Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Sun-vantage & Puppy-Love

I have been trying to soak up every minute of these cooler temperatures the past week or so...aka it hasn't been in the upper 90's! We have actually had the lower 80's some days so that has been so nice!

Homeworking Outside
Because school is in session, I have tried to bring my readings outside onto the patio. Always more enjoyable reading textbooks outside rather than at your desk.


I also had the chance this past weekend to bring Buddy to the Bark Park with his girlfriend Abby (yes, they are in love). We also met up with another friend and her dog, Sadie.

Buddy checking out his ladies;)  I think he likes what he sees :)
The 3 had SO MUCH FUN! The chased each other, wrestled, and barked a whole lot. They definitely got a lot of energy out...Buddy has been sleeping for DAYS because of it. That makes this Momma happy:)

That's a happy pup right there!
Thanks Heidi for the great shot of the love-pups on the ride back home:) Tired puppies!

I also have been working at keeping our plants alive. And when I say working, I mean, it is a J-O-B! Whoever said that if you can keep a plant alive, then you can keep a pet alive had a SERIOUS green thumb because plants die so easily. At least a dog will "tell" you when he is ready to eat!

colorful water can
But, I have been faithfully watering our flowers on our patio. We transplanted them into larger pots, and  they are doing much better now. So we have some happy flowers to go with our little sunflower bird house (that has had a hummingbird scoping it out in the past couple weeks)!

The sunflower bird house we got from the garden center at our local farmer's market.

I hope the little guy makes that his permanent residence because they are such interesting creatures.

Until next time, enjoy some sunshine! :)


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Make-Shift Dinner: Veggie Artisan Pizza

I know I have posted a LOT of recipes lately, but I have been on a cooking kick! If you liked the chicken & stuffing casserole or the spicy mexican chicken recipe, this one will definitely work for you.

Doesn't this just look inviting? YUM....

Veggie Artisan Pizza---Very Versatile!

Ok, so the run-down you have been waiting for:

Ingredients (But you can alter all you want!):
1 tube Artisan Whole Grain Pizza Dough
Olive Oil (or cooking spray for pan)
3/4 cup chunky pizza or spaghetti sauce
1 c. diced pineapple
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 orange/yellow bell pepper
1/2 can diced tomatoes with chili peppers
1 c. mozzarella cheese
3/4 c. sliced onlion
sprinkle of chili powder (optional- spicier!)
sprinkle of crushed red pepper (optional- spicier!)
sprinkle of Italian seasonings (I used a premixed version, or you can use oregano, basil, parsley, whatever!)

Whatcha Gotta do:
Roll out the pizza dough. Cook according to dough packaging. Once the dough is lightly browned, add sauce, veggies, pineapple, and seasonings. Bake until golden brown, then add cheese. Bake until melted.

The sauce gets VERY HOT, so be careful, then, Enjoy!


Another great make-shift recipe! You can totally use just an olive oil base instead of a red sauce or use BBQ sauce. And the best part is that you can customize to whatever you, and your other eaters you are responsible for, like!

Happy Pizza Eating! :)


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Make-Shift Dinner: Chicken & Stuffing Casserole

KGK loves chicken casseroles. So he asked recently if we could have one. A suggestion for dinner....SURE! I am always looking for suggestions and this sounded like just the thing to make.

Chicken & Stuffing Casserole

This was incredibly easy. Typically, I will use regular chicken breasts to cook, but sometimes using a can of chicken works just as well when you don't have any chicken in the house. From start to finish, you can probably make this in all of 45 minutes, but prep didn't take much time at all!

Here's the breakdown:

1 box chicken (low sodium) stuffing
1 can low sodium chicken broth
1/4 stick butter

Chicken Mixture:
2 large cans of chicken, drained (or 3-4 regular chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces)
1 can cream of chicken soup, condensed, low sodium
1 can cream of celery soup, condensed
1 c. shredded carrots
1.5 c. green beans

The How-To:
In a saucepan, pour the chicken broth & butter and bring to a boil (then set aside off the burner after it comes to a boil). While that is coming to a boil, mix together your chicken mixture. Pour chicken mix into a 13x9 pan. Then in another large bowl, pour the dry ingredients of your stuffing. Use a small spoon to sprinkle the chicken broth & butter mixture over the stuffing. NOTE: DO NOT POUR. Once the stuffing gets too wet, you can't go back. It will be soggy. So sprinkling lightly and stirring frequently will help make the liquid mix in evenly. Then, put stuffing on top of the chicken mixture in the pan.
Bake at 400 degrees for about 25-30 minutes or until bubbly (and if you used raw chicken, be sure it is cooked through. Maybe add about 10 minutes for raw chicken).

(If you want your veggies to be less crunchy, try using frozen carrots and french cut green beans).

"The Goods"

Before adding the stuffing on top & After Baking (ready to serve!)

 Hope you enjoy!


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Hiking, Showers & Homework...

Last week and weekend was a busy one!

Here's the run-down of life lately: My grad classes started back up, I have worked out several times, had the stomach bug, celebrated our friend Megan's birthday, played some baseball at a local field while Buddy ran around and barked at anything that went by, saw the Hunger Games for the second time, attended 3 showers, and had a busy work week last week and into this week on top of that!

Over the weekend, I took Buddy on a hike. It felt so great to be back on the trails. With all the crazy going on, I am not out as much as I would like. So it was a spectacular day to hike.

