Monday, March 23, 2009

Whirlwind of Fun in the WINDY CITY & MOre!

David had spring break last week. Pretty sure it's his last one, but hopefully he'll be able to take plenty of time off for family vacationing when he's a doctor.

We drove to Chicago on Wednesday, which was the 6 year ANNIVERSARY of our ENGAGEMENT. The time sure does fly! We checked into our hotel, parked the car, got ready for the evening, and then walked to Giordano's. They make the BEST pizza! We shared a small and only ate 2/3, but we were stuffed. We were pretty exhausted from the day so we just went back to the hotel and relaxed.

On Thursday we went our own ways. Many might think this is weird, but it was perfect for us. Yes, we have many of the same interests and love spending time together, but I didn't feel like seeing any museums this time. I wanted to stroll up and down Michigan Avenue. So, I did and it was fantastic!

We started our day by walking over to a Corner Bakery off Michigan Avenue. Both of us had their Swiss Oatmeal. If you've never had this, please try it if you ever get a chance. It's amazing! We always had to stop and get some every time we went to Dallas back in the day.

David bought a City Pass and toured several museums. He had a great time. He's really into that sort of stuff. Shopping is definitely more my thing. It was so fun to shop at my own pace. I walked well over 6 miles on Thursday. It was a bit chilly and really windy, but I didn't let that get in my way. I went into so many stores. Of course, I didn't spend a lot of money. I just purchased a few things. A couple of purchases I'm most excited about was the pie crust cutters from William-Sonoma. I've been looking for these for about 4 months now. I'm so happy I finally found some. I'm also super excited about the glass nail file I got at the Symphony store. I know, it probably doesn't make any sense at this point that I purchased a nail file at the CSO gift shop..... but it has a clarinet hand painted on it. So, I LOVE it!

We met up later on after all the museums closed and were non-stop busy until almost midnight. I was exhausted and crashed when we got back to the hotel. I had to get a good nights sleep before heading home.

We drove home on Friday morning. I was home long enough to do a couple loads of laundry, have dinner and go to Hobby Lobby with my dear friend that was dog-sitting Ethan.

Saturday morning we drove to Buffalo, MO for a friends wedding. The wedding was beautiful, the bride was radiant, the reception/dinner was fantastic, and the party was a blast. We were there until after 11pm and then headed to our hotel up the road. After we got up on Sunday we had lunch with the bridal attendants and then headed home.

I'm spending today trying to recover from all the fun we've had these past few days. I am also attempting to detox from all the eating out I've done. I had sliced zucchini, carrot sticks, and some cabbage for lunch. For dessert I had some pecans. It was so good to eat natural food again. I think I'll have to make a fruit smoothie here in a little bit.

So, that's a very broad overview of our week. Now..... I think it's time for a nap. = )

Giordano's for Wednesday night dinner

Our HUGE small pizza

Swiss Oatmeal from Corner Bakery

Chicago reflection on the Bean

Crazy skywalk connecting a couple of buildings


Revisiting a mall I went to when I was 15. It has 8 floors!

David enjoying a meatball sandwich from Gino's East

A night view from the John Hancock Observatory

Another view....

My delicious coconut latte...... Do you see the heart?

Never thought I'd be so happy to see the Arch and call St. Louis my home.

Love St. Louis!

Me and Lacey

David and Greg

Party Favors


Table decorations
Boys will be boys!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Luck of the IRISH!


May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields and,
Until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

I prepared a delicious Irish meal yesterday to celebrate St. Patrick's Day and my Irish heritage.  I thought I'd share the recipes with all of you.


1/2 head of cabbage, shredded
1/2 tsp. salt
1 lg. onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 lb. kielbasa, in 1/2" pieces
1 lg. potato, peeled & diced
1/2 tsp. caraway seed (opt.)
1 1/2 (14 oz.) cans chicken broth

In crock pot, put shredded cabbage, toss with diced potatoes, salt and caraway seed. Add onion and kielbasa. Pour chicken broth over all, stir lightly. Cover and cook on low setting for 8 to 10 hours or on high setting for 4 hours. Serves 4.

