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Don’t lose hope!

5 Nov

This Spring, John and I had grand plans for planting a garden.  John made a raised bed and we planted tomato plants, bell pepper plants, jalapeno pants and a squash plant (maybe some other stuff too that I don’t remember anymore).  But, When Ms. Elizabeth came we had NO time to tend to the garden.  So after many months of us completely  ignoring the garden, I decided to go look at it last night.

It’s pretty bad right?  You can’ t even see the posts or anything! BUT upon closer look, look at what I found!


I counted 17 green tomatoes and 4 baby bell peppers and I picked about 9 jalapenos!!  Now we’re in a race to get them to grow before the first frost.  Anyone have any tips on how to make them grow/ripen faster?


Red Beans and Rice

22 Sep

Last week John said to me, “Don’t laugh at what I’m about to say… I’m really craving red beans and rice.” And of course I laughed because we never eat beans (except black beans with Mexican food).  But like a good wife ( 🙂 ) I wanted to make him what he wanted.  There was a slight problem though, I didn’t really know what Red Beans & Rice were.  Well, I knew the obvious that is was red beans cooked with rice, but I didn’t know if you were supposed to add anything else or if it was all mixed together or separate. Luckily All Recipes came to my rescue.  They have several recipes for Red Beans and Rice, after looking through a few, I picked one and started cooking!   (I was really excited to find that smoked sausage was an ingredient, yumm!)

Red Beans and rice


  • 1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 16 ounces smoked sausage, thinly sliced
  • 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained


  • Bring the rice and water to boil in a pot. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 20 minutes.(I just cooked minute rice in the microwave.  Secret confession, I’ve never cooked rice on the stove, I’m scared to, but I’m not sure why…)
  • Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in onion and green bell pepper, and cook until tender.

  • Stir in sausage, and cook until evenly browned.

  • Mix in beans and tomatoes, and continue cooking until heated through.
  • Serve skillet mixture over the rice.
When I decided to make this meal, I didn’t really know what I was going to eat for dinner.  This didn’t really sound like something I would like.  But after I finished cooking it, I tasted it and it’s really really good!  I ate it for dinner and I took it for lunch the next day.  John and I both made the comment that it was even better the second day.  Although John did really like this recipe, he said this isn’t at all what he thinks Red Beans and Rice is.  (When we go to Louisiana we always go to Catfish King and John and his dad get the Red Beans & Rice for their side.  That’s what he is remembering. )  So if you have a good Red Beans & Rice recipe, let me know, so I can see if it’s what John is wanting!

Family Photos!

29 Oct

For our Anniversary (I know, waaay back in July), we decided to do the “traditional” gifts.  So, year 1 was paper.  John was very creative and showed me that he HAD been listening to me all year.  I had been hounding casually mentioning to him that I wanted to get family pictures taken together.  So, he surprised me with a gift card to get them done!  We got them done a month ago and her are some of my favorite pictures! 

Okay, I want to get one of these framed to go over the mantle, but I’m having a hard time deciding which one.  So, let me know in a comment which one should be framed. (I also added a poll to vote on.)





Here are just some fun ones.

John and Zerbie

Me and Zerbie (the pink boa was John’s idea)

Silly Hands Picture

Zerbie was very interested in the Studio’s kitten.  The photographers thought it would be so cute to see the size difference up close.

Happy Husband

27 Oct

“If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” Tends to be the popular saying… but I think it also works for the men in our lives too.  When John is really happy (which he is most times), it just makes everything go better. 

Here is the most recent explanation for his happiness.

Yes, his beloved Xbox 360 is working once again.  It broke sometime in the early Spring (again… for like the 3rd time), we called and they said it would be $150 to fix it! Cra-zy!!  So, we just let it gather dust in the back room.  A few weeks ago, John really started wanting to play his NCAA Football (as if we don’t have enough football at our house right now… lol), so we called and they said they’d fix it for FREE!  Yippee!

Me, being the good wife I am 🙂 , surprised John with the NEW NCAA Football 2009 when his Xbox came back.

Steak Tacos with Cucumber-Avocado Salsa: CEiMB #1

16 Oct

So, you may be wondering, what exactly CEiMB is…. Did Nina loose her mind and is talking jibberish you may ask yourself… The answer is no!  CEiMB – Craving Ellie in My Bellie is a new weekly bloggy even for creating healthy dishes from Ellie Krieger’s The Food You Crave cookbook.  I saw CB participate in the first week last week, and I immediatly knew I wanted to join.  So, I ordered the cookbook on Monday, and it arrived last night… just in the nick of time!

