming later in the week for any of you that actually said yes). Haha!

Personal Questions - Round II
1.  What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world?

I'd like to change how much hate there is in the world.  I know that sounds cliche, but it's true.

2.  If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich?

Volunteering.  Helping other people is the way to go.

3.  Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing?

I'm a settler and I realize it.  I'm working on doing what I believe in and hopefully it will pay off one day.

4.  If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently?

I'm a scardey-cat of almost everything.  I'd definitely take more risks.

5.  If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be?

Love yourself - you are beautiful. 

6.  Are you holding onto something you need to let go of?

Yes, and it stinks that it's anger I'm holding on to. 

7.  Do you push the elevator button more than once? Do you really believe it makes the elevator faster?

I LOVE this question! I used to do that until the day when I saw someone else push the button multiple times.  I thought he looked ridiculous.

8.What are you most grateful for?

I'm most grateful for my son, my husband and my family.

9.  What is your happiest childhood memory? What makes it so special?
Gosh, this is a hard question.  I would probably say Christmas mornings were the best because we were all together.  My dad worked a lot when I was a kid, so being able to have everyone under one roof at the same time was awesome.  Looking back on it, I think I appreciate that my brothers and I were all under the same roof.  Now that we're older and living apart, I look back at these times and they make me smile.

10.  At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive?

Probably when my son was born almost a year ago.  It was an amazing experience.

11.  If you just won a million dollars, would you quit your job?

Absolutely, and it's not because of the job I have - I honestly love it.  I would quit because I could be a stay at home mom.

So there you have it - another post written.  Here's to another 500 posts!

Question of the Day:
Pick a question and tell me your answer!

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Monday, August 29, 2011

Hurricane Food

Here we are back at another Monday!

How did everyone do with Hurricane Irene? Although there were some major winds and scary rain, thankfully we ended up with no damage to speak of. The worst we got was a few downed branches. Thank God!

The hubby and I spent most of Saturday afternoon preparing for the hurricane. He went outside to take put the patio furniture away and I stayed inside making sure we had enough food to eat.

While I was making the meals for the week, I decided I wanted to have pizza for dinner. Seriously, is there a better hurricane food? (Probably, but I'm not addressing it on the blog!)

The pizza tasted pretty amazing, especially since the husband helped me with it when he was done playing around working outside. Doesn't food taste much better when someone else makes it?

Question of the Day:
Were you affected by Hurricane Irene?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Friday, August 26, 2011

Zucchini Pizza Boats

Happy Friday!

Is Hurricane Irene threatening anyone else this weekend? I went to Target last night to make sure I had enough food for the little guy and the crowds of people were ridiculous. People were having panic attacks because they didn't have anymore "D" batteries left. Come ON people - relax! I'm dreading going food shopping tonight because I have a feeling it's only going to get worse. It stinks that Friday is my actual food shopping day and not my "I'm going crazy because of Hurricane Irene" day.

I started my shopping trip at Target around 6:45 and didn't get home until 8:30. It might have had something to do with getting distracted by all things shiny...haha.

When I came home, I realized I didn't have any more salad left for my lunch. I decided to make some stuffed zucchini which I have renamed Zucchini Pizza Boats. I based it off of Roni's recipe (sidebar - I love her blogs!) Sure, it was 8:30 at night but I whipped these together in literally 8 minutes (yes, I'm THAT person and I timed myself).

I tweaked her recipe based on what I had on hand.  I added in a half serving of turkey pepperoni, omitted the feta and used mozzarella cheese instead. 

Don't they look pretty?
After I put them in the oven, I ran around like a chicken without a head a mad woman putting the goodies from Target away, assembling bottles and doing some last minute straightening up. It's really hard to get everything done on days when the husband works his second job.

The smell coming from the oven was incredible.  It smelled just like it does when I make my homemade pizza.  After about a half hour, this is what I was left with.
A little burnt, but they still look yummy!
I can't comment on the taste, but I can tell you that I'm so excited for it to be lunchtime already!

Question of the Day:
Are you ready for Hurricane Irene or do you think it will amount to a whole lot of nothing?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday!

We're up for another installment of the Thankful Thursday series. Today, I'm thankful that I got some snuggle time in with this guy in this morning.

Sure, it was 4:40 in the morning and we didn't have to be up until 5:30 and yes, I'm completely exhausted. But you know what? I wouldn't have traded the snuggle time for anything in the world.

