My Wedding Band!!! ( & Crock Pot Spaghetti Squash)

First things first, I loved all of your tips and ideas about how to begin living a healthy lifestyle.    

If you’re looking for more advice on how to begin eating healthily or how to start up a workout routine, check out the awesome informational nuggets from people who have been there in the comments section.  You guys are some smart cookies. 🙂  

Wedding Bands = Done!  

After work today, I picked Ryan up at home and we headed to Winter Park to (yet again) scope out a potential wedding band for me. (We picked out Ryan’s band last weekend.)    

When we arrived, the jeweler had two bands, both with princess cut diamonds, waiting for me to check out.    

Option number one had nine smaller diamonds. 

Option Number One

Option number two I actually examined last weekend. It had five larger diamonds. 

Option Number Two

 After trying them on back to back, and then re-trying them on about a billion more times, it became increasingly clear that I preferred the second ring.  

I felt like the first ring looked like a ribbon of diamonds, whereas the second ring looked like five individual diamonds, almost like mini versions of the diamond on my engagement band, which I thought was beautiful.   

I had a hard time with the whole process because the second ring was more expensive and it feels kind of crazy to spend so much money on a wedding band. 

Ryan was amazing throughout the process and encouraged me to get the one I really loved because in the long run the price difference isn’t crazy and it’s something I’ll wear and treasure forever. I knew he was right, but it’s still hard to justify. Thank goodness I wasn’t with him when he bought my engagement ring! 

A Little Anxious!

 In the end we decided on the second ring and I couldn’t be more excited! I think it is gorgeous! I’m going to have a hard time waiting until October to wear it. 

Me and Mah Ring!

  Here is a picture of us sportin’ our bands. 

Our Rings!!!

 We were both feeling pretty excited! 

Yay!

 The woman sized our fingers (I’m a 4.5… apparently I have baby fingers???), and we will pick up our rings once they’re resized in a couple of weeks. I can’t wait!  

Wedding band shopping made us quite hungry and we hurried home for a yummy dinner!  

Dinner  

Huuuuge shout out to TrailMomma for telling me that you can make spaghetti squash in the crock pot. Who knew!?!?  

According to TrailMomma,  

“If you put a spaghetti squash in the crock pot with 2 cups of water on low for 8 hours (or a tad less) or 5 hours on high you’ll come home to a cooked and ready to use squash. Keep in mind, cook less for a more “crunchier” squash as this makes it super soft . . . mix with tomato sauce, chickpeas and lots of oregano and you have one tasty meal!”  

Coincidentally enough, I purchased a spaghetti squash at the grocery store on Sunday evening. After reading her comment, I couldn’t wait to attempt to cook the squash in my beloved crock pot.   

As she suggested, I placed my spaghetti squash in the crock pot with 2 1/2 cups of water (it was a big squash!), and let it cook on low all day while I was at work.  

 
 
 

Cooked Squash

 I loved how easy the crock pot cooking made it to slice into the squash. Cutting into a spaghetti squash is always so hard and makes me nervous. It was nice to be able to slice into the squash withour much effort.  

Sliced and Ready

 After removing the seeds, I forked out the squash and topped it with steamed broccoli, pasta sauce and Parmesan cheese.   

Dinner is Served

Close Up

Close Up of Tastiness

 The verdict on crock pot spaghetti squash? It was really good! However, I like my “noodles” a little crunchier, so next time I will be sure to take the squash out of the crock pot after four hours or so to keep the squash from becoming too mushy.  

Mushy squash and all, I still loved this dinner!  

Of Possible Interest 

 Bachelorette Party Countdown Begins!  

Look what I had waiting for me on my front door step when I got home yesterday:  

Bachelorette Party Goodies

My wonderful friends left me a bag full of goodies and a homemade bachelorette party countdown booklet… Only SIX more days!!!  

Count Down!!!

Bachelorette Party Countdown Booklet

What to Wear

The booklet they made was beyond adorable. As shown in the above picture, it included a list of things I need to pack, organized by each day we’re there. The goodie bag included adorable bachelorette party gear, like a tank-top that says “BRIDE,” a blinking ring, a pink feather boa and more.

I have the best friends and can’t wait to enjoy a weekend of fun with them in Chicago!

Big Day Tomorrow

Tomorrow morning I plan on tackling my first long run in three weeks! After being sidelined from a heel injury, I took some time off from my half marathon training plan to recover.My heel feels much better and I feel up to attempting to conquer a 10 mile run tomorrow! Eek!!! Cross your fingers for me. 😀

Never Too Hot for the Crock Pot

Who says it’s too hot out to use the crock pot?

As someone who works full-time, the crock pot is something I depend on year-round.

I have a hard time relegating the slow cooker to the winter months when it allows me to come home to a no-fuss, already cooked dinner.

