Friday, September 27, 2013

So Domesticated of Me!

So after my apple picking excursion at the MacQueen Apple Orchard, I am left with a little over a dozen apples! 

What's a girl to do?


I wanted to find a recipe that would require a large amount of apples along with being a healthy snack at the same time... You know... to sort of replace my guilty habit of devouring our candy caramel squares and the already half-eaten bag of candy corn... 

So I found a recipe for Baked Apple Chips coated with cinnamon and sugar!

After my most recent blog post, (where I confessed my undying love for Fall), this seemed like the perfect snack to make! 

Although the recipe is time consuming in regards to how long it needs to bake, it was literally the easiest thing I've ever had to prepare... Which was helpful since I was in charge of cooking dinner for my hard-working, traveling husband. ;o) 

For those of you that know me, cooking for me is like pulling teeth. I just simply do not enjoy it. Oddly enough, I truly enjoy baking... but when you marry an Italian who was born with a spatula in his hand, I've gotten very used to not doing any cooking. 

Dinner tonight was pasta and veggies with a spicy sauce! 

Ingredients: Whole wheat pasta, vegetables, and Ro*Tel + chicken broth + half & half for the sauce. That's it! 

I was quite the multi-tasking, domestic wife tonight. 
While dinner was simmering, I finished preparing the apple chips. 

According to the recipe's directions, I let these babies bake on 200F degrees for 2.5 hours. As suggested, I flipped them over half way through as well. When the 2.5 hours were up, I turned off the oven and let them sit in the oven for another hour or so. 

And wha-lah! Warm, toasty, cinnamony, apple chips! :) 
(However, I think next time I will use less cinnamon)

Nothing like a great snack to wallow in during this Breaking Bad marathon before the final episode... uggggh.

So Jo(W)anna know what? Turns out my Irish roots are good for something other than drinking. ;o)

I'd say it was a successful night in the kitchen for this gal! 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Oh My Love for Fall


What is it about autumn that makes me feel warm and cozy inside?

Maybe it's the sound of the leaves crunching beneath my brown tall rider boots that 98% of women in America own. 

Or maybe it's the mixture of the crisp air and warm sun all at the same time that leaves you so confused on how to dress. Or possibly it's the golden and vibrating colors of trees that look straight out of a Bob Ross painting. 

Maybe it's the ritual of throwing on my Pittsburgh Steelers apparel on a Sunday afternoon; only this season, I am left with a disappointing loss and the satisfaction of finishing a 6-pack of pumpkin ale... by myself... (Go Pirates)  

(I feel ya Tomlin)

Maybe it's the fact that I want to stuff everything, and anything, that involves caramel, pumpkin and apple into my mouth... 

Whatever it is, autumn makes me want to cuddle with every snuggable thing in sight and makes me just about the happiest human being alive. 

Yesterday, my friend Cristina and I took an afternoon trip to the MacQueen's Apple Orchard to pick some apples and to of course, enjoy the beautiful weather. 


(Someone remind me to get a manicure)

Needless to say, the experience was memorable, fun and breathtaking! 

With my love for photography, and Cristina's love for cooking, this apple picking trip turned out to be most rewarding in the end... Beautiful pictures and a happy belly.

Cristina found a recipe for Apple Turnovers that left us in a joyous apple induced coma.

Here they are before the oven...

and of course, the final product after the oven was...

(This literally makes me want to lick the computer screen) 

I think it is safe to say that I went to bed a very happy camper last night. 

So Jo(W)anna know what? In the scheme of things, what isn't there to love about fall? (And yes, that was a rhetorical question.) 

Wishing a very happy "sweaters and scarfs, warm apple cider, hay rides and corn mazes, chili for dinner, pumpkin spiced everything" season to you all! :)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tag! I'm It! - The Liebster Blog Award

This morning, along with the other 99.9% of Americans, I logged onto my Facebook account to catch up on my daily stalking...  reading of others people's lives who I haven't kept in touch with over the past 5 years... reading. I had a notification telling me that I was tagged in a post from who other, fellow blogger Sheila Sup: The Sup Buzz. What a nice, little pleasant surprise!

In Sheila's most recent blog post, she nominated me for the Liebster Award. 

What is the Liebster Award you ask? Well that's a good question. I had to do some research myself... which I was perfectly content with since Google is my best friend...

No really... 

Me and Google on my wedding day.  
(Clearly I am in need of a life)

But regardless of mine and Google's relationship, I found out that the Liebster Award is given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. Wait a tick. Should I take this as a compliment? Like a, thanks for the reminder that no one follows me, kind of compliment? Hmm... 

Anyways, the word Liebster is apparently a German word and means: sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome. Although I am flattered, Miss Sup, that I came to mind for this beloved award; I am quite disappointed that the adjectives prettiest and funniest are not a part of that mind-blowingly long definition of Liebster... 

