Birthdays are in the air.

This week, there were SO many birthdays!!!!

 

This is the week that I celebrate both my wonderful Mom (Nov. 7th) and my wonderful baby sister (Nov. 10). Happy birthday to two of the best ladies I have ever known!!!! 😀 Also, can you believe Alysha is 23???? Does that mean I have to stop calling her my baby sister? 🙁

 

This week, our dear friends Ben and Laurel also had a sweet baby girl, Madilyn, born on November 8th!  We can not wait to get a chance to meet her!

And, one of my oldest friends (since 8th grade), Jeff, had a birthday on November 9th.

 

As a side note, today is Sunday and I still consider Sundays to be part of last week.  In my world, weeks run from Mon-Sunday, and then start all over with work on Monday.  So in my world, I can properly say there were a lot of birthdays to celebrate this week, because I am on the last day of this week.

Where has the last month gone?

Well, it’s been busy!

Last post, I was in Kentucky visiting my little sister for family weekend! She is already a rockstar in her program and I am super proud of her!

I came home on a Thursday, and on Friday, we left for a birthday camping trip for my hubby. We had 20 people go all together, 7 of which were kids! Wow! What a group! It was a ton of fun! Jonathan has the pictures on his phone, which I do not have. So, hey! Jonathan! Send me those pics! haha

The weekend after that, I had my enrollment ceremony into the Missouri bar! So my dad and Alysha came to St. Louis to watch me take my oath and get my certificate. I am officially an Attorney and Counselor at Law! Whoohoo!

And then the next week, I had interviews galore. Which worked out, because in ten days I will start my new job! I am super excited!

So I have ten days as of now of FUNemployment. What am I doing with it?  I cleaned the livingroom, bathroom, basement, and kitchen yesterday. I am working on finishing a picture book for my friend, Laurel, with pictures from her baby shower. I am going to start (and maybe finish?) a scrapbook of our trip to France. I am going to add a page to my anniversary scrapbook. And I am going to WORK OUT and do some meal planning so that when I start working I can try to keep my progress.

Speaking of working out/progress… october began my “THIS TIME I’M SERIOUS” weight loss plan. Yeah, yeah. You’ve all heard that before. but… but.. this time I’m serious! haha

I have lost 3 lbs in October, so that is a nice, healthy rate. I had been hoping to lose 8 this month, but I guess that’s not happening.  I didn’t actually start til Oct. 8th, so I’m still happy with it.  I just need to keep on track.

So, yeah. That’s what’s been up. What has everyone else been doing? 🙂

Travel Updates

I have been having a BLAST traveling as much as I have!

So my last post came from Lexington, KY, where I was visiting the baby sister.

Then I came home to STL for a week, and Jonathan’s little brother was visiting us. We had a blast spending time with him! He was super helpful and helped me reorganize the kitchen. Jonathan got to have a great 8-person halo guys’ night, and I hear the guys had a great time!

Then last Monday, Curtis kept me company on the long(LOL) drive to Centerville. It felt long, but was nothing compared to the 14 hour drive to Boston!

I spent Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday enjoying Centerville, my parents, old friends, and Alysha even showed up for a night! Ooohhh nostalgia! I love coming home!

Then on Thursday, we drove to Boston, which was a super long drive! Alysha had a dream that I lost my legs (WHAT?) in a car accident, so my dad drove nearly the entire way super carefully to make sure I arrived with all my limbs. LOL! Saira cooked us dinner on Thursday night. On Friday, we went to Salem and saw a witchcraft museum and walked along the water. Saturday, we bought a bunch of weird fruits and had a smorgasbord of random foods for lunch. Then we went to a restaurant called Oleana (http://oleanarestaurant.com/) where I had the best dessert of my life. On Sunday, I met up with an old friend and we went out to deer island and saw the USS Constitution sail. Then in the evening, we had a lovely Pakistani dinner to celebrate Eid, and then Saira and I played Dominion.

Monday, we made the long drive home. Today, I just sort of hung out. 🙂 Mom and I made samosas together, which was really fun!

Tomorrow, my friend, Randal, and I are going on a mini road trip. We’re driving up to Akron to see Hilary tomorrow, and then on Thurs we’ll go to Cleveland to see Nicole, and we’ll come back on Friday.

Anyway, that is sort of the short run down of my travels. I am having an ABSOLUTE BLAST! 🙂 It is so much fun to see family and friends.

