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The BIG Announcement!

Click here to see it! 🙂


Take a look at this:

This is what my AWESOME husband bought for me today! The shoes are brand new Nike cycling shoes valued at over $100. And the cycling jersey….well, if you do any biking, you will know that it’s hard to find a jersey under $50. We found this on Ebay, and paid $25 including shipping!!!!! I had been watching this for the past few days. When it came down to it, I asked Micah if I should bid, and he said no. 😦 Little did I know, he was bidding behind my back!!! This made for a very happy Amanda. 😀

Went for another 20 mile ride today. And this time, I did get lost. When I finally got back to town, I took a short cut. I would say today’s ride was perfect. There were still hills, but I was prepared. And they didn’t last the entire ride! There were 3 decent size hills, but I took it slow. Micah and I also had a lovely 45 minute walk this evening. I love investing in our marriage. I can’t put a price on it. ❤

My meals the past couple days have been incredibly uninspired. I'm sorry! I promise to have a recipe tomorrow – it's a good one, so stay tuned! Tonight, I have some spinach that needs to be used, so I made a HUGE spinach salad with red peppers, olives, and feta. I also used the Greek Feta Dressing. I’m not a creamy-dressing kind of person – in fact, I don’t ever remember liking it even as a child. I’m more of your oil/vinegar-dressing gal. But, I was in the mood for something creamy and this sounded pretty decent. It is very good. Here are the nutrition facts:

And my gigantic salad:


I’ve been glued to the news for the past couple weeks on the oil spill. It angers me – words do not describe. The photos and videos I have seen are so disturbing. Brings me to tears. I’m turning off the tv for the night – can’t take anymore of it. :*(

Have a great night! Don’t forget to comment if you would like to be added to my blog list! 😀

Questions for you:

1. Have you scored a good deal lately? I’d like to know about it!

2. What are your thoughts about the oil spill? I know that’s a very abstract question, but if you have any thoughts, feel free to comment!

Some updates and a recipe.

So much change in a short amount of time! We are getting a little more settled into our very *cozy* apartment. We do have some great storage here – although the apartment is less than half the size of our house. Even since moving, I have gotten rid of even more *stuff* that we didn’t REALLY need. So, we’ll start with last Friday….

I graduated with my Master of Music degree!!! 🙂 A few pictures:

My husband who was incredibly supportive of my education!

The BEST thesis advisor one could ask for!

A wonderful graduate advisor!

We stayed the night at my parent’s house on Friday night and headed out early Saturday morning. We unloaded the trailer in less than 1 hour!!! Then, my parent’s took us out to lunch and headed back home soon after. Saturday and Sunday we unpacked quite a bit, but we were pretty exhausted. We aren’t even near being unpacked – too many other logistical things that we needed to take care of early this week before Micah starts classes next week.

Monday I took a trip to the local food coop (Wheatsfield Coop). I was in love. I brought home some local produce – spinach, asparagus and rhubarb. I also picked up some organic apples, pears, bananas, and some other miscellaneous items to stock up my kitchen. I’ll definitely be shopping there more often. 🙂 The local farmers market takes place Thursdays and Saturdays, so we all know where I will be tomorrow! Unfortunately, we got here a little too late to take part in the CSA – hopefully next year.

Today, I made a grilled veggie sandwich for lunch – and it was tasty, indeed! I sauteed mushrooms, a small red onion, and roasted red peppers. The rest was just like making a good old-fashioned grilled cheese (I used swiss cheese). I also put some fresh spinach on the sandwich. The sandwich was huge, and I only ate half. I sauteed enough vegetables to make at least one other sandwich – but I may also mix these in with some roasted asparagus tonight to go with our spaghetti.

Stay tuned! A tour of our *cozy* apartment coming soon! And…..I’m making rhubarb pie tonight!!!!!!!!! Have a great evening!

Spinach and Goat Cheese Pizza

We’ve been a little should I dare say spinach obsessed over here lately? Well, there have been great deals on spinach at Hy-Vee lately, so I’ve been using it like crazy! I used a can crust for this pizza – not the best choice, but I just did not have the time to make my own (which I prefer).