I'm sure I'll get over it. 

Moving on. 

To keep this Liebster movement going, there are rules to receiving this award: 

1. Choose 11 other up-and-coming bloggers and link them to your Liebster post. 
2. Answer the 11 questions the previous blogger has set for you, then create 11 different ones for the bloggers you will choose. 
3. Let those bloggers know you tagged them!
4. No tagging back to the person who nominated you. 

So to start off, these were the questions that were passed along for me to answer:
1. What is your favorite season? Elaborate please. 
No hesitation here. FALL!! Where do I even begin? I'll start with the fact that my birthday is in October, college homecoming, FOOTBALL (go Steelers!), the colors, the brisk air, fall fashion, my wedding anniversary, the list could go on and on. 

2. Describe one of your biggest pet peeves.
I absolutely lose my cool when slow drivers drive in the left hand lane. Please refer to a previous blog post of mine covering the topic of serious road rage... that will do all the explaining. 

3. You just won $1,000,000. What would you do with your winnings?
Pay off all remaining debt, buy a house, donate some of it to humane societies, take my family on a trip around the world, take a second honeymoon, and then put the rest in savings for my kids some day! 

4. Fill in the blanks. I couldn't live without ______________ because _________________.
I'm going to be a sap with this answer and say I couldn't live without my husband, Tony, because he's my second (and better) half. However, IF I was single... I would totally say, I couldn't live without pizza because it is the best thing God could have put on this earth. 

5. Who is your favorite sports team?
If you didn't catch that in my answer from question number one.... THE STILLERS! I bleed black and gold baby. 

6. What lesson did you learn the hard way?
Oh goodness... too many to count and probably not smart of me to share... ;o) 

7. If you could pick a different career, what would it be? 
A television host for sure! Oh.. and to also become best friends with Jennifer Lawrence and Kristen Wiig. 

8. What is the craziest food you've ever tried? Was it awful or wonderful? 
I would have to say alligator! And it wasn't bad... "Taste like chicken!"

9. Where was your last vacation spot? 
Home to see my family in Oklahoma!

10. Silver or gold? 
I have a lot of silver, but my favorite is actually rose gold! You give me anything rose gold, you have my heart. 

11. If you could share one piece of advice with the world, what would it be? 
To seriously stop with the judgement and accept people for who they are. In the words of Mother Teresa, "if you judge people, you have no time to love them". Everyone was created different, and that is just the plain truth. 

So if you're still awake after reading my nail biting answers, it is now time to pass the torch. Clearly, since I don't have that many followers (7 to be exact), I don't have that many people to tag. However, I do have three followers who are avid bloggers that I enjoy following and reading. They are; Carrie Stevenson's: Keep Calm and Carrie On. Margaret's: Life After Athens and Jess Brady's: Runner in Stilettos. So I now pass this on to you, ladies, with the following questions to answer: 

1. What is your favorite hobby? (Besides blogging of course)
2. If a real life genie appeared while you did your weekly lamp polishing, what would be your 3 wishes?
3. If you could leave right now for a 2 week vacation, where would you go?
4. If you were a super hero, what powers would you have?
5. What is your guilty pleasure?
6. What is a cool family tradition you have, or have started? 
7. What is your favorite childhood memory?
8. What historical figure would you love to see in 21st century life?
9. What is your favorite holiday?
10. If you were ever to be famous, what would you be famous for?
11. What is quote that you live by?

Alright, ladies! The stage is all yours! Can't wait to read what you come up with! And thanks again, Sheila, for being such a liebster for thinking of me!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Running for Paws!

On October 20, 2013, I am attempting to finish my first ever marathon. It has been a long journey to get where I am today, and it sure was not easy getting here. A year and a half ago, I decided to change my health for the better and one of my best friends (shout out to Cristina) and I decided to pick up running.

-45 pounds...

...and 2 half marathons later...

I am ready to conquer the full marathon [at least I think so]. 

Training for this run is going to be an emotional roller-coaster for me, so to keep me motivated, I thought what better way than to make this journey one that will impact others... or more specifically, impact animals!

High Five!

Growing up, my family always believed in rescuing animals and showing them the love and care that they deserved. This is still a cause that I hold dear to my heart, especially since my family could testify that I am mildly obsessed with our dogs... ESPECIALLY our chocolate lab, Laydee (AKA Bubby)...

Since Laydee always steals my attention, it wouldn't be fair not to share this ridiculously cute picture of our other dog, Molly!
What an angel...

 Lord knows that if I could, I would bring home every animal that needed a home.
I'm still trying to figure out how my husband puts up with it...

Ok... so here we go...
[Insert the Sarah McLachlan song, "Angel", from that tear jerking animal cruelty video]...

