Thursday, December 30, 2010

An Awesome Day

Yesterday was a great day!  I didn't do anything fancy, just had a nice relaxing day.  Started the day by sleeping it when I can just wake up alarm clocks.  After enjoying a cup of coffee I piddled around the house for a bit and then made the boys an easy lunch.  After lunch I started a pot of soup for dinner.  I chose soup because I got this gorgeous red pot for Christmas and have been anxious to use.

While the soup was simmering I went to a yoga class.  Lately I have been so busy and haven't been making time to take care of myself.   I forgot how much better I feel when I do yoga.  After yoga class I came home and took a shower and put a deep conditioner in my has just been so dry lately.

The soup for dinner was was a new recipe I found called "Vegan Southwest Chipotle Soup".  It was super easy and super yummy.  The hubby loved it and was upset there wasn't more leftover.  After dinner the boys played with their new Xbox while I opened a bottle of wine and chilled on the couch watching a "girlie" movie!

Vegan Southwest Chipotle Soup Recipe
*adapted from

1 can of vegetarian baked beans
1 jar of picante sauce
2/3 cup of water
diced carrots - I used 1 large carrot
diced potatoes - I used a handful of new potatoes, but could use 1 russet potatoe
1 tbs chile powder
1 tbs chipotle seasoning
1/4 cup ketchup
salt to taste

Combine all ingredients together in a soup pot and bring to a boil.

Let simmer for 3-4 hours to let the flavors combine and the veggies soften.  Then serve...

Can top with cheese, sour cream and tortilla chips or enjoy by itself.  This soup was very filling and flavorful.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Home for the Holidays

Just got home from a visit with my parents down in South Texas for the holidays!  Enjoyed good company, good food and good conversation.

Max and his cousin having a good time opening presents!

Family photo - 4 generations together!

A cute country snail...

Max being silly on the front porch!

Max and I making "cheesy" faces!

Cool old beer sign...see my Mom's house in the back...

This is downtown on a busy Monday.

Our visit was short and sweet, but it was great to see everyone.  Thanks Mom!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!  The past few weeks have been very hectic for me.  I am a corporate worker bee in the retail industry and this is the busiest time of the year.  Very long hours and stressful times, which make it very difficult to really enjoy and appreciate the season.  This year we hosted Christmas at our house and I was really excited to have everyone over and enjoy some good food and good company!  We had a wonderful time!  The kids opened their presents and had an awesome time playing with their new toys, while the adults ate yummy food and enjoyed each other's company.
Max on Christmas morning with his super sized stocking!

The adults playing a gift exchange was a blast!

Saturday, October 16, 2010


The other day while I was at work and Dad was outside mowing the yard, our 10 year old son decided to make brownies....from himself!  He started by googling brownie recipes and then got started. The first batch did not turn out so well, luckily he tasted the batter before baking.  Since it tasted a little salty, he went back to check the recipe.  He realized he put 1/4 cup of salt instead of 1/4 tsp...oops!  Upset, he went outside to tell Dad.  Dad being very supportive of his ambitions (and wanting to eat brownies for desert) encouraged our son to try again and then left him alone to do it himself.  Our son needed to do this on his own to be a great learning experience and to have the satisfaction of his accomplishment!  The second batch turned out much better!  The brownies were a little dense and more cake like, but for a first timer a great success!

Mess from first attempt left in the sink!
Close up of mess...notice all the chocolate....EVERYWHERE!
Empty bowl from second batch, licked clean!
The finished was so awesome to see how proud our son was of his first baked creation!  I guess watching those episodes of Top Chef is sinking in.  Next step...dinner!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

It Really is a Zoo Out There!

It really can be a zoo out there!  At work today there was a bobcat with her babies in the picnic area outside!  It was so cute (looking thru the window, of course).  Check it out!

I know it is really hard to see...picture taken thru the window with my iphone.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Hatch Chile Peppers

Hatch Chile Pepper season is coming to an end.  But , boy have we enjoyed some  great recipes using the peppers.  Hatch Chile Peppers got their name from where they were first cultivated...Hatch Valley, New Mexico.  The pepper has a very short season of only six weeks, which usually begins mid-August.   These peppers are considered the best pepper grown in the U.S.  These peppers have a great flavor are usually mild to medium, which is just perfect for us!
The peppers are long and curvy.  They taste great raw, roasted or thrown in to your recipe.
This is a recipe my husband made.  Green Lentils, Hatch Peppers and Veggie Stock thrown in a pot for awhile.  While, it doesn't look great, the flavor is awesome!
Cooking some peppers with some black beans and onions.  Throw this over some rice for a quick and yummy meal.
Delicious veggie enchilada's with Hatch peppers, of course!
Even threw some peppers on my pizza along with sun dried tomatoes.  The sweetness of the tomato with the heat of the pepper was the perfect combination.

Last night I made roasted veggie quesadilla with Hatch peppers and they were delicious...sorry no picture. 

There are so many things that you can add these peppers to, takes up the flavor a notch.  Hope you are enjoying the pepper season!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Bargain Shopping?

