Food Cat.

Simple and Delicious Pork Fried Rice

Every family has those few meals that are the go-to’s, the crowd pleasers, and are perfect for busy nights… Well this is mine! My simple and delicious fried rice is always a guaranteed hit with my husband and any company we might have. Its perfect either all on its own or served with other Asian style meals. Don’t even get me started on leftovers because I swear this is always better on day two!

You will only need a few cheap ingredients, some of which you will probably already have on hand, so this is perfect for families looking to cut back on the grocery budget.

Ingredients

  • rice (2 cups uncooked)
  • eggs (2-3)
  • frozen veggies (2 cups)
  • green onions
  • yellow onion (1/4 minced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • bacon or any other type of meat (entire package)
  • soy sauce
  • spices of choice (I use garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper)

 

In our home we love jasmine rice! It pairs well with whatever dish you are making and is so fragrant! When making fried rice its best to use day old rice that has had a chance to stiffen a little in the fridge but you can make it fresh and it will still taste delicious. If you have leftover rice from another meal this a perfect option to make a meal out of it!

First thing is first, if you don’t have any cooked rice on hand, put some to boil or into the rice maker. Doing this first will give you time to prep the rest of the ingredients and ensures you will be eating within a half hour!

 

Once that is done you can go ahead and prep your bacon.  In our home since I try to avoid eating as much red meat as possible we use turkey bacon, but regular bacon or other types of meat such as pork work just as well!

You can fry the bacon as normal but I find it is much easier to pre cut it into smaller pieces and then go ahead and fry in the pan. This way you can do it all at once. Just set the temperature at medium heat and stir frequently so it doesn’t burn.

 

Once you have started the bacon go ahead and prep your frozen and fresh vegetables. We buy the frozen vegetables that can be steamed in the microwave, which cuts down on my cooking time and the amount of dishes I have to wash! Once the microwave is going I start on my fresh veggies.

I mince up about a 1/4 of a yellow onion, and then mince up 2 cloves of garlic. In another pan I let these cook with a little olive oil till the onions become translucent. While that is cooking I dice up the green onion. You can add the green onion directly to the finished fried rice and stir it all up together or just use as a garnish. I love green onions so I do both.

Once my veggies are prepped its time it add it all together. In a big wok, or a very large fry pan if you don’t have a wok, add the rice to the fried bacon and then add the minced onion and garlic. Stir together well and then add your steamed vegetables. Once this is done add seasoning and soy sauce to taste. I wish I could give you the exact amount I use but I just eye ball it every time.

Once you all have it stirred together with a spoon or ladle create a large hole in the middle of the pan, pushing the rice to the side. This is where you will add your eggs so they can cook.

** I totally forgot to take a picture of this step but I’m sure yall get the idea!

Once you have the eggs cracked and in the middle of the rice scramble with a fork and let cook, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t burn or stick to the pan. When the eggs are fluffy and cooked all the way through you can go ahead and mix the rice all together so the eggs get distributed all throughout.

And viola!!! Delicious and simple fried rice!

 

Lifestyle Cat.

Bitter Sweet Goodbyes: Making Friends in the Military

Saying goodbye to friends you’ve made along the way is probably the hardest part when it comes to being a military spouse. It is the one thing no one can really prepare you for because the bonds you create in the military community are so different from the your everyday friendships. You will go through things with one another that most normal relationships will never be tested by.

When you move thousands of miles away from your family and friends your circle becomes a lot smaller. For example when I moved to Oahu to be with my husband I had no one I really knew. I had met a couple of his friends and another spouse before moving, but I wasn’t close enough to call them friends. As the months passed by though, I was lucky enough to build bonds that I won’t soon forget.

** This is one of my favorite pictures ever! This was the day Reyes and I went down to the Honolulu Court House and got married! Since we couldn’t afford to throw a grand wedding or pay to have our families fly to Hawaii (My mom, dad and step mom though were amazing and flew to Oahu to celebrate with us) it was tough, but thanks to Rey’s friends (who soon became my friends as well) we had an amazing day! The camaraderie between military brothers is something I think few civilians will ever understand and I am so thankful they got to be there!

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My husband and I recently said goodbye with our good friend Lucas. He always had a smile on his face and knew how to make the most of any situation. Lucas was always fun to be around and was really the class clown of our friend group. I will forever be grateful to him for looking out for me since I moved to Hawaii. When my husband and I would fight he would always remind us that we were good for one another and how much love we had to give.

