Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mac 24-7

Enjoying a much needed girls night out with my to favorite island babes. After a adventure in its self getting to the restaurant we were seated and drooling over the menu. What to get, it all sounded so good and delicious. I couldn't decide between the chicken fried steak or the new york strip steak. Finally I settled with the new york steak along with a side of french fries. Something about them, thinly sliced potato's are my weakness I just love them. A side of asparagus came along top of the garlic mash potato's and let me tell you that was the best part of my meal. Ok well maybe not the best but it was pretty darn close. I love dinner dates with the girls even since the hubbs has been home. Before he left I didn't go out with "my" friends by myself so much because I wanted to spend every second with my love. Through out the past year I became really close to the people I hung out with and plan to continue building those relationships with Gabe along to. I'm glad that I am able to bring myself to get out & enjoy time with my friends as well, even now that he is home. It's something we both talked about & its good to have girl time every now and then.

Heaven on a plate Steak, Mash Taters & Asparagus I love me a good cooked steak. Sure some people say I ruin it because I get it well done but that's the way I like it. I'm not a red chewy meat kinda fan. We chatted the night away trying each others dishes and then dessert as well. The waiter wasn't the greatest but when he was at the table he sure made us laugh. I think Gabe & I might try them out for breakfast one morning when his parents are here in a few weeks. I hear they have some killer pancakes...Elvis inspired as well, Gabes fav.

FRIED SNICKERS~ OMG had to be one of the best desserts ever!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Pulled Pork Enchiladas


3 1/2 lbs boneless pork shoulder
14 oz can chicken broth
1/2 chopped onion
6 minced garlic cloves
1 tablespoon cumin
3 teaspoons ground chipotle chile pepper
1 teaspoon salt
3 10 oz cans enchilada sauce
1 4 oz can diced green chile peppers
2 cups shredded mexican cheese
12~ 8 inch flour tortillas


1) trim fat from pork & place in a 31/2 quart slow cooker along with the broth, onion, minced garlic, cumin, chipotle chile powder and salt. Cook for 10-11 hours on low heat or 5-6 hours on high heat.
2) preheat oven to 400 f, remove pork from cooker saving the liquid. slicing the pork in small coarse strands.
3) in a large bowl combine shredded pork, 2 tablespoons of reserved cooking liquid and1/2 cup enchilada sauce.
4) in a medium bowl combine 1/4 cup reserved cooking liquid (you can now discard any remaining liquid), the remaining enchilada sauce, and diced green chile peppers. spread about 1/2 cup of enchilada / green chile mixture on the bottom of a 9*13 baking pan.
5) evening place pork mixture along the edge of the tortillas topping with shredded cheese before rolling and place seam down in the baking dish. repeat this process until all enchiladas are made. (make sure to place them close together)
6) cover with remaining enchilada sauce mixture, cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes.
7) sprinkle with remaining cheese, bake uncovered for about 5 more minutes until cheese is fully melted.

PS: the original recipe calls for cotija cheese in place of the shredded mexican cheese that I wrote. when making this I did half cotija cheese & half mexican cheese. so that is why the difference in the picture.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Spanish Chicken 'N Rice


1 TSP chili powder
3/4 TSP salt
1/2 TSP ground cumin
1/4 TSP pepper
12 oz boneless skinless chicken breast cut into strips
2 Tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups uncooked long grain rice
1 medium onion sliced
1 1/2 cups water
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes undrained
1 small (1/2 cup) green bell pepper chopped


1) place chili powder, salt, cumin and pepper in a large ziplock bag ~ add chicken strips and seal tightly.
2) shake bag well till chicken is coated completely.
3) melt butter in a 12-inch skillet until sizzling; add chicken strips. cook over medium-high heat stirring occasionally, unit lightly browned 4-5 minutes.
4) stir in rice and sliced onions continue stirring occasionally unit lightly browned 3-4 minutes.
5) stir in water and tomatoes continue cooking until mixture comes to a boil 4-6 minutes.
6) reduce heat cover cook until all liquid is absorbed 18-22 minutes.
7) remove skillet from heat stir in green peppers, sprinkle with cheese. cover let sit till cheese is melted 2-3 minutes.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Oops I did it again....

or more so WE did it again, but it sounded catchy right.
After months and months of talking through out the deployment and more research then my brain could hold we did it again. We bought a new car, and traded in our beautiful blue Hemi truck. It was a really hard decision but in the end it was for the best. With the gas prices going up and not looking to come down here any time soon, filling up the truck once a week at $100 bucks a pop was just a bit more then we were wanting to do. We are looking at buying a home at our next duty station and in order to do that we needed to cut some costs in a few places and sadly the truck was one that got cut. With both the Dodges being V8 Hemi's we went through the gas and for the most part had to fill up once a week. We knew we didn't want to get rid of the Chally so the truck was it.

