weekly menu

I'm resisting the urge to eat girl scout cookies every night of the week for dinner... Does anyone else find those girls waiting outside fry's a little evil? To my waistline at least... To help make sure I actually cook something for dinner, here's my list. I'm accountable to all of blog land now :) Just don't ask me how many samoas I just ate while typing this... The crockpot is my best friend this week, three of these meals are pure slow-cooked goodness. I absolutely LOVE my crockpots, especially since I work until 5-6 some nights. It's so nice to just plop all my ingredients in it in the morning and have diner all ready when I get home, serious lifesaver. Plus, is there anything more amazing than coming home from church to the smell of a delicious roast?

Homemade Mini Pizzas (this was our plan for last Saturday night, but I had a hankering for some Senor Taco so we skipped out on the pizza... But we still have all the ingredients and can't let those go to waste right?)
Crockpot Chili and Corn Bread (Trader Joe's cornbread mix is my fave. Throw in a box of vanilla pudding mix, and you've got yourself some amazingly moist, delicious cornbread)
Wednesday: Homemade, oven-baked Mac and Cheese (I love, love, love the mac and cheese at Joe's BBQ with the crunchy goodness on top. Here's an attempt at duplicating it, although I'll probably alter this recipe quite a bit)
Sweet Pork Salad, Cilantro Lime Rice and Black Beans
(this is one of the first meals I made for stu when we were dating! Thank goodness it was delicious, who knows where we'd be otherwise..) ps pork is buy one, get one FREE at Fry's until Tuesday this week. Be sure to stop by and take advantage of this awesome deal!
hot date with my hubby
Black Bean Burgers (hawaiian style) with Sweet Tater Fries (can you tell we like sweet potatoes?)
Roast and Potatoes... mmmmmmm :)

My sister-in-law made me blush a little when she said she was so impressed with our weekly meals. I had to
quickly admit that there really is nothing difficult with the meals I've been preparing, they are all cheap, quick, and super yummy. There have only been a few meals that took me longer than 20-30 mins to prepare and a lot of it by myself. (not saying that stu doesn't help, he's a GREAT helper! but sometimes he has school or other stuff going on..) Anyone can do it! Promise! I told her that having everything planned out and bought ahead of time is the best help. Try it out and let me know how it goes! I don't think you'll ever go back!

Have you tried any good recipes lately?
Wanna Share? I'll love you forever :)


good to remember

stu will sing "i am a child of God" to baby milne in portugese sometimes before bedtime. he wants her to know, even now, that she is special, a daughter of God. i can't help but get choked up every time i hear him sing it so tenderly to my belly... it is so sweet.

it's funny how quickly i forget that i am a child of God too. it's easy to feel insignificant when i think of all the other millions of people in this world. but when i think about how much i already love this baby girl of mine, and how much i want in this world for her, how much i think about her... my child... that is the way He thinks of each and every one of us. we are His children.

remember, you are precious.


little late...

Monday: out for pizza with a convert from stu's mission, visiting all the way from brasil!
Tuesday: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and Tomato Basil Soup (easy and delicious, a definite FAVORITE at the Milne house)
Wednesday: Sweet and Sour Chicken with Rice (taking out the deep frying action to make it healthier and less fatty)
Thursday: Homemade Lasagna with Garlic Bread and Veggies (ps lasagna is a lot easier to make than most people think, just a little time consuming, you should try it and WOW your hubby! SO much better than store-bought)
Friday: Dinner Date in at a friends casa. They have the CUTEST little boy who needs to be in bed early, so we'll be enjoying something yummy at their house. So fun!
Saturday: Homemade Pizzas: ham and pineapple, bbq chicken, pepperoni, spinach alfredo...
Sunday: Family Dinner, Stu's niece little miss Bela will be 3 years old soon! We are partying with his fam and eating LOTS of cake and ice cream to celebrate!

I got this out on the blog a little later this week, but we've been sticking to it pretty well still.. I shopped on Tuesday afternoon this week, hitting up the farmers market and grocery store in one shot. Did I mention how much I love the farmers market? Well I do, I have a serious love affair with that place. Where else can you get 4 bags of fresh produce for $13??? Amazing. I spent $30 on groceries this week, but most of it was for snacks to munch on at work... and ice cream...Total cost for dinner ingredients were around $16 (the mozzarella cheese was the most expensive part). So that averages out to be $4 per meal this week, that's pretty good right? Stu absolutely LOVES this new meal planning thing, he is so amazed at how much we're saving :) He loves it so much in fact, that he let me buy whatever I wanted at Joanns---yay for a new rotary cutter and mat! I'm getting started on a quilt for our baby girl, so I'm a little excited! Honestly though, the weekly plan has helped much more than our wallets. Preparing dinner is so much easier, knowing I have everything I need sitting at home. It saves time, money, and just makes meal time and dinner preparations go smoothly. It has taken all the stress out of cooking, and I am enjoying more again just like I used to. So worth it!

