Thursday, March 31, 2011

recipe {hobo dinner's}

hobo dinner's are a fun and easy recipe that we use to do alot growing up.  it's one of those recipes that once you have the concept down, you can do anything you want. 

here's the concept:  each person get's their own foil package.  you choose the meat {beef, pork, or chicken}, vegetables, marinade, and seasonings, put it all in a foil package and either grill, bake, or cook it in the crock pot....or cook over a camp fire.  growing up we always did them on the grill or in the oven, but last week mom was making them and threw out the idea of cooking them in the crock pot.  i tried it, and it worked wonderfully!  if you decide to bake or grill, the packages need to cook for about an hour.  i cooked them in the crock pot for about 4 1/2 hours on low and they turned out great.  this is a fun recipe to get the kids involved b/c they can make their own. 

onto the pics.....
meat {we did ground beef...hamburger patties.  you can do chicken or pork as well.  seafood doesn't work b/c the meat cooks faster than the veggies}
vegetables {zucchini, squash, potatoes, onions, fresh green beans, carrots, peppers, etc.}
marinade {yoshida's works great, i tried a new one that i got from sam's, but you could use anything}
seasonings {garlic salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, etc.}

chop all of your vegetables into similar sized pieces.  fresh veggies are so pretty!

if using ground beef, pat into similar sized patties, sprinkle with salt and pepper

take a square piece of foil and place your meat in the center

add fresh veggies on top of meat

add seasonings and marinade

fold foil packet up...kind of like the left overs from those hibachi places

each individual foil package

place all packages into crock pot and cook on low for 4 - 4 1/2 hours
or on the grill, or in the oven for about an hour

once the time has passed, open your foil packet....great to serve over rice!

this is a great do ahead meal.  you could put the packages together the night before and keep in the fridge until cooking time.  oh, and clean-up is a breeze!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

worth family sneak

this was a fun photo session with the worth family!  here are a few photos to hold you over until the rest are done.  love the skinny jeans!


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

special thoughts and prayers

a close friend and co-worker in dallas has been hit with some life changing news and needs all the thoughts and encouragement she can get.  here is her story that she has posted on her caringbridge blog....

I'm Tiffany, 30 years old, wife to a loving husband, Ben, and mommy to two cute little puppies, Chloe and Lucy. I've had a pretty great life so far. Attended Texas A&M and received a bachelor’s in Architecture. Started a career in interior design about three years ago and am a registered interior designer. I love my job, love my friends and family, love my church and everything in between.

I started out my 30's with the attitude that it was going to be the best decade of my life yet. However, I was struck with the biggest news of my life just three weeks ago. On Feb. 25th I was scheduled for a surgery to remove what was thought to be a tubal ovarian abscess. When the doctor opened me up he found more than that. Immediately he sent the mass down to pathology and found out that it was cancer. The next steps he took were very important, and he later told me that he wasn't going to let this thing take me. After a complete hysterectomy, removing the omentum (fatty layer of the belly where cancer cells can sometimes hide), taking several biopsies and doing a wash (filled me up with water, sloshed it around and sucked it out several times), I was on the road to recovery. The biopsies indicated that I have Stage 2 ovarian cancer, and this was only because the mass was in direct contact with my colon and uterus. My doctor is very optimistic about beating this, and because I’m so young, he wants to be very aggressive in treating the cancer.

I start chemo treatments tomorrow, Tuesday, March 22nd. I will be getting two types of chemo: taxol, given intravenously, and cystplatin, given through my IP (intraparataneal) port. I will have treatments every three weeks for a total of six treatments. My last treatment will be given on July 5th, and I can’t wait for that day.

This is not something that I would want anyone to go through, but I know that it’s part of God’s amazing plan. I’m hoping my story will touch many lives and that they may be transformed by it. I know that the fight I have ahead of me is God’s fight, and it’s to Him that I give all of the glory and honor….He knows what He’s doing and I’m encouraged by the strength He gives me every day.

it's hard to think that someone so young can be going through something like this.  i know it happens all the time, but it doesn't make it any easier.  tiffany is a fabulous and talented girl and will come out on the other side of this only stronger!

here are some fun pics from one of our neocon trips to chicago a couple of years ago....

back in the fall of 2009 i took some photos of Tiffany and Ben, her husband, you can see here....such a sweet and fun loving couple!

you can follow tiffany's journey through her blog,

please keep her in your thoughts and prayers. if you have any words/thoughts/prayers/encouragement that you would like to pass on to her, you can email me at or post comments on her website.

