budget, what budget

My plan for $30 a week is not working out; it's shocking, I know. It will though. I am determined. Quite determined. However, it will be after the New Year when it works out because last week my sister was visiting and this week, well I really haven't bought anything yet, so maybe this week I can meet that goal! At the end of next week my family comes. New Year, new goals, right? Isn't that what everyone does??

In the meantime, I've been loading pictures like crazy onto my computer tonight so a few to leave you with on this lovely winter evening just days before Christmas.

Tommy was baptized on Sunday and it was awesome!!

We had a Christmas party to wrap up Wednesday youth time. Family Feud was involved.

Tommy, little cousin Joseph, brother Bradley. Ice skating in Tennessee at Thanksgiving.

Family picture December 2010. It was really hard getting a picture with dogs participating. Eli had to be bribed with my water bottle. I can't imagine how difficult it will be with kids!

And my sister was in town for 10 days. I didn't get a single picture of her sadly but only have this picture of the aftermath. The dogs got really used to playing all day and being around people, so when we left them alone on Monday to go to work, we came home to a chewed up step. Their talent is unbelievable sometimes.


a different kind of Christmas

Christmas this year is very different. For the first time ever, I won't be going back "home" to Tennessee to spend Christmas with my family. We are staying at our new home in Maryland- just Tommy and me. I have to work Christmas this year. I'm off on Christmas day but have to work Christmas Eve and the 26th. The fact that we are not going to be spending Christmas with family and I will be working makes this Christmas feel very different. It will be hard and different and probably somewhat sad, but it will also be fun and exciting and new for Tommy and I to spend this special time together at our home. We also have wonderful friends who have invited us to have Christmas dinner with their family, and we are looking forward to that. And my family is coming up for New Year's so we will get to spend some of the holiday season with family.

I mailed packages today and am officially DONE with Christmas shopping!!!

Yesterday we had our monthly OB appointment, and it was great. We heard a nice, strong heartbeat. Only a few weeks until we see our baby again on the ultrasound!


tecnically speaking

So one of the good things about a new week is a new chance to try to spend less than $30 on groceries. I think the only way that I can successfully do this is to stay away from all stores. Makes sense, right?

Here's the deal: technically, we've already spent beyond $30 in groceries this week. Sunday we stopped at the grocery store for a few items that turned into $21. Secondly my husband decided he wanted to scoop up the last of the fresh apples from our local farm to freeze and enter a dessert contest. One box of fresh apples = $18. So while that shouldn't really count as our groceries for the week, we spent the money this week. How does that work? Anyone who's done this before have suggestions? And what do you do for those things that you have to buy but last a long time-- like corn starch, flour, etc. Do they count in your weekly $30?? I need help please!!

ps Happy Wednesday!


target failure

The Target trip for $30 for groceries was a major major epic failure. It failed in bad, bad ways. I spent sooo much money there! So much money on groceries. So much money on other stuff. I obviously way overshot my $30 goal. Tremendously. I'm very disappointed in myself. And have in fact, since been to Target for another terribly expensive trip. What is wrong with me?!?!?


today's challenge

Today I am going to Target. Target is my favorite place and my arch enemy. I cannot go to Target and buy one thing or 2 things, or 10 things. It's ridiculous. Today I am determined. I am determined to spend less than $30 on groceries that will get us meals for tonight, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The beginning of the week has been crazy so I didn't have a full meal plan. We had leftover Minestrone soup from my in-laws on Monday and Tuesday. I love this soup so much! It was so nice to have a delicious dinner that I didn't have to cook! :)

Rest of the week's menu:

Farmhouse BBQ Muffins (my mom's recipe)
Green Beans

Petro Night!

Bean burrito/taco/make your own night
7 layer taco dip


Less than $30! That's the goal...


back in action

If anyone is still reading my blog, thank you. I know it's been a long long long time since I have posted anything. I, like most people I think, took some time to evaluate my blog and the time I was spending reading and writing (although a lot more reading than writing as you can tell) blogs. I miss it. I miss being in the blog world. I miss sharing things and learning things and want back in. So I'm back and ready to take on the challenge of improving this blog.

A few updates on life first...