The Wood County Humane Society's animals come to them through owner surrenders, strays (cats only), or through animal cruelty and neglect cases. For those of you that are pet owners, we all know how quickly a pet becomes part of the family. They have the ability to bring so much love, happiness, and loyalty to a human's life. 

So Jo(W)anna know what? Here's where you come in... I am trying to raise $25 for every mile (let me remind you, 26.2) of pain my legs will endure. That's a total of $655.00. All proceeds will go to the Wood County Humane Society in helping enrich the shelter environment while the animals stay with them. Right now, the Wood County Humane Society is completely out of dry cat food, so your donation will also help expand their limited budget toward other needed expenses. Please check out my Running for Paws website and consider donating! All the support and encouragement means the world to me!

If I haven't convinced you yet to donate... 
...maybe my good friend Sarah can change your mind...
Ugh... it's seriously like watching a bad car accident. No matter how hard you want to change the channel when it comes on, you just. keep. watching.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

No Pain, No Gain!

Marathon training has officially begun... 

Lately, my weekday workout routine has consisted of boot camp, turbo kick, and body sculpting classes... so this whole trying to get back on track into the running routine is bound to give me a rude awakening...
...a rude awakening indeed.

I've heard the best training guide to follow is Hal Higdon's. It's an 18 week training guide for first time, full marathon, runners. Even though I have two half marathons under my belt, I wouldn't even come close to describing myself as an experienced runner... so you can bet your bottom that I am following the easiest/beginner training guide. 

(dear lord this looks daunting)

Yesterday marked day two of my training and I was a first class passenger on the struggle bus... 

Not only did I probably pass off as the chubby bubble girl during the course of my three miles... but the amount of sweat that I accumulated on my body was socially not ok. I think I was born with 10x the amount of sweat glands a normal human being should possess. Gross. 

But Jo(W)anna know what? I'm incredibly anxious to get this over with and cross it off my bucket list. Watch out Columbus marathon, I'm coming for ya... least, here's hoping! 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Military Diet Continued...

So here I am... day three of the military diet... 

How am I feeling, you ask? 

Army Strong Weak.

After ending day one with this meal...
...I ended the day feeling strong, confident and thinking to myself, "Hey! This isn't so bad".

Whelp... then day two came along.... 

Breakfast Day 2: 
1/2 banana, 1 slice of toast and 1 egg. The diet plan didn't say coffee, so I stuck with water. 

Lunch Day 2: 
5 saltine crackers, 1 slice of cheddar cheese and 1 hard boiled egg. 

Dear Lord someone save me. I am starting to see mirages of cupcakes.

No cupcake. Go away. You're not real...

Dinner Day 2: 
2 hot dogs with no buns (yes I cut them up like a 5 year old), 1/2 banana, 1/2 cup of carrots, 1 cup of broccoli...

OH - and who can forget my 1/2 cup of Vanilla Ice Cream...
(probably the only thing that excites me about this diet)

Instead of sitting at home last night staring at food (more specifically at my Starbursts and my chocolate bunny from Easter), I decided to go to hot yoga to distract me from my cravings. 

Well... that just made me even hungrier. So I turned on some television and went to bed. 

A sad stomach does not make for an easy night's rest. 

But here I am, on day 3, with only 10 more hours to go... 
...but who's counting?

I was in a rush this morning, so I didn't get to snap a picture, but my breakfast consisted of 5 saltine crackers, 1 slice of cheddar cheese and a small apple. 

Lunch Day 3:
1 hard boiled egg and 1 slice of toast and... 

I keep waiting for something else to pop up for me to be able to eat... 

But nope. That's it.

Tonight's dinner includes 1 cup of tuna (BARF), 1/2 banana, and 1 cup of vanilla ice cream. 

(insert baby crying here)

Oh well... When I weighed myself this morning, the scale said I dropped 4 pounds. That would average out to 2 pounds each day of the diet. So by tomorrow morning, I can't imagine myself losing 6 pounds to reach a loss of 10 pounds.

I predict, that by tomorrow morning, my total will be around 6 pounds of weight loss in 3 days. Which hey, I'd say is pretty good for the suffering through tuna and saltine crackers.

I do want to point out that this diet coined its' name because military people used to use this diet when they needed to get in shape quickly. Before women became more active in the military, and since men lose weight faster, the military diet can advertise up to 10 pounds of weight loss. However, everyone loses weight differently. So for some of you, you may be able to lose 10 pounds in 3 days, but for others, such as myself, a good 6 pounds will just have to suffice.

But hey. 6 pounds is 6 pounds.

I would recommend this diet if you are looking for a quick fix and want to shed a few LB's before a wedding, a bathing suit wearin' vacation, or just because you notice your summer shorts didn't quite fit like they did last year.  

But Jo(W)anna know what? Will I do this diet again? 

The probably of that being a no is a good 99.9%.