Monday, January 24, 2011

Meal Plan Monday!

Hey y'all - hope everyone had a great weekend! I know we sure did. It was so gorgeous outside! Saturday we enjoyed doing a whole lot of nothing (I didn't get any house work done) then we went to dinner and to our 1st hockey game with some good friends. We had a blast! It was so intense, I loved it! Apparently the team in our area is #1 in their conference. If you want to find out more about them, you can check them out here. I don't know the first thing about hockey, but I thought that was pretty neat.  Sunday we went to church then out for lunch afterward at one of our favorite places, Cock of the Walk.  Best.Coleslaw.Ever.  Sunday nights we typically have dinner with my parents.  So, I did my weekly grocery shopping at my favorite place, Publix, then came home and made a buttermilk chocolate cake.  It will make you want to slap your grandma it's-so-good.  I've had a lot of requests for the recipe over the past few months so here ya go!  The icing can be a bit tricky and just an FYI, this is not a cake to make when it's very humid or raining outside.  The icing will not set and you'll have a big mess!  Trust me, I learned the hard way.

Carrie's Buttermilk Chocolate Cake

*1 cup of strong coffee
*2 sticks Parkay margarine
*1/4 cup cocoa
*2 cups sugar
*2 cups all-purpose flour
*1 tsp. baking soda
*1/2 tsp. salt
*2 large or jumbo eggs
*1/2 cup buttermilk
*1 tbsp. vanilla

1.  Preheat over to 350°.
2.  Bring coffee, Parkay and cocoa to a boil in a small sauce pan.
3.  Meanwhile, in a large bowl, sift the sugar, flour, baking soda and salt.
4.  Break 2 eggs into a 1 cup measuring cup.  Beat slightly and add buttermilk to 1 cup marker.
5.  Add vanilla to the buttermilk mixture. 
6.  Pour the butter/cocoa/coffee mixture into the flour mixture and whisk vigorously
7.  Pour in the buttermilk mixture and mix well until combined.
8.  Pour into 2 greased and floured 9 inch cake pans.
9.  Bake 25-30 minutes and let cool for at least 30 minutes before frosting.

*1 box confectioner's sugar
*1 stick Parkay
*1/4 cup cocoa
*1/3 cup buttermilk
*1 tsp. vanilla

1.  Sift one 16 oz. box of confectioner's sugar.
2.  Melt stick of Parkay is a medium saucepan over low heat.  (DO NOT let it boil.)  When Parkay is completely melted, add cocoa and buttermilk.
3.  Add the box of sugar slowly, stirring until it's completely melted.  Make sure you keep the frosting at a very low heat.  If the sugar is not dissolving, you can turn it up a little.
4.  Add the vanilla and immediately remove from heat.  Frost the cake right away.

Here's a picture of the one I made last night.  It's not "pretty" because it was just going to mom & dad's.  You don't have to worry about presentation with this cake anyways, it's so good no one will even notice.  If you decide to make it, please let me know how you like it!  It is a total hit with my family.  They request it anytime a desert needs to be made.  I brought it over to my parents' house for Christmas Eve and it was literally devoured in 5 minutes, no exaggerating.   Half of it was eaten last night after supper.  It's sinfully good!

This wouldn't be "Meal Plan Monday" without my meal plan for the week so here it goes:

Monday: Eat Clean Meatloaf with mashed potatoes & steamed brocoli.  I got this recipe from here.
Tuesday: Tomato Basil Baked Chicken, steamed asparagus & my squash mixture* (SO delish!)
Wesnesday: Pork roast, cooked carrots, steamed brocoli
Thursday: Blackened fish of some sort (probably Amberjack since we had salmon last week), baked sweet potatoes and roasted asparagus
Friday: Baked pork chops & squash mixture*

*Squash mixture:  I start off by sautéing minced garlic and onions in about a tbsp of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil for those of you who don't know ;)).  Next, I add sliced and diced zucchini and squash (any kind, I typically use yellow squash and zucchini but you can use anything), add seat salt and pepper, and cook on med/high heat for about 7 minutes or until slightly browned on one side and softened.  I then slice and dice a tomato and add it to the mixture.  (Add extra EVOO if needed).  Cook down for about 2 minutes and add balsamic vinegar, about 2 tbsps.  Add more sea salt and pepper to taste.  Super easy, delicious and a healthy substitute for starchy sides!

I'm starting week 2 of P90X, one down, 11 to go ;)  Gotta get ready for summer time!  Hope everyone has a blessed day...