Tommy and I are so blessed and happy to announce that we will be expecting our first little baby in May! I am 15 weeks and we are trucking along getting more and more excited for our new addition to the family. We are so thankful for this blessing and cannot wait to see how we grow and how our lives change as a new family.

Thanksgiving was wonderful. We spent the holiday in Tennessee for a much needed and extra much enjoyed vacation and time with family. It could not have been a better time. My only complaint is that it went by way too fast!

A mess. We moved 4 of the rooms in our house around and are still trying to get afloat from that craziness. It was a good decision and works well for us but who knew it would be so challenging. On top of that we have lots of unpacking to do (still) from the trip to Tennessee. And I have not gotten out one Christmas decoration yet. But tomorrow's the day! We are hoping to get our tree tomorrow.

I am learning a lot about the direction that I want to go as a dietitian. Working in a clinical setting is something that I have always wanted to do, but it's not living up to the dream. It is a fine job that I am thankful for but not what I had envisioned. I am glad that I am learning this now, and I'm glad that I am getting clinical experience. Thinking lots of thoughts for where I want to be in May and after Baby Morgan arrives, as well as long-term. Working on thinking outside of the box.

I think that is all for now. I'm on a new mission that you will be seeing a lot of on this blog. Cheap groceries. I go through phases but I mean this one :) I want to see if we can really spend under $40 a week on groceries. ??? I don't know if it can happen but it's my new challenge. I know the keys will be menu planning and grocery list making and not going to Target because I spend $1.6 million EVERY time I go there!


a saturday.

What's a Saturday to look like? What do your Saturdays look like? I feel like as fall is getting underway and we don't live near our beloved Vols, our Saturdays tend to be pretty open. It is nice to have free time to work on things. Usually we would spend this time working on our house-- taking on a project or 2 or 10, but since our house is for sale we are keeping things as they are for the time being. I guess now we spend the bulk of our at home time cleaning, cleaning, and more cleaning.

What do your Saturdays look like? Are they packed full? Are you out enjoying the beautiful fall weather?


ever have those days?

I had been thinking about dinner all day. I knew what I was making, and I was excited about it. Nothing too special- it didn't take me more than 25 minutes to get it all together. But... it was a homemade meal nonetheless. Broccoli chicken casserole was prepared and in the oven and I was counting down the 35 minutes until we could eat. The oven timer went off and I sprinted upstairs to get the casserole out. And that's when it happened. There was Pam spray on the side "handle" parts of the dish and I was using a dish towel to get the casserole out because my dogs ate my oven mitts with the grip on it. This is what happened:

Yeah, my dinner ended up upside down on the oven door. It was pretty devastating. I don't have a picture of this next part but my husband and I definitely sat and ate the top layer off the oven door with our forks. It was a pretty sad looking sight. And then we had cereal for dinner.

The dogs were happy though because even after we had cleaned up there was still some chicken and cheese stuck to the oven. Lady took care of that.



Today I passed the exam that makes me a Registered Dietitian! I am so excited to be here and to be an official RD!

Hope everyone's having a nice weekend!


all the veggies go woot.

I don't know what that title means, but I do know that I love what I got yesterday at the nearby farm.

Check out my goods:

And, sorry I've been absent for awhile. Thanks so much for still stopping by and reading! I really appreciate it. I just started my new job, so I've been involved with that.

Have a great week!


my current obsession

I LOVE this dish! It is so good. I eat it for an appetizer, snack, meal, anything! So fresh, healthy and easy to make definitely bump it up to one of my favorites.

Fresh tomato (I use 2 tomatoes for 4 people)
Fresh basil
Mozzarella cheese (I buy reduced-fat or made with skim-milk)
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Salt & Pepper

1. Slice the tomato(es).
2. Slice mozzarella.
3. In a bowl or dish, layer tomato, basil, mozz.
4. Pour olive oil and balsamic vinegar over to taste.
5. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

ps - the BPS is going orange for fall! oh, and UT! :)



Football football football. I forgot how much I loved it! I took for granted all of those UT games that I got to go to-- oh, how I miss it. At The University of Tennessee football is HUGE! It is a major part of the college life and life in Knoxville.

