Tuesday, January 31, 2012


The Durgins are headed to Alaska May 25th! CAN NOT WAIT!

We are blessed and lucky enough to be making the trip to Alaska with Chaz's parents to visit his sister...I might start packing tonight!

Friday, January 27, 2012

This may be a cheesy post...

Last night I hauled ass and tried my hardest to get everything put away in the apartment. I have to say, I am pretty darn proud of myself! Chaz is going to hang pictures, and then I can put the hutch items away and then.....we are done! All moved in! It feels really nice and the more I put stuff away and get acclimated, the more I am really enjoying it! I will post some updated pictures Sunday after we get everything hung!

Tonight I plan on relaxing in my nice, clean apartment with one of my girlfriends, making cookies, enjoying a delicious homemade dinner, and watching a movie. Sounds delightful and I can't wait for work to be over!

Mikey is also home so tomorrow I will venture out to B-town and enjoy his company! And aside from homework, I have nothing else planned...I think it will be a great weekend!

Next weekend we are having a big girl's weekend to celebrate my friend Emma's birthday so it will be nice to get some relaxing in this weekend!

And next weekend is the big game. Even though the Pack didn't make it to the Super Bowl this year, I still like to watch commercials...so that is my plan! I also found this great WW recipe that I may have to make for the game!

Queso Dip!

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

So here it is...

Our apartment is still a mess, and pictures still need to be hung, but I thought I would give you a sneak peak!
I am really seeing the potential, and having fun putting things away. The silver shelf above will be getting a makeover with matching crates, and once the walls are adorned, I think the dining room will be a great segway into the living room.
The living room is ridiculously huge. There's still a walking path and hutch off to the right that didn't make it into the picture!
The messy room, but you can tell we are all starting to feel a bit more at home! (see cat laying on bed).

So while this is a work in progress, it has already come together so well and I can't wait to see the finished project! And of course have you all over for dinner!

And on the subject of food, I will leave you with my fat kid moment of the night...(and I was a fat kid so I can say that!) I was able to use my newly put away kitchen to whip up a late night craving! Luckily, they are only 4p+ a piece! (I swear this doesn't happen often but sometimes you just have to indulge!)

Monday, January 23, 2012

and there goes the day...

I have become a bit more of a homebody this fall. I think it might be the homework, or the crazy work schedule, but I have spent more nights at home, more nights making dinner, more nights relaxing and watching tv. But when I get the call, I most certainly still enjoy a good party! I mean, how could you say no to these faces! I enjoyed a wonderful day on Saturday, having lunch with some of my besties, and following it up with a few drinks that evening! I must have really been sleep deprived from my cold because the alcohol went down a bit too smoothly, and while I didn't drink a lot, it seemed to soak in a bit better then usual. Hence, I don't remember much of the car ride home, I left my phone in my friends car, had to leave my car at my grandma's, and woke up at 4pm the next day because I had no phone or husband to wake me up (he was at work). WHAT?!?! You slept till 4pm? Yes...yes I did. And after a few moments of freaking out, and feeling like a loser for wasting the day, I slowly came to the realization that I needed the sleep, I didn't have much to do anyways, and I had one of the best nights in a while with some of the best people in the world.

So in some aspects of my life, I am turning into a bit of an old lady. But in other areas, I am the young whipper snapper I was my senior year of college!


P.S. And seriously, a break down of my alcohol intake so you can see that I really did not drink THAT much, and please keep in mind, this was over the course of 4 hours:

1 22 oz crispin (yum:)
1 ltr hard cider
1 lemon drop shot

I have no shame!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

One hell of a weekend...

This weekend was ridiculously busy, on top of which, I was ridiculously sick.

Last week I started to get back into the post holiday health kick. I took my new Garmin watch out for a run last Sunday and logged over 2 miles. I also did Body Pump last Wednesday at the Y...that class rocked! And I ate decent, up until this weekend. I didn't really get off track, but I also didn't track which I have learned can add to sneaky little points adding up real fast. I spent yesterday with my head on a pillow since it hurt to hold upright, but even a headache did not stop me from munching...ah the downfalls of a perpetual muncher. Such is life.

