Life in the Real World

Real life experiences after college

24 days & counting… October 27, 2008

Filed under: Blogging,Family,Fun stuff,pregnancy — jenncollins @ 12:17 pm

Hello blog world, I know it’s been a while. I have been busy with birthday parties, weddings and baby showers non-stop for the entire month of October! It’s been a lot of fun.

We’re 24 days away from the predicted due date! I can’t believe how fast the pregnancy has been. I can’t believe she will be here in just 3 weeks or so! Here’s some pics to enjoy from October.


“Where have I been” Wednesday October 1, 2008

Filed under: Blogging,Christmas,Fun stuff,pregnancy — jenncollins @ 3:26 pm

Yes, I know I’ve been AWOL lately. I’m not gonna apologize because, well, this is my blog and I usually just update it whenever I’m inspired or have something to say! Here’s what’s been happening w/ me since we last spoke :):

  • I’m 33 weeks pregnant now!
  • The hubby and I went to an all-day childbirth training class last weekend at the hospital. It consisted of lots of breathing, relaxing, watching a birth of not only a baby but the placenta as well (!), a tour of the maternity ward, looking at beautiful babies just minutes old, and way more. It was a great experience. I hope I remember everything when the moment comes!
  • I got to be in a TV commercial! My OB/GYN’s office called me at the last minute and needed me to be in a commercial for their office to play their “maternity patient”. I was super excited! While I waited for my big debut, I was in the waiting room for about an hour sitting around 5 doctors and listening them to talk about…medical stuff. I felt kinda dumb sitting around all of these professionals and it also felt a little surreal to listen to my own doctor talk like a normal person. I know this makes me sound even dumber but all he and I talk about are pregnancy-related things: is the baby moving? any pain? To hear him talk to his colleagues was just weird. Whatever. Back to the commercial. All I did was pretend to talk to one of the doctors in his office and rub my belly! It was really cool. If you live in Hollywood, Pembroke Pines or Miramar, keep a look out for me and record it if you can!!
  • Along those lines, Sadie may have another opportunity to be in the spotlight. There’s a very small chance that she could play baby Jesus in a very large Christmas pageant in this area (I’ll let you all take your guesses as to what pageant that is!). We’ll see!
  • Ok so the biggest news is that we went to my doctor and got a 4D ultrasound of our baby girl! You can see it below. Isn’t she precious? Every time I look at this picture, reality sinks in that we’re actually having a baby. It is the strangest feeling but amazing at the same time. I can’t wait to actually see her!
  • I have a very big birthday coming up next week on Oct 9. Anyone care to take a guess what age I will be? I’m not happy about it!!!


When to throw out last week’s casserole… September 3, 2008

Filed under: Blogging,Food,Fun stuff — jenncollins @ 3:47 pm


I love Real Simple Magazine. I don’t subscribe or anything, I just like to buy one every now and then when I have a few extra bucks. I was so happy today when I found out that Real Simple blogs! I subscribed to all of them and I am so excited to get little tidbits of advice, tips and common sense answers to my unorganization.

I was reading the “food” blog earlier and found a link to a great chart that tells you how long you can keep food in your fridge and your freezer. This is priceless to me because I never know what is right (hence, the bugs in my potatoes a few weeks back!). I’m always calling my Mom and asking “If I bought this ground turkey on Monday, is it OK to eat it today (Thursday)?” The answer is no.

I usually find myself bending down in my fridge with the garbage can next to me throwing food (and $$) away because of my carelessness. I hate it about myself, but maybe the chart will help me! I want to print out a copy and stick on my fridge so I always know what is safe to eat.

Do you have any horror stories of leftover food in your fridge? Tell me about it!


My creation… August 20, 2008

Filed under: Food,Food Network,Fun stuff,pregnancy — jenncollins @ 7:35 pm

Well dinner tonight was interesting. Because half my brain isn’t functioning (thank you, pregnancy), I thought I had laid out a pork loin for dinner. I was planning on pork with roasted potatoes and onions. When I got home, I saw chicken in the sink. Somehow I thought pork and laid out chicken instead…weird! So, I had to change my plans. I still wanted to use the potatoes but when I opened the bag, there were bugs in it!! Ugh it was disgusting. I guess the potatoes were a little too old.

