Monday, October 31, 2011

Adventures in Cooking - Green Chile Chicken

In case you missed it, we kind of like Mexican at our house.  We do some variation of tacos, Chicken Tamale Casserole, or breakfast burritos weekly (and that's usually in addition to our Moe's runs...don't get me started on that obsession).  This recipe is SUPER healthy, SUPER cheap, and SUPER easy.  All pluses in my book!  We keep frozen chicken on hand and I've stocked up a few cans of green chilies, so as long as I've remembered to defrost, this is an easy go-to in a pinch.

(Recipe found from Cooking Light)
Step 1 - Cover chicken* with lime juice and taco seasoning

*The recipe calls for chicken thighs, but we used chicken breast - leaner and it ends up being very moist

Step 2 - Split chilies in half and cover chicken, cover with foil & bake for 30 min at 400 degrees

Step 3 - Sprinkle cheese on top and bake uncovered for additional 5 min  - I also turn the broiler on the last minute or 2

Step 4 - ENJOY!

I like to serve with black beans
Hope you give it a try!

Friday, October 28, 2011

CureSearch Walk

Last weekend, we attended the first annual Birmingham CureSearch walk benefiting children's cancer research.  Will & my dad were hoping to be able to make the trip to walk with us, but last minute my dad had some back problems that prevented them from coming - I know they were walking with us in spirit! 

Will to Win team - Joey, Lydia, me, Tim (Thanks guys for coming!)

Lydia & I
The event itself was a success - over $12,000 raised!  Starbucks, Chris Z's and Birmingham Beverage Company provided coffee/breakfast/water for all of the participants and the opening ceremony kicked off around 10:00 on Saturday.  Jim Steiner (the CureSearch representative) lead the ceremony with guest speaker, Dr. Berkow from UAB Children's Hospital.  Jim called up the top three teams who had raised the most $ to date (excluding amounts turned in on walk day) - and I'm proud to report that thanks to all of your generous donations the Will to Win team came in third!  The only slightly embarrassing part was that they made the team captain or the child the team was supporting come and accept a goofy looking hat to wear during the walk.  With Will being a few states away, I had to wear the hat and felt a little silly! :)  Lydia, Joey & Tim made me wear it for one lap and then we passed it to another team....

The ceremony also called up all of the children in attendance who were survivors of childhood cancer and they got to wear a medal.

We also had a moment of silence and remembrance for the families that had lost their child to cancer.  Those families were given a white balloon to release.  That part of the ceremony was really tough and a reminder of the devestating impact of this disease.

The walk itself was about 2 miles (6 laps around the course).  The day could not have been more beautiful - temps in the mid 70s!  Around the course they had a sign for each team, which of course we had to stop and take a picture of our team sign. 

We'll just have to MAKE Will wear the hat :)
 They also have a banner that the teams sign to show the reasons we walk - this will be displayed in Children's Hospital for the next year.

After the walk, they had a prize drawing - we all received a ticket when the walk started and they selected a ticket for several prizes - Tim McGraw autograph, Faith Hill autograph, restaurant gift certificates, etc.  I ended up getting picked for a $50 gift certificate to the Fish Market which was a nice surprise!

Thank you again for your support of the Will to Win team.  I know the walk will continue to grow over the years and we truly are making a difference.  The website (Will to Win!) is still up and running for anyone who wants to make a donation! 

Now....tonight..............GO RANGERS!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sips for CF & Race for the Cure

Hello blog world!

Last weekend, Tim went to Nebraska for the Ohio St./Nebraska game (which they won..yay!) so I had a nice quiet weekend!  My aunt and uncle were in town for Megan's white coat ceremony at pharmacy school and they stayed with me on Friday night.  Saturday, they went shopping, I went on a run, and we went and got lunch together at Zoe's before they hit the road. I did some shopping myself and overall had a relatively quiet weekend.

Thursday night of this past weekend, Emily Ann, Caroline and I formed a team for the Sips for CF challenge!  The event raises money for cystic fibrosis research and is a lot of fun for the participants.

How it works:
  • Each team is required to bring 3 identical bottles of red wine. A team consists of 1 to 3 people.
  • When you arrive, all 3 bottles of will be given to the hosts. Two of the bottles will be wrapped to conceal the identity and will be used for tasting. The third bottle will be set aside and used for prizes.
  • Each team will be given five votes for the night.
  • As your team tastes the wines, you will vote for your favorites. At the end of the night, the votes will be counted, and the teams that brought the top 3 favorite wines will take home everyone’s third bottle of wine.

Our team - ready to taste!

The bottles set out for tasting - there were about 60 different bottles!
We brought McManis Cabernet (which actually only Caroline had tried before). So funny story - we found we didn't like a LOT of the bottles - but there were one or two we really liked.  We heard a LOT of people talking about bottle #17 - we walk over there and it has a TON of tickets in the jar.  We taste it and Caroline thinks it tastes a lot like the one we brought.  We were SO sure it was ours.  We even took a picture - thinking this was going to be IT.  Sure enough...when they start to call out the second place's #17!  They start reading off the type - the McManis.........merlot.  Are you kidding?  We were so close!  And we all had been snobby talking about how we weren't big fans of merlot in general, but of course, we voted for it!  What a disappointment!

