Sunday, December 9, 2012

Me and Brie

I had found this recipe on Pinterest about a month ago, and I had been wanting to find the best occasion to make it. I had thought about doing it for Thanksgiving, but it just didn't work out. I am actually glad it didn't because last night was a much better occasion for it. Last night was our annual wine and cheese party. Five years ago, we started the tradition of having a wine and cheese party. I love trying out new wines, and several of my friends do, too. So, we have made sure to keep up with the tradition every year. Anyway, since this is a wine and cheese party, I figured it was a great time for this recipe. The recipe is called Cranberry Baked Brie, and from the picture on Pinterest, I thought it looked delicious. Plus, the few times I have eaten brie, it was paired with fruit and I loved it. So, I was determined to try it out.

I have already attached the link for the recipe (click on "Cranberry Baked Brie"), but I took a few more pictures last night to help give more of a visual while I talk about it.

The first thing to do is to toast the pecans. 

This, of course, was really easy. I just wish the pieces had been smaller. So, if you can find chopped pecans, I would get those. All I could find was pecan pieces, and some of them were big pieces.

While these were toasting, I was opening up the brie. The recipe calls for a 16 oz. circle of brie, but I got a 13 oz. It was still a pretty good size. 

Anyway, I opened up the brie and took the wrapper off. I swore it had another wrapper on, so I was trying and trying to peel it off. I swore it was just really stuck on there, so I eventually took a butter knife and scraped off one of the sides. While I was doing this, I started to question my actions. So, I got online and realized that the white outside is supposed to be there. Oops! I figured it would all still work out after scraping off that side. I just put the scraped side at the top. That way the ingredients would all cover it. Next time I will know not to do that. The only issue scraping off the side caused was that it melted out a little more than it would have.

You can see how it melted out the side. Oh well. It all just tasted the same. 

Before putting it in the oven to melt, you add the brown sugar on top. Then you bake it. 

While that is baking, it is time to make the syrup that will go over the top. That is combination of maple syrup and brown sugar. It was really easy to do.

Once the brie is soft enough, you take it out of the oven, put dried cranberries and the toasted pecans all over the top, and then drizzle the syrup over it. After you do all of that, this is what you end up with:

This was the end result. I got a variety of crackers to put the dip on, and there was hardly any of this left at the end of the night. Everyone kept going back for more. The combination of the salty brie with the sweetness of the brown sugar, maple syrup, and dried cranberries worked so well together. One of my guests said that it reminded them of a breakfast dish. 

Again, I wish the pecans were smaller, and so next time, if I can't find smaller pieces, I will chop them up more. I also won't scrape off the side. Everything else, however, I will do the same way. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Thank you, Pinterest!

It has been such a long time since I made a post on here. For one, we have been so extremely busy that I have often forgotten about my blog. I am so busy working on homework for my graduate classes, helping Josh not stress out about his, doing everything I need to for work (i.e. lesson plans, reading various pieces of literature, planning things for yearbook, etc., etc., etc.), being a mommy to Collin (which now includes basketball practices and everything else that comes with being in kindergarten), attending various events, and everything else that life throws our way. Besides being super busy, I haven't really had much to write about. However, I do now! 

Yesterday when we were doing a major grocery shopping trip, which hasn't happened in months since we have been so busy (AKA living on quick meals, especially takeout), I told Josh that I really wanted to try one new recipe a week found on Pinterest. So many of the meals we make are so repetitive. We do them ALL of them time, and they can really get old. I want something new! Plus, the few recipes we have tried from Pinterest have been really good. I think there has only been one thing that wasn't the greatest, and it was more the fact that the potatoes didn't cook like they were supposed to.  

Anyway, if you know my husband, you know that he is generally the cook, and he is great at it! When I tell people this, they automatically assume that I can't cook. That isn't it. I can cook, if I do it, but sometimes I just don't feel like cooking. However, Pinterest has made me interested in it...that, and the fact that Josh has been super busy this semester that I sometimes have to be the cook if we want something more than just takeout.

