Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Rock chalk Jayhawk

Ladies and gentlemen, basketball season is among us! 

And I love it!!!! Last night we headed to Lawrence for the season opener exhibition game. Wow!! That was quite the experience. It was my first KU game. We went to a basketball camp at KU in high school, and I have secretly been in love ever since. I finally had a good excuse to wear one of my KU t-shirts.

Their crowd is intense! They have a whole pregame for the fans. I am so glad we got there early so we could see it. The "Rock chalk Jayhawk KU" chant is so eerie and cool. We had a great time. We saw a couple of awesome dunks. Looks like it's going to be a great season! Idk about the new foul changes however. (Here is one interpretation of the rule.) Pitt State got into the bonus within the first six minutes of the game. It could get interesting...

Hope you are enjoying keeping up with our lives! Fall is among us. Hope the leaves stay up a little while longer. Thanks for reading! :)

Monday, October 28, 2013

One last fall break

One good thing about being in school is the vacation time we get. This past week included our fall break. It was my last one ever. We headed to Phoenix to enjoy the nice weather, check out some potential career leads for Matt and find a place to live! We will be moving down there once I finish this semester. I am so ready for this gorgeous weather!!

The next task will be moving. Somehow we will move all of our stuff down there in December. Since we are in KC, we didn't think we would be using our summer clothes at any point during the next two months so we brought them down with us. Thanks Southwest Airlines for helping us move!! 

Four suitcases in the airport is not an easy task. I don't think our shuttle driver was too keen on all our luggage either. Then he found out we were only staying for four days. We definitely had him confused! Either way we arrived safe and were ready to head out on our missions.

I spent the next morning making a game plan for us to see all of the apartments we wanted to see. I also FINALLY got to try the Pumpkin Pie donut from Dunkin Donuts. If you haven't tried it yet, I recommend you stop reading, get in your car and drive thru your nearest DD. SO YUMMY!!!! Not healthy, but good for the soul!

We spend the next two and a half days apartment hunting. Our car broke down one day which caused a minor setback. Thank you AAA, you have more than paid for yourself every year! We narrowed our picks to about five. We are still deciding which neighborhood we think we will like best and have not made a final decision yet.
We did have a little time for fun; not as much as we would have liked, but we will have plenty of time for fun once we move! And I won't be studying every single night! I can't believe that day will ever come, but apparently it happens...We headed over to check out Tempe Town Lake. The picture is below. It looks like a fun path we will be spending some time at. 

We also finally got to try Pizzeria Bianco. This has been a long time coming; let me tell you about it. A couple of years ago Matt and I were in Phoenix and decided we needed to do some cool Phoenix things like hiking mountains and unique shopping. We were trying to decide where we should eat, Kansas City you eat ribs, Memphis=BBQ, Chicago you eat pizza, New Orleans you eat Cajun, in Cinnci go for chili, in Philly you get cheesesteak, in Maine you eat lobster-you get the idea... So we thought, what do you eat in Phoenix? We chose Mexican-we both really like Mexican and thought it was a good excuse. We were strolling through checking out the downtown and took a little break on a bench across from these adorable little house bars. We thought it looked like a really cool place. Next to the house there was this tiny pizza place. As you know Matt LOVES pizza. We considered just going in and eating there but decided against it because you can get good pizza anywhere. We went to our Mexican restaurant and had a good time. The next day we were heading back to the airport when our shuttle driver mentioned a pizza place in downtown that has a reputation for being the best pizza in America. Now at this point we weren't super knowledgeable on many things Phoenix but when he said Pizzeria Bianco we knew exactly what he was talking about. It was the cute pizza place we sat right next to the night before! We couldn't believe it!! We had passed up the best pizza in all of America and didn't even know it!! My next couple of trips to Phoenix I was also not successful at eating there. I tried once with my family but the wait was ridiculously long. So finally after two years of waiting we finally got to try this pizza that everyone was raving about. It was very good. It also seemed very healthy so I didn't feel guilty eating a bunch! We split one and ordered it half and half to try a couple different items. They don't have a lot on their menu which is good for me. I can't deal with too many options. If you get a chance to go there, it is pretty cool. And if you can sit outside it's even better!

I just had to add this pic in. Who doesn't love lights on palm trees all year round?!

The last night we were there we decided we needed to go check some things out. After all we will be living there soon so we need to get a feel for the night life. So what did we choose? The Salt River Fields Balloon Spooktacular. Apparently it was aimed for children and their families, but we had a great time! I can't ever remember seeing a hot air balloon in real life so it was fun see about 20 of them so close together. It made us really excited to check out the balloon fiesta in Albuquerque next year. So here are all my pictures below. Enjoy! We also got to watch one group stand their balloon up. You can watch the video below!

Here is the video!