We got almost everything moved into our new apartment this weekend. Again, I was little help as I was dying from the inside out, but I did my best and with the help of some strong young men, we got so much done! There is literally maybe one car load left at D. Lo's...it feels wonderful to not have to do anymore heavy lifting mixed with stairs...although I am sure it is a great workout! Now all we have to do is turn on the tv and pound out unpacking boxes...this part is less stressful for me then the moving although I will get to the point where I just want everything unpacked! And since I was sick yesterday, I got ahead on some homework so now I can just go home, have dinner, and work on unpacking...slowly! I am even going to try to hit up body pump tomorrow after work! Can't lose site of my health!

And this brings me to my last thought for the day...I have my membership till the end of the month...since I am a student, I am able to do a three month discounted membership. I am mixed on signing up for another 3 months. It is costly, no matter the discount, and I am trying to get more running in (when I start running, I maybe see the gym once or twice a week-not worth the money). But on the other hand, I know I will not want to be running on freezing cold days. For sure this summer I will be great with my dvd's and the pavement...I am just up in the air about the next three months...feel free to let me know your thoughts!

P.S. I am going to make the 100% Irish for a Day 5k for my birthday a tradition and do it again this year...let me know if you are interested!!! I have some new running shoes that are ready for me to beat them up!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Christmas in Minnesota...

We were lucky to be able to celebrate Christmas with both our families this year.

We were in Reno over Christmas but were able to celebrate with my family on New Years Day.

We had a relaxing day, with cooking, eating, and gift opening.

My parents, along with my mother-in-law, are shareholders in the Green Bay Packers. I am positive that they are still proud owners, even after tonight's game.
I made as many scarves as I could and gifted them to as many people as I could! Notice the scarves in the above and below picture!
And this is the lovely tree my parents put up!
Everyone, both human and animal, had a wonderfully blessed day filled with laughter and love.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Life is too short to eat bland food...

While eating healthy can be hard, and sometimes bland, there are plenty of resources out there to find delicious, healthy options, that can easily satisfy as much as the unhealthy versions.

Life is truly too short to waste time not enjoying what you eat. Sure we eat for fuel. Sure we eat for energy. But there is nothing wrong with eating for enjoyment. Like I said, Life is too short!

I found this great recipe for rice krispies. I make rice krispies often, generally forgoing any butter (crisco spray on my hand was about all I needed) but a little butter adds some flavor, I will admit! These are the perfect little treat and with such low point plus value, you can afford to splurge on 2!

Now here is one hell of a recipe that I found on pintrest! I made the recipe with 1 pound of rigatoni, 2 chicken breasts, boiled and then shredded and 2 cups of cheese and it came out to 12 pp per serving once I divided a 9X13 into 8 pieces. I kept the liquid in the tomatoes and spinach, and would consider adding another can of tomatoes. You can bring the pp level down to 11 by only doing 1.5 cups of cheese which is plenty...I just needed a cheese fix!

To make it even lighter, forgo the olive oil for cooking spray and use light cream cheese and real chives. This will bring the recipe down to 10 pp per serving but I have to preface though that oil is good for you, especially olive oil, so take the extra points and lube up that body!

Here is my version of the recipe from http://www.savingmoneylivinglife.com/

Chicken and Spinach Pasta Bake

1 pound rigatoni
1 T olive oil
1 cup onion
1 (10oz) pack frozen spinach thawed
2 chicken breasts, boiled and shredded
1 can Italian diced tomatoes (I would almost double this next time)
1 8oz container chive and onion cream cheese
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1 and 1/2 cup reduced fat shredded mozzarella cheese

Prepare pasta according to package. Add oil to the bottom of baking dish and add chopped onion in a single layer. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes or until tender.

Mix together spinach, tomatoes, and cream cheese. Add chicken, then add the entire mixture to the pasta. Once the onions are cooked, mix them in as well.