**Lucas is on the far left, helping Rey and I lay beach blankets down because the wind was crazy that day!

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When I had my wisdom teeth out this spring Lucas came to our house and made a big batch of his AMAZING mashed potatoes because I couldn’t eat solid foods. For Christmas him and his girlfriend bought me a really nice waffle maker because months before I had made the comment about how I missed my dad, and how he used to make me the yummiest waffles growing up. Isn’t that just the sweetest thing ever!

So even though the goodbyes are hard, and I miss the people that have moved away or that I have moved away from, I am thankful for the chance it has given me to meet others. If it wasn’t for the military I never would have met the friends we have now. I have learned so much from the people I have met in my journey as milso, not just about life but about myself as well.

** This was the night we said goodbye to Lucas when all got together for one last hurrah at the local sports pub. Good friends and good food!

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The one piece of advice I can offer to new military spouses is to take every opportunity this life offers you, and don’t be afraid to reach out. You have a whole community who is going through the same things as you, so take advantage of it. Join Facebook groups, get involved in your spouses network, invite others for a cup of coffee to connect. Most importantly though, take a lot of pictures because before you know it this part of your life will be done and the pictures are what will bring a smile to your face.

XOXO Taylor Ma

DIY Cat.

Antique Desk Makeover

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This was no easy project, but oh so worth it! I originally bought this desk a few months ago and due to other projects and a lack of motivation I never got around to actually giving this little cutie a makeover.

This past week my husband went on what is known as “The Field” where the Marines go on essentially a camping trip for however long. This gave me a couple of days of blessed peace and quiet. Well, that peace and quiet soon turned to boredom as I was used to the hustle and bustle caused by the military life. So I decided to finally tackle that project desk that had been sitting in the corner of my garage collecting dust!

My dear husband had been a sweetheart when I first bought the desk and partially sanded the top of the desk down because little did I know when I bought this beautiful wood antique it had 5 layers of different paints, stains, and varnishes!

Thanks to the hubby sanding down the rest of it only took about another 3 1/2 hours! So half an afternoon and one severe back ache later I finally got to see the character beneath all the layers on this desk. I have to say it was worth the work and time put in!

I will also add that when sanding down the top of this desk I paid extra care to leave some of the leftover dark stain and not sand away all the imperfections scratched onto its surface. I liked the charm of the added distress and knowing that this desk has plenty of stories it could tell.

Products I Used On This Project

  • Sandpaper (And lots of it)
  • Disposable gloves (So you don’t paint/stain your hands)
  • Wood stain in the shade Kona
  • Old Cloth to apply stain
  • Black Paint+Primer Spray paint
  • Clear Coat Spray Paint
  • Facemask (So you aren’t breathing in the sawdust or paint fumes)

Below are pictures of the desk with only half of it stained so you could see the before and after effects. I used the stain Kona to bring out the red undertones in the wood and it turned out better than I ever imagined!

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This is a photo of the desk when it was completely stained and with the top clear coat on it to give it the extra protection its definitely going to need if its to survive very long in my office space! (I’m notorious for spilling cups of coffee and other drinks as well as leaving scratches and pen marks haha)

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After applying the stain I went to work painting the bottom of the desk. I decided to paint this black since it would match some of the other furniture pieces in my office. Doing so also saves me from repainting it in a year when we move back to Texas, and I inevitably change the color scheme and décor of the house again. Black also helps bring out the rich tones of the Kona stain and really makes it pop!

All in all I think I did a pretty good job and can’t wait for this desk to become the place that many more blog articles are written! Who knows, maybe someday my own children will even use it to do their homework! Hopefully they get their daddies genes and are super book-smart just like him because if they take after me they got a long road ahead of them haha 😉

Here is a little before and after of the desk so you can see the difference!

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If you enjoyed todays post feel free to give me a like or share, and if you would like to see similar posts about my other projects follow my blog! Thank you for reading!

XOXO Taylor Mae

Food Cat.

Inexpensive and Easy: Granny’s Ham and Bean Soup

There is always that one recipe that reminds you of home, and for me its my granny’s ham and bean soup. I have such fond memories of visiting my grandparents farm as a child and spending chilly winter afternoons spent playing in the barn with the sheep and then coming inside and warming up with a big bowl of ham and beans. Posted below is a picture of her standing in the kitchen of her farmhouse.

My grandmother has since passed away after a courageous battle with cancer but this remains one of my favorite foods. My favorite part about this dish as that it makes the whole house smell wonderful, especially if you let it simmer for a long while. Its one of those scents that just brings you home no matter where you are!

Another thing I love about this recipe is just how cheap and easy it is to make! My grandmother was a frugal woman who really knew how to stretch a dollar so this is a great recipe for families trying to cut back on food spending!

