Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Light Chicken Parmesan.

For my birthday I bought myself a copy of "The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook" and it was completely worth it.

So far this "Light Chicken Parmesan" recipe is the only one we've attempted but boy oh boy was it delicious!

LIGHT TOMATO SAUCE (not necessary though! Store-bought will work just fine, maybe even better if you are like me and have a significant other who is afraid of chunky sauces.) :
1tbsp. olive oil
4 garlic cloves minced (let me take a moment to thank DF's mom for our garlic press, we use it all the time!)
2tsp. tomato paste
1tsp. sugar
1/8tsp. dried oregano
1/8tsp. red pepper flakes
1 (28 oz. can) crushed tomatoes
1 (14.5 oz. can) diced tomatoes
2tbsp. fresh (2tsp. dried) basil
salt and black pepper

Combine 1 tsp. of the oil, the garlic, tomato paste, sugar, oregano, and rp flakes in a lg. saucepan and cook on medium heat (about 1 minute). Stir in the tomatoes with the juices, and bring to a simmer. Cook until slightly thickened, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the basil and the remaining oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

1 1/2 cups panko
1 tbsp. O.O.
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Salt and Pepper
3 lg. egg whites
1 tbsp. water
6 thin, boneless chicken breast cutlets
2 cups tomato sauce, warmed
3/4 cup reduced fat mozzerella, shredded
1 tbsp. minced basil (1tsp. dried)

1. Preheat oven to 475. Combine panko and oil in a 12in. skillet and toast over medium heat, stirring frequently,  until golden (about 10 minutes). Spread into a shallow dish to cool. When cool stir in Parmesan.
2. In a second shallow dish, combine flour, garlic powder, 1 tbsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper. In a third shallow dish whisk egg whites and water together.
3. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, place a wire rack on top, and spray rack with Pam (we used a broiler pan).
4. Pat chicken dry with paper towels, and season with s+p. Lightly dredge the cutlets in the flour mixture, dip into the egg whites, and coat with the breadcrumbs (press on the breadcrumbs!) Lay chicken on the  wire rack.
5. Spray tops of chicken with Pam, and bake until the meat is no longer pink in the center and feels firm when pressed with a finger, flipping once about 3/4 of the way through. This will take about 15-25 minutes.
6. Remove chicken. Spoon 2 tbsp. of the sauce into the center of each cutlet. And top with 2 tbsp. of mozzerella. Return chicken to the oven until cheese has melted (5 minutes). Then sprinkle basil on the cutlets and serve.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Nail Polish.

This is Shrimply Devine (520) from the new Sally Hanson Complete Salon Manicure Collection, and my new favorite nail polish.  It was pricey (compared to the stuff I normally buy anyway) and cost $7 at Target. It was SO WORTH EVERY PENNY THOUGH! It is the first light pink polish I've ever purchased that wasn't see through. Shown above is two coats, and I did not apply a base or a top coat. Now lets just hope it holds up better than my many $1 polishes!

While I'm talking about polish, I figured I would mention my favorite toe-polish. No, there are not polishes made specifically for toes...but I usually prefer a darker color on my toes. This is Sally Hansen Hard as Nails X-treme Wear Nail Color in Gunmetal (22). This one was cheaper ($2 at Walmart).  Shown in the picture above is two coats. Despite it's name, it chips easily and I reapply it every two days or so...I'm OCD like that. This probably wouldn't happen if I applied a top coat but...let's face it I'm too lazy for that.

While we're on the subject I am in love with The Knot! we weren't even close to being on the subject of weddings, but I felt the strong urge to share this website with you.  It will be so helpful when it comes time to plan my wedding. I've even played around with building our personal wedding website! And I sincerely apologize to anyone who ever got married before the knot...but you don't have to miss out on the fun!

Have (or want to have) a House? Say 'ello to The Nest
Having a Baby? I introduce you to The Bump

That's all for now folks.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Big Dreams.

For a long time I dreamed of opening my own bakery.  Considered getting an associate's degree in Baking/Pastry Arts from the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont.  Thought up fun and creative names. Imagined what it would look like. And dreamed of coming home from a long days work smelling of brown sugar and vanilla.  At some point though, between the harsh reality of the $40,000/year to go to NECI and being scared to do something "different"...I convinced myself that I could not do this. I made up hundreds of reasons why this dream of mine was impractical. I was scared of failure. Scared of wasting thousands of dollars, and years of my life.
Thankfully though, I have been blessed with a man who isn't afraid to dream. He helped me realize that trying something and failing is better than not trying at all.  That I shouldn't let fear hold me back from something that could not only bring me happiness, but possibly bring my children, and their children happiness as well.

For now I'm just going to focus on graduating with my degree in Elementary Education. Along the way I'll probably take a business course here and there. And hopefully sign up for local Wilton cake decorating classes! After graduation I'll teach until I've paid off all my student debt (which shouldn't take long as the Army is paying back all of DF's student debt, and any of mine that I accumulate after we get married) and have the ability/resources to create a successful bakery.  I'd also like to try my hand at owning rental property(s), but I have yet to convince DF of this.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

2010 Goals.

1. save a life

Meet Dexter aka lovebug, the 5 month old kitten we adopted from our local humane society.
 2. Drink 8 glasses of water a day.
3. Run two miles in 18 minutes.
4. Grow organic vegetables and herbs.
5. Bring my GPA back up to above a 3.0.
6. Apply for teacher candidacy.
7. Take the PRAXIS exam.
8. Get a 2nd vehicle.
9. Eat more fruits and vegetables.
10. Eat less processed/pre-packaged foods.
11. Go to the ocean twice.
12. Spend a weekend in Bar Harbor.
13. Try at least one new recipe every month.

