Thursday, September 30, 2010

A sneak preview of October fun...

Yes, we are those people...

The crockpot is the 8th wonder of the world...

White Chicken Chili = Thursday night dinner made easy. This recipe comes from Rachael Ray, are you surprised? But I changed a few things to suit my 6am prep/rush around the house/and get out the door in 45 minutes schedule.

Today's recipe:
2 raw chicken breasts (mine were thawed this morning, but I usually use frozen)
2 cans of white beans (rinsed)
2 Tablespoons of white chicken chili seasoning (I used McCormick brand)
1 cup of salsa verde
3 cups of chicken broth
Turn the crock to low and leave your house for 7 hours (or 9 hours if you had two meetings afters school like I did).
A half an hour before you are ready to eat stir in 4 -8oz of pepper jack cheese (depending how much cheesy goodness and fat you can tolerate) and 1 cup of crushed tortilla chips. Not the healthiest or prettiest dinner I have ever made, but I could have licked the crockpot clean! I easily see myself making this again for football parties or even the Superbowl. Mr. R dubbed this acceptable man food.
Believe it or not we are down to our last packet of chicken breasts! We buy them in bulk at Costco in packs of 10 and we have eaten 18 in the month of September...craziness! It does make me feel fantastic that we have been successfully cooking 5-6 nights per week for over 9 months now. I think I might deserve a medal or at least my crockpot should get one...

FYI: the Rachael Ray paper doll is part of a new set of cards by Hallmark. Is it bad that I want to buy myself one?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Beef Boor-geen-yohn

I have been trying to pronounce this the French way for two days now. And our resident french expert Mr. R keeps telling me I am wrong. I guess I don't have the French nasal sound down. Sue me, I am a Native America and I can do one hell of a war call. I think that beats a French accent any day.

But back to what you really care about... my dinner and the easiest beef stew recipe in the world.

Last Wednesday Mr. R and I headed to the big box Mecca called Costco and stocked up on organic beef and chicken. I was feeling a little crazy and bought 3 pounds of stew meat on a whim. I separated the beef in 1.5 pound portions and prayed for a brilliant recipe that could be made in the crockpot.
I of course went to the crockpot guru Stephanie O'Dea and she had a copycat Julia Child recipe for Boeuf Bourguignon on her blog. Beef, bacon, butter and red wine? Yes, please!
At 6 am I threw 2 cups of baby carrots, one sliced onion, half of the stew meat, 6 slices of bacon, 2 tablespoons of butter, and 2 cups of red wine in the crock. See, EASIEST meal ever. Turned the crock to low and literally ran out of the house. Mr. R stirred our dinner a few times (during the work day) and in the end we had an amazing beef stew. Julia Child is a genius.
I am a big fan of potatoes in my beef stew, but unfortuantly they did not fit in my crock with all of the other yummy goodness. Instead I boiled a bunch of little red guys and made horseradish mashers. I used this recipe by Tyler Florence, but I halved the recipe and opted for no butter, and added a little shredded cheddar cheese.

The potatoes are amazing! Seriously, even if you don't make the easiest beef stew ever at least try the potatoes!


I was stoked to see GLEE last night. Let's just say Tuesdays are a crazy day in casa Republican, both work and commitment wise and the highlight of my Tuesday is usually Glee.
I wanted to love the Britney episode, but I think it really fell flat. The songs were good, the dancing was great, but where were my Kurt and Mercedes? Although I do love Ms. Brittany S. Pearce. Her one liners had me cracking up! And even Mr. R put down his laptop to watch a few
times. I think my favorite line of the night was "I don't brush my teeth after I eat, I rinse my mouth with soda. I'm pretty sure Dr. Pepper was a Dr."
Moving on to topics about real people and real life, Mr. R. and I had dinner with some awesome people last night! Our school had a fundraiser at 5 guys burgers and fries. I ate more calories in one meal than I should have in a week...but all of the proceeds went back to my school so I think it evens out. I work with some really awesome people and its always nice to see them outside of the blue and green halls of middle school.
And on a final note, I REALLY want this shirt by TUCKER for Target.
It's no longer available at my store which means I would need to order it and pay for shipping. I have heard good and horrible reviews for it so I am torn. Do I take the chance and fall hard for the orange polka dot or do I wait for a restock that may never come?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Meatless Monday & my version of Cheesecake Factory's chipotle chicken pasta.

Last week Danielle posted that she and Carl are embracing meatless mondays. Mr. R is a HUGE meat eater or as I like to say he has a bit of a meat tooth, but even he can go without carnal flesh once a week. And why not Monday?
I switched my menu around a bit and made Chipotle Pasta (minus the chicken/sausage/shrimp) and subbed in roasted asparagus, mushrooms and onions.
I LOVED this pasta! The chipotle sauce is spicy but a sweet spicy. And you can totally regulate how much spice you want. I actually was craving more spicy so I added an extra 2 Tbs of tabasco sauce, but I like my mouth to feel like its on fire.
If you are looking for a simple, easy, and meatless meal.... GO FOR IT!
I also should admit I have always stayed away from Guy Fieri's food. He just seems a little too weird and commercial for me. But if all of his recipes are like this one, I am sold. I might even embrace his awful hair :)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Are you ready for some football?