With what we THOUGHT was our bottle  :(
So, we didn't win, but it was fun nonetheless!  We were STARVING after the event - they had some munchies, but none of us had eaten dinner.  We went to Che Fon Fon for dinner...and we may have even snuck over to Highland's next door for some sweet and salty cake which you may or may not remember from my Restaurant Week post.  It was still so good.

Dinner at Che Fon Fon

Impromptu photo shoot!  Pretending we're celebrating!

Ugh...we voted for merlot?!?

Snagged a pic this time...sweet and salty cake...yummmm!

Then, on Saturday, Emily Ann talked me into running my very first race - the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.  The race is a 5-K which I thought would be a good ease in to racing for me.  I have only been running for a little over a year now (but still wouldn't consider myself a "runner") and don't usually run with anyone - I wasn't sure how I would like having lots of people around.

Before the race

Around the corner from the start line - they had Zumba warm-up on the big screen which we elected NOT to particpate in  :)

Fountain dyed pink...sort of hard to tell

We did it!
Surprisingly, I ended up really liking it!  I was skeptical at the start...there were a ton of walkers this year and it was really crowded.  It took us a few minutes to get to the start line and even once we did we were half jogging/half jogging in place just trying to dodge the crowd.  But, after about 1/2 a mile or maybe a little less, it thinned out.  There were a few cheerleading squads along the route that cheered you on which really does give you more energy!  We wanted to finish in under 30 minutes and when we crossed the finish line the clock read 31 something...BUT...we think since we didn't start right on time, we probably met our goal.  Emily Ann has a Nike plus watch and she's going to see what we ended up running once we got out of the pack.  Overall, it was a success and I know they raised a ton of $ for a great cause.  It was emotional to see the runners with the "In Memory of..." and "In Celebration of..." signs on their back to show the women in their lives who had been touched by breast cancer.

Emily Ann is trying to convince me to run the Vulcan 10-K but I'm not so sure - its the day after my b-day!  We shall see...I'll put it out here on the world wide web and maybe I'll feel some blog accountability!  :)

Speaking of charitable events, the Curesearch walk I blogged about earlier is NEXT WEEKEND!  See this post for details about the event:


It's not too late to donate or join our race team!!!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Tim's new toy and an ode to a little red car

Can you believe it - two posts in one weekend??

Woo hoo!  A few months ago, Tim and I mailed in the final payment our Nissan Altima!  Our goal has been to only have one car payment and so we've been waiting to pay off the Altima before we replacing our other car.  My wonderful husband has been driving my 1996 Acura Integra since we bought the new Altima three years ago.  Yes, this is the same car which was generously gifted to me by my parents on my 16th birthday almost 12 years ago (can that really be right??  feels like yesterday!)......

**My scrapbooking skills slightly improved over the years..Don't think you can really tell in this picture, but I am also wearing my lovely retainer that had a tooth attached...Pam is also rocking some hot braces
Now this cute little Integra was certainly a jewel when it was received in 1999 and it has been the best car I could have asked for (sniff...), but now, over 100,000 miles, two run-ins with a pole (they jumped out of nowhere!), a run in with the garage (RHETT), two taps on the rear end later (okay, so one of them I actually backed into someone), this baby is about ready for retirement.  And as much as I'm sure Tim loves squeezing into a two-door car, he's been itching for a little more cargo room.  Especially since before driving the Acura, he was driving this (which he sweetly traded in so I could get the Altima):

Tim's Ford F-150 - September 2008
So, this past weekend, we finally bit the bullet and bought this baby:
2011 Chevy Silverado 1500
Tim is absolutely over the moon.   I must admit, I've gone through this process dragging my feet a bit - my practical self had a bit of a hard time getting used to the idea of owning a truck again, but let's face it...I married a truck guy.  Tim woke up bright and early on Saturday morning (around 6:30) just dying to drive it.  He dressed in his camo and took it out to the range to shoot.  He came home with such a smile, it's worth it!  I even took her for a spin on Saturday and must admit, she drives smoother than I was expecting.  Plus, I figure - now I've got an excuse to buy furniture, since we can save on the delivery fees!!  :)

So happy!
Turning over the Acura was a very surreal experience - I mean, TWELVE YEARS, people.  This is the car that took me to my high school, college and grad school graduations.  The car that drove me down to Destin for my wedding.  The car that moved me into the dorms each year, my first off campus apartment, our first apartment together and our first house.  And sure, I may not have been the one driving it the last three years (Tim likes to say I took the best nine years), but it still makes me a bit sad that this baby is likely sitting on the auction block today.

One last moment together...

So, goodbye little red car - thanks for the memories.  It's time for a new chapter.

SIDE NOTE:  I am really not looking forward to going to the DMV to transfer the title into for the Altima into our name (or release it from the lien, or whatever it is they're requiring us to do) and to register the truck.  Considering I just got my license renewed and the OVERFLOW line looked like this (yes, meaning there was an additional line once you actually got in the room where the employees were):

                                                              SO RIDICULOUS!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Aruba, Jamica, ooooh I wanna take ya.....

