Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tunesday -- mewithoutYou

I had heard snipets from mewithoutYou when I was younger, but one of my friends absolutely adores them. Through his love for them, I was given the opportunity to really appreciate them. I finally got to check them out in Richmond, VA back in August. I feel like they'd probably be really stellar, but the combination of an inexperienced sound tech and our location made it somewhat lackluster. The day I had was fantastic, and I do appreciate them a lot, so I can't complain too much. It's incentive to see them again!

Here's a song from their newest album Ten Stories (which is, you guessed it, stories!).

Here's a picture from the show we went to. You can see that we had an awesome view, but we were catching the bouncing sides of the sound and a lot of sound from the on-stage monitor speakers.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tunesday - The Lumineers

"The opposite of love is indifference."

I've been falling in love with this band for a while now. My life has been super hectic and a little stressful. This particular song is one that I can listen to and instantly feel calm. Not only does this folky band have a great sound (um, hello... violin!), but they're also lyrically gifted. Man, I would love to see them live.

Take a break from your day, stop whatever you're doing, and just listen to this. Really take it in.

Until next time.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tunesday - Kate Nash

Sorry for the lack of posts. I've been super busy with school lately. I underestimated working full time and going to school too. Oh well. The good news is that my moodiness has lead me into the arms of some pretty fantastic music.

I really dig Kate Nash. I love that she has this angry and torn vibe going on. The first song is super relevant to my life.

I hope your week is fantastic! I'm going to try to post a new recipe by the end of the week.


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Crockpot Lemon Italian Chicken

This is one of my most coveted Pinterest finds for two reasons: 1. It's wicked good and 2. It's astonishingly easy. I can be a pretty lazy person, so I love a recipe that requires little effort. Not only that, but the main dish only requires 4 (yes, 4) ingredients. So here's the thing, this recipe varies around the web since the original post isn't available. The amounts are somewhat dubious, but here's what I did tonight. I liked this over pasta, but I'm thinking it'd be really good with rice too.

Note: I doubled the recipe that I originally found.


About 2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts. (I used 2 super big breasts that I halved.)
1 stick margarine/butter (I used about 1 1/4 stick of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter)
2 packets of ranch dressing mix
Lemon juice to taste (I used about 3 tbs)


1. Let the butter melt in the crock pot. I do this on the High setting.
2. Add lemon juice and ranch packets. Stir until well blended.
3. Add chicken and make sure it's coated with the liquid.
4. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. I check on it every couple of hours and ladle the liquid over the chicken.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tunesday - Lost In The Trees

Sorry I missed Tunesday yesterday! Tonight is not a night for costumes, candy, or scary things. No, sir. It's a night for music. I've been waiting a while to talk about this band mostly because I didn't know quite what to say about them. There are a lot of words I'd like to write, but instead I'll keep it brief:

I love this folky-orchestra group because it has this really fantastic combination of meaningful lyrics and beautiful orchestral instruments. I've heard that the number of band members on stage can range with each show, rendering the sound of each show unique. Their music contains instruments like guitar, violin, cello, French horn, tuba, and I'm pretty sure there was a glockenspiel at the show I attended last winter.

Here's my poorly recorded video of favorite song (sounds good though!):

Here's a great song from their newest album A Church That Fits Our Needs to illustrate their current sound:

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Oven Baked Fajitas

Here's a pretty ballin' recipe I found on Pinterest. I made it for the first time a few months ago and to be honest, I kind of forgot about it (which is surprising because it's super delicious. I thought of it again the other day and decided to make it again tonight. This recipe is pretty large. I'd say it would make enough for 4 adults. My favorite thing about this is that it's ridiculously easy to make. The first time I made it I used precut onions and peppers. You could even get the fajita chicken pieces that are already cut into neat little pieces. Try it, you'll like it.


