Friday, January 30, 2015

Check This Out...

Check out this website.  NED.  I'm proud to have my photo and story here.  I'll do anything to spread the word on this horrible disease.  World Cancer day is February 4th and they are playing this film in several theaters across the country on this day only.  I've been wanting to see this documentary for over a year, but unfortunately I have to work this day.  If you have the evening open will you look for this playing in your part of the country, go see it for me and then report back? 

The End of Jenny's Visit FF

1.  Jenny and I had such a great Saturday together.  I've worked nearly every Saturday since forever.  It is always nice to have a Saturday off.  We first took in a session at the Phoenix Temple. 
I hate to admit it, but I had a hard time keeping my eyes open.  I'm not a very good morning temple worshiper.
2.  We spent Saturday afternoon in Historic Scottsdale where we saw a cowboy on a horse in a bar, playing a guitar, shared a banana split at Sugar Bowl and enjoyed exploring this cute western/Mexican town.
3.  Saturday evening we relaxed at home, ate left overs, watched a movie and I painted my toenails.
4.  Sunday we attended what will be my new ward in Ahwatukee.  I'm pretty sure this might become my favorite ward ever.  They all were so friendly and have so many activities.  This past week I had been telling Jenny that I hoped they would have a book club and they do!  We also stopped in at my apartment to take pictures so that I can figure out what furniture I'm going to bring from Idaho, since I have way too many chairs and not as much space as I use to.  After church I made the Tuna Asian Salad and then it was time to take Jenny to the Airport.  It was so fun to have her here, I hope she visits again soon!
5.  That's it for the excitement this week, because I've worked every day, however I'm heading home this afternoon!  I am going to the storage unit for the last time, yeehaw!  I'm so excited to finally move out of there and to discover what is in those boxes that I've lived without for over 3 years.
6.  Happy Anniversary to this amazing couple.  I'm so grateful to them for their example of love, sacrifice and service.  Someday I hope to have the kind of relationship that they have.  I love you mom and dad!

7.  I have to add that last night's dinner was delicious, so delicious that I have to post it on my page, so that I don't forget to add it to my new favorite dinners!  I might add Uncle Gordon always wrinkles his nose when he see's one of my dinners, but this one he admitted several times that he like it.  He admitted he would have never ordered this on a menu, but again it was surprisingly delicious!  I have been searching for a recipe like this for quite a while and am happy to add it to my recipe book!  Compliments of Mel's Kitchen Cafe and if you don't already visit her sight on a daily basis, you should start!
Black Bean and Sweet Potato Burritos
Yield: Makes about 6 burritos
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed small (about 3-4 cups) (I used 1 sweet potato and 1 yam)
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced small 
  • 1 small zucchini ( my addition)
  • 1 small red onion, diced small (about 1/2 cup) (didn't use this because Aunt Leslie told me no)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drain
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (depending on your taste) (I also added a few handfuls of spinach and kale)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice (from about 1 lime) (I added a little more because I love lime)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I only used goat cheese, which was delicious)
  • 1 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
  • 6-8 burrito-size tortillas (whole wheat, white or other favorite variety) (loved the whole wheat)
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. In a large bowl, toss together the sweet potatoes, jalapeno, red pepper and red onion with the olive oil, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper. Dump the coated veggies onto a large rimmed baking sheet and roast for 18-20 minutes, tossing halfway through. The vegetables should be tender but not mushy at the end of cooking time.
  2. Let the vegetable mixture cool. Scrape the mixture into a large bowl and toss with the black beans, cilantro and lime juice. Taste the mixture and add additional salt and pepper to taste, if needed. Refrigerate the mixture until ready to assemble the burritos or use immediately.
  3. Place 3-4 tortillas on a microwave-safe plat and cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave for 15-20 seconds until the tortillas are pliable. Place 1/4 cup or so of the vegetable mixture in the center of the tortilla and top with a sprinkle with shredded cheese, a little of each kind.. Fold in the sides of the tortilla and roll up. Place seam-side down on a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining tortillas until you have all the burritos you need (the filling can be refrigerated and used for 3-4 days).
  4. Bake in a 375 degree F oven for about 10-15 minutes, until heated through and the top of the tortilla is golden brown. Adjust the baking time as needed depending on if the filling has been refrigerated or not. For a softer tortilla, wrap each burrito in tin foil and heat through. Serve immediately.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Try This Smoothy

I just had a very yummy smoothy for lunch that I threw together with what I had on hand.  It was surprisingly delicious...

