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Thanksgiving

I was so thankful this year to be able to spend my holiday, and birthday with my family in Montana and Brandon. I didn’t take as many pictures as I should have, or would have liked, but I do have some good ones. To start, Brandon and I got on the train an hour late, then the train ended up still being another 2 hours later upon arrival, so instead of getting in at about 1, we got in at 4. I was just glad to make it. Mark made us some delicious food while we were out there, chicken enchilada’s, two crust pizza (kind of like stuffed pizza), (he even made the crust himself!), turkey dinner with all the trimmings, omellets, homemade hashbrowns (okay, mom made some of the breakfasts and turkey dinner). So much for hitting my goal weight, lol, but oh well, it was all worth it!

On my birthday we had the stuffed pizza, watched football, and had some cake and ice cream. I made the cake Weight Watchers style so I knew it wasn’t as bad as normal cake. One day we ran to Havre to do a little shopping and we ran into Mandi and Ryan. So Brandon got to meet them right away. We ran to the Court House to see Tami, she was actually the first relative Brandon got to meet. We spent one night playing Trivial Pursuit, guys versus girls. I hate to say that mom and I lost, 😦  But it was a blast! Wednesday we ran to Grandma’s so Brandon got to meet her and Sean. He said he was thankful he got to slowly meet family and not just get thrown into a large room filled with people he didn’t know.

Thursday was Thanksgiving. So that afternoon we had just some snacks, BBQ smokies, veggie tray, and shrimp dip. At grandma’s we had the whole sha-bang for dinner. Turkey, ham, stuffing, potatoes, gravy, sweet potato casserole, buns, veggies, and I know I’m missing stuff, all I know is I ate WAY too much! Then for dessert there was pumpkin pie, banana cream pie and two tone dessert. Brandon’s favorite pie is banana cream, and he had never heard of two tone. I left with the recipe for two tone dessert lol. After dinner we went for a walk with Mel and Sean for at least an hour. It was nice to get out and exercise a little after over eating and it was nice to get some one on one time with relatives. It gave Mel and Sean a chance to really get to know Brandon and Brandon them. We stopped at Mandi and Ryan’s house so Brandon could meet their kids and I could see them again. After the walk we went back home. Friday we were supposed to have another turkey dinner with mom and Mark, but the turkey wasn’t completely thawed out, so we ordered a pizza from Stretches. After eating some pizza Brandon and I went back to Mel and Sean’s to play some Mario Party on the Wii and watch the movie Tangled. Such a cute movie!!!! After the movie I showed Mel everyone’s blogs on here, and mine so she can keep up with all of us and Brandon played some sports video game with Sean. It was nice to be able to just sit down and talk with Mel. We talked about some things I really haven’t ever talked about and it was nice to finally open up about things that i’ve went through.

On our way to Mel and Sean’s Friday night, Jim and Nancy called my cell phone to let me know they just got home and wondered if Friday night or Saturday morning would work best to go see them. I said Saturday would work best. So we made plans to stop by there the next morning. I was really excited for Brandon to get the chance to meet Jim and Nancy because most of my memories of being in Montana take place at their place with their kids. I’m still sad that Brandon as only met Sam out of that family, but thankful he’s gotten to at lesat meet him and Jim and Nancy (along with other members of the family).

While we were sitting at Jim and Nancy’s on Saturday morning Brandon was saying how he knew my family would nbe nice, but he wasn’t prepared for everyone to be as nice as they are and as giving and selfless. He said that everyone has made him feel so welcome and at home which meant a lot because this was the first holiday he has spent away from his family. As he was saying all of this he started to tear up, a few escaped. It was so hard not to cry with him. After visiting, we had the turkey dinner with mom and Mark. We used left over turkey for sandwhiches. After lunch we went to visit grandma and say our goodbyes. I took a picture with Grandma, Brandon, and Doris. Then we went back to the house to finish packing and wait for the train which was already 3 hours late.

I was so glad he loved everyone and that everyone liked him so much. Mel, Tami, and Jim and Nancy all said that he was a great guy and seemed so nice and loving. It means a lot that everyone liked him so much and that everyone was so welcoming to him. I didn’t doubt that they wouldn’t be, but it’s still nice.

I really am blessed to have such a wonderful family! It’s hard not being able to see everyone more often, but it just makes the time we spend together that much more special. OH! Also, everyone that I saw loved my ring I won! I brought it with to show the family, no we aren’t engaged yet, but I was informed that Plan A won’t work, but Plan B will be set in motion…I wasn’t told when, but he does have a plan, which means I have to continue to try and be patient.