Please excuse me while I have a mini freak-out at the above picture.  When/how did he become a little boy?

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

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I Feel the Earth Move.....

...under my feet. Seriously, I've had this song in my head for the past 24 hours.

I was one of the "lucky" ones who felt the earthquake yesterday.  I was sitting at my desk when all of a sudden I saw my computer monitor shake.  When I looked across the street, I saw the windows moving back and forth.  Before I knew it, some professors came running out of their offices excited that they were feeling an earthquake in Philadelphia.  Me?  I wasn't too excited - I was more nervous than anything else!

The shake up led me to wanting something comforting for dinner, so pasta seemed like the perfect choice.  There's something heartwarming and healing about a bowl of pasta.  I cooked up some whole grain spaghetti and added in some frozen spinach.

I love how you can see the spinach throughout the pasta.

Of course, pasta wouldn't be pasta without the cheese!

Delicious, hearty and oh so comforting.  It was just what I was craving.

Question of the Day:
What are you craving right now?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Ha Moments

Happy Tuesday!

I can FINALLY take a breather - today is proving to be much less stressful compared to yesterday's craziness

Can I get completely geeky on you for a second?  Damian and Samuel won The Glee Project!  I'm beyond excited - I was rooting for Damian the entire show.  He seemed the most humble of the four finalists, and I'm happy that he'll be on Glee for a few episodes.  Gosh, I am such a complete dork!

Last night when I got home I had one of those "a ha" moments - you know the ones I'm talking about.  You see, when I get into a routine, I rarely veer from it.  I come home, I have an agenda and I stick to it because I know it works.  Take the little guy, for example.  He typically falls asleep anywhere between 7:00-8:30.  Usually, he falls asleep on me and usually I snuggle with him until he gets his last bottle at 9:30.   After he eats at 9:30, I begin the task of getting the family ready for the next day - i.e. pack lunches, clean up the mess of toys, etc.  Last night I decided to try feeding the little guy at 8:30 and see if he woke up any earlier this morning.  You know what?  He didn't.  A ha!  Feeding him his bottle a little earlier means extra time with the husband, getting chores done sooner and sleeping more.  Hallelujah!

Another a ha moment I've had recently?  This......

Microwavable brown rice that cooks in 90 seconds.  I understand it's much more cost effective to buy bigger bags and take the time to cook the rice, but my life doesn't have room for that right now.  I bought this at Aldi's, but I know that other supermarkets carry this product.

Well, I'm off to get some more work done - hope you all enjoy your day!

Question of  the Day:
Have you had an "a ha" moment lately?  Tell me about it!

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Monday, August 22, 2011

Using What's On Hand

Happy Monday! Holy moly has it been crazy today! I have literally a five second breather, so instead of checking my e-mail or going on facebook (such a guilty pleasure of mine!) I decided to blog.

I have another chicken dish for you today.....suprised?  Coming up with a toping for chicken proves to be challenging because I make chicken a lot.  I took a look through my cabinet and decided to use what I had on hand.  I found some Lay's dip creations that I received for free from the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, sprinkled it on top of the chicken and baked until it was done.

It almost looks like pesto, doesn't it?  The flavor is called Garden Onion and oh, boy does it have a huge onion flavor!  I think I should serve this chicken with a side of mints! haha

Sorry for the shorter blog post - it's been a crazy day!

Question of the Day:
Onions - yay or nay?

Yay for me, but I have to have gum afterwards!

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Friday, August 19, 2011

When You Crave the Unhealthy Stuff

Let's be real. I try to eat healthy most days of the week but there are times when I have the urge to stuff my face full of anything and everything that moves. I think the women of the blog world know what I'm referring to....haha.

I've found that when I eat healthier and more frequently, I'm less likely to feel the need to eat the not-so-healthy stuff. And then there are those occasions when I'm in the mood for something unhealthy and recreate a healthier version.

I was craving Chinese food when I stumbled across Beth's recipe for veggie fried brown rice.  It couldn't have happened at a better time.  At 8:00 at night, I made a huge batch to eat for lunch the following day. 

I started by sauteing some onions in a skillet.

After they softened I added in my frozen veggies.  Once they were heated through, I put a half a cup of  precooked brown rice and cracked an egg on top. 

