It is the chocolate and kisses of life that make us rich. Enjoy what brings a smile to my face and love to my life.....

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Turn off your TV. Let the clothes dry in the sun. Save running the dishwasher until bed time. Just listen. Silence.

May you find the time in your day to just sit for a minute and listen to nothing. Think of nothing. Love the feeling of nothing. In those few minutes, the clarity you can feel is amazing. Just be.
Or you can lie down instead of sitting. Whatever position you fancy.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


There are so many choices you have to make in life. From the moment you enter this world, it's just a bunch of left and right turns. Sometimes you make the right ones from the start, but a lot of the time you have to learn through wrong choices. You can think of the wrong choices as mistakes, or just paths that lead you in the right direction. I have my moments, where the little pessimistic beast comes out, but for the most part I like to embrace both the good and the bad, and take full responsibility for my choices.

I don't believe in regrets. I believe in following your gut and working hard towards the things you want. It doesn't mean things will ever come easy, but you just try until you get an outcome you are satisfied with. I've been persistent my whole life in everything that I've wanted.

I wanted a Jetta. So when it was time for my first car, a Jetta is what I got.
I wanted to go to nursing school, so I did.
I wanted to move out on my own, so I got my first apartment.

I wanted to work in the emergency department, so I did.

I wanted to date the man that stole my heart, and I got him.
I wanted a dog, so we got one.
I wanted a second dog, so I got one. Okay, sometimes you make decisions before really thinking.
We wanted a house, so we bought one.
I wanted a new car, so I got one.
I knew from the second day I met the Mr. that I was going to marry him, and I did!
Now, don't think any of these decisions were easy.  Life is not a complete fairy tale. What you tell people could always be the frosting on top of the cake, but it doesn't mean things didn't go wrong. They did and they still do. It took a lot of hard work, persistence, and let downs to accomplish the above goals, but I got through it and I'm proud of myself for that.

At the moment, I'm trying to figure out what I want in my career and what really matters to me. It's not an easy decision to make, so I'm trying to take the time I need while still being responsible. In the back of my mind is constantly the question, "is this right?" and I really don't know. What I do know is that all my choices, good or bad have gotten me to this point. So I'm going to have confidence in myself to keep on moving along and make decisions that I hope lead me to my next step.

Life is not perfect, but it can be absolutely wonderful if you just live it! You have the ability to make of it what you want, and I am always reminding myself of that. That's the beauty of it all, its your choice as long as you allow it to be!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Triple Chip Blondies

I think anything with peanut butter and chocolate is a winner. Then you add in another burst of sweet flavor from white chocolate? It's a sweet tooth's favorite dream.

1 cup (2 sticks) of salted butter, melted
2 cups light brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup chocolate chips
2/3 cup white chocolate chips
2/3 cup peanut butter chips
Optional: 1/3 cup chocolate chips and 1 tsp of vegetable oil for drizzling on top)

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium sized bowl add melted butter into brown sugar and mix well. Add in vanilla and eggs. Slowly add in flour until well mixed. Fold in all the chips. Spray 9" X 13"pan with nonstick cooking spray and evenly distribute batter into pan. Place in oven for 25-30 minutes until top is slightly browned. Optional: Melt 1/3 cup chocolate chips and vegetable oil together and drizzle over the top of blondies. Allow to cool before cutting.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love to bake. There is something about measuring and adding sweet delicious ingredients in a bowl together, that makes me happy. The aroma that slowly leaves the toasty oven and fills your home with the promise of a delightful treat, that is pure bliss. I could bake all day long, and maybe one day I will. Until then, I leave you with a delicious cookie recipe.

1 pound (4 sticks) of unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs
3 cups plus 2 tbsp pastry flour
3 cups All Purpose flour
1 tbsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 lb semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 lb milk chocolate chips

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper, nonstick mats or nonstick spray. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugars. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Reduce speed to low and add both flours, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla and chocolate; mix until well combined. Using a 4-ounce scoop for larger cookies or a 1- ounce scoop for smaller cookies, scoop cookie dough onto prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake until lightly browned, but still soft, about 13-15 minutes. Cook slightly on baking sheets before transferring to a wire wrack to cool completely.

This recipe makes a lot of cookies if using a small cookie scoop. I slightly overfill the small cookie scoop and the size of the cookies are perfect! I made multiple batches and even froze enough to make 2 more dozen cookies at another time. The recipe freezes well.


