Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Congratulations, Chris!

In case you didn't already know (Chris has been shouting it from the rooftops!) Chris took his last final of his Masters program last week. That means as soon as the grades and diplomas are processed, he will officially have his MBA from the University of Utah.

He is done with school forever! It has been a long road (at least it felt that way to me), but he did it. I am just excited to have my husband back in the evenings every now and again. Congratulations, Chris. You are amazing and I love you to pieces!

Note: If you are a biker (as in road or mountain) give Chris a call. He's got some free time on his hands. :)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Jazz Game

Last Saturday we took our friends the Schanz's and the Hansen's to the Jazz vs. Suns game! We got to sit in a suite and eat tons of food and hang out. It was a blast! Plus the game was a nail-biter overtime win. Go Jazz!

(We even borrowed my mom's big old Yukon and carpooled to the game like one big happy family. It was so much fun hanging out in the car, I think we might do it again!)

Chris and I watching the game.

The view from our suite.

Sadie, Nathan and baby Sawyer.

Rachel, Trevor & baby Bentley.

The girls hangin' out.

The guys hangin' out.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Moab With The Boys

Last week Chris went to Moab with a bunch of his friends. They biked, hiked, camped, and had a great time! Here are a few pictures that document their fun.

Here's the whole gang, about to hit the biking trail. (They're all pointing to the spot in the picture where Jeremy should be.)

Here's the whole gang's sleeping setup. Well...not the whole gang. Chris was forced to set his sleeping bag up on the other side of camp because he snores. (I feel your pain, boys!)

Hiking with the whole gang in Arches. Isn't it beautiful?

Some of the gorgeous Moab scenery.

A photo of the time Chris got pulled over. (Luckily it was just a warning!)

One more picture of the boys biking.

Chris had a great time, and really enjoyed the little vacation from work and school. Thanks guys, for coordinating everything and making him go!

When Chris came home, his car and everything in it smelled of sweaty-dirty-man. Gross! So I made him bag up his laundry on the driveway and take it downstairs to throw right in the washer. A few days ago I was finishing folding some laundry, and I came across the pillowcase Chris took with him down to Moab. When he asked me what pillowcase he could take, I told him any of the ones in the linen closet were fine. Out of all of the pillowcases in the closet, this is the one he chose to take on a camping trip with a bunch of dudes:

Way to go, honey. I'm glad you're so secure with your manliness!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Yes, I'm feeling lazy this week. And all this snow isn't helping!


Chicken salad

Leftovers/fend for yourself. (Sorry Chris, I'm getting my hair done!)

I think I might try this Chili Verde with the cheap meat I got at Target the last few weeks!

I saved some of the yummy Tomatillo Salsa I made last week for Chris when he got home from Moab. After two bites he handed it back to me. He's got some serious issues with cilantro (who doesn't love cilantro?!). So I'm officially taking requests for dinner guests/eating buddies on nights I cook with cilantro. You can come eat with me and we'll send Chris to Wendy's. The only requirement is stimulating conversation. :)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Tomatillo Salsa

I made Tomatillo Salsa last night to go with our enchiladas and it was so good! The recipe comes from Everyday Food Magazine. I'd post a picture for you but I've already eaten it all!

Tomatillo Salsa
1 lb tomatillos, husked and quartered
1/2 small red onion, chopped
1 c. cilantro, chopped
5-6 jalapeno slices (or to taste)
3 T lime juice
pinch salt

Toss all ingredients in your Cuisinart and mix. Enjoy with chips!

For more great recipes this week, visit The Grocery Cart Challenge recipe swap!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Things I Love Thursday - My Isabelt

A few month's ago I won a giveaway over at Forever and Always for an Isabelt. What is an Isabelt? It's basically a clear stretchy belt that no one can see. If you're like me and you wear long shirts that come down past the waist of your pants, you hate the "belt bulge" under your shirt when you wear a regular belt. It's the worst!

The Isabelt solved all my problems in that way! It's very low-profile, so no one can even tell you are wearing it. Plus, it eliminated my need to have all my jeans and pants altered to get rid of the "gap" in the back where they didn't fit my waist. All you ladies know what I'm talking about!