 

Here are the few pictures I took this week:

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It’s been too long

So I started thinking the other week how Brandon and I really haven’t been doing anything lately at all. We sit at home, or maybe go out a little bit, but nothing blog worthy. Brandon did get a job, he works at a place called Extreme Pita. It has DELICIOUS!!! food. I’ve tried almost every pita there, haven’t found one that I don’t like. He loves his job, he gets to do a lot of chopping, and cooking and dealing with some people.  He was actually asked also if after the holidays if he’d be able to work some evenings and be kind of like another assistant manager, he’d be in charge the nights he’s working. I was super excited for him! I’m hoping with that comes a raise, but right now I’m just so thankful he has a job that he loves!

Last weekend we got to celebrate Brandon’s niece, Kaylee’s, baptism. It’s been so long since I’ve been to a Catholic service, it was weird to sit through a mass. But the baby did amazing!!! here are some pictures of his family and the baby.

L-R: Bob (Brandon's dad), Mallory (sister), Grandma, Mallory's husband's grandma, Mallory's husband (also named Brandon), Mary Kay (mom)

 

L-R: Bubba AKA. Eric Jr.(nephew), Gabby (niece), Grace (niece), and of course baby Kaylee

 

Dylan (Nephew)

 

Brandon and I...we argued over who got to hold her...I won 🙂

 

I loved to see how much the other nieces and nephews loved and wanted to hold Kaylee. The baby is an absolute angel, very well behaved and so cute! I absolutely love her! Also, my cousin Sam (Feldhege), had a baby girl yesterday, named Layla Angelynn. She’s also precious from what I can see in pictures, I haven’t gotten a chance to meet her yet. So many babies!!!

On a different note, I thought I’d share pictures of the apartment I live in. So here it is:

If you walk through my bedroom door and immediately look left, this is what you’ll see: 

 

Here’s my bed:

 

This is what I look at if I sit up in bed and look to the opposite wall:

Little cluttered, little messy....

If you open my closet door and look in, this is what you see:

**Warning, I could probably sleep 3 people comfortably in my closet**

I have a lot of clothes, a lot of cook books, and a lot of food in my closet. I keep the overflow of non perishable food in my closet, that way I can stock up when things go on sale. I love my big closet!!!

When you walk into my room, if you’d go to the right immediately you’d find my bathroom:

 

 

And then when you walk back out of my room you’d walk into the dining room, with the living room to the right, and the kitchen straight ahead. Along with the other two bedrooms, a bathroom and a huge hall cloest that has all of our board games in it!!!

 

All of my movies.....yes those are just mine, none of my roommates....

 

 

 

Too small of a kitchen!!!!!

 

Well I hope you enjoyed the virtual tour of my apartment lol.

 

I would also like to add, that all of the stuff by the kitchen was because we had just finished rearanging Angela’s room…so a lot of her stuff was in the kitchen before it went back into the bedroom. Lol it’s all clean now 🙂

Eggplant Experiment

So this weekend, Brandon and I are trying 2 new recipes, one of them being a completely new food to us. I’ve always known what eggplant looks like (thanks to an old video game I used to play that had it as an “energy food”), but when asked if I liked it, I’d probably answer with a “Nope!” And really, I’d only say no because I had no idea, but the idea of trying something purple, called eggplant, just didn’t sound like a great idea to me! With Weightwatchers we do challenges every week, occassionally it’s to try something we’ve never had before. When we had this challenge about a month ago, I tried 2 new fruits. Since then I’ve also tried zucchini (and no in bread), and tonight it was eggplant.

Last week at bowling I was discussing recipes with an older lady I bowl with and she had mentioned eggplant, or I did, I don’t remember anymore. But she said she had a recipe for eggplant that involved a lot of cheese and some spaghetti sauce. Sounded good to me, and I was informed eggplant is a lot like portabella mushrooms. I love mushrooms, Brandon loves mushrooms, so well we decided to try this out. So here is what we call “Eggplant Parmesan!”

First off we chopped everything up so everything would be smoother. You’ll need eggplant (obviously)

An onion…

2 small tomatoes…

And we cut up some mushrooms, but forgot the picture. Then I also got the other ingredients ready in a bowl too. Some grated parmesan cheese, and the mozzarella cheese.

Really we did all of this because Angela was baking a cake, so the oven was occupied. But then the cake was done, and we could move on! So you place the eggplant slices on a cookie sheet and brush them with olive oil and sprink some garlic powder over them.

After that, you throw those in oven for ten minutes. While they are baking sautee the rest of the chopped veggies, garlic and spinache in a pan with some olive oil. Just long enough for them to be aromatic and the tomatoes to let their juices out.

