tis the season for lots of change!

Monday, December 17, 2012
Christmas is just around the corner! this long-awaited interview season is well underway. i remember looking forward to "interview season" and thinking it was such a long ways off. but here we are, smack dab in the middle of it! we are still in mississippi until the end of the year, and the last few weeks have brought so much change already! we've been road warriors since thanksgiving, but it's been wonderful to spend time with friends and family. so, here's a recap from the beginning!
spent Thanksgiving in Memphis with our sweet niece, Korbyn, and Zach's family. we enjoyed the "coziness" and spending several days with family.
Ty and Rachel spent a couple days with us in Starkville after Thanksgiving. We took the boys' toys out to the gun range and enjoyed spending time together.

we dropped off Ty and Rachel at the airport on our way to Zach's first interview on November 30th. we stopped in Atlanta for a night and enjoyed seeing Tara, Stacey's friend from high school, and her boyfriend. We stayed with Uncle Tim and Kathy and spent a little time laughing at youtube videos with our new cousins, bretton and stephen. 

Zach's first interview was in Columbia, SC. We stayed with our good friends Jon, Elizabeth, Judah and Sierra.

Zach's next interview was in Memphis. Stacey got to see some college friends, and we enjoyed a Christmas Sweater 5K with Alex, Robyn, and Korbyn after the interview.
We got to see Aunt Patty and Uncle Tim for one night when they were in Starkville to go to Grandma's Christmas Party. Mom and Tom went to Hawaii for a week, and Zach and I held down the fort few a few days between interviews. Zach flew to Jacksonville, FL last week for an interview and then to New Orleans where I met him for another interview. Like I said, road warriors (but I don't think that even begins to cover it!). January will be more of the same, but we are excited about exploring the possibilities of living in any of these places! It's nice that all of the interviews have been regional so far. Zach will be interviewing in Gainesville, FL and Jackson, MS in January. And we hope to keep adding programs to our schedule! Whew!
Somewhere in the midst of all that I got a new job and we decorated for Christmas! My niece, Sierra, comes at the end of this week to celebrate Christmas with us. It's always fun having her around!
Jazz enjoys the Christmas lights at night
 I will start my new job the beginning of the year which will include a few weeks of training here and there. The company is based out of Senatobia, MS which is just south of Memphis. Zach will be back in Gainesville to finish his last semester of Medical School (yahoo!!!), and I will be joining him for most of that time. I'm really excited about this new job that will allow me to use my degree (finally) and to use some of my more natural "gifts". It's hard to believe that our time in Mississippi is almost over (we've been here since July), but the Lord has blessed this time and showered us with love and encouragement from family and friends. I remember being so fearful of the being in Gainesville alone while Zach would be doing rotations for a whole semester. But now looking back over the past six months, we've gotten to experience so much that we would have missed out on because of the distance. I am thankful for the memories and hopeful that we will find ourselves back this way after graduation!
Merry Christmas! Love, Norwood

hats for sale!

Thursday, November 8, 2012
so it all started when i had ankle surgery in august... i was unable to do a whole lot, so i turned to one of my favorite hobbies-- crochet! i know it sounds like something 80-year-old women sit around and do, but i've been crocheting since elementary school! i love making things with my hands, and it's also special because my grandma taught me all those years ago.
this is sweet judah sporting her bully hat!
(another baby girl of a certain head football coach may or may not also have one of these bully hats, too...just sayin) i have been consigning these hats at a salon in town, but my items have also been purchased by some out of town friends. so i'm now extending my hats to my blog readers! you'll find a new "For Sale" page just under my picture at the top that will take you to some paypal ordering options!  

fall is in the air!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012
so... the weather is changing, and we are finally transitioning into fall! i guess that means it's time to recap what has been going on. since surgery, i've been keeping track of time based on my footwear! i'm happy to say i've been out of the boot for a couple of weeks now! i even got the green light from my physical therapist to go to the gym this morning! i did the elliptical and some weights- whew am i out of shape! two more weeks of therapy until i graduate!
well, this past month has been great! zach was with us in starkville until this week (he started his last orthopaedics rotation in memphis at the campbell clinic). we traveled a bit and enjoyed family and friends! enjoy the journey in pictures...
believe it or not, we have never sat at a mississippi state football game with alex and robyn (zach's brother and sister-in-law). this is at the south alabama game (another "white out" and a MSU win!)
we visited stasia and andrew skelton in new orleans for some Fun, Food, & Fellowship! Yay! and Yum!
our delicious s'more sundae at sucre. my tastebuds are in love. my waistline is scared.
i decorated the office for pumpkinpalooza. almost everything came from dollar tree! a cute display on a budget!  
more friends! this is marvelous mary and adorable anna at the tennessee football game (another win for MSU!)
mom has been organizing the annual alzheimer's walk since this summer! we had a great time supporting her efforts, remembering grandmother mary, and honoring grandma jacobs. 
zach had a board exam in atlanta, so i went along and got to visit with a high school friend, tara!
new mama karen sat with me at MSU's homecoming game!
zach went with karen's husband, jared, to the sidelines to take photos during the game! pretty legit! if medicine doesn't work out...
when zach isn't working in the clinic, he gets to spend time with our niece, korbyn! i'm so glad we've gotten to spend more time around korbyn this fall!
well, that pretty much sums up october! we will be cheering on our bulldogs as we take on the aggies for the first time since the epic snow bowl
please remember us in prayer as we wait to hear back about residency interviews for zach! 