On our must haves list for a new car was SUV cross over, we can't be a two car family. We still needed / want that space like we had in the truck. With moving back to the mainland in the future we will be taking road trips to visit family and friends all through out the states and of course our pups will go with us. So space was a must on the wish list. Other must haves were but not limited to bluetooth connect, Ipod connect, multi disk cd player, comfy seats, automatic windows, automatic lights, keyless entry and of course most important great gas mileage reviews.

After testing out a few different vehicles over the past weekend we finally settled on a 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport. While at the dealer they had one on the lot that was a ugly blue that we didn't like, while looking at it another sales associate came and told us they had just got a white one with MORE features in the day before and asked if we wanted to take a look at it. OF COURSE!!!!!!!!! Sadly they couldn't open it up for us, with it just arriving to the dealer Saturday it hadn't been registered or had a safety inspection done on it yet. But we sure could take a look, it had every thing we wanted PLUS some. So we decided to take the ugly blue one for a test drive, Gabe drove I sat in the back and checked everything out.
We loved it, it had everything we had been looking for plus a bonus it has a moon roof (the glass doesn't open but its still pretty awesome). We knew what we wanted for the truck and right off the bat they gave it to us!!!! We wouldn't have done it if we didn't get what we wanted. We have NEVER been upside down in buying a new vehicle as many as we have gotten. We always get what we want to pay off what we owe plus some. We are smart and my hubbs has a way of talking his way through the sales people, and I have to say over time in doing this with him I have gotten to be pretty good myself.
The process of going back and forth didn't last to much, we cut right to the bottom line told them what we would pay and that was that. We had the best sales person helping us and showing us around. It was a first for me, a female sales person. She was so awesome and really down to earth and not pushy at all, she was real with us and understood what we were trying to do and why.

The finance process went by fairly quickly once we got into the office but before that the waiting was horrendous. I absolutely had no patience any more at that point, as nice as they had been I was just ready to get out of there.
In the end we are really happy with our new purchase and we believe it was for the best for us and our future. I'm sure we wont have it long with our track record, I know Gabe misses the truck so much and with in the next few years I'm sure we will be back in one. But until then its the Mitsubishi Outlander.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Irish Pie


3 cups cubed cooked chicken
2 cups shredded monterey jack cheese
1 teaspoon garlic salt
2 cups seasoned stuffing croutons
1 ld bulk pork sausage cooked & drained
2 cups peeled cooked diced potatoes
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese 3 eggs
1-1/2 cups milk


1) preheat oven to 325 f, in a greased 3qt baking dish, layer the first seven ingredients in the order given. whisk eggs & milk then pour over top of the cheese & meat mixture.
2) cover & bake for 55 minutes, uncover bake for 10 more minutes or until lightly browned. let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Popover Pizza Casserole


1 lb ground turkey
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green pepper (sweet)
15.5 oz jar pizza sauce
1/2 of a 3.5 package sliced pepperoni, halved
2 oz can drained mushroom stems & pieces
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup all purpose flour
1 6 oz package thinly sliced mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese


1) preheat oven to 400 f, lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish
2) in a LARGE skillet cook ground turkey, onion, green pepper until meat is brown & veggies are tender. (drain off fat)
3) stir in pizza sauce, pepperoni, mushroom, oregano and basil to the meat mixture. bring to a boil reduce heat. let simmer for 10 minutes uncovered.
4) in a small bowl combine eggs, milk and oil, beat with electric mixer for about one minute. add flour beat about one minute or unit smooth.
5) spoon mean mixture into the 9x13 dish, arranging cheese slices over top. pour topping over the cheese slices, sprinkling that with the grated parmesan cheese.
6) bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until topping is puffed and golden brown. serve immediately.

