Wordless Wednesday

I love this picture. It's from the Easter after we were engaged. Ahh. Good memories. I love this guy even more today than I did on that day.. and look at me.. I'm beaming.
That says love for sure.

(For the record, I hope to wear this dress again one day... haha--not this Easter I'm afraid.
No way. ) Oh well. She's worth it!


A letter to an inanimate establishment

Dear Produce Stand,

All through the cold, long winter I have cast forlorn glances in your direction as I drove by a hollow empty booth wherein no life was present. No beautiful bins of brightly colored fresh vegetables and fruits. No long wooden table of bright red tomatoes and bountiful piles of onions and potatoes. No smiling person to greet me as I step out of my car and approach your small open air establishment. Nothing but empty shelves and hollow buckets. For months I have made particular trips to specialty stores just to purchase over-priced vegetables flown clear across the world that weren’t always that great. Let’s be clear, I appreciate having a tree-ripe nectarine flown in from Chile just for me in January. I enjoy my little “Market of Fresh” with its tiny shopping carts and classical music. And I would much rather pay a little more for good produce in the winter from said Market rather than buy sub-standard veggies from a grocer who does not care one bit if my produce will begin to go bad the moment I step out of the store. But let’s face it, Produce Stand, there is absolutely no substitute for what you offer my family during the warmer months. You offer convenience. You offer excellent value. You offer the satisfaction of making pleasant conversation with the other patrons. Conversations which lead me to believe, I am not the only one in Wake Forest who loves you and your fresh vegetables.

That being emoted, I cannot convey the over-whelming elation which my heart felt when I drove past you this week to see that you were finally open for the first time. Your bins were no longer empty and hollow, but were overflowing with abundant fruit and veggie goodness. Of course I stopped immediately and pulled into your gravel parking lot.

I say “parking lot.”

It’s really just the area between you and the interesting aquarium store which is utilized as a parking area. Perhaps that is some of what I love about you. The sound my tires make as I drive over the rocks and hop out. It’s charming and very small-town. But, I digress.

I walk towards you, trying not to reveal my utter excitement to the woman behind the register. There are those trusty plastic grocery bags, hanging from a nail, blowing in the breeze. I pull one down and begin selecting my purchases for the day. (I say “the day” because I definitely came back a few days later.)

I would like to say “Thank you” Produce Stand. Thank you for making it possible to feed my husband and my unborn child beautiful, local fruits and vegetables without taking out a small loan. Perhaps I felt your emptiness more keenly this winter, as I was craving fruits and vegetables all during these last 7 months of pregnancy. But as we have known so well and hopefully do cling to in these economic times, I recited to myself this too shall pass. And thankfully, so did Winter. Welcome Back and Happy Spring, Produce Stand.


Recession Proof Meals Part I

Lance and I have recently had a great time trying to cut our grocery bill without cutting taste or nutrition from our meals. We have made somewhat of a game out of re-creating dishes (which we might normally order as take-out) on a shoestring at home. Here is the first installment in our own version of "Recession Proof Meals" Hopefully this will inspire you, as we have been inspired, to cook smarter, tastier meals without breaking the bank!

Here's how we took one package of chicken on the bone and made it last for more than 2 yummy meals with minimal added ingredients.

It started with Chicken which we grilled and basted with barbecue sauce

My Grill-Master Husband cooked it to perfection!

$ 4.50 for the Chicken (Four Large Leg/ Thigh Pieces)
$ 1.00 for the ears of fresh corn
$ Seasonings and Sauce: (we already had.)

Meal #1: $5.50 (Dinner)


A few days later, we made a homemade pizza crust, added a cup of the chopped chicken, additional sauce, caramelized onions and Skim Milk Mozzarella for a delicious Friday Night alternative to spending 15-20 bucks for a pizza out!

We both ate leftovers of this for lunch the next day...

Pizza Crust Ingredients:
*Olive Oil

Cost of Crust Ingredients (which we had): $2.00
4 oz. Part Skim Mozzarella Cheese: $1.50
Half an Onion: $ .60
Seasonings: Less than $1.00

Total Cost of Pizza Meal #2: $5.10 (We ate dinner and then both had lunch from the leftovers.)

In addition, we still have at least one cup of cooked barbecue chicken in the freezer for future use!