lettuce wraps

Monday, October 1, 2012
lettuce wraps. yum.
one of my favorite memories from college is when mom and i would meet for a girls' weekend in birmingham. we would go shopping, watch a movie, and eat at pf chang's. it's one of our favorite restaurants!
we made turkey lettuce wraps last night, and they tasted just like the lettuce wraps from pf changs! we did not make a sauce to go with the wraps because the seasonings added a little kick anyways. mom and i had 3 lettuce wraps each and were stuffed! i think this recipe will make 12 wraps easily. so, if this recipe makes 4 servings, each serving is only 290 calories!
1 head of lettuce
1 TBS peanut oil
1 lb ground turkey
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 TBS soy sauce
1/2 cup of hoisin sauce
1.5 TBS ginger root (grated or chopped)
1 TBS rice wine vinegar or white wine vinegar
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 8oz can of water chestnuts, drained, chopped
1 bunch of green onions, chopped (keep the white and light green parts separate from the dark green part)
  1. heat peanut oil in large wok. saute onion 2 minutes. then add garlic and ginger and saute 1 minute. add ground turkey to brown. drain.
  2. while the meat is cooking, combine the rest of the ingredients except for the lettuce and dark green onions in a small bowl and whisk together.
  3. add to turkey mixture and cook for 1 minute. remove from heat and cover to keep warm while you prepare the lettuce cups.
  4. pour turkey mixture into a serving bowl and top with dark green onions. 

frozen hot chocolate

Thursday, September 27, 2012
so everyone knows of the famous serendipity restaurant in NYC... it has made an appearance in some of my favorite chick flicks!
here is a scene from the movie serendipity... john cusack and kate beckinsale are enjoying a frozen hot chocolate!

...and from the movie one fine day, michelle pfeiffer is enjoying a yummy sundae!
...and this is my mom, no not a movie star (but i could've fooled you!!), enjoying a frozen hot chocolate!

here i am with my roommates from DC. we took a weekend trip to the "big apple" and just had to go to serendipity!
 i came across the recipe on pinterest, and i thought an 80 calorie frozen hot chocolate was just too good to be true. but no. this is real life. and it's delicious.
we did not have any ice cube trays, but we do have a maroon silicon mini paw print tray (of course!).
  1. in a 2 cup measuring cup, whisk together 1cup skim milk, 2 TBS cocoa powder, 1 TBS splenda (i used this bc we had it on hand, but i personally prefer just using regular sugar. sugar ups the calories a bit. you could also try agave?), and a dash of salt. you can also add shaved chocolate or chocolate syrup if you want a richer taste, but again, this ups the calories.
  2. microwave 30 seconds, remove and whisk, then microwave another 30 seconds.
  3. pour into ice cube tray, mini muffin tin, whatever you have, and freeze. making the mixture in the measuring cubes really comes in handy for this step! i think it only took a few hours for mine to freeze. so i put it in the freezer late in the afternoon, and it was ready after dinner!
  4. blend chocolate "cubes" until almost "slushy-like". do not add water or any other liquid.
  5. pour into a glass and top it off with lite cool whip and a few mini chocolate chips!
the glass pictured here is just a half serving (mom and i shared), but it was yummy and the perfect size for a little treat after dinner! the best part: one full serving is about 100 calories! 

the BEST pizza

Wednesday, September 26, 2012
two years into marriage and zach and i are still learning differences about one another. there are a lot of obvious differences (i'm a planner, and he is super laid back) and some not-so-obvious differences (i'm asleep by 10, but zach is a night owl). another difference is our taste in pizza: i usually opt for a veggie pizza with extra veggies while zach goes for meat lovers with extra bacon! (our compromise hawaiian pizza-yum!)
well, i tried a pizza recipe the other night. the unique thing about this pizza is that the crust is made from riced cauliflower (no dough = super low carbs)! this recipe makes 4 pizzas (about 340 calories each).
2 eggs
2cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2cups riced cauliflower
2 minced garlic cloves
1/4cup fresh julienned basil