So on this beautiful fall day, I can't help but be thinking GO VOLS!!!!!!

found here

found here


happy holiday weekend

Hi everyone! Hope you had a nice holiday weekend. It did feel long and was a good time to relax. I'm feeling ready to get back into the swing of things and get back to studying.

I've been so excited the past few days because it's been a bit cooler and has started to feel like fall! I am so excited for fall!

What is your favorite part of fall??


a great appetizer

My friend made this amazing appetizer last time we ate at their house. It was so good, and I could not get enough of it!

The tomato mixture is simply chopped tomatoes, basil, oregano, olive oil. It is wonderful on bread or this crispy strips she made. The strips are tortillas. She cut a whole tortilla into strips, spread olive oil on it, and then sprinkled with spices.

The benefits: great way to get more vegetables in. tastes good. antioxidants in tomatoes!


a great day of shopping!

I love this little farm near our house! LOVE IT! Locally grown, DELICIOUS produce that just calls my name.

Lots of things called my name this time... Check out what I came home with!

And a close up. Are these peaches HUGE or what??

When I was putting the broccoli away it looked like such a perfect bouquet, so I thought how funny would it have been if my wedding bouquet had been a bouquet of broccoli. Then I realized how nutrition nerdy that was and now I'm a little embarrassed. But I did take a picture :)

Have a nice weekend!


lunch. amazing.

Last week while I was doing one of my favorite things - shopping at Target - the Giada pasta sauce caught me eye. I decided to try a jar of her Creamy Tomato & let me just say... I am in love! This stuff is incredible. Try it! Quickly-- before I buy it all :)

I'm having it again for lunch today

ps- it's resting on my study materials for the RD exam. that's what my day is today...


this morning's surprise.

This morning I went out front to hang my bathmat to dry and I found this in front of my house.


Today is trash day around here, so this morning my husband put our trash out in front. When I went out I found our trash plus the rest of the streets piled up in front of our mailbox! It looks awful! I called to complain, here's the conversation:

trash employee: "so you're saying the trash truck came and picked up the trash and dumped it in front of your house?"

me: "yes."

trash employee: "i've never heard of that before. that seems odd. why would they do that?"

me: "that's what i'm wondering. i'm not sure why they did it but it looks really bad."

trash employee: "do you live there?"

me: "uhh... yeah..."

trash employee: "because if you don't live there, they can do that."

me: "yes, i live here, and i'd prefer if they didn't do that."

trash employee: "well, that's weird."

me: "yes, it looks really bad and is blocking my mailbox."

trash employee: "are you doing construction?"

me: "no. our house is the neatest and cleanest it's ever been!"

trash employee: "because if you're doing construction there can be a lot of trash."

me: "it's not my trash!"

trash employee: "i will send someone out to look."

I'm not feeling too hopeful...


sweet or salty?

Are you a sweet tooth or a salty lover? Or both? I like both for sure but without a doubt I'm ALL FOR SWEET! And by sweet, I really mean chocolate. Lately I have been wanting chocolate and lots of it. Guess what? I haven't been working out.

Do you feel healthier all around when you're exercising? I do and so I want to eat better. I crave fresh fruits and vegetables over high-fat, low-nutrient foods.

Running? Walking? What's your form of exercise?

Photo Credits:



weird thoughts of things that bug me.

So my family skyped me last night. It was my brother's 18th birthday (ya!) and they were all together and I was not with them. So they skyped me. At first this seemed to be a good idea, but I quickly learned that 1 on 7 skyping is not fun. Especially when those 7 people are eating cake and ice cream in front of you but you can't have it because it's 600 miles away and you don't keep cake and ice cream in your house because you're a dietitian. Bummer.

So what was I to do after that? I was hungry. I rebelled and made a grilled cheese! With Velveeta. Also something I don't keep in the house, but my sister does and left it behind. You see she had been living with us for the summer, but she is now gone leaving her Velveeta in my fridge. The whole concept of Velveeta is disgusting to me. It's a block of cheese that's squishy. GROSS. Really gross. But yet I eat it anyway.

