Nov 24, 2014

SEC Football Part Two

Looks like we are turning into real Mississippi State fans since we went to our second MSU football game in a row this weekend!  We didn't plan on going to the game but when we found out the base was giving away a section of free tickets to military, we had to take advantage!
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The game was at 6:30pm so we took our time that morning before making the quick 1.5 hour drive to Starkville, Mississippi.  The drive to Starkville was extremely...rural, meaning I didn't have cell phone service most of the trip!  When we got into town we parked, got almond milk lattes and beer floats at 929 Coffee and walked around downtown.  We didn't see many people tailgating and were kind of confused as to why so many people were walking to the stadium four hours before kickoff.
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Clearly, we were clueless because when we finally ran into "The Junction", we realized people weren't walking to the stadium, they were walking to tailgate!  The junction was lined with tailgates, both private parties and giant corporate tents with giveaways!  I loved that the tailgating was in the giant grass fields between the fraternity houses and the stadium!
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Although we were in the top section, it seems like there isn't a bad seat in the entire stadium.  They have HUGE screens above both endzones that seemed to be high definition.  We got to experience the traditional Mississippi State cowbell and I have to admit, I loved it!  MSU demolished Vanderbilt so we left a little after halftime to get dinner and walk around the Cotton District.
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I was a little surprised that so many places were closed and/or not serving food at 9pm.  We were hoping to try Little Dooey's BBQ or chicken on a stick from Bin 612 but I guess we will have to make another trip back!
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Sunday was a rainy day so we caught up on Scandal, did chores, and made homemade Philly Cheesesteak pizza.  Yum!
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Nov 20, 2014

Merging Family Traditions (And Adding In A Few Of Our Own!)

Last year I hosted Thanksgiving for the very first time!  We stayed in Pensacola and had four other flight students over to join us for Thanksgiving dinner.  I was so excited to host and wanted to make sure to include a few old family traditions as well as create some of our own.  It was interesting to compare the signature dishes my family makes to the signature dishes Rob's family makes and find a balance of the two.
Image and video hosting by TinyPicI am extremely detail oriented so after decided on all of the dishes, I wrote out the baking times and temperatures of each to figure out a schedule for when everything needed to go in the oven.  I decided to get a turkey roaster to avoid having to take up precious oven space with the turkey!  I also took out all of my baking and serving dishes and labeled them with sticky notes so that I knew exactly what went in what dish and where it would go on the buffet.
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The day before Thanksgiving I prepped all of my casseroles and put them in the fridge.  I also remembered to thaw my turkey!  Thanksgiving day I popped up excited to get started cooking everything.  Of course, Pinterest got the best of me and I HAD TO make a cornucopia for my rolls out of breadsticks.   Time consuming but totally worth it, in my opinion!
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Our spread had turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, sweet potato casserole, cheesy potato casserole, corn pudding, green beans, green salad, and rolls.  I made an apple cider bourbon cocktail in mason jars with cinnamon rims.  For dessert, I had pumpkin and apple individual hand pies.  We sat and chatted, ate and ate some more.  I sent everyone home with giant plates of leftovers--because everyone knows the leftovers are just as good, if not better, than Thanksgiving Day!
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One new tradition that we started this year was signing the tablecloth.  I had everyone write their name, the date, location, and something they were thankful for on our tablecloth.  My plan is to bring it out every year I host (or bring it wherever I am going) and have everyone we celebrate Thanksgiving with add their gratitudes.  I think this will be awesome to look back on, especially since we will always be in new locations with new people due to the military!
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Nov 19, 2014

