Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Recipe: Cheesy Enchilada Casserole

Pinterest has done it again.  I found another recipe that looked too good to pass up.  I really enjoyed it for dinner and know that it will make a good lunch to take and reheat.

To see the original post for this recipe head over to Get Off Your Butt and Bake.

Here is what you need:

1 lb. ground beef (I used lean ground turkey.)
1 large chopped onion
2 1/2 cups salsa
1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup Italian salad dressing (I used light.)
1 pkg. taco seasoning
1/4 tsp ground cumin
3/4 cup sour cream (I used light.)
1 small can of whole kernel corn, drained8 inch tortillas (I used 3 of the soft taco size.)
2 cups shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 400.  Brown the meat and onion in a skillet.

Drain and then return mean and onions into a large skillet.  Stir in salsa, black beans, corn, salad dressing, taco seasoning, cumin, and sour cream.

Spoon a generous layer of the meat mixture into the bottom of a greased 2 quart baking dish.  Sprinkle with shredded cheese.

Place a tortilla on top of the meat mixture and cheese.

Repeat with as many layers as you would like.  The top layer should only consist of the meat mixture and cheese.  Cover with foil that has been greased and bake for 25 minutes or until hot and bubbly all the way through.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

This casserole can be served as is or topped with lettuce, tomato, and cilantro.


Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday Musings

1.  I had a great weekend and was definitely not ready for it to be over.  We ate out.  I got to catch up with some of my old friends that I used to teach with, we went and saw To Kill a Mockingbird at the Arkansas Repertory Theater.  It was amazing and made me cry.  I can see how things have changed in our country through the years, but also how some things remain the same.  It was such a great play, though.

2.  Today I went and bought some new furniture which I will tell you about later.  This was the first big purchase I have made all by myself.  In the past, I have always made purchases like this with either hubby or my mom.  I was a big girl and went and did it all by myself, not by choice but out of necessity.  Hubby and I had picked it out together and it was on sale this week.  We were afraid to wait until the weekend in case they were sold out.

3.  It has been too long since I have gone for a run, so that is the first thing I need to do when I get home from school tomorrow.  I am really trying to get in better shaper and the longer I go between runs the harder it is to get started again.

4  I have found two great giveaways you may be interested in.  The first one is over at Marriage Confessions.  It is for a $100 gift card to Olive Garden.  I know I would get a lot of enjoyment out of that one.  You should definitely head over there and check it out.  The second one is over at My Little Life.  If is for a $50 Visa gift card.  It's definitely worth checking out, too.

I'm done musing for today.  I hope everyone had a great Monday!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Five Question Friday

Yay, it's finally Friday!  I hope everyone has a great weekend!

1. Do you swim in the winter?
No, but not because I wouldn't like to.  If it was warm enough or if I had access to an indoor pool I would definitely be swimming.  I love to be in the water and know it would be so relaxing to be able to swim my troubles away.

2. Do you love or hate winter?
I have a love/hate relationship with winter.  I used to love winter weather and getting snow and snow days.  But, after the Snowmageddon of 2011 and the ten snow days we had to make up which caused us not to get out of school until June 8 I don't love winter quite so much.  I guess that's a good thing because we haven't one lick of real winter weather this year.  Snow sure is beautiful and I'm sure I'll love it when it returns to us, which hopefully won't be until next winter.

3. Do you put makeup/actual clothes on when you know you're going to be home all day with just family?
Well, I usually put on some kind of clothes, but I definitely don't put on make-up.  The only reason I put on clothes is because I feel so grimy if I just stay in my pajamas all day.  I also either get a shower or bath at some point during the day.  My family doesn't deserve seeing me look/smell horrible just because we are staying home all day.

4. How old were you when you had your first alcoholic beverage?
I'm sure it was some point in college when I had my first real alcoholic beverage and I knew I was doing it.  I have been told that when I was little I would try to drink my dad's little beers if he would set them down, which is kinda funny now since I won't touch a beer at all.  That stuff is nasty!  The first time I ordered my own drink was when I was 20.  I went to New Orleans that Spring Break (I didn't turn 21 until May).  I was with my mom and when she ordered the waiter asked if I wanted anything and when I ordered I wasn't carded.  It was a good drink, too.  I don't feel too bad since I was with my mom.

