Monday, January 31, 2011

Gender Reveal Brunch

Lance and I had a good time this last Saturday at my parents' house. My mom made lots of yummy food - homemade cinnamon and caramel rolls, two different kinds of breakfast casseroles and fruit. I made a very small contribution of homemade blueberry muffins (the key is using frozen blueberries). Lance's mom made some very cute pink and blue pinwheel sugar cookies to boot!

But the moment you've all been waiting for ...

Baby K is a boy!

I was surprised. Lance was also surprised. But we're thrilled, a baby boy is a great way to start a family and a big brother is always a good thing! Lance has visions of endless hours of bonding through sports and tractors. He's such a boy :)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Overpriced Items.

I want this. It would be the perfect Valentine's Day gift for this foodie like me. Too bad I'm getting bacon for Valentine's Day instead. That and the $160 price tag. Somewhat of a spoiler too :) You might be tempted to get a fake one, but trust me, fakes aren't the same. I got a fake one two years ago and now it's bubbling and flaking. Not worth the money. So pull out the big guns, go for the gusto and shell out a crap load of money for something the French do really well.

Happy Valentine's Day!

What? Are you confused? Don't be. I know that I'm ahead of the curve.

This year to commerate our love, Lance and I will be going to the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival! Nothing says "I love you" than pounds and pounds of bacon! Right?!?

I've been told that bacon is good for pregnant women and their baby. What? You haven't heard that from your ob-gyn? Okay, well now is as good as any time to start that rumor :)

Tickets sold out last Friday in four minutes flat. Gone. Poof. 1500 tickets vanished in four minutes. I think it would be accurate to say, Des Moines residents love their bacon!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Cheap. Healthy. GOOD!

Yesterday I think that we had one of the world's easiest, fastest, homemade lunches. And no, it was NOT popcorn and fudge (ha! that's what I had for supper). After spending 4+ hours at church (service, Sunday school, nursery), we were starving and in need of nourishment. On our menu plan for the day was "Beans & Rice." Lance, resident carnivore, was skeptical. Trick: if your husband is concerned about a meal's lack of traditional protein, try and sell him on the fiscal attributes of the lack of protein for the meal. You really can't get much cheaper than beans & rice.

I made up one cup of white rice (no 60 minutes available for brown rice for these starving tummies) and used a bunch of leftover ingredients in my fridge. What I found was a smallish container of black beans, some homemade salsa from earlier in the week, some cheddar cheese and some sour cream. I made the rice according to the package instructions, stirred in the black beans, and then seasoned both with a sprinkling of cumin and chili powder. I then added to the rice concoction the rest of the ingredients and served with tortilla chips (note to self: you do not have room for Costco's 3 lb bag of tortilla chips, no matter how cheap they are). Lunch was hot, done, and served in 25 minutes flat. And I cleaned out some leftovers from my fridge and made the world's cheapest lunch.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Kara Baby Pictures

My mom emailed me a couple of baby pictures for a work project. I can't help but be reminded of how cute little baby Asian girls are :) I'm sure that baby boy Asians are just as cute, but they just don't get to wear adorable ruffled dresses.

This is me when I was 4 months old. Look at those chubby cheeks. Oh wait. I still have those same chubby cheeks ...

This is my one-year picture. I look innocent. Ha!
Does God have a cutie Asian boy or cutie Asian girlie for our future?
If I had baby pictures of Lance on hand I'd do a little photoshop magic and see what sorts of horror I could produce with the power of technology. Alas, no readily available baby pictures of Lance. Who told me the other day that he preferred to not be called "Chubby Hubs" here. Apparently the world's thinnest, fastest metabolizing, junk food eating man thinks the endearment "Chubby Hubs" is some sort of attack on his weight. Pshaw. Foolishness. Lance is absurd.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Groupon Deal of the Day - Bath & Body Works

Here's another great Groupon deal - $30 worth of Bath & Body Works products for only $15!