Sorry I'm so backed up on getting recipes up here...
I will post them soon, promise!


recipe for a perfect saturday:
-one gloomy, rainy day
-netflix, to stream countless episodes of prison break
-one cuddle buddy, preferably a studly and loving husband
-PJs and slippers only, no real clothes allowed
-one phone to order in so you don't have to leave ALL DAY
-lots of blankets and pillows

It seriously was perfect. Stu and I stayed in, enjoyed the sound of rain outside our windows, and watched wayyy too many episodes of Prison Break keeping cozy and warm in our jammies. We thought about the fact that this part of our lives; the just us, one-on-one, not a care in the world except each other, part is coming to an end in about 4 months. A little girl will be joining us, and she is going to rock our world. Sometimes it's just a little bittersweet, thinking it won't be just us anymore. I told Stu last night, "our lives will never be like this again" and he just smiled and replied, "you're right sweetie, it's going to be better." He is so right. But that doesn't mean I'm not going to soak up every little bit of the next four months of "just us" time. I'm hoping a few more rainy days come our way...


Almost 5 months! My belly is more noticeable to strangers now, I get asked "when are you due?" more times a day than I can count. (more on the weekends when I'm in my regular clothes, it's still hard to tell when I'm in my scrubs...) And I secretly LOVE it :) I get to feel her so much more now.
It is amazing. Stu felt her for the first time last Sunday, it was such a precious moment. We were just waking up after our Sunday nap and baby girl decided she was going to have a little party in my tummy. She was kicking harder than ever so I thought Stu might be able to feel her if she kept it up. It took about ten minutes, but she finally gave us a good, HARD kick! Stu looked at me all excited and asked, "was that her???" and when I nodded, all he could say was, "I felt her, I felt her! I felt our baby girl!" over and over. It was so sweet, I couldn't help but tear up. He's such a cute daddy. He's so sweet to me too, I get spoiled rotten! Anytime I have a long day of work, Stuey makes me sit and rest and asks me what he can do to start prepping for dinner. He's getting to be quite the cook! He gives me daily foot rubs and always makes sure I'm comfy in bed surrounded by my millions of pillows. He's even brought me lunch at work, just to make sure I'm eating right. So sweet. And since we're on the topic of food... All I want to eat lately are bean and cheese burritos. (tia rosa's bean burro smothered with their green sauce is just HEAVEN) And fruit. And anything sweet. This little girl has an interesting appetite! I've been noticing lots of changes in myself within the last couple weeks: increasing weight, bigger pant size, lack of energy... all I know is that all of it is completely worth it. I am loving every part of being pregnant, even my swollen knees and cankles... so glamorous, I know. It's easy when I know that it's all for this precious little baby girl. So excited for the next four months!

Look at that 22 week belly!


i don't mean to brag, but...

...my husband is amazing!
(for many reasons really)

Stu ran his first half marathon last weekend and he did so great! He's never really been a runner- he's athletic and has put his body through some brutal stuff, but I can say that this had to have been the toughest! I don't even think I can run 5 miles, let alone 13.1! Now, I don't think he would have decided to do this were it not for the cause... This was for Ethan's Run, dedicated to the babies who were born with congenital heart defects. Stu ran this race with his two brothers in honor of his niece Bela who has survived multiple open heart surgeries and will be celebrating her 3rd birthday at the end of the month! We love her so much and could not think of a better reason to run 13 miles!

Here he is getting close to the finish line... I was waiting for him about 100 yards away so I could see him come in. He finished strong! The last three miles were uphill, and the course ended up at Las Sendas so you can imagine that the last mile was just killer. I'm not sure I could still be smiling after all that, but here he is looking handsome as ever!

Tanner, Grafton, and Stu after the race. Way to go brothers!

I am seriously so proud of him! He told me a few months ago that he was going to run a half marathon, he put his mind to it and he did it! He spent time preparing for this goal, running and pushing himself after work so that he could be ready. I felt so bad because he couldn't do much running the two weeks before the race because he got a cold and just felt terrible :( Even without that two weeks, he did awesome! Way to go baby! You are incredible!

