4.24.2015

Then the Cops Showed Up

This past weekend, Jordan and I drove to Texas to celebrate my sister's 18th birthday. Don't even get me started on the fact that my little sister is graduating high school. 

At my mother's request, I brought my camera so Sarah and I could go take some senior pictures. I am by no means a professional photographer, nor do I pretend to be, but I do enjoy taking pictures of people for special occasions if they want some nice pictures from someone who won't charge them very much. (Or, if it's your mother, charge her nothing but home-baked goods.)
My sister and I browsed Pinterest for inspiration, and we decided to drive around and look for an open field to take pictures in. We spent about 20 minutes looking but were met with the following obstacles:

1) Barbed wire fences. Not optimal for obvious reasons.
2) Fields with horses and/or other large, four-legged animals. I'll let you figure that one out for yourself.
3) Fields with houses in the background. Not the wide-open nature look we were going for.

Finally we came across an open field with no animals, barbed wire, or houses. There was a fence, but it wasn't hard to hop over. And by hop, I mean climb over slowly and carefully. Because, you know, nearly 23 weeks pregnant and all.
We had spent probably 15 minutes taking pictures in the field before my sister looked over my shoulder and said, "Uh oh."

I turned around to see a three cop cars huddled around my Ford Focus and three Texas cops climbing over the fence and heading our direction. "Someone called and said there were people hopping fences over here," the first one said, frowning at me. "You realize you're trespassing, don't you?"

I immediately began apologizing profusely. 

"I'm so sorry. I'm visiting from Oklahoma" (<-- I figured it was a good idea to play the confused out-of-towner card as soon as possible) "and I just came down this weekend to take some senior pictures of my sister."

"Well you can't just jump a fence."
"I didn't see any signs," I said.
"But you hopped a fence."
I figured I shouldn't argue with him about the technicalities of hopping vs. climbing slowly.
"You're right," I said. "I did. And I'm so sorry. We'll leave right now."
"A farmer will shoot you for hopping fences in Texas," he said. "And we don't like Okies," he added. Then he laughed. "Just kidding."

Comforting. I DON'T BELIEVE YOU.

He walked us back to my car, took both our licenses, and spent a good five minutes looking us up in the system. Because apparently I look like some kind of criminal. My sister hadn't renewed her license since turing 18 five days before, so they gave her a hard time about that too.

After they so kindly informed us that the owner of the field was not going to press charges (to which I say, get a life, sir), they gave us directions to a field where we could "legally" take pictures. They gave us our licenses back, and we headed on our merry way.

First we took a picture, obviously. As we all know, if it isn't on the Internet, it never happened.
We were too stressed out to even think about going anywhere else, so we just hightailed it home. I was pretty sure I was about to go into labor.

On the way, I called my dad. He put us on speaker phone and made us repeat our sordid tale to my entire family, who gave us no sympathy and merely laughed at us the rest of the night.

I will have you know that I have had two run-ins with cops in my entire life, and BOTH OF THEM WERE IN TEXAS. There's a lesson here, I think.

Oh yeah, maybe it's this: don't go to Texas. Ever. It's scary.

The end.

Oh wait. Okay a few more pictures of my sister, just for kicks.
She got all the photogenic genes in the family, I tell you.

Can.Not.Handle.It. Someone bring me tissues.

4.22.2015

Meal Planning + Recipe: One-Skillet Sweet Potato Burrito Bowl (Vegetarian Friendly!)


One thing I used to be really good about was planning and cooking dinner.

Then I got pregnant. 

I don't think Jordan nor I anticipated the almost immediate feeling that hit me where I basically stopped caring about making or planning any meals.

During my absence, Jordan has had to step up his game. I don't want to make him sound bad here, but let's just say when I am gone for the weekend, he eats Ramen or instant white rice with a can of black-eyed peas.

So, lately I've been trying to teach him some easy meals that even he could make without much effort or complicated instructions. But I won't lie: it's been a struggle for us these past five months. March was kind of the last straw. It was bad, you guys. We never had any idea what we were eating from day to day, and we either ended up at the grocery store every other day buying 3 things we needed to complete just one meal or we made a run to Chick-fil-A. For the first time in my adult life, I'd become that person who gets fast food on a semi-regular basis. Not okay for our health or our budgets. Or our marriage. Just telling it like it is.

This month, I tried legitimate meal planning for the first time. Sarah wrote a great series of posts on how she and her husband meal plan for the entire month. It sounded insane to me at first, but after our epic food failure in March, I figured we had nothing to lose.

It hasn't gone completely smoothly, and there have been a few days when we've moved stuff around, but for the most part (and I don't mean to be dramatic here), I think meal planning saved our marriage. It's amazing! I strongly suggest you hop over to Sarah's blog and check out her tips for meal planning.

That said, I've been trying out some new Pinterest recipes this month! At this point in my life, I am not interested in anything complicated. I want easy, delicious, and preferably using few pots and pans.

The one-skillet sweet potato burrito bowl was a recipe I scheduled a few weeks ago, and other than my salt lick of a husband's complaint that "it needs more salt," we both declared it a definite win. (For the record, I'm trying to wean Jordan off his obsession with excessively salting things [aka early death by sodium], so he currently thinks everything needs more salt.)

I made this, but next time I have all confidence that Jordan definitely could! It's super easy and really does only involve one skillet! A modern chef's dream. Let me know if you try it out and if you like it!

One-Skillet Sweet Potato Burrito Bowls

INGREDIENTS


  • 1 pound (heaping 2 cups) sweet potatoes (I used 4 medium sweet potatoes)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, separated into 2T + 1T
  • 1 cup chopped sweet bell peppers (I used the assorted bag of small sweet colored peppers)
  • 1 cup white rice (Not sure if you're supposed to use instant or regular, but I used instant!)
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) petite diced tomatoes (**not drained)
  • 1 can (15.25 ounces) black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth (vegetable makes a vegetarian meal)
  • Juice from 1/2 a lime
  • 1-1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Sour cream, for topping
  • Optional: chopped cilantro, chopped avocado or guacamole, 1 small roma tomato, chopped

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Peel the sweet potatoes and chop into small pieces (about 1/2 inch).
  2. In a large skillet over medium high heat, combine two tablespoons olive oil with all of the sweet potatoes. Saute the sweet potatoes for 8-10 minutes or until fork tender. Add in remaining tablespoon of olive oil and the rice.
  3. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2-3 minutes at medium heat.
  4. Add in the undrained diced tomatoes, drained & rinsed black beans, frozen corn, minced garlic, chili powder, cumin, and vegetable or chicken broth. Give everything a good stir, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a little bit above low, but not quite to medium heat.
  5. Cover the skillet with a lid and simmer for 15 minutes or until all the liquid is drained and the rice is cooked through.
  6. Remove the lid and stir in the lime juice. Top with the shredded cheddar cheese and then cover the pot with the skillet for 1-2 minutes to allow the cheese to melt.
  7. Spoon into a bowl and top with sour cream and any other desired toppings.

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