Normally, my answer would be no... It's just not my favorite sport. But I do love me some Super Bowl commercials and half-time show.

But today! I got to see the Jaguars vs. Eagles game in person! Sitting in Everbank stadium! So cool right?
Friday I entered a drawing at school for Jaguars tickets. I was one of the 13 names called along with Rachel and Kristin! We decided to meet early and tailgate, which really is the best part of football.

At 4:00pm we entered the stadium, saw the flyover (another favorite part) and then saw Michael Vick as starting quarterback for the first time.

I think going to the games can make anyone a football fan. We were surrounded by diehard fans with painted chests and faces. We were led into cheers by fan in masks and enough Jags gear to open up their own shop. We sat two rows from one man who spent the entire game getting his section psyched. He was way better than the cheerleaders.

And on our way out we saw a little boy, maybe 6, who was attending his first game. He was amazed at the people and waved at each person as we passed. He also couldn't stop thanking his dad! He melted my heart.
On the way home Mr. R and I agreed that while we may not be the best football fans we definitely love to be part of the teal and black crowd!

Menu Sunday:

My weekly menu and a workout plan!

Sunday: Tailgating @ the Jags game! I am super excited to see the Eagles play!
  • Easy and slow two mile run
Monday: Crockpot Beef Bourguignon with mashed potatoes
  • 60 minutes on the arc trainer

Tuesday: Chipotle Pasta with mushrooms, onion, and asparagus and diced tomatoes
  • 3 miles on the treadmill

Wednesday: Crockpot chicken marsala. I don't do veal, but if you follow the recipe and sub in chicken it still tastes amazing :)
  • 60 minutes on the elliptical

Thursday: Dumplings with thai noodles (dumplings from Costco & thai noodles from Lipton)
  • 3 miles on the treadmill

Friday: Rueben dip with marble rye & spinach salad
  • 60 minutes on the arc trainer

Saturday: I am supposed to be running a half marathon today, but do to some health issues I have been asked to take it easy on the long runs. Sad! But the good news is I am running the PINK UP THE PACE breast cancer run here in St. Augustine! So 3.2 miles will be run in and I get to wear pink!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Saturday, I love you...

This week I was counting the days until the weekend. Don't get me wrong, my work week was awesome this week. Two labs, great discussions, passing quiz grades... but I was overall kind of tired and out of it. I think its a combination on my allergies and Mr. R's crazy schedule.

Finally Friday rolled around and after 3:00pm I was in relax mode. Comfy clothes, pizza, DVRed tv... the perfect combination for vegging out. I was in bed by 10:30 and 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep was mine.

Today I attempted to be productive with laundry, cooking, and cleaning... but I settled for a nap and a trip to IKEA. I know I talk entirely too much about IKEA on this little blog, but seriously tonight I hit the jack-pot.
  • Three types of sparkling drinks: peach, pear, and pomegranate.
  • Silver candles for my fall centerpiece.
  • Red candles to replace the ones in our lanterns outside.
  • Adorable cupcake dish towels
  • And lastly, a new down comforter!
    Our last one started shedding feathers so it needed to be replaced, but once again I have to give IKEA props... it lasted 6 years!
And since I didn't get a date night last night, we had dinner at the cheesecake factory tonight. I have been craving all things spicy recently so I tried the chipotle chicken pasta... so good!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Simon & his dragon

This is Simon's birthday present. We call him dragon... not very creative eh?
Anyway, dragon is well loved in this house. He is dragged from room to room and puppy bed to puppy bed to puppy bed. He even showed up in my luggage once! I guess the pups thought they were going on a trip too.
Simon had dragon wrapped around him tonight and I couldn't resist taking a few pictures. These make me smile and laugh at him (just a little!)

Dear Cybex Arc Trainer machine,

Dear Cybex Arc Trainer machine,
We are not friends! You made my legs feel like jello and my abs ache. Although, you did cause me to burn 500 calories today and keep my heart-rate under 140 beats per minute. So I guess I don't hate you...that much. And let's be real, I will probably see you again sometime this weekend.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tonight we are celebrating!

Tonight there will be pizza and laughter.
Tonight's dinner will be catered by Costco and the dishes will wait until morning.
Tonight there will be cupcakes and fancy glasses and drinks that bubble and sparkle.
Tonight we will be giddy, excited, and thankful!
Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

And I am alone...

Mr. R is in crazy campaign mode. His calendar this week in INSANE. Republican meetings, campaign strategy sessions, phone banking, and lots of email writing to volunteers.

This means for the most part this week I am alone pants, (aka all by myself). Well as alone as you can be with two yappy dachshunds and a laptop logged on to facebook.

I used to loathe being alone, but now I cherish the nights I get to cook what I want, watch what I want on TV, and hang out in the calm/quiet of my own home.

I know Mr. R thrives on the chase, the excitement of the campaign, and the craziness of voters... but I don't. Give me a real simple magazine, a cup of tea, and a night at home ANY DAY of the week.

We have curtains!

