Monday, July 30, 2012

Garlic Parmesan Quinoa

I have been wanting to try quinoa for a long time, but the store I shop at doesn't sell it. Last week a brand new store opened in our area that I LOVE! They sell lots of healthy food, as well as some really high quality ingredients. I could spend hours in there - it is my new happy place.

They had quinoa so I threw it in my cart knowing I had to come up with some delicious way to cook it. And here is what I've got for you today - Garlic Parmesan Quinoa.

So, what is quinoa, you ask? Well, I thought it was a grain but it's technically a seed. I really expected a strong nutty flavor and a gritty taste, but I got neither. It's surprisingly mild and took on the flavors I added well. Chris really liked it too - I foresee lots of new quinoa recipes coming your way. Quinoa is gluten free, cholesterol free and is packed with amino acids, making it a complete protein.

And that is my food history lesson for today.

Garlic Parmesan Quinoa
Source: Jenna Blogs

2 cups whole grain organic quinoa
4 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth, if you want this to be vegetarian)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt & Pepper

Heat a saucepan over medium heat. Add oil. Sauté onion for about 3 minutes. Lightly salt. Add garlic, and sauté for another 2 minutes. Add pepper.

Add in quinoa and broth. Bring to boil, cover and reduce to simmer. Simmer for about 15 minutes or until the quinoa has absorbed the liquid. Before removing from the heat, add in parmesan cheese. Mix well. Serve hot.

Friday, July 27, 2012

This week, a discount & a WINNER!

I always feel funny when I sit down to write a bunch of stuff. Usually, I'm a short and sweet and to the point kind of gal. Ha! I've missed a few things and still have others to share that just won't fit into this post!

So, the quick things first:

I just joined up with Passion Fruit Ads. I received emails from lots of companies and bloggers asking about advertising on my blog and I just never did anything with it because it was a lot of work! Passion Fruit has made that super easy for me, so I joined up this week. If you've contacted me in the past about advertising, or if you'd like to join in the fun, check out this page for more information! Also, now through July 29, 2012, you can enter the code Take5 for $5 off any ad purchased on my blog.

Now for a winner!

The winner of the $50 Mikarose giveaway is...
Jess! (Rafflecopter entry #109)! You're winning entry was a pin to your Pinterest style board!
Congratulations, Jess! Email me to claim your prize! EmailJennasJourney AT gmail DOT com!

This week has been overwhelmingly full! I've been super busy, but not with anything overly exciting.

One thing I was excited about was this wooden cutting board! I've always wanted one. Well, a couple of weeks ago Zulily had them on sale so I ordered one!

This is just too cute not to share. Ever since Brody met his baby cousin Evie, he wants his animals swaddled. He actually found his swaddling blankets and brought them to me along with several animals. Too sweet!
I found this stool at Target this week. I put it in my cart and hauled it all over the store, then ended up putting it back because I couldn't think of anything to do with it.

Of course, here I am 2 days later with the perfect plan for this stool. Now I've got to make another trip back there and hope they still have it! Isn't it cute?

Editing this post to add: I just got back from Target and they still had it! Yay!

Last but not least, this is how you can tell the kids were helping me with the laundry.
I found a rubber ducky and a toy ketchup bottle that came with their toy grill (that I thought I'd thrown away after Brody used it as a teether...) in my dryer with the whites. Oh well. At least they like to help with the chores! Ha!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Big Secret

It's no secret that I looooooooove In-N-Out. I talked in this post about their Secret Menu. Chris and I had to make a reallllllly quick trip to Dallas but we had to stop by In-N-Out while we were there.

And I finally got to try out the Secret Menu!

I had an Animal Style burger with Animal Style Fries & Chris had a Double Double Mustard Grilled Burger (we shared the fries).

A close up of these glorious fries.
We are usually pretty healthy eaters. We rarely eat fried food or stuff that's really just not good for us. I don't even keep sodas in my house! So this was a rare treat!

Animal Style Burger = extra sauce, grilled onions & a mustard grilled patty.
Animal Style Fries = fries topped with cheese, grilled onions and sauce!
Mustard Grilled Patty = Cook the patty on one side, then squirt mustard on the grill before flipping! Adds tons of flavor!

Have you ever tried anything from their secret menu?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Welcome Evie!

Last week I became an Aunt! My brother and sister-in-law welcomed their first baby, Evelyn, or as I call her, Evie!

