December 2, 2016

Five on Friday: Birthday Edition

In addition to holiday season, three very important people have near Thanksgiving birthdays. My husband, my sister and best girlfriend have birthdays all around Thanksgiving. Between that and working Thanskgiving, it has been a busy time of year...

One:
Kevin had his golden birthday! I feel bad for him with his birthday so close to Thanksgiving, but I knew I wanted to make this one special for him. I did scare him a little bit by getting into a car accident. I am sore, everyone was fine, but my poor car is totaled. And right before the holidays and right after a full tank of gas, oil change, and brand new dashboard. Great huh? But at least everyone is safe!

But back to men's birthdays, they are so hard! Let's face it, doing something cutesy pertaining to the golden birthday is probably more fun for girls than for guys. Never the less, I think there are some simple efforts that your guys will appreciate for the golden birthday.
One. A Golden Gift: I got him a brand new cell phone! Something special is much deserved!
Two. A Golden Cake: I got golden candles and contrasted it with a beautifully dark cake. Very easy. Sure he had to share with my sister for 21, but he enjoyed it!
Three. A Golden Decor: Simple gold balloons, some gold confetti, and a nice table setting are all that is needed!
Four. Golden Fun: Love this idea from Hostess With The Mostess. Spray paint and fill with his favorite candy. It will bring him back!
DIY Gold Burro Pinata - Before and After
Five. Golden Card: I mean. Happy Golden Birthday!

Two:
My sister turned 21. I put her cake together with Kevin's. I also let her practice put IVs in me. Oh to be in Nursing School again...

Three:
My girlfriend and I only had time to go out for a glass bottle of wine, but I made sure I spoiled her with some good gifts and can't wait to spend some more time over Christmas with her!
Four:
I had to really be careful online because of Gilmore Girls. I am the biggest Gilmore Girls fan, but I was busy working and travelling to get to see my sister for her 21st birthday. Well, I was finally able to watch it! Seriously, what did everyone think of it? Life is not always happy go lucky, but I wasn't expecting Rory to be such a shit show. Being the other woman, being petulant...no wonder she is failing in the real world.

Five:
No worries, I have still made time for me. Charity events, friend time, and football! I love this time of year!


What did you think of Gilmore Girls?

November 30, 2016

My Desert Backyard

I love where I live! When I moved into my house I found a new love for the Southwest. It is so nice to have Saguaro National Park basically in my backyard. Having beautiful mountains, hiking, and a different type of green.

The saguaro is a universal simple of the southwest and Saguaro National Park is the place to go if you want to see them!

Saguaro National Park is located in Tucson, Arizona. The park has two sections. Both have visitors centers and amazing mountains. The west side has the Tucson Mountains and the east side has the Rincon Mountains. The best time to visit is when the weather is cool. This is October-April. Many people who go other times often get in trouble with the heat.

The biggest question I get about the park is "If I only have time to go to one section, which do I go to?" This is a hard question to answer, but I am going to try and help with that! If you can only visit one, use the guide below to find your park.

Better to Drive: East (Cactus Forest Loop Drive 8.3 miles).

Better to Camp:  Toss Up. You cannot camp in Saguaro National Park. In Saguaro West there is Gilbert Ray Campground that is only 3 miles from the park. That is closer than Saguaro East which has the nearest campground 6 miles away.

Better to Hike: West. Both sides have excellent hiking trails, but I always seem to find it less crowded on the west side which is nice.

Better to Bike: East. I am not a big biker so this designation might not be correct, but I seem to see more people biking on the East side so I assume that is for a reason.

Easily Accessible: West. It is closer to the freeway so I think for out of towners, it should be easier to find.

Better Visitors Center: East. It is bigger and more accessible.

Where I See Petroglyphs: West. And only west! Hokokam Petroglyphs.



So both are great options. Hopefully you have time to visit both!
Remember to bring water!

