The stack

Dear blog,

Please excuse if I neglect you this next while. This would be why:

My life is filled with 240 papers to grade, my finals, my own paper, an assignment, work, marking 105 finals, and planning the last details of our vacation. Yup, I think that list is a great reason to be neglectful. Let's just call it prioritizing school.

But I am counting down the days till we leave for Europe! T - 8 days! It's my light at the end of the tunnel.





Homemade satsuma marlamade

I know this was supposed to be a surprise, but I could not wait to post about my satsuma marmalade. If you do not like marmalade, I am sorry, but I bet you may be getting some for Christmas this year. As you may have previously read, we have a satsuma tree in our yard that produced a ton of fruit this year... approx 250 pieces of fruit. I had no clue what we were going to do with all of the satsumas. I searched for ideas on Pinterest and found Martha's recipe for tangerine marmalade. I figured I could swap out the tangerines for satsumas. Martha always know what she is doing... and she is a good teacher too!

After peeling, chopping, and removing seeds I was ready to go! It took longer than expected to cook down (about 45 minutes longer than she predicted - I am not sure if it was the different orange variety or the humidity in the south) but it turned out perfectly. It was also my first time canning anything by myself... but when the self-sealing jars "popped" I knew I was successful!

I would re-write the recipe but who are we kidding, I followed Martha's recipe to a t and she deserves all the credit for this one.

Get your favourite toast ready! I will bring the marmalade. 

I also think this would bet great in pistachio shortbread cookies sandwiches or for baked brie! Oh the possibilities... I could get used to this homemade marmalade thing!


Planning ahead

I realized the other day we leave for Europe in less than 2 weeks! I have tons of school work, grading, and 2 finals before we leave but I can always get distracted by fashion. I decided to check the upcoming weather forecast in Manchester & Cologne and they are both expecting rain and snow over the next 10 days... I think I am safe to say the 2 weeks we will be there it will also be raining and snowy. I do not want to be touring with wet and cold feet so I knew I needed to make an investment: rain boots!

I did my research, Hunter boots are not in my budget... but I can afford some cheaper similar looking black rain boots ($33 on Amazon + free shipping) along with some Hunter socks (10% cashback through Shop Discover + free shipping). 

Its the perfect combo! Now I just need to decide what to wear with my rain boots. Time to get planning! Thanks goodness for Pinterest for inspiration.


When your meal plan changes

We had a great meal plan for this week... then we changed all of it! We have leftovers from Thanksgiving... and leftovers from all of our coupons we got at Sam's Club! That's right, we finally got a Sam's membership. I actually purchased it through Living Social. It came with coupons for 2 boxes of cookies, a rotisserie chicken, and a large pizza that we could only get on the day we signed up for our membership.  The leftovers on top of the leftovers we already had made for a small grocery bill which was nice.

Here's what we plan to eat this week:
Sunday - pizza
Monday - leftovers at the university (last Monday night class of the year for both of us!)
Tuesday - turkey chili
Thursday - Walk Ons
Friday - tortilla soup (I have the best recipe from our fave place in Mexico!)
Saturday - TBD

With all of the grading I will have on my desk my the end of the week (15 group projects, 105 finals, and 130 assignments) I know I need to get my workouts in early. Since I have lots on my plate I imagine I will be doing some Bodyrock workouts... get a great workout in 12 minutes! I call it productivity at its best! I also hope to go to Body Factory on Saturday morning as they are having an open house... free workout!


Happy Thanksgiving #2!

I am thankful today, and everyday for:
a home to live in
B & our families
all of our friends all over the world
& happiness

This is our second Thanksgiving this year since we celebrate both Canadian and American holidays in our home. We get a 4.5 day weekend to relax, get ready for our vacations, do work, and eat some great food with friends. 
Did you know you have to wear this on your first ever American Thanksgiving:

Kidding! Turkey toques are not really my style.

We have a delicious meal planned as we are having friends over for dinner:
BBQ turkey
mashed potatoes
sweet potato souffle
cranberry orange relish
roasted broccoli
whole wheat buns
pumpkin pie

We are going to have way too much food but it will be great to have leftovers for a few days.
Have a great Thanksgiving weekend!


Crafting for Christmas

I love Crafts. I love Christmas. Clearly this is my time of year. Pinterest helps me with inspiration for all of these important tasks. Check out some of the great things I have found:

The light Christmas tree is almost ready! It is made with upside-down tomato cages and lights. It is a great way to store your tomato cages for the winter.
Three wreaths: burlap, wood, berries, and apples. I love them all but must pick one. We have a red door so that will definitely help determine the end color scheme.
NOEL. I love the neutral colors and simplicity.
One lights and decorations in a tin planter. Also simple and a great way to add some modern texture to our old home.

