The Bachelor Season 21 Recap

It has been 7 years since I watched this show for more than 5 minutes while skimming through the channels. I remember watching Jake Pavelka’s season with my roommates back as a sophomore in college, and that was my first and only attempt with the franchise until now. I agreed to watch this season and compare notes with a friend back home each week and as any fan in “bachelor nation” knows, the finale was last night. It’s over, you can have your Monday night’s back, at least for a second before the bachelor himself, Nick Viall, competes on Dancing with the Stars. I have little to no patience to write weekly recaps, and I barely think I can get through this one, but I figured since I spent the time and effort to watch this season I may as well have something to show for it.

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Continue reading for some of my thoughts:

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In the Kitchen: $10 Chicken Tacos

I have been on a Mexican food kick lately, and after going to our favorite Mexican place and ordering the same Chicken tacos 3 times in a row, I decided I should probably try and find out how to make something in the realm of similar, and for less than $2.50 a piece.

With a little couponing and bargain grocery shopping, I made an entire pot of shredded chicken for $10. We’ll get at least 8 individual servings for it, depending on how much we heap into a taco or burrito, and it beats the price in a landslide if you’re only paying less than half the price per taco (once cheese, shells, etc. are factored in) than you would at a restaurant. Unfortunately, appetizer chips and salsa not included. Sidenote: Does anyone else get really annoyed when the chips and salsa are either a) not free at all or b) free up to one basket and one salsa? I do!

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Easy Homemade Pizza

Pizza is one of those things I could eat for several meals out of the week. There’s nothing more enticing than a wood-fired Margherita pizza, or an oversized slice of deep dish from Lou Malnati’s– truly, I do not discriminate, I eat one and all. Unfortunately though, a lot of the time with pizza, you’re inhaling extra grease, fat, cheese and processed foods. While this is fine to do in moderation, when you eat pizza as much as I like to, a healthier option needs to be found, and after making this recipe twice in one week, I feel I have come up with said healthy option. So here’s my recipe for homemade pizza, dough and all.

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Whoops!

So somewhere between our trip to Boston to celebrate our anniversary and getting home from Green Bay last weekend for a family wedding this blog fell into an abyss and went missing forever and ever, never to be discovered again.

That was until I received about a million emails from my domain host trying to get me to renew the name GingerJams for next year already. (Excuse me, I think I have til April?). I have kind of forgotten about good ol’ GingerJams, but also have purposefully avoided doing anything on it because despite how many or how few people read a blog, the effort involved is still a same. And it’s a lot of effort, time, energy and a sprinkle of something else that takes a blog from boring words to (what I hope) is something entertaining, or at least useful.

So, in the last say, three to four months, what exactly have we been doing? Let’s slice and dice it by holidays, shall we?

Thanksgiving: We hosted our first ever Thanksgiving in our house in Georgia. My parents, sister and her boyfriend came down and stayed with us through the weekend. We made everything under the sun and ate until our buttons burst. We also got to enjoy the warmer Georgia November and explore things like Top Golf and show off our little town.

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Working on the Thanksgiving Tablescape

Christmas: We ventured up to Northwest Indiana for a week and spent this Holiday with my side of the family. The last two years we had spent in Tampa so we decided to be fair and shake it up a bit. We also attended a wedding in downtown Chicago on New Years Eve. Then, on our way back home we stopped off at Indiana University in Bloomington so I could show Jarob my old stomping grounds and catch up with one of my best friends for ever and ever and ever.

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Outside the Sample Gates at IU

January: Well since New Years Day was also covered in the Christmas post, January was slated with a lot of work between the two of us as the NFL ramped up for the Super Bowl and I started my new job at TNT.

Super Bowl: Also a National Holiday in my book… our neighbors were kind enough to host us for the evening and we noshed on pizzas, dips, wings and desserts. I made white chocolate covered pretzel rods with rainbow sprinkles for the kids and monster cookies for the adults. I’d never made monster cookies before, but I was pleasantly surprised with how easy it was!

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Valentine’s Day: Yes, it counts! Valentine’s Day is exciting to me because it’s an excuse to eat chocolate and all sorts of decadent treats. We spent the proceeding weekend in Wisconsin (which is still one of my favorite states) to celebrate Jarob’s cousins wedding. Our room even had a stadium view of Lambeau Field. I know, so ritzy. On Valentine’s Day, I made Jarob his favorite breakfast casserole, some festive M&M brownies and got him the Hamilton Beach Breakfast Sandwich Maker. Might have been a bit of a reason I decided to get it, I can’t wait to use it too. Maybe I’ll do a review on it soon since I’m needing some inspo for this sucker as is.Screen Shot 2017-02-17 at 8.04.15 AM.png

Oh, but most important part, we went to Dairy Queen for dessert (yeah we didn’t eat any thing we actually made for the day). I haven’t been to Dairy Queen for probably a year. I think the last time we went was my birthday last year. I’ve also realized it’s definitely a Midwest love affair, because those I mention the chain to around here don’t seem to be as infatuated. Why is my Valentine’s Day post longer than any of the others? Ha!