All you need is a can of beans(My husband and I prefer great northern white beans but any kind will do), chicken broth, 2 cups of water, 1/2 yellow onion, 8oz of ham, and 2 cups of carrots. This recipe of very flexible though and you can add any vegetables you prefer! This makes about 3 large servings but can easily be doubled to make more or if you’d like to have leftovers.

I buy the ham whenever it goes on sale at my local grocery store as well as beans to save money, which also makes this the perfect “I don’t feel like cooking today” dinner! The main ingredients are on hand and any vegetables you have in the fridge will do.  All you have to do is throw everything in a pot and let that baby simmer for a few hours and BOOM! Dinner is served!

This is the final product! Doesn’t it look yummy?

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*My granny always chopped the onion into smaller bits but my husband absolutely hates onions so I leave them in large pieces so they are easy to pick out even after boiing for a long time .

Here is the recipe!


Ingredients

  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 1 can of chicken broth
  • 2 cups of carrots
  • 1 can of beans
  • 8oz ham
  • 2 cups of water
  • Seasonings of Choice: I use salt and pepper, thyme, sage, onion powder, and garlic powder. You can also use 2 cloves of garlic to substitute the powder if you’d prefer.

Directions

  • Place 1 can of chicken broth and two cups of water to boil in a large pot or Dutch oven
  • Chop onion, carrots, and ham into bite sized pieces and add to broth
  • Add preferred seasonings to pot
  • Once it reaches a rolling boil reduce heat and let simmer for 2 hours

** Whenever I make ham and bean soup I always bake a pan of cornbread to go along with it and its an instant crowd pleaser! For all my gluten free eaters out there I cannot recommend Krusteaz GF Honey Cornbread enough! I married a Texas boy so he knows a thing or two about cornbread and he’s given this one two thumbs up, so you know its good!

Adventures, Uncategorized

Manoa Falls

This past weekend my husband and I were craving an adventure! Well mostly just me because I had been cooped up in the house all week but that’s besides the point! We decided on hiking Manoa Falls because it was a comprise between the dear husband and I. The one I originally wanted to do was Waimea Falls but that’s a pretty far drive so we decided to tackle that one another weekend. In the end though I wouldn’t have changed a thing because we had a blast!

Getting to Manoa Falls is pretty easy if you have GPS and you don’t need to worry about parking because its a “pay to play” hike, as I like to call them, getting a parking spot is practically guaranteed. (They charge $5 to park which is super cheap for the view and well maintained trail)

Word of warning this hike can get muddy so make sure to wear clothes/shoes you don’t mind getting a little dirty!

We did see some people who chose to brave this hike shoeless, something I have noticed a lot of locals do, but I wouldn’t recommend that because the hike has gravel laid down throughout most of it. This is because of how muddy it can be due to constant rains and high traffic.

The hike is only 1.6 miles and is not very difficult. We saw many children and elderly folk along the trail who were enjoying the view as much as we were. There was even a few expecting mothers out there this weekend so as long as its okay with your doctor there is no reason you should miss out on this beautiful hike!

All in all we had a great experience at Manoa Falls and I highly recommend this trail to anyone wanting to get out and explore this beautiful island. This is definitely one of more “tropical” hikes on Oahu and you are sure to enjoy yourself!

XOXO Taylor Mae

Lifestyle Cat.

Behind The Ink: My Tattoo Journey!

If  you had asked me when I was 8 if I was going to get a tattoo as an adult my quick response would have been, “NO!” I was, and still am, terrified of needles! I get nauseous every time I have to get my blood drawn, make my husband hold my hand when I get vaccinated, and avoid going to the doctors because I have this irrational fear that I have some illness only treatable by getting a shot! Sad, but true!

My conviction changed however when I turned 16 and decided I wanted to pierce my nose. You’re going to need a little context to fully understand the implications of the situation. My mother, a free spirit, had her nose pierced when I was young and I always adored it but my father however is a very straight-laced man. He comes from a different generation and his belief is that people in general should not alter there body whether that be a lot of makeup, piercings, tattoo’s, or wild hair colors.  All of which I now have, or have done(I will have to post pics of my high school days with lavender hair!)

It took me a good few months to finally convince him that I wasn’t falling off of the straight and narrow path if I got my nose pierced, and the moment he gave me that solemn nod I was in my car and headed to the nearest tattoo and piercing parlor!