Since I'm already on this topic... I can't help it, I just love him. So I kind of thought everything was going to be low-key for Valentines Day, we sorta spaced it because we've both been sick and we had a crazy weekend. Well, instead Stu surprised me yesterday by taking me out to a romantic dinner at our favorite hidden italian restaurant. He had the whole night planned out with fun stuff for us to do together, which of course included lots of cuddle time. He always thinks of the sweetest things and knows just how to make me feel special. Don't you just LOVE husbands? :)

gotta love those blurry iPhone pics... Hope you all had a wonderful V-day!


dinner this week

We have a busy week ahead of us, so everything is going to be a titch more simple, meal-wise. Although this weeks menu may sound pretty involved; each meal is easy and quick. (figure-friendly too, minus the ribs) We are also going out twice this week, something we wouldn't normally plan to do, but this week is special :) Since we'll be spending a little more in that area, I decided to budget a little more out of our weekly groceries and spent less on my Saturday shopping. It's amazing though, Stu looked at our meal plan and what we spent on food- he was shocked that these four meals could cost so little.. ah the joys of making your own food. Any one of these meals would cost more than our grocery bill if we got them at a restaurant, which ended up being less than $20 again, isn't that amazing?! Now I am still planning on going to the farmers market Tuesday afternoon for some fresh, inexpensive produce, but I'm sure my total there will only be around $10-15 (for a CAR-LOAD of fruits and veggies). Gotta love the farmers market :)

okay, I have a confession to make... I went to the store mid-week last week. For an avocado. Yes, just one avocado. I guess I forgot that I used all that I had for our Super Bowl get-together on Sunday and didn't have one for dinner on Wednesday. So obviously, I am far from perfection at this meal planning thing... But I'm working on it, and that is WAY better than running to the store last minute 3x/week for dinner.

Monday: Surprise dinner for Valentines Day :) Where will you be going?
Tuesday: Salmon Tacos with Mango Salsa, Black Beans and Cilantro Lime Rice
Wednesday: Black Bean Burgers and Sweet Tater Fries
Thursday: Shrimp Pasta with Guiltless Alfredo Sauce and Zucchini Fries
Friday: out with family, we're going to see Music Man at Higley Theater. My stepmom did the costumes, you should go!!!
Saturday: Oven-baked BBQ Ribs and Baked Potatoes (secret for cheap ribs: beef back ribs are usually around $1.99/lb! just make sure to look for the meatier ones)
Sunday: Family Dinner (I'd love some suggestions for a tasty dessert to make)

I've been trying to put recipes together to post on the blog (i didn't realize how hard it was to explain what you're doing while cooking) it's taking longer than I thought, but I'll keep working on it. I had a couple requests for the Eggs Benedict recipe, it is posted below... enjoy!

Which of these dinners sound good to you?

What recipe are you most interested in?



This is probably my favorite breakfast ever. I get it every other time we go out for breakfast, and it never disappoints. I'm not a huge pancake person, although Stu is, I just LOVE eggs for breakfast. Best part is, it's not too hard to make! Seeing as I've tried eggs benedict in almost every breakfast place I've ever been, I know exactly how I like them. The Sugar Shack at Huntington Beach does it best (in my opinion) veering away from the traditional style of eggs "benny", they scramble their eggs instead of serving it poached- totally fantastic. Not to mention, it makes it so much easier to make at home! Have you ever tried to poach an egg? DIFFICULT. But if you do want to try to poach your egg, I heard white vinegar is the trick. Good luck. Anyway, for those of you that asked, this is the way I put together my favorite breakfast. Or lunch, or dinner...

eggs benedict with hollandaise sauce
and crackers&co style potatoes

6 eggs (you will use 4 of the yolks for the sauce)
2 english muffins, halved (i prefer sandwich or bagel thins)
4 slices of bacon (you can substitute with canadian bacon or sliced deli meat)
2-4 slices of cheddar cheese
1 tomato
1 avocado
handful of spinach

hollandaise sauce:

4 egg yolks
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1/2 cup of butter

1. Cook up the bacon until almost crispy, save the drippings in the pan to cook the potatoes in. If you use canadian bacon or another substitute, go ahead and cook this up too. You'll probably have to use some olive oil to cook your taters though. In the meantime, slice up the avocado and tomato and remove the stems from the spinach.
2. Scramble 4 egg whites and 2 full eggs together (remember the 4 yolks are going into the sauce) Toast your english muffins or sandwich thins, good ol' sliced bread works too.
3. Layer from top to bottom: toast, cheese, 1 slice of bacon cut in half to fit on top, spinach, slice of tomato, eggs.
4. Try realllllly hard not to give in and just eat this sans the sauce, you'll be missing out on the best part.