Life is good. 🙂

But I am also looking forward to getting back home and into some sort of routine…(YEAH RIGHT!)

I’ll try to take and post more pictures, haha. That would make updates much more interesting!

Cooking for People You Love

I don’t like cooking for myself very much. If I’m left to my own devises (cough cough college) I will largely eat microwave popcorn and apple sauce (something salty, something sweet, something soft, something crunchy). Yeah, I know. VERY nutritious.

But cooking for people I love… I LOVE doing it! And I love concocting new recipes!

Today, I concocted some for my sister.

I made cilantro lime chicken thighs with skillet corn and green beans.

Here are the recipes 🙂

Cilantro Lime Chicken Thighs

Ingredients:
2 chicken thighs, skin removed, bone removed optional depending on how you like it
1/8 cup chopped cilantro
1 Lime
1 tspn Honey
1 tspn salt
1/2 tspn Pepper
1 tspn Adobo (optional)
1/2 tspn chili powder (optional)
1/8 cup olive oil

Mix olive oil, cilantro, juice of 1 lime, honey, salt, pepper, adobo, and chili powder in a bowl. Place skinless thighs in bowl, and cover with the marinade. Let sit for atleast 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375. Bake for 30 minutes.

Green Bean and Corn Skillet

Ingredients:
2 ears of corn
1/2 lb of green beans
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tbspn cider vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
2 tspn salt
2 tspn honey
2 tbspn butter

Cut the kernels off of the corn and place in skillet. Cut the ends off of the green beans, and chop green beans into bite sized pieces (I always cut them into thirds). Place in skillet. Add water, broth, and cider vinegar to the pan. Bring skillet to a soft boil (bubbling but not violently bubbling over), and let it cook for about 20 minutes or until beans are tender. The liquid should cook off. If it cooks off before the beans are cooked, add a little more water. Once the beans are done, drain off any excess liquid. Add the butter, honey, and salt. Stir around. Taste, and add more butter/honey/salt until it suits your fancy!

This meal was delicious! I finished it off with a slice of whole grain toast. 🙂

Mid-Study Update

So, in preparation for the bar, I made Jonathan change my fb password. So no facebook until August, basically! It’s so hard! haha.

Anyway, that means my break time is sort of wide open, and I felt like blogging, so I am.

The pressure is really on! I really, really hope I pass! :/

Jonathan was awarded Associate of the Month for his crazy hard work lately. I’m super proud of him!

I really like organizing things. I’ve been using my free time to organize things lately.

Alot of fun things are happening once I take the bar, in that nebulous time between sitting for the bar and finding out if I passed. I’m going to visit Alysha in her new place in Kentucky!!! I think I’ve mentioned that she is starting GRAD SCHOOL in the fall! I am excited to get to be there to help her settle in and explore! I love exploring new places, and I love one on one time with my sis!
And I am going to go with my parents to Boston to see Saira (haven’t been there since Jan. of 08 for her wedding, so that will be fun!) I will also get a LOT of quality time with my parents on the drive there and back. I’m looking forward to it!

In September, we’ve got trips to Chicago, Lake of the Ozarks, and camping. And Nancy and I will also be throwing our friend Laurel a baby shower. We also have wine tasting and are signing up for a 10 K in October! So much fun planned!

I am trying to not worry about finding a job, because worrying at this stage will only make me… well.. worried.

I am also trying to not worry about friends feeling irritated at me for emailing them about camping so early!

I am also trying really hard to not worry about not passing the bar. Because that will not help at all. I feel like I am starting to worry about trivial things in order to help not worry about the big thing that I am worried about!

Okay, break time over. I guess I should get back to studying.

Mama’s Karahi

SO.. studying for the bar…it’s very vital to have good brain food. And by brain food I mean food that is delicious so you look forward to your study breaks, but that is still fresh and healthy and doesn’t give you that sleepy after-eating feeling.

So I asked my mama for her Karahi chicken recipe.

And I thought I’d share both Mama’s Karahi Chicken and my own vegetarian take on it. (I’m not vegetarian but I find that feeding both me and Jonathan meat meals for lunch and dinner gets pretty expensive! Plus, I love me some veggies!)

So here it is!