1 Cup Skim Milk
A few handfuls of kale/spinach mix, the more the merrier!
1/4 frozen banana
A handful of frozen blueberries
1 T of crunchy Peanut Butter
1/2 cup Chocolate Protein Powder
Total Calories 348 and Total Protein 32 grams

I probably could have reduced my calories and protein by not adding the Peanut Butter (or maybe just using 1 tsp), but I'm Peanut Butter loving gal!  And sometimes a girls gotta have her combo of chocolate and Peanut Butter the healthy way!

Tonight for dinner I'm making Mels Black Bean and Sweet Potato Burritos.  I've had something similar at a vegetarian restaurant which was delicious.  We shall see how this turns out.  I think I'll add spinach and kale as well.  Gotta get those greens in!

And now I'm off to work off some of these calories at the gym...It's lifting day!

I'm loving today...half day of work and the rest of the day is for me!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Jenny's Visit FF

1. Sunday we had family dinner with Deb and Laura's family.  I love Sunday family dinners!  I also had me a little chat at church with Mr. J where he basically told me I looked hot and little girl A gave me the biggest hug and totally made my day.  I'm sure going to miss seeing her at church, given it was my last week.  This coming Sunday I'm going to my new ward!
2.  Tuesday after working half day I went on a hike with my friends Staci and Michelle.  It was an awesome hike that I hadn't done.  We missed Ofa on our hike, but she couldn't make it.
3.  I worked Wednesday and then picked my childhood friend and traveling companion Jenny up from the airport.  It has been so much fun to have her here this week!
4.  Yesterday we drove to Sedona, checked in to our hotel and then went on 2 hikes.  It was windy and cold, but so beautiful.
We then had lunch where I had this delicious salad!
Then we hiked the scariest, steepest mountain ever.  I admit I was thinking the entire time, "if my mother knew I was doing this, she would be scolding me."  It was so worth the risk when we got to the top.  Pictures don't do it justice.
That day we burned 1300 calories and hiked 5 miles.  For dinner we went to Tara's Thai restaurant, where we shared pad thai and yellow curry.  It was yummy!
5.  Today we hiked a total of 6.25 miles and burned 1500 calories.  I love my hiking app that tells me so much information.  We hiked as high as we could and until I felt nauseous from the height.  Then we hiked all the way around this gorgeous mountain.

6.  By then we were hungry for lunch so we stopped at a bakery and shared a coconut cupcake, molten cake and quiche.  I haven't had much sugar in the last 3 week and funny that I'm not craving it much either.
7.  We headed back to the city, changed and then went to dinner at St. Francis where they have the yummy pork chile verde and I love the ambiance of the restaurant.  We did a little furniture shopping and then it was time to come home and relax!   

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Asian (Fresh) Tuna Salad

Remember that fantastic salad I had on Friday?  It was so good that I have been craving it since, so tonight I recreated it.  Of course I put in my touches and it was delicious.  I'm trying to eat at least 2 servings of fish a week.  I don't think I can get enough fish; I love it so much (Stella say's "so much" all the time.  I think it is so cute!).  When I was in my second year of grad school I visited The Italian Stallion in New Orleans, where I was introduced to grilled tuna.  I will never forget how amazing the taste was and I can't believe it has taken me this long to have it again.  Tuna will now be stocked in my refrigerator, especially when it goes on sale for 6 dollars a pound.  It sounds like a lot, but you get a lot of fish for that price.  I don't like canned tuna, fresh tuna tastes nothing like canned.

Mixed greens...I used spinach, kale and romaine
Red pepper (My touch)
Edamame (put them in a pan, bring to boil and then cool with cold water)
Wasabi peas and browned sesame seeds (bought in bulk at Winco)
Cherry tomato's
Pomegranate seeds (My touch)
Kraft Light Asian Sesame Dressing
Seared Tuna (Seared means only done on the outside, because Aunt Leslie wanted it cooked through I did it, but not next time.  I like it juicy).
I bought this fantastic Asian seasoning at Tj Maxx last week and love it.  I seasoned my Tuna with this, then browned the sesame seeds in the left over olive oil and seasoning.