Besides wanting to cook more, I also want to try more. Growing up, I was always a very picky eater. I came from a family of picky eaters. However, since I have been with my husband, I have tried so many more things, and I like so much more. I actually want to try things instead of turning my nose up to something new and different. So, I figure I can write about the Pinterest recipes we try, the various new foods and restaurants we try, and, of course, wines we try! 

So, to start off...

I made two Pinterest recipes this weekend for one of our dinners. I had done one of them before, and it was a hit, and the other was a first time. They were amazing together! It was as delicious as any restaurant. (The only downfall was I had to cook it instead of something waiting on me, but there was still something nice about cooking it all myself.)

The main entree was Lemon Pepper Panko Crusted Chicken with Pesto Sauce. (The link will take you to the blog with the recipe on it.) This recipe I had done one time before. It was so good the first time, I had to do it again. Plus, I was in the mood for a chicken pasta meal. The prep definitely takes a little bit of time, but it really easy and so worth it! This time it was even better than the last, and I think I figured out why. The first time I did it I just used regular Italian breadcrumbs. This time I used the panko Italian breadcrumbs (like the recipes calls for), and it was so much better. There was a much better, much crispier outside.

Here is a picture of our entire meal. The lemon pepper chicken recipe also includes the pasta as well. The recipe calls for a pesto, and it gives you all of the ingredients to make it. I cheated. I just bought a jar of pesto. It was so much easier and still very delicious!

In the picture you will also see a side of broccoli. I never used to like broccoli, but I love it now, and so I am always looking for broccoli recipes. I am so happy I found this one. This broccoli was some of the best broccoli I have ever had. No joke! Here is the recipe. The blogger who posted this called it "The Best Broccoli of Your Life," and I would have to agree. It was amazing! And super easy. The broccoli was crunchy and so flavorful. Every ingredient required added a little bit more flavor, and I really wish I had made more than I did. 

Both recipes called for basil and pine nuts, but just like the two bloggers who posted these recipes, I left them out. It was so delicious that I don't know if those two ingredients would have made much difference.

Since I also enjoy wine, I thought I would talk about the wine in the picture. It was a Mirassou Pinot Grigio. I have had a few different wines of this brand, and I have enjoyed every single one. This pinot went so well with the meal, but it was also great paired up with some cinnamon pecan cookie straws that we found at Aldi's. 

Overall, delicious meal, and I would give it 5 out of 5 stars!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Hello 2012!

Well, 2011 has come to a close. It was an overall okay year. I finished my first year of grad school and my first year as a high school teacher, which was the best move for me to make. I am much more content as a high school teacher. I finished my first year of grade school with a perfect GPA!

We had a pretty good summer filled with BBQ's; a canoe trip which continued with a very, very, very HOT camping trip; lots of volleyball; and a wonderful 4th of July celebration for Collin's birthday.

Collin started preschool this year, which was happy, yet sad because he loves it, but it just means he is growing up. :-( He is just growing up so quickly!

For our fifth anniversary, Josh and I went to Kanrocksas. It was so fun! Not only did I see Muse, who I absolutely love, but I was introduced to some new artists/bands that I love including Ellie Goulding and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals.

I celebrated my 30th birthday, and even though 30 is not a milestone one is usually proud to hit, it was one of the best nights of this year. I had so much fun, and I had the chance to hang out with people I hadn't seen in awhile. Luckily we had this a few weeks after my birthday because I was super sick on my actual birthday. It really sucked! Luckily my boys came through and we had our own little birthday party at home with steaks on the grill, party hats, and cake.

The night before my birthday party, we went and saw the Foo Fighters in concert. I have wanted to see them for such a long time. They were AMAZING!!!!! One of the best shows ever. To top it off, we got to see them perform in front of the Sprint Center.

That is Josh's big thumb in the way. LOL! We were so ticked because of the traffic, but instantly we were over it when we found out why.

Halloween was fun as always with our little party and taking Collin trick-or-treating with Aidyn. The boys had a blast. We did the whole Mario clan for our costumes. I wasn't too stoked about the idea, but I ended up liking it a lot!