I cannot wait to get crafting this weekend! After my homework is done of course!


Vivaaaaa Las Vegas!

We spent the weekend in Vegas for a family weekend. It was a great time and we really enjoyed seeing my fmaily.

 Lunch in Houston! We love Le Grand Comptoir wine bar. They have excellent food, this time I choose the margarita pizza and a glass of red wine.

I love all the sights in Vegas. There is just so much to see and do. Here is the Bellagio fountains, The Strip, the view out our window at Mandalay Bay, driving past In N Out Burger, and Excalibur!

Some views from the wedding! Okay, only 2 pre and one post since we got told to put our cameras away.

All of my outfits except for the last day when I forgot to utilize the room mirror. Notice a trend... I think everything I wore was from J.Crew!

Finally, Some instas! 
Our cute plane! 
A pineapple and rum.
The great decor at the Las Vegas airport.
A ham and pineapple pizza that completed my weekend. We got to the stand right before close so we bought 1 and got 3 free! LOVE free pizza!
Some football on TV... there is a new NFL team called the bumble bees!
A view of Houston out the window.

That's it friends. That was our quick weekend away in Vegas. I could go back to that city so many times. There are so many pools to hang out in, so many shows to see, and lots of great restaurants. Now to plan our next vacation... we leave in less than a month!


Leftovers... its what's for dinner

This week is a great one... back from vacation, only a couple days of school, and a long weekend! Here's what's on the menu for this week:

Sunday - pizza in the Houston airport
Monday - turkey wraps
Tuesday - lasagna!
Thursday - Thanksgiving dinner
Friday - turkey leftovers... of course
Saturday - ND football game... out to dinner!

Other things for the week: I have it on our to-do list for Thursday to walk around the lake. I wrote it down so now it has to happen. I also need to do homework and work on my Christmas crafts and baking! It will be a busy one!



Happy Friday... from Vegas! We had a long day of traveling... okay, not that long. Here's a summary of our past week:

1. More weekly fashion inspiration from J.Crew! I love this look even though I do not need a winter coat. 2. Check out my Meyer lemons! They are huge, yellow, and looking very edible. I hope to use a few to make Thanksgiving dessert for guests next weekend. 3. We have been loving pumpkin muffins these past few weeks. I find it funny that when I go to remove them from the muffin tin there are always 11... when I started with 13. I wonder where it went. 4. It's been chilly over night in The South lately! Brrr!

5. My life has become a bit more JOYful now that Starbucks has Joy tea again. I am obsessed! 6. One night for dinner we had Annie's Organic cheese pizza... it is one of our favorite frozen foods for a quick weeknight meal. 7. Before we did yardwork last weekend B picked from flowers from our front yard for me. 8. We were packed for Vegas by Wednesday night... and we did not leave until Friday at noon. I wonder if we were excited for our weekend getaway?



Enchilada challenge

We love Mexican food. We love healthy but simple weeknight meals. We are also going to Mexico soon... clearly all of these things are related to the fact that we cannot stop making enchiladas for dinner! I like to call it our enchilada challenge. About every other week we have been making a different variety. My challenge to us was to continue with the simple, healthy, and budget friendly meal without ever repeating a recipe.

So far our favorite variations have included:
leek & yellow squash
leftover turkey and broccoli
mushroom, goat cheese & zucchini

Here's what we do to make ours:
sautee veggies (and meat)
mix veggies with a big of enchilada sauce from a can (we use both red and green)
coat bottom of baking dish with sauce
fill tortillas with veggie mix, roll, and place in baking dish
repeat until full and veggies are used up
cover with more sauce
cover with cheese
bake in 350 oven for 25 minutes.

This has also been a great way to increase our veggie content and have meatless meals!
Are you up for the challenge?

P.S. If you follow me on Instagram you can see everytime we have this for dinner!

Thanks a bundt

I always love when a new shoppe comes to town. Cupcakes have been popular for a few years so I knew something new would hit the market soon. Baton Rouge's newest specialty food: bundt cakes!

