Friday, March 29, 2013

Currently | March 2013

Loving: I have started journaling again. It feels so good to write my thoughts out. Lately, there has been so much going on good and not so good that I just need a private space that I can get everything out of my head. 

Reading: The second book in the Divergent series, Insurgent. So far it is just as good as the first one. 

Watching: Red Widow & Whitney. Whitney is so funny! 

Anticipating: Owning my own home! I am so nervous that something is going to fall through but so far so good!

Listening to: NPR still. 

Planning: I have been planning on how I want to decorate and organize my new home. Lots of list making!

Working on: Going through stuff and getting rid of things I don't need. I don't want to have to move stuff I don't want or use anymore.

Wishing: That everything continues to go smoothly on the way to owning my first home.

Thankful: I am thankful for such sweet memories I have of time spent with my family. My sister posted the picture above on Facebook a couple of weeks ago and I was reminded of all of the good times we spent at Daddy Ray and Mama Ray's.  I miss them and Granny so much but am so blessed to have had them in my life at all.  

What are you currently loving, reading, watching, anticipating, listening to, planning, working on, wishing, thankful for, etc.?

Previous Currently Posts:

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Weekend Snapshots | March 22-24, 2013

1. Friday at work for lunch we ordered sushi. I can't get enough of it. So good.
2. On Saturday, after jogging/walking in the Azalea Trail Run 10k, Trey and I went to a crawfish boil at his friend's house. These were the stairs of death I had to climb up every time I had to go to the bathroom. I was so sore...
3. Trey :)
4. Trey and I at the crawfish boil.
5. The amazing salad I had at Panera. It is from their secret menu, Power Mediterranean Chicken Salad. 
6. Driving on Friday and Sunday is always the not so fun part of getting to see Trey. But it is worth it once I get to see him!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Recipe | Cheesy Penne with Broccoli

Cheesy Penne with Broccoli
by Brittany Ray, adapted from Cooking Light March 2013 edition
Keywords: boil simmer entree broccoli cheddar cheese pasta
Ingredients (serves 4)
  • 8 oz. uncooked mini penne pasta (I used whole wheat)
  • 5 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 1/3 cups fat free milk, divided
  • 2 tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbs. grated parmesan cheese, divided
  • 2 tbs. 1/3 less fat cream cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2/3 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
Cook pasta according to package directions. During the last 3 minutes of cooking add broccoli. Once pasta is done, drain and place in a large bowl. Set aside.
In a saucepan, combine milk and flour over medium heat, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Cook 5 minutes or until slightly thickened; remove from heat. Add 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese and remaining ingredients, stirring with a whisk until smooth.
Add cheese mixture to pasta mixture; toss.
Sprinkle with remaining parmesan cheese.
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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Recipe | Spinach Chicken Lasagna

Chicken & Spinach Lasagna
by Brittany Ray, adapted from Hidden Ponies
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Keywords: bake boil entree chicken spinach pasta mozzarella cheese Italian
Ingredients (serves 6)
  • 9 lasagna noodles, not oven ready
  • 1/2 cups butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (I used organic skim)
  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided, plus additional for topping
  • 1 tsp. basil
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. ground pepper
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 10 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 tbs. chopped parsley
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Place noodles into boiling water and cook for 8-10 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water, set aside.
Over medium heat, melt butter in a large saucepan. Cook onion and garlic in butter until tender. Stir in flour and salt. Simmer until bubbly.
Mix in the broth and milk. Boil stirring continuously for 1 minute. Stir in 2 cups of mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup of the parmesan cheese. Sprinkle in the basil, oregano and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a 9 x 13 casserole dish, spread 1/3 of the sauce mixture on the bottom. Layer with 3 of the noodles and all of the chicken.
Layer 3 more noodles over the chicken. Then spread 1/4 of the sauce, spinach and remaining 2 cups mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup parmesan cheese.
Arrange the remaining 3 noodles over the cheese and spread remaining sauce evenly over the noodles.
Sprinkle with parsley and the remaining parmesan cheese.
Bake for 35 - 40 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting and serving.
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Monday, March 18, 2013

Lai Lai | Tuscaloosa, AL

Saturday, Leigh and I went to dinner at Lai Lai. I had never eaten there when it was on the strip on campus but I have heard many good things about it. We shared the crab cheese wontons for an appetizer. I ordered the Honey Chicken and Leigh Ordered the Sesame Chicken. Both tasted really good and similar but mine was a little sweeter which I really liked. I will definitely be going here again when I have a hankering for Chinese food. 