Place everything in the 9X13 baking dish. Cover the top with the cheese, cover with foil or a baking pan for 30 minutes at 375, then an additional 15 minutes uncovered. Yum!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

First comes frosting, then comes cake

This is long overdue but the perfect companion to join the frosting recipe I gave you Friday!

For my aunts wedding, I made the cake and cupcakes. We put together a candy buffet for the guests, and had the cupcakes sporadically placed amongst the jars of goodies. The below pictures are courtesy of my wonderful husband!
The recipes for the cakes came from the Star Tribune. There was an article in the paper the week of the wedding. Talk about perfect!
The main wedding cake was a red velvet cake, and that recipe was not in the paper, but I used the paper recipes for the cupcakes and they were a hit. I thought I would share the recipes because they were wonderful and there is nothing like a homemade cake and frosting. The recipes were a bit time consuming, but not by much and the results were just delicious. I will have a hard time buying box mixes or jars of frosting from here on out.

Yellow Cake

Serves 12 or 24 cupcakes

1c. unsalted butter at room temperature

2 and 1/2 cups flour

1 and 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1 and 1/2 cup sugar

2 tsp. vanilla extract

3 eggs, at room temperature

1 c. whole milk (you can use 2% or even 1%)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter the pans, and dust with flour. For cupcakes, just use liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat 1 cup butter and sugar on medium-high until fluffy (2-3 minutes). Beat in the vanilla, then the eggs one at a time, scrapping down the sides of the bowl when necessary.

Reduce mixer speed to low. Add the flour mixture in three additions and the milk in two additions, beginning and ending with flour. Mix until combined but do not over mix!

Transfer the batter to the pans. Bake until toothpick comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pan for15 minutes, and then transfer out to a wire rack to cool completely.

Baking times:

For two 8 inch rounds: 25-30 minutes. For two 9 inch pans: 22 to 25 minutes. For one 9x13 rectangle: 25-30 minutes. For 24 cupcakes: 15 to 20 minutes.

Chocolate Cake

Serves 12 or makes 24 cupcakes

1 and 3/4 cups flour

2 cup sugar

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. kosher salt

1 cup buttermilk, shaken

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs at room temperature

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter pans you plan to use and dust with flour. If doing cupcakes, just use liners.

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powered, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment; mix on low speed until combined.

In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scrapping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. (Note, the batter is very runny but don't worry, it works out!)

Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cakes tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Happy baking and enjoy!

(correction-top two photos are by my creative mom)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Homemade Buttercream Frosting (Warning to all trying to eat healthy, you may not want to read this!)

Tonight we had a going away party for Kory. On Sunday, she will be heading to grad school! I decided to plan a family dinner yesterday, which meant I didn't have much time to put it together.

I stopped last night to grab groceries, and decided to make cupcakes in her school colors for dessert. With lack of time, I grabbed a box cake mix and a jar of frosting. Not my favorite thing to do but it works in a pinch. I baked the cupcakes last night, and they turned out great! I separated the cake into three bowls, added food coloring to both, then layered them on top of one another inside a cupcake liner...the colors did not blend! Very cute! Today I kept thinking of the frosting and couldn't get myself to love the idea of using a jar of frosting. I just don't think it tastes good.

I decided to find a recipe I had seen on a blog I read a few weeks ago. Needless to say, I think this is some of the best homemade buttercream frosting! So good! And actually really easy! I used half vanilla, half almond extract, and I did not need to add any additional powdered sugar like the author did. Try it out! You will not be disappointed, and you will not have settled for a jar of meh frosting.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

On the 12th Day of Christmas....

On the 12th day of Christmas, I thought I would give you a list of healthy snacks! Cool, eh? Just what you wanted!

  1. Apple slices with peanut butter between them to create a sweet sandwich

  2. 0% Vanilla Greek yogurt and honey...add some cookies for texture (graham crackers or a tasty little treat I like to call a biscoff cookie!)