**I used a lot more cabbage and potatoes than what this recipe calls for. I only used 1lb of turkey sausage because it's all I had in the freezer (I buy the cheap and healthier version). I left out the onion and caraway seed because I didn't have any on hand. I also purchase my chicken broth (paste that I add to water) from Penzey's Spices because I like it better than the cubes and cans. If you're interested, you can visit their website at All my spices come from there and they're absolutely amazing. I also added a couple tablespoons of butter to this recipe. We'll be getting 6-8 servings out of my adjusted version. = ) (I have a huge Crockpot)

I had a German Grandmother and an Irish Grandfather and we always had pork, sauerkraut, and mashed potatoes for the holidays. This meal wasn't exactly the same, but it sure brings back some memories.
Oh, and my husband LOVED this meal. This recipe is a keeper for us. Enjoy!

Irish Soda Bread 

Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 1 Hour
Ready In: 1 Hour 10 Minutes
Servings: 20

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 pint sour cream
1 cup raisins

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease two 8x4 inch loaf pans.
2. Mix the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the eggs, sour cream and raisins and mix until just combined. Distribute batter evenly between the two pans.
3. Bake loaves at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) for 1 hour.

**While I was searching for Irish recipes to celebrate St. Patrick's Day with, I stumbled across some Irish Soda Bread recipes. I've never heard of it before, but thought it was worth a try. Most of these recipes call for buttermilk, but I didn't have any on hand. This particular recipe called for sour cream instead, which I was lucky enough to actually have in my fridge at the moment. I also had just enough eggs and just enough flour. (I've been trying to stay away from the grocery store because I'm a bulk buyer and tend to purchase stuff whether we currently need it or not.)

I decided to just whip this up in a bowl and use my hand mixer instead of my big Kitchen-Aid stand mixer. The dough is extremely thick and I'm pretty sure I could smell the lil' engine of my hand mixer. It was a pretty tough dough for the lil' guy. So, I'd make this in my stand mixer next time.

My home smelled great while the bread was baking in the oven. When I pulled it out I cut a slice and put butter on it. It was absolutely delicious!!! It's not something I'd make all the time, but I'll definitely make it again. Enjoy!

TIP: cover with foil after baking to help lock in moisture and keep it from drying out

Monday, March 9, 2009

Food & Frugality

My nutrition teacher asked us to write 2 ways that we currently save money on food. Okay, okay... so I came up with more than 2.  = )
I thought I'd share these ideas with all of our readers.
The following list contains things that I currently do to save on food money, but without sacrificing nutrition.
o  Shop at Sams:  We get their boneless, skinless chicken breast in bulk for 1.97/lb from the refrigerated section.  I cook it and/or freeze it. We occasionally purchase their salmon, beef, cheese, and fruits/veggies (especially celery). We also buy our ketchup and peanut butter in bulk there because you get much more for the same amount of money as the little containers at the local grocery store. They also have great prices on frozen fruit, frozen veggies, milk, eggs, bread, and tortillas. 
  Shop at Aldi:  Cheap (off-brand) cereal, pancake/waffle mix, crackers, canned veggies, canned fruit, butter, milk, eggs, bread, pickles, olives, salad dressing, tortilla chips (99cents), fresh fruit and veggies. Just remember to take your own shopping bags and a quarter for a cart. 
v   Farmers Market:  We love fresh produce!  I pay close attention to the prices and know what’s a good deal. Waiting for sales helps us eat a nice variety too. We enjoy asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, zucchini, squash, tomatoes, blueberries, strawberries, bananas, oranges, plums, peaches, pears, apples, etc.  I do not buy overpriced produce!  I make do with what’s on sale.
v   Dry beans:  They are even cheaper than canned beans. They just require a little planning ahead.  I keep different types of dry beans on hand at all times.  I often add them to soup instead of pasta or rice.
v   Cans, Cans, Cans:  I insist on keeping lots of canned goods around.  They’re great for soups, salsa, or throwing in with some meat in the Crockpot.  They have a very long shelf life too.
v   Skip the meat!  We transform a lot of our recipes to be vegetarian.  We love chili, but often replace the meat with lentils.  It’s tasty!
v   Leftovers?  Don’t trash- FREEZE!  It can often be difficult to cook for 2.  We tend to have a lot of leftovers.  I freeze prepared meals and it becomes an instant meal on a busy day.  It keeps us from eating out and making poor nutrition choices.  
     Brand Matters?  Not to me (generally speaking)!  I’m comfortable purchasing the cheaper brand of canned goods.  I still pay attention to the nutrition label and additives.  There are times that I’ll pay a little more to have something that doesn’t have trans fats or something that doesn’t have MSG (MSG gives me headaches).
v   Make it yourself!  Bagged Salad costs more because you’re paying for convenience.  Purchase everything yourself, then clean and cut as soon as you get home.  It’s ready the next time you open the fridge.  Also, we love hummus, but it’s so expensive when it’s premade.  It’s easy and super cheap to make at home.