This was a HIT with Gabe because be absolutely LOVES pizza!!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Do-Ahead breakfast Bake


1 cup diced cooked ham
1 1/2 cups uncooked hash brown potatoes
1 cup green bell pepper chopped
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup original bisquick mix
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 cups milk
4 eggs


1) lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
2) in a small bowl mix together ham, uncooked potatoes, bell pepper and 1 cup of cheese, then spread evenly in the baking dish.
3) in a medium bowl mix together bisquick, pepper, milk & eggs with a wire whisk, then pour over potato mixture.
4) sprinkle with remaining cheese, cover; refrigerate for at least 4 hours but no more than 24 hours.
5) heat oven to 375 degrees F, uncover and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Ground Turkey Enchiladas

I have enough cookbooks to start a store with if I wanted to, and even more meal ideas in my head then I know what to do with. We've talked & we are going start going through all our books & making all new meals from here on out that we have not tried before. Some I'm sure we will add our own little twist on them like we did tonight with Ground Turkey Enchiladas. With a few changes we have implemented into our life style this one should fit just well. I'm sure there will be some here & there that we aren't crazy about but you never know till you try right ?!?!?!? I'm looking forward to this & venturing more out of my box.
I plan of keeping track of the meals here through my blog so I can remember the ones we like & changes we made, as well as the ones we weren't crazy about.


2 cups shredded Cheddar and Monterey cheese blend
1 onion, chopped
24 (6 inch) corn tortillas
1 (19 ounce) can red enchilada sauce ~ we used a homemade red salsa that Gabe made :)
4 cups cooked ground turkey
1 (12 ounce) can refried beans
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chiles
cumin, garlic powder, dried minced onion, red pepper flakes


1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
2) cook onion & green chiles in a skillet for about 5 minutes, then transfer into small dish for holding.
3) cook turkey adding a little cumin, garlic powder, dried minced onion for seasoning to taste.
4) warm refried beans on stove top in a sauce pan adding a dash of red pepper flakes.
5) warm tortillas in the microwave for 30 seconds 3-4 at a time
6) fill the tortillas ~ spread a small amount of beans on first, add meat, then chile onion mixture finally top with cheese mixture and then roll tight placing in the pan. repeat this till finished.
7) top with red salsa & remaining shredded cheese.
8) bake for 20 minutes covered.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

just splendid

i have to take a minute to just brag a bit, yes i just said that. things couldn't be any better right now than they are. having my love home with me is just fabulous. we have really taken the last two & a half days to really enjoy ourselves & just relax together. no plans just taking each day as it comes. lots of lazy time at home w/ the pups, catching up with each other & just simply falling in love all over again.
the things we had said we were going to work on as a couple we are doing that & more. i'm so happy with the way things are going so far & truly believe it will only bring us closer & help us build a stronger relationship. we have re~broken the kitchen in quite well since he has been home, we both love cooking & doing it together is so much more enjoyable. yesterday gabe tried his hand at fresh homemade guacamole which turned out fantastic i must say. tonight he switch gears to homemade salsa umm umm good. we are using it as the enchilada sauce for the ground turkey enchiladas as well that we are making for dinner. I have missed cooking in the kitchen with him badly. its one of the many things we enjoyed doing together. trying new things is something that is always fun & exciting, its a out of the box kinda thing.....only nothing comes out of the box lol. for breakfast in the morning i have prepped a "do ahead breakfast", you make it the night before & it sits over night, in the morning you pop it in the oven.... its just that easy.
one thing i didn't miss during the deployment was the mounds and mounds of laundry. we have done 4 loads in the almost 3 days he has been home. of course now most of that was all of his uniforms, pt's & socks.....did I mention pt's. i don't think i have ever folded that many pt's at one time. but i don't mind it one bit if that means my love is home, i could just think of plenty other things i would rather be doing. lol.
this morning we both jumped back into our work out routines (well i did, he started yesterday), i went for my run while gabe worked it out at the gym. this afternoon we went to lunch at california pizza kitchen followed by some shopping at the sprint store were my love got a new phone. bed bath & beyond was a must stop as well to stock up on k~cups, a trip to target & the nex were we left both stores empty handed which is rare for us. well i take that back we did get treat ourselves to starbucks :) at target.
the pups are sure getting loads & loads of attention, they love it because gabe will let them lick him like crazy were i wont. ewh ewh ewh, no thank you. i love my puppies but not the slobbery wet tung to the face kisses. tomorrow we are planning on taking them to the dog beach to let them run around & play. i took them a few times through out the deployment but frankly bailey stresses me out when i take her by myself so i'm really looking forward to tomorrow.
beer me.........gabe does not drink alot at all, hardly ever to be exact but he sure is making up for missing out over the last year. i love it, i don't know why or how to explain it but i love him just being him.
just a sneak peek of life lately over the last 3 days here in the gabriel house hold, stay tuned for more to come. lots of exciting adventures, meals :) & fabulousity to come over the next year and even further after that.

