June 30, 2012

Summer Rental

I just finished reading a super cute (new) book from Mary Kay Andrews...one of my favorite Chick Lit authors! I mean seriously  her books are so cute and pretty easy to read. Plus you always love her characters, she makes them so damn likeable!! :)

Anywho I just wrapped up Summer Rental and it was adorable!!

The book focuses on a group of 3 girlfriends who spend the month of August in a beach rental house called Ebbtide! Of course their's hunky McHunkster Ty who lives in the garage apartment next to the house and of course he sweeps one of the girls off their feet :)

Along with the 3 girls and the obvious summer romance Mary Kay Andrews tosses in a 4th woman who is running from her CRAZY con-artist husband. You've got the "mystery"/"suspense" from that and it fits perfectly in the book.

I don't want to give away too much because I think all woman should pick this book up before the end of summer! It's all about friendship, taking chances, and leaving behind a painful past!! Seriously go check this book out at the library, grab it at the store, or download it for your eReader!!!

Overall grade - A++ I loved this book!!

June 28, 2012

Crock Pot "Stir-Fry"

I've been on quite the roll lately with getting back into cooking and making new recipes! Basically with the wedding planning and being super busy Chuck had taken over all the cooking for a long time and I've missed it so much!! But I'm back and pushing out Weight Watcher Recipes like no other!! And it's been such a blast!!

I just made this Crock Pot "Stir-Fry" which was extremely interesting to me! I just had to try it cause it's a stir fry made in a crock pot! Does it get any better than that?

You will need 1-1/2 lbs lean boneless pork loin (cut into 1-1/2 inch chunks), 2 tbls fresh ginger (I used bottled ginger), 4 garlic gloves minced, 2-1/2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth, 1/4 cup Hoisin sauce (my new fave), 3 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 1lb bag of frozen broccoli and cauliflower, and an onion (or onion powder).

After you've cut up your pork toss it into the crock pot with the ginger and garlic.

In a separate bowl combine the broth and hoisin sauce.

Pour over the pork and refrigerate over night. Or if you have time in the AM to do all this go ahead and do it then. I don't have time before work so I always put things together the night before so I only have to turn the crock pot on!

You will cook the pork mixture on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. Once you've hit the allotted time then you combine the soy sauce and cornstarch into a small book and whisk until smooth.

Once your soy sauce/cornstarch is mixed, take the pork out of the crockpot and set aside in a separate bowl. Only remove the pork leave the "Sauce" in there.

Then pour your soy sauce/cornstarch mixture into the crock pot. Cover and cook on high for 10 minutes or until the mixture simmers.

Then stir in the broccoli and cauliflower. Cover and cook on high for about 45 minutes.

After 45 minutes toss your pork back into the crock pot and cook on high for another 10 minutes.

Measure out 1 cup of the mixture onto a place and I added 1/2 cup white rice. Can't be a stir fry without some right right?

Doesn't that look delish?? It really was! And your house will smell so good when you get home! It was such a great smell getting off work, especially since I worked late and I had zero desire to cook dinner! Great thing was - dinner was pretty much made for me!

And bonus 1 cup of the mixture is only 5 weight watcher points and then 1/2 cup white rice is only 3 points. So a whole dinner for 8 weight watcher points!! Oh yes!! You know what that means....there is room for dessert!! Yes I had 2 of my Spice Crackle Cookies!! 

Even if you aren't doing weight watchers you MUST try this recipe! It was super good!! Chuckles devoured his serving!!

June 26, 2012

Spice Crackle Cookies

I hate to even post this recipe without ALL the pictures that I should've taken but it's too good of a recipe not to post! I would just remake it and take new pictures but I can't afford to have these little balls of goodness hanging around our house again!!
I can't believe I didn't even take a picture of the ingredients but I must have been so into my cooking/baking that night (I did make 4 new recipes) that I got so wrapped up in just cooking! Not going to lie it was really nice! I did however get some pictures because I went in with every intention of blogging all new recipes!

This one is a must try for everyone! It is a weight watchers recipe too which makes it even better right? :)

You only need a few ingredients that I'm sure most of you have on hand, I actually had everything I needed which was so nice to not have to go to the store!

Gather up - 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup unpacked brown sugar, 1 large egg, 1 tbsp vanilla extract, 2 cups all purpose flour, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/3 tsp table salt, 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice, and 1/4 cup powdered sugar.

First toss you butter and brown sugar into your mixing bowl and mix well.