  3. Special K Pop Chips...2p+ per serving!

  4. Pop Chips 3p+ per serving

  5. Frozen banana, sliced, and blended with some chocolate sauce (1p+ and tastes just like ice cream!)

  6. Raspberries with honey drizzled on top...trust me, delish! (1p+ for honey)

  7. Diet root beer with a scoop of light vanilla ice cream (3p+)

  8. 3 cups light popcorn...sprinkle with fun seasonings! (3p+)

  9. Frozen grapes

  10. String cheese and fruit...add some nuts to bulk it up!

  11. Crackers and light cream cheese

  12. Chips and chunky salsa

Hope these healthy snacks help to motivate you and maybe get back on track after the holidays...I know they have helped me!

And as tonight is the 12th day of Christmas, it is time to take the tree down. I took down other decorations earlier this week, but waited until the last day of Christmas to bid farewell to the tree. It is always sad taking something down that provides so much comfort and joy, but the fact that it is up for only a short time each year keeps it a special, meaningful tradition. So with this natural deadline, the 12th day of Christmas, I will force myself to bid ado, until next December.

Merry Christmas...it has been a special and fun celebration!


Last night was a fun night. It was pretty normal, aside from the fact that we signed a lease for an apartment! We are moving into an apartment about 8 blocks from D. Lo's for the next 6 months, until we find something a little cozier, homier, what have you. We have the knack for turning any space into a home, but I think we want to find a nice brownstone in Minneapolis. For now though, we are just gaining some independence!

The whole experience was fun, aside from a few additional fees that were not mentioned when we walked the place. Pet Rent! Give me a break! I thought I asked all the right questions but I guess I will add a few more to my list for future rental properties but whatev's...not enough to wreck my excitement!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

What up 2012!

I had a wonderful time with my family today. Since we were with Chaz's family for Christmas, we decided to celebrate Christmas with my family on New Year's Day. A nice way to let the season last a little longer, something I totally needed-I was just not ready to let go of the holiday season but I think I am getting there. After two wonderful Christmas celebrations, I am feeling satisfied and fulfilled. I am guessing I just needed to celebrate with my family to really take it all in! Just being with family cements the reason for the season and I love that! We had a great dinner, opened presents, and watched My Idiot Brother...a different movie, but I really liked it!

And now, 2012 begins! Wow, it is just crazy how time flies! This year went by particularly fast and I have a sneaky suspicion that this is a fore taste of years to come....boo! But I guess it does me know good to dwell on how quickly time flies but rather on the amazing things I do to fill that time.

Last year I wrote a list of things I wanted to fulfill for that year. I did pretty good with that list, even exceeded in some areas, but it is nice to look back and see what I wanted then, and what I want now. It is also a great reminder of little things that I find important and want to place more emphasis on. I love that fact that last year I put pack less when I travel but just last week I was schlepping pounds of luggage around the airport...some things may just never happen! So, in sticking with tradition, here is my list for 2012.

Ringing in 2012 (List)!
  1. Focus on my amazing marriage and count my blessings. I am married to my absolute best friend and I thank God daily for bringing us together and giving us (going on) 10 years together. I am looking so forward to what the future has in store for us!
  2. Continue to prioritize family and make sure that I stay in touch with family both near and far away!
  3. Continue running and working out
  4. Make eating healthy a priority again
  5. Read more books
  6. Enjoy the last two courses of my Master's education
  8. Attend more sporting events
  9. Take more walks...it doesn't always have to be a run.
  10. Continue to find good, healthy, tasty recipes!
  11. Work hard at work, and play hard outside of work.
  12. Don't sell myself short
  13. Let me friends know just how much they mean to me
  14. Try new restaurants
  15. Eat organic, cage free, grass fed as much as possible
  16. Tell funny stories
  17. Learn a rock star joke
  18. Go camping
  19. Play cards with my grandma
  20. Live everyday to the fullest...don't live with regrets
  21. Be more organized
  22. Keep a clean house
  23. Pamper my cats even more!
  24. Knit a blanket
  25. Take it all in
Happy 2012 to my family and friends! I love you all and you made 2011 just wonderful! Here's to another great year!