5. How many ill calls in a 12 month period do you think are acceptable?
As a teacher, I get 10 sick days a year.  Three of those can also be used as personal days.  That averages out to about one per month.  Any that I don't use can be rolled over to use another year.  I can accumulate up to 90 sick days and any above that I get paid for.  I try to only use about five of the ones I am alotted so I can save some up to use when a little bambino arrives.  I imagine it will be pretty nice to have a paid maternity leave.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Turning a Corner

I feel like I have been turning a corner in the last couple weeks.  It was a corner that I wasn't even aware was there.  I am feeling like for the first time in a while everything is going to be alright.  There really are good times ahead.

I guess I have been in a funk.  Some people may want to call it a depression or anxiety.  Whatever the name for it is, I don't have those bad, oppressive feelings anymore.  I feel like a fog has been lifted.  I know a lot of the problems came from stress.  I was stressed over our financial situation.  I was stressed from both of us being in school.  I was stressed over the future.  I was stressed about hubby's job situation and the impending loss of his job.  Mainly, I was stressed from a lack of faith.

While our problems haven't been completely solved, I don't sit around worrying about them near as much.  I have faith that our situation will be worked out according to God's will and I am making an effort to listen to his will.  Hubby's new job really came at the perfect time, His time.    This job has eased our financial burden and given hubby experience so that hopefully he will find a teaching in NWA and we can be together again.  If that is not part of the plan, we will monitor and adjust like all good teachers do.

It is so refreshing to not feel uptight and about to burst into tears at any moment, which is how I spent most of October and November.  We have adjusted to our new schedule and really cherish our weekend time together.  While I did take medication for a short period of time to help me get my emotions under control, I no longer need that and am just feeling so much happier.

I spend more time reading my Bible and talking and praying to God.  I am just so amazed by his power and grace.  I truly believe that I am never alone.  I don't have to go through the dark times alone and I don't have to go through the great times alone.  That is such an amazing feeling.

If I'm being truthful, I also think my new effort at exercising is helping.  While I don't enjoy doing it, I do enjoy the feeling I get when I am finished.  I have accomplished something.  I never have been and still am not a runner, but I do run/jog and feel proud for every little bit of improvement I make.  Life is looking up and I know there are still so many good things to come.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Almost Wordless Wednesday

I wanted to get a picture with my mom and with hubby last week while we were celebrating mom's birthday.  It was fairly easy to get a decent one with mom.

Getting one with hubby, on the other hand, wasn't so easy.

Finally, got one that can be a keeper.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Recipe: Taco Bites

I made these Taco Bites for a potluck at school last week.  They were gone pretty quickly so I guess they were pretty good.  I didn't get there in time to heat them up, but I guess they were ok straight from the fridge.  I bet they are even better warm.

This is another recipe I found on Pinterest.  Head on over to Pearls, Handcuffs, & Happy Hour to find the post I used for this recipe.

Here is what you'll need:

1 lb. ground beef
1 pkg. taco seasoning
24 wonton wrappers
cheese, any variety you like
any other taco toppings you like

Preheat oven to 425.  Spray a muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray so the wonton wrappers won't stick.  Then, place a wonton wrapper inside each cup.

Brown meat and drain. Return to pan and add taco seasoning and prepare according to package directions.  Scoop a tablespoon of taco meat into each cup.  Top the meat with cheese.

Put in oven and bake for 8 - 10 minutes, watching closely to not burn the wonton wrappers.  Remove from pan and serve with any other toppings you would like.  This ecipe makes about 24 Taco Bites.


Monday, January 23, 2012

Birthday Celebration

Today is my mom's birthday, but we celebrated it over the weekend.  What a great weekend we had!

We went to a basketball game between our Razorbacks and Michigan.  They were ranked and we weren't.  It was a sellout crowd and a great time!



The band and the mascots were getting everyone pumped up before the game.


