Happy Thanksgiving Day

to the hubs

silent saturday

fill in the blank friday

1.   A nervous habit I have is     jaw clenching. Ugh, I don't even realize I'm doing it until my jaw becomes so tight I can hardly open my mouth   .

2.   Something that makes me sad is   hearing stories of child abuse and / or child neglect. How can anybody mistreat a child. They are precious angels from heaven, definitely gifts from God      .

3.  Today I am thankful for    my friends and family who support me and love me through and through, for a roof over my house and food in my fridge, and for being stabily employed    .

4. My favorite room in my house is    probably my kitchen since I spend so much time in there, followed by my loft   .

5.  I can't stand    being late! Huge pet peeve  .

6.  If I had an extra $100 to spend on whatever I wanted today I would    probably go to Kohls, lol. Or go to the new Coach store that just opened up near my house... eeek .

7.  The last person I hung out with was    my daughter and her best friend  .

creamy avocado pesto

So, I found this recipe while perusing Pinterest and the recipe comes from Oh She Glows and let me tell you... super easy, and super yum. And, super clean. Great weekday meal! Ready, here we go.

The lineup (aka, your ingredients)... salt, lemon juice, evoo, basil, avocado, garlic.
Blend, blend, blend...
Naked Noodles!!
Voila! Top with grilled chicken and dinner is served!

Creamy Avocado Pesto
-- 2 avocados
-- 4 garlic cloves
-- 1/4 cup lemon juice
-- 1/2 cup fresh basil
-- 4 tbsp evoo
-- 1tsp sea salt
-- ground pepper to taste
-- 4 to 6 servings of pasta (your choice) cooked
-- 2 chicken breasts, grilled and sliced

1.  Cook your pasta, al dente. 
2.  While that's going on, grill your chicken.
3.  Prep your veggies... you know, slice open the avocado and take that nasty pit out, de-skin the garlic cloves, take the basil leaves off the stems.
4.  Add garlic, lemon juice and evoo in blender or food processor and blend til smooth.
5.  Add avocado, basil and salt. Blend (again) til smooth.
6.  Add avocado pesto to naked noodles and mix.
7.  Top with grilled chicken and enjoy!

*This dinner is suuuper easy and suuuper yummy, but you gotta like avocado.
*The hubs does not care for pesto, but because he loves avocado, he really enjoyed this. 
*Bubba does not care for avocado, therefore he got naked noodles with chicken. No biggie.
*I used pasta that I have on hand... I always keep a couple packs of whole grain spaghetti. I haven't tried spelt or kamut or anything else like that, but I will next time. It's just easy to keep the whole grain because my kids will cook it up and eat it. It's taken a little while (for them) to get used to No regular pasta.
*I doubled the recipe (because there are 4 of us) but this recipe made enough for lunch for 2 the next day. 
*I almost always have grilled chicken already cooked and cut in the fridge. Great source of daily protein!

Try this one. It's a keeper!

photo play

Have you notice... le' blog got herself a facelift. hehe
thanks to the genius known as Pugly Pixel I have (yet again) played with this here blog ... And... that's not all...
I did this too! Okay, I can't take credit for the photo (I gotta give it up to the sweet girl), but I did manage to lay a patterned background and flip some cool text down on it. Yeeeah buddy! So, I'm just a wee bit excited. I like learning new things. Who doesn't! hehe 
Go ahead and browse around on Pugly Pixel's website... and just let the creative mind play!
All right, all right, I'll let you get on with your day. 
Happy Friday!

fill in the blank friday

1.   My favorite new blog of the moment is    Casey Wiegands  .

2.   Something I am thankful for is   precious time. Every moment I get with the people I love is truly a gift from God. We are all on borrowed time, you never know when it's gonna be gone, so make the most of every-single-moment     .

3.  Something that made me laugh this week was    my son. He loves to make people laugh, and this week was no exception. From his jokes, to his unintentional silliness. He always makes me chuckle   .

4. An item that is currently on my wish list is    Macbook Pro or iPad   .

5.  I am excited about   going to Nascar on Sunday... I can't wait! It's gonna be so much fun .

6.  If I were a color I would be     pink. for sure, since I'm so girly and a pretty pretty princess. lol .

7.  My favorite way to spend a chilly fall day is by    cozy'd up with a warm drink, a good book or good movie  .

Link Up At Lauren's!

10 things : i've learned about myself (so far) in 2011

My sweet friend Carrie blogged this great idea, and I thought I'd follow suit... 