I'm not a big fan of Halloween since I hate scary things. This was one Halloween event I was glad I attended. 

I also must admit In-N-Out Burger is one of my weaknesses. I have not been there in a very long time since we do not have them in the Midwest. When I was in Vegas in January we were hoping to get a chance to go, but it didn't work out. For a while on this trip I was afraid it would again not work out, but I didn't give up! Our last day we were able to stop. If you have not experienced this place, you need to!! It's so fresh! You watch them chop your potatoes to cook your fries as you order. While we were waiting for our food we also watched a woman slicing tomatoes to top the burgers. It doesn't get much fresher than that. Also they have a pink lemonade that is pretty tasty! In-N-Out and QuikTrip are my go-tos. I'm not sure I could live without them!

Our last day we headed up to Surprise to check out an Arizona Fall League game. Matt loves the Rockies who have some team members that play for the Salt River Rafters in the Fall. They played at Surprise Stadium which is home to the Kansas City Royals Spring Training. 


We had a good time. It was a great afternoon for some baseball! I think this is one of the main reasons Matt is excited about moving-baseball almost year round.

I was so sad to leave, but we are treating these next two months like a mini-vacation. Not sure why anyone would take a vacation in Kansas City during the months of November and December, but we are! Phoenix is the only place I always get sad to leave. Soon I won't have to worry about that feeling anymore.
Thanks for reading!!! :)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

BBQ Chicken Pizza

BBQ Chicken Pizza (for two)

Matt loves, I mean LOVES pizza!!! If he could eat it for every meal, he definitely would. He also thinks that since we live in Kansas City we need to eat BBQ ALL THE TIME! However, with our healthy eating plan we know both of those suggestions are not good ideas. We used to make our own personal pans with pre-packaged pizza crusts. They were awesome but high in calories. So I came up with a solution-use tortilla shells! It's kind of like thin and crispy crust. It's less calories, and we think it tastes just fine. In fact, this has become a weekly staple in our meals. Also, like all my other recipes, it's super easy! I gotta tell you, it's so much easier and faster to cook these healthy meals compared to the food I used to make. Try out our recipe and let me know what you think!

2 medium sized tortillas
4 T BBQ sauce
8 oz cooked chicken-seasoned with BBQ seasoning
veggies of your choice (I used some minced onion and bell pepper-always bell pepper for Matt!)
2/3 c shredded cheese

Place tortilla on baking sheet and top with 2 T of sauce each.

Tonight I was waiting for Matt to cook the chicken so I put the veggies on first.

Then I added the chicken.

Top with cheese

Bake at 350 for 10-15 min (until the cheese melts)

Tada! Another super simple, great tasting recipe!
(I have no idea why my pictures are coming in vertically. So sorry, I'm basically computer illiterate.)

Calories per pizza: 440

Pepperoni Pizza 420 calories
Chicken Ranch Pizza-be careful of the extra calories in the ranch! ~500 calories if you follow this same recipe so you may have to reduce the amount of ranch or cheese used.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Teriyaki Chicken

Hi friends!
Here is my recipe for Teriyaki Chicken for two. Substitute as you see fitting. I chose not to use the wok tonight. This recipe is pretty much fail-proof.

8 oz chicken (we like to grill it on our George Foreman and season how to we. We usually put a little bit of sesame seed, Herbed Poultry seasoning and minced onion.)
2 servings prepared rice
vegetables of your choice (This time I used sugar snap peas, frozen peas and carrots, onion, and yellow bell pepper. But we use different vegetables depending on what we have on hand.)
~ 4 T. teriyaki sauce

Cook and grill the chicken as you normally would.
Cook the instant rice according to the box.
Cook the vegetables according to the package.

Cook the onions and throw the bell pepper in right before the onions are translucent.

Your vegetables should look a little something like this.

Add the vegetables into the rice and stir.

Add some teriyaki sauce (there is only 15 calories per tablespoon so feel free to be a little generous here.
But we will add more later. I plan on using about 4 T total which would be 30 calories per person.)

Next I cut up the chicken. I like to cut it smaller and add it to the rice and vegetables. Or you can always leave it separate and not cut the pieces so small. Your choice!

Then I added the chicken to the rice and vegetables. I also added a bit more teriyaki sauce.

Distribute evenly and you have a super easy, healthy meal for two!

Nutrition facts: 1 serving (half of this recipe) = 392 calories

P.S. I hope you enjoy our super vintage cook-top. Hopefully when we move our next stove will be a little more attractive for pictures!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Alexa's Fiesta

Here is my salsa recipe. (Thank you Jenna for the name). It's a big game day hit! Always fresh and yummy. Basically you cannot mess this up.