I stirred for a few minutes until the egg was cooked and added in some rice wine vinegar and soy sauce.  When all was said and done, I was left with an entire pot of healthy veggie fried brown rice.
Don't let the picture fool you - it tasted much better than it looks
For my Weight Watchers readers - all that food for 6 points+!  It was insanely good and filling.  I'll definitely be making this again soon!

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend!

Question of the Day:
Have you ever created a healthy version of something unhealthy?  What was it?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday!!

I can't believe it's Thursday already. I guess that's because I had off on Monday.  Anywho, today, I'm thankful for the opportunity to be a Godmother to this beautiful little girl.
Mom and baby
Sophia's Baptism was beautiful, and she only flinched a little bit when the holy water was poured over her head.  She's such a little angel!

I love my nephew in this picture....he's trying to look and see what's going on!
Being able to be a Godmother is an honor I'm very grateful for.

I can't get enough of this little sweetheart!!

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

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Crockpot Shredded Chicken Parm

Despite being off on Monday, I had to get all of my cooking done over the weekend.  It's hard to rationalize cooking food on a day I could spend completely with the little guy.  I wanted to make something the baby could enjoy with us that was also easy to throw together.  This turned out to be a really simple dish that could be customized however you want.

I took five chicken breasts and put them in a crockpot sprayed with cooking spray.  Next I added three cans of diced tomatoes, some basil, oregano and garlic powder and let it cook for around six hours or so. 

I shredded the chicken, topped it with mozzarella cheese and served it with brown rice.  It reminded me so much of shredded chicken parmesan. 

I'll definitely be making this again, especially as the weather gets cooler.  I mean really, is there anything easier than making something in the crockpot?

Question of the Day:
What's your favorite crockpot meal?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Food Review: Birds Eye Steamfresh Chef's Favorites

Happy Monday Tuesday!! I've been off of the blogging wagon - I'm sorry! Friday was the beginning of the craziness at work and I was off on Monday. It was so much fun getting to hang out with the little guy for an extra day.

My weekend was a lot of fun! My beautiful niece was Baptized on Sunday, and I was so proud to be her Godmother.  Over the weekend I was able to test out an awesome new product for free courtesy of Foodbuzz's Tastemaker Program with Bird's Eye Chef's Favorites.   I'm a huge fan of Bird's Eye Steamfresh in general, so I jumped at the chance to try this out. 

In case you can't see the title, I tried the Roasted Red Potatoes & Green Beans with Parmesan Olive Oil Sauce.
I started making dinner while I popped the bag in the microwave for about seven minutes.  I was at the stove when I literally stopped and looked over at the microwave.  The smell that was coming from it was incredible.  It smelled like a restaurant in my house for the seven minutes this thing was steaming.  Even the husband came downstairs to find out what I was making. 

When dinner was ready, I opened up the bag and put the vegetables on the plate.

I took a close-up picture because these guys deserved it!

Part of me wishes that the husband wasn't around so I could've eaten the entire bag.  It was THAT good.  I honestly expected the vegetables to be mushy but I have to admit that the potatoes and green beans were cooked perfectly and the sauce complimented the vegetables well.  My only "complaint" is I wish the bag was bigger!
These don't hit shelves until September, so make sure to check them out in a few weeks!  I know I'll be loading up on them for sure!

Question of the Day:
Are you a fan of steam in the bag vegetables?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday!

Whew! It's been one heck of a morning! We have Pre-Orientation going on at my job right now for some new students. To say it's hectic is a complete understatement. Don't get me wrong, the busyness makes the day go much, much faster and that's always a good thing. The only downside is that I have to get used to lots and lots of students hanging around the office again. This marks my official end of summer. haha.

Today, I'm thankful for having the hubby at home tonight. He's worked his second job every day this week, and not seeing him until 10:45 p.m. when I'm only half awake isn't cutting it.

Even though I've got to go food shopping, he has to mow the lawn and the little guy needs a bath, at least I'll be able to see him when I get home. Plus, bath time for the little guy equals snuggles for him and his daddy.

I LOVE this picture of them!

Of course, I have to add a picture of the little guy while he was in the bathtub. He was having so much fun and wouldn't stop smiling for the camera. I LOVE this kid!

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

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Making the Most Out of Your Time

Since the little guy was born, one thing I'm short on is time. When I'm not diaper-changing, feeding (him, hubby or me), doing laundry or washing dishes, I'm most likely in the kitchen trying to create some semblance of a dinner.   I would be remiss not to say the husband doesn't help out because he does....a lot.  I certainly don't have the opportunity to be too adventurous in the kitchen, which is why you see A LOT of chicken and pasta on the blog. Maybe when the little guy is older, I'll get back to some of the things that take longer to make.

