Friday, June 29, 2012


Summer school ended this week! PTL!  I am thankful for the opportunity to supplement our income with summer school each year, but am thankful also each year when I get to begin my summer.  This summer school became a challenge more so that some previous years as I have been trying desperately to balance school, grad school and life. 
Since summer school was over, I was blessed with the opportunity to head to Austin to see Beth!
I got to see her precious house, shop, drink a little coffee, eat some sushi at Sushi Zushi, shop the Dillards 30% off clearance sale (that ends tomorrow just FYI), run Towne Lake/Lady Bird Lake,

kayak on the lake,

shop a little on South Congress, eat a Hey Cupcake! Vegan cupcake

and enjoy an amazing lunch at Blue Dahlia.  I need to visit more often!

My prosciutto, mozzarella, pesto and sun dried tomato tartine was big enough for both my lunch and dinner.

 On a random note, look at how beautiful this tree is in our front yard!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Easy Dinner

Since the end of the school year, I have kind of slacked on cooking dinner.  Throw in a vacation and the start of summer school and we were in need of some good home cooked food.  Well leave Pinterest to find us something good. 
I made Melt in Your Mouth Chicken Breast, but used a suggestion from Pinterest of subbing greek yogurt for the mayonnaise and it was delicious!

*4 Chicken Breast
*1 cup Greek Yogurt
*1/2 Cup Parmesan
*1 tsp garlic powder
*1 1/2 tsp season salt
*1/2 tsp pepper

*Preheat oven to 375
*Combine all ingredients in bowl (except for chicken).
*Cover chicken in the mixture and place in a pyrex.  (I did this by dipping the underside and then glopping the mixure on top of the chicken once it was in the pyrex dish).
*Cook in oven for 45 minutes

To go with it, I made roasted veggies:
* I cut up and tossed carrots, zucchini, squash, potatoes, onions and whole garlic cloves in just a bit of olive oil with some rosemary, salt and pepper and maybe Oregano ( I can't really remember what I added...
*I poured it all into a jelly roll baking sheet.  I placed it in the oven when I did the chicken and let it cook for the same amount of time (45 minutes).  I did pull out the veggies 10 minutes before they were ready and sprinkled a little parm. on them too.

It was a great dinner, fairly healthy and best news of all--Leftovers! : )

Monday, June 11, 2012

Vegas Baby!!

This past weekend we flew out EARLY Friday morning to meet up with Warren and Danee for a long weekend in Vegas!  We had time to relax, get some sun, watch some shows, shop, eat some yummy (albeit no where near healthy) food and spend quality time with some of our favorite friends!

Where we stayed:
*We stayed at the Tropicana.  It seemed like the entire hotel had been recently renovated.  Everything seemed so new, which is nice in a hotel.  We enjoyed the pool a few times (it was very nice).  The first day when we got there, we were having trouble finding chairs and happened up on the "day bed" next to the pool which costs a decent amount to rent.  The lady who had been on it was leaving, but since she had rented for the day, gave it to us.  Which was awesome! 
The breakfast buffet in the Beach Cafe came with our stay and it had a great variety of food.  We basically filled up each morning for the day, especially on fruit (it just all looked so good).  It did not have the number of restaurants, shops, etc that hotels like the Bellagio does, but we really enjoyed our stay there. 

Restaurants we visited:
*Diablo's Cantina right outside the Monte Carlo: Great Mexican food restaurant.  They had amazing salsa.
*Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill in the MGM Grand:  Very reasonable priced (especially for Vegas) I loved their Prosciutto,  Oven Dried Tomatoes, Basil Pesto, Goat Cheese pizza.  I officially no longer hate goat cheese.

*Serendipity 3 at Ceasar's Palace: We were there for Saturday brunch.  I got to try both the wing flavored chicken strips and the chicken salad sandwich.  Both were good!  The chicken salad sandwich had potato chips at the top of it which I thought was weird at first, but turned out to add a nice little texture.  We were way too full for dessert though, which seems like a shame with their frozen hot chocolate.

Shows we saw:
*Cirque de Soleil KA at the MGM Grand: We got hooked on Cirque last year after we were given tickets to Ovo.   This Cirque was not quite as impressive with the physical abilities of the performers (although it still was impressive).  The stage was what was so impressive this time! Great show! I wish I had not been so tired though (we went the night we got there).  I would still love to go back sometime to see O and Love

*We also went to see Comedy Hypnosis.  It was very entertaining.  Not for all ages though.