Because the pizza crust recipe makes so much, we were able to save half of the dough for use a few days later. It may seem labor intensive to make your own pizza crust, but it really is not. It helps if you have a strong mixer (Kitchenaid, etc.) but the main thing is that it takes very few common ingredients which you probably have on hand and is much tastier than a ready-made or canned crust. Although, if you are especially short on time, they make a nice substitute.

A few days later, we made a veggie pizza using olive oil and a few different vegetables we had on hand. It was pretty good as well! And it lasted for two meals for the Stuckeys. :)

All in all, Lance and I have really enjoyed the challenge of making fresh and tasty meals on a budget. It is quite satisfying to enjoy a meal and to know that we used mostly all things we either already had or were able to use more than once!

What ideas do you have for dealing with the current financial situation while in the kitchen?

Maybe you're trying to get started with this little avenue of cutting your grocery bill but are unsure where to begin...

**Remember that different things work for different people-- but don't be afraid to think outside the box. When you purchase meat, try to think of how you can cook once and eat twice. Try getting two meals from the meat. When you have the leftovers that you plan to use in the next few days or weeks then....
**Utilize your freezer! If you aren't certain you will use something before it has even a chance of going bad, put it in the freezer until you decide. Bringing me to my next point---
**Make the investment in good freezer bags. There is nothing worse than using cheap freezer bags only to discover your meat, veggies, fruits, have been burned. I.M.H.O, Good quality freezer storage bags are worth the expense and you can usually get a coupon!
**Many times, we have found that fresh produce is an excellent use of money, but only if you plan your meals ahead of time and know exactly what you need. If something is pricey and not in season, frozen veggies are an excellent alternative and often they have a very high nutritional value!
These may seem like simple ideas, but hopefully they will be helpful to some!


I am.. what about you?

had this fun little game, and since I really need to have SOME kind of post… here it is:

I am… wishing I could convince myself to like yogurt. It’s so healthy but I hate it!
I think… that one of the most beautiful sounds on earth is a child giggling uncontrollably.
I know… that I know very little about a lot of things.
I want… to be a good mother.
I have… no memory of what it was like to not wear maternity pants. :)
I wish… that I could remember more of what I read in college.
I hate… Nutella.
I miss… my family.
I fear… that I will take my blessings for granted.
I feel… like my feet are looking a bit large and swollen. :)
I hear…absolutely nothing. I love occasional silence.
I smell…Soap and a Cherry Blossom Candle.
I regret... not always being such a great judge of character.
I love… J. Lance Stuckey
I care… a great deal for some close friends who are hurting or struggling.
I always… revel in the fact that I have had the privilege of having such dear friends who mean so much.
I am not… always as patient as I should be.
I believe… that God is Faithful.
I dance… with Lance in the kitchen when we cook dinner.
I sing… when I’m all alone in my car.
I write… and wish I could make a career out of it one day.
I win... very little.
I lose…at games.
I never… drink my milk from a bowl of cereal.
I listen…to many kinds of music.
I can usually be found…these days? sleeping. Or falling asleep. (Or trying to be very productive until I get sleepy.) :)
I’m scared of…losing my husband too soon.
I read…all kinds of books—especially classic children’s books.
I forget…whether or not I turned off the oven and locked the door.
I just…cannot wait to tell Lucy in person how much she is loved.
I am happy about... the next stage of our life!

What about you?


Time with my Bridge!

Tomorrow I'm heading out for a quick, over-night trip to South Carolina to fit in a little time with one of my dear friends, Bridget, before Baby Lu comes in two and half months. Since she moved back home a couple of years ago, we have had to resort to quick weekend trips and "meet in the middle" trips. Suprisingly enough, we have actually been able to spend a lot of time together this way-- and I just want to squeeze in one more "girls weekend" before things get a little more busy here. It's always refreshing to spend time with a close friend-- and she is definitely that for me. Love you-B!


Wordless Wednesday

Okay I cannot resist a few words...
Here's my guy doing his part and holding up the huge fireplace at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville a few weeks ago... Can I just tell all of you how wonderful he has been to his especially pregnant wife? He is taking such good care of me! (More pictures from our Babymoon to come I promise!!!)


26.5 Weeks (Wordless Wednesday)

This is from this past weekend on our BabyMoon to Asheville-- (Pictures to come)

Today begins week 27 and the 3rd Trimester!!