Monday, March 28, 2011

photo wardrobe

if you have ever wondered, "how should i dress my kiddo for a photo session" look no further than the gap.  i know i have blogged before about their ridicuously cute clothes, but seriously?!?!?  i went to today and saw this photo....

kills me at how stinkin' cute their summer line is!  adorable...and why in the world can they not make that in my size??? 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

what's cookin' this week

crock pot hobo dinners
chicken sausage succatash & fresh green beans
sweet chili salmon w/ rice and salad
corned beef w/ potatoes & carrots, sauerkraut & fresh green beans

just fyi....the turnovers, quesadillas, and pizza from last weeks menu were awesome!  i liked doing the quesadillas in the oven...super easy and that roated veggie pizza....must try!

Friday, March 25, 2011

tulsa mom tip

i'm not a mom, but i'm thinking that this would come in handy if i had a car full of excited kiddos wanting to visit the zoo......last week my friend sarah and i were out driving around and decided to check out mohawk park.  unbeknownst {sp?} to both of us, the entrance to the zoo and the park are the same and apparently it was "take your kid to the zoo" day.  there was a line that was FOREVER long!  we then realized that it was spring break and a beautiful day thus the long line.  we were not THAT interested in checking out the park, so i quickly turned around on the center median and headed to opposite direction.  as soon as we turned out of the entrance, going west, we saw a very small white sign that said "alternate zoo entrance".  we became somewhat interested b/c of the ridiculous line of cars that was lining up down the main street so we decided to check out the alternate entrance and see if it was legit.  it is legit and it takes you by some interesting places on the way!

so, here is what we found....

if you are going to the zoo on a busy day, instead of going down sheridan, go down yale until it comes to a 'T'.  Turn Left instead of Right.  you will go by "rebel run" {an abandoned convenient store w/ confederate flags}.  follow the signs that say "lake yahola" {never knew tulsa had a lake yahola...}.  you will also pass the mohawk mobile estates on the left side of the road...keep driving.  go over "coal creek".  the road will curve and go over a railroad track...continue past "diamond vogel" until you get to "N Winston Ave", where you will turn right.  there is also a sign that says "mohawk golf course" and another little white sign that says "alternate zoo entrance".  when you turn right you will follow the road around the golf course and will see the nature center...keep driving.  you wind around a large pond, which i am assuming is "lake yahola"...not much of a lake.  this road will dump you into the same zoo parking lot that everyone else gets dumped into, except you didn't have to wait in stop and go traffic & you got to see some beautiful scenery!  it is a little further, BUT the guy that was in front of us before i turned around hadn't made it to the parking lot yet.

now that i have typed this, i'm thinking that some of you moms, if not all, have probably already figured this out.  but hopefully a few will still find it helpful!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

what's cookin' this week

the crock pot chicken and dumplings that were on my menu last week.....were awesome!  and they were super easy.  mymichael gave them his approval.  thank you cori for the recommendation!

mymichael and i tried out marco's pizza, located at 81st & garnett, and it was tasty!  we loved the pizza crust.

i received my new cooking light magazine in the mail, so this week's menu contains all new recipes for me to try.  have you ever tried mustard greens?  i haven't, but that quesadilla recipe looks pretty yummy, so we shall see.

any great recipes you have stumbled on recently?

Friday, March 18, 2011

i'm jealous of your....

patio or porch, that is if you have one.  these past couple of beautiful days have me itching for a covered patio.  i love being able to lounge outside!  if i ever have one, i will want an outdoor fireplace at one end.  i want it to be deep so you can sit outside when it's raining and not get wet.  i want comfortable lounge seating and a really long table for fabulous meals cooked in the outdoor kitchen.  i want, i want, i want.....a girl can dream, right? 

well, to get you dreaming, i have posted some photos that i found on decorpad {super cool interiors website...great for getting inspiration!}.

in this next photo, the kitchen opens up to a patio....LOVE!

do you have a great patio or porch area?  if so, please can email photos to  if i get some pics, i'll be sure and share!

and for those of you that do have a fabulous patio/porch area....embrace outdoor living!

happy friday!

{all photos were found at decorpad}

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

shirley family sneak

a fun family session with the shirley family.  it was a windy and rather cold saturday, but the three girls kept us all laughing!  here are a few to tide you guys over until i finish with the rest....enjoy!