One 14-ounce can Pillsbury Pizza Crust
3 T olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic (depending on your own taste)
One 6-ounce bag baby spinach
3 plum tomatoes, chopped
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
Other toppings that I like to add: carmelized onions(!), mushrooms, roasted red peppers


Preheat the oven to 400°. Spread the dough on a baking sheet and brush with 2 T. olive oil and garlic. Bake for 8 minutes. Toss the spinach with 1 T. of olive oil. Top the crust with the spinach, tomatoes and goat cheese. Drizzle the pizza with a little more olive oil and bake for 15 minutes more.

YUM! Micah even liked this! Although when I made it the second time, he opted for a different kind of pizza – complete with meat, colby-jack cheese, and a few veggies. Ha!

Just a little peek…

…..into my office. 🙂 While at school, I live in the choral library….or at least that’s where I spend about 75% of my time. It’s a good place to study. the music library is always very busy, and there aren’t TONS of distractions in the choral library. However, it’s definitely NOT the ideal office – there are no windows!!! But it does remain warm in the winter and cool in the summer, so I can’t complain!

Here is my lunch:
Almond butter sandwich on an Arnold’s sandwich thin
Light Laughing Cow Cheese w/ stoneground wheat crackers (unpictured)
Carrots (unpictured)

And here is what I’ve been working on today:
Research results for part of my thesis! It’s slowly coming together. I was feeling pretty discouraged yesterday, but my thesis advisor quickly helped me through! He’s a great motivator. Just about 4 weeks before the rough draft is complete. Wahoo!

Mexi Maki!

What a week! This afternoon, after our final rehearsals for the spring choral concert, I headed up to visit my friend Danielle in Vernon Hills, IL. I’m picking up my mom at O’Hare tomorrow – so this was the PERFECT night to have a girls night! And a girls night we had!

First: SUSHI!!!

We went to Tsukasa of Tokyo Sushibar – and it was seriously some of the best sushi I have ever had. You see, Micah does not eat sushi, so it’s very rare when I get to have some.

First up: Seaweed Salad.

This seaweed salad was the perfect prelude to our dinner! Perfect in every way – definitely not overwhelming. The only thing is that I only ate about half, because I wasn’t incredibly starving. I had to make sure and save plenty of rrom for the sushi!

We ordered 3 rolls of sushi (pictured left to right, below).
1. Tarantula (Spicy Tuna, Avocado, Cucumber, Cream Cheese and Shrimp Tempura, topped
with Spicy Soft Shell Crab)
2. Spicy Tuna (Your traditional run-of-the-mill spicy tuna roll)
3. Mexi Maki (Octopus, Avocado, Cucumber, Shrimp Tempura – and some other ingredients I can’t remember exactly)

All three were amazing. I must say that my favorite is the Mexi Maki roll (pictured below).

The pieces were HUGE and this particular one – well, let’s just say I couldn’t exactly fit the whole thing in my already massively huge mouth! 🙂

And pretty soon, our large plate of sushi dwindled down to one small piece – which we couldn’t eat. I was pleasantly filled. 🙂

And off we went to Target, and picked up some wine. 🙂 We are sitting here on the couch watching a movie and enjoying some nice wine – and of course, great girl talk!

See you later!

Easiest dinner. Ever.

The life of being a grad student, can be so overwhelming at times! This week, tonight is the ONLY night I will be at home. This makes for very interesting dinners – can we say in a hurry!?!?!? Wednesdays I teach piano and voice lessons, then I take a class at church. Last night, I was able to prepare this dinner quickly before my first lesson arrived. And when I was done teaching dinner was ready and I had just enough time to scarf down my food before heading to church. No joke – preparation took a whole – maybe 5 minutes?

Lemon Pepper Chicken with Red Potatoes

Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
Touch of Olive Oil
Mrs. Dash Lemon Pepper Seasoning (FYI – This seasoning has NO sodium!)