Lai Lai Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Recipe | Creamy Broccoli Casserole

by Delish
Prep Time: 40 mins
Cook Time: 8 - 10 mins
Keywords: side broccoli vegetables
Ingredients (serves 6)
  • 3 slices white bread
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups skim milk
  • 2 lbs. broccoli, finely chopped
  • 1 cup shredded white cheddar
  • salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
In a food processor, pulse bread and 1 tbs. oil until crumbs form. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
In a large boiler, heat the remaining 2 tbs. oil on medium heat.
Whisk in flour. Stir constantly for 1 minute. Slowly pour in milk and whisk.
Bring to a boil and add broccoli. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until broccoli is tender. Stir occasionally.
Remove from heat and stir in 3/4 cup cheese.
Pour mixture into a shallow casserole dish.
Top with breadcrumbs and the remaining cheese.
Bake until top is golden brown about 8 to 10 minutes.
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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Skincare Favorites | Winter 2012-2013

During the winter I tried to make sure my face always has some type of moisturizer on it when going outside. I also recently decided that I need to be taking a lot better care of my face. I have always taken care of my face but it is now time to get serious about it. You only get one face for your whole life and it is the first thing people see. So I am taking the phrase, "put your best face forward" literally. Below are my favorite face products, in no particular order. Some are new favorites and some are old loves. 

Clarisonic Mia 2 | This little gem is somewhat pricey, but well worth it. I could tell a difference in my face after the first time I used it. After washing my makeup off in the shower with the face wash listed below, I used the Clarisonic with the Boscia Purifying Cleansing Gel it came with. I then followed with my normal skincare routine; toner, night-time moisturizer, eye gel. I woke up the next day to the softest my face has felt ever. My makeup went on so much smoother. I have not been using mine for long so I do not know how well they hold up but they look and feel pretty durable. If you have the extra money lying around or if you have to eat out less for a month or two (like me) I would absolutely suggest getting one for yourself. 

First Aid Beauty Detox Eye Roller | I purchased this product without having heard of this brand before. I tried the eye roller one day in Sephora on the back of my hand. My hand felt so smooth the rest of the day. So I ordered it that week off the website. (The closest Sephora to me is in Birmingham which is 45 mins - 1 hour away from me.) The Detox Eye Roller is a light clear/cloudy liquid. I love that you cannot feel it under your eyes. I love a good thick night eye cream but during the day I don't want to feel like I have anything on. I have used this product for a couple of months. I feel like it does reduce the puffiness and darkness under my eyes. Another plus is that it lasts a really long time. I am not even half way through the bottle yet. 

First Aid Beauty Anti-Redness Serum | I will buy pretty much anything with anti-redness in the name. I have always been self-conscious about my red face. I have grown out of most of my redness like my dermatologist said I would but it still shows up sometimes and so I take all of the preventative measures I can. This anti-redness moisturizer is the lightness one I have tried so far. I really like the way it feels on my skin. 

Merle Norman Nighttime Recovery Creme | This is one of those old loves. I fell in love with this product when I was 16 and working at my Aunt's Merle Norman store. The smell, texture, thickness everything is just right for a night cream. In almost 10 years of using this product there have been many nights I have forgotten or not felt like putting it on before bed and I always wake up the next morning wishing I had. My face is always smoother in the mornings after I have used this product. The smell puts me to sleep. This is my all-time favorite skincare product. 

Merle Norman Ultimate Firming Neck Cream | A couple of months ago, my Aunt and cousin were talking about a new neck cream at their store. I felt their necks and they were really soft, smooth and firm. (Yes, I touched their necks, we are a close family haha.) So of course I wanted to give the new neck cream a go. I have noticed my neck ain't what it used to be. Their shop is in Atlanta so I called and asked my Aunt to bring me a jar when she came back. This cream works wonders. My neck was smooth, firmer and softer after the first use.