I was very excited to try out Everything Bundt Cakes, then we got a coupon in the mail for a free bundtlet! I knew it was meant to be. 
When I arrived they were sampling red velvet and pumpkin. I loved them both, they were so moist and delicious... not something I usually think of when I think of a bundt cake. I choose pumpkin (of course!) for our free bundtlet. It was delicious... B said it tastes like our wedding cake, which is a huge compliment. The mini size was the perfect portion for us to share. This will defintiely be a new go-to place when I need dessert and do not have time to make something homemade.

Oh, and Nothing Bundt Cakes is a franchise with locations all over the USA. Check them out if you see one near you!


Teach me something: correlation vs. causation

Here's a fact we learned in both research methods and stats this semester:

correlation does not equal causation

Let's apply this to real life:
There is a strong positive correlation between a new catalog and line of clothing at J.Crew and me pinning everything I love on Pinterest. Let's take a look of some of those items that happen to be released in stores tomorrow:

Luckily for B there is not a causal relationship between all of these things being pinned on Pinterest and a decrease in our bank account/ everything finding its way to my closet... I know better. But I can still dream. 

Does Pinterest feed my addiction of shopping or better allow me to pin everything I love then think about it until it is sold out and therefor do not buy everything I see? I prefer to hope the latter.


What's on your plate this week?

It's an exciting week.  But that also means we need to focus on health eating and planning ahead when it comes to food and fitness.

Here's what we are eating this week:
Sunday - leek and yellow squash enchiladas
Monday - leftover turkey pumpkin chili
Tuesday - leftover enchiladas
Thursday - Walk On's
Friday - viva Las Vegas!
Saturday - Vegas wedding!

This weekend I will get to see my family, something I have not done since I moved in January so I am quite excited for our weekend getaway! My week is not jam packed so I hope to get in a few extra workouts (cannot wait for the Mandalay Bay pool!). The countdown to my weekend vacation has officially started!


Lest we forget

Today we remember those who have sacrificed their lives for our safety and freedom. Please take a moment to be thankful for everything you have because of the generosity of all of those who serve our country every day... no matter what country you live in.

In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.



TGIF! Its been a busy and productive week! At first I thought I took a ton of photos on Instagram this week when I remembered I forgot to blog last Friday! So here's a recap of the last 2 weeks in photos:

 1. Check out our orange tree! The satsumas are delicious and make some amazing juice! 2. Check out the cute turtles suntanning by the lake! The wildlife at LSU lake is great to see everyday morning. 3. I made a trip to the LSU foundation for some Christmas gifts. Yes, I am almost done my Christmas shopping! 4. Satsumas and lavender tea... not together, but both delicious.

5. Just a date at Bin 77. We love the flatbread appetizers on the happy hour menu. 6. I decided to straighten my hair the other day. It sure is getting long! I forget it grows quicker down here. I think I am due for a trim. 7. Our first Christmas cups! Unfortunately, they do not have Joy tea yet... but soon! 8. A glass of New Zealand pinot noir... as recommended by a friend. It was a great recommendation.

 9. My J.Crew outfit of the day. I love my lime skirt with a cozy sweater. 10. The night I made artichoke olive ravoli with butternut squash sauce (and some cheese)... oh and a side of tomato, basil, mozzarella salad. It was fit for a president on election night! 11. This has been on my to-do list for a long time... since January... and I finally bit the bullet and got it done. My application went in to NBCOT. Lets all say a prayer they accept my application and I can work again as an OT south of the 49th parallel. Seriously, I need all the help I can get. Now all I can do is wait. 12. Some J.Crew inspiration one morning. I love the monochromatic green look!

13. Legit research: negative ads make people less likely to vote. Then why do they show so many negative ads on TV? 14. Some Little Cesar's to bribe me to work on my statistic paper. It is due Dec 5 but I want to get it done early. Now I just need to keep motivated. 15. Popcorn while we watch the presidential election outcomes. I used garlic, thyme, and lemon pepper as my seasoning. Yum! 16. Have you ever tried the Google flight search function? Brilliant! Thanks Google for making something so functional. If this is not new, please humor me and pretend like I taught you about something exciting!

Have a great weekend! Mine involves work, homework, relaxation, and hopefully finishing my stats paper! If I keep writing it down maybe it will finally get done!


HBC winter fashions

On a week of the US presidential election, I thought it would be suiting to talk about a great Canadian company: HBC. I mean, the election is important but I cannot vote here so instead I like to focus on a country where I can vote!
Check out these great winter fashions:

I love all of these items. I think the sweaters are beautiful, especially the cream one! I also think the ornament would make a great edition to our Christmas tree. I know I live in a warm place but sometimes it still gets chilly enough to wear a chunky sweater.
Maybe someday one of these will appear in my closet.