Walla...This was so yummy, in fact that I'm going to fix it again later this week!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Really Awesome FF

1.  This has been a very busy, wonderful week which started again Sunday having dinner with Deborah and her family to celebrate her husbands birthday.  She is such a great cook and I love chatting with her and her cute kids.
2.  Monday and Wednesday I had the best cycle classes.  The instructor is rather new and is so good.  I love, love, love cycle!
3.  Monday I had lunch with my friend Jolyn.  She is such a sweet lady.  Her grandaughter who isn't even 2 has leukemia.  It so sad, but we believe in miracles!  She gave me a beautiful watch that she made from beads that I love!  I worked 5 hours and then picked Aunt Leslie and Uncle Gordon up from the airport.
4.  Tuesday I worked all day and then surprisingly Mr. J invited me to have dinner.  Talk about a shocker.  I was hesitant, but went anyway for a free dinner, sure!  We actually had a great 2 hour conversation.  He is a good man, just not the right one for me.  I'm glad that we can be friends though. 
5.  Wednesday I waited practically the entire day for my license to come through so I could work, which it did and immediately went to work in Goodyear.  It was so nice to see 5 patients in 4 hours.  I like the change of pace there.
6.  Thursday I worked in the morning and then went hiking with Ofa.  I love our weekly hikes and of course our conversations make our hikes great.  I'm so glad that I have made such a wonderful friend here.
7.  Today I worked a few hours and then had lunch with two incredible women.  I connected with them earlier this week.  They are the founders of an ovarian cancer organization that raises funds for cancer research.  Their mother passed away nearly 2 years ago from this horrible disease.  Their goal is to raise money to find a test that can detect OVC early.  This organization is rather new, but has already raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for this amazing cause.  They had the opportunity to be there in person at Stand Up To Cancer when Pearce Brosnan announced the focus on Ovarian Cancer.  This foundation might be new, but they've already made a name for themselves among the cancer community.  The 2 hours I spent with these ladies were the highlight of my week.  It was so wonderful to be able to talk about what they are doing and how I can be involved with spreading the word on OVC, early detection and to share my story.  The middle of February they will hold a golf tournament and gala that I'm so excited to be able to be a part of.  I am thrilled to work closely with this group and to meet other survivors through them as we battle this big bad silent killer! Oh and the fresh tuna salad at Grassroots was to die for.  I'll definitely be going back for it again.
8.  I topped my night off tonight by hiking Shaw Butte by myself.  I made it to the top of the mountain just as the sun was setting.  It was so beautiful.  The run down was very liberating and oh so enjoyable.  I love my new iphone and the hiking app that told me I burned nearly 500 calories in less than an hour, it definitely motivates me to hike more.
9.  Of course selling my house this week made this week even more awesome that it already was!
10.  A friend of mine since pre-school and probably before, lost her mother today from a heart attack and stroke.  She was only 70, but had an impact on not only her 9 children but all who knew her.  When we were growing up my mom always asked us why we couldn't be like the Ashcraft family.  We were never as quiet and well behaved as them, especially in church.  How grateful we are to know families are forever.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

This News Can't Wait...

This news just can't wait until Fabulous Friday...

My house sold in 2 weeks!  

I'm so excited that it sold so quickly, but a little sad to let that part of my life go.  When I told Nick about it his response was, "You are cutting your ties to Charlotte."  My response, "No I still have you and all of my friends there."  I loved that house and always will.  I never thought I would build a house by myself and I definitely never thought I would sell a house by myself.  I'm happy with the selling price.  Since the market took a nosedive I was worried I'd never get what I paid for it, but thankfully the prices came up and I'm basically breaking even.  Mom already has her house plan for me in the works.  I love that my mom can design my house and I don't even have to question her design.  I'm not building a house just yet, but in the future...

Sunday, January 11, 2015

President Benson

Today in Relief Society we started studying from a new manual, which are sermons from President Ezra Taft Benson.  I'm excited to study his words this year.  He was the prophet for most of my growing up years and I remember many great talks that he gave.  He is also from my home state of Idaho.

Our lesson today was entitled The Great Commandment-Love the Lord.  I'm a quote girl, so of course I loved the following quotes.  The first 2 are my all time favorite quotes:

"We must put God in the forefront of everything else in our lives.  When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives.  Our love of the Lord will govern the claims for our affection, the demands on our time, the interests we pursue, and the order of our priorities."

"Men and women who turn their lives over to God will discover that He can make a lot more out of their lives than they can.  He will deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, raise up friends, and pour out peace.  Whoever will lose his life in the service of God will find eternal life."

He also quotes the scripture Romans 8:28, "All things shall work together for good to them that love God."  I love this scripture, because it it so true.