Blackhead Clearing Scrub | I use this scrub in the shower. I have used all of the brands. I don't discriminate. Usually, I just buy which ever one is cheaper at the store I am at. Here are the ones I have used. Target, Walmart, Clean and Clear.

Apricot Scrub | This is another scrub I like to use in the shower. I don't like using this one every day since it is so abrasive. I rotate between this one and the one listed above. I also buy different brands. These are the ones I have used. Target, Walmart, St. Ives.

In case you were wondering...I was not paid for or given any of the above products. I paid for everything with my own money. All opinions are my own.   

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

WIAW #19

It has been a while since I have done a WIAW post. I mean't to post one a while back but not sure what happened but it erased. I am trying to add more vegetables and fruits to all my meals. You can see some green sticking out in most of my meals :).

What are some ways you add more fruits and veggies to your meals?

Book Review | Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

So, I may seem a little behind, okay a lot behind but I read the first three when they came out and then just stopped reading them. I have decided to finally read the whole series and start from the beginning. I didn't really remember much about them. I have seen the movies but never really got into them since I didn't finish reading the books. I really liked Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. I can't wait to read the rest of the series. 

Publisher's Synopsis

Harry Potter has no idea how famous he is. That's because he's being raised by his miserable aunt and uncle who are terrified Harry will learn that he's really a wizard, just as his parents were. But everything changes when Harry is summoned to attend an infamous school for wizards, and he begins to discover some clues about his illustrious birthright. From the surprising way he is greeted by a lovable giant, to the unique curriculum and colorful faculty at his unusual school, Harry finds himself drawn deep inside a mystical world he never knew existed and closer to his own noble destiny. 

Have you read the Harry Potter books? If so, did you read them when they first came out or later on like me?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Moe's Southwest Grill + Giveaway(closed)

I was contacted by Moe's Southwest Grill to try out their burrito bowls. So, yesterday for lunch I went and got one to go. In my bowl I ordered rice, chicken, grilled onions and peppers, pico, cheese, lettuce and sour cream. The grilled onions and peppers had a great flavor. The whole bowl was good. 

If you are in Tuscaloosa or Birmingham the burrito bowls are only $2 this Wednesday. So you should go get one! 


Moe's is giving away $20 in Moe Bucks to one lucky reader. To enter you can do the following for one entry each. Be sure to leave a separate comment for each one and include your email address in at least one comment. Winner will be chosen on Wednesday. 

 Possible Entries (make sure you include your email address in at least one comment):
  1. Leave a comment below telling me what ingredients you would put in your burrito bowl
  2. Subscribe using GFC to Life of a Bama Girl
  3. Like Life of a Bama Girl's Facebook page
  4. Follow me on Twitter 

The winner is healthyhayls from The Girl and Her Nutrition!

Thank you to everyone that entered the giveaway!

  Moes Southwest Grill on Urbanspoon

I received a gift card from Moe's Southwest Grill to try the burrito bowl. All opinions are my own. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Book Review | Divergent

I read Divergent by Veronica Roth in 2 days. It was such a good book. I can see why people say if you like the Hunger Games trilogy you will like this series as well. I just could not put it down. I cannot wait until the movie comes out March 21, 2014. 

Publisher's Synopsis

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Have you read any good books lately?

Friday, March 1, 2013

Birmingham Home & Garden Show

A few weekends ago I went to the Birmingham Home and Garden Show. There was a lot of things going on. They had a ton of exhibitors. My favorite part was the cooking stage. The first chef I saw was Chef Baldwin from Dyron's Lowcountry. He made crawfish cakes that were really good. He was from Mobile he talked about crawfish boils and Mardi Gras. The next show was Roxanne a radio host. She made an instant pudding dessert and was funny to watch. The last cooking demonstration I watched before heading back home to Tuscaloosa was Top Chef Chris Crary. He cooked a turkey meatball pasta. It was delicious. Franklin Biggs assisted Chris Crary.