Friday, August 24, 2012

BBQ Pulled Pork {Slow Cooker}

This is an easy to make dish that you will crave time and time again! Whenever I see pork on sale at the grocery store, it is scooped up in anticipation for this amazing dish!

2 lbs or more pork loin or roast
salt and pepper
12 oz of coca cola
Bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce (we use Sweet Baby Ray's Chipotle)

Directions: Place pork into slow cooker, season with salt and pepper. Pour coca cola into slow cooker and set to low. Cook for 7-8 hours. Drain out cola liquid and shred pork. Stir in BBQ sauce.

That is it! It's delicious, so please try it!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Half Way & A Little More

I just remembered that I made a short little list of things I wanted to accomplish in the year 2012. At the end of 2011, I posted them and I thought it would be an eye opener to see what I have done and what I have not. So here goes......

1) I want to be healthier. I want to look healthier and I want to feel healthier- I have not accomplished this, which is unfortunate. BUT, even though I haven't during the first half of the year, in the past 2 weeks I have focused on my food choices, and started to be much more active. So I am getting there.

2) I want to make exercise fun and something I look forward to most days of the week- Well, this kind of goes with the above goal. I am taking more walks with my dogs and doing zumba which I find fun. I'm still not up there to the "Yeah, let's exercise all day long people" excitement but I was there once, I will find it again.

3) I want to fix the husband's and my schedules so we are able to spend more time together-COMPLETE!!!! The hubby got a new 7-3ish job during the week, giving him every night and every weekend to be at my disposal! My schedule wasn't as enjoyable the past 6 months working nights, but we are definitely spending so much more time together. It is friggin fantastic!

4) I want to spend more time with my family members- We have made a point, every few weeks to get together for some sort of gathering. We have remembered that family is mostly all you have and we are learning to spend much more time together. I am expecting my first little niece or nephew in December so we are all excited about that!

5) I want to start a family of our own- In time this will come, in time.

6) I want to finish the two rooms in our home that we now use as over sized closets- We have finished one room, changed it into my workout room. Its much bigger and brighter and I love it. I'm working on the 2nd room right now.

7) I want to take our dogs on more walks- Well we have definitely improved this but it still needs some more. I want to take them on daily walks with my husband. I can't walk 3 dogs, especially since one of them is awful at walking. My fault, well OUR fault... we are working on it.

8) I want to swim in our pool every day this summer- Wish I did this, especially since summer is coming to an end, but I still have time and it's still warm. The new get in the pool with the husband! Yeah, it's bad.

9) I want to figure out what I'm suppose to be doing with my nursing career- Another goal that is a work in progress. I changed my job from Emergency Department Nurse to Nursing Supervisor and while it was alright, the hours didn't agree with me and I don't feel that it is what I want to do in my life.  So as I said, work in progress.

10) I want to go on a vacation for our 1st anniversary- We went to Atlantic City for 3 days! Wasn't a tropical vacation but we had a good time and are looking forward to a vacation sooner than later!

11) I want to go out more and experience more of what is beyond our home's walls- We have definitely spent the past 8 months hanging out with each other all the time. Dinner dates, movie dates, concerts, long drives to nowhere, Mystic, and Atlantic City. We could be doing more now, but we are on a tight budget so we will do stuff when we can!

12) I want to go to Six Flags once- Not yet. I have put this on the to do list for the past 3-4 years and we still have not completed it, but we day.

I plan to do the next four this year, for sure.
13) I want to go apple picking in the Fall
14) I want to go to a Haunted House
15) I want to continue holiday traditions and start new ones
16) I want to give to a family in need during the holidays

17) I want to do a better job of keeping my house clean all the time- I am working on this! Getting everything more organized and loving it!

18) I want to plant flowers and make our house pretty from the outside- probably won't happen until next year.

19) I want to do more with my life, and sleep less- well working nights, I definitely slept less!!! But now that I'm back on a regular schedule, I do feel I have started to conquer this one!

20) I want to be happy- The past 6 months have been hard but I wake up everyday and remind myself that it is MY choice to be happy. It usually works!!!

So there we have it, I have some things to work on! But not as bad as I thought! Can't wait for the rest of the year to get it done!!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Crockpot Chicken Cacciatore

I am a big fan of chicken. I could probably eat chicken every day of my life. Okay, maybe not every day but pretty close. In saying that, I have to admit that I had never tried chicken cacciatore until last night. I enjoyed the flavors of this meal, inspired by our dear Emeril. Hope you like it!