The students were excited and ready to cheer on their team!


There was a crazy guy that danced around so much he got put on the big screen.


The spirit squad showed their pride.



The football team was there for halftime to get their Cotton Bowl trophy and quarterback Tyler Wilson got his Offensive MVP trophy.

By the way, there was a basketball game, too.  And we won!



Since it was a birthday celebration, we also had cake.  I think it turned out amazing and mom really enjoyed it, too.






When there's a birthday you also have to have cards and presents.


"Another phone?!"  (We did get her a phone last year, but the box worked great to throw off the real gift.)

The real gift was coupons for a trip to Tulsa in February.  We are taking her to the Oklahoma Aquarium and a couple of restaurants that we all like in Tulsa.  We all enjoy these weekend getaways.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Five Question Friday

I love Five Question Friday.  It's like an instant post, which is a good thing on Friday.  I'm busy today.  I have about three hours from the time I leave school until hubby gets here.  In this time, I have to pick up something from the bakery, make a quick stop at the mall, make dinner, get my walk/jog in, and grab a shower.  Enough rambling from me let's get to the questions.

1. Where do you hide the reeeally good snacks?
Well, seeing as we don't have kids, I don't have to hide the snacks.  I might need to start hiding them from myself, though.  Seriously I have been reducing the snacks I buy so that I won't eat them.  Since I am trying to get my exercise routine going, I have been trying to eat a healthier snack.  Right now I am eating a lot of bananas to reduce the leg cramps I've been getting.  I also really like the thin little granola bars that have dark chocolate on the bottom.  They are so yummy!

2. Do u keep your vehicle clean or am I the only one who has things falling out of their van?
Two out of our three cars are kept pretty clean, the two I actually drive.  Now of course they get the occasional receipt or other miscellaneous trash left in there, but are cleaned out regularly.  Hubby's old mustang on the other hand, is full of trash most of the time.  He drives it to work, to school, and on the drive to NWA so it gets trash, food wrappers, empty coke cans, and napkins left in it.  It gets cleaned out when I tell him it really needs to be done.  The good news for me is that I don't have to ever ride in it.

3. Have you ever been to Vegas?
Yes, I went with one of my friends about 10 years ago on Spring Break.  We had a nice time and stayed at a couple of different hotels on the strip.  We didn't gamble hardly at all, instead spent our time watching the free entertainment at the casinos and looking around.  I would love to go back, but not to gamble.  The casinos are amazing to look at; some even have really nice art to look at.  I would also love to see Celine Dion live and take in a Cirque du Soleil show (I love the one at Disney World).  I also wouldn't mind going to the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop (from Pawn Stars).
4. Warm room light blankets or cold room warm snuggly blanket?
 I would rather have a cooler room so I can get under all the warm covers.  We tend to keep the house kinda chilly, especially when I'm with hubby.  He is like a human heater.  If we kept the house too warm we would be sweating.  Yuck!
5. What is the worst airplane/flying experience you've ever had?
Umm, let's see...I've never really had a bad experience on the airplane.  No major turbulence or scary landing.  But, I did have a bad experience in an airport once.  It was on my trip to Vegas.  We went to Vegas in March of 2002, which was pretty soon after 9/11 so they had a lot of security in the airports.  We flew from Memphis, which is an international airport so they had the scary military guys standing around with the big, scary guns.  We were 21 and 22 year girls, so I'm sure they seemed worse than they really were.  We waited in line to go through security.  Apparently we looked threatening or some because they pulled us and our carry-ons aside and took us behind a curtain thing.  The searched our bags, made us take our shoes off, and swabbed our feet for explosive residue.  That totally freaked me out.  We checked out fine and were allowed to go on our way.  Thank goodness the return flight was uneventful or I might have sworn off flying forever.
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thursday Thoughts

*  I just finished my walk/jog.  I thought I was dying again.  However, I think I may have died just a little less than on Monday.  Maybe tomorrow I'll die just a little less than today.  I will definitely be repeating week 1 on Ease into 5K next week.  I still have to work on the breathing think.  The weather is sure helping out with this endeavor.  It was almost 60 in mid-January.  I can't ask for better than that.