This evening dinner came together in a flash since I covered some chicken breasts in chicken broth and let them cook in the crock pot all day.

After forking the breast meat apart, Ryan and I covered the chicken in BBQ sauce and assembled our BBQ pulled chicken sandwiches to enjoy alongside roasted zucchini.

BBQ Pulled Chicken

Dinner is Served

Yum, Yum

Yet another slow cooker success!

I think an evening walk with the pup is in order tonight. Off to take Sadie for a stroll around the neighborhood.

See ya in the mornin’!

Can’t Quite Grasp It

My bachelorette party (part one) is exactly a month away!!! I got an email from one of my friends with a basic itinerary and required attire this afternoon which pretty much sent me into a frenzy of excitement (as those of you who follow me on Twitter already know). I can’t wait! 😀 

I’m sorry but I just had to get that off my chest. 😉 

Dog Park 

Our evening began with a trip to the dog park. 

Sadie was beyond thrilled when we loaded up the car. 

Pumped Puppy

Family Fun

 Our trip to the park was dominated by playing fetch with a crazy-shaped red ball. 

Get It Girrrrl

Ryan took the above action photo of me and Sadie, so naturally I had to turn the camera on him. 

Of course he put on an intense tough guys face… though Sadie’s face was 100 percent authentic. 

Like Father, Like Doggie Daughter

I’m not sure who looks crazier! 😀 

When we first started playing with the red ball, Ryan and I could not stop laughing because Sadie had such a hard time grasping it in her mouth. 

I caught one of her first attempts on video, which made us laugh at her all over again: 

Her big red ball got the attention of some other dogs who stole it away for a while… 

Stolen!

…But she swooped in and got it back when they got distracted. 

"Mine!"

Gotcha!

Eventually it was bath time. 

Bath Station

For as much as Sadie loves the lake and the ocean, you’d think she would love baths. 

Not the case. 

She hates them. Fortunately she loves being toweled off and gets all snuggly afterwards. 

So Fresh and So Clean, Clean

With a clean pup on our hands, we headed home for din-nah! 

Dinner 

Dinner tonight was another easy creation. 

The base was my two-ingredient crock pot pulled chicken which I smothered in BBQ sauce for a simple BBQ pulled chicken sandwich. 

BBQ Chicken Sandwich

To get some greens in our meal, I roasted broccoli at 415 degrees for 20 minutes after spraying it with cooking spray and dusting the veggie with garlic salt. 

Roasted Broccoli

Dinner is Served

Simple and simply delicious! 

Now I’m off to relax a bit and watch The Blind Side with Ryan. He’s never seen it and I loved it! Let’s hope he’s a fan, too!

Crock Pot, I Love You

I cannot decide what I like more about crock pot meals: How easy they are to make, or how moist and delicious the food ends up after cooking in a crock pot all day.

I think I’m leaning toward the yumminess of the food, but there’s nothing simpler than throwing meat in a crock pot with some broth before heading out to work. It makes dinner so easy, and you know that’s what I’m all about!

One thing I would always dread about crock pot meals was the clean up. Sure it’s all in one pot, but inevitably the food would adhere to the sides of the crock pot and clean up would be a bit of a challenge. No fun.

After discovering Reynolds Slow Cooker Liners, clean up became a breeze!

I just put a liner in the crock pot before adding all of my ingredients. Clean up is as easy as throwing away the bag filled with the food scraps. I buy them at my grocery store (Publix) in the aisle with the foil and Ziploc baggies.

(Just FYI, I am not Mr. Reynold’s daughter or anything. I just really love those liners!)

Dinner

I’m sure you’ve figured this out by now, but dinner tonight came straight outta the crock pot!

Crock Pot Pulled Chicken

Before leaving for work, I threw a bunch of chicken breasts into the crock pot and covered them with chicken broth. I let everything cook on low until it was dinner time.

As I chopped and roasted some veggies, Ryan pulled the chicken breasts apart with two forks and smothered the meat in BBQ sauce.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts + Squash

Dinner

I enjoyed the BBQ pulled chicken on an Arnold honey wheat sandwich thin.

BBQ Sandwich

I love how doughy those sandwich thins are. Yum, yum.

What is your favorite crock pot meal?

So Simple

All throughout college I tried to grow out my hair. I figured the best way to get the long hair I wanted was to let it grow and grow and avoid cutting it as much as possible. Stooooopid.

Once I realized I should be cutting it every six weeks or so, it finally started to grow! So simple.

I headed off to Great Clips after work today to get my routine snip, snip.

How often do you get your hair cut or done?

After my haircut I headed home to a simple dinner.

I knew I would be home a little later than usual today, so I placed some chicken breasts in the crock pot with low sodium chicken broth to cook on low while I was at work.

