Saturday, January 29, 2011

last night of freedom.

it's m-day.
the day to say goodbye to free time.
goodbye to fun baking.
goodbye to any social life i had before today.

and HELLO to master's degree.
and paper writing.
and being a student. whilst being a teacher.

AND... few things could excite me more.

but, i logged on to good ole indiana wesleyan, and i couldn't download the syllabus!
and neither could anyone else.
so it looks like i'm going to get at least one more day of freedom.

hello, blog and date night! (matt's shaving right now, otherwise there's no way i'd be wasting my free minutes blogging).

but, i thought i'd share a few things.

first, the wrap up of the fun recipes!

this is the grilled rosemary pork chop recipe. HOLY CRAPPER. it was one of the better things i've ever tasted. matt nearly keeled over. also: asparagus cooked in red wine (best way to make it!) and jasmine rice.

then, chicken in red wine sauce. DELECTABLE. try this one... it uses fun words like "reduction" and stuff in the recipe. i made it with mashed potatoes and put the sauce on the potatoes. yummmmmmm.

finally, our new endeavor. we bought an entertainment book. and i'm DETERMINED to get our money's worth and much more.  so, for our date nights, we're going to go to restaurants we'd never ordinarily go to in order to get buy one, get one free entrees. tonight's the first one. i'm so excited i could pee.

i'll let you know how it goes.

i'm planning on basking in this last night of freedom.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

anddd finishing up the week.

this week has been an interesting one.
i've had a lot of epiphanies.
i've been missing susan wonch too much.
and i've been spending a lot of time with food.

so, here goes nothing.

first, my newest "favorite thing!" drumroll, please.....

Mrs. Meyer's cleaning products. holy CRAP do they smell good. and are good for the environment. and i'm obsessed.

now, on to food...
chicken with orange pecan rice. YUMMMMMMMMM.

 that's just paprika on top. don't worry... nothing scary.
(the recipe's in an earlier blog. look that trash up.)

and now... the BEST COOKIE i have EVER made. 
i'm truly serious.
make it. everyone will love you.
here's the recipe... cranberry orange cookies.
it's to die for.

welp, my last week of pre-graduate school is this week. thus, many new recipes to add to the docket.

i've got three new ones... 
-chicken with red wine sauce
-grilled rosemary pork chops
-slow cooker chicken cacciatore

i'll let you know how they go.

oh, and fyi... i made this cupcake recipe and it was not the best... don't make it!

that's all for today!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

one dinner thwarted... but i'll let it slide...

well, tuesday night was supposed to be the night i'd make chicken with orange pecan rice.

however. i came home to this:

three bouquets of flowers on the counter.... 

 candles everywhere, music playing, mementos of us out...

those are the roses he gave me when he proposed to me. out for dinner... which he had all ready to go with our nice dishes when i walked in the door! 

after dinner, we played the monopoly game i had made for him for our 2 year dating anniversary. it's incredible, i must say. talk about a walk down memory lane... and then he let us watch "the holiday," which i was never able to watch this year over christmas. 

my amazing husband. who loves to surprise me. for our 1.5 year wedding anniversary. i love it. and him.

i'm looking rough in this picture. but, hey, i just finished teaching all day, tutoring for 2 hours, and then driving home through snow. plus showering is generally not on the top of my list. just kidding. kind of. 

so, wednesday night's meal.... philly cheese roll ups!

great success. took literally 8 minutes to create, and was SO tasty. definitely worth trying, everyone!

check out that trash. 

and finally, tonight, i made the homemade macaroni and cheese!  it's lighter than normal homemade macaroni, so at least slightly less fattening... though still filled with cheese (2%, though :)).

it looks good. it tasted even better. i ate more than my fair share, but, eh, who's counting.

don't worry, chicken with orange pecan rice will be coming... just not when i expected. :) i guess it's okay that he interrupted my plans, right?

Monday, January 17, 2011

the recipe progression.

well, saturday was the "chocolate chip graham cookie" experiment.

they turned out great! they taste similar to a chocolate chip cookie (but with way different ingredients!), but have a graham cracker aftertaste. 


monday night's meal: saucy pepper steak. 

first of all, i don't generally make's overwhelming for my system. but i LOVED this one. it was quick, easy, and delicious! very well received by the husband and will be added to my mental rolodex of meals! chaaa-ching.

similar to the picture, right? yeah. twas delish. highly recommended.

in other news, i thought i'd start instituting a little section of my blog called "steph's favorite things."

oprah's not the only one who can do it.

so, here are a few of my favorite things, to start it off...

1. do you ever battle to slice a pizza?

scissors make you touch the scalding hot piece of dough...

a roller hits the side of the pan (because i can't work a pizza stone... that's a topic for another day. i had a tragic experience once with dropping a piece of dough and still haven't bounced back)...

well, i have the answer!
 introducing, a random tool by food network! (i don't know what it's called...) picks things up, measures the length of things, and cuts things! it's an incredible tool that everyone should have. really.

2. P90X. i have been doing it, and my abs are firmer than ever! really. and i can't even do all the exercises. it's incredible!