8 chicken thighs
1 3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp bacl pepper
**paprika, garlic powder, cayenne, onion powder, oregano and thyme
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups onion, sliced
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1/2-1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 can whole tomatoes with juices, crushed
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup tomato paste
**oregano, thyme, basil, garlic powder
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese + extra for topping

**Season with ingredients to your personal tastes. I do not measure spices when I cook, only use the good ole eyeballs!

Directions: Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat. Season chicken with salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, oregano and thyme. Lightly dredge chicken in flour and place in saute pan. Brown chicken on both sides, approximately 8-10 minutes, and place into crockpot. Saute peppers, onions and mushrooms in same saute pan until starting to caramelize. Add minced garlic and crushed red pepper, stirring until fragrant. Sprinkle remaining 2 tbsp of flour over vegetables and mix. Add wine to pain, allow to thicken. Add crushed tomatoes and tomato paste. Add in oregano, thyme, basil, garlic powder and salt to taste. Stir in parmesan cheese and pour over chicken in crockpot, cook on low for 6-7 hours or high for 4- 4 1/2 hours.

The chicken comes out very tender and falling right off the bone. This dish can be served with pasta, rice, potatoes or whatever works for you!


Monday, August 20, 2012

Mexican Rice

This is by far my husband's favorite side dish. He rants and raves about it all the time, which makes me feel good, obviously. I try to incorporate it into our meals whenever we have a little mexican flavor going on. Hope you enjoy it as much as he does!

1 cup of white rice
2 cups chicken broth
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup of tomato paste
2 tsp cumin
Juice of 1 lime (you can add less)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped parsley or cilantro

Directions: Place rice and chicken broth into saucepan on medium high head. Bring to a boil, cover with a lid and reduce heat to a low simmer for 15-20 minutes until rice is done. In a saute pan, heat olive oil on medium, add onions and saute until translucent. Add garlic, stirring continuously so garlic does not burn. Add tomato paste and cumin, stir to mix all ingredients well. Add onion mixture into cooked rice, seasoning with salt to taste. Squeeze juice of 1 lime into rice, and add chopped parsley or cilantro.
*We have used both parsley and cilantro in this dish, depended on what we had for fresh herbs. They both add good flavor.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Pasta

There are certain flavors that we all gravitate towards. In this household, all things covered in buffalo sauce or mixed with cheese are high on our list of favorites. This was definitely a winner and made it into our favorites recipe book!

1 lb pasta, cooked al dente
3 chicken breasts, cooked and cut into 1 inch cubes
         *seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder and smoked paprika
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups of milk
1/3 cup hot sauce
1/4 cup butter
        *1/3 cup bottled buffalo sauce can be substituted for hot sauce and butter
4 oz of monterey jack cheese, grated + extra for topping
4 oz of cheddar cheese, grated + extra for topping
1 tsp of garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook pasta al dente and chicken to your liking. Melt 1/4 cup butter and add to hot sauce, set aside. Melt 1 tbsp butter in sauce pan over medium heat, add 1 tbsp of flour and make a light roux (should be a light tan color). Add milk in slowly, stirring so there are no lumps. Milk should thicken slightly, removed from heat and slowly add in cheese. Change stove setting to low heat and place pan back on stove, add in buffalo sauce mixture. Season sauce with salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste. Combine pasta, chicken and sauce and place into oven safe dish. Evenly distribute extra cheese on top, then panko bread crumbs. Place in oven for 25 minutes.

Recipe adapted from How Sweet It Is

*We felt that the last step of putting the dish in the oven could be omitted and next time might toast the panko separately to add on top of this dish. You can change any recipe to your specific tastes!


Saturday, August 18, 2012


You sleep in a little and wake up to the sun shining on your face. You open the bedroom door and hear the little pitter patter of twelve tiny feet coming to greet you. Your handsome husband is sitting on the couch saying "Morning, beautiful." This is how every Saturday morning should start.

He makes you a delicious breakfast and you spend some time snuggling on the couch watching part of a movie.

You get ready to conquer the day, making a pit stop at "the man store" Home Depot to purchase a new door for your soon to be newly sided house. You enjoy Dunkin Donuts Iced Coffee while taking a scenic drive to enjoy this beautiful weather.

