Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Chicken Parmesan Meatballs

Thomas and I love love love Italian food.  And out of all of the Italian foods that exist, we really really love chicken parm.  So when I saw this recipe for Chicken Parmesan Meatballs on Pinterest, I just knew I had to make them.

And boy, did they live up to my expectations!  They were delicious!  We served them we some pasta and marinara sauce, a fresh salad, and some garlic bread!  Yum yum!

Chicken Parmesan Meatballs
Adapted from: Bake Your Day
Makes: approximately 24

1 pound ground chicken
1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon parsley 
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Marinara sauce for serving
Your favorite pasta noodles for serving

  1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees and spray a 9x13 rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Mix all of the  ingredients (except pasta sauce and noodles) in a large bowl until combined. I really got in there with my hands.  But beware, it's really cold.
  3. Scoop the mixture out and roll into 1-inch balls and place them on the prepared baking sheet. 
  4. Bake in the 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes until golden brown and the chicken is cooked through. The center of the meatball should read 165-170 degrees.
  5. Serve with pasta and sauce and a fresh salad!
***Freezing Note:  I made the meatballs and then froze the leftovers.  On the day we wanted to eat the leftovers, I thawed the meatballs briefly and then stuck them in the oven for about 15 minutes to warm up again, and they turned out great the second time too!

I hope you enjoy!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

My First Triathlon!

Woohoo!  Today has been a super good day!  I completed my first sprint triathlon, and I feel great about it!

I know yall are probably tired of hearing about my training, and blah blah blah.  BUT, I'm going to keep talking about it, because this is my blog!  Lol!

This morning started at a super-dark-and-tired 5am.  I woke up, took a little time to gather my thoughts, ate some breakfast, grabbed my bag, and headed out the door to the triathlon site.  I had to be completely ready to go and down at the lake for the swim at 7.  And before that, I had to set up my transition area, get my timing chip, and get my body marked.  I also wanted to walk the transitions a few times to make sure I knew where I was going for each one.

So at 6:15, as the sun came up, I walked into the race area, took a deep breath and went to stake a claim on a transition spot.  I knew absolutely no one there, so I had a lot of time to stand around (looking uber nervous, I'm sure) and watch what other people were doing to make sure I was doing it right.  Lol.

By 7 am, all 750 participants... that's right, 750(!!!) were gathered down by the lake, ready for the start.  This allowed me about 45 more minutes of standing around, looking (and feeling) very nervous.  But, my super awesome husband and parents ambled their way down to the swim area to watch, so I got to spend the last little bit talking to them.

My wave took off around 8, so we headed into the water to wait for the horn to sound.  And then we were off to start the 1/4 mile swim.  I was definitely glad to have the swim out of the way first because it was by far my weakest event.

After the swim, we walked/ran up the hill to the parking lot to grab our bikes and gear and set off for the 12.3 mile ride.  This was by far the easiest event.  There were bikers everywhere, and you were constantly passing or getting passed, and so it went by pretty easily and quickly.

Then we came back in to drop off the bikes and head out for the 2.5 mile run. 

I did walk a bit on the run which I was a little disappointed with, but it started out with this huge hill, and my legs really needed a little break.  But after than, I ran most of the way with just a few short walking breaks at the water stations.

I ran up the last hill and over the finish line, heard my name announced over the speakers as I came in, got my participation medal, and rode the wave of adrenaline of having actually done it! 

My goal time was 1 hour and 35 minutes, and my official finish time was 1 hour 35 minutes and 34 seconds!  Woohoo!  Never in my life have I been excited about getting a participation award, but today, I reveled in it!

And a super special thank you goes out to my husband who gave up sleeping in on his day off to help me get there and to support and watch me and take pictures for me as I participated, and to my awesome parents who also braved the ridiculous heat in order to cheer me on!  Thank you guys!

And I can tell you now, this won't be the last time you hear me talking about triathlons.  I've caught the bug!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

A Life Update

A lot seems to be going on around here, though today I'm sitting at home alone working on some blog posts, watching Netflix, and unsuccessfully fending off a little kitten who just wants to sleep on my everytime I sit down.

I had swim practice for the triathlon this morning.  I can't believe it's on Saturday!  I've been working hard on my swimming, though none of it really prepared me for swimming in a lake with a bunch of other people this morning.  It was interesting to say the least. 

Swimming is definitely still my weakest area.  The breathing is just really difficult to get used to.  And of course, you don't get to practice and figure it out in private.  No, you have to be at a gym, in a pool with real athletes who know what they're doing, and lifeguards who are watching and probably thinking, Oh crap.  This girl is totally going to drown and then I'm going to have to jump in the water fully clothed and pull her out.  This is just going to ruin my day.  Yeah.  Swimming is definitely not my favorite. 

But, I now know a little bit better of what to expect for Saturday.  And it was seriously heartening to see the other participants for the sprint distance.  I was so relieved to see that I'm not the only person not wearing a professional grade triathlon outfit.  I'm not the only one who struggled with staying on course in the water.  I'm not the only one who doesn't have a super expensive road bike.  So, though I'm nervous about Saturday, I definitely feel much more confident that I'm not going to make a fool out of myself as long as I keep my nerves in check.

On another note, one of the reasons I'm more nervous about the triathlon than I'd hoped is because I haven't dedicated as much time to training as I would have liked.  Moving and then getting a job right away sort of messed up my routine, but I'll tell you what, I wouldn't be surviving at all without that job.  It was the one job listing that I was actually, truly interested in when we were looking for jobs while moving here, and I can't believe it's as great as it is.  I really love what I'm doing, and I love the people I work with and, more importantly, the people I work for.  It's so awesome.  And without that job, this move would have been so much harder than it already is on me.  So, it is such a huge blessing and relief to have something that I really enjoy doing.