*  I have to get out of this recliner and get cooking.  We have a potluck at school tomorrow and I am making Taco Bites.  It's another recipe I got off Pinterest.  My cooking life would be so dull without Pinterest.  If they turn out good, I will post the recipe next week.

*  I am so glad it's almost the weekend.  Hubby is coming up tomorrow and mom will be here on Saturday.  We will be celebrating mom's birthday by going to a Razorback basketball game and out to eat at one of our favorite restaurants, Venesian Inn.  It's been open since the 1940's.  We don't get to go there too often because it get really crowded on weekends, especially football weekends.  There will also be a few other birthday surprises that I'll have to share later just in case mom looks on here before this weekend.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Recipe: Oven Baked Frito Pie

Tonight I tried another new recipe I found on Pinterest.  To see the linked post head on over to Pearls, Handcuffs, & Happy Hour.  It was good, quick, and easy, which is definitely a plus when fixing dinner during the week.

Here is what you'll need to make Oven Baked Frito Pie:

1 lb. ground beef (I used ground turkey)
1 16 oz. can pinto beans
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes (I used Rotel Chili Fixins')
1 pkg. taco seasoning
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3 1/2 cups Fritos
1 1/4 cup sour cream (I used light)

Preheat oven to 350.  Brown the meat and drain it.  Return meat back to the pan and add the beans, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, 1/4 cup of cheese, and taco seasoning.

Stir until everything is well mixed.  Spread 1 cup of Fritos on the bottom of a greased baking dish (8 x 8 or 9 x 13).  Spread all of the chili on top of Fritos.

Bake for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Spread sour cream on top of chili.

Cover with remaining chips and cheese.

Put back in the oven and bake for an additional 4-5 minutes. You may want to cover with foil before placing back in the oven if you don't want your cheese to get crispy.

Serve and enjoy a nice warm meal!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I Did It....And I Didn't Die

I decided to take advantage of the warm weather yesterday afternoon.  When I got home from school it was almost 70 degrees.  So I got off my fanny and went for a walk/jog.  I have the Ease into 5K app on my phone so I jumped right in with Week 1, Day 1.

Here's what I did yesterday:

Start with a 5 minute warm-up then repeat 3 times the following intervals:
Run 30 seconds
Walk 45 seconds
Run 45 seconds
Walk 60 seconds
Run 60 seconds
Walk 90 seconds
Cool-down with a 5 minute walk.

I thought I was dying by the time I got to the last run, but obviously I lived since I am writing this post.  I hope I can keep it up.  Even if I can't get outside to do it, I can use a treadmill.  It's designed to use 3 times a week so I'll try to do it again Thursday and Friday for my three times this week.  This is designed as an 8 week program, but I'm sure it will take me longer.  Weeks can be repeated if you feel you aren't ready for the next step up.  I'm sure I will need to repeat some of the early weeks so I can get my breathing under control.

Wish me luck!

I know I will feel better if I get into better shape.  Plus, in a month I am working with the Girls on the Run program at my school.  All of us are supposed to do a 5K on May 12.  So I have to get better at running/jogging by then.  

Monday, January 16, 2012

Weekend Recap

We had a pretty low-key weekend compared to our last several and it was pretty nice.  I went down to Central Arkansas since hubby had to take his last Praxis test on Saturday morning.  The Praxis is the test teachers have to take in order to get their license.  Hopefully, he passed and will be done with having to study and prepare for it.

Before the test, we went and had breakfast at the local diner in town and it was good.  I always get biscuits and gravy, one with regular white gravy and one with chocolate gravy.  Yummy and I even had leftovers to eat later.  If you haven't had chocolate gravy, you should definitely try it.  It's definitely a southern thing.  I can't wait to have kids so I can make it for them.  Since hubby is a California boy, he's not into the gravy thing so I don't get to make it now because I definitely don't need to eat it all.

After his test, we were real kids and went and saw Beauty and the Beast in 3D.  It was definitely worth going to see it at the theater again; it is such a pretty movie. 