Tomato tart

Sometimes I get a vision for a meal and it needs to be made immediately. Sunday was the day... minus the immediately part since I thought of the idea in the morning and made it for dinner. The idea: a tomato tart in my fave tart pan! My inspiration came from Vegetarian Newlyweds. It is our most used cookbook! If you want a great vegetarian cookbook I highly recommend this one!

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
2T basil pesto
2c low fat mozzarella
2C halved red & yellow cherry tomatoes
ground pepper
1/4c sliced black olives
1T dried bouquet garni

Place thawed puff pastry in tart pan, I had to stretch mine a bit. Spread pesto on the base of the tart, cover with mozzarella and tomatoes. Add ground pepper, sliced black olives, and bouquet garni. Bake in a 350 degree oven for approximately 30 minutes. Serve warm.

Ours was served with baked tilapia, roasted broccoli, and some leftover potato wedges. It was delish!


Teach me something: everything in moderation

Studying, homework, and class prep takes up a lot of my time as a grad student. Its important to remember that you need everything in moderation... even when it comes to school work. This past Friday night all I wanted was to sip on a glass of wine and someone else bring me dinner so I could hang out with B. We love Bin 77 and they have great happy hour specials so that was our destination of choice.

Moderation is key. Wine... in moderation. A delicious burger... in moderation. Dining out in restaurants... in moderation. Relaxation time... in moderation. But all of these things are also very important to prevent burnout... for both of us. B works very hard every single day, luckily he is married to someone who loves vacation, time to relax, and a delicious glass of wine. We create great balance.

So even though I love to tell you about what I am learning in school, I also love to tell you that I sometimes we all need to relax too. I cannot help it. It's the OT in me... self-care, productivity, & leisure everyday!

P.S. All I have left for my classes this semester is a 20 page paper (I am already 1/4 done), 1 stats assignment, 1 open book final, and 1 45 question multiple choice final! Then end of semester one of grad school is near! Up next: vacations in 4 different countries!


A week of food and fitness

Oops! I forgot to blog on Friday. I honestly do not have a reason why. Sometimes, life happens. After a crazy weekend of LSU football  I am ready for some healthy home cooked meals. Here's what's on the schedule for this week:

Sunday - tilapia, tomato tart, roasted broccoli, and potato wedges
Monday - leftovers
Tuesday - artichoke & olive ravioli with butternut squash sauce and tomato basil mozzarella salad
Thursday - Walk Ons
Friday - salad wraps

This week, on top of teaching 9 hours of Zumba and pilates, I plan to walk around the lake (weather pending), do an arm workout, a leg workout, and go to a class at Body Factory! I should book my class right now so I have no excuses later. 

Not much else going on this week. Hopefully it will be a quiet and productive week!


Low-fat pumpkin oatmeal chocolate chip, almond, chia seed cookies

Yes, the name is a mouthful. But the end result was amazing! Last week I really felt the need to have some home baked goods in our house so I made banana bread muffins and these cookies. I found a variation of a pumpkin cookie recipe online that appeased me and made some changes, of course. Yes, I have been loving the Skinny Taste blog lately. She has amazing recipes have been filling our house with amazing scents.

1c whole wheat flour
2c old fashioned oats
1/4c chia seeds
1t baking powder
1/2t baking soda
 1/2t salt
1t ground cinnamon
3t pumpkin pie spice
2T, butter at room temperature
1/2c sugar
1/2c brown sugar
1 eggs
6T pureed pumpkin
2t Mexican vanilla
1/2c chocolate chips
1/2c slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 350. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, combine whole wheat flour, old fashioned oats, chia seeds, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice. In a large bowl (I use my Kitchenaid mixer) cream butter and sugars on medium speed. Add egg, pumpkin and vanilla and mix until combined. Stir in flour mixture then chocolate chips and slivered almonds. Drop 1T of dough at a time onto baking sheets. Bake for 10 minutes.Cool for 3-4 minutes then transfer to a wire cooling rack.
Makes 32 cookies.

I gave some of these cookies to B's colleagues who devoured them immediately. One even commented that he loved that he was eating something healthy. Your welcome boys. I am glad you enjoy my healthy cookies.

By the way - Happy November! Where did October go? I was busy with school and a conference! Anything exciting going on in November? We have a family wedding to attend in Las Vegas (I will  get to see my parents who I have not see since I moved in January) and of course, more school work. Less than one month of classes, then finals and Christmas break!
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