Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I have SO much to be thankful for!!!!  I am down in Raleigh, NC this Thanksgiving with my husband's side of the family.  We are having our Thanksgiving meal around 5:00 pm today.  It will be a great time filled with lots of good food and good memories.  We all bring something to dinner to help.  I brought the traditional Pumpkin Pie and I tried something new.  Derby Pie.  This pie is from a place that I used to work at when in High School and College.  I hadn't made it since college, but thought it'd be fun to bring the old recipe out again.  I will be sharing both recipes soon!  I also made my Mom's traditional and oh so GOOD pumpkin bread.  This is always a hit!  If any is left over I love it with some peanut butter....yummm. :)

Besides the good food and being with family, one of my other favorite parts about Thanksgiving is watching the Macy's Day Thanksgiving Parade.  Ever since a small child, I have loved getting up in the mornings to watch the parade in my pj's.  My parents would cook us a yummy breakfast and we could have hot chocolate in the mornings and watch this.  Such a great tradition. :)  I hope that you and yours have a very special and Happy Thanksgiving.  Count your blessings!

A little something to think about:

 I'm off to watch the parade!  What are you favorite things to do on this holiday?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Costco goodies

A few months ago a gigantic Costco opened up just a stone's throw away from our house.  There used to be a round and about way to get to the Costco from our house...until recently.  A new road was added and now it literally takes us about 3 minutes to drive from out house to Costco.  We have never really needed to shop much at Costco because it's just the two of us.  It's nice to go there for toliet paper, paper towels, laundry/dish detergent, and that sort of thing, but I've never bought much food there before.  Until now.  If I can't have a Whole Foods or a Trader Joe's nearby, I'll take Costco.  On my most recent trip there, I discovered some goodies which I'll share with you tonight.

Here is what I bought:
  • Organic Milk 
    • The package contained 3 half-gallon jugs!  The hubs and I go through a lot of milk and organic milk stays fresh a while, so this was perfect.  Now if only they'll start carrying Almond Milk....
  • Organic Spinach 
    • I rarely buy organic, only b/c it's so $$$, but I do like to buy organic milk, spinach and apples.  One day when I become a millionaire, I'll buy everything organic. ;)  I love how Costco had a huge tub of the spinach.  We typically grocery shop at Kroger and the organic spinach is in a small bag and is just as expensive.  I've been trying to incorporate more veggies in my daily eats, and this has been perfect for that purpose!
  • Green Beans
    • A huge bag of fresh green beans (well, fresh for a grocery store).  I have been incorporating these into many of our meals.  Yum.
  • Butternut Squash
    • I LOVE all kinds of squash, especially butternut....but I don't like to cut them, it is always a chore.  Costco has it pre sliced and cut into cubes.  Sold.
  • Chipotle Black Bean Burgers
    • These burgers were introduced to us this summer by my brother and sister in law.  They had a cookout and gave everyone the option of a regular burger or a black bean burger.  The hubs and I had the black bean burgers and LOVED them.  I finally bought them on my recent trip to Coscto!  What do I love about them?  They are larger than your typical black bean burger.  Lots of fiber and protein...very filling.  I also love that they come in a pack of 12.  Whenever we need a quick, easy dinner we can take a couple out of the freezer and either throw them on the skillet, grill, oven or microwave.  Easy peasy yumminess.  The other night I used whole wheat English Muffins as the "bun" and added soy cheddar cheese...SO delicious.
    • Raisin Bran
      • The hubs and I love cereal, enough said.
    • Nature's Path Organic, Pumpkin Flax Granola
      • Again, the hubs and I love cereal.  What can I say?  We go through this stuff seriously fast, so it's nice to buy it in bulk. :)  The granola is great with regular milk, or my fav: almond milk...also wonderful on yogurt.
    • Palmetto Pimento Cheese
      • This cheese is made in Pawleys Island, SC where my parents have a beach house (heaven on earth).  The hubs and I first discovered this in Pawleys Island and were SO happy and shocked to see that it is now carried at Costco's all over!  Yippe!  
    • Deli Turkey Meat
      • We go through a lot of deli meat in this house for sandwiches and to sometimes to salads with.  The turkey is great here!  The sodium is high which I don't like, but most deli meat is high in sodium anyways.  We can't win all the battles.
    • Chobani Yogurt
      • I am a serious Chobani lover.  My day was made when I discovered that they sell it!  
    • Almond Butter
      • Like my seriousness with Chobani, I have another serious addiction to all things peanut or almond (or what have you) butter.  Costco carries a gigantic tub of unsalted almond butter.  I go through this by myself really quickly....oops.  It's great on sandwiches, toast, oatmeal, waffles, fruit, or even by the
...I think that's it, but I'm sure I'm leaving something out....oh their wine is really good too.  Also, a blog I follow says that she can buy Coach's oats at her Costco.  I was SO excited about this, but sadly our Costco does not carry Coaches Oats.  I so wish they did because I order them about twice a year in bulk.  The actual oats are not very expensive, but since they are so heavy, the shipping is always more expensive than the product is.  ugh.  Hopefully I can convince our Costco to carry them!  