1.  The numbers on the scale do not define me or my progress.
2.  I can be a morning person, and like it.
3.  My dependency on chocolate has increased tremendously since my Daddy passed, and I am totally okay with that. (Better chocolate than alcohol or worse.) 
4.  My mother is truly one of my best friends, my lifelong friend. 
5.  Crying is NOT a sign of weakness. (This was a very difficult concept for me to grasp for a really long time. I'm glad that I'm over it.)
6.  My kids are my biggest achievement in life and I am proud of them every single day.
7.  It is okay to let people in to my world. Some are here to visit, some are here to take residence, but all are welcome and all are loved.
8.  I prefer listening to "old music" (like Singers and Standards) more than any other type of music (including the Hit List, and Country). And I don't care if other people think that is weird. 
9.  I spend entirely too much time on Facebook and reading my daily blogs. I need to do something about this. New Years Resolution?? :-)
10.  As much as I truly enjoy helping those around me, I have found the need to put myself first sometimes. This isn't selfish, this is becoming a well-rounded individual. (aka "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy").

Thanks Carrie for letting me 'borrow' this concept, and thanks Shimelle for the inspiration and link love.

Spaghetti Squash with Turkey Meatballs

Hi all! I'm back with another quasi-recipe. I am adapting my recipe from Shutterbean. Ready. Lets go...

This... is a spaghetti squash. It's big and intimidating. But cut that sucker open lengthwise, scoop out the innards, sprinkle some evoo (extra virgin olive oil) and s&p (sea salt and fresh ground pepper) and roast that bad boy!
Then show it whos boss... take that fork and scrape it, scrape it good!
Make-a zee meat-a-bolls!

Top with sauce and serve!

Spaghetti Squash with Turkey Meatballs
-- Large Spaghetti Squash
-- 2 tbsp EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
-- S&P (sea salt and fresh ground pepper) to taste
-- 1 pound ground turkey 
-- 2 garlic cloves, minced
-- 1/2 cup onion, chopped
-- 2 tsp oregano
-- 1/4 cup oatmeal
-- marinara sauce (made mine homemade)

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2.  Cut squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the yuck (seeds and brains) and rub it down with 1/2 tbsp evoo per side. Throw a teensy bit S&P to taste.
3.  Bake squash in oven for approx 45 minutes until soft. Let cool before you handle.
4.  Take a fork and start shreddin! Collect the 'spaghetti' in a strainer to let the excess water drain.
5.  Meanwhile, mix ground turkey, onion, oregano, oatmeal, and some more S&P and roll up into balls.
6.  Heat 1 tbsp evoo in pan and add garlic. Place meatballs in oil, and cook thoroughly. Brown side to side, up and down, left and right, back and forth... you get it.
7.  Heat sauce in saucepan. Assemble spaghetti, then meatballs, then top with sauce. Enjoy!

*I definitely wish I would have followed Shutterbean's recipe where she cooked the onions and garlic first, then added them to the meatballs. The onion was not as tender as I would have liked. But ya live and learn, right? Next time.
*The meatball cooking is triiiiicky! Let me tell ya! But for a first timer, they were not that bad. Cooked thoroughly, I was pleased as punch with that!
*I used (homemade) marinara red sauce because that is what I had on hand. It worked just fine, but I felt it kinda competed with the rest of the meal. Something simple like the sauce with mushrooms and spinach that Shutterbean made seems (in my mind) like it would work well, as far as not overpowering the stars of the meal. 
*This wasn't exactly a hit with my kids (I told them spaghetti and meatballs, I just didn't specify) so I think they were more disappointed than disgusted. They both ate most of their plates, but I know my little boy was jonesin' for some real carbs mama! lol. 

 This is a definite must make again. I loved it, and I could probably survive on the spaghetti squash alone. Yum-me! Try it... you'll like it! :-)

this weekend i...

*decorated my house for christmas 
(long story short, the hubs will be unavailable for the next 5 weekends, it was this weekend or December 17. plus, i kinda got jipped last year, i barely remember the holidays)

*went on a 7 mile jog/hike with the hubs and two other dudes
(Doug and Sean, who are neighbors, but also apart of the Sonoran Desert Warriors with the hubs, they are participating in the Tough Mudder in January)

*went shopping at Forever 21 with my daughter
(isn't she the cutest thing, just love shopping with her)

*the hubs and I took the kids to Buffalo Wild Wings to watch the Cardinals WIN
(seriously, B'dub gets most of my money during football season! we love it there!)

What did you do this weekend?

silent saturday

fill in the blank friday

1.   My favorite thing about this week was/is     last night, going to the Arizona Broadway Theatre to see "A Chorus Line". What a great show, accompanied by a 4 star dinner! If you're in the AZ area... definitely need to make this a date night !

