Monday, November 24, 2014

Monday Happenings + Buffalo Chicken Spaghetti Squash & Cheese

Tonight was productive!  Since it was 70 degrees, I figured I couldn't pass up the opportunity to take Puddin' for a nice walk when I got home.  I slapped on my reflective construction vest from work and checked out a new route by our house while breaking in some shoes I got for Disney.  (Did I tell you my team qualified for Nationals in December?!)  I'm officially a grandma... I bought Dr. Scholl's sneakers.  Comfort is everything!  Plus they were $29.99 and I don't think they look too dorky.

We also did some painting tonight!  We've been avoiding our living room for a few weeks now, but my dad is coming to help us paint on Black Friday.  We knew we had to finish the accent wall before then, so that the paint could dry and we could tape it off.  We're having a New Years/Housewarming party and I'm so glad we have some type of deadline to get the house in order.  It will always be a work in progress and everything won't be done by then, but I think it would be easy to keep avoiding a bunch of projects without the added motivation!

And last but not least I cooked dinner!  It doesn't sound like a huge accomplishment but with cheerleading 3 days a week, it doesn't happen all that often.

When I first started reading healthy living blogs, it seemed like quinoa was all the rage!  I tried it a few times and never really loved it until I found this recipe!  Anything that combines cheese and buffalo chicken is a huge win in my book.  Despite the delicious sauce, Dave still wasn't a huge fan of quinoa and I had all but forgotten about this recipe... until now!  I was browsing through my pinterest boards, when it caught my eye and I realized I could easily make a few substitutions to make this dish more Paleo friendly.  The milk is replaced with coconut milk, the flour with almond flour, and goodbye quinoa, let's replace you with a veggie.  The recipe does still contain a hearty amount of dairy (since I believe cheese is non negotiable in any "mac" & cheese), but overall it is a fairly healthy low carb option!

Buffalo Chicken Mac Spaghetti Squash & Cheese

- 1 spaghetti squash, cooked and scraped out
- 2 lbs of chicken, cooked and cut into bite sized pieces, I used chicken thighs that I seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic powder
- 1 can of coconut milk
- 2 tbsp almond flour
- 1 cup Frank's Red Hot
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- salt & pepper to taste
- blue cheese crumbles

1. In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk the coconut milk and almond flour together until well combined.
2.  Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring often, and let it cook for 1 minute.
3.  Turn the heat to low.  Stir in the Red Hot, butter, and cheese until the cheese melts.
4.  Stir in the cooked chicken and spaghetti squash.
5.  Poor the mixture into a glass casserole dish, top with blue cheese, and broil for 5-7 minutes until the sauce is bubbling and the top is starting to brown.

It's simple, delicious, and you can customize it how you like... you want more cheese?  Do it.  A little less Red Hot?  Sure.  A different hot sauce?  Go for it.  I usually add scallions like she does in the original recipe, but to be honest I suck at using the rest of the bunch so I didn't feel like buying them.

You need this in your life.  Get cooking :)

Do you actually like quinoa?  Have you tried spaghetti squash as a pasta alternative?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Great Fence Debate!

Before we moved, Puddin' was uneasy and I wasn't sure how she was going to handle the transition.  Two and half weeks later, I can safely say she's settling in quite nicely.  Our old house was small and full of wood floors, so she couldn't really run around and when we did play fetch she would slide all over the place.  At the new house, we have a large family room with carpet that is perfect for a pup!  She's been more interested in playing fetch than I've ever experienced before and she loves wiggling across the floor to scratch her back.

Although the house is great, the outdoor dog situation is not.  As I anticipated, the run we have strung up between two trees is not cutting it.  Puddin' doesn't really understand the run.  When we put her on it, she usually just stays in one general spot or sits down and stares at us.  Why mom why?  We are also lazy.  When I let the dog out in the morning, I know she will run out, do her business, and run right back in.  Walking her out to the run is way more involved.  I have to beg her to come over to the run with my nicest pleas, so she doesn't feel like I'm dragging her there as a punishment, it's not exactly right next to the house (I picked the tree, so Dave will roll his eyes when he reads this), and it's getting cold.  It's supposed to drop down into the 20s next week, yikes!  However, when she sprints into the woods on the other side of our driveway, I'm always terrified she will keep going into the road!

So now installing a fence has become our top priority.  We got an estimate on Saturday from a company our friend highly recommended.  The consultant was extremely nice, made friends with Puddin', and told us about his dogs at home.  The prices he emailed to us a few days later were very close to the ones I had already found on their website, so it wasn't too shocking.  But in case you didn't know, fences are expensive, especially when you need approximately 365'!

And now... The Great Fence Debate: Wood or Aluminum?

Things we want from a fence:
  • Keep the dog (& additional future dogs & babies) in the yard and away from the roadway
  • Something we don't mind looking at every day (why chain link isn't even in the running)
  • Blends in and doesn't completely block the view (hence ruling out vinyl)

And it will never look this good again, since we will not be hiring Bob's landscaper lol.

The aluminum is my first choice.  It's so beautiful.  It's very durable and requires very little maintenance.

Our other option is split rail wood with wire mesh.  Despite the moist conditions of our yard, the fence consultant said it would last for 25 years and I believe split rail fences require less maintenance than regular wood fences.  I still think this option will require more upkeep in the long run.

So what's the deciding factor?  The aluminum is twice as expensive!  We could make either option work financially, but we know we have a lot of other expenses coming up and the wood is the sensible choice.  Even the fence guy suggested the wood saying "you're young, you should spend your money on a cruise or something."  On the flip side, it's something we're going to be looking at every day for the foreseeable future!  I just keep wondering, if I go with something I'm not in love with, am I going to have fence regret for the next 25 years?

What would you do?!  Fancy aluminum or sensible split rail?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...