Hubby was off today so he came back to NWA with me yesterday.  We only had inservice today so I got to go have lunch with him before he had to head back down to get ready for work tomorrow.

One of the things I really wanted to work on this year is deepening my faith and living my faith more.  The church we attend in Central Arkansas (the church we were married in) is starting a 50 day devotional series through a Facebook group.  It began yesterday and I am so excited about it.  It is definitely what I need right now.  If you are interested, anyone is welcome.  Just click here to get the daily How Great Is Our God devotional.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Five Question Friday

I haven't participated in Five Question Friday in forever so I thought I would start up again.

1.  What's the last thing you bought for yourself?  Besides groceries, I guess the last thing I bought for myselft was a new purse while we were in Dallas last weekend.  I love Sam Moon's and couldn't pass up the chance to pick something up while we were there.  I'm so glad I did, too.  I do love it so!

2.  What is your favorite meal on a cold winter day?  I love anything that comes out of the crock pot on a cold winter day.  I know it will always be hot!  I love cooking in the crock pot on snow days because of the wonder smells all day.  I am becoming quite addicted to my crock pot.  It even has it's own board on Pinterest.

3.  Have you started looking at swimsuits this year, and do you typically buy a new one each year?  No to both of those questions.  Swimsuit shopping has to be about the worst experience ever.  I don't actually go to stores to shop.  I usually shop online and pray that it fits.  If not, I will return it.  I can't bring myself to actually go to a store and try on a swimsuit.  So if I finally find one that isn't too horrendous I will wear it until it fades or wears out.  My last three have come from Lands End.  They seem to be well made and modest enough I am not overly embarassed to wear them.  Since they are well made, they don't have to be replaced every year, which is a real bonus for me and cuts down on the swimsuit shopping experience.

4.  If you could be any candy what would you be and why?  I would be Dove chocolate.  First, everyone loves chocolate so therefore they would love me.  Second, that is some smooth chocolate.  I would love to be smooth.  I am awkward and clumsy and would never be called smooth.  A girl can dream can't she?

5.  What are you most passionate about?  My family and my faith.  I love my family more than anything.  I wish I could spend all day everyday with them.  Well, probably not because we wouldd drive each other crazy and I'm introverted so I do cherish my alone time.  While I treasure my job nothing beats time off when we get to travel and explore and see what the world has to offer. 

I am also working on my faith.  While I have always been a believe I am trying harder to live and be active in my faith.  I don't want to be a passive Christian.  When we have children, I want them know that mommy and daddy are passionate about living for Christ.  I never want them to question that.

Bonus Question: What is your favorite thing to "pin" on Pinterest?  Definitely recipes.  I have three separate boards for recipes.  One is for general recipes, one is for crock pot recipes, and one is for sweets and desserts.  I have even tried some and they have all turned out delicious.  Everything else I pin just kind of sits there because I'm not too crafty.  Maybe that will change one day.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Wishful Thinking Didn't Get Me Anywhere

I was hoping to wake up and find this view this morning.


Instead, I woke up to this.

Yeah, the Winter Weather Advisory turned out to be a big, fat nothing.  We didn't even get enough to really call it a dusting.  On the bright side, this is a day we won't have to make up in June.  So in order to stay positive, I will say yay to one more day of summer vacation.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What's For Dinner?

This is what I had for dinner last night.

Photo from Rita's Recipes

My favorite place for finding new recipes right now is Pinterest and this just looked to good to pass up.  It's called Crock Pot Cream Cheese Chicken Chili.  It was really good and super easy to make.  I found this along with 7 million other recipes I want to make.  I guess I'll never have to make the same thing twice.

I found this recipe on Pinterest, but it came from Rita's Recipes.

Here are the ingredients you will need:  (I was a slacker and didn't get any pictures)

2 chicken breasts, still frozen
1 can Rotel tomatoes
1 can corn kernels, do not drain
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 pkg. Ranch dressing mix
1 T cumin
1 t chili powder
1 t onion powder
1 8-oz pkg. cream cheese (I used the low fate variety)

Here are the super easy steps to make it:

Put the chicken in the crock pot.