And guess who was able to get back in time for birth! Mom!
Can you tell she just had major heart surgery? No! She looks so great and is doing so well!

My new niece! Isn't she a cutie?!
Evie is a healthy little girl and doing very well (as is my SIL)! My boys love her and Brayden keeps asking when she can come over to play. Ha!

Congratulations to Jeff and Steph!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Mikarose $50 Giftcard Giveaway!

This giveaway is now closed. The winner has been announced here.

I'm a huge fan of Mikarose clothing and accessories! They offer fashion forward yet modest clothing for women, and I am so excited to introduce you to them!

Mikarose's mission is to reinvent modest clothing while maintaing style! They offer a wide variety of clothing from basic tops to elegant dresses. I know so many friends who have complained about finding work or church appropriate dresses. Mikarose offers so many beautiful styles that are appropriate and fashionable! Even better? Dresses start at just $39.99.

Check out my favorite dress:

I love the feminine details - the rosettes on the collar are adorable!
And I've teamed up with Mikarose to offer one of you lucky readers a $50 gift card! What would you spend it on?

I love this super cute, casual dress:

And who couldn't use a wrap dress?
The elegant beaded top can be dressed up with a cute skirt, or down with some white jeans.
This is the perfect outfit for a casual day out:
This necklace would go with almost everything!
So, who would like a $50 gift card to spend at Mikarose?!

Enter below & please be sure to leave your name and email address so I can contact you if you win!

This giveaway is open to US & Canada residents only.

Disclaimer: Product was provided to Jenna as compensation for this review and giveaway. All thoughts expressed in this post are my own!

Friday, July 20, 2012

My brand new blog (look)!!

Do things look a little different around here? That's because my blog just got a makeover! We're still in the process of changing a few things (my URL will be moving to but you can still come here - it will just redirect you!) but here is a sneak peek!

A few things to notice:

I was recently introduced to PassionFruit Ads, and if you have contacted me in the past about Sponsorships, this is how I will be doing that going forward! Click here for deets.

RECIPES: The recipes section is now at the top right of my blog, in the orange box. I added a few new categories as well, like "All Healthy Recipes," "Bread," "Soups & Salads" and "Breakfast." You no longer have to go to a separate page to see my recipes.

GIVEAWAYS & REVIEWS: Not all of my giveaways are listed here because that is my ad-free page. If you want to see a list of most of the companies I've worked with, go to my Contact Me page.

DIY & HOLIDAY CRAFTS: This is a whole new section! I have lots of how to posts as well as craft projects and now they are all in one nice, neat section! The easier for your browsing enjoyment!

My most visited posts will still show over on the left sidebar, but my blogroll has moved to a page of its own! It was getting too long to stay on this page, even though I broke it up and put half on my left and half on my right sidebar.

You can still follow me on Blogger or via BlogLovin' over there ---->

And, I have a new blog button, also located over on the left that you can feel free to grab!

Jenn took on a big task with this blog makeover! Didn't she do a fantastic job? You can check out her other work here!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Coupon & Enter to win one of TWO $500 Spa Gift Cards!

I have dry skin. I think it has to do with living in a place that gets hotter than blazes for a good 4 months of the year! I've probably bought 10 different body washes in the last year that all promised to help moisturize my skin - and none of them worked...until now!

I have to say that I am a big fan of Dove products. I was already planning on trying their new Visible Care line before I was offered this review. The Visible Care line is a revolutionary new line of three body washes from Dove containing the highest concentration of Nutrium Moisture technology.

The new Visible Care line offers three different formulas:

The new Dove® VisibleCare Toning Crème Body Wash helps to promote skin’s elasticity and strength.

The Renewing Body Wash nourishes and replenishes skin.

And the Softening Body Wash softens skin and dry spots.

No matter which one you choose, you will notice visibly softer skin in just one week!

I've been using the Visible Care Toning Cream Body Wash:

And already I've noticed softer, better looking skin. I love that it contains Vitamin E and it just smells SO good! It also lathers nicely - I only had to use about a dime sized amount on my loofa! The soft glowing skin that I had after I got out of the shower lasted all day.

As a super busy mom of two young boys, making time for me can be difficult. Whenever I find a product that I love and that makes me feel beautiful (and makes my skin more beautiful!) I latch on and don't let go! I'm also a huge fan of Dove's mission: They are committed to building positive self-esteem and inspiring all women and girls to reach their full potential.

