30 June 2014

The gadget to end all gadgets

...is the ever amazing Veggetti (aka spiral vegetable cutter).

If you're anything like me every time I see that red logo "as seen on TV" on products, I instantly tune out and figure its just another gimmick...especially after Jim got me the "Air Curler" for Christmas because he knows how much I like curling my hair.  Gold star for effort chief but I'm sticking with Revlon when it comes to curling my hair.

A few months back, Jim was really interested in trying out the Veggetti.  I was really hesitant and at the time it seemed like a waste of using a 20% Bed, Bath, & Beyond coupon.  Folks.  I was really pleasantly surprised. like. a lot. surprised.   This little gadget slices up veggies like zucchini and summer squash into spirals, and then you can cook it up in different ways.  Our favorite way is to saute it up and then eat like spaghetti.

Now I am girl who loves her carbs, especially spaghetti and bread.  But the great thing with this, is we can cook it up like spaghetti and its way healthier but still tastes great.  It is so good that I am at a point if I never ate spaghetti/pasta again I could be satisfied with that; because this dish is so much  more filling
So while I am sharing with you a gadget your kitchen needs, but also our favorite recipe with this little wonder...

Veggetti Spaghetti

4-5 good sized zucchini
3 summer squash
olive oil
Salt/pepper to season
Parmesan cheese
1 jar of mild salsa

1// Slice up your vegetables into cooking pan; just keep turning the vegetables until you can no longer

2//  Saute in olive oil; add salt and pepper to lightly season.  Sometimes we throw in chicken or ground turkey, this time we used turkey

 3//   When all cooked, plate up the mixture.  Instead of using pasta sauce, we use salsa as the "pasta sauce"...top it off with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and, Voila! 

I am still not sold on the air curler, but this little do-dad has been grand addition to our kitchen.
If you're looking for a way to eat pasta without all those extra calories,  try out the Veggetti!

What's the most unique kitchen gadget you own?

23 June 2014

Shrimp-Spinach-White Bean-Supreme

One thing I love about social media is how its a great place for ideas.  Recently one of my friends used her Facebook status asking help for healthy meal idea's.  As I scrolled I found one suggestion a blogger offered that sounded way to A.tasty and 2.easy peasy.  It didn't have an official recipe-y sounding name so hence the shrimp-spinach-white bean-supreme name...sounds like a new burrito option Taco Bell is offering...

After a long day, when it comes to dinner I like an easy and fast approach to meals.  And this dish fit the bill nicely.

1 lb. shrimp
2 bags of fresh spinach
1 can of broth (I used chicken broth)
1 can of white beans
fresh garlic
olive oil

1// Saute garlic in olive oil; add spinach

2// Boil shrimp in large pot until pink

3//  Now here comes the fun part...mix together spinach, shrimp, and beans together; add chicken broth (I used a cup)
By this time your kitchen will have the bestest aroma of olive oil/garlic and it will take some control t not start chowing down

4//  Let mixture simmer for 10-15 minutes

 5//  Partake of this delicious bounty

Since making the first initial time, we've made it a few more times and its a new favorite around casa de Hubbard.  We paired it up with fresh baguette and a fresh garlic spread which was absolutely amazing!
A healthy dinner that's Weight Watcher friendly?  Count me in:)

16 June 2014

6 reasons I don't miss Visa.

Have you met my friend, Visa?  I am quite sure you have. 

That sleek, handy, shiny little plastic card...the pure magic of running him/her through the machine with ease and simplicity that makes me feel as glamorous as a lipstick model. 

I am excited to take home my new purchase and am giddy with excitement...until the bill comes in the mail.

That's right friends.  I am talking about 'that little friend'; perhaps yours goes by another name of Discover, MasterCard, or American Express.  In May, I paid off my credit card for the last time
Jim and I starting the journey to work to become debt free.  Sure we are only a month into our game plan, but I am totally shocked how once you have a plan for dealing with money, the real peace there is about knowing our financial status.

So without further ado, I give you a sampling of reasons I am thrilled to have terminated this relationship...

1.  No more surprises once a month when the statement comes in the mail

2.  When I am not spending frivolously on meaningless BS, go figure I find we have enough money for bills, loan payments, and groceries...aka the things we need to take care of.  What a concept?!

3.  Sure I can still go shopping or get my eyebrows waxed or get a new lipstick, but now I plan.ahead.  Okay so for the month of June, I used up all my chump change at a garage sale and a trip to Home Goods within the first week, but that was my choice.  Once monthly chump change runs out, I wait till the next month.  Giving myself a limit allows me to prioritize my wants vs. needs, and really think about things before making a purchase.

4.  I am learning self-control.  Not that I am this ego-tastic person, but lets face it; our culture is a fan of instant gratification: I like it.  I want it. I need it.  I must have it immediately.  If we're honest with ourselves, I'd imagine we all struggle with this from time to time.  Money or a desire for 'more stuff' shouldn't control me...but properly handling and remembering its not our money, but God's?  Now that's a storyline I am starting to get into.

Ever read this Berenstein Bears book growing up? point.made.

5.  I have heard before the things married couples fight most about and divorce are either money or sex.  One thing since getting rid of my former bff is less stress in general over money.  Instead of worrying now how we'll pay my monthly loan payments, we are always checking and reminding each other to save receipts from our purchases using cash.

I am all for less stress and more peace, harmony, and holding hands singing "Kumbaya"....well maybe not that last one.

6.  The longer we wait to get our financial act together, the harder it will be.  And for us getting rid of our credit cards and saying sayonara to debt has got to happen; and the time is now.  I certainly don't want to wait until things could get really bad like having to declare bankruptcy or something...

