Wednesday, December 8, 2010

We got "All Worked Up"...

So Tuesday night was date night, and we really didn't have anything special planned because we had my school Christmas party Friday and a Christmas Tree lighting ceremony in Camden on Saturday mixed in with shopping and snow storms, blah blah blah, you get the picture. So we decided to just go to our favorite Mexican Restaurant. You know the kind, where you go in and they don't even hand you a menu because they know exactly what you want? Yeah, it's pretty awesome. So, anyway...we sit down and we are ordering our normal Chicken Fajita extra everything that we always share when I noticed some intense drama going on on the TV screen in front of me. Now, granted, the volume wasn't up but they did have closed captioning and it was pretty interesting.

To make a long story short, Landen ended up coming over to my side of the booth (which is awesome because it meant cuddling, and we all know that's one of my top ten favorite reasons for date night!) and we were soon completely zoned into this TV show about none other than, get ready for this, REPOSSESSING AGENTS! I'm telling you, fist were flying, every other word was "bleep" and I could feel the insane madness all the way though my rolled up fajita burrito. Needless to say we were laughing so hard that we got others interested too. During this one particularly insane scene (where a little person attacks this 400 pound body builder with a chair and drop kicks him) the entire side of the restaurant we were on let out an I-feel-your-pain-kind-of "OHHHHHHHH". It was so much fun and we had to pry ourselves away from the booth at the end of the last episode.

The whole way home we talked about how much fun we had, and even tonight we were telling someone about the show. That's one of the coolest parts about having a regular date night. Even when you don't think anything exciting could possibly turns out to be one of the best nights in a while...and we weren't even trying!

So thanks to "All Worked Up" for making this Date Night Tuesday a memorable one.

Watch "All Worked Up" Mondays @ 10:00 on truTV

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A date night blessing....

Here's how we spent date night this week

loving on this super cute little fellow

Welcome to this crazy world baby Zalek!
Uncle Landen & Aunt Amanda

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Date night: Italian Style

Well the flu-bug finally caught up with us. Starting Sunday night Landen and I both started feeling pretty cruddy, but we didn't let that stand in the way of our weekly date night.

This week we decided to try out an Italian place in Oxford called Paesano's Pasta House.

It was a super relaxed little building off of the Miami University campus. It actually reminded us of the Olde Pink House in Savannah Georgia where we ate on our honeymoon.

The food was awesome, I ordered the shrimp fettucini alfredo and Landen ordered the jumbo four cheese ravioli. It was served with freshly grated Romano cheese and was definitely the best pasta I have ever had!

Over all, it was a really good date night. I could barely talk so I didn't get to into the conversation but the ambience of the place was amazing and it is definitely some place that I would like to try again.

The only down side to the whole night (other than being sick of course) is that my camera battery died right before we left. So we didn't get to take any cutesy pictures dressed in our date night attire (although, let me tell ya, we were SMOKIN!) and the only pictures I got from the restaurant were with my iphone.

Next week we are super excited about date night because we are going to go see the Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo. However, since we are expecting our newest little nephew to be born the same day...DNT might have to be rescheduled to Wednesday!

Until next week...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Top Ten List

Well last night was Tuesday, so you know what that night! I woke up, curled my hair, did my face and got myself mentally prepared for a night out with my hubby. We got in the car and headed to work and started talking about our plans for the night when we had a brilliant beyond BRILLIANT idea! Let's postpone DNT until Thursday night/Friday morning, dress up all goofy, wait in line in the freezing cold, and watch the midnight showing of the new Harry Potter flick! Talk about being spontaneous!

So, now that we have a plan in place for this week's date night I didn't want to not blog until Friday evening so I decided to come up with a creative list of our top ten favorite reason to have a regular date night! These are just a few of our own ideas and we would LOVE to hear some of yours.

Top Ten Reasons to Have a Date Night:
10. It's fun to dress up. Okay ladies, let's be honest. We are always looking for a reason to doll ourselves up, put on our good eyeliner and lipstick, pull the pantyhose out (okay, so maybe not that one) and get dressed up for our man. Our guys love it too! Even though I have to wear dress slacks and blouses everyday to work it's nice to bump it up a little once a week, and a date is the perfect time to do it. (Not to mention it's always nice when you get that double-take from your hubby!)

9. It's something to look forward to on Monday. Before DNT, the only thing I look forward to on Monday was Friday, and it was a whole stinking 5 days away! Since we started DNT I now have a reason to wake up on Monday morning and make it through the day, Tuesday is just a day away!

8. It forces us to be creative! Have you ever tried to figure out something fun to do on a Tuesday night? It's hard! Go ahead, try it. Right now, log on to the internet and search for interesting things going on in your area on a Tuesday night! See? Told ya. We are constantly pushing ourselves to top the last week's date and it really makes us work for it, but it's definitely always worth it!

7. It keeps people guessing. The sad thing about this world that we live in is that for some reason people think that once you get married, all fun ceases to exist. NOT TRUE. It's so much fun to walk into a restaurant all giddy and in love and have people stare at you like "There's no way their married." Then I flash my bling, give my hubby a kiss on the cheek and let them see that we are married, and we love it!"