I have been researching ways to cut back and save some extra money.  I have read a lot of very interesting blogs regarding couponing and getting great deals at the supermarket.  This is fantastic, but unfortunately they don't coupon fresh fruits and veggies.  While I think it is great that I can use a coupon, double it on a product  already on sale making it practically free.  I am just not willing to substitute twinkies for apples for my family.  In the long run is it really a bargain?  What about the effect to their health by switching from freshness to processed just because I got a great deal.  This is one area where I am willing to spend more and I think it is worth it.  Even though I love a good bargain, that should not be your ultimate goal when it comes to feeding your family.

What about non-food items?  I have learned the hard way that a deal is only a deal if it something you truly need.  There have been many times that I have bought a top or shoes because it was on clearance and thought wow I saved a lot of money.  But, that top or pair of shoes stayed in my closet with the tags still on them before I finally caved and donated.  So, that item was not a deal.  I was actually out the money I spent on it because I got caught up in the bargain of the item and didn't think, is this really something I need or even want.  I was seduced by the sale price.  Being frugal is not about buying as many things as you can as cheaply as possible, it is not about getting a lot of stuff at low prices.  Its about consuming less and consuming more intelligently.  If you apply this mind set, this is how you will save.  I recently read an article that had a great passage "Our relentless effort as a culture to obtain as much as we can as cheaply as we can has cheapened our lives and made Wal-Mart the largest and most profitable business in the world."
Did you know that Americans spend nearly seven times as much time shopping as they do playing with their kids?  Next week-end focus on spending time with your kids, ask them what they want to do.  Play a game with them, whatever it is just enjoy their company.  Both you and your families lives will be the better for it. Stop wasting your time in the mall....and wasting your money!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Pizza Night

Friday nights are great pizza nights.  But, instead of ordering delivery and getting cheese covered cardboard or throwing in the oven some processed frozen concoction from the grocery store, try making your own.   We make our own pizza's and it is incredibly easy and fun!  Last night we made pepperoni for the boys and vegetable for the grown-ups.  We all pitched in and helped, having a great time in the kitchen.     My son helped me roll out the dough and then grated the cheese.  My husband helped me chop the vegetables.  Check out our yummy pizza that cost a fraction of delivery and tasted better too!
Rolling out the can count as exercise, right?
Yummy ingredients!
The boy's delicious pepperoni - fresh out of the oven.
The boy's enjoying their creation!
Lastly, our vegetable masterpiece.  The best part is that there were leftovers for lunch!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Eat Pray Love

Saw the movie Eat Pray Love this week-end.  I am not going to post a review of the movie, but just wanted to comment on one scene in the movie that stuck with me.  It was when Liz (Julia Roberts) was in Italy sitting in a barber shop talking to some locals.  One of the Italian guys was making fun of how Americans don't know how to enjoy doing nothing.  He is so right!  My husband is telling me all the time to relax.  For some reason I feel like I always have to doing something and when I am not doing something I am thinking of what I have to do.  Our idea of doing nothing is coming home after work scarfing down dinner and vegging out in front of the tv.   We don't take the time to enjoy each other's company, linger over a meal or just sit quietly outside.  I felt inspired to do something or nothing.....

So, on my lunch break today I drove to the park down the street and sat outside under the shade of big tree.  I then laid back in the grass and looked up at the big tree with the sun peeking through and took pleasure in doing nothing.  It was very difficult at first as my mind began to start planning out what I needed accomplish at work that afternoon.  But, then I remembered in yoga how we would focus on our breath.  So, I decided to do that,  taking deep breaths in and out.  Soon, 30 minutes had passed and I felt very relaxed.  It was an awesome feeling.  I think I will need to make this a regular thing....

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Back to School

It's that time of year again....Back to School!  Why is it that we have brain washed our kids to believing that back to school means shopping and buying all new stuff?  I started thinking about this last year when my son said he needed a new backpack when the $50 back pack I bought him the year prior was still in good shape.  So, I decided it was time to start teaching some budgeting skills and the value of money.  Last year I gave him $200 cash with a list of must have (supplies and shoes) and told him any money leftover was his to keep.  After that he decided to re-use his backpack for another school year.  Mission accomplished!  This year we are doing the same thing....$200 with a list of must haves.  However, I noticed a change this year...he took the challenge very seriously!
Beginning Balance          $200
Messenger Bag        minus $10   LLY back pack would not survive another yr - great deal @ TJ Maxx
School Supplies       minus $17   shopped bargain deals at Staple, Target, Office Depot
New Jeans (2)          minus $22  MD Levis @ Macys w/ coupon & Abercrombie jeans from resale store
Basketball Shoes     minus $41   researched best price online w/ free shipping
Airwalk Shoes         minus $11  sale price + coupon
Black Shorts (2)      minus $10   MD to 4.99 - got 2 pair at that awesome price

Ending Balance  $89

All essentials, that means my son just earned $89 by paying attention to what he buys and researching the best deals!  Now, he might want to get a couple new shirts, but is waiting to find the best deal.  I am tickled pink, because I have broken my son from the must have now mentality.  He actually gets really excited when he finds an awesome deal!

