Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Stairway to Heaven

I read an article that said Led Zeppelin's 'Stairway to Heaven' was released 40 years ago today. When I was 15 or 16, my dad gave me a collection of Led Zeppelin's greatest hits. Well, I'm not sure if he gave it to me, or I 'forgot' to give it back. I had a bad habit of stealing his CDs. It quickly became one of those that stayed in my car's CD player - on repeat.

Dad always made sure me and my sisters appreciated good, solid rock music. I'm going to enforce the same principles in my future, hypothetical, non-existent children. Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and The Beatles will be household names. Brian will make sure they know who Hank, Johnny, and Merle are. We're going to raise those babies right. :)

After I read the article, I started wondering if I could track down the CD and look what I found in my trunk. This is the same CD holder I had in my first car 10 years ago. When did I get old?

It really made me smile to find it. 
In honor of this anniversary, I thought I'd post this video. As a bonus, I posted a sound clip of one of my all time favorite songs 'Going to California'.




Standing on a hill in my mountain of dreams,
Telling myself it's not as hard, hard, hard as it seems.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Monte Sano State Park



Sunday afternoon Brian and I spent some time at Monte Sano State Park. The mountain is so pretty this time of year. I'm happy we made it up there before the trees lost their leaves.


The time change this weekend made me feel frantic. Like I need to soak up every last bit of sun shine because winter is right around the corner.


Ugh. No more talk about dreary, cold, depressing winter. Back to these breathtaking views. Sigh.....


I feel so lucky to live in such a beautiful area. I might not be from Alabama, but days like this one make me feel at home here.
  

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Three Ingredient Pumpkin Muffins

This time of year I am all about the pumpkin. I saw this recipe for Pumpkin Muffins on Pinterest and couldn't believe it only called for three ingredients! Not only are these incredibly moist and delicious, but each muffin only has about 100 calories.

This is all you need!

Yum. Yum.
 It is a good thing they are low-cal because it is impossible to eat just one.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Halloween Weekend

Last weekend was one of those perfect weekends - both relaxing and productive! On Saturday, Brian and I took a trip to Nashville to watch the Arkansas vs. Vanderbilt game. It was a close one, but thankfully the Razorbacks pulled through and won the game. It was nice to get out of town - even if was just for the day.


Vanderbilt Stadium

There were so many AR fans! Look at all that red!

Every year we carve pumpkins before Halloween, but on Sunday we decided to take a lazy different approach.


Yep, we busted out the power drill!


As always, Hank was right in the middle of everything. He's so helpful.


 It's hard to see the pumpkin in this picture, but we were happy with the results!
Between the football watching and pumpkin carving, was lots of Halloween candy snacking (the trick-or-treaters are lucky they got any!) and scary movie watching. This is probably the millionth time I've said this, but I really love this time of year.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars

Last week Brian's grandparents game to visit. I am not going to lie. The goal in making these Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars was to impress his grandma. The running joke in the family is that she is such a good cook that she even makes a bologna sandwich taste special. Ha! It's totally true. Everything she cooks is the best thing I have ever ate.

With that in mind, I knew I couldn't touch her Chocolate Pecan Pie. She makes it every Thanksgiving, and no one can eat enough of it. However,  this recipe was easy, delicious, and it let me have my "hey, hey, look what I can do." moment.

Store this in the fridge, but serve it warm topped with ice cream. So good!
Oh, and she told me she loved it. Mission Accomplished.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pumpkin Cream Cheese

After Brian's birthday weekend (aka a weekend of non-stop eating and drinking), I decided that I was tired of my jeans being too tight. Seriously, it should not take 15 minutes to squeeze into a pair of pants. A few of my friends have had a lot of success on Weight Watchers so I decided to give it a try. So far it seems to be working. Now it is only taking 10 minutes to put on my jeans :). The reason I am telling you all of this is because as I started looking for "point-friendly" recipes, I found this great website. Everything on this site already has the points calculated for you! Score!

Yesterday morning, I made this recipe for Pumpkin Cream Cheese, and I have officially become an addict. This bagel paired with a giant cup of coffee is breakfast perfection in my book.

One 'Bagel Thin' and 1.5 tablespoons of the spread is 5 points.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fall Decorations

A couple of weeks ago Hobby Lobby had their Fall/Harvest decorations on sale for 40%-50% off. (I'm sure at this point they are practically giving the stuff away. I love me some Hobby Lobby.) Anyway, I thought I would share some of my old and new fall decorations. Oh and naturally, most of these ideas came from Pinterest. What was my life like before that wonderful website?


My attempt at being festive.