November 28, 2016

Dad's Green Chile Meatballs

There is something about fall that tends to make me slack off a bit when it comes to my health. The holidays are a distraction, the food is fattening, and I work out less. When I go home and see my dad he constantly has lots of really great food. I can't help myself but tuck in. Never the less, healthy fall habits are something I admittedly need to work on, 

My dad surprised me the other day by making a healthy fall dish. Underneath it all, my dad is a big old softie who will do anything for his girls. That includes making a healthy, but delicious meatball! Making simple healthy switches is going to be my main goal in improving my fall health. This will help during this season where it seems every bit of progress made in the gym these last few months quickly disappears.

Ingredients:

For the Meatballs:
1.3 pounds of ground turkey
1/4 cup of panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
1 tablespoon of onion powder
1 teaspoon of salt and a pinch of fresh pepper

For the Sauce:
1/3 cup of chopped green chile
1 can of chicken or turkey broth
1 teaspoon of olive oil

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine the turkey, breadcrumbs, cheese, egg, onion powder, and salt/pepper. Form small meatballs.

In crock pot, mix together chile, broth, and oil. Drop meatballs into sauce and set crock pot to low and go for 4-6 hours.


How do you plan to stay healthy this fall?

November 25, 2016

How To Survive Holidays Away From Your Family

As a nurse, I have written about working holidays. I work holidays every year. As a nurse, I spend a lot of holidays away from my family. To be honest, sometimes when I spend them away, I get into these moods where I don't look forward to the holiday. But sometimes, you just want to make everything feel as normal as possible, so buck up buttercup! This year I am so lucky to only have to work Thanksgiving and no Christmas or New Years (at this point at least). This is a first! 

I was talking to a friend who is unable to afford a plane ticket home to celebrate/spend the holiday season with her family. So whether you are working or just unable to spend a holiday with your family, here is how to survive it! This is applicable to Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, whatever big holiday it is that you are spending away from your family.
Eat:
Let's face it, a lot of the amazing parts of holidays include amazing meals. If you don't want to make your ham or turkey, place an order for one to go! I have even done this with some of my work colleagues! Who says you can't have a holiday potluck?! Make sure you have too much food. Leftovers are a traditional holiday necessity!

Do Something Untraditional:
Since you don't have a house full of family to sit and socialize with, turn your day (or days around the holiday) into a holiday by getting up and going out and exploring! Go hiking, out to a fancy dinner, volunteering at a soup kitchen, whatever you want!

Start a New Tradition:
Somethings don't need to be celebrated the day of and sometimes retaining a semblance of tradition can help your holiday spirits. Watch that favorite Christmas movie in PJs every year, make cookies, go look at Christmas lights, write a letter to each other about what you are thankful for; whatever you want!

Celebrate Early With Friends:
Try a Christmas cookie exchange or white elephant. Do a favorite things party, Friendsgiving, or adult Easter party. Whatever you do, find good company!

Document:
Take lots of pictures. You never know when your worst holiday will turn into your most memorable!



What do you do when you celebrate holidays away from family?

November 23, 2016

Thanksgiving S.O.S.

In honor of Thanksgiving, I am sharing some of my favorite leftover recipes that I learned from my Dad. Monday I shared a recipe for my favorite Turkey Pinwheels and today I want to share a breakfast recipe.

It is a take on a S.O.S. If you are from a military family, you probably already know what S.O.S. is. For those who don't know it stands for Stuff on a Shingle. With another word for stuff...

I love love love S.O.S. It is typically toast topped with ground sausage smothered in gravy. My dad shows his love through food. Sometimes I remember he would just wake up early on Sundays and make it for me. So good.

For Thanksgiving, he adapted it and once again, I am in love..

Now here is a picture of Thanksgiving S.O.S, but let me prep you, this is a delicious dish, but not very photogenic AT ALL. Kind of looks like it's name...

Ingredients:

Stuffing (enough to form into two patties)
Leftover gravy
Leftover turkey
sliced green chile

Directions:

Mash together stuffing and form into a patty. Place into a pan and fry lightly on either side of the patty.

Place stuffing patty on plate. In a sauce pan, mix gravy turkey, and green chile together until warm. (Usually my dad makes his own gravy for Thanksgiving and for this purpose, white gravy is better than brown gravy, but both work!)

Top patty with sauce mixture and enjoy immediately. Then ask for seconds.


So do you call it stuffing, filling, or dressing?
Have you ever had S.O.S?
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