Thursday, June 30, 2011

Cheapest Satur-Date Ever!!

If you know me anything about me, you know how much I love a good bargain. I derive some sort of manic excitement over saving money... I might have a problem. ;)

Hubby and I recently had a free Saturday.... what? A FREE Saturday? Yes, it doesn't happen often. At any rate, he remembered that months ago, we had purchased a Groupon for a wine-tasting for 2. It was a gorgeous day to be in downtown Grapevine, so off we went!

When we got down there, there was a sweet little outdoor craft fair going on, but D said we would stop by after our tasting. Unfortunately, everyone was all packed up and gone by that point, but I guess that's okay. :(

We each did a wine tasting, we shared a fruit/cheese platter, AND we got to take home a bottle of Merlot... all for around $15. :)

I love wineries... such a beautiful aesthetic! 

I ran into some of my "kin" while we were there. ;)

D playing with my camera ;)

What is a concrete cell doing in the middle of downtown Grapevine?

We found this at a small little shop and HAD to get it!! :)
After our downtown adventures, we'd planned to head to the AMC over in Grapevine because we had some free movie passes (told ya it was a cheap day!).

I had recently done a Market Research study, so I had $40 in gift certificates to Chili's... good thing there is one at Grapevine Mills! We were starving, so we headed over there for some free lunch and beverages. 

I guess I didn't really think we would be walking all that much, and by this point my oh-so-cute wedges were giving me killer pinky-toe blisters. D was nice enough to let me detour by the Old navy in the mall and get myself some $2 flippies... my toes were so grateful. :)

Then we went for gelato. GELATO....yum. That may have been one of my favorite parts of the day, but I was too busy inhaling it to snap a photo. ;) Trust me, it was gooood.

Our last stop of the day: seeing Pirates of the Caribbean 4 with our free tickets. Little did we know, the Grapevine Mills AMC has gotten quite the face-lift. Our movie was only being shown in their new "cinema suites". For only a few dollars (no biggie since we already had free tickets) we got to watch Johnny Depp on the big screen while lounging in electric recliners. With adult beverages. And complementary Caramel Corn. With hot, fresh towels to clean your hands with at the end of the movie. It was epic. :)

Wow, what a perfect day! Who says you gotta have lots of cash-ola to have a great time? And time like that spent with my honey? Priceless. :) 

Hubby's birthday is this weekend, so I am looking forward to more quality time with him and some of our favorite people! We will be shooting off fireworks, doing some swimming, and enjoying the outdoors! He has such a great birthday - there's always celebrating going on 4th of July weekend!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Spiced Apple Porkchops, Roasted Broccoli

First of all, I don't think vegetables will EVER be the same! 
We roasted our broccoli for this meal and it was nutty and crunchy, yet tender and sooo scrumptious! We ate up every bit and would have had more if there was even a morsel to spare. You must try this if you haven't already! And if you have, shame on you for never sharing your secrets!! ;)

Spiced Apple Porkchops with Roasted Broccoli
(Courtesy of, who else?.. Rachel Ray)

You will need:

-1 large head of broccoli
-3 garlic cloves, minced
-salt and pepper
-little bit of olive oil
-4 boneless pork loin chops
-1-2 Tbsp butter (Rachel Ray says 2 Tbsp, but I used less and light butter instead)
-1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
-2 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves (stripped from 4-5 sprigs), chopped
-1 Granny Smith apple, cored and thinly sliced
-1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
-1 tsp ground cinnamon
-1 cup chicken stock (I use 99% fat-free, low-sodium)
-Juice of 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Trim the end off the broccoli stems and use a peeler to remove the outer layer on the stems. The inside of the stalk is really tender once you remove the thick, fibrous, outer layer! Cut the broccoli lengthwise into spears and place them on a baking sheet. Toss them with the minced garlic, salt and pepper, and a drizzling of olive oil. Roast them in the oven for 15 minutes, until the florets are brown and crispy!

While the broccoli is roasting, heat a little olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chops on both sides with salt and pepper, then sear them in the pan for a couple of minutes on each side until they are golden brown. Remove the chops from the skillet and reserve.

To the skillet, add the butter, onion, thyme, sliced apple, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions and apples are tender. 

Add the chicken stock and bring it to a simmer. Finally, add the chops back in and simmer until the chops are cooked through (about another 8 minutes). Add the lemon juice and stir.

**I was concerned that it might be a little too sweet with the cinnamon and apples, but the tart from the Granny Smith went great with the onions and the sweetness of the red bell pepper! Yum!!

**We loved the roasted vegetables so much that we roasted the zucchini, tomatoes, and mushrooms needed for dinner the next night. Sooooo delicious!

OH! And here's just a small peek at some of the stuff I got for my classroom! :)


Oh, How Pinteresting!

