Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy Turkey Day

It’s the day after Thanksgiving and I’m still stuffed!  I feel like I’m having what my cousin Nick calls a “food baby”!  This year we celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday a little differently.  Georgia’s family traveled out to LA and Las Vegas so our day was pretty low key.  Our first course was served at my mom’s house and I must say she really outdid herself this year.  The meal was served outside in a heated tent with see-through walls.  She made the most adorable table decorations out of candles, acorns and cranberries.  We got to meet Mike’s sister, brother-in-law and nieces that flew in from California for the first time and they were the nicest people.  My mom made the usual but I would have to say that her stuffing and pumpkin strudel pie were my favorite.  During the dinner, I noticed that grandma Chris was wearing the cutest owl earrings.  After telling her how much I liked them she said “I knew you would and that’s why I wore them”.  She then took both earrings off and asked me to keep them!  This was without a doubt the highlight of my day.  I told grandma that now I’m going to have to go out and find an outfit to go with my new jewelry!     

After chowing down and doing LOTS of dishes, we packed up our things and headed over to Dom’s house.  I was so happy to see that in addition to Angela’s family, Nick and Ashlynne were there too!  It was so great to see and visit with everyone and I was happy to finally see the new tile in the kitchen and living room – you did a great job brother!  We stayed for a few hours to watch the Cowboy game (which was thoroughly depressing) and have a few beers.  My brother made two turkeys this year so he gave me one of his wishbones.  I’m sure you all can guess what my wish was :)    

I was so happy when Missy called on our way home to say that Guy was preparing her a special vegetarian dinner complete with tofurkey!  I loved that even though Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving in October, Guy went out of his way to also celebrate American Thanksgiving with Missy!  Following Dom’s, we ended our day of thanks relaxing at home watching movies and babysitting my ma and pop-in-laws dog, Ozzie.  George, Grace and Dean were very much missed but we know you all are having a blast out in LA, LA land!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Special Delivery!

I had a very special package delivered this week.  My wedding gown arrived preserved and beautifully boxed from Memories Gown Preservation.  As many of you know, I worked at David’s Bridal all throughout college as a CSR.  During my years at David’s, one of the things brides would often tell me was that they wished they could have worn their mother’s wedding gown.  In most cases, these dresses were left in a closet or put in a garment bag and tucked away in a basement or attic.  As a result the gowns yellowed, were eaten by moths, were damaged and/or all of the above.   I may have mentioned this to G once or 20 times so as you can imagine, I was pretty ecstatic when I opened my anniversary gift!  It makes me happy to know that my dress is now safely packed away and that if we have a little girl and she wants to wear it one day, she can.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Giving Thanks

For me, Thanksgiving is a holiday that is about much more than just turkey and mashed potatoes with red chile.  It is a time of year when we can truly reflect on the many gifts that God has blessed us with and give thanks for the special people in our lives.  It can at times, be easy for me to focus on the things I want rather than giving thanks and praise for the many good things I have.  I’m sure this feeling of always wanting more is an emotion that many of us can identify with.  When you finally have that great job, you want to make more money.  When you own your first home, you’re already dreaming of the next house you want to build.  When you have a loving spouse, all you want is a baby – and if you’re not careful, you can live your entire life chasing the next best thing and completely miss the beauty that is right in front of you.  

The other night as I finished cleaning the kitchen, I heard the faint sound of the heater clicking on.  At that moment I got this overwhelming feeling of gratitude for the many things I’ve been blessed with.  I know this sounds a bit random but on this particular night it was very, very cold outside.  G and I had just winterized the air conditioner because that morning the news warned that it was going to be the first freeze of the season.  As I looked around my house I felt so extremely blessed for the roof over my head.  I felt blessed that my wife was happily playing solitaire on the couch.  I felt blessed that we had just shared a delicious and filling dinner together.  I felt blessed that my home was warm and safe and I felt blessed that our pups were sleeping peacefully in the garage sheltered from the cold night outside.  I truly do believe that regardless of your circumstance, we all have something to be thankful for. 

I am thankful for all of you – our friends and family that care enough about us to visit our blog and keep up with our lives.  I am thankful for my health and that I am a strong and spirited person.  I am thankful for the love and support of my mom and mother-in-law.  I am thankful that I have the means to travel to visit my sister who has moved away.  I am thankful that my wife makes me feel beautiful.  I am thankful that I’ve learned to truly love cooking.  I am thankful that I have two beautiful and smart nephews that love me.  I am thankful that I have cousins that are also great friends.  I am thankful for the lessons my dad was able to teach me in our 17 years together.  I am thankful that I still have great grandparents in my life because I know many people my age that don’t.  I am thankful that I have lifelong friends that share my same stories of childhood, and lastly, I am thankful that during this winter season, I have loved ones to share the holidays with.   

What are you thankful for?  

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Crock Pot Cookin: Asian Beef Stew

My wife loves her some Asian food!  Asian cuisine, anything Asian infused, you name it – she loves it!  I decided to take on this Asian beef stew even though I’d never heard of nor could I pronounce some of the ingredients…luckily it came out DELICIOUS!  I can be a bit self conscious when it comes to cooking but I must say this stew was gooood!  Most of the ingredients can be found in the spice aisle and what I call the “cultural aisle” (you know the area where you can get the goods to make traditional Mexican, Indian, and Asian cuisine).  This stew is hearty but healthy and makes about 6 servings.  Any meal that takes less than thirty minutes to make and serves as dinner and lunch the following day makes me happy!  I think it would also be yummy as a vegetarian dish sans the beef & broth for all you weirdos that don’t eat meat (Missy, I’m talking to you)!  Ha - j/k my veggie loving friends! 

Here’s a snapshot of the goods in case you (like me) have no idea what hoisin sauce looks literally took me 20 minutes to find the dang stuff!

* 1 cup scallion onions
* 1 ½ pounds lean round steak, sliced thin across the grain
* 2 sticks of celery, sliced
* 1 cup peeled or sliced carrots
* 1-2 cup(s) sliced mushrooms
* 1 cup orange juice
* 1 cup reduced sodium fat free beef broth
* 1/3 cup hoisin sauce
* 2 tablespoons cornstarch
* 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder or curry powder
* 1 cup frozen peas
* Hot cooked rice (I use instant because who has time to make “real” rice, seriously)?
* ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

Step 1: place onions, beef, celery, carrots & mushrooms in 5-quart crock pot

Step 2: Combine orange juice, broth, hoisin sauce, cornstarch & five-spice powder in small bowl.  Mix and pour into crock pot.  Cook on low 8 hours or until beef is tender

Step 3: When you get home from work and your stew is finished, stir in frozen peas and cilantro 20 minutes before you plan to eat while you make your instant rice (which only takes about 10 minutes).

*Georgia made a yummy sauce which is a mixture of equal parts soy sauce & chile garlic sauce which served as a great way to spice things up!  Enjoy

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Where have all the Cowboys gone?

Okay, so here’s the deal with the Dallas Cowboys…either you love’em or you hate’em and there really is no in-between.  I guess my question is, why?  I continue to be amazed by just how much some people loath the Cowboys.  I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit over the past week or so as I now live in fear for my safety on the road and the safety of my vehicle!  You see, G bought me a beautiful silver Dallas Cowboy license plate for my Commander as a belated birthday gift.  After she put it on my Jeep she called me outside to check it out…

G: Well there you have it; you can consider yourself a moving target.

K: Excuse me?!

G: Babe, you have a gay rights symbol in your back window, an Obama bumper sticker right below it and now you have a Dallas Cowboy license plate.  All I have to say is it’s a good thing we have insurance.

K: Ugh, that’s ridiculous!

Or is it?!  Look, I’m no fool…I know the DCB are having a HORRIBLE season.  It’s so bad that I personally know a few fans that have gone into hiding and won’t even represent anymore (defectors)!  So what!  I’m a DCB fan – that doesn’t mean I hate the Broncos or the 49ers or any other team for that matter.  I know I may not be the most qualified person to ask these questions considering the fact that one of the reasons I love the team is that I happen to think I look really great in silver and blue.  Regardless, why would anyone devote so much energy to any kind of negativity?!  Life is too short people – increase the peace!

and say a little prayer that no one keys my car…thanks.