The cats are getting along better with every day.  They really like playing together, which is great because it keeps them both active too.  And they've even head-booped and nuzzled each other a few times!  We have started leaving Luna out at night (not shutting her in the bathroom), and she's doing pretty well.  There are still plenty of times when she gets put back in there because she won't stop bothering me in the middle of the night or she can't keep her face out of Lo's food bowl.  But she's learning.  Our most annoying problem right now is that they just won't stop eating each other's food.  I don't know if it's a competition or jealousy thing or what, but it's ridiculous.  Luna is also not very good at self-rationing, so it's hard to regulate how much food she eats because when she runs out, she just eats Lo's.  But, oh well, there are definitely worse problems to have!

We're having our ups and downs right now, but overall, we're doing pretty well!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

August Julep Box

Here's a peek at the contents of my August Julep box!

First off, isn't this the most beautiful and elegant tissue paper you've ever seen?!  I could practically frame it because it's so pretty.  (I won't though, because my husband would tease me to no end!)

This box included my two nail colors, a gel eye liner, and a phone cleaner as an extra perk.

I really love these two nail polishes.  They're right up my alley color-wise.  However, maybe I should have selected a different box for exactly that purpose.  Here is my collection of teal/blue polishes... so does it look like I need any more?  Not really.  But, I just really liked both of the colors, so I went for it anyway!

I have never tried a gel liner before, so I can't give you a very informed review of how good this one is, but I can tell you that I like the color, it goes on really smooth, and it's really easy to smudge for a more natural look.

And just as a little extra, in case you were wondering, here's a look at my polish collection (pre-August box).  As you can see, I have a few brand favorites.  And though I have a lot of polishes, I tend to gravitate toward the same color families.  So with the Ulta gift card I got for my birthday, it was my goal to find a color that I wouldn't normally buy in order to try something different.  I'll give you a peek at what I bought there soon!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Cute Kitten Overload

Warning:  If you do not like cute pictures of cats, DO NOT read any farther on this post.  There really isn't much content except for me being a typical adorable kitten owner and showing off photos of my babies.

We've had Luna for a while now, and though she is still having to be confined to a small room while we're out of the house or sleeping, just because she can't be trusted to not get into trouble or eat Lo's food.  But, she's doing really well.  She has adjusted to her new home and food, and she really seems to like her new sister.  Lolo, however, is still taking things slow.  She and Luna have been playing quite a lot and greeting each other in the mornings when I let Luna out of her room, but there's hasn't really been any cuddling or loving on each other.

So here are some cute photos of Luna antics, and the sweet few moments that I happen to capture with a camera.

The girls taking a break from a play session.

Apparently Daddy's belt is fun.

And Mommy's purse.

Luna and Daddy napping together.

Sleeping under a blanket.

And again.

And a very rare moment of the girls napping together!!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

HtTyD 2 and Transformers 4 {Movie Reviews}

In June and July, Thomas and I only saw like 2 movies in the theaters... Wow!  That's got to be some sort of all-time low for us.  However, we've been pretty dang busy since the move, and things just don't seem to be slowing down at all.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 - This was pretty on-par with the first one.  Hiccup is snarky and awkward; Toothless is totally adorable.  But this movie had a lot more plot to it... A LOT!  There were several different story lines going on simultaneously.  In my opinion, it was a little busy and pretty sad at some points, but the amazing flying scenes, music, and the adorable-ness of Toothless made the movie worth it.  The first movie was better, but this one was still pretty good.

Transformers: Age of Extinction - Yeah... This one was not awesome.  It definitely was not on the same level as the first three.  And it wasn't that Shia LaBoeuf was missing (though I really did like his character).  This movie had so many small, disjointed plots that I had no idea what it was really about.  Was it about Mark Wahlberg and his family?  Was it about fake Transformers taking over?  Was it about the humans killing off Autobots along with Decepticons?  Was it about mass destruction?  I don't really know.  It was long, and it felt long.  I definitely would not recommend spending money to go see this in theaters (if it's even still out).  It wasn't totally horrible, but it was boring.

Next up on the list of movies to see: Guardians of the Galaxy.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

July Julep Box

Well, since it's officially August, I thought that I should really get with the program and write a post about my July Julep box.  (Especially considering the fact the my August box has already arrived!  Lol)

I was especially impatient for my July box to come because I missed the email that allowed me to view my choices and change my box if I wanted.  And as soon as that window closes, you can't even see what the current boxes are online, so I had absolutely no idea what I was going to get!

And once the box was delivered to my door, I was intrigued by the fact that the size of it was bigger than my previous boxes!

So here's what I got!

The two polishes are completely different sides of the spectrum.  One is a really bright reddish coral (great for my toes), and the other is a solid nude.  They probably aren't colors that I would walk into a store and buy when I've got 100+ nail polishes in front of me, but one of the whole reasons I joined Julep was to branch out a bit, so I'm excited to fit these into my style.  (I'm currently wearing the coral on my toes right now, and I like it a lot better on than I did in the bottle.)

The beauty product for July was a body lotion.  It's a nice, silky lotion with a very light scent.  I've got it by my bed so that I can lather a little on before I go to sleep or to moisturize my legs after I shave, and so far, I really like it.  One of the main pluses is that the scent isn't too strong, so I can put it on before bed without suffocating in the smell.

Julep also included some patriotic Tootsie Rolls with the box!  Lol

I've really loved Julep so far, and they've recently expanded their selection of monthly boxes, so if you like nail polish, I would highly recommend joining Julep!