1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp seasoned salt
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chilies (Rotel)
1 medium onion, sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1/2 green bell pepper, cut into strips


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place chicken strips in a greased 13×9 baking dish.
In a small bowl combine the oil, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, dried oregano, and salt.
Drizzle the spice mixture over the chicken and stir to coat.
Next add the tomatoes, peppers, and onions to the dish and stir to combine.
Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender.

Original recipe credit: Real Mom Kitchen

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tunesday - Pentatonix

One of my friends introduced me to this group last week when I mentioned that I had that stupid Gotye song in my head. First, let me just say that I have a love hate relationship with this song. It love the lyrics but sometimes I really dislike the overall 80's sound. This a cappella group from Arlington, TX won The Sing-Off last fall. Here's the cover for your listening pleasure:

Friday, October 19, 2012

Baked Jalapeño Poppers - 2pp

By now you should realize that I love Skinny Taste. Here's another one of my favorite recipes by Gina. I used some corn flake crumbs instead of panko since I had some left over from a chicken recipe. Here's the original recipe. Stay tuned below for mine.

Makes 12 servings of 2 poppers each. Each serving has 2 Points Plus and about 62 calories.

12 jalapeño peppers, sliced in half lengthwise
4.5 oz light cream cheese
5 medium scallions, green part only, sliced
2 oz shredded low fat sharp cheddar
1/2 cup egg beaters
1/2 cup corn flake crumbs
1/8 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp chili powder
spray oil

Preheat oven to 350°.
Cut peppers in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.
Combine cream cheese, cheddar and scallions in a medium bowl.
Mix corn flake crumbs, paprika, chili powder, and garlic powder in another bowl.
Fill peppers with cream cheese mix.
Dip in egg beaters.
Put the pepper in the corn flake mix and coat.
Place the peppers on an oil-sprayed baking sheet. Lightly spray the tops of the peppers with the spray.
Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until golden and cheese oozes out.
Remove from oven and serve immediately. Serve hot.

Friday, October 12, 2012

DIY -- Lamp Upgrade

When I started redoing my bedroom, a friend of mine gave me an old lamp that she used to keep in her classroom. It has a lot of shells in it and a slightly stained and outdated shade. It also had a dead seahorse inside. It's non-existant eye haunted me. Haunted me, I tell you. I really wish I had taken a picture of it. Oh well. Anyway, here's a before picture:

I picked up a round shade from Target when it went on sale for around $18.00. Then I sat down, unscrewed the bottom of the lamp, and started shaking the shells out. The awkward part came in when I tried to clean the inside of the lamp. Long story short; it's still slightly dusty/linty inside. Ready to see the final result?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Taco Pasta - 8 pp

This is one of my new favorite recipes! I found the original version by Canadian Moms Cook through my Pinterest. I made it a while back and while I liked it, I thought it needed just a couple changes. To be honest, I really only added more cheese and little Rotel, but I think it made a difference.

It's ridiculously easy and relatively quick to make.

Makes 8 1-cup servings. Each serving is 8 points plus.


1/2 - 3/4 box of bowtie pasta
1 pound of ground beef (I used ground sirloin because I'm fancy and it has a lot less fat).
1 pkg/envelope of taco seasoning
1 cup of water
1/2 can of tomatoes with green chiles (i.e. Rotel)
3/4 package of cream cheese (I actually used Neufchâtel, but you could live it up)
1 1/2 (approx) cups of shredded Mexican blend cheese


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Boil pasta until just cooked; drain, run cold water over it.
3. While pasta is cooking, brown ground beef.
4. Mix taco seasoning and the water; pour over cooked beef and let simmer for about 5 minutes until the liquid has reduced.
5. Add the cream cheese to the beef mixture, stir until melted and combined. Remove from heat.
6. Combine pasta and about 1 cup of the cheese. Add 1/2 can of Rotel. (note: I normally do this in the same pot I cooked the pasta in. You can do it in your casserole dish, but it seemed to messy to me)
7. Top pasta and cheese with beef mixture, gently mix until the pasta is coated.
8. Transfer to casserole and top with remaining 1/2 (and maybe more!) cup of shredded cheese.
9. Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes.