Mama’s Karahi Chicken (exactly as Mama emailed me):
Hey Girl,
First brown two medium onions in vegetable oil until golden brown.
as they are browning, get all the spices ready to add and chop one medium tomato.
crush or chop together two small cloves garlic, one small piece of ginger( about equal to garlic) one small chili pepper.
For spicy, (Dad spicy) 3/4 tsp chili powder, pinch gara masala, 1/2 tsp cumin powder.
Once onions are golden brown, add powdered spices and stir for about 30 seconds, add garlic, ginger,chili pepper, stir for about 30 seconds, add tomato and stir it all together.
Add chicken at this point and stir all together. If everything is sticking to the pot add tiny amount of water until tomato get liquidy.
Cook stirring every 5 minutes or so until chicken cubes are done. You can add small amounts of water as needed to keep it from sticking and to get the gravy to the consistency that you want.
Add fresh coriander on top for looks and flavor, stir once and then turn off.

With chicken breast should not take more than about 20 minutes once chicken is added. Also add salt to taste when you add all the other powdered spices. If you do not have the individual spices, you can just use 1 1/2 tsp of chicken curry spice.

Thanks, Mom!

Here is my vegetarian take, which is simmering on the stove to be packed up for my lunch as we speak:

Ingredients:
1 can chick peas / garbanzo beans, well rinsed
1/2 lb green beans, trimmed and cut into thirds
1 onion, chopped into half moons and then chopped into thirds
1 tomato, diced
same spices as above ( 3/4 tsp chili powder, pinch gara masala, 1/2 tsp cumin powder) … feel free to adjust to taste
1 tsp oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped or pressed
Equal amount of grated ginger to garlic

Brown onions in 1 tsp oil, throw beans in there while the onions are browning.
Once onions are brown, throw in the spices and stir for 30 seconds. Throw in garlic and ginger, stir for 30 seconds. Add a splash of water to keep from sticking if necessary. Throw in tomatoes and let cook down for about 2 minutes. Throw in garbanzo beans. Cook on medium heat until beans are cooked. Add water as necessary to keep it from sticking and to keep it as liquid as you want it.

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My Veggie Karahi

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The tiny bit of Mama’s Karahi Chicken leftover from last night. Yum!

Spring Break Recap

So, something is wrong with me and I took NO pictures!! WHAAAT? And this post is way over due because I sort of forgot I have a blog for a bit. OOPSY! Anyway.

I had an awesome time in Ohio for spring break! I hung out with my lil sis, and we had adventures (of course!)

Among the fabulous things we did:

– Movies:  21 Jump Street and The Lorax

– Mani/Pedis… gel polish is fabulous!

– Shopping: at the outlet mall, at target, on the web!

– FOOD! We had chinese, italian, pizza…. and Jeni’s Ice cream!!! I highly, highly recommend it! http://www.jenisicecreams.com/ they ship to all 50 states. SO DELICIOUS and so many unique flavors!

– TV! Alysha got me addicted to Haven, which is a scifi show. Im usually not a huge sci fi person, but this show is awesome! I highly recommend it, as well!

We also went to Centerville to celebrate Daddy’s birthday, which was really fun and really nice. We even got him to play Apples to Apples, which was hilarious!

Anyway, it was a fab spring break and now I miss my fam 🙁 Good thing I’ll see them in May when I graduate!!!!!!!!

 

Thanks, Alysha, for having me all that week!!!!! You Rock!!!

 

Also, I had intended to tell my favorite Alysha story for St. Patty’s Day, but I was so busy taking the ethics section of the bar that I forgot 🙁  Guess it will have to wait until next year… wahahahahaha!

 

Asian Pear Sorbet

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that sure doesn’t look like much, but it’s delicious!
So on Monday, we bought a box of asian pears from Sam’s Club, and on Tuesday, I cut one open and it was brown in the middle. So I sliced the good outsides off and discarded the rest. So I had to think of a way to use the rest of the asian pears pronto!  Lucky for me, my big sis had just given me an ice cream attachment for the kitchenaid for my birthday, and we had yet to break it in.

So, voila! Asian pear sorbet!

If you have an ice cream maker, here’s how you do it:

Ingredients:

2 lbs asian pears

3/4 cup sugar (or agave syrup)

1/2 tbspn vanilla

 

Peel and core the pears, and slice them up. Put them in a pot and cover with water, and add the sugar and vanilla. Bring to a boil, then let simmer for about 45 minutes or until the pears are soft. Remove the pears with a slotted spoon, and reduce the water left in the pot to a half of what you had. Put the pears back in, and blend (either use an immersion blender or put the entire contents of the pot into a blender). Chill this mixture in the fridge over night, and then use it like ice cream batter to the specifications of your ice cream maker.

