Archive | May, 2011

happy birthday, mom!

21 May

Guess what…

If felt like summer today!!!

And it is my mom’s birthday!  I will spare her the number, but she is getting up there 🙂  We spent the day with my family (I have a younger brother and sister who still live at home).  While the kids were out running around with their neighbor friends who just put up a trampoline (a sign of summer!), we hung out at the house and played a favorite board game.  Its called Know It or Blow It…

Know It or Blow It

The point is to be a know-it-all so of course I love playing it because I think I know everything!  During the afternoon, we snacked on some black bean and corn dip that I made (I’ll post the recipe at the end of this post).

I ended up making stuffed cabbage from Smitten Kitchen (a huge hit!) and potatoes which were a little bit too spicy for the crowd.  I can’t help it, I date a Spanish girl!!

For dessert, I made Snickers Bar Pie that I found at Recipe Girl’s blog.

Birthday Pie ♥

It was so delicious and so easy.  I popped it in the freezer for a few hours so that the Cool Whip wouldn’t get all runny.  Since it was so warm today, it was really nice to have a frozen treat.

All-in-all, it was a pretty relaxing and enjoyable day.  I’m pretty sure my mom had a good birthday!

Black Bean & Corn Dip

1 T. olive oil
15 oz. can black beans, drained
1/2 cup corn kernels, removed from cob
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder
Minced jalapeno peppers, to taste (I used one whole pepper de-seeded)
1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese with jalapenos

Preheat oven to 375F.

Saute onions in a skillet over medium heat.  Add garlic, jalapenos, cumin and chili powder and saute for 2-3 minutes until you can smell the garlic.  Add the black beans and saute for another 3 minutes, then mash up the beans coarsely.  Add the corn and saute for another 3 minutes.

Once everything is mixed together, transfer contents to a baking dish and top with the shredded cheese.  Bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and light brown.  Serve hot with tortilla chips.

This recipe is easily doubled, although this serving size fed four hungry adults 🙂

Friday fun in the country

20 May

We had been procrastinating about getting the pets flea and tick medicine.  I’m not sure why because its pretty important!!  We usually buy their medicine and food at Petco because they offer a program where you buy 10 bags of dog food and get one free.  This works out pretty well for us because we go through an enormous amount of dog food between the two pooches.  However, I prefer to go through local small businesses whenever and wherever possible.  Petco is kind of like the Walmart of pet stores and who likes that.  Not me!

So we decided to make a trip to Agway in Grove City, which is about a fifteen minute drive from where we live.  We took the scenic route 🙂

hello there!

Do you think his name is Arty??!

We buy Blue Buffalo dog food and were surprised to find that it is CHEAPER  at Agway than it is at Petco.  The sales clerk told us its because they have a lower mark-up on it than big box corporations.  Nuts!

Successful and happy with our purchases, we stopped at one of my favorite little places in Grove City to eat – Jean’s Super Subs.

Now I have no idea who this Jean person is or how long that sub shop has been there, but it is awesome.  Their menu is basic.  And I mean basic.

You can order whatever lunch meat you want, they shred it right in front of you and then you can pick onion, lettuce and tomato.  You can pick between mayo or oil and vinegar.  Period!  None of the options (or complications) of Subway and actually fresh ingredients.  The bread (of which there is only one option) is yummmyyyyy!!!


I ordered a half of a turkey sub, which was substantial.  You can call ahead and order a 30′ sub.  WHAT!  Maybe we will have Jean’s cater our wedding ♥  Just kidding!


19 May

I am almost ashamed to say there is nothing exciting to report in this neck of the woods.  It seems like this rain will never let up!  I had to run on the treadmill this morning.  And guess what, I do mean run.  I barely walked at all because there are no hills on the treadmill!  While that’s probably cheating, I was so proud of myself when I hit the showers.

It is supposed to be clear skies and warm this weekend, though, so I am excited about that…

Especially since Saturday is my mom’s birthday!

We lack rituals in my family, so this year I offered to cook her dinner (and of course some delicious dessert).  I’m not sure how this is possible, because unlike her daughter, my mother does not like cake.  How is this possible?!!

Needless to say, I needed a PLAN B!

So, like any self respecting foodie I turned to my favorite blogs

Got out my trusty notepad…

don't you love monograms?

And made a grocery list!

Well at least started one.  I’m not going to give away what I’m making until it’s finished, but I’m sure that you get the general decadent idea!!

This may be more yummy than cake after all

Wordless Wednesday

18 May

rain, reading & recycling

17 May

It has been one rainy week!  Thankfully, I have been able to get my training done in the morning in between downpours.  I am torn about the rain – it has made temperatures drop and rendered the outside world a muddy mess, but I know that its also responsible for the amazing shades of green that Western PA is famous for.  Oh, spring, why do you make me feel like you are something I have to tolerate?  We used to have a better relationship than this, you and I!

And that is all the time I am allowing myself to be negative.  DONE!

Since the rainy day and my lack of motivation have confined me to the house for the most part, I’ve used my time to nap and get through more of Atonement (Ian McEwan).

I have put off seeing the film until I read the book because the book is usually 100x better.  This book is exactly the kind of fiction I like to read, McEwan does things with words that are untranslatable to a visual medium.  It causes my own emotions to get wrapped up in the story, the ball of frustration and helplessness that Briony feels as her cousins arrive; Cecelia’s post-graduate ennui and misplaced resentment towards Robbie as he fumbles around his own confused emotions at the fountain.  LOVE IT!


Do you recycle?

The borough that we lived in in Pittsburgh doesn’t have a curbside recycling program, which is a shame.  Before January, I myself am ashamed to say that I wasn’t a proactive recycler.  But that is not the case anymore!  I have become quite the recycling guru.  So much stuff can be recycled that I never really thought about!  Consumers unintentionally buy TONS of packaging along with products and food and most of it goes into a landfill because people don’t really understand their local recycling programs.  Even I am guilty of thinking only cans and bottles are game.  Here are three examples of things that a year ago I would have thrown away with a second thought:

conatiner from a frozen Kashi meal

And guess what: they can all be recycled as noted by the symbol on the bottom of the container!  A few weeks ago I suddenly became curious about what those little numbers indicate.  Did you know that plastics grouped into #2. #4 and #5 are the least likely to contain toxic chemicals like BPA (indicated by a #7) or polyvinyl chloride (#3).

bottom of my Kashi container

While #1 is safe to be in contact with food (thank God!), it is a more porous plastic and breaks down if it is reused.  I know a lot of moms that reuse whipped cream and sour cream containers for leftovers and I am realizing with this research that that practice might actually be harmful.  It is a healthier option to invest in a set of tupperware made from non-toxic and durable materials.

How much do you know about recycling?

Oh, and don’t forget about all this stuff either!!

cardboard & paper products

It honestly is as easy as throwing something in the garbage AND all the products that you recycle can later be turned into something practical, affordable and sustainable, like these countertops:

@ Sota Construction HQ

I think that’s a pretty rewarding incentive to take the extra 5 seconds and recycle!

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