Next up toss in the egg and vanilla extract, beat well.

Then you add in the flower, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice!

Blend until your dough forms a ball like this.

Then roll out 36 balls. Yes 36 exactly or you will screw up the Weight Watchers Points. This part took the longest for me cause I ended up making the balls too small at first and had to go through and add dough to each one until I ran out of dough!

Then take the balls roll them in powdered sugar and bake them in the oven at 375 degrees for 7-8 minutes. 8 minutes was perfect in my oven!

 I hate to not even have a picture of the finished product but they look exactly how they look going into the oven. They don't flatten out they stay in little round balls! And I dare you not to pop one in your mouth fresh out the oven. They smell heavenly and taste just like Christmas to me!! I was stoked! Only 2 points a cookie and they are AMAZING!! I even made sure to set aside 4 points for the next day so I could eat 2!!! 

Whatever you do, DO NOT leave these babies uncovered! I put them in a Tupperware container and hauled them off to work but if you leave them sitting out they will get hard as rock!!

I already know I'll be making these a lot during Christmas time and probably even before Christmas hits!! I highly recommend you try them, even if you aren't doing Weight Watchers!! Everyone at my work LOVED them and they are dubbed the Little Dough Balls :)

June 24, 2012

Roasted Potato Wedges

To go with our Teriyaki Burgers I decided to make another Weight Watchers recipe for Roasted Potato Wedges!! These are so simple and good it will blow your mind!!

You only need 2 potatoes, 1 spray cooking spray, 2 tbsp mustard (they call for Dijon I used Honey), 1 tsp olive oil, salt & pepper, and your choice of seasonings!! I chose basil cause we were out of everything else! They recommend using rosemary, oregano, and parsley, but you can use whatever spices you like!

First up, peel the potatoes and then slice in wedges like thick french fries!

In a bowl combine the mustard, olive oil, seasonings, and salt & pepper.

Then toss in your wedges and coat completely with your mixture.

Get out a baking sheet, put aluminum foil then spray it with cooking spray. Lay out your wedges.

Bake those babies at 425 degrees for about 30 minutes. At 15 minutes I took them out and flipped them all so they were evenly "baked".

Then get ready to enjoy!! These Potato Wedges were AWESOME!! I loved the taste of the mustard, you seriously did not need to dip these in anything!! They provided just enough flavor between the mustard and the seasonings! And for 1/4 of the above baking sheet it was only 3 points!!! 

While it doesn't look like much, that really is a lot of food on that plate. The new plates we got for the wedding are HUGE! We love them but they are MASSIVE!! I usually use a smaller plate but this night I ended up with a big plate!

I highly recommend these, especially if you are on Weight Watchers! These are way better than frozen fries and I'm sure healthier!!

June 22, 2012

Teriyaki Burgers

When I had my first dress fitting back in January the seamstress told me not to lose any more than 5lbs from then until our wedding at the end of April! For me it was quite a shock, even though I expected it, because I had reached a 60lbs loss and only had 30lbs left to lose before I reached my ultimate goal. But I wanted to be stress-free about my dress alterations so I chose to keep my weight the exact same and I did!

Then I ended up getting sick keeping me from running for 2 weeks, then we had our Honeymoon, and then came home and ended up sick again...this all added up to a 10lb weight gain! I was super annoyed and felt extremely shitty. I ended up keeping those 10lbs for a couple weeks and then realized I was struggling to get back on track with Weight Watchers and back on track with my running....so I decided to sign up for Weight Watchers online and use the APP on my phone...and hello I am back on track. I ran three times last week and tracked all week long! 

A big part of getting me back on track was making dinner myself and using weight watcher recipes! So the first night of weight watchers I whipped up these Teriyaki Burgers with Chili Ketchup!!

You only need a few ingredients (disclaimer I changed my ingredients slightly but the points are still the same) - 1lb uncooked 93% lean ground beef, onion powder, 2 tbsp teriyaki sauce, table salt, black pepper, 1/2 cup ketchup, and some Siracha Sauce.

First things first you will want to whip up your burger patties and get to grilling. In a large bowl combine your beef, teriyaki sauce, onion powder, and the salt & pepper. Then evenly distribute the meat to form 4 burger patties.

Throw those babies on the grill and cook to your liking. I prefer them well done!