 

Some notes… Jonathan and I found it to be almost too sweet, so consider using 1/2 cup of sugar if you prefer less sweet sorbets. Also, our pears were super ripe, so they were already really sweet, so maybe that was part of it. Also, I think in the future we are going to try stewing some fresh ginger in the mix while its simmering for 45 minutes, because I think that flavor would be good.

 

Anyway, it was a lot of fun to use our ice cream attachment, so thanks big sis and big sis’s hubby!

 

Mom’s Chicken and Broccoli Casserole – lightened up just a bit

So I’ve been building recipes on Weight Watchers to track the points. And I am pretty sure I have shared this recipe on my old blog before, but I wanted to share it again for a few reasons:

1. I now know the weight watchers points

2. Mom used to make this for me as a celebration, and I had a minor celebration tonight, so I made it. 🙂  The minor celebration being that I received the highest grade in law school that I have ever received. And please don’t ask me what that was because that will totally ruin the celebration, lol.

So here we go, Mom’s Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

Ingredients:

1 Chicken Breast

3 cups Broccoli florets

1 can 98% fat free cream of mushroom soup (I only use Campbell’s)

Cheddar cheese to the sharpness of your preference. I like it better as slices from a block of cheese because of how the casserole layers, but I’ve been told that shredded cheese is just fine

1.5 Slices whole wheat bread (you could use white bread if you are not concerned about weight loss or health or fiber… but the points do go up if you use white bread.)

a pat of butter

Cook the chicken how you please. (I heat a pan with a touch of olive oil, and cook the breast whole and then cut it into bite sized chunks. You can also pre-cut the chicken and then sautee it. The first method makes the chicken come out juicier but takes longer. The second method is quicker.)

While the chicken is cooking, steam or boil the broccoli florets until cooked, but still firm.

If you’re a super multi-tasker like me, while the chicken and broccoli are going, make toast to your preference. For this recipe, I like to do texas toast on the stove… so.. melt the pat of butter in a pan, and rub the bread around in the butter on both sides, and sizzles until toasty. Chop the bread into crouton-like bites.

Once the chicken and broccoli are done, get an 8×8 pan. Put the chicken in the bottom, then put the broccoli on top. Pour the cream of mushroom soup from the can into the pan on top of the broccoli and spread it around until the broccoli is covered. Slice thin slices of cheddar cheese and make a solid layer on top of the soup. Put the breadcrumbs on top.

Bake in the over on 350 until the cheese is nice and melty (10-15 minutes).

Voila!  Simple, delicious southern food.

1/4 of the recipe is 5 WW points.

1/2 of the recipe is 7 WW points.

You’ve got protein, dairy, healthy carbs, and veggies all in one easy meal! It only takes about 25 minutes total to prepare, and the last 10-15 you can be chilling watching tv while it bakes.

I highly recommend it!

Shout outs to my mom, who made this recipe for me all the time when I was a kid. 🙂 Although mom always used white bread and full fat cream of mushroom soup.

Maybe next week I will tackle mom’s chicken curry…. although I doubt it will turn out quite as good!

Christmas Recap

Christmas was pretty good this year!  For the first time in three years, Jonathan and I actually got to spend Christmas together, which was really nice. We were in Ohio for break, and my family came into town in waves, which was sort of an interesting but fun experience! Here’s the recap of Christmas week:

Weds, Dec 21:

Of course Alysha and I still had Christmas shopping to do, so we shopped, shopped, shopped! Then she had planned a nice evening together for my birthday! We ordered Chinese from our fav Chinese restaurant, and had a game night with my mom! We popped open the copy of Scattergories that Alysha got me for Christmas (yeah, I opened it early, my bad..hehe) and had a hilarious time playing it. I highly recommend this game for people who like word games! It’s one of my favorites!  Then we played Phase 10 while watching Top Chef Texas. It was a fabulous way to celebrate my birthday! 🙂

 

Thurs, Dec 22

Another Alysha day! And of course, more shopping! (Were you really expecting anything else???)  We went on a hunt for dressers that took us to the antique district in Lebanon, and to Ikea in Cincinnati. This was my first Ikea experience, and it was so much fun! Alysha ended up with fabulous dressers and I ended up with a hodgepodge of random and cute items including candles and a note book. By the way, Alysha, don’t forget to water your orchid!