Check out all his loot for the bargain price of $111!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Miss Me?

I know it has been a long time I have blogged....and 2 months since our Hawaii vacation!  Life the past 2 months have been very busy.  I am working on a new project that I can't talk about yet, but it's huge!  I am trying to align my core beliefs into every aspect of life and that takes time and commitment.  I am very exciting to go on this journey.  So, what can I tell you about? my very limited free time I have been doing a lot of cooking of fresh meals for my family.  Visiting the farmers market every week-end and using those ingredients to dictate the meals I cook.  Some of the highlights:  sauteed green beans, grilled zucchini,  cucumber salad (from my garden), veggie pizza and blackberry pie!
Yummy blackberry pie, I even made the crust from scratch!
Awesome cucumber from my garden!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Kauai 4 - Coconut Coast (Tues 06/15)

This morning after breakfast we headed to the East Side of the island known as the Coconut Coast. We stopped at a beach park and rented bikes. On this part of the island there is a 4 mile bike trail that follows the coastal beachside. We rode our bikes on the path taking in the spectacular views.

 After working up an appetite we stopped at a picnic table and ate our packed lunch of PB&J sandwiches with fresh fruit.

 After we rode to the end of the trail we walked down to the beach. The waves here were huge with a killer undertow so I didn't feel comfortable letting my boy get in the ocean here. So, instead we walked along the sand looking for sea glass.

 We actually found quite a bit, it's amazing how different the sand is on each beach. After our rest on the beach it was time to get the bikes back. As we headed back to the condo we stopped for a shave ice, which is obviously really big here. Once back at the condo we spent the rest of the afternoon at Poipu beach by our condo. Then for dinner we ate at Tidepools (our fancy splurge dinner).
Awesome organic green salad with Maui Onion salad dressing...yummy!

Max loved the chocolate lava cake!
Today was a great day....the right amount activity with beautiful beaches, topped off by a fabulous dinner.  Life is good on vacation!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Kauai 3 - Headed West (Mon 06/14/2010)

Today we drove to the west side of the island to Wailua and boarded a Zodiac raft to cruise the Na Pali coast.

 The trip was amazing we saw hundreds of spinner dolphins on the way out as we hung out in the part of the ocean known as their maternity ward.

 We then cruised on down the coast taking in the majestic views. It was incredible, the views just never get old. It is so beautiful that it doesn't even look real.

 The waters were calm enough, so we were able to go inside a couple sea caves.

 After the boat ride we stopped for some lunch in old town Koala and then headed to another beach. This time we went to Shipwreck Beach, which is down a bumpy dirt road near our condo. This is a great beach for exploring.

 We walked up and down this beach taking our time exploring the area. At the end of one side of the beach are some trails to hike up the cliff.

 There was barely anyone on this beach....we felt like we were the only ones there.  After a few hours playing on the beach we were ready to head back to the condo and take showers. For dinner we fixed a huge salad with all the delicious veggies we got at the farmers market and opened a bottle of wine. For the rest of the evening we just chilled on the lanai. Another early is definitely about the daytime activities here on the island.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Kauai 2 - Day at the Beach (Sun 06/13/2010

Today we woke up sore after hiking the day before. So, a day relaxing at the beach is just what we needed! Our condo is located on the south side of the island on Poipu Beach. We just headed down the walkway found a spot in the sand and caught rays and waves all day!

 We took a break mid day and came in for a quick lunch and then headed back down to the beach! By five o'clock we had our fill of sun and sand. After cleaning up we drove down the street to a new little village of shops and restaurants. We grabbed a bite at Merriman's. I had a black bean burger, it was good just needed a little more flavor. After dinner we walked around the shops until it started pouring down rain. It was so wonderful going to bed hearing and smelling the rain.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Kauai Day 1 - (Sat 06/12/2010)

Today was our first full day on the island. After breakfast we headed to north side of the island. We stopped in Hanalei first to check out a farmer's market and arrived just in time. It opens at 9:30 and people were lined up. At the market we picked up some organic lettuce, a cucumber, papaya, lychee nuts, local honey(my son has a thing for honey) and a coconut.
 We packed it all in our cooler and head to Kee Beach located at the end of the road. Before hanging out at the beach we put our tennis shoes on and did some hiking. At this beach is the beginning of the Na Pali Coast with an 11 mile hiking trail up and around the mountain. The trail is called Kalalau Trail,we only hiked 4 miles in (8 miles round trip). The view from the mountain was breathtaking!
 After our long hike we grabbed our stuff and headed to the beach. Even from the beach the views of the Na Pali coast are exquisite. The Thornbirds and Lord of the Flies were filmed at this beach. Kee Beach has a reef that creates a calm lagoon which is great for snorkeling.
 After a couple house at the beach we were on the road again. On the way back we stopped in Hanalei again for some shaved ice. I just love this little town(I could live here)! While we ate our shaved ice a band started playing in the grass. It was such a community feeling as people were drawn to the music and started dancing on the lawn or just hang out and listen. Once we got back to our condo the activities of the day hit us and were exhausted! Another early night to get ready for another day of adventure.