My mom gave me these pretty apothecary jars as a house warming present. This pin gave me the idea to fill them with candy. The downside of decorating with candy is that starring at Reece's pieces, candy corn, and jelly beans sets my already crazy sweet tooth into overdrive. It is an inexpensive way to use what I already have so it is totally worth practicing self-control!


Candy doubles as decoration.

I found this $40 lantern on sale for $20, and it reminded me of this pin. Not that $20 is cheap, but I should be able to theme it up for most holidays, and use it as an indoor/outdoor candle holder year round. I found the pumpkins and gourds (which were all half off) in the wreath section. I just pulled out the wreath wire and loaded up the lantern.

Candle holder lantern

Bath and Body Works' 'Pumpkin Patch' is my favorite scent during the fall. I don't know how scent evokes emotion, but it really does. Not only does it smell wonderful, it makes the whole house feel warm and cozy. If pumpkin isn't your thing, I bought my mom the Autumn candle for her birthday, and she loved it!

Bath and Body Works Candle Brand is Slatkin & Co.
Happy Fall, y'all!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tailgating Leftovers: Cheese Dip Chicken Spaghetti

A few weeks ago, we watched the Arkansas vs. Troy game at the house. I believe it is IMPOSSIBLE to watch football without cold beer and snacks, so I made a few things for us to munch on during the game. No matter what or who I am cooking for, I always make too much. It is a good thing Brian and I aren't scared of leftovers! In an attempt to not be wasteful, I decided to try to incorporate the leftover cheese dip into a weeknight meal.

The classic Velvetta Cheese Dip recipe is to cube one block (1lb.) of Velvetta, throw in 2 cans of Rotel (drained), and melt it the microwave - stirring every two minutes until melted. There were only four of us watching the game so I used 1/2 of the Velveeta and 1 can of Hot Rotel.

The next day I was trying to find something to fix for dinner, and I decided to get creative. I combined the leftover cheese dip with the other 1/2 lb. of Velveeta, threw in another can of Rotel, and added a can of cream of chicken soup. While this mixture was melting in the microwave, I boiled 1lb. of pasta. When the cheese mixture was melted, I stirred in a large can of drained canned chicken. Next, I drained the pasta and added it to the cheese sauce. Just like that - Cheese Dip Chicken Spaghetti was born.


Note: If canned chicken grosses you out, you could use rotisserie, boiled, or baked chicken.

Not the healthiest meal in the world - but it's tasty, quick, and resourceful!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Arkansas vs. Auburn: Woo Pig Sooie!

As I mentioned, last Friday was Brian's birthday. To celebrate, we decided to head to northwest Arkansas to watch the Arkansas vs. Auburn game. It's only a 9.5-10 hour trip - no biggie. The drive was long, but totally worth it considering we got to spend the weekend with great friends AND watch the Razorbacks beat Auburn 38-14.

We started the weekend off by everyone eating at least 17 pounds of food a piece at Shogun's. Here is a group shot we took after dinner. If I look puffier than usual, please remember I had 17 pounds of chicken and rice an hour before this :).

Side note: Look at Ashton's festive mantel. So pretty!

Brian got TWO birthday cakes this year. Dang, he must think he is special.
We spent Saturday tailgating with Stephen's family. Good food, good company, great day!

Stephen and the birthday boy

I love this pic.  Erin, Ashton, Laura, me, and Heidi (Stephen's adorable niece).

I really like this boy. I think I'll keep him :).
This is the first time we have ever been to a game in Fayetteville and not sat in upper-upper deck! Ashton's parents were beyond generous and let me and Brian have their tickets to the game. I know. Amy and JP are my favorite people. This view is MUCH better than the nose bleed section!

Woo Pig Sooie!
Besties. (I don't think boys call themselves that, but that's what they are.)
Our friends are so fun. I love our little mini-reunions. I can't wait to see everyone again at the Mississippi State game in November.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Strawberry Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

Last week was Brian's 26th birthday. He is so lucky to have such a young wife, like myself. What? He's five whole months older than me - that totally counts. Anyway, I made this Strawberry Cake for his birthday last year, and he decided that he wanted it to be designated as "Brian's Birthday Cake." It was my Grandma Diebold's recipe that I have tweaked a bit. (See her Peach Delight recipe here) The original recipe called for a whole cup of oil or something ridiculous like that. No wonder I remember it tasting so good. I promise you won't miss the extra fat. Believe me, there is still PLENTY of that in there. Something in this recipe makes this cake so incredibly moist. Maybe the package of jello or the crushed strawberries? Whatever it is, it's magical.