I used by Body Shop Groupon certificate last week and got a huge tub of Cocoa Butter body cream, some Mango body wash and a nice quality hair brush - $40 worth of product for only $20! I read online that Cocoa Butter can diminish stretch marks. While I have not yet gotten stretch marks, I suppose preventative care has some merit to it! I didn't need the body wash but I needed another $5 to tack onto my total. My favorite purchase, hands down, was the hair brush. I've been using this skanky one I got for free 6 years ago. It's gross, but I never could bring myself to shell out money for a better one (note to self: Aveda really isn't the place to contemplate how much one should spend on a hair brush. One will never be able to bring one's self to part with money for a hair brush there). I love my new Body Shop hair brush, it's like a fun scalp massage every morning :)

Moral of the story. Groupon has some great deals. Check them out.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Personalized Momma's Necklace

Alas. If only I knew the name or gender of my baby. Or knew that there isn't the chance that I would change my mind by the birth of aformentioned baby. Because if the name was a "sure thing" I would purchase this sweet necklace today on for $32.50. I'm pretty sure that all momma's would like this for Mother's Day!

You know when something is good ...

When there are no pictures or proof that the item was tasty. That's how it went with my Grasshopper Pie. Oh my, it was tasty. Even Lance, professed hater of all chocolate mint combos (seriously, how strange is that?) said that the Grasshopper Pie I made over the holidays went fast. NASCAR fast. I was unsuccessful in trying to locate a holiday/grasshopper pie, so I was forced to make my own. Trust me, not finding a pie had nothing to do with lack of effort. We checked several Hy-Vees, Costco, Fareway, Target, Dahls, Aldis and my mom checked Sam's Club. I also looked at Schwan's website. Nada. It was disappointing. This dessert was so quick and easy to assemble, we wasted more time at grocery stores than it took for me to make this dessert.
I've posted a picture below to something akin to what I made. I think mine was better. Not that I'm at all prejudiced :)

Grasshopper Pie

1 premade oreo cookie pie crust
1 carton of mint chip ice cream
crushed Oreos
Junior Mints, chopped up
Chocolate fudge Hardshell ice cream topping

Soften ice cream for easy spreading. Dump enough to make an even layer with the top of the pie crust. Top with crushed Oreos and chopped up Junior Mints and decoratively drizzle the chocolate ice cream topping on top of all of it. Place back into the freezer to let everything setup and cover with foil. Prior to serving, let thaw slightly. Enjoy!

Like I said, easy-peasy. And delicious!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Pecan Bars

I made these ... awhile ago. Let's not talk about how long ago and how long they sat on my counter. I will say they do seem to keep indefinitely if you ask chubby-hubs. But then again, Lance has a very skewed sense of how long food should be kept for too. But these bars were a yummy twist on the traditional pecan pie. In fact, I think they were better than traditional pecan pie. I think that pecan pie gets a little ooey-gooey with all the filling. The bars have a nice pecan pie essence without all the goo. They are rich, so watch your waistline folks!

Pecan Pie Bars
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter or margarine, cut up
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup butter or margarine
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 1/2 cups finely chopped pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine flour, sugar, and salt in large bowl; cut in 3/4 cup butter thoroughly with a pastry blender until mixture resembles very fine crumbs. Press mixture evenly into a greased 13" x 9" pan, using a piece of plastic wrap to press crumb mixture firmly in pan. Bake at 350° for 17 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned.
Combine brown sugar, corn syrup, and 1/2 cup butter in a saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring gently. Remove from heat. Stir one-fourth of hot mixture into beaten eggs; add to remaining hot mixture. Stir in pecans and vanilla. Pour filling over crust. Bake at 350° for 34 to 35 minutes or until set. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Cut into bars.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Pregnancy update