So ladies, let's shed those winter coats, lather up with some Dove Visible Care and be confident in our own skin!

Dove Visible Care - Visibly more beautiful skin from a body wash. Be sure to visit Dove's website here to learn more about Visible Care and Dove's Movement for Self-Esteem!
Visit Dove® VisibleCare® to get a coupon for $1 off!

Enter to win one of two $500 Spafinder gift certificates!



You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

a) Follow this link, and provide your email address and your response to the Promotion prompt

b) Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: "#SweepstakesEntry"; and then visit this link to provide your email address and the URL to that Tweet.

c) Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and then visit this link to provide your email address and the URL to that post.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age
18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. Winners will have 72 hours to claim the prize, or an alternative winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 7/18/2012 - 8/22/2012

Be sure to visit the Dove® VisibleCare™ Crème Body Wash brand page on where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

5 Ingredient Chocolate Caramel Muffins

I love chocolate. I also love muffins. And occasionally, I'm in the mood for some caramel too.

I'm not the first person to share this method, but adding pumpkin puree to cake mix to make muffins or cakes is one of my favorite healthy tricks. You end up cutting out the butter, oil and eggs! Even better - if you don't like pumpkin, don't worry because you can't taste it!

Tip - In the fall, stock up on canned pumpkin. The shelf life is usually a year or two (the can I used today, I purchased this fall and the expiration date was for 2014) and it is great in SO many things!

Depending on how you make these muffins, it only takes 4 or 5 ingredients! So fast, so simple and so delicious. My whole family loves them!

5 Ingredient Chocolate Muffins!
Source: Jenna's Journey Blog

1 box chocolate cake mix (can be dark, milk, fudge, devil's food etc)
1 15oz can pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie mix)
1/2 can water
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup caramel bits (optional)

Whisk together cake mix, pumpkin and water (fill half of the empty puree can with water - no exact measurement!).

Mix well. Add chips and bits. Mix. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. Makes about 21 muffins.

*Note - these are NOT mini muffins, but regular sized muffins.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

3 Hours to Delicious French Bread!

I can't tell you how many times I've wanted fresh, delicious french bread with dinner, but didn't have any on hand.

I've seen literally dozens of recipes out there for one hour french bread, and I've tried several. I found that the dough just didn't rise enough and the bread turned out like rocks! I decided to try my hand at creating a french bread that you could make in time for dinner, but doesn't take all day. What I found was that in three short hours, you can have a hot, delicious loaf (or two!) of french bread to serve up!

PS - This bread is SO good when topped with my bruschetta!

3 Hour French Bread

3 1/2 cups of all purpose flour (plus more for dusting board)
1 package of rapid rise dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
3 teaspoons of salt
Spray oil (like pam)

Put flour, yeast and water in the mixer. Using your dough hook attachment, mix on medium for about 30 seconds. Add salt. Continue to mix until the dough comes together, then mix for three more minutes. Add more flour if the dough continues to stick to the sides. If the dough is too dry, add more warm water. (Add water or flour in increments of 1 tablespoon, so as not to over-add). Once completely mixed, turn mixer off and let the dough rest.

While it's resting, prepare your board with flour. Also, get a glass bowl out, along with some plastic wrap and your spray oil.

After letting the dough rest for a few minutes, turn it out on your board and knead it until the dough is smooth and tight.

Place in oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.

Turn your oven LIGHT on (not your oven!) and place the bowl inside. The oven light will keep the oven just warmer than your house and will help the dough rise. Allow your dough to rise for about an hour, or until it doubles.

Turn dough back out onto a floured surface. Divide in half (for 2 loaves) and form into loaf shapes. Slash the top to vent the bread while it's cooking (see picture above).

Spray the bottom back of a baking sheet with oil spray. Cover the dough and let it rise for about 30 minutes on the inverted baking sheet. Preheat your oven to 450.

Right as you put the bread in the hot oven, toss half a cup or so of water into the bottom of the oven floor. Slam the door closed! This will create steam. I like to do this when baking bread, but if this worries you, you can use a cast iron skillet. Just keep the skillet in the oven, on the lowest rack. Let it heat up and get SUPER hot, and toss the water into the skillet.

Bake at 450 for 20-25 minutes.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Reality Recap

I think you all know this about me but I love reality tv. Thankfully, Chris loves it to, and during the summer, some of my favvvvvorite shows come on.