Top with the tomatoes, corn, drained and rinsed beans,ranch dressing, cumin, onion and chili powders.

Stir to combine then top with the cream cheese.

Cook on low for 6-8 hours, stirring one or twice to blend in the cheese. (I didn't stir until it was done since I was gone all day.)

Shred the chicken into large pieces and serve over rice (or noodles, or chips).

This reheats well so enjoy the leftovers, if there are any.

By the way, today has been much better than yesterday.  I ended the day by having dinner with my friend, Elizabeth.  It was nice to have a chance to catch up.  The other news is that we are under a Winter Weather Advisory so there's not telling what I will wake up to in the morning.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


That's pretty much how I'm feeling right now.  Have you ever had one of those off days at work?  Well, today was one of those days for me.  It's dark, gloomy, and rainy.  That is a bad combination for me.  Plus, I spent the morning giving small groups of students a reading test.  You may not know much about my job, but one of the things I responsible for as a special education teacher is providing students with disabilities accommodations of tests.  Normally, it's not too bad because I read the questions, make sure the students are on task and answering in the correct spot.  But, on reading tests I just watch them and keep them on task.  I can't read anything to them or provide any help or guidance and since they have some type of disability, they usually work pretty slowly.  This led to one long, boring morning.  Thank goodness for math tomorrow!

After my thoroughly thrilling morning, I was working with some students in a math group.  During the time the assistant prinicpal came in to observe.   Let's just say it wasn't horrible, but I definitely wasn't totally on my "A" game today.  We were working, but it wasn't an awesome lesson or anything.  I'm sure it's fine; I'll know for sure at some point in the next couple of days after I talk to her about the observation.  I really do want to do a good job and do the best that I possibly can for my students.  I'm sure I thought it was much worse than she did, but you can never tell.

The weather is definitely not helping my situation.  I was wanting to come home and go out for a walk/jog, but the rain had a different plan.  So instead I'm sitting on the couch and being lazy.  Oh well!  Tomorrow is another day and a new chance to be amazing!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Cotton Bowl Recap

We had a great time in Dallas this last weekend!  I am so glad we went, but now that we are home, I'm exhausted.  It was so worth the drive.  The Arkansas Razorbacks returned home Cotton Bowl Champions and I was there to witness it.

Cowboys Stadium is amazing.  It's huge, shiny, and new.  There also isn't a bad seat in the house thanks to the ultimate jumbotron there.

Thank goodness for the jumbotron or al we would have seen would be ants crawling around on the field.  To say we were in the nosebleed section is an understatement, but that did not ruin the mood or the atmosphere of being there and watching these young men tie the school record for most wins in a season.


The coach was so proud of the team, especially his first group of seniors.  This is the third bowl game I have been to, and it was by far the best!

The Band Perry did an amazing job with the national anthem.  The crowd went wild with patriotism afterwards.

band perry

We enjoyed the pre-game pep rally, which included appearances by former Razorbacks Jerry Jones (owner of the Cowboys) and Felix Jones (current Cowboy player).  We also got to see our live mascot, Tusk, who was more interested in napping than anything else.


We had a great time at the game, but that wasn't all we did in Dallas.

cotton bowl

We went to Sam Moon's, which is an accessory superstore.  They have more purses, jewelry, hats, sunglasses, etc than any other place I have seen.  Their stuff is relatively inexpensive, too.  It is so fun just to look around.  It's hard to narrow down to a reasonable amount of stuff to buy.  My favorite things to get there are purses. I managed to only buy one on this trip.

We spent most of Saturday at the Dallas Zoo.  It is a really nice zoo and you should check it out if you are ever in the area.

We went to a really nice dinner Saturday night as our last thing before our trip home Sunday morning.  We went to Chamberlain's Steak and Chop House.  Let me just tell you, the food there is always amazing.  It was a nice celebratory dinner!

I'm so glad we went to the Cotton Bowl and had an extended weekend in Dallas!  I will always have these good memories about our time there.