Needless to say, the Isabelt is one of the Things I Love!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Three Years And Counting

This past Friday was the 3-year anniversary of the day Chris and I got engaged. Sort of obscure, I know. We didn't do anything special to celebrate, since we usually celebrate the big day in July. But I will always remember that day 3 years ago.

Here's to many, many more years. Love you, Chris!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

By the way, that BLT pasta recipe from last week was oh-so-good! So making that one again! And I'm not even a "pasta person!"

I'm going to cook Cheesy Broccoli (Chris's favorite Thanksgiving dish!) with the cheap broccoli I got last week at Target, and then we'll grill up some chicken or steaks from the freezer.

Cheesy Broccoli
(I hope you don't mind me posting this, Lynne!)

1 T lemon juice
1/2 cup mayo
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 can cream of chicken soup
2-3 heads of broccoli

In a large pan boil broccoli for 10 minutes. Mix other ingredients together & pour over broccoli. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.


Broccoli, Tomato and Mozzarella Stromboli
(from Everyday Food, April 2009 issue)
Prep: 20 mins. Total time: 45 mins.
513 calories per serving

1 lb pizza dough, thawed if frozen
all-purpose flour for work surface
1 package (lb) frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
2 garlic cloves, minced
coarse salt and ground pepper
2 cup marinara sauce
1 1/2 cps shredded mozzarella
2 ounces thinly sliced Genoa salami, chopped
1 T olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil Divide dough into 4 pieces. On a lightly floured surface, stretch out each piece to a 6-by-8 inch oval. Place broccoli in a strainer, and press to remove excess liquid. Transfer to a double layer of paper towels, and pat dry. Dividing evenly, scatter broccoli over dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Sprinkle with garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Dividing evenly, top with mozzarella, salami, and 1/2 cup marinara. Starting at a shorter end, roll up each stromboli, and place, seam side down, on baking sheet. Using the tip of a paring knife, cut two slits in the top of each. Bake until golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve stromboli with 1/2 cup marinara for dipping.

Dinner @ Julie's

I'm making dinner at Julie's on Thursday (we, the siblings, are pow-wowing this week while the 'rents are out of town watching Michelley at nationals). I think I'm going to do chicken enchiladas and rice. I'll cook the chicken the day before in the crockpot and bring my rice cooker on over. Maybe some salsa, too.

It'll just be Amy and I tonight, while Chris is in Moab biking. We'll do Norwegian pancakes (like crepes...but better) with sauteed bananas and chocolate. That's a healthy dinner, right?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Fill Me In Friday

Ashley over at Forever and Always is doing a "Fill Me In Friday" with tips on how to save money. I thought I'd jump on the bandwagon and share a tip.

One of my big splurges in life is the makeup I use. I'm a Bobbi Brown girl, and I've yet to find anything I love more. Certain pieces of Bobbi's line just can't be topped. It's not that I like paying $42 for foundation every six months, it's just that I hadn't found anything that worked better -- until recently.

In January I stumbled across Michelle's post about Everyday Minerals. It's a line of all-natural, organic mineral cosmetics. They operate in a chemical-free facility, and even ship their products in 100% recycled packaging. I ordered a sample kit with 5 pieces of my choice for free, and just paid $3.13 shipping.

I wasn't sure how I would like mineral powder foundation, considering I had been using a liquid. But I discovered that with my skin-type (fairly oily), the mineral powder is fantastic! My skin is clearer than ever, and I didn't even know my old foundation was causing me problems!

After I tried the samples decided which color and finish I liked best, I ordered a full-size foundation for $12 + $2.96 shipping. I've had it for over 2 months now and I haven't even put a dent in it, so at this rate it's about 1/4 of the cost of the foundation I was using before. Now that's a way to save money! I love it, and Chris definitely loves it.

(Want to know what's in your makeup vs. what's in Everyday Minerals? Click here. You will be shocked.)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Conference Champions

Name - Michelley

Class - Junior

Position - Forward

Hometown - Holladay, UT

Height - 6'0"

Ability - Amazing!

Michelle's basketball team at Westminster were the Conference Champions this year! Way to go, Michelley! Last Friday we went to watch her play in one of the tournament games before they head off to Jackson, Tennessee for Nationals!

Here are a few shots of the spectators during the game.