This old school pan belonged to my grandma. Maybe that's the secret to a perfect cake?!

I want this now.

Strawberry Cake with Cream Cheese Icing (Brian's Birthday Cake)

1 pkg. white cake mix
3T AP Flour
3 eggs
1/4 cup oil
1 cup water
1/2 cup frozen or fresh strawberries (crushed)
1 3oz. pkg strawberry gelatin

Cream Cheese Icing
1/4 cup butter at room temperature
8 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup crushed strawberries

Cake - Combine and blend all cake ingredients. Bake in greased 9x13 pan for 35-40 minutes. Poke holes in the cake as it cools. This allows the icing to drip down into the cake. (Yum.)

Icing - Whip together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Slowly add sugar until blended. Stir in strawberries and spread over cake.

Allow the cake to cool before spreading the icing. The consistency is on the thin side, which is how my grandma always made it. If you want to thicken it up, add more powdered sugar.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Wait, It's September?

Wait, It's September 20th? What a crazy, busy, wonderful couple of weeks! Here are a few pictures I have taken (and stolen from my friends).

Brian and I went to the Arkansas vs. New Mexico game in Little Rock a couple of weeks ago. We hung out at Jared and Erin's house before the game, and then walked over to the stadium before kick-off. I LOVE games at War Memorial. I don't think I have ever been to a stadium that is louder than that one. Crazy-loud Razorback fans just make me happy.


Ashton, Erin, Laura, Me, and Wendy before the game.

Woo Pig Sooie!
Oh, and I edited this photo because by this time my forehead was so shiny, you could probably see your reflection in it. At least this effect softens my "strong" Diebold forehead Ha!

War Memorial Stadium
In honor of the ten year anniversary of September 11th, the odd sections wore white, the even wore red, and the student section wore blue. This picture was floating around Facebook so I'm not sure who took it, but this ariel view is a great shot of the stadium that day.

This past weekend my sister Ellen came to visit. We had ourselves a LARGE time. I think I'm still in recovery.

Love my baby sister!

I'm such a weirdo. I was so sad on Sunday after she left. This weekend I am going to a wedding in Maumelle, AR so I know I'll see my whole family at some point -  but still! I was like that on Labor Day when my parents left. I knew I would be seeing them soon, but it just made me sad to say good-bye to them. Basically, I wish that I could pick up the Huntsville/Madison/Decatur area (including our jobs and friends from here) and move them to Arkansas. I mean, I don't feel like that is asking too much. :)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

100 Years of Style in 100 Seconds

I'm not claiming to be the most stylish person in the world, but this made me smile. Apartment Therapy posted this today, and I just had to share. This amazing video covers 100 years of fashion and architecture in East London in 100 Seconds. Ready, Set, Go...


Note to self: Must go to East London some day. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Pinterest Challenge: Final Post

With the exception of one Saturday, I made something from my Pinterest boards every day during the month of August! I had such a blast doing this. As an accountant, my job is very repetitive. I like what I do, but it is easy to get 'stuck in rut' when doing the same things over and over again. This project let me do something new and different every day. No matter how small the project or simple the recipe, I got the satisfaction of accomplishing a goal daily. Even after a month, I am ridiculously addicted to Pinterest. I will continue to post recipes and projects inspired from my pins... just not as frequently.

Monday, August 29

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Crescent Rolls

These were so good. Roll out the crescent dough, spread with peanut butter and chocolate chips (We also added pecans), roll them up, and bake according to the package instructions. You could also make 'Cinnamon Toast' with butter and cinnamon/sugar, or 'Smores' with chocolate chips and marshmallows. The possibilities are endless..and delicious.


Peanut Butter - Chocolate Goodness

Tuesday, August 30

Fruit Kabobs

This is something I haven't done in a while...make a HEALTHY snack. One thing I can say - I blame Pinterest for my pants fitting tighter this month. Okay, so no one forced me to make Oreo Ice Cream, Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Cookies, Cinnamon Sugar Bread, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Crescent Rolls, etc.. However, it happened! Oops! These kababs are quick, pretty, and tasty. I used fat-free dark chocolate pudding as the dipping sauce.


These would be great at baby or wedding showers.


Wednesday, August 31

Rolo Pretzel Bites

So I was healthy for a whole...day! Then, I decided to make these little guys. Lightly spray a baking sheet and spread out the square shaped pretzels. Place the Rolo on the pretzel and bake at 250 for 4-5 minutes. Top with a pecan and lightly press down. Freeze for an hour or until the chocolate is firm. Enjoy!

These are addicting!