It's Wednesday, so I am linking up with Michelle again over at Vintage Apple for...

So cute! I heart my doxies!!

Lace AND a bow?? swoon.

I think this is just darling.

SO cute!!! I love this idea!

I adore this anniversary pillow. Must have it!

Are you on Pinterest? What are some of your favorite pins for the week! Link up with Michelle, too! :)

Not on Pinterest, wanna be? Email me and I will send you an invite! :)

Not-so-Wordless Wednesday

I have been such a bad blogger lately... so much has been going on and I have been too busy to share most of it with all of you! So, today I will catch up in pictures. :) They won't be "wordless" like my other Wednesday posts, because I wanna tell you all about my summer so far! It's turning out to be quite the adventure! :)

At some point, this little cutie decided to grow up! He is crawling all over the place and he is just the sweetest little nephew EVER! 
We took our dads to Dollar Day at the Horse Races for Father's Day weekend! WE didn't win any money, but my dad did okay and it was TONS of fun in the sun!
We went to a Rangers game with about 30 of Dave's co-workers and families. Yes, the guy next to us bought a Chicago Hot Dog and it came with radioactive, mutant peppers on it. Gross.

This is what Hubby looks like after mowing the lawn. Sorry, honey, that is NOT a farmer's tan and you will NOT be sitting on my couch until you shower. :)

These flowers ruled my life for a solid week. My girlfriend does weddings and she had THREE in one weekend... so I helped. I was drowning in dahlias, snapdragons, roses, and various other types of greenery for days. :) Sure smelled nice.

After helping with flowers one morning until 3 AM, I dropped my phone on the sidewalk walking to my car. Whomp, whomp, no bueno. Still works, though, so I am not complaining too much!

The birthday boy! This cutie just turned 7 and is obviously psyched about his new DS! I sure do adore my nephews! Plus, he had a SWEET Mario Brothers party... can't go wrong there!

So there's a smidge of what I've been up to this summer! I've also done some reading... I go through an insane amount of books during the summer! My awesome bestie also took me to the Teacher store yesterday as a "thank you" for helping with the wedding flowers... I got the CUTEST stuff for my classroom! Wow.... my classroom... feels so weird to say!! I can't wait to set it up!! I have a couple more recipes to share this week, so I will be back soon! :)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Veggie Pasta Toss and Amazing News!

Any So You Think You Can Dance? fans out there? I am loving that we are finally in a new season! Anyway, D and I are keeping score this season with who can predict eliminations... after last night we are tied at 1. :) I knew they'd keep Ryan (even though we both think Missy was h.o.t) and D figured Ricky would get to stay after that solo! We shall see how the season progresses! 

Moving on. :) I still have lots to share from Father's Day weekend and a few more recipes to catch up on...this week has been quite the whirlwind!

But I am sharing this recipe today because there is also a little bit of AWESOME news to go with it! 

I will officially be teaching 
8th grade English in the Fall!!

After 3 1/2 years of searching, God has blessed me - not only with a job - but the job I WANTED! I was prepared to teach any subject, any grade... anything necessary to get me in the classroom. Instead, He gave me a job teaching something I am most passionate about. My 8th grade English teacher is the one who instilled in me the desire to teach Language Arts, and now I am going to be teaching at the very same middle school where she inspired me years ago! This is literally my dream job. I just found out about it yesterday and it still kinda feels like a dream. :D Thank you, Jesus!! 

D had work and softball obligations last night, so I went over to my bestie's house to celebrate with some lovely girlfriends! I had planned on cooking, so I cooked this dish for the girls and I thought it was yummy! It's also a 30-minute meal, which is always a plus!
I didn't get any pics of the cooking process this time, sorry!

Rachel Ray says this is a 4-serving meal... 
but we easily made six servings of it! 
Her recommended portion sizes are kinda huge!!

Veggie Pasta Toss
(Courtesy of Rachel Ray)

You will need:

-Salt and Pepper
-1 pound short cut pasta (I used penne rigate)
-1 10 oz box of frozen spinach, defrosted and wrung out to remove liquid
-little bit of extra virgin olive oil
-1 medium zucchini (cut in half then little half moons)
-12 cremini or baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
-1 medium onion, thinly sliced
-3 garlic cloves, chopped
-1 TBSP unsalted butter
-2 TBSP all-purpose flour
-1 cup chicken stock
-1 cup skim milk
-1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
-1 1/2 cups fat free ricotta
-1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
-1 cup fresh basil, about 20 leaves, chopped

Start your pasta water first and have pasta cooking while you do the veggies. HEADS UP: You will need to reserve about a ladle full of the pasta water before you drain the pasta.