6. You can sit on the same side of the booth. I know it sounds silly but I love sitting on the same side of the booth as Landen. It makes me feel like we're back to when we first started dating and we can't get away from each other!

5. Conversation is required. One reason we try not to go to the movies on our date nights (usually) is because there isn't much communication going on when the lights are off and the people behind you keep saying "shhh" every time you breath too loudly. Planning a fun date night means you are more likely to talk about things that you have been putting off all week long.

4. It puts you in the mood! NO, not that mood! Sheesh. It makes me feel all romantic and fun and in love all over again. Landen opening the door for me, holding my hand in the car, it's all so much fun and I always feel like a princess!

3. He remembers to open the car door for me...enough said.

2. We get out of our comfort zone. This goes back to having to find something to do on a Tuesday night. Eventually we'll probably run out of things to do and start crashing town hall meetings or something...(gosh, I hope not!) but until then, we are happy to step out of our zone and find something to do....

and the number one Top Reason we love DNT is....................................

1. It keep us focused on each other. We can get so caught up with our jobs, our family, our chores, etc and forget what a blessing marriage is and why God intended for a man and woman to be together...for the companionship! Date night allows us to step away from this crazy world, re-prioritize, and focus all our attention on each other and our relationship. It just doesn't get much better than that!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Not your typical date night...

Okay, so if you are checking the date stamp on this post you will see that it is not Monday, and if you check out the photo below you will also notice that we are not dressed in proper "date night" attire. (Well Landen is but he looks like that everyday and I like to come home and jump straight into my jammies!).

This week is slightly different for us in terms of our Date Night Tuesday. Since we have several previously-committed-to meetings, dinner dates, etc we decided to stay home, relax and cook our favorite homemade meal...CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS! Believe me when I say...WAY worth spending DNT indoors in our little abode!

I was so excited about tonights Date that I decided to document the whole process with you and even share the recipe in case you would like to try them yourself! It is hands-down the best dumplings ever...well, except for Aunt June's dumplings that is but that is a no brainer for our family! No one is EVER going to have dumplings as good as Aunt June's!

So to begin the night we dressed in our lovely date night attire and posed for our "Date Night Tuesday" glamour shot.

As tradition goes in the kitchen, I do all the fun stuff (baking, dicing, rolling, kneading, etc) and Landen does all the hard tedious stuff that I bore of easily (pulling the chicken off the bone, pulling more chicken off the bone, etc). We usually try and use chicken breasts that are already off the bone but in this case we had some bone-in breasts in the freezer so we went with those. Landen did an amazing job of pulling the chicken and I whipped up a pretty good batch of dumplings (if I do say so myself!)

After waiting patiently for the dumplings to float to the top in their all their plump glory, and after adding one more quick dash of chicken stock, we were able to sit down and enjoy our homemade chicken and dumplings! Not as good as Aunt June's but they are a pretty delicious substitute!

And here's the best part: THE RECIPE!

Chicken broth
Chicken stock
chicken breasts (boneless and skinless, but like I said bone-in will work too, just more work)
All purpose flour
Self-rising flour
shortening (Crisco)

Step 1: Put the chicken in a stock pot, cover with water, put the lid on and cool until chicken is cooked.
Step 2: While chicken is cooking go ahead and make up the dumpling dough:
1 cup of all purpose flour
1 cup self-rising flour
1/4 cup Crisco (cut in the crisco using a fork until the mixture resembles something like cornbread

Add milk: HERE IS THE TRICK PART! I add milk a little at a time, I don't use an exact measurement. If you have any experience with baking you will know when it's ready because it will resemble any other type of dough. If you need to add more flour to it then add a little at a time. I find that adding the milk in just a teaspoon or so at a time makes it much easier to judge!
Knead mixture into a nice ball of dough, cover, and refrigerate while you finish preparing chicken.

Step 3: Once chicken is cooked remove from water and cut into small pieces if boneless of pull meat off bones if bone-in.
Step 4: We always dump out about half of the water in the pot because we will add the broth and stock into the pot. HOWEVER, there is no substitute for fresh chicken stock (which is what you have just made by cooking the chicken in water) so don't dump it all out. Add chicken broth to your desired amount (we use about 1 1/2 boxes of broth) and then add the stock (we use one of the little boxes). Turn the heat up to medium high and let cook until boiling.

Step 4: Here you have two options. You can roll the dumplings, cut them and then drop them, OR you can do like us and just pull them off in chunks, flatten slightly, and then drop. I love the thicker consistency and I think the imperfect dumplings look so much more legit!

Step 5: Drop all the dumplings into the pot and cook until dumplings float to the top.
Step 6: Mix about a tablespoon of all purpose flour and a tablespoon of milk together and add to pot. This helps all the wet ingredients thicken up a bit.

And that's it! Homemade chicken and dumplings. It's so easy and well worth it!

Make sure you let us know if you try these out yourself.

Until next week!