You grab the leashes as your pups jump all over the place in excited anticipation for an evening walk.

You make a new recipe together for dinner, while sipping a glass of wine and just enjoy each other's company. You end the night snuggling on the couch just as you started it.

This is my Saturday and I love it.

Friday, August 17, 2012

My Healer

This little guy has brought me so much joy in the past four weeks. I can't imagine our life without him. He came at the right time and I am very fortunate for all three of my furry friends. They are my family.

Jace is such a smart dog, but he's a puppy nonetheless. He loves to find new toys that don't belong to him, a lady's undergarments being a big hit! If you leave it on the floor, this guy will find it.

He enjoys taking the husband's pile of clothes, yes, the whole pile and dragging it from the bedroom to the living room. It is a pile that is much bigger than him, but he is a determined little pup.

He was brought into this family to keep my mind off of things, and he does an amazing job. I could take pictures of him all day, he is quite photogenic!

To my Jace, you are a keeper!!!!

Mexican Meatballs in Chipotle Sauce

If you want to try a recipe that gives you a punch of mexican flavor, this one is a winner! My husband gave it a 10, which is hard to come by in this house!

2 cans of Rotel Tomatoes with Green Chiles
1/4 cup of chopped onion
2 tsp of minced garlic
1 minced chipotle in adobo sauce
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp of brown sugar
1/2 tsp of yellow mustard
1 tsp tomato paste
Juice of 1 lime
Salt & Black Pepper to taste

1 lb of ground pork
6 oz of ground chorizo sausage
2 eggs
1/2 cup grated onion
3 slices of bread
1/3 cup milk
2 tbsp sour cream
2 tbsp minced garlic
1-1 1/2 tbsp minced lime zest
1 minced jalapeno pepper, ribs and seeds removed
3 tbsp dried oregano
2 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp each salt & black pepper

Oil for cooking

Directions: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Puree all sauce ingredients in blender/food processor. You may choose to leave one can of tomatoes whole, add at the end. Soak bread in milk for a few minutes. Mix all of meatball ingredients together in a separate bowl, including bread and roll into balls (about the size of a golf ball). Heat oil in a saute pan over medium. Add meatballs and brown for four minutes, turning once. Place meatballs into oven safe dish, pour sauce over the top. Place into oven and bake for 10-20 minutes until meatballs are fully cooked. Serve over rice or pasta.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

White Pizza Dip

I cannot explain in words how delicious this dip is. It is a combination of holy shit this is good and I just ate my weight in cheesy goodness. 

If you do not make this dip, you have not lived.

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 packages of cream cheese, softened
8 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
8 oz provolone cheese, shredded
1/4 cup grated parmesan and extra for garnish
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
1/2 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle tomatoes with olive oil and add salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes and remove from oven. In a bowl mix 7 ounces of the mozzarella and 7 ounces of provolone cheese with cream cheese. Add all remaining ingredients including the tomatoes. Place in the oven for 15 minutes, then stir. Add remaining cheese on top and bake for additional 10 minutes. Broil for 1-2 minutes until top layer is golden brown.
Recipe and photo from How Sweet It Is

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Cleaning Your Microwave

A few weeks back when I was still working night shift, my husband put some sort of sauce dish in the microwave. I don't use the microwave all the time, so when a little while later I opened the door..... this is what I found.

I guess it's just not in a male's DNA to clean up what they spill/explode/dirty/etc. You know what would be a good money maker? A book entitled "All the Things Your Guy Will Do to Piss You Off!" At the same time, it's those little things that annoy us, that in the bigger picture - just don't matter.

So off to my favorite website ever made, to Pinterest I went.

How To Clean Your Microwave

Take 1 cup of vinegar and place into a microwave safe bowl. Add 1 cup of hot water to the bowl. Close your dirty microwave's door, and microwave that magic concoction for 10 minutes. Open the door, remove said bowl and wipe clean all the hatred you have for your husband disgusting food off from the microwave's walls.

I believe the website stated that you would just have to wipe clean with a paper towel. Well, due to the state of my microwave I used a wet sponge and put some elbow grease into it. But it was much easier coming off than an old microwave explosion in the past!

The end result- a nice clean microwave that you can use to warm up some leftovers found in the freezer, especially for your husband. Just kidding. Maybe.

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