That should finish about the same time as the eggplant. You’ll then transfer the eggplant to a 9×13 pan and then spread the spinache mixture over it.

Then sprinkle part of the cheese mixture over the spinache mixture.

Lastly you spread the spaghetti sauce over it and then sprinkle the remaining cheese and Italian seasonings over the top. Bake, and enjoy!

This is the finished product. I think we put it in for too long, maybe only 20 minutes next time, and possibly add some chicken or other protein. Everything was kind of mushy, so the texture was off, but it tasted really good.

***CAUTION*** Items that are taken directly out of the oven and put on a plate to eat are extremely hot!!! If you choose to dig right in and take a bite before it has cooled down you may make a face similar to the following:

Ingredients

 
1 eggplant, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
2 tablespoons olive oil, or as needed
1 tablespoon garlic powder, or to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 small tomatoes, chopped
1 (10 ounce) package fresh spinach leaves
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
3/4 cup tomato pasta sauce
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
Directions

 
1.)Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Brush eggplant slices with olive oil on both sides, and place them on a baking sheet. Sprinkle garlic powder over the top. Bake for 10 minutes.

2.)Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, tomatoes and spinach. Cook and stir for a few minutes until fragrant, and the tomatoes have released their juices. In a medium bowl, mix together 1/2 cup of ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese, and 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese. Set aside.

3.)Place the eggplant slices in a greased 9×13 inch baking dish. Top with the spinach mixture. Spoon the cheese mixture over the spinach, and spread into a thin layer. Pour the spaghetti sauce over the cheese layer. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese over the top. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning.
Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until heated through and the eggplant is easily pierced with a fork.

Stuffed Bell Peppers

In my other post I mentioned Brandon was eating a left over stuffed pepper. Well here is how we made them. They are a lot different than normal stuffed bell peppers, but SO delicious!!!

First you want to brown your ground turkey. You can use beef, but turkey is a leaner meat, so we opted for that. Dice up a small onion and thrown that in there too along with some spices and parsley (that’s the green chunks, it was frozen).

These are the spices we used in the ground turkey mixture.

Brandon and I used red bell peppers because they are our favorites, but you can use any color…but isn’t this pepper beautiful?!

While the turkey is browning, cut the tops off the peppers and remove the seeds. You can cut up the tops to add to the mixture later on if you’d like, we did.

After the turkey is browned, remove it from the skillet and then you’ll start to make your country gravy. Melt your butter, add some flour and milk, salt and pepper and stir til it’s thick. I couldn’t take pictures as I was doing this, it was a quick process…but this is the finished gravy.

Once the gravy thickens, add the turkey back in. Then add the tomato, the tops of the peppers if you chose to chop them and add them, and some cheese.

We also chose to add a jalapeno for some bite. We put that in right at the end so it wouldn’t be too hot.

When your stuffing is hot, you stuff them into your peppers. The recipe told us it made 2 peppers, but it lied, there was plenty for 3 peppers!

Close up of the gorgeous pepper! I feel awful because I forgot to take a picture when it was done…I was too hungry and excited for the pepper. They bake for about 25 minutes, and then we sprinkled a little more cheese on top and put them back in for about 2-3 minutes so the cheese gets melty. These are by far my favorite stuffed peppers I’ve ever had! This weekend was actually the 2nd time we’ve made them because Brandon asked for them again 🙂 Hope you enjoy them!!!

Ingredients

  • 2 large green peppers, tops and seeds removed
  • 1/2 pound ground turkey
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomato
  • 4 tablespoons shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
 Directions
  1. In a skillet, cook the turkey, onion and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain and set aside. In the same skillet, melt butter. Stir in flour, salt and pepper until smooth. Gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Return turkey mixture to skillet. Stir in tomato and 2 tablespoons cheese; heat through. Spoon into peppers; sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Place in a greased 1-qt. baking dish. Cover and bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until peppers are tender and filling is hot

As a bonus, I’m including a picture of a cool pepper my friend grew. He’s got a huge garden with a lot of different kinds of peppers, and I was lucky enough to get a bunch of them! This beauty is a Merlot pepper, named because of the deep purple color, same as a merlot wine.

But when you cut this guy open it looks EXACTLY like a green pepper, also when you cook them the purple goes away and it turns green…pretty neat!

Okay really, we haven’t done a whole lot in the last month. My cousin Emily got married on August 20, we went to the wedding but I didn’t get a lot of pictures taken because well, I didn’t check my camera battery before I left. But here are a few pictures from that day.