3. this dog. get cuter. oh, wait. she can't. even though she's all up in our bed.

well, that's it for this episode. i know you'll be on the edge of your seat in anticipation. and don't worry... i already know one thing for the next favorite things. here's a hint: it's a cleaning supply. get excited.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

let the new year begin!

new year.
new recipes.

i know grad school's coming and i won't have time to look up new recipes soon, so i'm attempting to find really exciting new recipes for the next few weeks, to be put into the round of "regular" recipes. matt gets bored of things quickly, so i'm trying to get a lot of things going... to make things exciting for us both!  plus, they have to be recipes that are quick and easy, since i don't get home until after 5 these days... lots of tutoring round these parts.

so, on the docket for this week...

monday: saucy pepper steak.
check out this recipe!

tuesday: chicken with orange-pecan rice. here's the recipe. i made it once before--it's INCREDIBLE. thus, back in action. 

tip: i just didn't measure anything, so i don't know if it calls for too much of something. i KNOW i didn't use enough pecans or orange juice (i watered down the orange juice because i didn't want it to be overpowering). so, going with the recipe may be a little different. 

wednesday: healthified macaroni and cheese. here's the recipe.  matt keeps asking me to make a homemade version, but most use so much cheese that i would be super sick (my stomach and dairy do NOT mix).

thursday: something normal: enchiladas or tacos. matt and i love mexican... mostly we're obsessed with fresh cilantro (always a batch in the fridge) and fresh salsa. yummmmm.  not quite as exciting, but something that will rock your world?

it's so good i almost just want to drink it. trader joe's knows how to do it. and i don't buy anything else (maybe someday i'll have time to make it myself!).

friday: Philly steak roll ups. the beauty of this? it's ridiculously easy-looking with hardly any ingredients. (i keep a bag of frozen peppers--green, yellow, and red always in the freezer. trader joe's sells them for like $2. a steal of a deal... and we go through almost one a week).

saturday: something normal... pasta with meat sauce or tuna and noodles (matt's favorite). can't do a new one every day. jeez.

the most exciting thing of all? my baking endeavor this week: chocolate drizzled graham cookies. YES PLEASE. check these babies out.

if these work out, i don't think i'll ever go back to anything else. they look absolutely incredible!

well, i'll take pictures of the "real" version of things i make this week and will be sure to update what happens. yikes. hopefully i don't murder any recipes.

the exciting ones from this past week? pork tenderloin (i rock that now. no more fear) and a made up enchilada thing when i realized i was out of corn tortillas and it was snowing so i didn't go buy any.

that's it. here i go!

Thursday, January 6, 2011


okay. everyone bashes new years resolutions.

and i love them.

as the clock was ticking new years eve, i kept saying, "what are my resolutions? ahhhh!"

i love making them. and here they are.

1. be more organized. as life is going to be busier with grad school (starting at the end of this month. craziness.), i think now's the time to stop leaving things everywhere and constantly having stacks to file. i have to grow up sometime, right?

2. enjoy the little things. i'm the classic overanalyzer and mental stresser. things are getting to the height of as crazy as things can be... i'm married to a man in the worst year of medical school and studying for the Board exam, I am a full time teacher that has a ton of work every night... and i'm starting my accelerated Master's program.  That plus youth group, small group of young marrieds, church, and friends... makes for a busy life.  i'm going to let myself enjoy the little things, rather than stressing about the big things. i can always stress more. but i have to live this season, too, right? might as well get a little joy out of the craze.

sadly enough, new years resolutions have probably created the deepest post i've ever blogged. how embarrassing.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

oh the things i can bake.

check out this trash:

the beautiful piece of machinery to change my world forever. 
matt and i were supposed to spend $50 on each other.
he broke the rules. i'm not too mad about it, you could say.
he created a scavenger hunt and gave me a letter with a code about the 25 attributes he most loved about me... making me read things, wander my parents' house, sing christmas carols, eat things... all to find this incredible gift hidden in the attic.

oh, the joy. i love that husband of mine.

...and here are some recently baked goods.
 p.s. this recipe was fully made up. i'm pumped. devil's food, carmel, pecans. delish.

 homemade chicken pot pie. matt begged me for it.
 some of the goodies from our stockings... not a baked thing, i realize.

monkey bread. yummmm.

AND: the beginning to a new era....

the FIRST thing i made in the mixer.
the most well mixed peanut butter blossoms this world has ever seen!
(also, notice i actually have wire racks to put the cookies on... thanks, mom and dad!)

there you have it.
thank you, matt, for spoiling me.

NYE. with BFFs.

in my life, i haven't had many noteworthy new years eves.

this year was fabulous.

day one: thursday. december 30.
the loot matt and i had stocked up on at whole foods.

susan, linds, and katie get here.

sewing day.

out to dinner... attempted slow's bbq, but the wait was 2.5 hours.
so, we went to union street in downtown detroit.

day two: friday, december 31.
slept in.
went shopping for a while.
then, crazy game-playing-loving-life-and-eating-tons-of-food day.

watched the ball drop.

day three: saturday, january 1.
monkey bread breakfast.

cried about susan leaving.
prayed over her.
cried when everyone left.

incredible time.
incredible friends.
incredible start to the year.