When I arrived home, I roasted some broccoli while Ryan removed the chicken from the crock pot, and got to work pulling the chicken apart with two forks before dowsing it in BBQ sauce for BBQ chicken sandwiches.

Everything came together quickly, which was a good thing because I was hungry!

BBQ Chicken

Roasted Broccoli

I made my sandwich using a whole wheat Arnold sandwich thin.

I love how doughy they are!

BBQ Chicken Sandwich

My Plate

Easy dinners are my fav!

Reader’s Recipes

I arrived home today to one of my favorite things in the entire world: packages!

One of my packages was a big ol’ box from POM Wonderful.

Me 'n' Pom

I’m a lucky lil’ blogger! Though I am excited to enjoy several bottles of this 100% pure pomegranate juice, I think Ryan was even more excited. He’s been quite the POM fan for several years.

Juicy Julie

The bottle shape is quite funky and inspired Ryan to do some POM presses and POM curls.

POM Workout

Clearly our entire family had a little extra energy today, so we leashed Sadie up for a romp at the dog park.

Funky Sadie

 I took what may be one of my top five favorite pictures of Sadie as she was spitting out leaves and dirt. Her jowls got all caught up in her mouth and she looked like such a goof.

My Lil' Goofball

We could not stop laughing at this picture! She looks ridiculous! 😀

Dinner

Tonight’s dinner was another simply delicious simple meal!

Chicken prepared in the ol’ crocker with BBQ sauce and roasted veggies on the side. Mmm, mmm good!

My Plate

BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwich

 I also had a small bowl of artichokes on the side.

Artichokes

Reader’s Recipes!!!

I think one day you guys are gonna find me and throw all the meals I make week after week in my face. I hope you’re not too sick of them(!!!)… Buuut, just in case you are…

I’d like to reach out to all of you for your help! I’m going to try out a new READER’S RECIPE each week in March.

I’ll make a recipe based on a recipe submitted by one of you, or I’ll create a new recipe using key ingredients you guys suggest. Fun, huh?

Please comment on this post with a recipe (or a link to a recipe) you think I should try. If you don’t have a specific recipe in mind, simply comment with a key ingredient you think I should incorporate into a meal.

Feel free to submit recipes for any meal (breakfast, lunch or dinner) and baked goods as well! I don’t discriminate.

(Please do not suggest catfish or any catfish-based recipe because I can 100 percent guarantee your suggestion will not be selected… I have my reasons. 🙂 )

Woohoo! I’m already excited to try out some new delicious dishes!!!

I’ll select a recipe to try tomorrow and then after I make the recipe and post about it, you can comment with more recipes for me to select from for the next round. Sound good?

Let’s get cookin’!!!

The Test

Today’s test: Will Ryan and I survive the night having eaten chicken that was one day past the expiration date? Only time will tell… 😉 

When I arrived home from work, I checked on the chicken before heading out to take Sadie to the dog park with Ryan. 

Checkin' on Chicken

Some of you have asked about the liner I use in the crock pot in the past, and it’s awesome and makes clean up a breeze. It is a slow cooker liner made by Reynolds and I buy them at my local grocery store (Publix). Highly recommended! 

Dog Park 

Our trip to the dog park was full of fetch! 

"Throw the Ball!"

Playtime

Dog Park Kisses

Smile!

Sadie could play fetch for hours. Ryan and I always wonder exactly how long we’d have to play for her to stop. We’re thinking three hours. (Seriously. If you have a vizsla, or know Sadie, you understand. 🙂 ) 

Pretty Pup

I purposely saved this picture for last, because I think it’s super cool: 

Speedy Sadie

After an hour or so at the park, we headed home to brave the expired chicken. 

Dinner 

Good news! Our expired chicken dinner smelled and tasted great and oh-so-fresh. 

BBQ Chicken Sandwich

“Sell by” date? What “sell by” date? 😉 

I didn’t want to take any chances wasting fresh or expensive ingredients on potentially bad chicken, so I stuck to the old stand by of throwing chicken in the slow cooker with chicken broth to cook all day. 

We had tasty BBQ chicken sandwiches that didn’t taste the least bit old. Let’s call them mature BBQ chicken sandwiches, shall we? 😀 

My Sandwich

On the side we had some green goodies. 

Zucchini

My Plate

No Ice Cream???  

It’s nights like tonight that I am very thankful we don’t keep ice cream in our apartment because I’m reallllly feelin’ like I could go to town on a pint right about now. Ryan and I both cannot be trusted around ice cream. Between the two of us, we’ve been known to polish off a half gallon in one day… without feeling sick. It’s a gift, I know. 

What food can’t you be trusted around?  

Aside from ice cream I cannot be trusted around jars of peanut butter. Truth: Ryan hides them from me.