Next coming national holiday is February 21, the day of birth of yours truly. I guess I’ll be reporting on that coming up!

Product Review: Halo Top Ice Cream

Sooooo, ice cream is one of my favorite things in life. I’ll eat it for a snack, dessert, or if I’m throwing caution to the wind, a meal. I’ve seen people (mostly runners and food/fitness instagrammers) post tons of pictures of this magical, colorful little carton where you can eat the whole thing for in and around 300 calories. I’ve contemplated buying them for months, but never felt like paying $4.99 (at Kroger) for something that may… well.. suck.

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I got to try Enlightened ice cream when they sent me some free product, so there really was no financial risk involved (also, still recommend trying and I’m still TRYING to find the little pints of it instead of just the bars). Yesterday,  I decided I really wanted to try Halo Top, and for some serendipitous reason, it was on sale for $3.99 today only. A whole dollar off. I know a dollar isn’t a huge deal, but it was enough for me to put two flavors in my cart: Cookies and Cream and Birthday Cake. I’ll be providing my review of Birthday Cake in this post. 

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Southwestern Soup

It’s October and fall is in the air (read the humidity has slightly decreased here in Atlanta). I did get a pretty decent taste of crisp temps a couple weeks ago when I was in New Hampshire. I surely soaked up the 60’s while I could.

If you’re part of my family, soup is a year round food, but it is DEFINITELY a fall favorite. I’ve also been on quite a Mexican kick filling my belly with fajitas, tacos and burritos the last week (mostly healthy versions of these, mind you). Continuing on my southwest kick I made my first home-cooked meal since returning home from work.

I combined soup and my current flavor craze into a wonderful, spicy, healthy dinner. This is meatless, but animal protein could easily be added. Beans have protein too, though! It’s got enough of a kick that I didn’t add additional hot sauce and it reminded me of a combination of chili and chicken tortilla soup. It’s incredibly easy to make if you can work a can opener, dice a few items and pour everything into a pot.  I had to write this down as I was creating it just in case it was good enough to share and make again. It was!

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Pumpkin Spice(d)

This week at home has been ahhhmazing. Sleeping in my own bed and using my own shower are top notch. I do miss the turn down service and fresh linens that just happen to appear though 😀

To really celebrate my first week home IN THE FALL I went to Target and bought everything I could find that was Pumpkin Spice. I’m talking Oreos, Almonds, Snack Cakes, Coffee, Oatmeal… plus a late addition of Pumpkin Spice Dark Chocolate (from Tuesday Morning). Most of these things are ridiculously delicious, here’s my two cents.

 

Dunkin Donuts Pumpkin Spice Coffee– A must get. This was recommended to me by my friend Abby as the best Pumpkin flavored coffee she has ever had. It did not disappoint and even brought me back to my drip pot after a long love affair with my Keurig. I love the aroma while its brewing and cannot wait to have a cup of it every morning. The taste is on point. Go get you some!

Hammond’s Pumpkin Spice Dark Chocolate– in a moment of weakness at the Tuesday Morning Point of Purchase display, I snatched one of these up and am not at all ashamed. It’s a great mixture of dark chocolately goodness paired with just the right amount of pumpkin spice. Very small hint of the taste of fall, which is great if you’re a chocolate feen like me and do not want anyone to mess with your staples. I recommend this one.

Brach’s Double Crunch Pumpkin Pie Almonds– mehhh. I’m happy to try new things, but these were nothing to write home about. Crunchy, yes. But they tasted more like sugar/marshmallow than anything else. I would rather go for a dark chocolate covered (or plain at that) than have these again. They’re bright orange too, so that’s a bit unappealing.

Pumpkin Spice Oreos– these are pretty tasty. While there is nothing better than a traditional Oreo, I think NABISCO hit the nail on the head when they created these. The cookie is like that the Golden Oreo, while the filling pays homage to the season. The one weird thing is the color of the filling. A little bizarre for me. The filling also seems greasy when compared to the regular Oreo. Just close your eyes and eat them and you’ll be fine!

I still have yet to try the oatmeal & the snack cakes… a girl can only take so much without going overboard. Until next time. Happy Sunday and Happy Pumpking Spicing!

 

 

 

Ground Turkey Sweet Potato Skillet

I’m baaack! From four weeks on the road for work, that is. We had absolutely nothing in our house to eat so as soon as I could find a few recipes I wanted to make, I headed to the store. This recipe has been pinned on my Pinterest board for a year and I have made it a handful of times. It’s delicious, healthy and grain-free for all the Gluten sensitive folks out there. While I can’t take credit for the creation, I can pass you all right along to the recipe mastermind, Primavera Kitchen.

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