We ended the year with great times with friends and family for Christmas and New Year's. 

Well, after looking back through the year, it was definitely better than okay. There were some great times and some not-so-great times, and there was definitely a lot of learning, especially when it comes to friendships and growing up. However, it was a year filled with family and fun!

Hello 2012!

I am so far very optimistic about this year. Usually I dwell on the past, missing it thinking that a new year couldn't be better, but this year I feel differently. I think this is going to be a great year, and I have so many goals. Hopefully I can keep up with them all.

1. Eat healthier and get into shape!
2. Have more social events.
3. Keep my house clean and fix it up!
4. Spend much more quality time with my family.
5. Be more optimistic and try not to stress over the little things.
6. Learn to enjoy life and everything it has to offer.

I know there are more, but these are my main ones for now. :-)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Moving on...

So, I think I came to the realization that it is time to just move on. No, I am not making any big changes in my life. It is more that I need to move on from the things I miss. This weekend was Missouri Western's Homecoming. We took Collin to the parade. Every time we go, I start to really miss my days in college. I miss the freedom of not having many responsibilities. I miss being able to go do what I want when I want. I miss hanging out with all of those people I used to see almost every day when I was in college. I miss my sorority and the things we did together. I do really miss those things.

However, today I came to the realization that I am really happy with where I am right now, and that even though I miss college life, I don't think that even if I could go back to it all, I would truly be happy with it. Those times were great, but you can't beat seeing the excitement of your child entering Worlds of Fun for the first time. Or the experience of taking them on a big ride for the first time and the excitement and fear they have. The times I have with my family mean more to me than anything else.

Plus, I realized that everyone is just growing up and changing. We went out on Saturday and saw a few of Josh's fraternity brothers. It was great seeing them, and I wish we could more often, but I just realized it will never be the same as it was in college. It just won't. 

Something else that is really pushing me to move on is my sorority, one of the things I miss about college life. I have tried so hard to plan events for ladies to reunite, but girls are still pissed about things that happened years ago. Really? Stuff that happened years ago? Or stuff that was out of my control or the control of most of my sorority sisters? Why should I spend my time trying to reunite people who can't get over stuff that doesn't even matter anymore? I don't think I should. I think I should just live my life in the now and just worry about getting together with those girls who I really want to see and hang out with. I shouldn't have to do more work just to get people together who I really don't know. So, I am not going to do it anymore. If someone else wants to take it on, so be it, but it won't be me.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Yet Another Epic Weekend

So, for the last three to four weeks, I have had something wrong with me. It began with an infection in my mouth due to my wisdom teeth forcing their way in, which led to issues because of the antibiotics I was on. This then led to body aches, chest congestion, and a cough that wouldn't go away for anything. I am still coughing every once in awhile, but it isn't anywhere near what it was. The sad thing of all of this, besides the fact that it is never fun to be sick, was that I was super sick on my 30th birthday. Fortunately enough for me, I have an amazing husband and son who helped me have the best birthday I could while being sick. Josh made a delicious dinner with steaks, baked potato, and grilled zucchini and squash. Then, we got a few single slices of cake from Wal-mart, and they put birthday candles in one and sang to me. We also let Collin pick out some party favors, and so we did all of this in our party hats.

(This is Collin wearing the party hat. This is not a good pic of him. I took this more to show the bite he received from a fellow classmate on his head; not so much to show our celebration, but this is the only pic I had of the party hats.)

Even though my birthday was on the 8th, we decided not to celebrate it with friends and stuff until the 17th because there was a wedding people were going to. Plus, it actually worked out better because I was too sick to really go out and have fun. However, Josh took me out to eat. We went to Bad Art Bistro, which I absolutely love, and I had the Salmon Porcupine and he had the Lamb Shank. Mine was good, but his was much better. It tasted like roast! Yum! Anyway, Collin was staying the night with Ma and Papa, so we decided to order dessert to take home. We then came home, shared the dessert, and watched a movie. I just wanted to relax, and so that's what we did.