v   SPLURGES!  There are some things in life that we can’t sacrifice- COFFEE.  We love Starbucks coffee beans.  This is one item we’re not willing to throw out for a more affordable version.

Friends & Food

Our awesome neighbor friends came over last night with a bunch of freshly grilled burgers, chicken, and vegetables.  I made buffalo chicken dip, provided salad greens, and diet coke.  We pretty much had an amazing potluck! Everything was absolutely delicious and we had fantastic company.  I'm so thankful for our great neighbors.  

I thought the buffalo chicken dip was pretty good, but David didn't care for it because he dislikes cream cheese.  In case you're interested, here's the recipe......

Buffalo Chicken Dip


1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup blue cheese salad dressing

1/2 cup Frank's® RedHot® Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce or Frank's® RedHot
® Buffalo Wing Sauce
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese or shredded mozzarella cheese

2 (9.75 ounce) cans Swanson® Premium Chunk Chicken Breast in Water, drained

Assorted fresh vegetables or crackers


Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Stir the cream cheese in a 9-inch deep dish pie plate with a fork or whisk until it's smooth. Stir in the dressing, pepper sauce and blue cheese. Stir in the chicken.
Bake for 20 minutes or until the chicken mixture is hot and bubbly. Stir before serving. Serve with the vegetables and crackers for dipping.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Spring Fever

It's official.... 
The McCoy's have Spring Fever!

The weather was pretty nice yesterday.  I took advantage of it by doing 5 loads of laundry.  I know that sounds crazy, but I just hate walking a whole 20 seconds to the laundry room when it's so cold outside.  I only had 2 kitchen towels left in the drawer, so it worked out perfectly.  I also washed bath towels, the shower curtain, several rugs, 2 sets of sheets, and our bedroom curtains. It's nice to have all our linens clean again.

I woke up this morning to an amazingly beautiful day.  I threw on some day clothes, a hat, and my flip flops and took Ethan for a really long walk.  He had a blast! The poor little guy was exhausted and collapsed by his water dish after we got home.  He was one hot dog!

Speaking of hot dogs..... David didn't have afternoon class today so after he got home we went to the store for some hot dogs.   We grilled the hot dogs and had a picnic on our porch.  It was awesome!  

I gave Ethan a little hair cut after lunch.  He was so hairy!!!  He was not happy about it getting a hair cut, but he doesn't look like he's wearing a skirt anymore.  After that, David tuned his bike and got it ready for a ride.  He rode it over to Grants Trail and the rode along the trail for a bit. He went about 9 miles today.  It makes me miss my bike.  Bike riding outdoors definitely beats going to the gym!

While David was gone I decided to do more laundry.  Everything is actually in the dryer right now.  It should be done within the next few minutes.  I'm just washing some of my clothes this time and a couple of Ethan's bath towels.  Now he'll have clean towels the next time he gets a shower.  

We are currently planning on grilling out burgers for dinner tonight, but David is really craving sushi.  He's sitting in the big chair thumbing through our Entertainment book to see if we have any coupons.  

So, the weather has been gorgeous the past couple of days.  I just love it!  Unfortunately, I haven't worked on any school stuff today, but I did take advantage of an amazing day.  It was really good for my mental health.  I think I needed a day off to spend a day with my lil' family.  

