Monday, February 28, 2011

Eleven in 11: Evaluating February

2011 is moving along pretty quickly. We're already at the end of month two. I'm keeping myself accountable on the progress of Eleven in 11.

The breakdown:
1. Volunteer opportunity- Well, I thought I had found something, but the first committee meeting was on the same night as another event I was working on. I'm going to find something here and soon!
2. The weight loss one- I've lost 9 pounds since January so I'm doing pretty well on that front. (However, Tim and I have slacked on the gym the past two weeks so we've got to get it in gear).
3. Plan and take honeymoon- We had a plan, but I'm waiting for an event at work to go down first before I make/pay for any plans. It is going to happen though :) I know it!
4. Trying four new recipes- We've done it, I just haven't posted these all in the blog. Some were kind of bleh. We made:

5. Blog three times a week- Slowed down a bit in February, but we've added the new Caturday Saturday section to the blog. I find it entertains the cat lady in all of us.
6. Student loan- Check :)
7. Savings!- Check check :)
8. Read 52 books- Ugh I am struggling on this! I just cannot find the time and/or right books to settle in to. I need to crack out the Goosebumps, R.L. Stine or Sweet Valley I guess...not sure I'll be meeting this quota any time soon.
9. Facebook birthdays- I've stayed on track with this I think.
10. Visit 12 new restaurants- Actually did this one this month.
11. Etsy- Thinking about working on a piece tonight.

Once again, I think we're doing alright. 2011 has been a very kind year so far.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Caturday Saturday

It's time for...
Caturday Saturday!
Scooby is a trash cat...

She likes the tissue paper

Jackson and Elliot are interested too...

Oh hi. It smells like a snack in there. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Three Years Married, But Over a Decade of Friendship

Tim and I three years ago today!

Tim and I last night at CODE RED.

It is crazy to think we've been married for three years. It feels like only yesterday we were in grad/law school at rival SEC schools. It feels even more bizarre to think about the near seven years of dating (yes, if you're new to the Kelly and Tim show we met way back in high school). But, here we are. There have been ups, downs, good times, bad times, crazy times, crazy fun times, tragedies and celebrations. I look forward to the next three years, and the next three and the next three and so on...I'm still hoping that we can eventually take that honeymoon though...*cough* Anyhow...on to the fun part!

The gift for a three-year anniversary is supposed to be check out what I got Tim:
Tim opening up the leather zip-padfolio I got him. It was also engraved with his name!
Tim got me a new handbag. Scooby wanted to check it out too.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Snacking at Our House: Yummy Chocolate Cake

When I saw this in Taste of Home magazine I knew it would be delicious. I couldn't wait to try it. Chocolate is my great weakness, but this recipe is light, or at least lighter. When all is said in done one serving is only 4 WW points. Not too shabby.

I wish I could say the process was fun, but it got a little hectic in the kitchen. Problem #1 was the fact we had no cooking spray. I didn't want to try and grease the pan the old fashion way so I thought..hey! I'll make cupcakes instead of the cake. That way I'll also have exactly 16 servings. Sweet precious Tim tried helping me out so I could eat my cooling microwave dinner...and that became Problem #2. Tim did a decent job helping scoop batter into the cups, he just didn't attempt to level the cups. Because there is pudding in the batter, they kind of help some funky shapes and cooked all funny in the oven. Needless to say, I may have flipped out on him a little....ha!

Anyhow, this is the finished product:

Yummy chocolate cupcake.
The icing wasn't as great the first night, but the second night (after being in the fridge almost 24 hours) the icing is much better.


  • 1 package (18-1/4 ounces) chocolate cake mix
  • 1 package (2.1 ounces) sugar-free instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 1-3/4 cups water
  • 3 egg whites

  • 1-1/4 cups cold fat-free milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 package (1.4 ounces) sugar-free instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 carton (8 ounces) frozen reduced-fat whipped topping, thawed
  • Chocolate curls, optional


  • In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, pudding mix, water and egg whites. Beat on low speed for 1 minute; beat on medium for 2 minutes.
  • Pour into a 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 12-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
  • For frosting, place milk and extract in a large bowl. Sprinkle with a third of the pudding mix; let stand for 1 minute. Whisk pudding into milk. Repeat twice with remaining pudding mix. Whisk pudding 2 minutes longer. Let stand for 15 minutes. Fold in whipped topping. Frost cake. Garnish with chocolate curls if desired. Yield: 16 servings.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Dinner at Our House: Honey Mustard Chicken and MacNCheese Bake

Honey Mustard Baked Chicken Tenders, Homemade Mac N Cheese Bake + "Baseball Peas"
So, I bet you thought I had abandoned my dinner-making duties. And, you are partially right. We've been very busy lately and having to eat out more, or let my mom cook some of the usual. But, have no fear I've got a brand new recipe for you to try, as well as an old-faithful of mine that I don't think I've shared with you all yet.

Tonight we made Honey Mustard Baked Chicken and a MacNCheese Bake. Tim and my parents had peas, but I swore those off long ago as a child, and I opted for a green salad. (Yes, I really do have a serious pea-phobia. Looking at them in the photo is fine, but smelling them in real life makes me gag. Ask my best friend Mel about what I do at the Chinese restaurants where they make fried rice...).