I looked on for a little inspiration and saw a recipe for lemon chicken w/ pasta. It sounded good to me but I didn’t have all the ingredients and thought I would try to make it on my own. So I made a recipe from scratch with stuff in my pantry and fridge that I wanted to get rid of. The result? Deliciousness. It was actually very good!! The recipe is below. Some of the measurements are approximate because I ended up not measuring anything but just threw stuff in. If you know me at all, you know that I like to follow a recipe to the “T”, so this is very unlike me, but I am proud of me! 🙂 Let me know if you make it!


Lemon Pepper Chicken in a Sherry Vinegar Sauce with Roasted Onions

1 medium onion
Olive oil
3-4 chicken breasts pounded thin
1 egg
1 T water
1 T Dijon mustard
Flour to dredge chicken
3 T lemon pepper seasoning
1 C chicken stock
1 C sherry vinegar
3 cloves garlic minced
1 T honey
¼ C lemon juice
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp parsley

Cut onion up into half moons. Place on baking sheet. Season with salt & pepper and drizzle w/ olive oil. Roast in a 450 degree oven until translucent and browned.

Heat a pan over medium-high heat with olive oil to coat the pan. Pound chicken breasts very thin. In a small dish, combine 1 egg, a little water and the mustard. In another dish, combine flour with lemon pepper seasoning. Dip chicken in egg mixture, then flour mixture. Sauté each chicken breast…just brown it on both sides, you don’t have to cook all the way through. Set aside and keep warm.

After sautéing, pour chicken stock in the same pan and use a wooden spoon to get all the bits off the bottom of the pan. Add sherry vinegar, garlic, honey, lemon juice, thyme, and parsley. Heat to boiling. Add chicken back in and cook on low covered for about 10 minutes or so.

Serve with couscous, pasta, or rice and whatever else. Put chicken on a serving dish and pour sauce over it. Top it with the roasted onions. Serve and enjoy!


Randoms August 7, 2008

Filed under: Church,Family,Fun stuff,Life,pregnancy,Random — jenncollins @ 12:50 pm
  • Well my bro moved to Athens this week. I already miss him so much. I’m possibly planning a trip up there (it will be Sadie’s first road trip!) late January for a friend’s wedding nearby.
  • Anyone tried my recipes yet? Let me know!
  • I’m 25 weeks preggo today! Sadie is the size of a rutabaga. Have you ever seen one? Here’s what one looks like. She’s constantly kicking…I know I say that every time I update about her, but she really does kick A LOT! Soccer player?
  • I’m going to see the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 tomorrow! I loved the first one and I’ve read all the books. If you’re a girl, grab your Mom or girlfriend(s) and see it together.
  • I saw Mamma Mia! last weekend with my Mom to celebrate her birthday. That’s another definite “girlfriend” movie. My pastor saw it…pink panties with lace and all! Haha, not really…go read his post about it to see what he said.
  • I forgot to mention that I have a new nephew! His name is Anson Charles and he is adorable…I just hate that he lives all the way in Louisville. Hopefully we’ll get to meet him soon and he can meet his cousin!
  • I promise to post some pics soon of the nursery and my baby bump! Just gotta coordinate getting a camera.
  • I’d love to get a new design for this blog…anybody wanna design me one? 🙂
  • Have a great weekend!

Rizzo chicken parm and spaghetti sauce July 28, 2008

Filed under: Family,Food,Fun stuff — jenncollins @ 11:42 am

I feel like the recipe needs a better name…oh well. Let me give you a few disclaimers before I share the recipe:

  • the sauce is an all-day thing. you can either let it simmer all day on the stove top if you are home or make it in your crock pot. both ways will have the same result: DELICIOUS!
  • the sauce is very thick and a little sweet. it’s not always everyone’s favorite. i prefer thicker, less chunky sauce as opposed to thin and chunky. to each his/her own!
  • you will see that i don’t have any measurements for the spices. that’s because it’s really hard to make measure what i put in. you want a lot of oregano and basil for flavor but don’t go overboard. pepper also helps. if, after stirring, you can see the flakes of the spices, that’s usually a good sign that you have enough. just keep stirring, tasting and adding to your liking!
  • you must promise to think of family and friends when making this sauce. it is one of my comfort foods, therefore, a lot of love goes into this recipe. i only make it for special people…:)
  • tell me what you think after you make it…the good, the bad and the ugly…I can take it!