Even though time is in short supply, I try my best to make the most out of the time I do have. Take Saturday night, for example. While feeding the little guy in his high chair, I was able to make a chicken dish for the week.

I saw this guy at the supermarket and decided to give it a try.

Chicken and poultry grinder?  Don't mind if I do! 

I love the hint of seasoning this brought to the chicken. Not too overpowering or bland. Just right!

Thankfully, there were only minimal grunts of "feed me NOW woman!" from the little guy while I was using the grinder on the chicken. 

Making the most out of the time I do have has a downside.....I'm EXHAUSTED by 7:00 in the evening. Perhaps I need to make more time to rest!

Question of the Day:
Life is hectic, no doubt about it. What's something in your life you want to make more time for?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Things that Make Me Happy

If you've been reading the blog for a little while, you'll know that I'm thankful for the little things like sunshine when it's supposed to rain, an unexpected smile from the little guy, a hot cup of coffee in the morning or being able to call my co-workers friends.  You know what else makes me happy?  Being able to borrow this......
Pasta machine!
Seriously, it was the highlight of my weekend.  You know how much this girl loves chicken pasta, especially when it's homemade.  Fun fact:  I registered for a traditional pasta maker (the one my grandmom uses) when I got married.  I've used it a handful of times, but it's a ton of work!

This pasta machine was a piece of cake to use.  I had fresh pasta in literally five minutes!  I put in two cups of flour, two eggs, a little bit of oil and water and turned the machine on.

After mixing for a few minutes, I turned the machine on "extract" and saw this.....
Cool, right?

I let it dry for a little bit and then threw it in a pot of boiling water for about 3-4 minutes.

Tasty is completely an understatement!

I have to say though, I think I enjoy the fresh pasta made with the traditional machine better....but I also think it's all in my head. haha.

Question of the Day:
Tell me something that makes you happy!

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Monday, August 8, 2011

Food Review: Ore-Ida Sweet Potato Fries

Happy Monday!
This weekend was one of those weekends where I got a lot accomplished but I don't feel like I wasted the weekend doing chores. It's really a win-win situation. Over two days, meals were cooked for the week, we got new tires on the car and got lots of cleaning and laundry accomplished.

As a reward for our efforts, I pulled out some sweet potato fries that I received for free from Foodbuzz's Tastemaker Program.  I was excited to try these because:
  1. I love sweet potatoes
  2. I love fries

I was impressed as soon as I put them on the baking sheet.  I knew that these weren't going to be your "typical" sweet potato fries.

Seriously, look at the size of these things! (Anyone else thinking "that's what she said?"  No?)

I paired them with some pizza bread because what goes better with knock-off pizza?

To say that these were delicious is the understatement of the year. They were crispy, sweet and honestly, each fry left me wanting more and more. Added bonus? The above picture shows the serving size of the fries.   Completely and utterly satisfying.

Question of the Day:
Sweet potato fries or regular fries?  Which do you prefer?

I love both, but at the moment, sweet potato fries are stealing my heart.

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Friday, August 5, 2011

My Newest Obsession

Happy Friday!

I enjoyed my time off with the little guy so much. We laughed, we gave multiple high-fives to one another (it's his new thing)  we napped on the sofa (for a glorious 2.5 hours) and we even hung out with "Aunt" Chele.   It.Was. Awesome.

I don't know why it's taken me so long, but I'm having a love affair with Pinterest.  I've been looking at it literally ALL morning!  People are incredibly creative.  I just looked at the clock and saw that it's time for lunch - I can't believe how quickly the time passed by!

Before I break for lunch, I want to share with you a recipe for spicy chicken.  I took a plain chicken breast and seasoned it with chili powder and chipolte powder.  I didn't use exact measurements, so season according to taste.

I topped this with hot sauce before I ate it. The spicier the better for me!

Question of the Day:
Spicy food - yes or no?

Hands down yes for me!

Hope you have a great weekend!

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Today, I'm thankful to be home with the little guy who loves to eat peaches?  Don't believe me (or want to see a super cute video?)

Take a look and judge for yourself.

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

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Extra Lean Burgers-Yuck!