Then while you are waiting take your 1/2 cup ketchup and combine that with some siracha sauce. The original recipe calls for 1/8 item sun-dried hot chili peppers, minced (about 1 tsp)

Once your burgers are cooked get out all that you want to dress up your burger. If you go simple like me I just added my Ketchup Chili sauce and some lettuce. Oh and those pretty "French Fries" are actually a weight watchers recipe that will be on the blog next....they are a must make so stay tuned for those....

Not only was this meal super easy to make it was also fairly low in points and fulfilling. The burger patty with Ketchup Chili sauce was 5 points, and then burger bun was 3 points. The "french fries" were only 3 points. A combined total of 11 points for a yummy dinner!! I also added in a bit of applesauce for an additional two points!!

If you love burgers give this recipe a shot! Even Chuckles really liked the burgers cause with the Teriyaki Sauce they are a little juicer!!

June 20, 2012

The Book Club - No not ours!

Another book down ladies and gents!! I just finished reading The Book Club by Mary Alice Monroe!

Obviously the reason I chose this book was solely based on the title! I mean come on who wouldn't want to read a book about a book club, especially when you are in a book club!! I knew that I'd have a hard time connecting to the characters because they are all in their 40s and 50s but I just had to read it anyways!  

The book focuses on 5 women, Eve, Annie, Doris, Midge, and Gabriella! Each women is facing a tough situation in their life at about the same time...Eve's husband suddenly passes away leaving her to raise their two children and deal with her grief over unspoken words. Annie finally decides she wants to have a child but at her age it's challenging. Doris is just a mess without knowing it. She's got an old fashioned way of life and learns to stop accepting the "abuse" from her husband. Midge's mother comes to "visit" (extended) which means a lot of  criticism on Midge's choice of staying single and focusing on her artwork. And Gabriella's husband loses his job forcing her to increase her hours as a nurse and deal with the stress of being a single income family!

All and all this book covers a lot of different topics, relationships, and overall opinions! It was alright. I was never able to connect to any of the characters, but I did like them. They all were good people just learning how to deal with stressful times in their life.

I wouldn't recommend this book unless you enjoy reading books about "real" life. It was extremely real to the point where I'm sure most people at that stage in their life can relate. It almost made me feel depressed the whole time. I wanted to finish it hoping for that happy ending but at the end I just felt sad. Sad for the women.

Overall grade - C. The book wasn't horrible but it was a downer!

June 18, 2012

Book Club Book Year 3!

After this month we will have officially entered Year 3 of our book club!! WOO HOO!! I am so excited that we are all still loving this book club and still chugging along with interesting books!! In the most recent meeting back in May we all brought our picks for the next years books and I of course want to share them with you all!! I also now have a completed 2012 book list for me to finish by December 31st, 2012!!!

And would you believe that I might actually have two books to add to make it 42 books this year?? We will see, I really wanted to stick with 40 but I'm debating about these two I just heard about!!

I actually ended up having to move one of my 2012 books into 2013 as it was picked by the book club to read, but I already replaced that one with Dreams of Joy, the sequel to Shanghai Girls! There's no way I won't be reading that one!!

But first here are the next 12 books for our book club, including 6 that will be added to my list :)

July 2012 -  The American Heiress: A Novel by Daisy Goodwin
August 2012 - Wench: A Novel by Dolen Perkins-Valdez
September 2012 - Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum
October 2012 - The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
November 2012 - The Violets of March by Sarah Jio
December 2012 - A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg

January 2013 - The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
February 2013 - Magnolia Wednesdays by Wendy Wx
March 2013 - Keeping the House by Ellen Baker
April 2013 - The Widower's Tale by Julia Glass
May 2013 - The Forgotten Garden: A Novel by Kate Morton
June 2013 - The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

There you have it folks! I'm super excited for our 3rd year of book club!! And I am super excited to have such a good variety of books!!

And here is our annual photo :)


Stay tuned for a couple more possible additions to my 2012 list...I might be crazy and add more :o)

Happy Reading!!

June 16, 2012

A Camping We Will Go!

This past weekend we were lucky enough to head out of town for a fun filled camping trip!!! We went out to the KOA in Cloverdale, CA with our awesome friends Angelina, Justin, and their daughter Bianca!! 

Just wanted to share a few photos of our fun weekend!! 

Here everyone is setting up camp!!

Since I pack the car and haul everything out from the car Chuckles is in charge of setting up the tent, as well as all the cooking!!

It was super windy when we got there, and ALL NIGHT LONG, so Chuck had to get Justin's help in setting up the final part of the tent, which kept trying to blow away!