Oh, one last note.  There was a big grass fire near my parents home today.  Actually, many homes in their neighborhood were even evacuated.  Luckily the firefighters were able to get it all under control.  My parents have had some close calls lately between this and the tornadoes that hit 1 mile west of their home.  I'm glad everyone is safe.  

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!  

Thursday, March 5, 2009


A friend of mine posted this recipe on her blog.  She's an amazing Christian woman and Pastor's Wife.  She has 2 precious little boys and homeschools both of them.  She has some of the greatest ideas and traditions.  I'm so thankful she shared this recipe on her blog.  This is going to have to be a new tradition in the McCoy household.

easter story cookies

Easter Story Cookies

To be made the evening before Easter, you need: 

1c. whole pecans 
1tsp. vinegar 
3 egg whites 
pinch salt 
1 c. sugar 
zipper baggie 
wooden spoon 

Preheat oven to 300F. 

Place pecans in zipper baggie and let children beat them with the wooden spoon to break into small pieces. 

Explain that after Jesus was arrested He was beaten by the Roman soldiers. 

Read John 19: 1-3 

Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 tsp. vinegar into mixing bowl. 

Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross he was given vinegar to drink. 

Read John 19:28-30

 Add egg whites to vinegar. 

Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life> 

Read John 10:10-11 

Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand. Let taste it and brush the rest into the bowl. 

Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers, and the bitterness of our own sin. 

Read Luke 23:27 

So far the ingredients are not very appetizing.

Add 1 c. sugar 

Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know and belong to Him.

Read Ps. 34:8 and John 3:16 

Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12-15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. 

Explain that the color white represents the purity in God's eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. 

Read Isa. 1:18 and John 3:1-3 

Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoons onto wax paper covered cookie sheet. 

Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid. 

Read Matt. 27:57-60 

Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF. 

Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door. 

Explain that Jesus' tomb was sealed. 

Read Matt 27: 65-66 

GO TO BED! Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. 

Jesus' follower's were in despair when the tomb was sealed. 

Read John 16:20 and 22 

On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. 

Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Easter Jesus' follower's were amazed to find the tomb open and empty!! 

Read Matt. 28:1-9

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


I haven't posted anything in a really long time.  It's been crazy busy around here with managing a home and a tough school schedule (remember, music is my life.... science is my foreign language).  

If you know me, you know that I love lists.... here's a list of what's been going on with us and where we're headed.

1.  Got our tax refund and put it in SAVINGS!  
2.  Sold 2 Macbooks
3.  Purchased myself a NEW Aluminum Macbook... it's incredible!
4.  Wished my Dad a Happy Birthday 
5.  Went to a birthday/Valentine's Party at a friends place on Fri. 13th
6.  Skipped my Saturday class several times, but it's all good.  Promise!
7.  Had a LOVELY Valentine's Dinner with a couple of close friends
8.  David and I both got new watches (1/2 price!) for Valentine's Day.  
9.  Dinner with 2 other couples on a Wednesday night.... so FUN!
10.  Had another doctor appt.... my BP was perfect!  Woohoo!
11.  Ate LOTS of GUMBO for Mardi Gras
12.  Purchased some early BIRTHDAY gifts for David at a Macey's that was closing.  Shhh.... don't tell.
13.  Found a great hair stylist in STL... let me know if you want her contact info.
14.  Discovered another great coffee/gelato/cafe shop.  I'm sure I'll be going there quite often.
15.  Hosted a BACHELORETTE Party at Lumiere!  14 lovely ladies attended and 11 stayed the night.  What happened at the Bachelorette Party stayed at the Bachelorette Party.  *wink,wink*
16.  Found out one of my BEST FRIENDS is Pregnant.... CONGRATS!  I'm excited about helping them prepare their hearts and home.
17.  Finding out that more and more of my friends are pregnant or just gave birth.... GLAD I'm NOT drinking that H20!  = )
18.  Finally had a day of FANTASTIC weather today!!!  Praise GOD!
19.  I have a test this Saturday, Tuesday, and Thursday
20.  Spring Break for David is March 14-22
21.  Spring Break for me is March 21-29
22.  Our friends, Lacey and Greg, are getting MARRIED on the 21st! 

Oh, and I almost forgot.....  

David will be taking 
Step 1 of the USMLE 
on June 4.  

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...