As I previously hinted, I recently returned from an amazing one week vacation in Aruba!!  My mom and Allen gave Pam and I this trip as our Christmas present last year and we have very patiently been waiting for this week to come!!  Mom and Allen have had a timeshare in Aruba for many years now and this is the third time the four of us have gone there together.  The week was SO RELAXING - it was incredible just to be able to wake up at whatever time we pleased, have a cup of coffee on the balcony, go for a run, hit the beach, read a book, catch some rays, wine/happy hour while we watched the sun go down and then dinner (and sometimes dessert!)

Finally on our way!
Pam and I both flew into Miami and got to sit together on the flight from Miami to Aruba (which is really only 2 hours - not a bad flight!)  Luckily, there wasn't a full flight and there was an empty seat between the two of us so we could spread out.  We ended up being delayed a few hours - a little over an hour of it was sitting in the plane waiting for them to fix some mechanical problems.
While we waited Pam played on her phone and I downloaded Instagram!
We arrived in Aruba and caught a taxi to the hotel where Mom and Allen were waiting for us.

Pam made endless fun of me for taking this picture....Welcome to Aruba!

Then I made fun of her for taking this picture....

The next morning (Saturday), we slept in a bit then decided to go on a run.  I was so excited to unplug from work and then guess what the first thing I see across the street from our hotel is.....
PwC in Aruba!

The area is so beautiful...our route included beach, harbor, shops, and casinos!  The harbor is so interesting - there are tiny fishing boats next to massive yachts (which I always love looking at to see their names and where they are from).

After morning work-outs we usually would go get a bite to eat for lunch.  There was also a new addition this year - Starbucks!!  I can't believe I've somehow made it through life without having a frappacino...I tried the caramel light version - YUM!  They also had a caramel apple crumble version that was pretty delicious.  I always thought I didn't like cold coffee, but these were definitely more like milkshakes.  :)  There were several little restaurants in a center right by our hotel - a place we loved called Cilo (short for City Lounge), a sushi place, and a really good Italian place where we would get pizza.  We ate at each of those a couple of times.

Lunch at Cilo

I don't think we dined indoors but once all week!  Love the weather!

The girls
Another lunch at Cilo
See those green Starbucks straws!  Must have been a frappacino day!

After lunch, we would generally head to the pool/beach area for some sun and some reading/relaxing. 
Matching cover ups

Pool with swim up bar
Not a bad view from the pool!
More beach
Our hotel 
One of the fun things about Aruba is it really does feel like another country (duh, Lyndsay) - a lot of people speak Dutch, they use a different currency (although they also take US Dollars), and its very tropical.  One of the things I learned when we were there is its only 19 miles from the coast of Venezuela.  There are lots of iguanas that roam around - to give you an idea, I took this picture from the balcony of our 5th floor room (i.e. these babies aren't small!) 

 Mom got us matching headbands to wear.  We laughed because for some reason my big head looked weird in it (or at least I think so), but I'll show you the pics anyway because mom and Pam look cute!

Me and momma

They also had a ferry you could take to a smaller island.

Ferry pick-up area
The beach on the smaller island had flamingos which were BEAUTIFUL.  Such vibrant colors and they were bigger than I was expecting.  They had feeders and the flamingos would literally come and eat out of your hands.

Pam took this sitting from her beach chair on the island!

Because we didn't always get the earliest start on the beach, we would usually stay out until the sun went down.  Some days we would head back to the condo and watch the sun go down from our balcony.  I must say, I think sunset was absolutely my favorite time of the day.  Everything was so peaceful and so beautiful. 

Just chillin'

Look at that view!

Look, hardly anyone around...So relaxing
Trying for an artistic shot..

Haha, being goofy!
I'm telling you...amazing

After sunset, we'd head head out to dinner (sometimes dressed up, sometimes just in our cover-ups - everyone was pretty casual).  We didn't have a car, so we just walked wherever we wanted to go. 

The girls before dinner

Pretending we're annoyed with the paparazzi

Dinner at the pizza place - my mom's favorite

They had live music that we just sat and enjoyed after dinner

Our last night, Mom and Allen took us to a nice dinner at a steak house (I had the filet...yummm...)  We also walked over to the casino to play our free play cards - of course, Mom ended up winning like $40 bucks on the slot machine - she'd win about $0.30 cents at a time and cash out each time - hilarious!

We joked b/c Pam and I both like being on the same side in pictures - I caved pretty much every time (seriously, look, she's almost always on my left - the right side of the picture).  This time, we were seated that way for dinner, but she still managed to show her "good side"

Last day...headed to the airport  :(

Our matching white pants...which we wore with no shame after Labor Day!

Another pic on the plane - so sad to be leaving  :(

 And now, just because I have no shame - I leave you with our awkward montage of individual shots.  We laughed all week at the weird pictures couples would take of each other standing by themselves, so we decided to try our hand at a few....

Overall, it was an incredible trip - a rest we all needed, wonderful conversations, time to just "be."  Thanks so much, Mom and Allen for such an incredible gift!!