Me and my Homeslice getting ready to be lazy while the boys took care of everything the rest of the night :)

After we got all set up, Justin started a camp fire and Chuck cooked up dinner. Burgers for us with pesto pasta salad and macaroni and cheese for Bianca!! Check out our new camping stove that we got as a wedding gift! According to Chuck it's AMAZING and so much better than BBQ-ing everything. Of course I'd have no idea cause other than toasting marshmallows I don't cook all weekend! :)

 Angelina and I super comfy in our camp chairs around the fair! Excuse the haze the wind kept blowing smoke everywhere!! It was such a nice relaxing night by the fire!!

All ready to start roasting marshmallows!!

The next morning we were all up bright and early! We were up around 7 cause A. A jerk in the camp spots below us was yelling at his kid and B. Once the sun came up it got super bright in the tent!!

Chuck immediately starting making us some yummy pancakes and bacon!!

And Angelina and I started the day off right with some champagne!!

The dogs did so well considering this was their first tent experience. We've always done a cabin when we've taken the dogs (or rented an RV like at Manchester Beach). They were all about laying in the dirt and Buster kept a watchful eye over our site!!

Saturday afternoon Angelina and I took Bianca to the pool which was so awesome!! We spent a couple hours in the water catching some sun while the boys chilled at camp. Then we all walked up to the store and got some ice cream to cool down!!

This was my outfit for our walk (hey we are camping) but everyone gave me crap for it! They even tried to get me to change my shorts but I had to rock them!! 

Saturday evening, once the sun started going down the dogs crapped out on us! Both were so pooped from fun activities!

I don't think Buster slept at night cause of all the noise from the wind but he sure crashed when we were relaxing at camp!!

Here is me and the hubs!! Yup I love saying that!! :)

Saturday night we had an AWESOME dinner of green beans, rolls, steak and pesto pasta salad!! Needless to say we were stuffed full from all the awesome food!!

You're never too old to play a childs game right?? While sitting around the camp fire we got to talking and the topic of Chubby Bunny came up!! Have you ever played?? Well you stick a marshmallow in your mouth and say Chubby Bunny. Then you keep adding marshmallows until A. You can't fit any more in or B. you can no longer understand what you are saying when you say Chubby Bunny!!

Justin and I were the two competing and he definitely won! Angelina had me laughing so hard (cause she was laughing at us) I ended up spitting all my out before I got my 6th one in. Justin got in 6 and attempted 7 before he lost it :) It was so fun though!!

Sunday morning we got up and got packed because it was going to be HOT HOT HOT that day! We had an amazing time camping though and boy did we get tan!!

Another fun camping trip at the Cloverdale KOA. Seriously if you live close to this area go check it out! We are actually going back in July for some more fun in the sun!!

Happy Trails Everyone!!

June 14, 2012

Mermaids in the Basement

This month for our book club we are reading Mermaids in the Basement by Michael Lee West and I was actually able to finish this one early! Lately I've been waiting until the week before book club to read the book so I don't forget details but it's just too darn stressful and really how much am I forgetting? Probably not much since you know I read the book and pay attention to details :)

Anywho we went camping this past weekend (post coming soon...) and I was able to finish up the book!!

This book is a perfect summer read! It's got Southern Heat and Drama all wrapped up in one!!

The story focuses on Renata, a young woman who finds out via the National Enquirer that her director boyfriend is having an affair with an actress on his new movie set! She decides to head home, after finding a note her Mother left her (Mom passed away) telling her to speak to her Grandmother and Nanny (who live together now) about secrets from the past!

The book gives you a few different narrators, Renata, Honora (Renata's grandmother), Isabella (Honora's best friend/neighbor), Gladys (Renata's childhood Nanny who now lives with Honora), and Louie (Renata's father). It can get kind of confusing as to who's speaking but you can definitely figure it out if you pay attention.

The story is all about unraveling a bunch of secrets from Renata's childhood about her mother, her father, and all the others involved with them! It's a good book, not a great one, but the story is interesting and it's an easy read! I also really enjoy books that take place in the South (probably cause it's so different from California) and that have any sort of mystery to them.

If you have the time and you are interested in reading about some dysfunctional relationships then pick up this one. I wouldn't classify it as a must read though. 

Overall grade - B.  

June 12, 2012

The Girl With No Shadow

I finally finished the book The Girl With No Shadow by Joanne Harris. I say "finally finished" because I started this book in March and have read 4 other books while "reading" this one!!