It wasn’t long after getting my nose pierced when I started thinking about wanting to get a tattoo, and the more I thought about it the more I was sure I wanted one. I knew early on the first piece I wanted to get and always had it in my mind that I was going to get the second star to the right from my favorite childhood movie and novel Peter Pan. Only a couple weeks after turning 18 I came home with my first tattoo.

  • So when I say I’m obsessed with Peter Pan, I am not lying. I seriously cried when I met his character at Disneyland, and was so giddy I could barely say even a few words! The tattoo, along with my lotus flower, was done by the artist Carlena Myers of Weiser Idaho. I had the pleasure and privilege of working part time in her shop my senior of high school as part of our work study program.

  • My second tattoo done by Carlena is a lotus flower, to me they represent the strength of women. Lotus flowers bloom in murky waters, yet they remain untainted by the surroundings they’re in. The circles around the flower represent the seven chakras; lam, vam, ram, yam, ham, aum, and ang. They remind me that I am a complex being and that I need to take the time to focus on my body, and check in with myself to make sure my health and mental wellness is good. I got this tattoo at a very uncertain and stressful time in my life and it always brings me a little light when I look down and see it. Let me tell you though, foot tattoos can be pretty uncomfortable but are beautiful when finished.

  • My third tattoo came about almost a year after my second. I was on vacation with my mother and my brother in Maui when I had the idea that we should get tattoo’s to commemorate the trip. Of course I went with something island inspired and got beautiful waves tattooed on my other foot. This tattoo was done at the shop Hula Girl Tattoo in Maui.
    • A little side note: This is also the vacation that I met my future husband! Thank you Tinder lol! I’m gonna have to write a blog post about how I found the love of my life on a site renowned for flings!

  • Here we are at my latest tattoo, the beautiful triple moon goddess symbol. I got it back in December of 2017, and had it placed on the back of my neck because I wanted it to symbolize walking away from my past, and into my future. I think the meaning behind the symbol is beautiful and will attach a link to an informative page on all the meanings behind the symbol. I had been having a really tough time, and was going through a lot of changes in my life. I was out to lunch with a friend when the idea hit me! I asked if she was free after lunch and wanted to go get tattoos. Obviously she said yes and so off we went. I called up a reputable tattoo parlor, House of Ink, and walked away two hours later sporting some new ink! Its a memory I will always love because I am not typically a “spur of the moment” gal but that day I put my fears and doubts aside and just did what made me happy.

For now that is all the tattoos I have, but I don’t plan on stopping any time soon. I’m currently planning my next tattoo as we speak, and my Pinterest board is full of cool ideas that I can’t wait to go over with my tattoo artist. So follow me Instagram and stay tuned because you can bet that I’ll be posting pictures of my new ink when I have it!

XOXO Taylor Mae

Food Cat.

An afternoon on Oahu’s North Shore

Oh Oahu how I love you! This island has given me some of the most beautiful memories of my life, and I will always cherish my time spent on the islands of Hawaii! There is an adventure around every corner and that’s something I love the most about this place! A few weeks ago my husband and I were brainstorming about where to go after a dreary couple of weeks on the windward side of the island so we decided to head to Oahu’s lovely and always sunny Haleiwa, where there are beautiful beaches and food trucks galore!

Its a bit of a drive from our side of the island to Haleiwa but manageable and that coconut shrimp is so totally worth the price of gas! I’m drooling just remembering how crispy and flavorful the coconut shrimp was! The best food trucks are down in an easy to miss “parking lot”. There is about 7-8 food trucks to choose from, and you can get anything from seafood to good ole southern BBQ. There is even options for those who are vegetarian or just prefer something lighter. Something you can’t leave without getting though is a snow cone, its a total must have!

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After you fill up your tummy head on over to one of the lovely beaches close by to let your food digest and soak up some rays! The weekends in this area can get pretty crowded but if you go Monday thru Thursday early afternoon its usually not to bad and the traffic wont be terrible.

If you have the time definitely stop at The Dole Plantation on your way back towards town for some yummy adventures! I myself am not a huge fan of pineapple but you honestly cannot beat the fresh Dole Whip they serve there! You can also take pictures in a giant pineapple or ride the pineapple express(which is my husband and I’s favorite). It will take you on a beautiful and informative ride through their pineapple fields and also show you some of the other cool fruits/plants they grow here in Hawaii. The picture below is a photo of a baby pineapple plant! Isn’t it just the cutest little thing!

All in all you cannot go wrong with a day spent in Haleiwa. Its a fun and hip little town full of history, cool stores, and unbeatable food! It never ceases to put a smile on my face! That or I could just be laughing at my goofball husband, you never know!

XOXO Taylor Mae