This weekend, however, was epic, and it is a good thing I was starting to feel a little better. On Friday we went and saw the Foo Fighters. It was awesome! I don't know what was better: the fact that they rocked it for three hours or the fact that they came outside before the concert to play a song for the Westboro Baptist Church idiots and we saw it!!!

(This is outside of our car--the Foo Fighters performing on the back of a tow truck. That is Josh's big thumb blocking some of the view. :-))

(Rock God Dave Grohl! He came out onto this platform to play for all of us in the back. It was pretty awesome.)

After the concert, we all went to Willie's for some late night food, and then Josh and I headed back to our hotel. That was Night #1 and it was a blast!

On Saturday we had to make it back for Devon's baby shower. After the shower, Alysa, Anna, my mom and I stopped by Kohl's. It was supposed to be a quick trip, but we all got too into looking at stuff. I found a couple of cute shirts and some cute shoes for only $11! Plus, I had a great time with my mom and sis.

Last night was my 30th Birthday Party that Josh set up for me with help from my mom and Crystal. Crystal made a cake for it, and it was so cool. It was pretty and I didn't want to cut it.

(My awesome cake!)

Besides the awesome cake, the people who came out were amazing as well! There were people who I hadn't seen for awhile, and it was great to hang out with them again. Night #2 was a blast as well!

Tonight we had our last volleyball game of the season. I am a tad sad because I love playing volleyball, but I am ready to have some actual free time on the weekends.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Collin's Mario Birthday Party!

When I get a project going, I am obsessed with it. So, this last week I was obsessed with getting everything ready for Collin's 4th Birthday Party. Originally we had discussed doing a party at the bowling alley, but the cost was just too much for our pocketbook. Instead, we had a Super Mario party.

This is one view of the decorations. I used streamers of the four main Mario colors: red, blue, yellow, and green. I twisted them down the wall for a cooler effect.

I really wanted to have helium balloon bouquets, which I did, of the four colors. There were two main bouquets. These decorated glasses were what held them down. Both were filled with candies that were blue, red, yellow, and green.

I wanted to incorporate Mario stuff even more, so we just printed off a bunch of pictures of the characters, pasted them to a piece of construction paper, and then attached them to streamer which hung down the wall. It was really easy and it was a good way to decorate the wall.

When I asked him what he wanted to have at this birthday party, the first thing he said was a piñata. So, I made one out of newspaper, water, and flour that looked like the ghost from Mario. He absolutely loved it! It had tons of candy in it, too. We definitely didn't need that much candy because we didn't have many kids at his party, but for someone who would have a lot of kids to accommodate, this was a great piñata for it.

Overall, his birthday turned out really well, but I am happy for it to be over. It was an exhausting week and weekend getting ready for his party and then the 4th of July on Monday.

Monday, May 16, 2011

My Most Recent Obsession

Lately I have been obsessing about my body. I hate my stomach. I have hated it since I had Collin. There have been good moments where it wasn't that bad, but lately I have gained more weight and most of it has gone to my stomach, some of it to my butt. I really need to get rid of it. I don't expect to ever be as tiny as I was in high school, but I do want to be at a point where I feel good about myself, and right now, I don't.

Starting off the school year, I was feeling pretty good. I felt much better about my body during this last canoe trip than I did the year before. However, I think a combination of stress and sitting more on my ass have much to do with the weight gain. I actually blame my masters classes...well, actually, this entire year is to blame. This has been one of the most stressful years I have had as a teacher. I taught all brand new classes, dealt with the stress from teaching yearbook for the very first time, and my masters classes added a huge load of stress. Stress, stress, and more stress equals Aimee's big fat butt and stomach. Yuck!

So, I am starting a plan. My plan is called the "No Excuses" plan. I am going to really attempt to eat better (at least a lot less), snack on healthier foods, and WORK OUT! I have to get off my butt and move. Volleyball is helping, but I don't play enough for it to really help.

Hopefully by the next time I make a post, I will be feeling better about myself.