Wednesday, February 29, 2012

2012 Goals

Happy Leap Day!  And Happy Birthday to a good friend of mine, Val!

Anyone else feel like February has been the Longest.Month.Ever??  I am not saying it is a bad thing, but I feel like this month has been around forever!  Usually the months fly by!  I am happy March starts tomorrow, but I am glad that things have slowed down a bit.  It has been a long time since I have been able to enjoy each month and not feel so rushed.

Moving on, today's post is long overdue....but I am happy to finally be getting around to it.  I often see bloggers post their goals right around the New Year.  Makes sense.  I have decided to do the same.  This way, I am accountable for my actions.  And if I put that information out there....I am more motivated to get them accomplished.  Most of the goals are specifically for me, however Dr. Bob and I also have some joint ones too.  I will say that they were created as we were ringing in the New Year, I just haven't shared them until now.

Erin's 2012 Goals:
~ Get an organized book list in one location and get it fully "entered"
          * I am happy to say that I took one night last week to finally do this.  It took awhile but I feel so much better now.  I actually decided to use one app that has turned out to be a wonderful thing.  It is called GoodReads.  The best part is, you can use it on a phone, tablet, or computer.  I highly recommend it.  And if you are on GoodReads, look me up!

~ Make homemade laundry detergent - I have wanted to try this for a few years now, so now it is officially on the goal list.

~ Make homemade hummus.  I have only recently come to enjoy hummus.  Now that I have, I want to try to make my own.

~ Improve my sewing skills.  I bought a sewing machine a few months back and I have been slowly learning how to use it.  My ultimate goal is to learn how to quilt.

~ Lose 20 pounds.  Dr. Bob and I have joined a local gym and signed up for personal training sessions.  We have been going to the gym about 5 times a week for the past 2 - 3 weeks.  I haven't noticed a major weight loss but I know I am physically feeling better and stronger.  The weight will come off soon.

~ Pay off my credit card.  Enough said.

~ Walk 10 miles per week.  This is something I want to eventually make a habit.  Right now I am walking/jogging and average of 5-6 miles per week.

~ Run a 5K.  March 11th is the big day.  Physically I know I will be able to run half of it, and I am happy about that.  I also plan to run a 5K on April 22nd - this is when I hope to run the entire distance and am able to cross this goal off my list.

~ Read 24 books (I have chosen 12 books to read individually and I will read 12 books through my book club).  

Here is what I have read so far:
          Individual Books                                                             Book Club Books
Jan:       Your Money or Your Life (Joe Dominguez)               Mockingjay (Suzanne Collins)
Feb:      The Girl Who Played with Fire (Steig Larsson)          Carnal Innocence (Nora Roberts)

Books I plan to read:
* The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (Steig Larsson)
* City of Veils (Zoe Ferraris) - personal choice but will be our April book for Book Club
* Noble Vision (Gen LaGreca) - given to me by a book club member
* Cutting for Stone (Abraham Verghese)
* The Dirty Life (Kristin Kimball)
* The Millionaire Next Door (Thomas J Stanley PhD & William D Danko PhD) - won off a blog, want to finally give it a go
* Review Patriot Games and then read Red Rabbit (Tom Clancy) - I am working through the whole Jack Ryan series
* Joy for Beginners (Erica Bauermeister)
* Change of Heart (Jodi Picoult)
* Folks, This Ain't Normal (Joel Salatin)

And if I don't reach my goal with this list, plus book club books - don't worry, I still have a "Want to read" list that keeps growing every day!

Now for our Joint Goals.  Dr Bob and I hope to:
~ Learn to can food

~ Try a sweet new recipe per month

~ Try a savory new recipe per month
     Jan:  I can't remember :-O I will double check with Dr Bob and get back to you
     Feb: Crock pot enchilada's (I need to find where Dr Bob got this recipe and then I will provide a link)

~ Explore Asheville, North Carolina

~ Visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

~ Post 2 blog entries per month - doing good so far!