2.   Colder weather makes me   want to bundle up and eat warm soup and drink hot apple cider and dive into a really good book or a movie marathon    .

3.  Three things that make me terribly happy as of late are    vacation coming soon (not soon enough though, another few weeks), my mother's accomplishments (there have been several), and shopping... I cannot get enough of it    .

4. If I could only wear one kind of shoe for the rest of my life, I'd choose   chanklas... sandals, flip-flops... whatever you'd like to call them. i know, most people think I would live and die in my stilettos, but those adorable things hurt after a while. And really, I'd be just as happy to be barefoot... reminds me of being a kid   .

5.  My personality type is    simple but complicated. I'd say it's all about ME... and mostly it is, lol (because everybody knows I'm a pretty pretty princess, lol), but truth is, I really love helping others, being important in others lives, doing good for those around me. Hmm, maybe it is all about me after all. Hehehe 

6.  I have a serious problem resisting     chocolate. No joke, the older I get, the more dependent I become of the stuff. At least I prefer the dark stuff... the good for you kind. Right?

7.  My favorite color to wear is    probably green, or brown. I'd say black, but black is a shade, not a color (can't help it... too much artsy in my head) .

stuffed bell peppers

I love cooking. I truly enjoy trying new foods, and making something from beginning to end without using the microwave (hehe). I like to try new recipes, but on the flipside... I don't always measure to the exact, or I add a little this or that. And sometimes I just make up my own dinner with what I got going in the fridge. 
Stuffed bell peppers is kinda a morphed recipe. I made them once (a long time ago) from a recipe and found it so complex yet so stressful that the next time I sorta 'winged it' and got lucky that it turned out edible. Now, I pretty much know what I like, what my family likes and we go with it. While my kids love the 'stuffed' part and not so much the 'bell pepper' part, this is what I do. I make a ton of the 'stuffed' part, save it for burritos or tacos, or just serve it up in a bowl. For the adults, I make 4 stuffed bell peppers (I can only eat half of one) so that we have leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day. (Smart, right? lol) Okay... onto the quote-unquote recipe...

Stuffed Bell Peppers, Jen-style

-- 1.5 pounds ground turkey (I prefer organic)
-- 2 cups cooked brown rice (I prefer long grain)
-- 1 onion, chopped
-- 2 garlic cloves, minced
-- 6 red bell peppers
--1 tbsp oil (olive or coconut)
-- 2 tsp cayenne pepper
-- 2 tsp oregano
-- 2 tsp basil
-- sea salt (to taste)
-- ground pepper
-- 1/2 cup cheese (I prefer fresh Parmesan Reggiano)
**optional add-ins**
-- sweet potatoes (chopped and roasted)
-- spinach (chopped)
-- corn (roasted and cut off the cob)
1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
2.  Chop tops and remove seeds and veins from 4 bell peppers. Chop the other 2 bell peppers.
3.  Stick 4 empty bell peppers in cooking dish and in oven (to soften).
4.  Heat oil in pan, add garlic.
5.  Add ground turkey and cook thoroughly.
6.  Season meat with cayenne pepper, oregano, basil, salt and pepper.
 7.  Add onions and red bell peppers and cook down. 
8.  Add cooled brown rice and mix up. (Add optional ingredients at this point to).
9.  Stuff bell peppers with mix. Top with cheese.
10. Bake in oven approx. 20 minutes. Enjoy!

Some notes.... 
*My kids don't like all the add-ins. So I make everything together until I add the rice. Then I separate it into the 'kid mix' and then add in all the yummies for the 'adult mix'. 
*I always have sweet potatoes chopped and roasted on hand. (It's sort of a staple for me). Add them in for extra fiber and a lil' sweetness. 
*I also always have fresh spinach in the fridge. Like mom always said, 'eat your greens'. I like the color pop of spinach, but the added vitamins and nutrients are so good for your body.
*Rice takes for-ev-er to cook, especially long grain brown rice. I usually make 2-4 cups on 'prep day' (Sunday) and keep it in the refrigerator. It's a great whole grain (the good carbs, people) and it helps to extend a meal (helping the pocketbook). 
*Speaking of 'prep day'... I usually like to prep all my veggies the day I buy them. I'll post the details later.
*You can add absolutely anything to your stuffed bell peppers. If you prefer ground beef, or adding ground sausage go for it. If you want to add in crispy bacon (turkey bacon in my house) then do it to it. It's your dinner for you and your family. That's kinda what I do to recipes. Take them and specify them to me and my family (not always, but most of the time). 

I hope you make these. They are yum, and a staple in our house. Thanks for letting me share!
© something Big is coming...
Maira Gall