Monday, March 14, 2011

recipe {personal calzones}

for the calzone dough i use this recipe.  it is a yummy and easy homemade pizza dough that only has to rise 10 minutes.  i made 4 calzones total using 1/4 of the dough for each one.  once you make the dough into a ball and let it rise, i then just cut the dough in to 4 equal pieces.  then just roll out each piece.  it doesn't need to be perfect!  if you don't want to make your own dough, then you can just use a store bought pizza dough. 

you can fill your calzones with any of your favorite toppings.  here is what i used:
pasta sauce
ricotta cheese
ground beef, already cooked
turkey pepperoni {super yummy and much better nutrition wise than regular}
green olives
shredded mozzarella cheese

roll out your dough and spread a spoonful of the pasta sauce in the center, but don't get too close to the edges.  after the sauce, spread the ricotta cheese on half of the dough.  then top with your meat and veggies.  sprinkle with cheese.  fold the dough over your toppings and crimp the edges to seal your pocket.  cut 3 slits in the top.  brush with melted butter and sprinkle with garlic sauce.  bake until golden brown in a 400 or 500 degree oven.

**tip** for a crispier crust, place your baking stone in the oven while it heats up.  you want your stone to be HOT when you put the calzones on it.  once your calzones are ready, plop them on the pizza stone.  pre heating the stone and keeping your oven hot will give you a nice crisp crust.


Sunday, March 13, 2011

what's cookin' this week

grilled island bbq tilapia with cilantro lime rice

a few new recipes to try this week.  enchiladas are actually suppose to just be zucchini enchiladas, but for those that know my husband, be is all about the meat.  plus I have left over ground beef from the calzones i made last week.  i am super excited about the chicken and dumplings.  my friend cori tried them and said they were pretty tasty.  dumplings are in fact mymichael's favorite food and i never make them.  i tried a "quick" version one time that used tortillas as the "dumplings" and he politely, or not so, informed me that those were NOT dumplings.  so, hopefully this will get a better review from him! 

let's talk about sam's club for a moment.  i love sam's.  every sunday afternoon i go grocery shopping my parents and we always go to sam's.  why?  b/c it's awesome.  yes, they have large quantities, but hello people...i can get a thing of mushrooms for $2.68 and it is twice as big as the thing i get at the regular grocery store for $2.99.  or how about the 15 pound bag of basmati rice that i bought for $12?  the same rice would be $9 for a quarter of the amount.  we eat quite a bit of shrimp and fish and sam's has a great frozen selection.  that is where the "island bbq tilapia" is from.  it comes already in its marinade in individual packets, so you just cut open and pop in the oven or on the grill.  they also have a great blackened salmon.

hope everyone has a great week!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

it's random friday!

many random ramblings...b/c it's friday and by this time of the week that's all that is going through my brain.

yay for the weekend.  it's been a busy week around here and i am sure everywhere else as well.  it always seems that with the beginning of spring life seems to pick up.  no more hunkering down in front of the's time to get out and get moving!  speaking of moving, i have started running outside again.  for awhile it was way too cold for this girl who really hates running to begin with.  i keep trying....the nice weather definitely makes it better.  who knows, maybe i will actually like it one day...maybe. 

yesterday i was working at the office, aka the nearest starbucks, and my external hard drive started making a weird noise.  this completely freaked me out.  i don't store anything on my laptop hard drive, so as not to slow the computer down.  everything gets stored on an external hard drive.  this did give me peace of mind, that if my computer crashed all my stuff would be safe...that is until today and the weird noise.  and then it dawned on me that it's not like the external hard drive is immune to crashing, or dying, or getting lost, or being stolen, etc.  and that's what freaked me out.  there has to be a way to store all of your digital life online.  of course this is even more important now that i have started my own business.  all night i have researched different places that claim to back up your computer.  i'm giving backblaze a try.  it has unlimited storage which is super important b/c of all the huge photo files i have {it says i have over 400,000 MB of photo storage....YIKES!}, it is reasonably priced, and it will back up external hard drives {many of the ones i looked at wouldn't do that}.  so, i started the free trial last night.  i am a little concerned as it said the initial upload of all my stuff would take 201 the free trial period is only 15 days.  yea, i'm hoping that will change by the morning.  if not, we have some issues.  i mean really, 201 days?  that's over half a year!  if you have used an online program that is similar....please share!!!

couple of recipe updates.  i tried the shrimp creole from, and you should too b/c it was super yummy.  oh, if you ever need a substitute for tomato sauce, go to a can of red enchilada sauce.  works fabulously!  apparently the tomato sauce got left off my shopping list which meant i had to get creative or go back to the store.  i got creative and it paid off well...this time!  let me just say that i really love  almost every recipe that i have tried has turned out great, and the best part is that i know it is pretty healthy b/c she tailors all of them to work into the weight watchers diet.  love that...less thinking on my part b/c lets face it...if i ate recipes from the pioneer woman every day {which i would totally love to do} i would be 500+ pounds! 