~ Try a new restaurant per month - we live in such a Foody area, it is actually impossible to only keep it to one per month.
     Jan:  Yeah Burger, Chris' Pizza, Matador Mexican Cantina, Agave Restaurant
     Feb:  Community Q BBQ, Front Page News, Cafe Sababa, and I went to the Melting Pot for the first time with some friends.

~ Try a new hike per month.  We did not get to explore anywhere in January but we did try a new local path just last week so we met the goal in February.

Okay PHEW, that is a loooooooong list!  Sorry about that.  But now they are out there and we are being held accountable.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Chocolate Chai Mini Loaves, Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies, and Rice Krispie Treats

When Dr. Bob and I moved to the Metro Atlanta area last June, we rented an apartment sight unseen.

We were nervous to say the least.  Had we made the right decision?  Was it in a good area of town?  Was it safe?  Were we going to like our neighbors/complex staff?

Turns out it was a GREAT find!  We love where we live.  We love the area.  We love the staff at our complex.  We feel blessed that we lucked out!

A leasing agent by the name of Nicole was pivotal in making our transition a smooth and stress-free experience.  She was very friendly, helpful, and efficient.  We were so excited to get down here and finally meet her!

Fast forward about 9 months....Nicole has decided to move up in our complexes company and that means she is relocating to an Equity complex in Scottsdale, Arizona.  We are thrilled for her success but very sad to see her go!

She has been a big fan of our baking so when I stopped in to chat about her move she requested some baked goods as a farewell gift.  (I had already planned to make her some goodies, so it was good to get some guidance on her favorites.)

What am I making??

First, I am dying to have her try my absolute favorite/current "go-to" chocolate chip cookie recipe:  Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Next, she loves Rice Krispie treats so I am going to use the original recipe on the Rice Krispie website.

And finally, I have a new recipe that I have been dying to try, so here is the perfect opportunity.  I will be trying out Lisey's Chocolate Chai Mini Loaves.  I can't wait to taste test these suckers.

I think it is a nice mix and I know Nicole (and the rest of the staff) will really enjoy them.

What have you been baking lately??

P.S.  Stay tuned, I think there is going to be another blog entry coming up either today or tomorrow.  That's just plain unheard of around here these days!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Superbowl + Pinterest = Amazing

Hi Folks,
Well this past Sunday the Pats ended up losing the Superbowl - Boo.  But we were able to spend it with a ton of friends in the area as well as a visitor from the North!

We had such a good time showing Bits around, playing tourists, and checking out 3 - count them 3 - new to us restaurants.  Slowly but surely we are going to eat our way around Metro Atlanta!

Okay back to the point of the post.  I am having way too much fun on Pinterest.  I am absolutely not addicted like some people I know, but I am having a ton of fun checking out food decorating, recipes, crafts, and simple solutions.  I decided to make some of my "pins" become reality for the Superbowl.  Here is what I made:

Fruit Ka-bobs:

The idea originally came from  I figured we were going to be munching on a ton of other non-healthy things so let's incorporate some fruit in a cute and colorful way.
Next - Healthy Cupcakes, not so healthy frosting/design.

A friend of mine from college pinned an idea of taking a cupcake box mix and adding only 12 oz. of diet 7 up, keeping the original baking temp and time.  It was estimated that each cup cake would be about 100 calories if using a "lite" box mix.  I tried desperately to find a lite mix but it did not happen.  I was okay with it though because the cupcakes were already going to be healthier by nixing the regular ingredients and just using the diet soda.  They came out so light and fluffy!  And they tasted delish!

The design aspect of the cup cakes came from  We decided to only put goal posts on a few of the cupcakes so people could get the idea.

Finally, who doesn't love brownies?!  This idea originally came from  I was befuddled that I could not find a football shaped cookie cutter.  I almost threw in the towel.  But my good pal Bits came up with a brilliant idea - take a circular cookie cutter and squeeze it until it looked like a football - DUH!


I loved these!  So simple to make.  So delicious.

All of our items were a bit hit!  I think we came home with only a few cup cakes.

This is why I really like Pinterest!  (I don't think we are at the degree of love yet, give me a few more weeks ;-)  )

What did you have at your Superbowl party?