I also like this quote, "One of the trials of life is that we do not usually receive immediately the full blessings for righteousness...That it will come is certain, but ofttimes there is a waiting period that occurs, as was the case with Job and Joseph...During this testing time the righteous must continue to love God, trust in His promises, be patient, and be assured as the poet said that 'who does God's work will get God's pay.'"

He ends with this, "The great test of life is obedience to God.  The great task of life is to learn the will of the Lord and then do it.  The great commandment of life is, 'Thou shalt love the Lord they God with all they heart, and with all they soul, and with all they mind and with all they strength.'"

I have seen these prophecy's come forth in my own life as I have put the Lord ahead of all other matters and people, He has truly blessed me.  Sure there have been plenty of trials and setbacks, but the blessings far out weight the trials.  I am so grateful to know that God lives, that I am one of his choice daughters, that He is intimately involved in my life and that he has a plan for me.  I love him and am so humbled by his love for me.

Friday, January 9, 2015

FF Food Post with Recipes

1.  I love making steel cut oats, but they are so time consuming.  However I learned a new way of making them this week and am a huge fan.  It doesn't take but a few minutes each night and I'm not rushed in the mornings.  Here is the secret that you can do just before you go to bed, to have a delicious breakfast...
2 Cups Water, 1/2 Cup Steel Cut Oats, a dash of salt and cinnamon if you like.  Bring to boil and boil for 1 minute, cover and shut off the burner.  In the morning fluff oats and warm them up for a few minutes.  In the morning I add berries, walnuts and almond milk and eat a boiled egg and walla I have a fantastic, health and easy breakfast!
2.  Friday night Tenielle and I went to Pizza Limone for dinner.  They had a delicious lemon vinaigrette, so of course I had to recreate it because you know my love for lemon's...
Juice from 1 lemon, a few squirts of Dijon mustard, a drizzle of olive oil, 1-2 tsp of sugar and 1/2 tsp garlic.  Whisk and serve on practically everything!  I've been putting this on a lot of salad's this week.
3.  Before I flew out of SLC Friday night, I spent a few hour's visiting with my friend's Shelley and Matt (remember I met them in CLT and then visited them in NYC 3 times and now they live in SLC).  I love those dear friends of mine.  I'm so happy that Heavenly Father directed me to CLT so that I could meet so many amazing people.  It was nice to come HOME to warmer temps for sure late that night.
4.  Sunday Deborah had me over for dinner.  It is always fun to spend time with her and her family.  She has the cutest 9 year old who is a natural at gymnastics and who can do the splits!  They made the most delicious homemade lemonade and juice from tangelos from of course their tree's in the backyard.
5.  Deborah gave me a bag of lemons from her lemon tree.  I've definitely put them to good use this week.
6.  I started my new part-time/float job this week in Goodyear, which is a small community on the west/south side of Phoenix!  I'm loving it so far! 
7.  Mr. J needed my expert advice this week, so I made a house call.  It was nice to have a conversation with just him and I (he didn't have the kid's) in his home.  I'm glad that in some small way I influenced him for good.
8. Yesterday my friend Ofa and I went on an awesome hike; Shaw Butte.  I love hiking, especially with friends who I lose myself in conversation with, making the tough parts of the hike not so tough.  Before I know it we are to the top of the mountain and on our way down.  And it was an awesome 75 degree "winter" day.
9.  My phone literally died after our hike yesterday.  Luckily the Apple Store had a new iPhone 6 in stock.  I'm a little sad to leave my simple phone behind, but I'm told a smart phone will make me feel even smarter than I already think I am; (i'm not really smart).
10.  My muscles are hating me this week...I took about a month off from lifting, you know that happens in December.  I hate feeling sore, but am ready to see some drastic results.  Dr. C told me it is just fine to lift as much as I want, my mom believes otherwise.  I feel great when I lift weights.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Lemon Salmon

I'm not very good at cooking fish.  It is always dry when I make it and I never know what kind of seasonings to use.  However I made the best salmon today...are you ready for the recipe?

In a bowl mix juice from 1 lemon, zest from 1/2 lemon, 1 tsp garlic, 1 T olive oil, 1/4 c fresh parsley, a few shakes of basil and oregano and I used a few shakes of the Jose Can You Sea seasoning that I got from MVY.  Mix and marinate two 4 ounce pieces of salmon for at least 30 minutes.  Cook on 350 for 10-12 minutes.

This was so moist and delicious!  I had it with steamed green beans with a squeeze of lemon!  Made for one healthy and amazing meal!

Monday, January 5, 2015

In 2014 I learned...In 2015...