i want a spring trench coat.  saw a pic of kate...the soon to be princess and she had on an adorable khaki trench coat and i love it.  must find.  i am also loving navy and white stripes on shoes, shirts, etc. 

i can not wait until mymichael gets done with this school semester so that we can repaint our living room and hallway.  i am itching for a change!  i already re-did the to come soon....but he made me promise to wait until he is done to tackle the living room.

i MUST finish going through my vacation photos from last july.  yep.  still not done.  i am close...only a day or so left in rome to finish up.  at that point hopefully i will be able to choose some to print and display in my newly painted living room and hall!

we have got to get some items posted on craigslist to sell.  are you...or your the market for a road bike or hunting bow?  if so, keep your eye's peeled b/c i will be posting the ones that we are selling.  they are in great condition, but mymichael decided he's not so much into the road bike and he just bought a new bow, so it's time to let the other one go.   

alright, enough randomness for now.  seriously.  this is how my brain works all the time.  earlier this week i left the door to our garage open for 2 hours...i was wondering why the house was so cold.  i also left the heater on in the bathroom for those same 2 hours.  neither were noticed until mymichael came home.  i really wish i had a reason for my absent minded-ness.  and no.  i am not pregnant. 

happy friday!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

recipe {boursin chicken & kale with orzo}

this recipe is a combination of two that i had received from friends.  it's an easy dinner that #1 tastes great #2 uses only 1 skillet and #3 looks faaaaancy!

boursin chicken & kale with orzo

4 chicken breasts
1 bunch of kale, chopped
boursin cheese
sliced cherry tomatoes
chopped onion
white wine
pasta sauce
parmesan cheese

-heat oven to 350 degrees
-pound out the chicken breasts.  this works best to place the chicken in between plastic wrap
-place some boursin cheese in the middle of the thin chicken breast
-roll chicken and secure with tooth picks, salt & pepper
-using a hot cast iron skillet with a little bit of oil, brown chicken on all sides {chicken doesn't have to be completely done b/c it will cook more in the oven}and remove from skillet
-add chopped onion, cherry tomatoes, and chopped kale to skillet and sautee for a few minutes adding a splash of white wine
-once kale wilts a bit place chicken breasts on top of kale mixture
-spoon pasta sauce on top of each chicken breast and sprinkle with parmesan cheese
-place cast iron skillet in oven and bake until chicken is completely done
-serve over cooked orzo


Sunday, March 6, 2011

what's cookin' this week

calzones & roasted brussel sprouts
grilled peppercorn crusted steak & corn with red potatoes {didn't get to the steak last week}

Friday, March 4, 2011 the heck to decorate them

i hear people stress about decorating bookcases alot.  it can be daunting.....6 shelves, 10 feet the heck do i fill the space?  bookcases are a great place to showcase family treasures, travel souveniers, and all the many books that you collect over the years.  i have scoured the internet to find some great examples of things you can do.  i wish i had bookcases in my house b/c of all the unique ways you can decorate them.  so, kick back and take a look at how a huge, plain jane bookcase can become one of your favorite areas of your house!

books - they don't HAVE to stand straight up and they don't all have to go the same way.  lay some on their sides and stack them tall

i love how the picture frame is attached to the front of the bookcase.  who says a frame has to hang on a wall?

notice how the back of the bookcase is painted yellow?  this is a great place to add pops of color without it being overwhelming.  and so easy to change.

this is one of my favorites...organizing your books and magazines according to their spine colors.  i love this.  unfortunately i don't have quite enough to do this, but i'm well on my way, thanks to book club!  if you check out the "hooked on houses" link, be sure and read about the book store that arranged ALL of their books by color.  super cool!  not sure how easy it would be to find the book you need, but at least you would have something beautiful to look at while searching! 

turn a bookcase or cabinet into a bar area/wine cabinet.  i hope to have some pics of one of my client's projects soon.  we did something similar with a large china cabinet in her dining room {no pressure sarah!}.  you can purchase racks that you screw into the bottom of a shelf for glasses to hang.  pick up wine racks for bottles and use beautiful decanters to turn a simple bookcase or cabinet into a useable bar area.

another favorite of mine...use wall paper on the back of a bookcase to add fabulous pattern and color.  think about some of the wallcoverings from this past ruby jewel post.  what a statement!  and let's talk about that second photo....the "bookcase" is made out of cabinet drawers.  so very creative.

in almost all of these photos you will see that they have combined books with knick knacks and photos to create a space that is interesting to look at.  hopefully this gives you some inspiration for some of those blank bookcases and cabinets in your home.

if you have done something unique to a bookcase, email me a pic!  i would love to see it.

happy weekend!!!

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