Thank you for your encouraging words during this challenge. Hopefully, you have been inspired to channel your creativity and try something new!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Pinterest Challenge: Week Four Wrap Up

I'm a little late on my Pinterest update this week. What a bad, bad blogger I have been! I have to warn you. I technically failed the challenge last Saturday (GASP!). I know, I know. However, I plan on making all kinds of delicious tailgating recipes from Pinterest this weekend. I promise to redeem myself.

Monday, August 22

Egg in a Pepper

This time of year the bookstore is incredibly busy! We are so happy it's busy, but it just means I don't get to see Brian very much. He worked until at least 11:00 PM every night last week. I saw this recipe, and I knew it would be perfect to make during the fall sale. Cooking for one is challenging, but this I loved! I didn't want to use butter to fry the egg, so I sprayed the skillet with Pam and cooked the turkey bacon first. Next, I cut up the pepper, dropped it in the pan, and cracked the egg inside the pepper ring. I like my eggs over easy, but you can cook it however you like.

Quick, healthy supper
Tuesday, August 23

Scrabble Frame

Is it just me, or is scrabble SUPER trendy these days? Scrabble-themed projects are all over Pinterest. Not that I'm complaining - I think it's adorable. Brian's mom gave us an old scrabble game before we moved to Alabama. Brian won't even play me on Words With Friends (rude!), so I know we won't be playing Scrabble anytime soon. I really like this picture of me and my daddy on my wedding day. All I did was hot glue the scrabble letters to the frame. But I think this little change, makes a huge impact.


Love how this forms a cross - such a fitting coincidence.
 Wednesday, August 24

Taco Cornbread Bake

First, things, first. Everyone needs to check out Plain Chicken. This blog is the perfect site for weeknight meal ideas. I have made so many of Stephanie's recipes, and they have all been quick, easy and delicious! Oh, and her tailgate recipes look incredible. I will be making her 'Crack Bread' this weekend.

Okay - now back to this recipe. If you love Jiffy cornbread and tacos, you will love this. The recipe calls for black beans, but I had refried beans on hand. It still tasted great. I used hot taco seasoning and hot Rotel. The spiciness was balanced out by the sweet cornbread and sour cream. I'll be making this again for sure.

It's so tasty, and it's ready in thirty minutes.
Thursday, August 25

White Sangria

Thirsty Thursday, oh how I love you. We tend to start our weekend a night early. This is not necessarily the smartest decision two grown-ups can make, but you know, oh well. The strange thing about this Thursday was that, um, Brian didn't get home until around 11:30. Yet, somehow, the Sangria disappeared. Hmm...needless to say, I love me some Sangria. Fresh fruit would probably be best, but frozen strawberries and peaches worked great. They acted like ice cubes and kept the drink chilled.


Yum. Yum. Yum.
Friday, August 26

Strawberry and Goat Cheese Sandwich

I know this sounds really strange, but it is my new favorite lunch. I made this at work on Friday, and then on Monday, and then on Tuesday. I recognize I have a problem. The recipe says to make it like a grilled cheese, but I can't exactly whip up a grilled cheese at the office. We do have a toaster. So I toasted the bread and smeared softened goat cheese on one side. Top with strawberries and arugula, and you have the perfect sandwich. If you don't like goat cheese, you could use cream cheese. Oh, that sounds really good, too.

Adult Grilled Cheese
Saturday, August 27

Oopsies :). I was visiting a friend in Arkansas last weekend. No time for projects and cooking. Like I said, I'll redeem myself soon!

Sunday, August 28

Cinnamon Sugar Quick Bread

When I got back in town, I was craving something sweet. This is the easiest thing you will ever make. You only have to dirty up one bowl, and it's ready in an hour. The recipe says you should wrap it in foil and wait until the next day to eat it. Ha! Yeah, right. That didn't happen. If white bread and coffee cake had a baby, it would taste like this. Wait, that sounded weird, but you know what I mean.

 
You have to make this.

I have three days left. Let's do this!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Animals Can Sense These Things

Today I was going through some files, and I came across this video that Brian took with his phone. It was taken on April 27, the day those devastating tornadoes ripped across the South. I've always heard that animals can sense when a natural disaster is about to occur. After witnessing Hank's strange behaivor that day, I trully believe they can!

Just to give you a little background, you have to know that Hank is TERRIFIED of water. Whenever you say the 'B-A-T-H' word, he tucks his tail between his legs and hides in the corner. When it rains, he absolutely refuses to go outside. He will hold it as long as he can possibly stand it to avoid the water. It is so bad that even when there is a little bit of dew on the ground in the mornings, you have to physically drag him off the concrete and onto the grass. It's so pitiful (and annoying).

