Thursday, September 8, 2011

Think Ahead & Make Ahead

This is going to be quick because I do need to go to bed. I am not very tired though, probably due to drinking quite a bit of coffee this afternoon. Oops.

Labor Day weekend was great. We had an awesome time in Raleigh. Below is a picture of us at the first NC State game. We came home on Saturday night real late and then got up Sunday to go to church. In the summer our church service is moved to 9:30am and for the past two weeks my husband was convinced (ok, this week I was convinced too) that it had been moved back to 10:30. So we drove the 30 minutes to church (actually being, what we thought, early this past week) and both weeks we arrived and found out that it was still at 9:30. So, we've missed it two weeks in a row, shame on us. Why we just didn't call and find out the time, I don't know. Should have thought ahead. Anyway, on Sunday (after driving all the way back home) we watched "Stepmom" which is probably my favorite movie and I love to watch it every fall. Then, we went to Young Life leadership which was a bunch of fun because afterward we went to the new frozen yogurt place in town. Monday I spent cleaning, and just relaxing. We watched "Madea's Big Happy Family" Monday night which I thought was really funny and a great end to the weekend.

This week I've made two meals that you could easily make ahead of time and just heat up when you want to eat them. First, I made chili. I made mine in a cast-enamel pot so I could store it in the actual pot and heat it up when we were ready to eat. Tonight I made sauteed tilapia tacos which was a recipe from August's Cooking Light. You can find the recipe here. I baked my tilapia (2 pieces at 400 for 13 minutes) and sauteed my onion and peppers instead of grilling them like the recipe instructs. If you wanted to, you could do all the cooking parts of this recipe (fish and vegetables) and refrigerate them until you're ready to eat them. Then, just heat them back up quickly and you're ready to go! I found that the tilapia was a refreshing change of taco meat. Give it a try.

Ok, I'm off to bed!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Dress for Less

On Saturday I got to go shopping in Raleigh. I, of course, headed straight to Loft to hit up their Labor Day sales, and they were indeed having a sale. I got some really great things that I love for fall. While I was there, I noticed a girl who was trying on a shirt that I had previously just passed over. I thought it looked cute, so I decided to give it a try. It looked pretty cute on, but I couldn't commit. Later in our shopping adventures, we went to Old Navy where I saw a very similar shirt to the one I had tried on in Loft. I liked it a bit more than the Loft one so I bought it...and I saved money! I always like those magazine articles that show you two looks for two different prices. So, today I get to bring you two casual fall shirts for two different prices!

The one on the left is the Loft shirt (I tried it on in green) and the one on the right is the one I purchased from Old Navy. I am not a huge fan of ruffles, so I liked the more minimalist ruffle look of the Old Navy shirt.

And now for the prices... the Loft shirt is regularly $44.50 (on sale through today for $25). The Old Navy one is $16.94. A difference of  $27.56. I feel like I made a good buy.

More to come on our fabulous 3 day weekend. For now, enjoy your Labor Day shopping!

photo credit: (left) from

Friday, September 2, 2011

Stuffed Cuban Pork Tenderloin & the Weekend!

Yay for a 3 day weekend! I'm so glad to have a little break!

We kicked off the weekend with...wait for it, grocery shopping! Woo! While grocery shopping on the first on the month is not my favorite thing, I am thankful for a now full fridge and pantry. Tonight we made Stuffed Cuban Pork Tenderloin, a recipe from August's Cooking Light. This was a five ingredient recipe (s&p don't count) and it turned out to be pretty good. It was a good mix up to our normal pork tenderloin recipe.

Here's what you need: 1 pound of pork tenderloin, trimmed, 2 tbs whole grain dijon mustard, 1/3 cup chopped cilantro, 1/3 cup chopped bread & butter pickles*, 3 thin slices of Swiss cheese, halved, 1/4 tsp each of salt & pepper

1. Preheat the grill to medium-high
2. Slit the pork lengthwise 2/3 of the way through, open the halves laying the pork flat. Place a piece of plastic wrap on top of the meat and pound it out with a meat hammer until it is about 1/2 inch thick. Spread the mustard evenly over the pork and sprinkle with the cilantro & pickles*. Arrange the cheese in a single layer.
3. Roll the pork up, tying it up with kitchen twine in 1 inch intervals. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper.
4. Grill the pork for 22 minutes, 11 minutes per side. Let it rest for 5 minutes.

*The recipe calls for bread & butter pickles. I made mine with sweet pickles because that's what I had and that made it a little off. My MIL made it with dill pickles which she thinks would be better than the b&b ones. This can be your judgment call!

To go with the pork, I made roasted brussell sprouts and roasted cauliflower. To do this: preheat the oven to 400. Drizzle both with evoo and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Toss it all together and roast for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. You can do them both on the same sheet or do them separately.

Here's some step-by-step pictures of the pork recipe:

 splitting the pork

spread on the mustard

sprinkle on cilantro & pickles...ours only had half cheese b/c Kenneth doesn't eat Swiss

grill & eat!

Tomorrow we are headed to Raleigh to do some shopping and to go to NC State's first game. I'm getting excited! I can't help but share my first game outfit! My favorite part is my earrings!

Until next time...

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Easy Barbeque Chicken

Last week when I was talking to my mom on the phone she mentioned that she had put some chicken in the crock pot with barbecue sauce one morning and had it for dinner that night. I thought that was a great idea, so I gave it a try. This is a simple barbecue chicken recipe that is easy and very customizable; that's my kind of recipe.

You will need a crock pot to make this happen of course. First, choose your favorite cut of chicken and your favorite barbecue sauce. We'd already had chicken breasts (my favorite) earlier in the week so I opted for chicken legs this time. I used "Bill's Black Label" barbecue sauce because, well, that's what I had on hand. My favorite sauce is "Sweet Baby Ray's". After you've made your choices, slice up one onion. Pour in about 1/8 to 1/4 cup of water into your crock pot (amount of water depends on the size of the meat, less for legs, more for breasts). Next, place your chicken and onions into the pot. Then, pour the barbecue sauce over the chicken and onion slices until it is all coated. Cook on low 4-6 hours, depending on the size of your meat. Then, it's dinner time! This chicken was so good and was cooked perfectly!

Tuesday was a pretty rough day for me, but it was made much better with flowers from husband! I do quite enjoy seeing these flowers on the table when I get home each day!

Well, I can't talk him out of it, so husband and I are watching the first night of college football. And, when I say watching, I mean him watching and me looking at a magazine. Quality time...can't beat it.