2 large tomatoes, cored and chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 large white onion or 3-4 scallions, chopped (I've used both, and either is great!)
1 can black beans, drained
1 can corn, drained
1 t. minced garlic
cayenne pepper to taste
1/2 c. chopped fresh cilantro
2 T. freshly squeezed lime juice
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients but salt and pepper in a medium bowl.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then taste and adjust seasoning (or just assume it will be fine because it will be)

It possible, let flavors develop for 15 min or so before serving (I usually stick it in the fridge so I don't have to stare at it), but by all means serve within a couple of hours. Enjoy!!!

I like to pair it with multigrain scoops or hint of lime chips. I have also put this in my wraps, or a pita pocket on its own. Let me know what else you paired it with!

780 calories for the recipe. So figure out how many calories you feel like consuming (including chips or pita pocket) and eat that much!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

And so it begins...

Today marks our fourth year dating anniversary. I felt it was fitting to look back on the last four years and reminisce on our past. So let’s start from the night we started dating. Actually let’s begin with the night before…We were in Kansas City for one of our first Southwestern Events as managers, Fall Ball. On Friday, October 9, we were all hanging out at the Embassy. I was talking with some girlfriends and Matt came and got me. We took a walk, inside. Now if you have stayed at the Embassy at the plaza you know it is in a big square so we kept walking in a square. We walked, and we walked. Finally Matt got around to what he wanted to say. I remember going back to my room that night being totally confused on whether we were dating or not. The next morning we were in meetings pretty much the whole day. It was super awkward because he wouldn't sit by me nor did he say anything. We then broke up by schools so again I didn't get a chance to ask him. Saturday night we had planned to go out for dinner before the ball that night. As we were getting ready to go Jess kept asking me if we were dating or not. I said I still did not know so she said she would take care of it. After all, she was the one that pretty much set us up in the first place!

So Jess, Andy, Matt and I went to dinner and had a great time. We then went over to meet up with some more people from our group at the Cheesecake Factory. I remember Jess and I went upstairs to the bathroom and she said she would ask him now. We were coming down the stairs at the same times the boys were coming up. We stopped in the middle to chat and Jess just flat out asked Matt, “So are you two dating?” I quickly responded “no.” I have never seen such a look. Matt seemed pretty baffled but recovered quickly. He said we would be soon. Of course I was anxious. We headed over to the ball and were hanging out with lots of friends for the next couple of hours. Finally we were dancing and it turned to a slow song.

During the song, I couldn't tell you what it was, I know that would pry make the story a lot better right now, he was saying things like, “So we aren't dating?” I kept saying no. Now don’t be feeling sorry for him, he had basically already asked me out twice at this point and I was still hanging around him…Once it was a “hypothetical situation” in which I said yes. And the night before it was, “we can make this work right?” As in we could make driving back and forth between Lincoln and Kearney work because that was going to be sssoooo hard…So we get to this moment. And finally he says it, “So do you want to go out with me?” (Okay, I’m sorry I don’t actually remember his EXACT words, so that could be a misquote….See why I am doing this now, I will soon forget everything!) Anyways, I said yes. And then we were officially dating.

Four years ago, I never would have guessed that one eventful weekend would lead to the life we have now. I am forever thankful! 

Friday, October 4, 2013


Matt and I took a trip to New York City February 24-26 to see Matt's host family, Tim and Cortney from New York. While we were there we also met up with some other friends including my host family, the Cavanaughs, from Connecticut. We had a great trip and had lots of fun meeting with friends.

 But let's get to the proposal! On Friday night, we were eating dinner with Matt's host family and their friends. All day Matt mentioned wanting to go ice skating at Rockefeller Center and take a carriage ride through Central Park, his favorite place. I was really tired so we left dinner a little early. It had rained that day and was pretty cold so we skipped the ice skating. We took a cab to Central Park, but unfortunately the roads in Central Park were closed so there were no more carriage rides for the night. We ended up walking instead, which worked out much better! We walked down the mall talking about our relationship. 

Then we walked so we were standing between the Bethesda fountain and the mall. For a few months, Matt has been asking me, "Are you sure you want to be with me forever?". (He calls it his "trial-close," a sales-term we learned in Southwestern.) He said to me, "Okay, this is my last trial-close, are you sure you want to be with me forever?" I said yes, so he got down on his knee, pulled out the ring and asked me to marry him! It was very fun and romantic to be alone in New York City! We enjoyed the rest of our weekend in NYC and told our friends about the engagement on the way home.

How we met

Matt and I met after completing our first summers with Southwestern. We didn't know each other during the summer, even though we saw each other most Sundays. The first time we talked was in Nashville, at a dance club while checking out from our first summer right before heading back to school for the fall. We hung out a few weekends, and by the time the first Southwestern get-back of the season came around in Kansas City, we started dating. We dated for almost two and a half years, and then Matt proposed.