I also had 3 showers this past weekend! THREE! Two on Saturday and one Sunday. One was a bridal shower for my friend Can-dance (real name: Candace, but Can-dance is so much more fun to say:)), the other was a baby shower for our friends Kristin and Brian at church who are having a little girl in September, and then on Sunday, a few of my AWESOME friends threw a shower for me. It was the BEST time. I appreciate all the wonderful ladies who were able to come out. Everything was perfect down to the smallest details. I have been beaming with happiness ever since:)

In addition to the hiking and showering of love and gifts, I had an oddly insane amount of homework for it being the first week of class. But 5 chapters later, 4 discussion boards, and other activities done, I went to bed a little late, but got it all set and done on time.

Now, my goals for the rest of this week are to continue to work out and be motivated! I also have a few recipes I am hoping to tackle. 

Until next time!


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Make-Shift Dinner: Spicy Mexican Chicken

For dinner the other night, I needed to create a make-shift dinner. You know the scrounge in your pantry, cabinets and refrigerator and try to come up with SOMETHING edible. Sometimes you have to add random stuff together to make enough to fill everyone up. That night, was one of those nights.

We had been out to eat a couple times, been to our friends' place for dinner, and had sandwiches some other nights. I felt like cooking, but I didn't really have all ingredients needed for some of our "tried-and-true" or "go-to" recipes. So, time to come up with a new go-to. Thus, the make-shift dinner was created.

Here's what I had to work with, so I ran with it...

3 frozen chicken breasts
taco seasoning
1/4 c. onion, diced
1/4 c. green pepper, diced
1 can light red kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
3/4 block cream cheese
1 4oz. can diced, green chili peppers (not drained)
1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes (not drained)
2 tbsp garlic salt
2 tsps crushed red pepper

 And of course, cooking is much more fun when you have a glass of wine...

...and your faithful sidekick...

Let the cooking, begin!

The How-To:
Boil the frozen chicken breasts until thoroughly cooked through. Take out chicken and cut into bite size pieces. (I used one large saute pan to do this entire dish so it would cook evenly and it was only 1 pan to clean, but you can use whatever will hold all of it). Add all ingredients into pan on medium high heat, except for cream cheese. Come to a boil and stir. Turn heat down to medium and add cream cheese. Bring back to boil so it is nice and bubbly. Stir frequently so it doesn't stick. Once all ingredients are heated through, serve hot with whole wheat soft tortillas or make a taco salad with it. Enjoy!

Add cream cheese last and be sure to stir constantly.

Make sure it gets all bubbly!

Serve with whole wheat soft tortillas and your favorite taco toppings!

Semi-healthy, spicy, and delish!

(If you don't want it as spicy, substitute the fire roasted tomatoes for plain and skip on the crushed red peppers).



Friday, August 10, 2012

Welcome to the weekend!

Friday. You are finally here! WAHOO!!!!! is busy. I LOVE IT. But Fridays arriving are one of the best feelings in the world. Work is busy. Wedding planning is busy. Birthday season has arrived for several of our close friends and family...and for Kyle too! Things are good. Things are crazy. But they are good.

One of the things I find most helpful during these crazy days is to have a schedule or a list, even on days off. If it says on my schedule that I need to take an hour break to go to the pool, I feel so much better than if I didn't have that penciled in. I told you from our first meeting that I loved a schedule, list or any form of organization. Now, if only I could have that filter into other areas of my keeping up with my growing pile of laundry to fold or picking up clutter. HHmmmmm.... :)

Well, Happy Friday and have a great weekend!


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Farmer's Market Goodness

The other day, KGK (my rockin' fiance) and I went to the Farmer's Market. LOVE. It is so nice supporting the local farmers and getting fresh produce! What is great about this farmer's market too is that it has a garden center. You can get anything and everything there---fish, seeds, decorations, lighting for your garden/patio, birdhouses, fountains (there was one fountain there for $6,000!), etc. etc. etc.....

Needless to say, we had a blast!

We got some fresh fruit and are making a fruit cup with all of it.  Excited to have a healthy, refreshing snack on these hot summer days.

Until next time...


Monday, August 6, 2012

Blogging Day One

So every blog needs a first post. So here it goes...

Hi! I'm AMK. This blog is a way for me to share all the craziness and interesting things that life brings and remember what has inspired me at a particular time in life.  I will share pictures, stories, recipes, cleaning "haps & mishaps", random ideas, and other fun stuff:) It is also helpful to have a place to combine all the things I find on the "inter-web" in one place.

A few things about me:

-This fall, I marry my best friend. He rocks:)
-I love to will definitely find Pinterest posts and pictures of food I have made to share with those interested.
-The outdoors is so much better than indoors. Hiking, camping and anything with adventure and fresh air just does it for me.
-Gardening is new to I am attempting to start in little ways by keeping flowers alive on our porch to build up to my dream garden one day.
-My recent addiction is Instagram. (You can follow me at: AMKINSPIRED). I love how it makes the simplest of pictures artsy, interesting and with so much depth.
-I would definitely describe my personality as silly or goofy. My fiance has been telling me I should write a blog for a while now just to put some of the crazy things that happen into writing for us to look back on later. Gotta keep things interesting because normal is just boring:)
-A good spreadsheet, schedule or list makes my heart throb, besides my man, of course. I'm a NERD. I have accepted it. :)

Ok, probably enough for now...gotta save ideas for other posts..:)

Happy Monday!