14. Buy a bed.
15. Make healthy desserts.
16. Sit down together and make a budget.
17. Stick to the budget.
18. Learn how to make pasta.
19. Use my bread maker twice a month.
20. Finish the double Irish chain quilt.
21. Make a duvet cover.
22. Sell 3+ baby/lap quilts.
23. Read 6+ books. Under the Dome (S. King), The Lost Symbol (D. Brown), The Pact (J. Picoult), A Clockwork Orange (A. Burgess), Not sure what else...
24. Buy a vacuum with a HEPA filter.
25. Finish stage 1 of Rosetta Stone Spanish
26. Finish DF's scarf.
27. Using the calender, and my computer...organize my time more efficiently.
28. Have all our Homemade Christmas gifts completed by December 1st.
29. Keep a food log (using SPARKPEOPLE.)
30. Take 200 artistic photos.
31. Straighten up the apartment every night before bed.
32. Volunteer at the Humane Society, or donate something.
33. Get Married in December or January (This one is not for sure yet).

We had a lot of fun making goals for the new year, and now we have quite a few things that we can work together on.  Our main goal, as you can see, is to get healthy. I'll cross things off as I complete them and HOPEFULLY everything will be crossed off by January 1, 2011!

I kind of went over bored (as I tend to do when list-making is involved) and I thought up 15 life-long goals to share:

1. Get married.
2. Have Children.
3. Speak fluent Spanish and Italian.
4. Get a master's degree.
5. Publish a book.
6. Teach for 10+years.
7. Take a Women's Self-Defense class.
8. Own rental properties.
9. Own a home.
10. Own a camp.
11. Go to Disneyworld.
12. Go to Hawaii.
13. Get 3 tattoos.
14. Own a trampoline.
15. Have dog/s.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Cold Day Chili

What images come to your mind when you think of "winter-foods?"  Most likely you are thinking about something hearty. Something warm. For me...

it is chili, which I made last weekend during the three-day snowstorm. It was absolutely delicious! I sort of combined 3 recipes (one from Food Network, one from my dad and one from my cousin Morgan), and then added some things of my own. That's the great thing about cooking chili. It is basically idiot-proof, and a perfect thing to make when you are having one of "those" days.

here is the recipe for you to enjoy:

1 tbsp. olive OR vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic
2/3 cup red onion
2/3 cup green bell pepper
chili powder
garlic salt
crushed red pepper flakes
Old El Paso taco seasoning
1/8 tsp oregano
1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes
1 can black beans
1 can dark red kidney beans
Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp. butter


1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-low (4 out of 10 on my stove) heat until hot. 
2. Add garlic, and then about 30 seconds later add onions and the bell pepper. Stir occasionally edges are soft. 
3. Add the spices. The amount is up to you but I started with 2 tsp. chili powder, 2 tsp. taco seasoning, and a sprinkling of the red pepper and garlic salt. Stir together, with the vegetables. At this point I also added 2 tbsp. of butter.
4. Add the tomatoes (WITH THE JUICE!) stir and then drain the two cans of beans. Just strain them with the can's top that way a small amount of the liquid stays with them. Add them to the pot.
5. thick chili- Turn up the heat to a little more than medium (6 on my stove), keep the cover off, add some Parmesan cheese and let it reduce (get thicker). 
soupy chili- keep the lid on. The taco seasoning will help to thicken the chili as well so use sparingly. 
6. Stir and "taste-test" frequently adding spices as needed. It's done when it tastes right, and the green peppers are soft (about 20 minutes).
7. Serve and Enjoy! Some yummy toppings include: Cheddar cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips (crumbled), and it also tastes great over a bed of lettuce!

makes about 4 servings.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Holiday Wedding.

For as long as I can remember, I've always wanted to get married in the summer. I wanted the ceremony to be on the beach and I wanted to walk down the aisle barefoot, with the sand between my toes.



I think I've changed my mind.

Merry Christmas everyone! After the holidays I'll be back with some quilting tutorials FINALLY!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

busy busy bee.

The past few months have been crazy.  Here's a brief summary of what's been going on:

DF and I were finally reunited after 4 long months.

The whole experience made us both so much more appreciative of the time we have together. Hopefully he's here to stay for a while! Sapper school is in the near future but thankfully that is only 3 weeks long. And then, hopefully, we'll both be headed to Georgia for his Officer school.
The last month has been great, as well as financially stressful. It was starting to feel like we were getting cut off at every corner. My hours got cut at work. The BAH back-pay DF was owed got denied. We've been waiting and waiting and WAITING for his sign-on bonus to come in, and of course they are waiting until 3 days before their deadline to give it to him (although he is lucky to even be getting one at this point with all the budget cuts!) Things will get better though. Soon he'll get that bonus, and thanks to his PROMOTION! and G.I. bonus that kick in on January 1st we'll be back on track.
Despite everything we decided to go ahead and get a Christmas tree. We're not going to be here on Christmas but it was kind of depressing not to have one for our first Christmas together.

She's a little "naked," but it warms our hearts every morning when we turn on the lights. We're going to have our own Christmas when we return from time with our families! Also, after we return, I'm going to FINALLY after a long long time get back to sewing in hopes of making an etsy store! That is my new year's resolution!

Anyway...CSI:NY and a freshly baked batch of "Nana Cookies" are calling my name :)