Now for the sauce: this is the only tricky part of this recipe. But trust me, it is WORTH IT. Hollandaise sauce is simply heavenly. I could drink it straight, only that would probably be gross. Secret tip: this recipe is easier if you have a kitchen helper, like a trusty spouse, to focus on the sauce while you make up the bacon and eggs. Or vice versa. Otherwise I would start making the sauce right before scrambling the eggs so everything stays warm.

1. Separate 4 egg yolks into a stainless steel or glass bowl (if you have a double broiler, you can use this too). Put the egg whites aside to save them for your scrambled eggs. Put a small pot with about an inch of water on the stove on Low-Medium heat. Make sure your bowl an sit in the top of the pot without touching the water.
2. Add the lemon juice and whisk the mixture "into submission" (a line from Julie and Julia). The yolks will thicken into a pudding consistency.
3. Melt the butter in the microwave for 30 seconds.
4. When the water starts simmering, (important: if it is BOILING, it is too hot, take it down a couple notches. Too hot water will turn your sauce into scrambled eggs, no bueno.) place the bowl in the pot and continue whisking. Pour in the butter little by little until the sauce thickens up a little, about the consistency of gravy. Take off the heat and keep in a warm place until you're ready to use it. (add a few drips of water and re-whisk if the mix gets too thick)
5. Pour over the top of eggs and layered goodness. Add a few shakes of pepper, if desired. DEVOUR.

crackers&co style potatoes:

2 Large or 5-6 small potatoes
2 tbs of flour
1 tsp of olive oil
1/2 tsp of lawry's seasoned salt
1/2 tsp of pepper

Have you ever had the potatoes at Crackers&Co? Or at the Farmhouse in downtown Gilbert? uh-may-zing. I wish I had the courage to just ask how they make them, but I guess that takes away the fun of testing my skills at recipe-matching. For what it's worth, I think this method is pretty darn close, and in Stu's words, "pretty darn fantastic." Slice up the taters before you cut up the avocado and tomato and start them in the pan. These are pretty low-maintenance and require little attention once you have them in the pan.

1. Slice up potatoes into rounds, about 1/4 inch thickness. Kind of like Au Gratin style... Place in a large bowl and coat with oil.
2. Mix the seasonings and flour together, then coat potato slices with flour mixture on all sides. Just sprinkle on potato slices while turning them in the bowl.
3. Add to bacon-greased pan on Medium and let sit for a few minutes on each side before turning them in the pan. Let them get golden brown and crispy, aka delicious. These should cook through just about the same time everything else is done.

This meal should feed 4 regular people, or one normal person and one hungry husband...

So this was the plan for our Wednesday meal. I was feeling sick, and Stu was at school, but I was able to have it all prepared and ready for him (and me) to enjoy within 40 mins. Needless to say, our stomachs were very, very happy :)

(was this recipe hard to understand? I'm still trying to get the whole recipe-writing thing down.. let me know if you have any questions!)


preparation pays

I've been working on a few things lately to get our home (and my brain) more organized. I have been looking for ways to simplify our lives and get rid of unnecessary stress. One of the things that has really helped the last four weeks is a meal plan. Seems silly right? Most people already do this, and to be honest, I thought I had a good system in place before. Some of you probably have a similar system: come home from work, take a peek in the fridge to see what items we have to prepare a somewhat easy, mindless, "healthy" dinner. Think up a few options and relay them to hubby, who says he will be happy with anything, then end up making the easiest, quickest one because I am hungry NOW. Or grab something at Gecko Grill... Now it wasn't always like that, more often I had a plan in mind the night before or during the day and I ran to the grocery store to grab a few things to make something that required more thought and preparation, and that just made me frazzled. The last thing I want to do after working all day is go to a crowded grocery store and try to put a meal together. I used to buy a whole bunch of things at the grocery store on Saturday that sounded good at the time and forgot about them later on in the week... I usually ended up wasting money because stuff went bad.

So, four weeks ago I came up with a plan. I was going to make a weekly menu and STICK TO IT. Stu was still sleeping so I typed up my meal plan for the week and a grocery list of what I would need to purchase to make those meals happen. The best part was that I peeked in my fridge and pantry before making the list, making a mental note of what I had on hand, thought up some yummy meals I could make with what I had (so I could use up my current supply first), and then I compiled my list for the week. So easy! It seems like it would take more time, but trust me, it saves SO much time! and money! Read on...

