Friday, October 31, 2014

Five Halloweens Ago

Last year I was feeling really bummed about our wedding anniversary. We were coming up on 4 years since our Halloween "paper" wedding and we didn't have a single thing to remind us of that day, except for the honey bee costumes I made us wear. True story. We didn't have any pictures from the day we said our official "I Do" to one another. We were married by our chaplain in the living room of a house we were dog sitting at before eating chicken mcnuggets for dinner and handing out candy to trick or treaters. We eat chicken mcnuggets every year on Halloween night, but last year we had a fun photo shoot to add to our memories!
Holly, of Life Shots By Holly, photographed us in Old Town San Diego the weekend before Halloween! We had some taken in the Old Town Cemetery which was hauntingly beautiful as well as in the yard of The Whaley House! I realize I never shared them last year, so a year (and a few days) later, to celebrate five years without killing one another, I thought I would share some of my favorites from that day (which was VERY hard to narrow down!)
I could not have asked for a more loving and caring man to spend the rest of my life with. 'Til death do we part, for better or worse, wherever he goes I will go and we will build the best life we could ever dream of!

The last five years have seen us move four times, be separated through a home port change/good will deployment, a ship's deployment, and an IA deployment to Afghanistan, a countless number of arguments, fights, and nights spent on the couch (by both of us), movie marathons and binge netflix weekends, vacations, staycations, beautiful hikes, Tough Muddering together, and tons of fabulous date nights! I am so happy that I got to experience it all with the love of such a good man and can't wait for the rest of our lives to unfold before us...  Here's to so many more years like the last five, filled with love, understanding, and adventure!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Orange BBQ Glazed Pork Tenderloin with Cherry Pecan Wild Rice

This week I ordered some of our dinners from The Set Table again! She had a really good looking week of meals and we splurged since three of them were things that looked REALLY good! The first meal I cooked up was an orange bbq glazed pork tenderloin with cherry pecan wild rice. What I love about this is that I get so boring in the kitchen and so often resort to using a little EVOO with salt and pepper on my meats and calling it a day. This meal was easy to make, and the glaze is something I will add into my collection as I think it would be good on pork or chicken!
I got some requests for the recipe, and so I'm sharing it with you all here!

(serves 2, 50 mins total prep/cook time)
For the Pork:

  • 1 lb pork tenderloin
  • 1/2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup orange marmalade
  • 1/4 cup barbecue sauce
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp orange juice
  • 1/4 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/4 tsp hot sauce 

For the Rice:

  • 3/4 cup wild rice
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries, chopped
  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp black cherry balsamic
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric


  • Preheat oven to 425*
  • In a small bowl, mix together the chili powder, sugar, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp onion powder. Remove pork from packaging and pat dry. Rub mixture to coat all sides of the tenderloin. In an oven safe skillet over med-high heat, add 1 tbsp olive oil. Once hot, add pork to skillet and sear the meat for 2-3 minutes on all sides.
  • While the meat is cooking, prepare the glaze. In a small bowl, whisk together orange marmalade, barbecue sauce, minced garlic, orange juice, ginger powder, and hot sauce. Reserve half of the glaze aside for serving.
  • After the meat is seared, spoon 1/4 of the glaze on top of the meat and place in the oven. Cook for 15 minutes, flip, and glaze with another 1/4 of the sauce. Cook for an additional 12-15 minutes or until cooked through.
  • Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, add 1 3/4 cups water and 1 tbsp butter. Bring to a boil and add rice. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Stir in cherries, pecans, salt, pepper, parsley, balsamic, onion powder, and turmeric. Add additional salt and pepper if desired. Serve alongside pork with a side of the remaning glaze.
I'd love to know how you like this, if you make it! We weren't too impressed with the rice. I guess I thought it was going to pack quite the punch, and it just didn't. It wasn't bad, it just was a much milder flavor than what we were expecting. I love that I never would have thought to have added in fruit or nuts to my rice if it weren't for this fun recipe! I'm going to be picking up the spices I need for this glaze, because it will become a staple, for sure. I'm already thinking of freezing up some OJ to always have that tbsp I need on hand!


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Okinawa Island Wide 239th United States Navy Birthday Ball

Last weekend was the Navy Ball here in Okinawa! I think Gene and I may have had our tickets before we even left California! I don't know when I turned into a "ball person!" I used to loathe them, now I only loathe the part leading up to them (finding a dress, making sure I still fit in it, getting my hair and nails looking good, and getting out the door!) and relish in sitting back and watching the young people make fools of themselves. Seriously, it's not a ball if young people aren't making fools of themselves. <<< And with, I verified I'm 30 going on 68.
 We always take a picture before we leave. We normally take one after setting the tripod up at the front door. This year, we have neighbors all around us who are simply awesome! One of which took this picture of us in front of the tree in our cul-de-sac! This was after I noticed I had dropped some chocolate on the front of my dress and with minutes left before leaving had to either wash it out, or change! The worst part was: I didn't even eat any of the cake... I was putting it away!
The stain came out, and we were able to continue our night! We headed down to the Rocker NCO club on Kadena. I don't know what NCO clubs are like in other branches, but the Air Force definitely pampers these guys! Almost enough that Gene wants to be one! The Rocker is a gorgeous facility that I had been to a few other times for OIWC events. We got there early and found ourselves in a casino room they have at the Rocker getting a drink at the bar. Navy balls always have the worst cash bars ever, not this one! There were even full bars in the ballroom, because, hello, it's a base club and not a resort!
This is Gene's idea of a picture of me with the full bar, hahahahaha. Bless his heart!
The room was set up beautifully! We sat at long tables and we weren't sure if we should sit next to one another or across from each other. We decided to sit next to each other, which I guess is what most people did. We found a table  in the back near a bar, the photographer, and the exit. It ended up working against us, as we could hardly hear the presentations and guest speaker as the room was divided by a glass wall with only door openings, so the back half was rather noisy the entire time.