Anyways, let's get to it. I found the chicken recipe on under one of their low-fat options. We were supposed to use chicken breasts, but we used these tiny little tenders instead. In fact, I have a feeling I might prefer that we used the tenders. Here's what you'll need:


  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup prepared mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Sprinkle chicken breasts with salt and pepper to taste, and place in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking dish. In a small bowl, combine the honey, mustard, basil, paprika, and parsley. Mix well. Pour 1/2 of this mixture over the chicken, and brush to cover.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Turn chicken pieces over and brush with the remaining 1/2 of the honey mustard mixture. Bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Like I said, we used tenders instead of breasts so watch the oven for your chicken's done-ness. Now, I linked you to the MacNCheese Bake as well. But, if you make it their way you are looking at about 6 points of more (still using old school WW points). I make it with lower fat ingredients and change how I mix it up. I think it tastes just fine. So below I'll post how I do it to make it 4 WW points.


  • 2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup 98% Fat Free
  • 3/4 cup skim milk
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni [I used shells!]
  • 6 oz shredded reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese


  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a medium saucepan, heat soup and milk over medium heat until simmering. Remove from heat. Add shells to your 9x13 baking dish, and stir in the soup mixture. Sprinkle half of your cheese on the mixture and stir it in. Top the dish with your other half of the cheese.
  3. Bake for 25 minutes or until cheese is golden and bubbly.

Presto! You have pretty delicious, and healthy, dinner for the family. Another option I read is to grill the chicken. I may have to recruit dad and try that one out! Stay tuned for the delicious "Yummy Chocolate Cake" that I made last night.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Restaurant Review: The Black Cow

The Black Cow storefront. It is pretty cute.
So, as part of our/my Eleven in 11 we tried a new place out last night. We went out for a date night with our good friends Mel and Chris to a restaurant in downtown (Uptown- whichever) Columbus. The Black Cow is, to my knowledge, a fairly new place. Maybe under a year or right at a year old. Anywho, I hate to be a Negative Nancy, but I don't think it lived up to some of the fanfare I had heard about.

I had heard from a friend on facebook that it was really famous for the Pressed Turkey Sandwich. A turkey sandwich that uses goat cheese and fig preserve. This of course interested me because back in Auburn there was a place that had an amazing turkey wrap that I loved. Needless to say, I've wanted to try this place for a while. Mel and Chris got interested when they had a mailer from The Black Cow, so we all decided to find a time to go.

We decided to go last night on a double date night to The Black Cow and to see a movie. I'm notorious for looking up menu items online so I can try and decide before I get to the restaurant what I want (or in some cases I look up the nutrition information so I can calculate WW point combinations so I don't feel as bad for eating out).

I was a little troubled when I found some of the reviews for The Black Cow on websites. I know that rating sites are generally frequented by people who A- have a really really good experience or B- a really really bad experience. And that is what we found- a mix of great experiences and bad experiences. I was even more disturbed by the ones on facebook. Somewhat tangent note: If you have a facebook page, you need to monitor it. If you have bad feedback- address it. Bottom line.

Basically, we had similar issues to the negative feedback posters. Tim and I arrived first, put our names in and were told we would have a ten minute wait- no big deal there. We waited and got our seat pretty quick, but then that is when the wait began. Mel and Chris arrived only a minute or so after we were seated. The four of us waited at least 10 minutes to even be greeted by our server. Now, I recognize that it was a Saturday and that is a busy night. However, why would you seat people and not even greet them and say 'hey, its a busy night I'll be back...blah blah blah whatever." Or at least grab the drinks. If you get young adults (or really any drinking adult) started on beer and wine they are more likely to drink more during their long wait (hey, that's an idea!). When he finally came by (which I think he only showed up because Mel channeled him with her awesome nonverbal skills) we went ahead and ordered our drinks and food.

Mel ordered the chicken and grits, Tim ordered a burger, and Chris & I both dared to try the Pressed Turkey Sandwich. I think Mel's dish was ok, but her first bite did burn her mouth pretty badly from the reaction she had. Tim said it was pretty hard to mess up a burger and that he enjoyed his. I think Chris liked the sandwich. I thought it was pretty good. I did not think I would like the fig preserve because I am not a jelly or jam kind of gal. But in the end I think the sweet preserve complimented the salty goat cheese. It did seem like the bread was a bit greasy, and my second sandwich half fell apart while eating it. Oh I forgot: Mel and I both had salads. If you do not like what my dad calls "weed" salad, then don't order the side salad. I can take the different kinds you find in a spring mix- so long as it is green. When it's that dark purple stuff I can't handle it. I feel like I'm eating a flowerbed. On the plus, I loved their balsamic vinaigrette. Very yum.

With all that said, the final summation is this: I probably won't ever go there again unless it is with someone who really wants to go. Or, if it is possible to call in an order to pick up. I may or may not crave the turkey sandwich. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't as memorable for me.

Pressed Turkey Sandwich and Smashed Red Potatoes.