Marva, Mom, Amy

Stu, Nate, Max

Stu and Annalisa

Chris & Annalisa

Monday, March 9, 2009

Blog Love

My cute friend Ashley at Forever & Always gave me the Kreativ Blogger award! What a nice surprise!

As part of the award, I have to list 7 things I love, and 7 blogs I love. Here goes!

7 things I love...
1. Chris
2. Shopping
3. Trying new recipes
4. Twinkies
5. Wearing shorts
6. A clean kitchen
7. Spreadsheets

7 blogs I love...
1. Melissa @ 365 Days of Exercise. You go, girl!
2. Erin @ Jane4Girls$800AnnualBudget. You HAVE to see it.
3. Jen @ Daylights. She's just so creative!
4. Michelle @ Leaving Excess. Did you know she goes no 'poo?
5. Gayle @ The Grocery Cart Challenge. $60 a week for a family of six.
6. Maryanne @ My Penny Pile. She never misses a deal!
7. Stephanie @ Crockpot365. My kind of cooking!

Thank you all for being so wonderful!

Menu Plan Monday

Chris brought home a copy of a recipe from work last week and asked me to add it to the menu plan for this week. If I had a nickel for every time he's done this...I'd have a lot of nickels. The man sure comes home with a lot of recipes for working with a bunch of dudes!


B-L-T Pasta <-- Chris's request
(Bacon, Lettuce & Tomato Bucatini with garlic bread crumbs)
Makes 2 servings, total time about 45 minutes

1 clove garlic
1 c French bread cubes
1 tsp olive oil salt to taste

2 strips thick-sliced bacon, diced
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 c thinly sliced leeks
1/4 c dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
4 oz dry bucatini or spaghetti
1 c fresh spinach leaves
1/4 tsp minced fresh thyme

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil for the bucatini. Mince garlic for the bread crumbs in a food processor. Add cubed bread, and process until coarse. Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium; add crumbs and toast until golden, 3-4 minutes, stirring often. Season with salt and set aside. Saute bacon for the pasta in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook until crisp, then drain pieces on a paper towel-lined plate. Pour off all but 1 Tbsp of drippings. Caramelize tomatoes and sugar in the drippings over medium heat. Cook until tomatoes begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add leeks; saute until wilted, 3-4 minutes. Deglaze skillet with wine; simmer until liquid is nearly evaporated. Add the broth, vinegar, and pepper flakes. Simmer until liquid is reduced by a third, about 5 minutes. Cook bucatini in boiling water according to package directions. Add spinach, thyme, and bacon pieces to sauce. Transfer cooked pasta from cooking water to the skillet using tongs. Toss to coat with sauce. Season with salt, then divide pasta between plates. Sprinkle pasta with reserved bacon pieces and bread crumbs before serving.

From CuisineAtHome.com
610 calories per serving
22 g total fat


Ritzy Kids Chicken (recipe to come!)
This will be made using the Ritz crackers I got for free last week!

8 Boneless skinless chicken breasts, thawed
2 cups crushed Ritz crackers
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
2 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp seasoned salt
1 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup butter, melted (optional)

Combine crushed crackers Parmesan, garlic salt and seasoned salt in shallow dish. Pat chicken dry, then coat with yogurt. Dip each piece in crumb mixture and arrange in 9" x 13" baking dish. Drizzle melted butter over top, if desired. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.


Baked Potato Soup (link)


I just loved this video! It's a feel-good movie that will make you smile!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

New and Improved

Chris and I finally made a much-needed improvement to our living room! It sort of ended up being a Valentines Day present to eachother, because shopping for them was part of our V-day festivities -- but they didn't get delivered until a little later.

Our living room used to look like this. These are the couches we inherited with the house we bought from a 97 year old lady. These pink couches matched the pink carpet, pink curtains, and pink wallpaper. To mask the pinkness of it all, I bought some slipcovers for them, but Chris just hated how twisty they got when you tried to lay on the couch or roll over. The slipcovers were almost worse than the pink couches...almost.

Now our living room looks like this! Buying new couches was sort of a big step for us, because up until now we've been spending money (more like flushing) on actual improvements to the house - like paint, flooring, doors, windows, landscaping, appliances, etc. This purchase kind of felt like a splurge because it's not something that will make our house go up in value! (In theory, of course, if the whole housing market hadn't crashed.)