Friday, June 17, 2011

HE'S HOME!!!!!!!!!!

YES YOU ARE READING THAT RIGHT...........after almost 12 long (11 & half) grueling months I FINALLY have my Solider back in my arms were he belongs. We have officially completed deployment number TWO. Sure some people have been through many more but out of the 43 months we have been married he has been in Iraq 27 of those months. Meaning over half our marriage, wow typing that out really puts it in the perspective for me. I couldn't be happier the stress of the "what ifs" is gone, the worry is over and I can sleep peacefully for the first time in a LONG time knowing he isn't going back to that damn sand box anytime soon. Not having that one you love and adore home with you & knowing they are off fighting this war has got to be the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life. The sleepless nights & stressful days didn't make it easy by any means, but I did have an amazing support group here to help me make it through each day.
The two of us changed so much over the past year for the better and I'm loving were we are in life now and the couple we have grown to be. The army changes you that's for sure, sometimes we don't like the change & other times we welcome it with open arms. I look forward to starting the next chapter in our life and seeing were things take us.

The moment they were dismissed every thing was a blur, I had longed for that moment since the morning standing in the rain that I had to watch him walk away on to the bus. When we reached each other he wrapped his arms around me and a giant weight was lifted off & a sign of relief, I could breath again with out feeling guilty. I could laugh & not feel bad for having a good time & I could tell him how I felt face to face rather then through the computer. It was the best feeling in the world and I will remember it for the rest of my life.

This deployment was so much different for us then the first one, it had its ups and downs just as the first one did. Some say it gets easier the more you have to go through but I think it gets hard the more deployments you are going through. No one knows what the future holds right now & only time will tell but one thing I know for a fact is that we will make it through anything that life puts in front of us.

I TRULY AM THE HAPPIEST I HAVE BEEN IN A LONG TIME, MY LIFE IS COMPLETE AND MY HEART IS WHOLE AGAIN. What more could I ask for.............. can't think of anything at the moment.

Thank You to everyone for all your love, prayers and support over the past year. We could not have made it through like we did if it wasn't for our supportive family & friends.

There was only 138 guys that came home on chalk 11 on Friday morning June 17th @ 4:30 in the morning and mainly 1-27 guys :) It was the smallest ceremony I have been to so far. It was nice not to have a hundred other families there in the hanger screaming and yelling with their kids running around every were. I think it made for a much more special moment, I am so blessed to have such an fabulous loving husband!!!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Girls Night Out @ Nashvilles

After the Army ball we went and check into our hotel, we were staying the night down in Waikiki at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Quickly changed & having a bit of fun in the room before we headed out for the night for drinks. Sarah & Nancy went for a shorter cocktail style dress & lucky for me Nancy brought a 2nd one & I wore that. (originally I was gonna go w/ jeans & a top) I have to say we were looking pretty fancy for three deployment deprived wives.

We made our way from one end of the strip to the other, to a little joint called Nashville's. Its a little country in the big ol' city called Waikiki. A first for Sarah but not for N or I, we quickly got our first round of drinks & found a bar stool table that we claimed for the evening.

Something about us all sitting there chatting away was intriguing to others. It was almost like speed dating Sarah said, every so often we had a different person come sit down and talk to us. Quite comical to say the least, hours & quite a few drinks later and we were ready to head back to the hotel. It had been a long night, little did we know it wasn't over yet.

On our way back I was in desperate need of something to absorb the alcohol, McDonald's was on the way and well in between Sarah crying for a cab (ok she wasn't literally crying but she kept asking to get one) we stopped in for some french fries and chicken nuggets.
My weakness is McD's french fries, as horrible as they are for you I love them. Nancy and I didn't seem to have a problem eating on the walk back to the hotel.