Lastly, you can get $1 fat free frozen yogurt cones there!!!  LOVE!  The hubs and I have been known to run in the store for just for the frozen yogurt.... :)

*Do you shop at Costco?  If so, what are you favorites?  Please share!

Monday, November 14, 2011

60th Surprise

Since the beginning of this year, my Mom has been planning my Dad's 60th Surprise party.  The party was this past Saturday and it was a hit and a major success.  Dad was COMPLETELY shocked.

As he is walking through the door...SURPRISE!!!!!


It really was an amazing night had for an amazing man.  My Mom did a fabulous job with the planning of the party as well as all of the cooking.  This woman is pretty darn amazing as well.  We still don't know how she cooked tons and did all if this and was still able to keep it a secret from my Dad.  
On the menu:


Mom welcomed everyone (with her one and only grandson, James in tow):

Then we all munched on delicious appetizers and then watched the made from my Mom's good friend who has a serious talent with slideshows.  My Mom gave her pictures back from when my Dad was born and the pictures went through his 59 years of life.  It was put to music and was so tear meaningful...and so awesome to see my Dad through the different phases of his life. 

After the slideshow, dinner was served.  We had BBQ (my Dad's favorite), baked beans, slaw, greens and rolls.  

My brother with my sweet and adorable nephew:

Once we were done eating, Dad opened up a few gifts and cards.  The shirt he is wearing was a gage gift from a good friend of his...a joke that I won't get into now.  

Now, time for birthday cake!  How beautiful is this cake?  It was just as delicious as it was beautiful.  In fact, the hubs and I had leftovers last night...we wished the cake would never end...SO GOOD!

After was time for singin' and dancin'!  One of my best friends has a karaoke machine, so she graciously let us borrow it for the night.  It was a hit!  

 Dad and my brothers:

 Me with the hubs and my brothers!

Like I said before, amazing night for an amazing man.  Hard worker, heart of gold, funny, huge supporter and lover of his family...he is everything one would want in a son, a husband, a father and a friend.  
I love you,, so, so much.  Happy Birthday!!!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Brownies and other goodies

Happy November!  Wow, where has this year GONE???  My apologizes for my lack of posts lately.  Work and life has been busy and the last thing I've felt like doing here lately is blogging.  Lately I have more enjoyed reading all my favorite blogs than actually doing on myself. :)  Thankfully, the hubs and I are actually enjoying a weekend at home.  Ahhh, it feels so good.  I love traveling, but man, it is exhausting!

Last weekend I was in South Carolina with an old college friend at the AFPA personal trainer's conference.  It was amazing.  Seriously, the most fun and educational event I've ever been to.  I have always known that I am in the right profession, but after this conference I was even more convinced that I am where I'm supposed to be.  This is SUCH a great feeling.  The conference was at the beach and it went from 8 am to 5:30 pm on Friday and Saturday.  My friend Lindsey and I were wiped out at the end of those days.  She works for Verizon corporate in SC, so we enjoyed talking about corporate fitness and the perks of that.  Love, love, love my job.

The hubs has been a travelin' fool with work, so I haven't been doing as much cooking.  When it's just me for dinner I will eat leftovers or make eggs, a sandwich, a salad or some other weird concoction. haha.  We are going out to dinner with our neighbors tonight, but I had to work late last night, so I didn't want us to go out to eat when I got off work.  Therefore, yesterday morning before work I popped some chicken in the crock pot.  When I got home from work the hubs opened the vino (ahhh!), I made a side salad for us and voile...dinner was served.


  • medium onion 
  • medium-size new potatoes (about 1 lb.) 
  • 2 cups baby carrots 
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth 
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine or chicken broth 
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided 
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided 
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • skinned, bone-in chicken thighs


  • 1. Halve onion lengthwise, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Cut potatoes into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Place onion in a lightly greased 6-qt. slow cooker; top with potatoes and carrots.
  • 2. Combine broth, next 3 ingredients, 3/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Pour over vegetables.
  • 3. Combine paprika and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper; rub over chicken. Arrange chicken on top of vegetables.
  • 4. Cover and cook on LOW 6 hours or until chicken is done and vegetables are tender.
 *Sprinkle Garlic Salt and any other spices/herbs to your desire once served.

Also before I left work yesterday I made these amazing Pumpkin Pie Brownie 'Cupcakes' from a blog I love, "Oh She Glows."  I wanted something sweet for us to eat this weekend, yet didn't want it to be totally unhealthy.  At least these are a little better for you than the typical brownie. ;)  Plus, obvi. they have pumpkin in little obsession.

Want to know my other latest obsession?  My new iPhone 4s!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Totally LOVE this phone.  And, to make things even better, I just discovered Instagram.  If you have an iPhone and don't have this app GET IT NOW.  So amazing.  Both of these photos came from my phone.  Love it!  

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.  

*Do you use a Crock Pot?  I LOVE Crock Pots but don't use it enough.  If you have any favorite Crock Pot recipes, please send them my way.  
**Do you have an iPhone?  Let me know what your favorite app's are!