Friday, January 21, 2011

TGIF & New Year Resolutions

I've never made a New Year resolution, so why start now? I always thought they were silly & no one ever sticks to them, etc. But, I have decided to challenge myself. I am going to do this. It is something I have always wanted to do, attempted many times, but somehow fell short. I am going to read the Bible all the way through. So far, so good! I have really enjoyed it. During our counseling sessions with the Pastor before we were married, Jared and I both expressed our desire to do this so he provided us with a guideline to read the Bible through the year with daily readings from the Old and New Testaments. It really is quite neat. I've read all of Genesis and I'm almost done with Matthew. I can't wait to keep going! I've been devoting time to do my reading before bed and I always fall asleep thinking about what I've just read and/or praying and talking to God about it. Jared is also doing this, so we have many interesting conversations about passages. I love it! The more I read, the more I just "get it". If everyone would just live by these teachings (or try as hard as they can, which is what we're called to do), what a difference it would make. It really answers every single question you could ever have.

Since we're on the topic, I figured I'd share my daily devotional:

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope-the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, – Titus 2:11-13

What a wonderful passage. It's so easy to get lost on earthly items like nice cars, nice clothes, money, etc and I admit I am guilty of this. But what does any of that "stuff" matter anyway? It's just that - stuff. There's no substance to it. Just some food for thought :)

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! I'm planning on doing a little early spring cleaning and Jared and I are checking out our local hockey team. It's my first time going to a hockey game, I'm kind of excited! But as for tonight, I can't wait to get home and have a quiet night in with my husband. I've made taco soup, which is perfect for a cold night like tonight.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Happy Hump Day!

Hey y'all! Woo, it's Wednesday already! We're halfway there, folks ;) I hope everyone has had a wonderful week so far, I know I have. I'm loving getting back into the routine of being healthy. It makes such a difference. I could have used an extra hour or so of sleep, but I'm thankful the Lord blessed me with another day to live and a job to wake up for each morning. So, I've heard a good bit of feedback about the meal plan (yay, I'm so happy people read my blog, lol!) and I thought I'd share this handy little tool that makes it a little more "fun" for planning your meals throughout the week:

Love this website! It's full of useful little gadgets like this!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Meal Plan Monday

It's been awhile since I've posted. We all know how crazy the holidays can be! We had such a great time, but it's nice to get back into the routine. We spent Thanksgiving in Jonesboro & had Christmas in Pensacola. Our first holidays as a married couple ran smoothly & we enjoyed every moment of them. The Lord has truly blessed us with one another and with great in-laws. We couldn't be more thankful!

Speaking of being blessed, our church has been implementing a Solemn Assembly anticipation the whole month of January. It is truly incredible, indescribable even. I feel so moved. I would encourage every single one of you to attend a service and come see for yourself, the Lord can definitely be felt! These past few weeks I have been reading "Returning to Holiness," which is really more of a workbook than an actual book and let me tell you, it breaks you down and makes to reassess yourself more than you could imagine. We all need to keep ourselves in check with our Lord and Savior and align our lives with his principles and teachings. As was said in church a few Sundays ago, the Bible is not a book to understand, it is a book to obey! Great stuff :)

Now onto food - another one of my favorite topics! :) Every Sunday I make a meal plan for the week. It helps my grocery shopping run smoothly so that I don't buy things that aren't needed. I'm a little OCD, I admit. Lists are my friend :) I like the structure and it makes my evenings more enjoyable because I'm not stressing over what to make for dinner. Here it goes:

Monday: Eat Clean Tacos with salsa, gluten free chips & refried beans
Tuesday: Spinach & Bacon Quiche (other ingredients to include mushrooms and zucchini)
Wednesday: Baked Pork Chops, steamed broccoli & brown rice
Thursday: Eat Clean Summer Salmon, steamed asparagus & mashed potatoes
Friday: Either chili or pot roast (since it's supposed to be cold outside)
Saturday: Cactus Flower...YUMMMM
Sunday: Ehh, Sunday's up in the air! Sometimes we go to my parents' for dinner :) And Sunday is also grocery shopping day so I can buy whatever...maybe we'll do Filet Mignon and sweet potatoes.

Being that I make everything homemade each night, this really gets my week started out right. Since Thanksgiving, we haven't been eating so clean & definitely not working out. That all changes tonight. Today is Day 1 of P90X ALLLLLLLL over again...AHH! Help me Lord, I need strength. I know I'm going to be so sore this week. But that's okay, got a lot of weddings coming up and the beach here soon so I've got to get myself back into shape!