1c marinara sauce (i like the classico brand)
1 small zucchini, thinly sliced
1 small yellow squash, thinly sliced
1/2 white onion, thinly sliced

basil ricotta:
1cup ricotta
1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil
pinch of salt and pepper

1. preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2. prepare cookie sheet using one of the following options: you may GENEROUSLY spray two cookie sheets- i'm talking layers and layers. or you can line the cookie sheet with parchment paper and then spray. i've done it both ways, but when i used parchment paper, the pizzas stuck badly and we basically had a pile of pizza ingredients (see pic below) it was still super yummy, and zach will eat anything. literally. i'm sure he ate some of the paper that i couldn't get off of the pizza crust. but last night i made the pizzas without the parchment paper, and i was able to scoop up the pizzas in one piece. it did leave a bit of a mess on the cookie sheet, and the parchment paper definitely would have helped with that. it's up to you!

3. in a medium bowl, combine all crust ingredients and divide evenly on the cookie sheets. flatten and shape with your hands. the edges will get dark and crispy (mom liked that part the best). but try and make sure the crusts are evenly spread out. bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown. and like i said, the edges will get darker. you don't want to take them out too early because the crust won't be "set" in the middle.
pizza crust. see ricing caulifower technique.
4. add sauce and toppings. drop the ricotta on top of the veggies and flatten a bit.

5. put pizzas back in oven for 5-10 minutes. 
yummy toppings! basil ricotta, classico pizza sauce, and lots of veggies!

from top to bottom: "raw" pizza crusts, cooked pizza crusts, cooked pizzas.
 6. let pizzas cool and set for a few minutes before you try and scoop them off the cookie sheets. this really helps to make sure they stay intact.
this is how we ate the pizzas the first night. i have perfected the technique since this night! but they still tasted super yummy!
 please don't be intimidated by this process. the prep time does not take that long! i chop the veggies and mix the ricotta while the crusts are cooking and clean up while the pizzas cook that last 5-10 minutes. i think dinner always tastes better when the kitchen is clean!
and as you can see, this pizza had no meat (does that mean i win the pizza war?!?!)

robo-boot & football

Thursday, September 13, 2012
the best update of all... zach is back! he finished up his month at University Medical Center in Jackson and has been here since the beginning of the month. Norwood has been so happy her daddy is back!
Zach got to Starkville just in time for our first football game against Jackson State (which we won-- go Dawgs!). Going to football games with a cast and a 90% chance of rain was a little intimidating, but Zach and I were able to be in a skybox for this game. And I found a super great cast cover. The box said you could even go swimming with this thing on! I did not test that out... but it did a great job protecting my cast!
 the following week was the Auburn football game! we were so excited to get an SEC win under our belts! everyone around here is pumped for football season (even Norwood!). we were in our season ticket seats and enjoyed the game surrounded by cowbells and cheering fans! i was still in my cast for this game, but i was able to move a lot easier without crutches.
  and... can you believe this?!?! i know we're only in the first week, but i'll always love seeing our bulldogs as #1 in the west! we have a pretty challenging season, but i'm confident in our boys!
and if you're curious about what i've been crocheting lately... check it out! cat hats! just kidding... they are actually sized for newborns. but i couldn't resist trying them on norwood (our baby)! it reminded us of this hilarious video from the tv show it's always sunny in philadelphia-- kitten mittens (watch it- you won't be disappointed!). i've also made hats with monkeys and owls- so cute!   
i finally got to get my cast off this past monday. i think norwood is the only one who misses it! she liked to rub up against it which also made it very challenging to walk! she was always getting in my way!
and here it is... the boot. i feel like a robot in it, so i've affectionately been refering to it as the robo-boot. it's pretty massive and heavier than the cast. but i'm learning to move around in it, and i am go glad that i don't have to sleep in it! i can also take showers again and shave my legs! yay! (it's the little things...)
 i must say, that the boot reminds me of these old sneakers from the 80s and 90s. remember the ones you used to "pump up"? well now i have the mother of all "pump up" shoes! who's jealous?
i've also gotten to start physical therapy! i'll be going three times a week for the next month. i'm doing it at the longest student health center, and it's so nice to have a reason to be back on campus! i just need to be better about scheduling my appointments so i don't get stuck in traffic during class changes!

and i turned 25! still feels like 24...
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