Spaghetti sauce:

1/4 C extra virgin olive oil
1 onion (as large or small as you want…I like a lot of onion) chopped or finely minced
3-4 garlic cloves minced
2 14 oz cans of tomato puree (any brand will do…even Publix)
2 cartons of Pomi Strained tomatoes (you can find this in Publix on the spaghetti sauce aisle…usually toward the bottom…make sure you get strained, not chopped…unless you want chopped)
Lots of oregano
Lots of basil
Salt & pepper to taste
Red pepper flakes to taste (I like my sauce with a little kick)
1 T sugar (you may need to add more…taste it later in the day and see if it’s too acidic…if so, add more sugar)

Saute onions & garlic in olive oil in a small pan until soft and translucent. Meanwhile, pour containers of sauce into a dutch oven or crockpot. Add onions, garlic and the oil you cooked it in. Add all seasonings and stir until combined. Bring to a light boil then simmer for at least 5-6 hours. Taste about halfway through to see if it’s too acidic. If so, add some more sugar until it tastes good to you.

This recipe makes a lot of sauce…could feed up to 6 people. If you’re making it for a small crowd, this freezes wonderfully and tastes even better when you thaw it out and use it again!

Chicken Parmiagiana

4 chicken breasts (butterflied or pounded very thin)
1 box of Progresso Panko bread crumbs (this is a new product I found in Publix and I love it for the crust on the chicken)
1 egg
Flour (for dusting the chicken)
Spaghetti sauce (see above recipe)
Mozzarella cheese

This is pretty basic chicken parm. Pre-heat the oven to 350 (if you don’t want to bake it, then use a large pan to pan fry it…either way is delicious). Lightly grease a 9 x 13 dish. Lay 3 dishes out; flour, egg (with a splash of water) and bread crumbs. Place chicken in flour and lightly coat, shaking off any excess. Then dip into egg & water on both sides. Place into bread crumbs and make sure it is liberally coated; press it into the chicken. Lay the chicken in the dish and place in the oven for about 30-35 minutes. Check it to make sure it is cooked through. Take out of the oven and spoon some sauce over the top of each chicken breast (don’t overdo it or the chicken coating will be soggy!). Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over each chicken breast. Place back in oven until cheese is melted.

Serves 4. Serve with any type of pasta, the spaghetti sauce, your favorite garlic bread and a Caesar salad! Enjoy!


Coca-Cola Cake: you NEED to make this July 21, 2008

Filed under: Food,Fun stuff,Random — jenncollins @ 12:16 pm

I’m feeling generous…and apparently quite HUNGRY so I’m sharing a free recipe with you all. Unfortunately I did not create this unbelievably scrumptous cake (it combines two of my favorite things: a cake with Coke in it=revolutionary!). I got it from a quaint tea house in Louisville, KY from one of their cookbooks (I wish I could remember the name of said quaint tea house, but like I said earlier, I can’t remember squat).

Anyway, here it is: The Revolutionary Cake aka Coca-Cola Cake (wish I had pictures…but I NEED A CAMERA!)

Chocolate cake

  • 18.25 oz pkg white cake mix
  • 4 T unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 8 T (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 C Coca-Cola (the recipe says any “cola” will do…but I must disagree…it has to be Coca-Cola brand or nothing…none of that Pepsi stuff or off-brands)
  • 1/2 C buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 t pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 C miniature marshmallows

Chocolate frosting

  • 8 T (1 stick) butter
  • 4 T unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 C Coca-Cola (same note as above…)
  • 4 C powdered sugar
  • 1 C pecans, chopped (optional – I’m not a big fan of nuts in my cake, but if you are, go for it!)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9-by-13 inch baking pan.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix all of the cake ingredients together save the marshmallows. Beat well, until no lumps remain. Fold the marshmallows into the batter.
  3. Pour the batter into greased baking pan. Bake 40-42 minutes. The cake will begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. Allow the cake to cool for about 15 minutes before frosting.
  4. Meanwhile, make the frosting. Place the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. As butter melts, stir in the cocoa powder and Coca-Cola. Continue stirring until the edges begin to boil; remove the frosting from heat at this point.
  5. If the saucepan is big enough, stir the powdered sugar into the frosting. If necessary, transfer the frosting to a large mixing bowl and then add the powdered sugar. The final mixture should appear glossy and smooth. Fold the pecans into the frosting.
  6. Pour the frosting over the partially cooled cake. Allow the cake and frosting to cool entirely before serving, about 30 minutes.

Serves 12-16

Keep at room temperature for up to 1 week.

I know you’ll love this. Let me know when/if you make it!