Additional Note: I have used both a 9x13" dish and a 1-quart dish for this recipe and both worked fine. Also, I kind of eyeball the amount of cheese used on the top; 1/2 cup is just a guideline. You can do more or less.

Tunesday - The Decemberists

Tunesday is 20 minutes late, but I make the rules so maybe you should just calm down. Let's get down to business. Though I have an appreciation for most all types of music, I have to let you know that I love folky music. It's my thing. Has been for a while now. The Decemberists and Iron and Wine are in a constant war for my supreme affection. I'm featuring The Decemberists now because I've cared deeply for them since high school. Here are my two favorite songs.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tunesday - Other Lives

Hey. So here's the deal. This year my New Year's resolution was to see 5 live shows. I know some pretty great people who love to share music so this whole "5 show" thing was met fairly early on. Since then my goal has been to see as many shows as possible. So far I've seen 8 or 9 bands and I hope to see at least 2 more before the year is over. What's the point of all of those words I just typed? I just wanted you to know how much I dig music right now. And I think you should too. Thusly, I bring you the first installment of Tunesday!

This band is called Other Lives. The song in the video above isn't my absolute favorite song by this band (that would probably be Dark Horse), but it has a nifty new video that reminds me of Doctor Who for some reason.

I saw them at a bar venue in North Carolina back in February right before they went on tour with Radiohead. They sounded amazing live and I would highly recommend seeing them if you have the chance. I've decided to throw in a bonus cheesy Instagram picture to the right!

You know what's even more of a bonus? The fact that you can listen to their whole album Other Lives on their website and here below.

Zesty Avocado Cilantro Dressing - 2pp

Ok, seriously, Skinny Taste is one of my all-time favorite recipe sites. I've tried many of Gina's recipes and most of them are amazing. For real-- 2 points+ for 3.5 tablespoons! I made this a while ago and it is seriously one of the best dressings I’ve ever had. No joke; I see myself using this as salad dressing, on sandwiches and as a dip. 3.5 tablespoons is a pretty big serving, but this dressing is kind of thick, so it works well with larger salads.


3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 small jalapeno, seeds removed, leave them in if you want it spicy
1/4 cup of fresh cilantro
1 medium haas avocado
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp chopped scallion
juice of 1 lime
1/8 tsp cumin (note: I'm not a fan of cumin, so I left it out)
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/2 tsp kosher salt


Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
For a thinner dressing add more buttermilk, for a thicker dip use less.

Want to check out Gina's original posting of this recipe? I don't blame you, man. Click here for the goodness!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Triple Chocolate Muffins - 3 Points Plus

I just want to preface by saying that this is one of my all-time favorite Weight Watchers appropriate recipes. I tried my hand at these muffins that have been floating around Tumblr. Holy crap, guys. They… are… AMAZING! I brought them to work to let my friend try and he was totally blown away when I told him what was inside. These are great incentive to get your dairy in for the day too — super good with a glass of milk. The French Press’ recipe below:


1 box Betty Crocker Supermoist Triple Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix
1 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin puree
1/2 box (22 grams) Jello Fat Free Sugar Free Instant Chocolate Fudge Pudding (dry)
1 1/4 cup water
1/2 cup (80 grams) Nestle Toll House Mini Morsels.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix everything together except mini morsels.
Line muffin tray with foiled cupcake wrappers (if using regular wrappers use a little non-stick cooking spray) and fill each 3/4 full.
Bake about 22-23 minutes, take out of oven and lightly mush down top of muffin so it’s flattened a little, sprinkle mini morsels on top.
Return to oven for another 3-4 minutes. Test with toothpick, it should be a little moist and not completely clean.
Take out of oven and let rest for 10 minutes.

18 muffins @ 3 pp each.

oh, hello

Hey, what's up?

My name is Allaina but you can feel free to call me Laina. This would be my blog. I plan to fill it with things I love (hence the name). I look forward to sharing pictures, recipes, projects, and crafts with you.

Let's do this.