In 2014 I learned to have more patience than I've ever had as I went from being bald, to a pixie cut, to the mullet stage, to still waiting for my bangs to be long enough to tuck behind my ear.  I learned to not take work for granted and to spend more time with my patients.  I learned to open my heart, to let myself fall in love and to be loved, but with that vulnerability I learned what it's like to truly have a broken heart, how the atonement can heal my broken heart, to forgive the person who broke my heart and to kill him with kindness.  He recently asked me why I was so nice to him, my reply, "Life is to short to be anything but nice;"  I've learned this principle more this year than ever before.  I fell in love with hiking, swam more, cycled harder, lifted more weight than I've ever lifted and ran faster than I've ever run.  I fell in love with Europe, Martha's Vineyard and yes, Phoenix.  I enjoyed more sunsets, time with my precious family, lunch dates with girlfriends and getting lost in many novels.  I'm pretty sure I ate more chocolate in 2014 than I've ever eaten, all of which were more delicious than I've ever tasted; from German Chocolate to Chilmark (MVY) Chocolates!

In 2015 I look forward to juggling a new full time job (9 shifts a month), a new part time job (which I started today) and continued part time work with my current employer both at PIMC and Martha's Vineyard.  I'm more than enthusiastic about making my home here in Phoenix in my new apartment (years ago I said I'd never live in an apartment again...never say never), unpacking boxes of my possessions which have been in storage for over three years and making new friends in a new ward.  I hope to become more fit than I've ever been before, participate in an Ovarian Cancer run, do a lot more hiking and finish a triathlon.  I better pass my boards this year (yes it's that time again), lose at least 10 pounds and find a handsome hunk who can support me=).  To 2015:  may you bring me many wonderful surprises, a well organized home and more happiness than my little heart can handle.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Happy New Years 2015FF

1.  It has been such a fabulous week, except for the fact that it has been really cold here.  I've pretty much stayed inside as much as possible.  I will admit I'm a little excited to return to warmer temperatures in Phoenix tonight.  It looks a little cold doesn't it?

2.  Saturday all 23 of us went to see Alexander and the Horrible No Good Very Bad Day.  It was a very cute movie which we all enjoyed.
3.  Monday morning some of us went to the temple.  We had some names that we needed to finish before we did sealings on Tuesday.  I had lunch with my cousins Alisha and Misty.  I hadn't seen Misty for over a year and it was a quick visit.  It was so nice to be able to sit down and chat without any interruptions.  I then spent the rest of the afternoon and evening with Alisha and her family.
4.  Tuesday I saw Dr. Cooper (my gyn oncologist).  She is totally awesome; she for saved my life during an 8 hour surgery.
I then met my friend Kaycee at Pho for lunch.  This I had heard about this Vietnamese restaurant and wasn't disappointed.  I love getting together with Kaycee, she is such a great friend.  That evening we went as a family to the temple, where we did 60 sealings.  Such a happy time.
5.  Wednesday Tenielle, Tristen and I had lunch with our friends Heather and Cynthia at my favorite Thai restaurant in Nampa.  I know I went to lunch 3 days in a row with girlfriends.  What can I say, I have fabulous girlfriends and we have to have lunch to catch up.
6.  For New Years Eve we had dinner as a family, played the candy bar game and watched BSU play in the Fiesta Bowl which they won.  It was a very exciting game and we were excited that BSU ranked 20, beat Arizona ranked 10.
 This little girl is so funny.
 Tech toys keep them very quiet.
 Candy Bar Game fun.
 So cute how Stella took my cheeks in her hands and kissed me.
 Can't believe how big these twins are.
7.  Yesterday I had the greatest surprise when I got a message from my friend Aubrey that she was in town visiting her sister who's in-laws live here.  Aubrey had actually come from Seattle and surprised her sister who was visiting from Louisville.  What a fantastic way to welcome in 2015 by a visit from this very dear friend of mine.  I love this girl!  It was fun to also see her parents who live in Gilbert and who I really need to visit more often.
8.  Last night we watched a lot of football and played our last card game, given we have played a lot of card games over the last 2 weeks.  I always seem to lose, but someone has to.
9.  This morning Tenielle and I will drive to SLC, visit some friends and then I'll fly back to Phoenix tonight and back to reality.  Oh, how wonderful it has been to be off for 2 weeks and to enjoy time with my family.  Until next year's holiday vacation...
Tanner had pins removed from his feet 2 weeks ago.  He is healing well!