So now I'm turning this post into random things that bug me/gross me out:

1. People who clip their nails (finger but especially toe nails) in public! GROSS.
2. People in the grocery line in front of me with nuts and peanut butter. It's weird but I go to a different line. (This is allergy related though)
3. Do you look in people's carts at the grocery store or see what their line looks like on the conveyer belt?
I do.
4. When people pull their gum out of their mouth and put it back in. Gross for them. Gross for us.
5. The bucket of sour cream at Chipotle. Looks gross. I saw a small hair in there once. I still get it.
6. Watching people eat french fries with ketchup. I like to do it myself but watching other people lick their fingers is disgusting.
7. A messy kitchen. Mine is messy.
8. Dirt in my bed. Ugghh... I have dogs... They're relentless... I change my sheets like 3 times a week.
9. Being out of fresh fruit and vegetables. Except then I get happy cause I get to go to the farmer's market!
10. When kids are screaming at the store. I know I will one day be the mother with kids who scream and scream no matter how much I don't want them too, but for now, I am not, therefore, I can complain about it. :)

3:08 pm


ever have those days?

This morning my sister left. She lived with my husband and me for the summer. We really got used to having her here, and it was hard to see her leave. It put me in a sad funk; I tried not to be like that but it happened. I went to get my engagement ring fixed, and apparently the company my husband bought it from 2 years ago is out of business nationally. Bummer. Now we will have to pay to fix it. It's disappointing but not that big of a deal, but I was really upset about it. It's just one of those days.

In the meantime, I made some good food over the weekend including pasta salad. I love pasta salad a lot but only occasionally, if that makes sense. I love pasta and then load it with veggies and it's super yummy. I used my mother-in-law's recipe:

Tri-color pasta
Diced green pepper
Canned diced tomatoes
Black olives
Grated parmesan cheese
Italian dressing

*You can decide how you like the vegetables cut-- I prefer smaller bites
*Add as many of the veggies as you like just make sure it's proportionate to the amount of pasta you cook.


on the hunt

I'm job hunting. I have been searching for awhile now and have yet to find a match. I'm learning about being unemployed. It started out great. I had a lot of time to lay on the couch and watch TV and do nothing. Then I started to feel really lazy. Now I'm at the point of constantly trying to do important things to fill the time but not really accomplishing much it feels like. I always work best with deadlines and pressure and now I have neither, so I'm being quite unproductive.

But there's plenty to be done.

- My husband and I are contemplating putting our house up for sale. It's a great home and we love it so much but we need to be in another area. We are currently working/thinking/struggling with this.

- I have an RD exam to study for and pass!

- I have blogs to write.

- I have the rest of the summer to make the most of!

So now... I'm going to make brownies for an event tonight! But probably eat some of the mix.....


where did my love for meat go?

I used to eat a lot of meat. I used to eat red meat for most dinner meals in a week. For a long time I thought most entrees consisted of red meat--- ya, I was struggling. I didn't really know a lot about food or cooking or eating. Well, I knew how to eat but not how to eat good.

I never made a conscious effort to stop eating so much red meat; I just became more aware of cooking, recipes, and other options. Then as I learned more about nutrition I realized the benefits of not eating so much red meat. Did you know that a diet high in red meat can be an increased risk for developing certain types of cancers? Eating red meat is not a bad thing because it is a good source of iron and several vitamins, but it should be limited to less than 18 ounces a week & we need to choose leaner cuts!

In an effort to save money on our grocery bills, we started having vegetarian night intentionally one night a week (I say intentionally because I have vegetarian dinners probably half of the nights in a week). We still get protein-- from our beans! I am becoming a big fan of beans these days! And vegetarian night has been a lot of fun. Of course, most of the time, it consists of tortillas, cheese, beans, and salsa but we'll have to start branching out soon or we'll get tired of it.

My suggestion -- lay off the red meat a bit and give beans a try!

And no, not these kind of beans...

Picture Credits:

Mine (can you tell?)







cchini bread.

Is that a word? I hope it's not because if so, I have no idea what I just said. Today is my first attempt at making zucchini bread. I found a good-looking recipe, I have a giant zucchini from my neighbors garden, so I'm going for it!

I'll let you know how it goes...


Back Into It Week

That's what I'm calling this week. It's my chance to get back into a schedule and a routine.

This summer has been a little crazy. It has been challenging and fun and unscheduled (which is tough for me). We have had a great summer! It's been one of the best ever.

Now that it's August and we get back into the swing of things, I am making out schedules.