Heat a deep skillet over medium-high heat and add a little olive oil. Add the mushrooms and zucchini and cook for 2-3 minutes. Then, add the onion, garlic, salt and pepper and cook about 5 minutes more (until the onions are tender). Finally, add the defrosted spinach, separating it into small bits...toss to heat them through. Transfer the veggies to a dish and return the skillet to the stovetop. Add the butter and a little more olive oil. When the butter melts, add the flour, stir and cook for a minute or so, then whisk in the chicken stock and the milk. Bring the sauce to a bubble and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until reduced and thickened. Season the sauce with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Slide the veggies back into the sauce.

Place the fat free ricotta in a large shallow bowl and combine it with the ladle of boiling pasta water. Add a couple handfuls of the grated Parmesan cheese. 

Drain the pasta and toss it with the cheeses. Add the vegetables and chopped basil (reserve a little basil to top it with), toss to combine. Adjust seasonings, enjoy! :)


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Oh, How Pinteresting Wednesday!

Today I am joining a weekly linky party hosted by 
Michelle at The Vintage Apple
Pinterest is highly addictive... there is no denying that!!

Email me if you need an invite to join the fun!


So cute!!

It's true... we all have lots to count!!

Couples Yoga... SWOON!

Can you tell I love birds?



Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Hi, I'm Yvonne :)

Michelle over at A Little Bit of This and That started a lovely little linky party, and I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to share a little about myself and my blog! I love "meeting" new bloggers, and this seems like a great way to do that!! It also gives me the chance to learn more about the new blogger friends I already have!

I started this little blog of mine as an outlet for my ramblings... I talk WAY too much. ;) Now I just type it all out and only those people who wanna read about it have to. Plus, I know I will look back on this one day and appreciate all the memories, pictures, and stories I've documented in the world of Blogger.

Makin Martinez Memories

I wrote my very first post for Makin' Martinez Memories in November 2010 (wow, my blog is still such a baby!!!). You can tell I didn't quite have all the blogging etiquette together... no pictures, long-winded rant about my inability to find a full-time teaching job, etc.

It's funny that I read that particular post today... today I had TWO teaching interviews that I felt went really well. It's so nice to be able to look back and see how far you've come... blogging is a great way for me to do that!

I always find it difficult to categorize my blog. I share recipes, but it's not all about food. I talk about fitness, but it's not all about diet and exercise. I LOVE sharing the shopping bargains that I find, but this is definitely not a fashion blog!! I guess I like to say this is a "lifestyle" blog. I share everything from daily happenings and pictures, to my struggles with health and weight loss, and I share lots about my amazing husband and pups.

Some of my favorite posts:

A few of my most popular posts:

I am also currently working on compiling a "30 before 30" list to post on here... I am 27 and there are so many things I want to do before 30! I have seen so many bloggers track those goals on their blog, and I am thinking I need to jump on board with this one! 

Thanks so much for checking me out and I hope you stick around for more!
Please leave me a comment if you stop by so I can return the love!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Lasagna Rolls

D and I love italian; it's one type of food we make quite often! I have shared photos of this meal and how TASTY I thought it was in a previous post, but we had it for dinner last night so I figured I would share the recipe this time!!

Lasagna Rolls
(courtesy of Gina's Skinny Recipes)

You will need:

Once again, the original recipe is in black...
any modifications I made are in blue italics! :)

-9 lasagna noodles, COOKED 
-10 oz chopped frozen spinach, thawed and completely drained (I chopped fresh spinach and steamed it)
-15 oz ricotta cheese (I couldn't find it this time, but I usually use fat-free ricotta. I had to settle for part-skim this time...I think next time I will try cottage cheese and see if it works out the same)
-1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
-1 egg
-salt and pepper
-32 oz tomato sauce (I used a 24 oz jar of Classico Spicy Tomato and Basil... it was PLENTY of sauce)
-9 TBSP shredded part-skim mozzarella
-I also added 1/2-pound of ground Italian sausage, browned (do this 1st and let it cool a little)

Preheat oven to 350.  Combine spinach, sausage, ricotta, Parmesan, salt, pepper, and egg in a bowl. 

Ladle about a cup of sauce into the bottom of a 9x12 baking dish.

Making sure your noodles are completely dry, lay them out on a piece of wax paper. Take about 1/3 cup of the ricotta mixture and spread it evenly over the noodle. Repeat for all noodles. (I did all the noodles at once before I started rolling them. That way I could adjust the amount of filling so they were all make sure they'd cook evenly)

Roll each noodle carefully and 
place seam side down in the baking dish. 

Ladle sauce over the noodles and place about 1 TBSP of the mozzarella cheese over each one. Cover tightly in foil and bake until the cheese melts, about 40  minutes. 

Serve 9, since each lasagna is one serving.

These portion-sized lasagnas are perfect with a side salad and great to take for leftovers the next day!
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