In the realm of pregnancies, I've had it pretty easy so far. I've had zero morning sickness and have been able to function in a fairly similar manner to pre-pregnancy. Having zero queasiness has been a big surprise as I am prone to motion sickness and car sickness. In fact, the act of just sitting in the back seat can sometimes make me feel nauseous. Especially if you are zipping around a mall parking lot during your 45 minute lunch break in the act of trying to get a free Chik-fil-a meal dressed as a cow in the middle of July (Don't ask. Some people will do anything for free food. Which includes myself :)
Anyway, I wander. My pregnancy, so far, has been blessed. The first trimester was a breeze. I was more tired than normal and thirsty 95% of the day. While I wasn't throwing up, there were definitely foods that sounded awful. Mostly meat. Which was especially troubling for my carnivorous husband. I found myself desiring more salads, fruits and vegetables and less processed foods. Probably not a terrible thing, but hard on weekly menu planning. I also had a reduced appetite which caused me to lose some weight and get some flack by my doctors.
Now I am well into my fifth month and I'm noticing more changes. First off, my appetite is back. I'm back to my normal weight, maybe just slightly over by 2 or 3 pounds. My body is shifting and I'm beginning to bulge in my mid-section. It is an interesting conundrum because while I want to react negatively to the addition of weight to my body, I know that it's a good thing too. Bring on the fudge!

I've also started to experience lower back pain and some numbness in my left leg that can be associated with sciatica. I think this is a bad sign of future back achiness when I actually am fully pregnant in my third trimester. To combat the back pain I've done a couple of different of things.

1. I've started seeing a great chiropractor that specializes in pregnant women and pediatrics. She is also a doula. And ... very close to my workplace so I can get there and back on my lunch break. I had a really poor experience last fall with a chiropractor and their office manager. Needless to say, customer service is important and don't doubt the power of word of mouth.

2. I purchased a pregnancy pillow to help get a better night's sleep. I like it, but it's taken a bit of adjustment as I'm not naturally a side sleeper and I have a tendency to roll around at night. I have a feeling once I'm more pregnant I'll appreciate this further. But it's helping keep my spine and pelvis aligned which was a concern of my chiropractor.

3. I've scheduled a pregnancy massage for next week at the Aveda Institute. It might be a little premature, but I'm hoping to do one once a month until Baby K makes an arrival.

4. My chiropractor has given me a couple of good stretches for my lower back and has reinforced my need to continue my twice a week yoga classes. I've also started this yoga dvd at home too.

Hopefully a combination of all of these things will help with the back pain.
As far as cravings go ... ice cream and popcorn. :) I love me some salty/sweet combo!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Boy or Girl?

Lance and I had our 20 week ultrasound yesterday ... and we're having a ...

Actually we don't know if we're having a boy or a girl :) I know that it's killing people, but the world will have to wait until the end of the month. The ultrasound technician sealed the results in an envelope. Then we went home and promptly sealed that envelope inside another envelope and securely duct taped it shut. No peeking! Lance and I will be having a gender reveal brunch-party on 1/29/11 at my parent's house with both of our families. The rest of the world will find out then. Lance is hoping for a boy and I'm hoping for a girl. Regardless of what gender the baby is, we'll be happy. Baby K was being stubborn yesterday and wouldn't turn over for a good profile shot for the technician. Lance is convinced that it must be a girl because I'm the only stubborn person in our family. Whatever, we're both equally stubborn people. Therefore, no surprise that the baby is stubborn. I think it must be a boy who doesn't like having his picture taken - just like Mister Lance!

Patience people, patience. Time will tell if this baby is a boy or girl!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Does anyone ever feel like the setting of New Year's resolutions is trite and just foolish? Or like you are setting yourself up for an automatic failure? Well ... I typically feel that way, but we are going to try to be optimistic anyways! I also suppose that I have a bad habit of setting unrealistic goals too. With a baby on the way, I think it is probably a good idea for me to set low expectations for 2011 :)

1. Learn how to make a Korean food item. This was on my list last year and did not get accomplished.

2. Walk twice a day for 15 minutes.

3. Garden expansion and healthly/green living from our backyard.

4. Closet downsize and/or reigning in of shopping budget (and if I could accomplish all of my resolutions and make my closet look like this, I would totally work my butt off for this closet as my prize!)

Four resolutions. That's manageable, however I have a really bad history of incompleting my New Year's resolutions. We'll see what 2011 brings