Saturday, December 19, 2009

Thursday Night Fun



Who knew she'd actually leave the rollers in ALL night? Her hair was soo cute all day, especially after the curls loosened up a bit. I was sure it was just going to be a big poof ball, but nope, she can't help but be adorable. (Excuse me while I gush about my daughter)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Spasgetty and Meatballs

Mmm mmm mmm mm mmmmmmmmmmmmm. There's just something about eating a big plate of pasta with perfectly seasoned little mounds of meat. And to make it even more fun, I secretly play a game with myself to make sure that my meat:sauce:pasta ratio is perfect with every bite. Yes, it takes some planning, but I think it's worth it. My special recipe for...

Spaghetti and Meatballs

For the meatballs:

1 lb lean ground beef (15% fat is perfect)
1 egg
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup beef broth
1/3 cup panko* bread crumbs
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp drided basil

For the sauce:

42 oz. canned diced tomatoes (1 big and 1 small can)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp dried basil
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

1 lb spaghetti noodles, or favorite pasta

* Panko bread crumbs can be found in the asian food section of your grocery store, and often the bulk bins. They have a light, crispy crumb that has much more texture than standard store bought bread crumbs. They are almost always my first choice when I need crumbs.

Combine all ingredients for meatballs, mixing until just combined. If you handle the meat too much, it will become tough when cooked.

Use a cookie scoop to measure your meat balls and roll between your palms to form a ball. Place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and topped with a cookie rack. Drizzle meatballs with olive oil and place under broiler for 5-6 mins, or until the tops start to brown. Remove from oven.


Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil over medium heat and saute garlic until fragrant. Add tomatoes and sugar. Bring to a simmer and add meatballs. Let simmer until slightly thickened. Stir in basil, parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with cooked spaghetti noodles and top with more parmesan (can you tell I like parm?)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


So, I've done it. I've become a complete coupon nerd. A few weeks ago, I went to a class a girl from church was giving on couponing. I'm all about being cheap ( not that kind of cheap- I've just never liked the phrase "thrifty", or "frugal". Much like my dislike for the word "moist"..eew.) so I thought I'd give it a shot.

There are lots of blogs where the crazy couponers do (most) of the work for you. You just have to know where to look and learn some of the lingo. I've spent the last few weeks learning and collecting coupons. Today was my day to give it a go.

It was time for my monthly grocery shopping extravaganza -I hate food shopping, so I go as little as possible- and maybe I went a little crazy. Maybe some seasoned couponers (or not) can get a better than I did. Maybe I didn't add my totals right and I paid $15 more than I should have. But, I'm happy. I think I got a steal and I'm finally able to start stocking up my food storage.

So here comes the nerdy part-I took pictures. I got home, layed everything out that I bought and took pictures. In the couponing world, this is a common practice; buy your groceries, take pictures, and blog about the awesome deal you got. But, did I really do that? Yes. Wanna see? (Don't worry, I won't do this every time I go shopping)

What I got:

20 lbs. AP flour
10 cans Green Giant Veggies
4 Boxes Cheerios
2 Boxes Cinnamon Toast Crunch
1 Box Golden Grahams
1 Box Trix
6 Boxes 110 ct. Kleenex
2 Lipton Soup Mix Pkgs.
4 Betty Crocker Cake Mix
2 Betty Crocker Specialty Potatoes
3 Knorr Rice Pkgs.
1 Betty Crocker Frosting
9 cans Progresso Soup
1 Chex Mix
4 cartons Progress Chicken Broth
2 Viva Paper Towels
6 boxes Fiber One Granola Bars
4 cans Pilsbury Crescent Rolls
2 Betty Crocker Brownie Mixes
5 Jars Skippy Peanut Butter
1 pkg. Klondike Bars
2 Best foods Mayonaise
4 Ragu Pasta Sauces
2 Cottonelle Flushable Wipes
1 gallon Litehouse Apple Cider
5lb Idaho Potatoes
1 Litehouse Dressing
1 bag Crispy Onions
10.5 lbs Boneless Skinless Chicken Breats
3 lbs Beef Blade Steak
1 Danimals Drinkable Yogurt.
2 Healthy Choice Frzn. Entrees

What I paid: $104.23 (Would have been $89.23 if I wouldn't have forgotten how to count.)

A lot of these items I probably wouldn't normally buy. I generally try to stay away from too many processed foods. Sadly, for the most part, the foods that are promoted with coupons and deep discounts are. But, I see it as a great way to stock up my food storage. I'm sure I'll eat a bowl of Trix if I'm hungry enough and Mr. Cheney will eat it regardless- especially at $.50 a box!