Happy Wednesday!! I'm super excited because I have the day off tomorrow.  Our babysitter is on vacation this week, so the husband and I rotated days off.  I wish tomorrow was Friday, though - that would make it an even better day off!

When I go grocery shopping, I typically  have an idea of what's on the menu for the week.  This week I wanted something different, so when I came across a package of 93/7 lean hamburgers on sale, I put them in my cart. 

I wasn't sure what to expect from the burgers and after I saw what they looked like when they were cooked, I knew not to expect too much.  I'd rather buy the ground meat and make my own, but the pre-made burgers seemed like a good choice because it saved me time.
Blah. Nothing special.
Yeah.....not really good at all.  Thankfully the bread hid the flavor of the burgers fairly well.  At least I was reminded that making my own burgers is a much better idea.
Please don't forget to enter the formula giveaway. You have until Sunday night to enter!

Question of the Day:
Which do you prefer - regular, turkey or veggie burgers?

I'm a huge fan of turkey burgers.  As long as they are seasoned correctly, they taste great!

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Giveaway Time (for baby stuff!)

Happy Tuesday!

Last night, after it stopped torrentially downpouring, the hubby and I decided to take the little guy out for a walk.  Yes, it was pitch dark outside but the rain made the temperature so much cooler, plus the little guy fell asleep halfway through the walk.  Win and win.

I'm going to use the rest of this post to tell you about an awesome opportunity  I received through MyBlogSpark.  I received two cans of Parent's Choice formula, coupons for $3.00 off of Parent's Choice Advantage Infant Formula and a Parent's Choice Starter Set that included bottles, liners, rings and a host of other things.  Now seems like the appropriate time for the disclaimer - the product, prize pack, information, and giveaway have all been provided by Parent's Choice through MyBlogSpark for free.  I am not being compensated for this post.

When the little guy was first born, I nursed as much as I could, but after a while, my milk supply dropped and I had to supplement with formula.  From what I hear, my nursing story isn't as uncommon as I once thought.  Choosing the right formula was difficult mainly because I wanted to make sure that I chose the best one for my son.  I thought brand names (like Enfamil, Similac, etc.) were the way to go, but when I talked to my doctor, she told me that it didn't matter what the brand was - all formulas have to meet the nutritional guidelines determined by the FDA.  I breathed a sigh of relief knowing that if I purchased a store brand, I'd still be giving my son quality formula. 

I'm more than happy with the Parent's Choice products.  The bottles and liners work well (although I'm generally not a fan of bottles with liners) and the little guy voices no complaints with the formula.  Want more info on Parent's Choice formula?  Check out the website here.

You know what's super cool?  I can give all of this away to you!

The winner's prize pack will contain:

(1) 12.9 oz can of Parent’s Choice Premium 
(1) 12.4 oz can of Parent’s Choice Advantage
(2) $3.00 off coupons for Parent’s Choice Infant Formula (redeemable at all Walmart stores)
(1) Parent’s Choice Starter Set – a complete nurser system that includes a variety of bottles, nipples, liners, leak proof caps and retainer rings.

I know many of you don't have the need for formula, but if you know someone who could benefit from this, please send them to the blog.

What do you have to do to enter?  Leave me a comment telling me the best baby advice you've ever gotten.  Please note that the giveaway is for U.S. residents only....sorry!

Question of the Day:
What's the weather like where you are?

It started off cool this morning, but it's supposed to get into the 90s by the afternoon here in Philadelphia.

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Monday, August 1, 2011

Simple Chicken

I'm glad that many of you enjoyed the personal questions post.   The questions were a lot of fun to answer!

You know, sometimes I find myself looking for new recipes to make because I need to switch up my routine a bit.  Such was the case this weekend, but instead of spending too much time online looking for one, I decided to create my own.  It's probably the simplest recipe I could come up with, and it tastes delicious.

I coated the chicken breasts in olive oil and sprinkled oregano, basil, garlic powder and some salt and pepper on top.

Lots of spices, but it hit the spot.

I'll have to do a recap of the weekend of getting the kiddo's together.  Here's a sneak preview.

Little guy checking out his cousin

It was so much fun!

I've got a mail merge project to get back to (lucky me!)  I just love printing and stapling hundreds upon hundreds of letters.......(there's total sarcasm in that last sentence, in case you were wondering!)

Question of the Day:
What was the highlight of your weekend?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie