October 31, 2016

My First Halloween

I don't have kids (well I guess you all have guessed that by now) so I am in this middle stage with Halloween. Sure it was fun in college and it will be even more fun when I do have kids, but for now, I keep Halloween pretty low key. I mean so low key, that my plans are to work. Apparently people have a lot of fun and EVERYONE always wants Halloween off of work. I have been shafted every year, but really have no excuse to not work. I just wish it was time and a half...

So since I have been robbed of a holiday this year, I am kind of surly and I will just think of things I will do that I will enjoy more than my Halloween:
1. Go to the store the day after Halloween and buy all of the candy for half price.
2. Watch people who dress in costumes that they would never find appropriate any other day of the year.
3. Not dress up. Something about "Hi, I am your nurse today" should not say "follow they yellow brick road" or whatever else any costume would say...
4. Snuggle in bed with my husband.
5. Decorate the outside of my house and station my husband to pass out candy. (Hopefully not too fast like he did last year...)
6. Do my hair for work.
6. Fast forward to Thanksgiving (which I work) and Christmas. They are just the best holidays after all.
7. Look for some extra shifts to pick up. The holidays are coming.
8. Think twice about picking up extra shifts. Winter is coming...the busy season for my hospital and our statement far before Game of Thrones.
9. Bake something pumpkin. It is about time. Better late than never, right?
10. Do my nails


What else should I be doing since I won't be celebrating Halloween?

October 28, 2016

Arizona Summer

I know I reference summer way too often. It is just really hot. Hot like...I am melting from the inside out and I may actually be dying hot. There are all these great pictures of people enjoying their summers or commercials where families are joyfully basking in the sun while enjoying a burgers and a casual game of croquet? Nope, not here....plus you preferably need grass with croquet and we don't have that here. BUMMER! With that said, we really have it quite good around here. I don't have to experience any of the scary parts of weather. The only weather we have is in the summer. 
Don't let this beautiful picture fool you. Arizona has two seasons: Hot and A Little Less Hot.

Hopefully our hot and sweaty summer is coming to an end. It was long, but I am ready to get out and explore my beautiful Arizona without heat stroke! Maybe next weekend will be it!


Stay tuned!
What's everyone's plan for the weekend?




October 24, 2016

Kevin's Smoothie

Sharing a smoothie recipe in October Lauren...are you crazy?! The jury is still out on whether I am crazy or not, but yes, I am sharing a smoothie recipe. Everyone may be sharing yummy fall food and pumpkin everything, but I am sharing a smoothie recipe that my husband makes himself every morning before work. It is that easy, yummy, and filling for whatever the workday hands you.

What makes this so good is the creaminess of the milk and the boldness of flavors with the strawberries, banana, and juice. During the summer when strawberries are on sale, I buy them and freeze them for these smoothies.


Ingredients:

5 frozen strawberries
1 banana, peeled
3 tablespoons of whole milk
3 tablespoons of Dole Orange Peach Mango Juice (not sponsored, just good!)

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a Magic Bullet (or any other personal blender) and blend until smooth.
Makes one. Enjoy!


What is your favorite type of smoothie?
Do you get your servings of fruit in the fall?

October 21, 2016

Five Exercises That Burn More Fat Than Running

I shared my break up here on this blog...with running. Now I will admit when I had a good knee, I lost some good weight before I got married with running. Now I have found some great exercises that burn fat that AREN'T running.

Swimming
Swimming is very important to me. The low impact combined with the cardio and makes it an optimal choice!

Skiing
My husband taught me to ski and I am so glad that I stuck with it. It took a while to get good enough to like it. One minute I was full of optimism and confidence and could conquer whatever skiing lies ahead. The next minute I have no idea and feel like if I make one more turn I may just fall. I can get pretty dramatic, but by pushing myself I am now able to say I can do something I enjoy. Skiing reminds me that dedication and a lot of self belief is all it takes to get better at, well, anything. So basically, skiing helps me at life...and keeps me healthy!

Weight Lifting
The more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism works. Building up muscle mass is a slow but sure way to help your weight loss goals. I have noticed a good amount of difference personally in my legs and booty!

Biking
Well if you can't ski, bike! Biking works both your leg muscles and provide some great cardio. Bike outdoors and enjoy a nice experience outdoors or bike in place and do some sprints to build up your endurance. Just get as comfy a bike seat as you can!
Plyometrics
Explosive movements and working for hard bursts and taking a short rest and getting back to it has shown to burn a lot of calories. I think this is a major part of what has made Crossfit programs so successful. Personally unlike Crossfit, I like to use bodyweight or very little weight. When you are tired (and sometimes even when you are not tired) form can be an issue. Improper form and high weights can only lead to injury. I figure I can do anything for 30 or 60 seconds.

I should also say that Isometrics are great too, but when looking at what burns the most fat, my opinion would by Plyo.


What are your favorite fat burning exercises?

October 17, 2016

Pecan Acorn Squash

The holiday season is once again coming upon us! I know that I will be spending lots of time getting the house ready and being in the kitchen. This means now, I just want to get a meal out on the table and oh, my husband should probably eat it.

This recipe is great because it is sweet. And I already bought all my Halloween candy and would like to keep my husband from eating it before the kids even have a chance at it. Enter a sweet dinner to get his mind off all the candy! (I have got to find better hiding spots...drat living in a small house!)

This would probably also be a great side dish!



Ingredients:

1 acorn squash, halved lengthwise with seeds removed
some water, enough for your pan, I would say maybe about 1/3 cup?
1/2 cup of chopped pecans
2 tablespoons of butter, softened
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
1 tablespoon of maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of ginger
1 teaspoon of vanilla

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Place the squash in a pan cut side up with water poured in the pan.

Mix in a bowl the pecans, butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and vanilla. Divide this mixture evenly into the squash.

Bake for 30 minutes or until squash is tender.




Dinners can be sweet right?

October 14, 2016

How to Roast Green Chiles

Despite Colorado making a couple of random statements to get in the press, it is widely known that New Mexico is the land of green chile. Every fall, we buy in bulk and have them roasted (fall in New Mexico means seeing big roasting drums everywhere). Once you do that, as a family we would commence with the bagging process and store in the family freezer. This year, we roasted the chile ourselves with my husband's family. The savings is significant seeing how easy roasting chiles yourself is!


All you have to do is turn up the grill and roast the chiles directly on the grill. Watch them closely with some tongs and turn them over as needed. I know people also use the broiler method in the oven, but to me, I don't want to warm up my house nor put all of that chile smell (cause it is strong!) in my house.

With a good roast, most of the skin on your beautifully bright green chiles should be a blistering looking black.

After you roast, place them on a baking sheet to cool slightly. Chiles should cool to just above room temperature before you bag them. If you bag them too hot, the chiles get steamed and the newly roasted skin will come off.

Once cool, we like to place in gallon and quart sized freezer bags. I place them in there whole. The flavor profile keeping the roasted skin and the seeds makes for fresher chiles no matter what time of year you take them out of the freezer.

Best part, chile is easy to thaw under hot water or in the microwave. Chile goes so fast in my house that I have never had them be frozen past one year, so I truly do not know how long the last stored frozen. Bottom line...at least one year.

How to enjoy this chile you ask? How about Enchiladas, Green Chile Stew, Green Chile Meat Burritos, Huevos Rancheros, Cream Cheese Green Chile Crescent Rolls, or even some Green Chile Mac and Cheese. The possibilities are endless!


Have you ever roasted your own green chile?
What are some of your favorite chile recipes?

October 10, 2016

Who Goes To A Pumpkin Patch And Never Gets Anything?

The answer would be this girl. My family's family friends (you get that?) own this amazing pumpkin patch and corn maze in my hometown. Many members of my family over the years have worked it as a seasonal job and so often every year I go and walk around.

Of all the years, I have only ever bought one thing. This:
So see, I technically have bought a pumpkin from the pumpkin patch!! ;-)

But that aside, I would love to buy all the mums and pumpkins I can, but sometimes I get lazy about carving as I mentioned here. Plus carting them all the way back to Arizona. Lazy person, party of one.

Plus every Halloween working as a nurse (starting in 2012) I have worked Halloween. Once again I am scheduled to work this year. Can't catch a break!


What fall festivities do partake and not partake in?

October 7, 2016

Visiting The Oregon Coast

So we went and visited Oregon! We did wine country and we did some hiking, but we also went to the coast! The weather was of course sans sun. It was cold for this Arizona girl and I could not believe that there was a surf competition going on at the beach. The announcer made a joke that we should all be ready and wearing our sunscreen and that there was a great sale of it. Guess you had to be there, but it was really funny.

Anyway here is how we did the Oregon Coast:

Pacific City: Cape Kiwanda
The above half funny story was here. There was also this big dune that people were climbing. I work out. My husband doesn't. We could try it....
OH MY GOSH.
It was all easy for him and for some reason I about died and was sinking in the sand.
Plus, the photos do not make it look steep. It is very steep...



But when you do finally get up there, the view is worth it!
If the weather was nicer, I would have explored it more.

Cape Meares
Now I am sure there are lots of great hiking trails for all of these capes, but weather permitting. I am a fair weather hiker for sure! But we stopped at the Octopus Tree. It is a short walk with some pretty views. Also there is another walk we took to the Cape Meares Lighthouse. There are only certain days that you can go into the actual lighthouse itself. Because of that, when open, there are too many people. We took a picture outside and opted not to go in.

Cape Lookout
Since weather wasn't great there was not a lot of exploring. But there is a beach. campsites, and a couple of nature trails.

Tillamook Factory
We were close enough that we decided we must stop at Tillamook. Probably would have been a cooler experience if we came on a weekday when the factory production was going on. We did get to sample some of their amazing free cheese and learn some pretty neat facts though.


Have you been to the Oregon coast?
Where else on the north Oregon coast should people go?

October 5, 2016

Buffalo Chicken Roll Ups

I am ready for a good weekend of football. And by weekend, I mean Thursday Night Football. I have to work both Sunday and Monday. Very much a bummer, but some weeks I am unable to totally schedule work around football. I can't believe I admitted to that. At least the Cardinals are playing! Go Arizona!

So naturally I need a good easy weeknight football food. Enter Buffalo Chicken Roll Ups. They are delicious and fast! For parties these are great because no one wants to be stuck in the kitchen handling food when parties and football are happening not in the kitchen (but thank you open concept living for the times that it does happen!)

I know I am a lousy photographer, but I do have to put some of the blame on my darling husband. Photoshoots are done in a very short time because he wants bites. Can't blame him with this one for sure!



Ingredients:

2 cups of shredded cooked chicken
2 tablespoons of buffalo wing sauce
2 tablespoons of sour cream
1 tablespoon of blue cheese dressing
1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
2 large flour tortillas

Directions:

In a mixing bowl, mix chicken, buffalo sauce, sour cream, blue cheese dressing, and cheese.

Place mixture evenly onto two tortillas and roll up burrito style. Place in fridge.

Chill in the fridge for an hour. Take out, slice, and ENJOY!

You can double the recipe and you can use different sizes of tortillas...the possibilities are endless!


What kind of foods do you like for weeknight football games?
Who are you cheering for this football season?

October 3, 2016

DIY: Wine Cork Pumpkins

So this post is late for me to write, because I made these LAST YEAR. But these little pumpkins have become something that I get complemented on every year. (yes, it has only been two years, but getting complemented on 2/2 years is 100%, that's pretty good!)

Now that we have seen Lauren do some genius math, I must say this is a weird thing for me to share. Why you ask? Well, I am not the only person to ever think of this idea, nor am I a crafter. I think I yelled out to Kevin "why am I doing this" a couple times because I don't have the patience to hot glue all this.

Like I said, I am not a crafter. I am a wine drinker. About half way in I wanted to give up on gluing all this together, but I had already done a lot of work. Hopefully you all don't think I am a lush...

Okay so it is not all that hard, It took me a little longer than most because I took some breaks. I also was making a craft with my wine corks and didn't even have a glass of wine to celebrate. I know, I know....I did it all wrong!

But looking back on all my corks and the wines they went with made me think fondly of some of my favorite wines. You can see some here.


You Will Need:

80 wine corks
Orange Acrylic Paint (and a couple drips of water)
Foam Paint Brush
Hot Glue Gun
2 champagne corks

Instructions:

You don't need a thick look of acrylic paint, so I diluted mine with some water. I used a foam brush to paint each side of the cork. Let dry.

Arrange corks in a row. You can make as many pumpkins and as big of pumpkins as you wish. I will say that my bigger pumpkin is as big as I would ever go. Here is how many corks I had in each row:

Pumpkin #1
5
6
7
6
5

Pumpkin #2
6
7
8
9
8
7
6

Hot Glue all your painted cork rows together. Once all the rows are glued, glue rows on top of each other.


I have thought about adding a green ribbon or something to the champagne cork stem. So I guess a crafter's work is never truly finished. But anyway, just like that, an easy DIY fall project.


And no worries, this blog space won't turn into pumpkin everything because it is October. Although I do like pumpkin!


What is on your fall project to-do list?

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