If you're just jumping to be a nerd like me and want to know the tricks of the trade- and there are a few- here are some blogs I like. Most of them have posts that explain how to get started and some of the lingo you'll need to know to understand the posts.

Have fun!

Monday, November 2, 2009

So Eventful!

Halloween this year was a blast!

We spent our afternoon at the OSU vs UCLA Homecoming game and had AWESOME seats thanks to a friend that wasn’t using his season tickets.

Popcorn was enjoyed


A single UCLA fan with a seat in front of ours came very close to getting his ears flicked. There's a different section for your type- ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STADIUM!

Emmie couldn't get enough of of her Dorothy costume. It was my first attempt at sewing clothing, so I was pretty excited that she liked. So much in fact, that she chose it over her favorite footy pajamas that night.

Our feeble attempt at the wizard, wicked witch, and Dorothy. At least Emmie looked authentic.

Our night was chased by some half-priced appetizers at Applebees, and of course, candy. Hope your Halloween was just as fun!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Free ticket to Disneyland... SERIOUSLY!

BEGINNING JANUARY 1, 2010, when you sign up here to volunteer a day of service with a participating organization (and your service is completed and verified) you’ll get one day admission to a Walt Disney World® or Disneyland® theme park, FREE! They want to inspire one million people to volunteer a day of service.

Sign up now to receive reminders and exciting updates about the “Give a Day. Get a Disney day.”program by clicking here

First – Beginning January 1, 2010, search and sign up for a volunteer opportunity from a participating organization.

Second – Complete your service for the volunteer opportunity you selected.

Third – Once your service is verified, receive a voucher to redeem your Disney theme park ticket.

How cool is that? I wish I lived closer to Disneyland, but I guess a free ticket in is worth the drive – right honey?!?

Now go do some service!

Monday, October 26, 2009

There were lots o' Sea Lions...

Last week we decided to take a spur-of-the-moment trip over to Newport to see Mr. Cheney’s parents, and play on the beach. As it turned out, it wasn’t very warm so the playing on the beach part had to be nixed, but as a consolation, we got to see “the boys”. These are the Newport sea lions that come up from California every winter. For some bizarre reason, the males leave the females and come up north to the cold. I can’t say that I don’t question the intelligence of men sometimes. But, regardless of their intelligence, they were fun to watch off the pier, and it was even more fun to watch Emmie’s reaction to the whole scene.

It was so incredibly loud the entire time we were there. The sea lions were constantly honking (?). I feel bad for the homes and businesses around that have to hear it all day everyday. But I suppose they get used to it.

If you can get over to Newport, OR this winter it's definitely worth a stop at the bay front. What's better is that it's FREE! Wahoo!

Friday, October 23, 2009

... was deeelish!

Although I cook a lot, and think of myself as a pretty darn good cook, it's not often that I really, truly enjoy the meals I make. Sure, they taste good, but I think it's the fact- yes, a FACT- that things taste better when you don't make them. Sandwiches prove this point to me every time I eat one. I can make the same ham and cheese as someone else, and theirs will always taste better than mine to me. Am I just crazy? Any who, I bring this up because the other night I made something that just knocked my socks off and I had to share it. This recipe originally came from Martha, but of course, I tweaked it. I give you...

Ham and Sage Stuffed Chicken with Dijon Dill Sauce

4 slices white sandwich bread, cut into cubes

2 oz. sliced ham, chopped

½ tsp. dried sage

4 sliced Swiss cheese, chopped

4 tbsp. olive oil

Salt and Pepper

4 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp flour

1 cup milk

½ tsp dill weed

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

1. In a bowl, combine bread, ham, cheese, sage, and 2 tbsp olive oil.

2. Lay chicken flat on work surface. Using a paring knife, cut a 2-in-long slit in the thick side of the chicken breast. Insert knife, and pivot, carefully forming a deep pocket without enlarging the opening. Stuff each pocket with the bread mixture, packing tightly; season chicken with salt and pepper.

3. In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp. oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until browned on one side, 6-8 mins. Turn chicken over, cover skillet, and reduce to medium heat. Cook until opaque throughout, 6-8 mins. more. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

4. Melt butter over medium heat in small sauce pan. Add flour and stir until combined. Pour milk slowly into flour mixture, stirring constantly until thickened adding more milk as necessary to achieve desired thickness. Stir in dill and mustard to finish. Ladle sauce over chicken to serve.

Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think. I served it up with a baked potato, and some broccoli and green beans that I sautéed in the pan used for the chicken. It tied the veggies in really nicely to the chicken.

On a side note, I’ve been working on Emmie’s Halloween Costume today. She’s been mildly obsessed with the Wizard of Oz after watching it for the first time last month. She’ll make a stinkin’ cute Dorothy.