Dad and Grandpa’s star at the new Cowboy Stadium!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Captain of the Geek Squad!

This conversation confirms that opposites do attract…

Me: So honey, can you even believe that Christmas is right around the corner?!  I’m thinking I want to get started a little early on my shopping this year.  Have you thought about what you want yet?

G: Yes!  I really want a pogoplug multimedia sharing device, a fantom external hard drive USB 2.0, a USB composite AV video audio cable for the iphone/ipad ci1-D and an incase coated field bag for the ipad.  What do you want? 

Me: Ahhh, so….wait, what?  What do you want??

G: Do you want me to just email you?

Me: Umm, yes – that would be helpful….      

Monday, November 8, 2010

Year One ~ Our First Wedding Anniversary

I absolutely cannot believe that Georgia and I celebrated our one year anniversary this weekend!  It really does seem like just yesterday we were boarding a plane with 6 suitcases, 2 garment bags and several carry-ons (yes, we over packed…) headed to beautiful Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.  In talking with Georgia this past week about the wedding and what an amazing two weeks on the beach it was for us, I began to realize that my memory of that wonderful day is already beginning to fade.  We do of course have tons of photos and video of the ceremony and reception thanks to our wonderful friends and family.  More than anything it is the details of the morning and afternoon of November 7th, 2009 that I want to hold on to.  After G and I had this conversation my amazing wife emailed me her story of the morning of our wedding day.  I’ve posted it below because this is something I never want to forget.  My wish is to be able to look back on this post in 20 years and re-live it all again and I’m sure our kiddos would one day love to hear the story of how it all began once upon a time in Mexico.

Georgia’s story ~
On my wedding day, I awoke to my beautiful lady which was the most wonderful gift because the original plan was for me to stay the night in either my parent’s or my brother’s room.  I really didn’t want for us to spend a single night apart and was so excited when late the previous night we both decided that I would remain in our room until morning.  My wedding day was completely booked with activities and I knew that I would not be able to return to our room until after the wedding so my first activity of the day was to pack my wedding clothes and the other items that I would need to get ready for our ceremony that evening.

After packing I quickly got ready and headed to the breakfast buffet in the main lobby to meet my parents, my brother and other friends and family.  It was a beautiful morning, it was already sunny and hot but there was a nice little breeze blowing.  After breakfast, I had spa activities scheduled with my mom, Andrea, Kelley, Becca and Erin.  We started off by hanging out in the hot tubs relaxing and enjoying each other’s company until we were called back for our individual services.  My first service was an hour long massage that really helped calm my nerves as the big event approached.  Our spa events later ended with several of us getting our nails done. 

After the spa, my mom and I planned to join my dad and brother at the pool for more relaxation time.  On the way there, we crossed paths with my wife-to-be and we did not stop to talk but instead gave our acknowledgements of each other and moved on.  It was not a negative thing but definitely an odd encounter because we are such a big part of each other’s lives when we are together.  Maybe it was the nerves or the fact that we were seeing each other and we had not planned that until the ceremony but nonetheless it was an interesting part of the day.  We continued on our path to the pool.  Once there, I remember lying on the pool lounger feeling relaxed but with a bit of the butterflies coming on.  I was not nervous about getting married whatsoever…instead I was nervous about starting the process of getting ready (and doing it with the right amount of time), how I was going to look and feel as the time approached, and most importantly I just wanted every moment of the events to be perfect. 