In the mini-series/saga that is our bedroom renovation I have had a love hate relationship with curtains. Meaning I love the curtains when I see them online, on the stores website, but hate them once they are delivered to my home and hung in our bedroom.
But tonight! Glorious tonight! We have a happy ending in our story. On a whim, and a hope that the third time is really the charm, I bought 4 clearance curtains from Urban Outfitters. They are crazily patterned, but with pops of yellow I prayed they just might work.
And they do! I love them! They are thin linen with brown and gray accents that work with our bamboo shades and our yellow headboard and soon to be yellow vanity and dresser.
Love Love Love!
Can you tell I am excited?
We are SO close to being finished with the bedroom.
I need to spend a little time with some spray paint and nails this weekend and then I can OFFICIALLY close the door on this project. Until then, join me in my happy dance and go watch the new season of GLEE!
And this is our new dachshund nightlight! It somehow jumped into my cart at Target! That's the story I gave Mr. R and I am sticking to it!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Today shall be forever known as the day...

I got Mr. R to eat sprouts.

...or maybe the day I got Mr. R to eat 6 vegetables for dinner.

To be honest tonight's dinner wasn't especially exciting and it definitely wasn't complicated.
We had tomato alphabet soup made with carrots, onion, tomato and veggie broth AND turkey sandwiches with tomato, avocado, hummus, and sprouts.

Check out those gorgeous sprouts!

I am well on my way to my rainbow of fruits and veggies today!
(6 with dinner, 2 with lunch, and 1 with breakfast)

Red: tomatoes & pomegranate (in yogurt)
Orange: Carrots
Yellow: Banana
White: Apple
Green: Celery, avocado, sprouts
Blue/Purple: Maybe a plum before bed?

Monday Monday!

I had a very productive Monday.
  • Notes were given (Observation and Inference)
  • Footprints were analyzed (Mystery Print Activity)
  • A fun project was assigned (What do you infer?)
  • Hypotheses were constructed (If _______then_________because_________.)
  • Lunch was eaten (leftover open-faced ham & toast sammies with apples and celery)
  • Three miles were run (slow and steady wins the race)
  • And dinner was made (easiest dinner ever! 15 mins from start to finish!)
Now time for How I Met Your Mother and a hot bath...

Who's ready for Tuesday?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Christmas Saving

But then it hit me... Christmas is only 4 months away. And while I am not ready to think about shopping, wrapping, decorating, and cookie baking, I do need to think about putting extra money away to afford all of those lovely presents and fun extras that creep up during the holiday season.

We like to keep out Christmas shopping budget at $500. And I always think its wise to save an extra $200 for the miscellaneous extras that happen during holiday time. Example #1: in 2006 when we blew a tire right after thanksgiving or Example #2: Christmas Eve 2007 when our sink stopped working and we were forced to call a Plumber and pay extra due to the holiday.

So that means the Martin's will be saving $700 in 3 months and 1 week.
With two paychecks for each of us a month that works out to $60 a paycheck.
We agreed to write ourselves a check each pay period for $60 and place it into a separate savings account. This way we will be credit debit free this holiday season and we won't have to dip into savings.

I feel like with this post we are already in the holiday spirit!

Menu Sunday:

Monday: Rachael Ray Alphabet Soup
(The parmesan crisps are way too complicated so I avoid them and serve salad instead)

Tuesday: Cheesesteak subs with a green salad

Wednesday: Pioneer Woman's chicken pot pie with salad

Friday: Chicken Tiki Masala in the crock with naan

Saturday: DISNEY!
I think we are stopping at IKEA on the way home so swedish meatballs might be in order.


Bloggers, please excuse me. I allowed my joy to be stolen this week and I wallowed in my sad little life. I let circumstances dictate my feelings. I forgot I am a Christian who has been forgiven for so much and that no matter what is going on in my household or my life I need and have reason to be joyful.
So with that being said...

Joy is waking up to a beautiful Florida day and opening our window for the 1st day since June. We have no AC running! I am so thankful for clean air and warm breezes.

Joy is going to church and seeing friends I haven't seen in a while.

Joy is not cooking lunch, but having it made for you instead.

Joy is visiting my grandparents and giving them a new plant for their garden.

Joy is two very sweet dachshunds who cuddle and take a nap with me on the chaise.

Joy is a swim in the neighborhood pool.

Joy is a semi clean house and a fresh start to the week.

"Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy." - John 16:22

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Hi my name is Hilary and I am addicted to my husband's aviator sunglasses. I wear them all the time. I secretly think about stealing them and just making them mine.
On Saturday I had my 1st Junior League meeting at Cafe Alcazar. Amazing tomato soup by the way! I couldn't help myself from borrowing Mr. R's aviators and busting out my new Jimmy Choo bag. It's purple with leopard inside and a giant rose on the front. I love love love it!

In fact I bought it in July and have been waiting for fall (or post Labor day) to debut it. Picture of it to come soon.
Simon has also succumb to the dark side of addiction. He cannot get enough of rawhide chews. He has always loved them, but recently he won't let his chewy out of his sight and growls at anyone who comes near him when he chews. He almost took out the iphone when I was going for this shot!