"It's-5-o-clock-and-I-forgot-about-dinner" Healthy Recipes to Save The Day

Let's be honest, we have all been there.  We are supposed to be getting dinner ready but we "just want to see if there are any great ideas on Pinterest".  Two hours later, it's 5 o clock and not only do we have no ideas for dinner but we are out of time! Ah!  This is one of my biggest downfalls because it usually leads to going out to "grab something quick".  Not a great habit for my wallet or my waistline!  Recently, I've been working on keeping my freezer and pantry stocked with super easy, last minute ingredients to throw together a healthy dinner fast on these types of nights.
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Ham Steaks with Pineapple
Cook up a couple of ham steaks in a pan and serve with pineapple and broccoli.  This meal gets dinner on the table faster than take out (and no one needs to know how simple it was!)  If you are feeling fancy, I love this honey thyme ham seasoning
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Taco Salads
This recipe is my true go-to.  Brown some ground beef and season. (No beef? Chicken or pork work great too!)  Throw in a bowl and mix with lettuce, salsa, cheese, onions, greek yogurt, and whatever else you can find in the fridge (corn, peppers, rice, etc)
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Stir Fry
Having a bag of these stir fry veggies in the freezer at all times is a must.   Of course they aren't as flavorful as fresh peppers but in a bind, they get dinner on the table quick.  Cut up some chicken and throw it in a pan with the veggies to cook.  Season with some soy sauce and a splash of lime juice and serve with rice.
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Philly Cheesesteaks
Keeping a pack of steak'ums in the freezer is a lifesaver if I have a green pepper and some onion.  We often throw together cheesesteaks for quick lunches. (If I am in a real bind and don't have bread, I will make it as a scramble with an egg)
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Pork Tenderloin (or London Broil) with Mashed Cauliflower
An easy meal but a bit more time consuming.  This is a great one for multi-tasking!  Throw the pork tenderloin in the oven and bake according to package.  Use this time to do some other chores you've been avoiding (I am a big fan of finally taking the clothes out of the dryer and folding half of the pile so it looks like I was just in the middle of laundry!)  A bag of frozen cauliflower looks much fancier when mashed so take a couple of minutes to put it in the blender after steaming.

What are your last minute, go-to recipes?
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Nov 17, 2014

Gameday in Tuscaloosa!

Hail State?  Roll Tide?  This weekend we drove to Tuscaloosa to watch #1 Mississippi State play #5 Alabama.  I loved college (Go Hokies!) and the college scene so I am always interested in other colleges traditions.  I want to see what it's like to be a student there -- drink the signature drink at the popular bar, check out the bookstore, and eat at the local spots.  (In case you ever find yourself in Blacksburg, the answers are a rail at TOTS, Campus Emporium, and Cabo Fish Taco!)
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I have been asking Rob to go to a nearby college football game ever since we moved down South and he finally caved this weekend.  Tuscaloosa is only an hour and a half drive so we woke up early Saturday morning for the drive.  I wasn't really rooting for either team (more interested in tailgating!) but if I had to pick, I would say I was hoping for Mississippi State to stay at #1.  
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We parked downtown and walked to check out College Gameday, which was set up in front of the stadium.  It was only 29 degrees outside but the bright sunshine saved the day!  After catching a glimpse of our favorite Saturday morning Gameday crew, we walked around campus, checked out the insane tailgates set up on the Quad, and took a walk down fraternity row.  We saw Rob's, Rob's dad's, my dad's, and my brother's fraternity houses.  I was in awe of the giant mansion houses!
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The door to the Tri Delta house was open so I popped in to take a look.  The girls were super gracious and we were able to tour the whole downstairs.  I loved my time living in the Dolphin Tank at VT but oh my goodness, this house was amazing!  I was just hoping to blend in enough that they would ask if I wanted to move in ;)
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My sister's friend Sarah is a freshman at Alabama and in a sorority there so we met up with her at her sorority house and had lunch.  It was great to get the "inside scoop" about the school from a current student!  We didn't get tickets to the game (again, not super interested in the actual game part haha) so we headed to the strip to watch the game at a bar.  I read online that we had to try a "Yellow Hammer" from Gallette's so that was our first stop.  It was a total college bar---dark, packed wall-to-wall with people holding plastic yellow cups of yellow hammers.   AKA I loved it!  The yellow hammer drink was not as potent at all as a Rail but it was delicious!  We met up with some other friends who were in town from Meridian for the game at The Houndstooth but all ended up back at Gallette's for the rest of the night.  
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While I tried keep up with the college scene, the 25 (going on 60) year old in me was tired by 6pm and knew Chipotle was calling my name!  We grabbed dinner before driving home and falling asleep by 9pm.  I had so much fun and definitely have a few restaurants in Tuscaloosa on my list that I want to try before we move.  Needless to say, Sunday Funday consisted of catching up on sleep, chores, and life ;)

Nov 12, 2014

#WIAW 21 Day Fix

Still hooked on the 21 Day Fix meal plan (this is officially my third round)!  Why?  Because for me, it provides the structure for clean eating that I needed while still allowing the flexibility that other plans never gave me.  Eat real foods in the right portions without over-doing any one thing?  That's something I can stick with!
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        Breakfast: Ham and cheese omelette, toast with TJ's pumpkin butter
        Lunch: Philly Cheesesteak with onion and green peppers on a sandwich thin
        Snack: Chocolate Peanut Butter Shakeology
        Dinner: Ham steaks with grilled pineapple and broccoli and salad (not shown)
        Dessert: Yonanas (Banana ice cream)

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