If you recall, this book is the sequal to Chocolat which is the only reason I chose to read it, as well as it was written by an author I've really come to like, Joanne Harris. She also wrote Gentlemen and Players.

I was super excited when I first added this book to my book list, in fact I do believe it was on the list last year...I'll have to double check that. Sadly though it was an extremely slow book and felt like it took FOREVER to read without ever really getting into it. I'd pick it up and then let it sit there for weeks at a time and it was on my Kindle so I felt if I was picking up my Kindle I should be reading this book.

The book picks up four years after Chocolat ends. Vianne or Yanne as she goes by in this book, and her TWO daughters Anouk and Rosette have started a new life, a new chocolaterie and she even has a new "love" interest - Thierry - who's quite the ass! Enter in a mysterious new character named Zozie and then it gets odd/weird. The book seems to be about Vianne/Yanne trying to change her life while Zozie tries to steal her life as Vianne, and tries to steal her daughter Anouk. It, of course, all comes to a head in the end and it's a battle of the witches, however I was quite disappointed cause all 20 pages of build up and there really wasn't much action.

All in all really didn't like the book. I even stayed up past 11 to finish reading it and spent the next morning at work chugging coffee like crazy. The book is too long (480 pages - yes that's too long for this story), way too detailed where it's not needed, quite confusing and such a let down. Sorry Ms Harris I am so not impressed by this book and you should've left good enough alone with Chocolat.

Overall grade - D-! Not worth the time! 

June 10, 2012

There's A Spouse in My House!

When we first got engaged I of course jumped on the band wagon and wanted to read all the fun and helpful "Planning Your Wedding" books! Lucky for me my awesome sister gave me a whole planning binder and my friend Alycia had a whole bunch of leftover books she used during her wedding planning.

Yes I also bought Don't Sweat the Small Stuff for wedding planning to keep me sane! And you know what? I loved those books! They were fun, informative and some a little silly! I figured why not grab one after wedding book that was light and fun for our first year of marriage! So I grabbed this one...


This book is awesome! The author really knows how to hit the funny bone and of course some of these things don't apply to us since we've been together for over 5 years, and living together for almost 5 years now (Yup we moved in together super quick). But it was still really funny and humorous! I couldn't put it down. I'd make sure I'd have enough time in the morning before work to read a quick chapter just because it was so cute!

Would I recommend this book as serious advice? Maybe, Maybe Not. It really depends on where you are in your relationship when you get married. If you haven't lived together - then yes this book can be handy. Haven't really "dealt" with the in laws and splitting up the holidays - then for sure this book can help. Not sure how to deal with your Spouse's annoying habits (you've got some too - just remember that) then this book helps provide a light hearted way of just letting those habits go!

One of the best parts of this book is that the author gives out "Husband" advice and "Wife" advice at the end of each chapter. And trust me ladies you will love the advice that he gives the husbands!!

If you just got married or you are getting married soon go ahead and pick up a copy of this book! Don't read it until you're married but honestly it's a fun book to read, especially after you get through the stressful wedding (that turned out absolutely perfect despite your months of worry)!

Overall grade - A+!

June 7, 2012

Strawberry Lassie!

I have been on a Pinterest kick lately and made yet another drink from there!

I tried a new recipe called a Strawberry Lassie! And boy was it easy!

You only need a few ingredients - 1lb Strawberries, 1 cup Ice, 2 cups Non Fat Greek Yogurt - Plain, and 1/2 cup Honey! (Again I cut the above recipe in half for me)

Technically you are supposed to combine the honey and strawberries in a blender (I used our awesome new food processor - Thank You B-Rad) and puree! But I'm a rule breaker (and not very good at reading directions) so I tossed in the honey, strawberries and greek yogurt then got to "processing".

How pretty does that look? It kind of reminds me of my Mom's Jello Salad, which I love love love!!

Next up toss in some ice and "process" again!

Then pour into a tall glass, top with a strawberry and voila...you have yourself a Strawberry Lassie!!

Looks like it could've come straight from a smoothie shop right? Tasted like it too!!

LOVED this recipe! I am a little concerned about how many weight watcher points it will be since I forgot to measure out how much liquid it was to calculate the points BUT it could definitely be a breakfast substitute cause it's pretty filling. I only could drink half of that glass before I was done. I also had it as an afternoon snack so I was not super hungry!

I highly recommend you try this, especially if you love strawberries and smoothies!!


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