A couple of thoughts:
*Everything you see in movies in not necessarily true.  I could have sworn that fights occurred at the Bellagio (because of Oceans 11 of course).  The Bradley-Pacquiao fight was the MGM Grand.
*The fountains at the Bellagio stop at midnight.  They will not turn them back on even if you ask. : )  We had luckily seen them from afar the day before.

*We've carried on suitcases the few times that we have flown and I am doing that unless I absolutely have to check a bag.  It requires a little more fore thought on what you are wearing, but leaves me not having to pick out outfits or put away a lot of extra clothes when I get home.   It also saves time (and money not to mention) whenever you get where you're going because you don't have to wait at the baggage claim.  Win win!
*If you go to Vegas wear comfortable shoes that are cute, not vice versa.  I had been reminded of the amount that you walk while there and was so glad it was suggested to bring wedges rather than heels.  My Toms wedges kept me walking and not hobbling as I'm sure I would have been doing in heels.
*The people along Las Vegas Blvd are crazy.  For example, we ran into "Alan" from the Hangover...or at least a really good impersonator. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

National Running Day

It is National Running Day! And luck you, you still have time to fit in a run (and it will actually be cooler than when I ran).
On their website, National Running Day starts off the sentence "I run because."  I was thinking about mine today and here's what I've come up with so far.
I run because:
it makes me feel good, it makes me healthy, I like chocolate, it gives me a sense of accomplishment, it challenges me, it gives me energy, it gives me time with my friends, it gives me time by myself, it gives me a break from school work, it allows me to decompress after a hard day, it gives me time to think, it gives me time to pray, it keeps me in shape, it helps me set new goals...
I could probably keep going, but those are just a few of my reasons.  Why do you run?

Carolina and I ran intervals this afternoon at Matzke Park to celebrate the day.  Now its your turn to go out and run : )

Leftover Pizza

In our house we love to make pizza.  Lately we've been making it about once a week.  In case you need a reminder on how we make our pizza, here it is.  We typically each make a pizza (and usually we'll have guests for pizza night, so obviously they do too), then we will make leftover pizzas and go ahead and cook them.  Sometimes though we still have leftover dough.  Its too good to throw away, so we will go ahead and roll it out into pizzas and place them into a ziploc baggy divided either foil or wax paper and toss them in the freezer so they are ready to become quick pizzas another day.
Last night, I pulled out some frozen pizza dough and placed it on the counter with the ziploc open to allow it to rise again.  We used other leftovers from our house to make amazing little pizzas.  We had some fresh pesto leftover from what we used on pasta earlier in the week and combined it with evoo as the base for the pizza.  Cody had smoked a chicken on the smoker a week before, so we used the leftover from that for part of the topping.  We also put a little spinach and onions onto the pizza before mixing in some feta and mozarella.  The result was so good! :)  Now if only I can master using the cast iron skillet without burning myself..

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Avocado Ranch dip

I came across this recipe on pinterest and I love avocados, so I had to try it.

Avocado Ranch Dip
2 avocados
Ranch dip packet
greek yogurt

*Take the flesh of 2 avocados (mine where still a little ripe, so I had to run them through the food processor to make an amazing avocado paste which was good by itself) and mix together with the ranch dip packet and a heaping spoonful of greek yogurt.  Tweak to taste.  
Photo source Lavendar and Lilies
We ate it with tortilla chips and also pita chips. YUM! And the good news is that its healthy! Everybody wins.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Beach Day

We live close to a beach.  Now by no means is it Hawaii or the Caribbean, but it is a beach none the less so we take advantage of our proximity during the warmer months.  This weekend we headed down to Bolivar so that the guys could fish. 
Ellie was so excited and spent most of her time playing in the water.  Chloe on the other hand spent most of her time on our laps as she was not a fan of the water or sand.  
The girls are watching Cody paddle out in the kayak and Chloe is of course sitting on my stomach.
I spent a good majority of my time reading for grad school, but at least I had the calming sound of the waves and water as my view (although that did almost lull me to sleep...). 
It was a great way to spend a day!