Coat pan with a touch of olive oil and place chicken breasts in baking dish. Cut potatoes and add to dish. Add lemon pepper seasoning to chicken only (unless you like lemon pepper seasoned potatoes – not me!). Add S & P to potatoes.

Bake in covered dish at 375 for 45 minutes.

I had someone ask me once about if my chicken came out dry for this particular dish. No way! Perfectly moist in my opinion. And plenty of leftovers for us – it’s a challenge to cook for just 2 people!!!

Bean Salad

Bean Salad

A lunch time favorite of mine that is so easy to throw together quickly! I can make a batch of it on Sunday night and have enough to last me for at least 3 days….unless you are the person that doesn’t do leftovers. I grew up eating leftovers, so I don’t mind at all! 🙂

This is very easy to make, and unlike most “traditional” bean salads, this does not have the large sugar content! Here is the recipe:

Tangy Three Bean Salad
1/4 C. fresh lemon juice
1/3 C. olive oil
1-2 Tbs. sugar
1/2 C. cilantro leaves
salt and pepper to taste
1 can kidney beans rinsed and drained (15 oz.)
1 can chick peas rinsed and drained (15 oz.)
1 can black beans rinsed and drained (15 oz.)
1 small red onion

Place lemon juice, olive oil, sugar, and cilantro in a blender. Puree until smooth. Salt and pepper to taste, then toss with beans and chopped red onion. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours (or overnight). This always tastes best when the beans can soak in the flavors of the other ingredients – only serve immediately if you need to!

Week in review!

It’s Saturday evening, and the only thing I have felt like doing all day is SLEEP!!! It was a very busy week. I have been conducting research for my thesis, so Tuesday-Thursday, I drove to Davenport and back. On top of that, I was trying to also stay on top of my school work. On a good note, I had one of these every single day!


Most days I used a combination of the following ingredients:
Organic Spinach or Kale
Soy Milk
Organic Banana
Organic Kiwi
Assorted frozen fruit – various combinations of blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries
Chia Seeds!!! – I swear I have an incredible amount of energy every time I eat these!
Soy Vegetarian Protein

If you have not tried the green monster, YOU NEED TO!!! I feel so much better when I have this in the morning.

Most nights this week, my dinner has looked something like this:

My new favorite soup (from a can) just happens to be Muir Glen’s Tomato Basil Soup. It’s pretty killer! I have also recently been trying many of their products – salsa, canned tomatoes, etc. Try them out – I’ve had much success! 🙂

This afternoon, Micah had to work at 4pm, so we had a late lunch/early dinner. This worked well since we didn’t eat breakfast until pretty late this morning. I must have been very tired, because I slept in waaaaay past my normal time. I’m usually up by 7am at the LATEST no matter what. Not today! Hopefully, I can dedicate some effort to getting good sleep next week. I tend to sacrifice a lot of sleep to get work done. In reality, I would perform better if I had adequate sleep. Such is the life of a grad student.

Ok, back to the food. I decided to make this fish dish. It’s really more like a stew, but I cooked this in a very short amount of time. Last weekend, our local Hy-Vee had a seafood sale, so I was able to pick up lots of fish for great prices, PLUS 10% off (in addition to the great sale prices!). I have always loved fish, but I’m pretty picky on what fish I purchase. This is very easy to make and FAST – I think this took me maybe 20 minutes. Here are the ingredients:

Approx. 3/4 C Cherry Tomatoes cut in half
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
White Fish of your choice (This time, I used Tilapia)

I put about 3 TB of olive oil and about the same of balsamic vinegar in the skillet. I then put the cherry tomatoes in and let this simmer to where it becomes saucy. It shouldn’t be watery. You may need to adjust measurements according to your needs. Add in the asparagus. When the asparagus is cooked, ad the tilapia and scallops. Note: Make sure you rinse and pat dry the fish.

This turned out great – Micah particularly loved the asparagus (which surprised me!).

That’s it folks! Heading to bed SOON! BODY MUST SLEEP!