Tim's burger and fries.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Caturday Saturday

It's time for another lazy edition of Caturday Saturday.

Jackson passed out on the sofa.
Oh momz, get that camera out of muh face.

Scooby is skilled at the art of contortion.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thoughts on Toomer's

One of the pictures taken on the day of my graduation from Auburn University. I'm at Toomer's under the beautiful shade of the Oak trees. 
I just wanted to take a little time to let it off my chest how I'm feeling about the tragedy at Toomer's (and yes, losing an iconic piece of history, of nature, of our Auburn family is in fact a tragedy). Is it a tragedy of epic proportions? No. It certainly does not meet the levels of September 11th, JFK's assassination, the Iraq or Afghanistan wars, or any other event of those nature.

Let me just outline a few of my basic thoughts.

1) I am a devoted Auburn alum and fan.
2) I do not "blame" the Alabama fan population. You will NOT see me saying anything about the population as a whole on this matter. This was clearly an act of a fringe lunatic who does not represent his fan base.
3) I am glad to see Alabama, UGA, and other SEC school fans supporting Auburn. This may seem "trite," but I appreciate the solidarity that we have in the SEC. This recent show of support reminds me of why I enjoy the SEC. It is certainly the conference with the best traditions and deeply devoted fans.
4) I think many Auburn folks are overreacting when they try to compare this to any terrorist action. Be careful of the words you choose. Take time to think about what you are saying.
5) I also think some people are being overly harsh about the event. Auburn fans are allowed to feel outrage. They are allowed to grieve for the loss of a cultural artifact. You don't have to like it, you don't have to agree with it, but show some human compassion and keep your negative energy to yourself.
6) For everyone, perspective is important, but remember, your frame of reference is different from everyone else's, so don't expect people to react the same as you.

With that said, I'm deeply sad that I will never get to show my children the trees at Toomer's. In a way I see it in the same light as endangered animals at the zoo. When a species dies out, I always think about it as one less experience to share with the future.  I know that the brick walls and the eagle statues remain at Toomer's, but the beautiful canopy of leaves will not be the same. Maybe we will be blessed by tiny Toomer's Oak seedlings, but that will take many many years, and lots of work.

I will never forget the many nights at Biggin Hall (for non-AU fans its the arts building by Toomer's) for film class. The one night where I ran out to get a fallen branch to use for our "light study." The Auburn v. Florida game that was an AWAY game, but we still all churned out to roll the tree til it looked like a blanket of snow. Finding a cell phone during said rolling event and getting it safely back to its owner. I'll never forget posing at Toomer's for my graduation photo. Proudly wearing my full regalia and smiling as I finished a huge chapter in my life. Who could forget the crazy pancake people? There are so many memories I have from only attending the school for just a few years. I cannot fathom the memories created in over 130 year span.

In sum, I'm pretty sad about this, but the world moves on. War Eagle!

Toomer's tree

Toomer's tree

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Caturday Saturday

 It's time for... CATURDAY SATURDAY!

Tim and Elliot
Daddy and daughter dance

Elliot does this weird leg thing...

Haha :)

Now she moved it.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Apologies for Absence

Good evening blogger world! I must apologize for lack of updates this week. Busy at work and busy in life. Tim and I have had quite the exciting week. We haven't made official announcements, but I think by now most everyone is starting to figure out our news. Needless to say we are very excited, nervous, hopeful, energetic, and  most importantly we're trying to show our gratitude. I have to say that the most fun part of the week was this morning. Tim drove me to work so I wouldn't have to leave my car there while I traveled on business, but there we were- both of us listening to NPR, talking about current events, talking about work, and just realizing that hey! This is what it must feel like to be an "adult." Nerdy? You might think so (I think so!), but I'm blessed to feel  so excited about it.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Caturday Saturday

So I've decided that Saturdays are going to now be Caturday Saturdays for the blog. I'll post all the fun photos of the fur babies on Saturday. Here is what happened with the cats this week in February.

Elliot and her daddy humans...

Checking dad's internal organs for weaknesses...

I thought this looked posed.

Notice his little paws look identical...

to his sister Elliot's paws. It's like they planned it.

This was hilarious. Jackson was chilling and Elliot jumped up there too.

She just sat right down on his back like "whateva"

Look how seriously evil she is...

Jackson tries to free himself from her massive weight...

Almost there!

Safe in the arms of my papa!

but to papa's left...Scooby and Elliot. Papa was covered in cats!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Remembering Linda

I just wanted to post a short entry devoted to one of our family friends who recently passed away. I mostly knew Ms. Linda because she worked with my dad growing up. She and her husband would hang out with my parents and I would play/hangout with/baby sit their youngest son Kyle. I can remember trying to "bake" all different kinds of "goodies" with Kyle by using only sugar and flour and random items found in the kitchen. It has been years since I've seen him and most of their family. I did have the absolute honor of having Ms. Linda play at my wedding three years ago this month. Anyone who knew her, knew her great passion for playing piano and making music. She was so very talented. It shocks me to know that she is no longer with us in the physical world. It cheers me up though to know that she is probably playing the piano, and making beautiful music for her Lord. My thoughts and prayers are with her family.
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