The best part is, we are now able to do this! (We're both laying on the same couch! Our old couches weren't deep enough for that...or we were too wide...)

Monday, March 2, 2009

Rest in peace, my old friend

I did a stupid thing on Saturday. Remember how I said sometimes I say stupid things (see #25)? Well, sometimes I also DO stupid things.

I had a busy week at work last week, but I was determined not to skip the gym in the mornings just because of that. So I managed to get my workout in every day last week but on Friday I left my ipod in the pocket of my jacket and hung it on its hook after I hurried back from the gym.

On Saturday, Chris left for an IEEE conference downtown all day and I got up and tore through the house, cleaning, washing dishes and doing laundry. In my haste, I grabbed my workout clothes and threw them all in the washer -- with my ipod inside.

When I pulled it out of my jacket pocket, this is what it looked like. The headphones which were wrapped around it, were broken off at the base of the headphone jack, and I could see condensation inside the screen.

Alas, I've tried everything I could think of (including freezing it) but my dear old blue ipod seems to be dead. Forever. (Tears trickle down the cheek...)

I suppose it's not all bad, considering how old that ipod mini was, and it was probably time for an upgrade soon anyway. But I began to get nostalgic as I thought of all the times my ipod has spent with me. Before I let it go, I feel the need to give it a heartfelt eulogy.

Ahem. (Clears throat)

To my dear old friend, my blue Ipod Mini,

I remember the summer I first learned about you from my friend who works for Apple. I was living far from home, playing hard, working hard and living hard. When I came back with a broken heart, your music lifted my spirits and helped me feel whole.

We became exercise buddies, and study buddies. We ran away the heartache. We listened to Mark Geslison before every engineering exam. It calmed my nerves and got me through.

The first time I saw Chris, you were with me, sitting in an auditorium in the math building, waiting for class to start and serenading me.

Your music passed the winters on the treadmill in the basement, and the summers on the roads from Cottonwood Lane to Walker Lane. Hundreds of times. We could travel it in our sleep. Your music got me skinny before my wedding, and skinny again after.

Your music passed the time on many business flights, and during many hours in the lab. No matter my mood, you always had something for me. Music was my solace.

May you rest in peace my dear friend, and know that you were loved.

*Incidentally -- any ideas on where I should give old Blue Ipod Mini a proper burial? If it weren't for the whole battery-being-a-bio-hazard thing, I'd bury him deep in Walker Woods, a place he dearly loved. (Notice how my ipod turned into a "he?") Any ideas other than the place my dad used to always "bury" our dead chickens -- the big black garbage can?

Shout out to Amy

This is my cute sister Amy (in the blue socks) after her last Junior Jazz game of the year on Saturday. Isn't she cute?

Now that your season is over Ames, you should come play basketball with the ladies in my stake on Tuesday nights! We promise not to give you any black eyes.

Menu Plan Monday

Chris requested BBQ Chicken Pizza for dinner tonight. It's going to require a quick trip to the grocery store on my way home from work tonight to pick up a few things, but he doesn't request things very often, so we're going with it. :)

Crockpot shredded chicken tacos and maybe some Cafe Rio dressing.

Homemade Chicken Rice Soup (using some chicken held over from Tuesday).

Incidentally, if you're looking for an AMAZING breakfast recipe, try this Banana Foster French Toast recipe. We had Sunday dinner at Julie's yesterday, where we had sausage egg casserole and this French toast. Delish! So delish I had to work it off at the gym this morning.

While I'm on the subject of breakfasts, I should post my favorite oatmeal pancake recipe I got from my friend Elisa at work. I make it some nights when Chris is at school and I'm just cooking for myself (he's not too big on "sweet" breakfast foods). It's surprisingly yummy and healthy.

Oatmeal Pancakes
2 eggs
1/2 c. cottage cheese
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. oats
1 tsp oil
1 tsp cinnamon (or to taste)
1/4 c. flour (all purpose or wheat)

Combine milk and oats and heat in microwave for 1 min. Let soak until oats have fully absorbed the milk. Beat eggs, cinnamon, and oil in a separate bowl. Add in oats, mix. Add in flour, mix. Cook in a frying pan on medium to low heat.