At about 2:30 in the afternoon, my brother and I returned to his room to start getting ready.  It was such a calm but emotional experience for me. It was quiet in the room, we had the TV going but I was not really paying attention to what was playing.  I got in the shower first and when I got out my brother started working on my hair.  I just hung out in my pj’s while he styled my hair and did my makeup.  I think that my brother could tell I was nervous because I was stiff as a board so he stopped us to have a quick drink and just relax for a minute. It was amazing how time just seemed to be going a hundred miles an hour by this point.  We were not rushed and everything happened very smoothly but it just all seemed to be so fast.  Before I knew it, I was ready to get dressed, my friends and family were arriving in the room and that 5 o’clock hour was just 20 minutes away.  I suddenly realized that we never worked out that final detail of “how would I know when it was time to head downstairs for the ceremony?”! I was panicked for a moment when my wonderful friends quickly jumped in and said that it was taken care of, that everything would be ok and that we should start proceeding downstairs about 10 minutes till as that was the time that my bride would be going downstairs.  I’m not sure how they knew this information or if it was even true but I did not question them and it set me a little more at ease.  When that 10 minutes till timeframe approached the nervousness set in again because I started to think that I didn’t want us to run into each other and see each other before the processional began.  I suddenly began to walk out of the door to my brother’s room without realizing that I was leaving everybody behind.  Thankfully they all took the queue and quickly followed behind me.  It was a very funny moment looking back and realizing how nervous I was at the time without truly knowing it.  

The walk from my brother’s room to the location where our processional was going to start is honestly a blur.  I don’t remember any of it except for when I turned the very last corner.  I remember turning the corner and instantly beginning to scan the small crowd of our wedding guests for my future bride.  I didn’t initially want us to see each other and here I was searching for her…but she was nowhere to be found so I walked up to our wedding planner and began to get instructions on what the next steps were.  I took my place and stayed looking forward to not spoil our first view of each other.  Then I heard everyone began talking as my future wife arrived. 

I focused for as long as I could to face forward and not look back but I just couldn’t handle it.  I turned my head just over my left shoulder and we locked eyes.  This was the best moment and I’m so glad that I turned my head because looking and each other was so calming and exciting.  I gave my bride the wink like this is it and it’s going to be perfect and I turned back around.  Suddenly, the music started and it was time to start the march to the altar.

At this point, the events came one after the other, when I hit the beach our guests began to stand for our arrival.  There were cameras and smiles everywhere and as I turned back to watch my bride join me I saw a giant crowd hanging over the rail to watch our ceremony.  That was the one and only time I acknowledged the crowd which is surprising because I thought it would be something that would make me nervous but it didn’t. 

K ~ once I was holding your hands my world was suddenly whole again for the first time that day.  The nervousness was completely gone and all I could do was stare into your eyes and I was completely at peace to enjoy every moment of the commitment we were making to each other.  I’m sure everyone says this about their wedding day but every single moment of our day, from the weather, to the sunset, to the crowd, to our guests and to each other was absolutely beautiful and perfect.  It was more perfect than I could have ever imagined and definitely an experience that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

Cheers to year two lady!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Crock Pot Cookin: White Chicken Chili Stew

Welcome to crock pot season!  Whether you know how to cook or you’re a cook in training, you really can’t mess up a meal when there’s a crock pot involved!  I think this is why I initially grew to love crock pot cookin.  One of my biggest struggles is finding the time and energy to make dinner during the colder months when it’s already dark by the time G and I get home from work.  The great thing about this type of recipe is that you can cut all your veggies and thaw your meat the night before, so all you really need to do in the morning is toss your ingredients in the crock pot before heading out the door!  Within about 6-8 hours (if you’re cooking on low – which I recommend) your house will be filled with the delicious aroma of slow cooked meat and vegetables.

For my birthday this year my team at work gave me the Better Homes and Gardens Slow Cooker Family Dinner Cook Book!  My plan is to try to make a different recipe each week of the fall/winter season.  Today I’ll be making white chicken chili stew.  If any of you decide to give this recipe a try, be sure and let us know how it turns out!

What you’ll need:

~ 2 pkgs. McCormick Seasoning Mix
~ 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
~ 2 tbsp. olive oil
~ 4 cups water
~ 2 cans white beans (northern beans), undrained
~ 1 to 2 cups corn
~ 1 cup shredded carrots
~ Garlic salt to taste

and….my own secret added ingredient: 1 cup salsa and Cholula to taste (Cholula is hot sauce and really any hot sauce will do).  This gives it a little kick!

Bon Appetit!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...