We were also rather impressed by the favors! It just isn't a Navy Ball without some kind of drinking receptacle. Birthday ball mugs, wine glasses, pilsner glasses, beer steins (but cheap ones, not fancy ones), one year we even got a stainless steel water bottle. For the love of God, birthday ball planners, nobody keeps all those glasses! This year, we didn't get another set of glasses I'd feel bad about tossing before our next PCS! We were gifted etched chopsticks! Pretty sweet for being in Okinawa! We'll keep those!
The food was rather amazing! We were given the choice of vegetarian, chicken, and swordfish. I went with chicken, Gene went with swordfish. Both came with a piece of steak, roasted potatoes, and sauteed vegetables. I didn't think to get a picture as we were having delightful conversation with the other couples at our table! Trust me though, it was yummy! We did have legitimate birthday sheet cake though! The balls I've been to have always had fancy desserts that the kitchen made to go with the good service, so it was interesting to get a slice of marble sheet cake! Happy birthday!
Things were done a little differently here as far as the program went! They did the opening remarks and the POW/MIA table setting ceremony before dinner, but then dinner was served before the guest speaker. That sure made it hectic when the Rear Admiral was introduced and a group of Marines refused to settle down. Like, above and beyond general rudeness into the douchebagery that made me embarrassed for them and the United States Marine Corps. That's neither here nor there and I refuse to get into.
 We tried our hardest to listen to the guest speaker, to no avail. We had our professional pictures taken earlier on in the evening, so when the entertainment came out and we couldn't hear or see them, we decided to call it a night like the old curmudgeons we are.

As for the professional pictures? They were fabulous! A very awesome husband and wife photography duo was on hand to take the pictures for us! Of course they wanted everyone to do the good old prom pose where they guy stand behind the gal, and hugs her waist and she puts her hand on his to show off her corsage. This is a Navy Ball, not Prom 2014. Gene didn't get me a corsage and I'm too fat for him to actually put his arm around me and not look like we're showing off a baby bump, so we politely declined that pose. We know what works for us:
And with that, another Navy birthday celebration has come and gone! We still have a Marine Corps Ball to attend later on this fall, but from what I hear they are crazy different! Separated by units or commands and rank or how important you are and there's assigned seating and much better favors, so the one we are attending should be low key and mostly with people Gene works with? I'll be sure to report back all about it!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

@hellotodaycreate // Hashtag Found InstaCrush

Being on the opposite side of the world from about 95% of my friends, my afternoons at home can be puh-ritty boring. Nobody is posting anything new on facebook, nothing new is showing up in my Instagram feed, and hulu goes buffering crazy starting at about 3pm. These are the times I find myself scrolling through hashtags on Instagram. Whatever is interesting me on any given day, I click a hashtag and scroll, scroll, scroll along. I've found some awesome 'grammers this way and thought it would be nice to share!

I recently found @hellotodaycreate while browsing #ProjectLife. It might just be my favorite tag to browse. I like most every picture I see, and comment every once and again. This picture begged me to comment on it:

How perfect is that gram?! Seriously? It makes me want to buy a sewing machine and learn how to use it just to make fun cards like that for my scrapbooks! I then wasted about a half hour scrolling through her feed looking at some of the prettiest pictures around!

Hello, gorgeous! Look at that pretty layout! It always amazes me to see folks scrapping in smaller formats! I'm going to start one, but I'm so nervous about it! Then I scrolled and saw these pretty clips! I don't use too many embellishments in my Project Life books, but this is something that would be so fun and easy to incorporate without adding too much bulk!

All of her pictures are just so dreamy, don't you think? I'm ridiculously excited I found her!

Do you ever scroll through hashtags looking for pretty 'grammers? 
Who are some of your favorites?

PS: Did you see Kara's post about her favorite instagram accounts? She has definitely inspired me to share more of mine with you, since I ended up following the ones she shared I never knew existed!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Taco Rice and Gate 1 // E Squared 101 in 1001

One of the things I absolutely love about Okinawa is trying all of the new foods. There are thousands of restaurants out there waiting for us to discover them, and be brave enough to try them out! One of the things on our bucket list for Okinawa is to eat at 50 new restaurants. We figured this would keep us from getting too comfortable with "old haunts" and make us explore a little more!

One of the new restaurants we tried is Gate 1, right across the 329 from Camp Hansen (for all you Okinawa folks!). It did not disappoint. We had passed it several times, and stared at it every morning when we first got here, and Gene was working 12 hour night shifts on Hansen. It's a seedy little place, but we're learning that's how Okinawa is- functional, not aesthetically pleasing.

They advertise one of my favorite Okinawa dishes: TACO RICE! It's not what to get if you've got a hankering for Mexican food, and I find that people either LOVE the stuff or hate it. It is a tasty Okinawa twist on a taco salad, and I am in the group of people who think it is delicious!
Clearly, the tacos are pretty banging too ^^^. Parking was a little tricky, and there are about 3 other places in the same alley that also serve taco rice, so I don't know when we'll get back to Gate 1, but that, of course, is the purpose of the goal- not stopping at the first "best taco rice" place we find and making it our usual haunt! I did, however, buy some taco rice kits from here to try and make the dish on our own! Wish us luck with that one!
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