Fri, Dec 23:

Alysha left because she’s a working woman now. So I met up with Dylan, Randal, Nichole, and Jonathan for lunch at Chappy’s.

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I’m pretty sure I had an allergic reaction to the food, because around 1 oclock my throat started hurting really bad, and by 7 oclock, it had stopped completely. At the time, I thought I was just getting sick. But I don’t think you can recover from strep in 6 hours! Then we went home, and watched the movie Morning Glory while we waited for Dad to get home. He got in in the early evening. Jonathan went to take his little brother, Curtis, Christmas shopping and I got to have some good quality time with my Dad. We went shopping and then came home, and Mom made chicken curry and I added green beans to it (much to my Daddy’s chagrin.. hehe).  Having mom’s curry tasted so good! I need to figure out how to make it the way she makes it! Then we convinced Daddy to play phase 10 for the rest of the evening.

Sat, Dec 24:

I got to spend the day shopping with Daddy and having more quality time. We did manage to procure a turkey, and all the fixings for Christmas dinner! In the evening, we went out to dinner at Red Lobster, and it was a lot of fun. I also bought a funny hat from Old Navy and wore it out to dinner.

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 We ordered lobster pizza as an appetizer, and then Mom, Dad, and I all ordered steak and lobster combos. Really, we should have ordered two combos for the three of us, but nobody wanted to share their lobster so we ordered way too much! Jonathan got the tilapia, which I tasted and I actually liked! I hate fish, but I am starting to broaden my taste!

Sun, Dec 25th:

I spent the morning and early afternoon with Jonathan’s family. We had so much fun opening gifts and the playing Cooking Scrabble (which was one of our presents from his parents). If you haven’t played Cooking Scrabble, it’s a really fun take on Scrabble. You get cards that give you options to do funny things. For example,  you can play a microwave card, which doubles your score on your word if you can play your word in under 15 seconds. There is also a wine pairing card, which, when played, allows you combine letters with another player to form two words, and you each get half of the total points. So it’s Scrabble to the next level! I highly recommend it for anyone who likes word games!
spencer, the dog also got festive…

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Somehow, when I took the picture his eyes came out scary!

In the afternoon, I left Jonathan to spend some time with his brother, and I went with my dad to pick up my older sister and her husband from the airport. That evening, we ate a delicious Christmas dinner of turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, roasted vegetables, sweet potato casserole, dinner rolls, and of course, pie!  Then we spent the rest of the evening playing Phase 10. All evening my Mom kept saying I was channeling my younger sister, Alysha, by the way I was acting. (I really missed having her with us!). For example, at one point, Jonathan was eating a turkey leg, and I was like, “EW, that is so gross!” (Alysha is a vegetarian). Anyway, we missed her. And since we missed her while she was working the night away, we postponed present opening to…

Mon, Dec 26

We loaded up three cars with Alysha’s stuff, and headed to Columbus, which is an hour and a half drive from Centerville. Saira rode in my car, so it was nice to get a bit of quality time with her, too! We made it to Columbus, unloaded all of our stuff, and then set up presents under the tree! Then a quick brunch of Taco Bell/Pizza Hut Express, cinnamon rolls, and sparkling cider. Then, onto the opening extravaganza! I think everyone enjoyed their presents, and it was a lot of fun! I definitely enjoyed mine. 🙂   After that, Saira, Alysha and I played Ticket to Ride (my present to Saira) and then I had to leave. 🙁  So sad!

I drove back to Centerville, swung by the house to get a few things I had forgotten, swung by Jonathan’s house to get him, and we started the long drive to St. Louis. We stopped at a Steak N Shake for dinner and had a quick sit down dinner instead of eating in the car because I was feeling very sad and lonely about leaving my family.

At one point, however, the high way was shut down and we got detoured through a small town, and getting to STL took way longer than it usually does, so that was exhausting and a bummer.

But here I am, back in STL safe and sound. When we got in last night, it was raining like crazy, and when we woke up this morning there was a heavy layer of snow on the ground. How did that happen?? Guess I should think about shoveling…