This week's meal plan: (I'm thinking I will plan for 3 meals because other things always come up)

Monday - Bowtie Lasagna from PW's Tasty Kitchen
with salad, fresh bread

Tuesday - Dinner out

Wednesday - Vegetarian tortillas with homemade salsa
rice, beans, low-fat cheese

Thursday - Leftovers

Friday - Chicken breast with fresh corn, and vegetables

Saturday and Sunday - out for dinner

It feels good to have a plan again. Next, I'm getting out my planner notebook that I haven't used in over a month!


It's Wednesday

Mid week and I have yet to get things in order with a food schedule, meals, produce.

It's one of those weeks...


My Garden Is Growing

I should say "my" loosely.... my husband has done the bulk of the work. But our garden is GROWING!!

Here's the run down of what we have:

- Watermelon
(is that watermelon not the cutest thing?)

- Cucumber

- Zucchini
- Yellow squash

- Bell peppers

- Jalapeno peppers

- Big boy tomatoes

- Roma tomatoes

- Baby tomatoes

I love watching everything grow! It took so long for everything to start coming up but once it did it has just taken off and is growing at rapid rates!

I love the way the cucumbers and watermelon look as they spread out.

But they are getting pretty intertwined- hope everything turns out ok.


A Day of Trying

My friend and college roommate, Rachel, is in town and we are having a fun couple of days! Rachel has certain foods that she likes to eat and certain foods that she likes to avoid. Rachel's says she has "a limited diet consisting of bread, cheese, and peanut butter." She doesn't eat many fruits or vegetables but in the last several years has began trying new foods.

Here are her newer tastes she's acquired:
- scrambled eggs
- caesar salad
- chickpeas
- apples

This morning Rachel went to the local farm with me to get produce. She sweetly agreed to try a few new things, so today she tried sweet white corn and watermelon!

She has never had any melon texture before and was hesitant at first but enjoyed the sweet watermelon juices.

The corn-- I told Rachel if she was ever going to like corn this was THE corn she would like. This is the best corn I have ever had in my entire life. The best, Jerry. The best!

Her reaction: She was surprised by the sweet taste of the corn. I think she liked it though. It gets 1 thumb up from her.

Ya for Rach letting me blog about her :)

Love ya Rach!


Yes for Breakfast

My favorite meal on vacation was this amazing breakfast! I did eat too much but look at all of that fruit!!

We had a breakfast buffet with eggs for my morning protein and fresh pineapple, bananas, grapefruit, oranges, and pears! Yummm...

Oh... and that is bacon :) Come on, it was vacation!


and back again...

So after my last post I headed out of town again. We jumped in the car and headed to Tennessee. It was a great week of fun with family and sweet memories and celebrations of Mamaw's life. In memory of June Lady we had a wonderful ceremony in Kingsport, Tennessee, where she lived 85 years of her life.

When we got back into town it had been 2 weeks since we'd been at home. No fresh foods, not really any good food, not much to work with. Not to mention a lack of fruits and vegetables on the trips. I was in NEED of some fresh fruits and vegetables. So we pulled in the driveway, and I jumped out of the car and into the other one and headed towards our local farm. I loaded up!

Apples, plums, peaches, baby tomatoes, real big tomatoes, blueberries, and sweet white corn.

*The apples, peaches, blueberries, tomatoes, baby tomatoes, and sweet white corn are all locally grown!

Also... watermelon!! A BIG one!

Welcome home to me! :)


back from vacation

What an amazing week I had on family vacation! We had a wonderful time seeing new places, doing fun things, and just spending time together.
Niagara Falls, Canada

Unfortunately, while my family was up here visiting me and my husband they lost their sweet dog, Max. He got very sick suddenly and just didn't make it. We got him when I was 12. We will all miss him very much! And on an even sadder note, my Mamaw (grandmother) passed away before my parents got home. Please keep my family in your prayers as we mourn, remember, and miss her dearly! She was a sweet, sweet lady.

Me, Mamaw, Tommy celebrating Mamaw's 87th birthday!

My sweet Mamaw

My mom and Mamaw

Me and my sister with Max

My husband, brother, me, sister, and Mamaw with the dogs including Max.

I will really miss her and love her so much!