 

 

 

 

 

That’s really the only thing we’ve done since my last post. Today we’re sitting in my apartment watching the Vikings play, we ate left overs from the weekend for lunch (Brandon had a left over stuffed pepper and I had Chicken Cur-Tang). 

My eyes are squinty 😦

 

His eyes are open WAY too far lol

 

Just me...showing off my new hair color 🙂

Rush Rush Rush!

I’ve been so busy lately! I hate feeling like I have no time to just rest and think. Last weekend, the 14th, was Brandon’s and mine 2 year anniversary. He completely surprised me with a picnic. He had snuck things out of the apartment (grill, blanket, picnic supplies) without me even noticing. He asked me if I wanted to go with him to put air in his car tire, we did that and then we went for a “Sunday drive” as he said when I asked where we were going. We drove to a little park around a man made lake where you can rent paddle boats and canoes and had a picnic. He said my face just lit up when I realized what was going on.

I had told him this last winter that I’ve never been on a real picnic. Yes I’ve eaten outside before, but I was never taken somewhere just for the sole purpose of eating. He said he was on picnics a lot as a kid, but he also had siblings to play with then. Where, as an only child, if I get taken somewhere just for eating, I also needed to be entertained lol. When I asked him if we could go on one, the response I ALWAYS got was “If you’re good, then maybe.”  So, when I found out it was a picnic, I was more than a little excited.

Like I said, he snuck a grill into his car. He had made some burger patties the night before, and some potato salad. I knew we were going to be grilling, just thought it was going to be at my apartment. And the potato salad was his first time making it, and it was a HUGE success! He was also sweet enough to cut up some fruit for me to snack on. He did everything perfect and it was so sweet!

I’m a very lucky girl to have such an amazing guy in my life!!! He had told me that if I had gotten out of the shower wearing my stretch capri’s and a tank top I wear around the apartment, that’s what I was going to the picnic in. He didn’t want to say anything to me to give anything away. This is the first time he’s been able to surprise me with something, without me figuring it out before it happens, and I’m so glad it worked. I love him so much!!!

So my friend Krysten is moving. She’s the one that keeps a food blog with recipes, and the person I got the recipe for the Taco Enchilada Bake I blogged about before. She’s trying to use up everything they have in the pantry/fridge/freezer so it’s less to worry about. She found the stuff to make Meatball Calzones. I thought this sounded amazing, and upon reading the list of ingredients I realized I had everything for them except one thing. So this was my mission for the weekend, to make meatball calzones.

First you get the pizza dough ready, and then seperate it into 2 or 3 pieces, depending on how big you want your calzones. Then on a sprayed pizza pan, pull and push the dough into a rectangular shape. I put a little pizza sauce on the dough first, then some Pizza Cheese,  then a few Turkey Pepporoni’s, some mushrooms….

 

 

…..pretty bell peppers all cut up, some onions….

…put the meatballs in, a little more cheese and then close it up. You need to cut a few slits into the dough to let the steam out while they are baking. Sprinkle a little Italian seasoning on top and a little cheese if you’d like. Then throw them in the oven and let them bake for 20-25 minutes at 425 degrees.

 

And this is your finished product!

 

These were super simple to make and would be easy to make for multiple people, everyone can put in their own ingredients and you can deffinitely make them smaller than Brandon and I made them. Hope you enjoy!!!!

 

Meatball Calzones (yield 2-3)

1 packet or about a pound of pizza dough

16 or so meatballs

1 cup mozzarella cheese

15 or so slices of pepperoni

2 tablespoons parmesan cheese

1 small jar of pizza sauce or about 2 cups spaghetti sauce + 2 tablespoons of pizza seasoning

Prepare pizza dough according to package directions.

Preheat oven to 425

Divide the dough into two or three depending on how many calzones you are making

Pull/roll the dough into a rectangle

Layer the toppings as followed on 1/2 of the rectangle: pepperoni, cheese, meatballs, parmesan

Fold the other 1/2 of the dough over the toppings and press into the other side of the dough to create a seal. Cut a few slits in the top of the dough. Top with additional pizza seasoning and parmesan cheese.

Toss a little cornmeal on the pizza peel or baking sheet, place calzones on corn meal and put into oven.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

Serve with pizza sauce and a crisp green salad.