Now watch this video. Hank is literally frolicking through the water. He can't get enough of it. That is why you hear Brian laughing. It's so bizarre to us! All of sudden, Hank is a water dog.


video


I know this seems so insignificant. But if you could witness Hank's ridiculous water phobia, I think you would understand how odd it was to see him happily splashing through water puddles.

Did you notice the canopy in the video? About 20 minutes later, I took this picture.


Bye, bye canopy
We feel so incredibly blessed that this was the only damage we had that day. Some people in our community lost everything, and are STILL trying to rebuild and recover.

Maybe I am reading way too much into this, but I really think Hank could sense something bad was about to happen. Why else would he be acting so weird? What can I say, this just solidifies my theory that Hank is the smartest dog in the whole wide world! :)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Pinterest Challenge: Week Three Wrap Up

I'm happy to report that last week went MUCH better than the week berfore. I can't believe I have already been doing this for three weeks. My Pinterest addiction is getting a little out of control! Okay, it's a lot out of control. Brian might have to host an intervention soon.

Monday, August 15

Berry Salad

Last Monday was pretty hard on me. I tried to stretch my weekend out as much as possible and stayed up way too late on Sunday night. I felt like a zombie all day, and the LAST thing I wanted to do was cook when I got off work. It was the perfect night to try out this Berry Salad. Brian and I both loved it! After eating a lot of really unhealthy food over the weekend, it was nice to have a simple, tasty salad.

Strawberries, blueberries, almonds, and chicken = Yum!

Tuesday, August 16

DIY Bottle Centerpiece

How adorable is this little homemade centerpiece? This project also gave me an excuse to buy orange cream soda. :) Of course, you can use whatever drinks you like. I have discovered I have a problem with the color red. As in, I want to paint everything that color (seen here and here). Next time I paint something, I'll try to mix it up a little!

I loved this quick, little vase project!


Wednesday, August 17

Buffalo Chicken Macaroni

I have a confession - I have made this recipe before. I still pinned it on my board because this is Brian's favorite meal. He asks for it all the time! It's not a hard recipe, but it takes a while to make. Also, I feel like it requires me to use every, single pan, dish, and pot in my kitchen! Don't get me wrong, all the preparation and extra clean up is worth it, but that is why I don't make it very often.

August is Brian's busiest month of the year so he has been working A LOT. He didn't get home Wednesday until about 9:00. So even though I usually try to take close-up shots to make the food look pretty and appetizing, this time I thought I would keep it real. When he got home, this is how I set it up for him. Tons of ranch, hot sauce, blue cheese and the remote control - this is why he loves me. Haha!


Yes, that is a paper plate on top of a real plate. We are fancy like that.

Thursday, August 18

DIY Art

I liked this project, but super glue was a BAD idea. Ha! You can see on the pin that the example used fabric rather than paper or glass. I had the brilliant idea to recover this picture with wrapping paper, and then superglue the 'J' directly to the glass. The wrapping paper worked out great. I used the spray adhesive to make sure the paper lay flat and didn't bubble up. The downfall was the superglue. Not only did I pretty much glue all my fingers together, the glue dried before I could center the letter! (By the way, to un-super glue yourself, soak your hands in fingernail polish remover.) It doesn't look too bad, but since I'm a perfectionist the off center 'J' might drive me a little crazy.

If I could do this over again, I would try hot glue. NOT super glue!


Friday, August 19

Peach Nail Polish

Friday I went to a Katy Perry concert in Nashville. Girlfriend puts on an AMAZING show. We had such a blast. I wore a colorful sun dress, and dressed my nails up with this peach polish.

Pretty in Peach.
Saturday, August 20

Bacon Pancakes

This is exactly what you think it is! Fry up some bacon (or in this case, turkey bacon) on the griddle, and when it starts to crisp up, pour the pancake batter over it. Then drown it in maple syrup and eat yourself into a food coma. You won't be sorry. Just very, very full - and happy.

This is great when you want breakfast for supper!

Sunday, August 21

Chocolate Chip Oreo Stuffed Cookies

These are Pickey Palate's stuffed cookies. I made her delicious Chocolate Fudge Peanut Butter Stuffed Cookies last month, so when I saw this recipe I knew I had to make them. You have to try these. Just remember, everytime you eat one cookie, you are technically eating two. This is scary considering how many I ate yesterday. I had to send them to the store with Brian. I don't trust myself around these things!

So. freakin. Good.

Another week down, just one more to go!