I've been doing this for almost a month now, and it has been so great! I have made a total of 3 trips to the grocery store, 2 stops at the local farmers market, plus one trip to Costco to stock up on the essentials. Each Fry's run has totalled less than $20 each, less than $15 at the farmers market, the Costco trip was less than $50. Maybe that seems like a lot for some people, but that is REALLY good for us! I don't know about you, but it seems like $25 can go reallllly fast when you're at the grocery store. I'm one of those people who can see one item in the store and think up a whole meal pretty much on the spot, Stu can vouch, I love to cook and try new recipes. The problem with this was that I would end up filling up my cart with random things to make something I thought up, and in the end I would spend more than I planned or have multiples of the same stuff sitting in the pantry. Such a waste. Plus, having my grocery list ready helped our wallets two-fold because I was able to look in the weekly ads and see if anything on sale was worth getting for dinner. Saving even MORE money! Stress levels have really gone down too, way down. I no longer rush around after work to the store to get items needed for dinner, I already have everything waiting for me at home! It's amazing! We are eating healthier and happier, I love it- and highly recommend it!

This is an example of what we're eating this week, although I may have to
change up the weekend plans a little bit (I forgot Valentines day is coming up!)

weekly menu
Monday: Italian Parmesan Crusted Chicken, Garlic Butter Noodles, and Green Beans
Tuesday: Lemon Garlic Salmon, Brown Rice Pilaf, and Asparagus
Wednesday: Breakfast! Eggs Bennedict with Hollandaise sauce and Crackers-style Potatoes
Thursday: Rotini Pasta Bake with Broccoli
Friday: Date Night (any ideas for a romantic dinner out?)
Saturday: Juicy Lucy Hawaiian Burgers with Sweet Tater Fries
Sunday: usually family dinner, but I think I'll make something yummy for love day..

Do any of you have a similar plan?
How do you plan out your weeks?
let me know if you want to try these recipes!


this weeks fave

(excuse the iphone photo, although i still think it looks amazing!)

Stu loved this new recipe I tried this week, and I must say I thought it was pretty tasty myself! We went out to Sauce last week and I tried out the Caesar Salad Pizza, which was good, but wasn't really my favorite, anyway it gave me an idea for this recipe. If your hubby is anything like mine, he will love it!

BL(A)T Salad Pizza
1 package of whole wheat pizza dough (fresh and easy has the yummiest, and only $1)
olive oil
S&P and various seasonings to taste
5-6 strips of bacon
1 cup cheddar cheese (i used less, just enough to sprinkle over the crust)
2 heads of romaine lettuce, chopped
2 roma tomatoes
2 avocados
  1. Preheat oven to 450°F and roll out pizza dough on stone or regular cooking tray. Put a little corn meal or flour under the dough to prevent it from getting stuck. (it's best to leave your dough out of the fridge for at least 20 mins before rolling, but if you don't have time then it's alright)
  2. Poke holes all over your dough and brush olive oil all over it. Sprinkle with s&p and any other seasonings you desire; I used a little garlic, a teensy bunch of rosemary leaves, and oregano. Stick in the oven until golden and crispy, about 10-12 minutes.
  3. Cook up the bacon strips, and cut them into 1/2 inch pieces. Do this while the crust is in the oven, remember multi-tasking is key!
  4. While the bacon is cooking and making the house smell all delicious; chop up the lettuce, and slice the tomatoes and avocados.
  5. When the pizza crust is all golden, take it out of the oven and spread the cheese and bacon over the top and stick it in the oven for another 2 minutes to make the cheese gooey and delicious.
  6. Slice the crust, it's easier to cut before you have all the toppings on it.. Then top it with the lettuce, tomato and avocado.
  7. Behold the beauty of your creation for as long as you can hold off, then EAT! Stu thought it would be good with a little ranch or sweet baby ray's bbq sauce, it was delish!
Super easy and quick, and sure to put a smile on your hubby's face!


dear baby girl,

we're past the halfway point! only about 19 1/2 weeks till you join your daddy and i! we met your beautiful brand-new cousin last night, and you were so excited! i think you felt her presence. you kept poking around all night and early this morning :) i absolutely love feeling you move. i'm starting to feel you more and more now, it's the greatest. more people are starting to notice you, one of my sunbeams even said that my belly "keeps getting HUGER" which half warms my heart, half makes me super self-conscious. i bought some new jeans this week so i didn't have to keep squishing you in my old ones and i think both of us are grateful. which reminds me, we bought a couple things for you that i am just obsessed with, i just love picturing you in them and can't wait to see what you look like! will you have daddy's sunflower eyes? i sure hope so. we found out last week that you are starting to hear things with your cute little ears, so we have started singing and talking to you even more. daddy just loves talking to you and kissing my belly, knowing that you're just a few inches away. every morning he gets on his knees and talks to you for a few seconds, telling you how much he loves you and i. we are so precious to him. you are so precious to us. keep growing healthy and strong little one, we are anxiously waiting for you!

love, mommy