However Sarah on the other hand had a bit more of a challenge, for some reason. We quickly found out she can not walk and eat at the same time. Or maybe it was she was still so caught up in wanting a cab to make it the rest of the 4 blocks back to the hotel. Almost there a miss step caused her to miss the curb and well it all went down hill from there. Her pour sandal was broken and the tears began to flow, we did all we could to hold the laughter in. Nancy found herself literally LAYING on the streets of Waikiki. (she claims she almost peed her pants that's why she had to lay down) We stopped and sat down on a near by ledge and had a "girl moment" with our spouse. Everything the pour girl had been holding in for the past 2 1/2 months just came flowing out. I felt so bad for her, I couldn't let her remember this night the next day when she looked at her sandal. So whats a best friend to do....... dispose of the evidence. The SANDAL that was, now don't get me wrong yes they were her favorite ones and sadly not repairable so I had to do it. I'm sure it made a homeless person very happy when they found it the next morning.
Another night down in the books of history to remember with the spouse & mistress. I absolutely love these two girls!!!!!!!!

236th Army Birthday Ball

A quick peek at our night at the 236th Army Birthday Ball with two of my favorite girls. We managed to get there right before dinner was served. We enjoyed the evening together dancing around the dance floor chatting with the girls that were sitting at our table. It was my first formal event to attend within the Army so I was a tiny bit nervous going into it but I ended up having a blast. I only wish that my love would have been there with me to join in on the fun and festivities. Oh well, I know we will have plenty of time for that once he returns.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

"One Thing"

After a fabulous Anniversary dinner w/ our friend Julie to help her celebrate at Outback, Sarah asked if I wanted to run into Target. Sure I said I'm always up for a trip to Target plus I needed just ONE THING from the store. A bottle opener that was, nothing else on my list of "To Gets" but that. Of course they have to put the clothing section right in the front when you walk in the door for us to see. No trip to Target is complete with out a stroll through the aisles. I absolutely love Target clothes, they have some of the cutest things. Hawaii's Targets however kind of disappoint me sometimes, they don't seem to have such a great variety as the mainland ones do.

This trip we both managed to quickly snag a few finds & off to the fitting room it was. I scored a new summer maxi dress & a super chic bikini :) I can't wait to rock that one when the hubs comes home.
We had so much fun going through the whole store over and over again shopping for varies things. S is in the process of decorating her home, so this was our big goal while there. Some how I talked myself into redecorating our upstairs bathroom and completely changing it. I found a bathroom set that I absolutely loved & just couldn't pass it up. I couldn't come up with a good logical reason on why not to go for it so I DID.

Between the two of us we spent way to much money but every penny was well worth it. As I sit here sipping wine out of my new bubble glass, I'm quite happy with the purchases I made. I can't remember the last time I had that much fun shopping for home decor for not only myself but for Sarah as well.

We probably got there about 8:30 and didn't end up leaving until after they had closed for the evening, which was at 11pm. At one point they came over the loud speaker saying "The Store was closing in 30 minutes". We both looked at each other & said "Oh we have plenty of time" and went on about our shopping with out even stopping.
By the end of our random shopping spree we were walking through the cosmetic section when over the intercom we heard them say they were closing. Slowly we made our way to the check out with our over loaded cart when a worker asked us if "we needed help finding anything". Quickly we replied with "Ummm the check out maybe, No we are good thanks though", he made a comment saying "I see you found the wine opener there". Yea the ONE THING I came into get and look at us now.
SERIOUSLY I HAD SO MUCH FUN, and have hit a redecorating high and haven't stopped yet. (More to come in a later post)

~Our Bathroom before~

~Our Bathroom after~

Stay tuned for more decorating make overs in the Gabriel Hale (house) to come. Just in time for Homecoming, I'm so excited that I decided to do this now before HC vs. before R&R.

Experiencing Hawaii

Sunday after our adventure at Ala Moana which included watching two of Sarah's kiddos' (from this years 3rd grade class) dance Tahitian dancing, shopping at Victoria Secret & Fossil we were ready to head home. With a semi detour in the mix of that as well, I wanted to show S one of my favorite parts of the Island. As we were making our way around we stumbled upon two tree swings that S saw & we just couldn't pass up the chance of trying them out.
It was like we were kids again, trying to see how high we could go and praying the tree branches didn't break.
I can't wait to go back and show Gabe our new little hidden secret, and see if I can talk him into taking a swing at it lol. I love getting to experience everything Hawaii has to offer, there is always something new right around the corner.

I absolutely never want to leave this place its just perfect!!!!!!!!!