So this weekend Brandon and I went our seperate ways. No we didn’t break up, he had a guys day at the Twins game on Saturday and Angela and I went on a small road trip. We decided to google Mini Golf Courses in MN and pick a couple close to each other and go see them. So we went up to Pirates Cove in Brainerd, (http://www.piratescove.net/location/12) and Wildwedge in Pequot Lakes (http://wildwedge.com/index.cfm/pageid/15). It was a blast! It wasn’t super hot out, in fact the sun wasn’t out most of the day. And the two courses were very different from each other. Pirates Cove was the best one we went to. We did the 36 hole challenege there, and then just 18 holes at Wildwedge.

There's actually a hole on the ship

For lunch we went to the Brainerd Lakes Cafe. They offer a Gluten Free menu, which is good since Angela is Gluten Free. I had a Hungarian Mushroom soup for an appetizer and then a Chicken Ceasar Wrap with French Fries.  DELICIOUS!!!!

Wildwedge was a little more, run down than Pirates Cove. But it was still very pretty with some beautiful landscaping!

Angela's ball going over the water, really it went into the water lol

It was a great day! I bought a souvenier golf ball at each place. At Pirates Cove it is painted like a football and at Wildwedge it’s got daisies all over it. I write on them where I was, the date and who I was with. It is added to my collection I have started. It’s kind of a neat collection, and none of them are alike.

Exciting News!!

So you’ll have to wait til the end to hear the exciting news, and no it doesn’t involve a ring lol.

Starting last week sometime, we’ve been going through a HUGE heat wave! Today, with the heat index, it’s around 110! ICK! Walking outside is like walking face first into a brick wall. So I’ve been trying to avoid outside with everything I’ve got. Friday night, Chrissy came over and I was showing her clothes I picked up at a garage sale for a little baby we’re expecting in Brandon’s family. One of the dresses I noticed had a HORRIBLE stain on it and it was caked on it. So I decided I’d just get rid of it.Well after going through the bag, Chrissy made a comment about whether or not Ragnar would like to have clothes on. So, of course I had to find out….and the answer was he doesn’t like them…but we did it anyways, with pictures!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I felt a little bad putting it on him, but it was still funny and entertaining. So after that, I had mentioned to Chrissy possibly going to a near by flower garden the following day if it’s not overly hot and taking some pictures of her. She’s lost 50 lbs so far and wanted some nice pictures of her after the weight loss. I offered to take them if she wanted. Here are a few of my favorites, I didn’t take as many as I wanted because it was a lot hotter than I was thinking it was.

 

 

 

 

 

And then I asked if she’d take a few pictures of Brandon and I. Which she agreed to, but it was SO hot and so Brandon was kind of crabby lol.

 

 

This whole weekend we were waiting for Brandon’s sister, Mallory, to have her baby. Sunday night she came to work and we all sent her to the hospital when she exclaimed that she thought her water had broke before she got to work. Well today was the day. Little Kaylee Rae finally came into the world at 12:34 pm today, waithing 6 lbs 9oz and is 19 in long. She is adorable and doing great, and so it mommy, even after 36 hours of labor!

Proud Mommy and little Princess!

 

 

 

 

 

 

4th of July Weekend

Well Friday night we had one big storm! About 80 mph winds, hail, cloud to ground lightning. It was crazy! I didn’t have my camera though. I was sad about it, and Brandon wouldn’t let me go outside and take pictures with his camera, which was probably a better idea. So Saturday we went back to my apartment and really did nothing all day and night. It was really nice, just to sit and relax. We actually used the pool at my apartment. It was really nice and relaxing. So much fun.While we were in the pool we noticed there were some grills by the pool and playground equipment. So we made a plan to try grilling on Sunday. We’ve never grilled together before….first time for everything!

So Sunday, we decided we were going to cook some chicken I won at a meat raffle. It was leg quarters, so just legs and thighs. And we decided to make some Hobo Potatoes. Which is just potatoes, carrots, onions and we added mushrooms, wrap it in tinfoil with butter and seasonings. DELICIOUS!!! So our first task, was start the fire…we did that.

The little grill with the coals going
It took awhile to get the coals good to start grilling on, and I got bored. So I went to the one swing on the equipment lol.
 
After the coals got going we put some tinfoil down on the grill and put the chicken on it. We put tinfoil down because the grill looked nasty. Mainly because I’m sure noone really ever cleans them.
 

 

We ended up having a small fire. Okay, not so small. I didn’t get pictures because I was trying to help Brandon save our food. And actually the fire didn’t hurt the food at all. Here’s our finished plate:

 

So after we ate, and drank a couple glasses of wine, we decided to play some cards. We sit around and play a lot of cards, I love it! So when we were sitting around the coffee table playing cards, Ragnar decided to try to play with us too. He’s so gosh darn cute!!!

 

 

Hope everyone has a great 4th of July!!!!