 Steak Tacos with Cucumber-Avocado Salsa
1 TB Chili powder
2 Cloves garlic, minced
1/4 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t salt
Pinch of Cayenne pepper
1 1/4 pounds of Top Sirloin steaks
12 6-inch-diameter Corn tortillas
3 cups shredded red cabbage (I cheated, and just got coleslaw mix. It’s basically all cabbage, but cheaper than head cabbage.)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 lime, cut into wedges
Cucumber Avocado Salsa (recipe follows)

In a small bowl stir together chili powder, garlic, cinnamon, salt and cayenne pepper. Rub spice mixture on both sides of steaks.

Grill or broil steaks for 5 to 6 minutes on each side for medium rare, turning once. Remove from grill and let meat sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Carve into thin slices.

Warm tortillas by placing them on the grill, for about 30 seconds, turning once. Or place 6 tortillas at a time between 2 moist paper towels and microwave for 45 seconds. Wrap in cloth napkin or place in a tortilla warmer to keep warm. Place the carved steak, warm tortillas, cabbage, cilantro, lime and Avocado Lime Salsa in serving dishes and let diners make their own tacos at the table.


Avocado Lime Salsa:
1 large cucumber peeled, seeded and cut into chunks (about 2 cups)
2 avocados, cut into chunks
1/2 red onion, diced (I’m not a huge fan of raw onion, so I only used probably 1/4 cup, then John added more to the portions he ate)
2 limes, juiced (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped and seeded, plus more to taste (I omitted these)

Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl and toss gently to combine.
Serve within an hour of preparing.

The tacos were wonderful!  It was a very good change from the beef fajitas we normally make when we want steak and tacos.  John loved them also!  I was unsure what he would like about the cabbage and salsa, so I told him he had to make the tacos as directed (in the recipe) at least once.  So, we did….. for all 3 tacos!  As he was eating and throughout the night he kept saying, “Wow. these are really good.  These or really really good.” I think it was a success!!

A couple of changes we talked about were adding a bunch more seasoning to the steaks, once they were cooked, you couldn’t taste many of the flavors.  That could be my fault though, I was a little shy, since I don’t like spicy food, I didn’t want them to be too hot. 

You may have noticed a few extra pieces of meat on the grill, we figured we might as well cook some other stuff to have in the fridge for lunches since we had the grill “light up” (I don’t really know what the correct terminology for that would be…. “turned on” sounds funny, since it’s a charcol grill and doesn’t have an on button….. hmmm, readers?).  So we cooked 2 pork tenderloins… my favorite!  One is cooked ina  spice rub and the other with barbeque sauce.

Make sure to check out the other CEiMB member’s delicious tacos too.

Often when we grill, John will grill some meat scaps for Zerbie.  He’ll hide them in her food dish so hopefully she’ll eat some of her dog food too.  It’s a pretty funny picture when she’s finished.

The food goes everywhere as she looks for any remaining scraps of meat.

But luckily when she does this, she comes back an hour later and eats all the food that she spills, so I don’t worry about.  One day when I have kids crawling around, I may think twice about it… but for now, whatever makes her happy. 🙂

Long time coming…

14 Jul

Hello out there?  Is anyone still reading this?  I am so so sorry for the lack of updates this past few weeks.  I recently got a small job promotion which has completely limited my use of internet for blogging purposes. 😦  But have no fear!  Thursday afternoon I have wonderful people coming to install internet at my house!! (IT only took a year of your constant nagging reccomending CB)Yay!!  So, hopefully I’ll get back into the blogging groove and I can start updating more often.

So today is John and mine’s 1 year anniversary!! I have the top tier of our wedding cake defrosting in our fridge, so let’s hope it tastes good!!  I wrapped it up really good, so it at least has a chance at tasting alright.  In case you want to see a glimpse of my wedding, here’s a litte highlight film that my videographer made for me. 

Alex Dunn did an amazing job with my wedding.  If you need a videographer and are in Arizona, try him, he’s great!!

Hubby’s New Toy and My Vacation

11 Apr

Normally we are pretty responsible adults… but last week we both had a lapse in “grown-upness”.  Well, with the tax rebate thing coming in just a couple of short weeks, so we decided to just blow the money. 🙂 If we’re ever going to blow money, this is the time in our lives to do it right?

John has been learning so much in his photography class.  We have been talking about him getting a “real” camera.  His photography teacher told him about a website that sells used cameras that have been re-certified to be in new condition.  He found the exact camera he wanted for a killer price, so we bought it.  He was soooo excited when the UPS man delivered it yesterday.


In the action:

Shooting something....

So, you may be thinking, that’s cool that John got a new camera, but what do you get Nina?  Well, I get to go see one of my best friends down in Florida!  Christa moved to Florida last Spring and I’ve been wanting to go see her since then.  We finally decided this was the time to splurge on the trip.  So, May 21-25 I will be on blogging hiatus and I will be be laying on the Florida beaches working on my tan. 🙂

This picture was taken on a trip we took to North Carolina 2 years ago.

Chris and I

Sooo, if you know of anything fun/cheap to do in the Sarasota, Florida area while I’m down there, leave me a comment let me know.