That's me, but what about you!

Do you use credit cards?  If so, how do manage them and keep them under control?

06 June 2014

7 Quick Takes on Skype dates, garage saling adventures, and movie nights in the jammies

Bumping into each other in Madrid at World Youth Day 2011
 1.  One of my favorite things about traveling internationally are the wonderful people you meet and new friendships that are formed.  Sunday morning I got to Skype some of my favorites in Germany and Brazil.
Kathi was a foreign exchange student for a year from Germany and was involved in the youth ministry program at the first church I worked at.  I know its not cool to have favorites, but secretly she is one of mine.  I love her spunk, joy, and vibrant faith.  It is awesome because even though she is back in Germany, we still make time to regularly Skype and catch up...
After chatting with Kathi over breakfast, I "headed" over to South America to chat with my Brazilian host family...is it really almost a year since I was there?!  I caught them just in time for lunch and was eager to stay for the meal.  The World Cup is actually going on right now in Brazil, but many are upset about it because the government spent so much money on stadiums; meanwhile health care and education for many Brazilians is not at all sufficient.  It was good to catch up and 'see' my Brazilian family.  If could go back to any county I have already been to, I would choose Brazil hands down again:great people and memories there.

2.  Our kick-off  and kissing debt goodbye is going well...its amazing how more peaceful and less anxious I am when I know exactly how much cash I putting for gas, groceries, chump change, etc.  It looks like by the end of the summer/early fall, we can have our 2 smallest debts paid off!  The only bummer has been realizing I signed a new contract with Verizon in February to get a new phone so I have to stay with Verizon until February 2015 so I don't breach the contract.  That was frustrating but once Feb. 15 passes, I'm going with a much cheaper provider.

3.  I am so.geeked.up to go garage saling with my Mom Saturday morning.  This ain't your average rummage sale of crap folks.  Its in this historic neighborhood near my aunt and uncles house.  And the funny thing is it seems our family has a good knack for always snatching up great finds.  My parents bought their first couch their before they got married.  We got our china cabinet from it and my sister found her hutch and coffee table there last year.
We're on the hunt for a nice/affordable coffee table and maybe a nice bookshelf.  Cross your fingers and toes we grab some good finds.  And prayers for no rain would be awesome too!

4.  I'm in week 3, day 2 of Couch to 5K.  Aside from the running longer stretches of time, I am really enjoying this.  Its crazy because one of the girls in my small group is doing it also, but we are both on the same week/day and we didn't even know it! 
Pretty certain this is what I feel and look like whilst running...

5.  Yesterday was the 25th anniversary of the Tienanmen Square Massacre, where hundreds of thousands of pro-democracy protesters were killed after weeks of peacefully occupying the square.  Lately I have interested learning more about the Communist regimes in China and North Korea, and reading stories of people working in under-ground churches to spread the Gospel.  Its actually kind of scary to start to even get a glimpse of these difficult life is for so many people, and especially if you're a Christian.  Check out this documentary on the secret state of North Korea...for me it was mind.blowing.  It is about 55 minutes long, but very good.  Looking for some reads, I have really enjoyed these books.

 6.  Yesterday I went on a tour of a local crisis Pregnancy center in our area.  It was cool to really understand they ins and outs of how they work and help women/men who come in.  I am hopeful there are some ways our youth program can partner and work together on things with them; maybe helping to plat flowers in the spring or help rake leaves in the fall.

7.  The last two weeks have been so.crazy.busy.  Something going on for at least 1 or both of us every night of the week.  Sure its all good, uplifting stuff but I never want to be that busy where we don't connect and see each-other much during the week.  So Tuesday night when we both got home home from work we threw on our jammies, watched an old movie 'High Society', and enjoyed pretzel sticks dipped in spaghetti sauce with our chicken salads.  It was glorious and well needed.

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes about wearing triceratops hats, signing Kindles, and standing in the middle of Times Square wearing an epic selfie t shirt

04 June 2014

Be a Hepburn. Not a Hilton.

I have never been a big fan of modern day actors or actresses.  Oh sure, there a few I enjoy, but for the most part not really.  Ever since I was little I have always been drawn to movies and actors from the golden era of the 1950's...where a gentlemen knew how to dance well, not every movie was based on some racy sex scene/s, and women were just more glamorous and alluring without letting it all hang out.

I recently started reading "How to Be a Hepburn in a Hilton World" which basically translates to: how-to-be-a-classy-confidant-capable-woman without being trashy.

Its an easy read that looks at everything from speech, fashion, manners, friends, make-up, and work ethic.  The titles are definitely catchy; like keep your chin up and your skirt down.  And the author's examples and antics always give me a good giggle or two.or three.

Self-respect, the author writes, is one of the greatest assets a girl can possess, and yet it's one of the biggest things we're lacking these days (pg. 17).  No I'm not going to get all preachy-mcpreahyson on you, but that sentence sets a good tone for the book.  Whether its how you talk, do/don't use manners, to things like Britney Spears fashion no-no lack of undies as she was getting out of limo; it all comes down to self-respect.

Sure we're all at varying stages on the classy-o-meter, but no matter where we fall; all can make simple changes. 

The whole book isn't about how to sit like a lady or cross your legs like so, but also goes over important things like: the power of words we say to ourselves and others, always keep learning, read good books, how to chose your friends wisely, dressing to impress-not scandalize, and make-up rules 101. 
Its a funny, delightful read that helped remind me of a few things I want to work on and improve with myself too.

So yes ladies. 
Please wear your slips, don't dress as to let it all hang out, use kind words, and know that less really is more when it comes to makeup....but most importantly remember

Happy Hepburn-ing!
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