I am a HUGE Big Brother fan. I read the spoilers and if I had time I'd watch the live feeds (but I have two kids which roughly translated means that I'm lucky to be able to watch the show!). The first spoiler I read was about which four previous contestants were coming back, and it had Rachel in the group! Oy vey! Can you imagine? How many times would we have to hear about "Breeeeeennnnnnddddddaaaaaaan!" Phew, we dodged a bullet!

I am happy about the return of Britney. She needs to redeem herself after being played by that band of boys. I'm excited about Boogie too - I didn't see his season but he seems like a ton of fun.

Next up - HUGE fan of SYTYCD. I've posted videos of my favorite dances before - here's my newest favorite. I love, love, love Turning Page by Sleeping At Last, so as soon as I heard the first note I already loved the dance. But seriously, it's really good. Check it out:

Last but not least, let's talk The Bachelorette. I really liked Emily at the start of all this...but the more stories I see, I'm just not sure what to think. A lot of people are painting her as an opportunist who treats the crew (and even Chris Harrison) badly. I've read all sorts of reports about how she demanded the guys financial info etc...of course, who knows if that's true.

I will say, that I think Sean was the best match for her. I've read Reality Steve's spoilers and know who he thinks she picks and I just don't see that lasting.

What do you all think?
What's your favorite reality show?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Happy birthday to me!

Yesterday was my birthday! I'm not entirely sure why I used an exclamation point...I'm not a huge fan of my birthday, haha.

I started out the day by making belgium waffles for the kids. Later that afternoon, we met up with Chris at one of my favorite lunch spots, an Amish restaurant. They have delicious food!

My boys and I:
Chris and I:
I got a few deliveries of lovely flowers.

From Chris:
From my parents:
The boys got me a flash for my camera and Chris bought me these awesome Toms sunglasses. I linked them in case you wanted to see which pair these are. I LOVE them. Actually, I'm a huge fan of anything they make - I love their mission! And don't worry, I took this pic while stopped. ;-)

Here's a picture of the sides. Aren't they cute?!
Chris wants me to clarify here that he wanted to take me to Ruth's Chris for my birthday dinner. I had other plans...I wanted to go to Chickfila and take the kids inside so they could play. I enjoy Ruth's Chris but my idea of birthday fun does not include wrangling my two kids and bribing them with toys to be quiet so that we don't get rude looks from the other patrons! I much prefer to take them somewhere where they can play and be loud and no one will look at you twice. Ha!

Thanks to everyone who tweeted me and left Facebook messages yesterday! You guys really made my day!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

10 Steps to Big, Beautiful Hair


I've always been insecure about my hair. I feel like I've never been very good at styling it, plus my hair just doesn't cooperate very well. It hardly holds a curl, looks wimpy in a ponytail and is so soft and thin that it's hard to keep clips in it. It doesn't even seem to hold color well. Eh.

Since moving to Arkansas I had another thing to add to my hair insecurity list. Volume! If you follow many southern blogs you'll see what I fondly refer to as "Texas hair." It doesn't matter if you live in Mississippi, Alabama or Arkansas, if you've got big hair, it's Texas hair to me.

Coming from a Californian family and not being raised in the south, the poof eluded me. I didn't want huge hair, just slightly less flat to my head hair, you know? My sweet friend and hairdresser Julie tried several times over the years (in vain) to teach me how to tease my hair properly.

This is how it always looks:

Here's after my first round of my new styling method:
And here I was yesterday:
So, here is the method I'm using. Previously, I'd done everything the same up until the combing with your finger bit (step 6).

1.) Wash hair with shampoo and conditioner.

2.) Wring hair out.

3.) Brush hair using a big brush (not a comb) upside down then wrap in a towel.

4.) Put makeup on.

5.) Flip head over and take the towel off. With your hair upside down, add volumizing product. I use this one.

6.) Leaving your hair upside down, blow dry on high heat. DO NOT BRUSH! Only use your fingers to comb out your hair.

7.) Once hair is dry, flip back over. Put hairdryer on COLD and pull your roots straight up, blasting them with cool air. Your hair will look like you've been stuck in a wind tunnel - that means you did it right! Do NOT comb or brush it out.

8.) Pin your hair up, leaving just the bottom section down. I use a claw clip. Start straightening your hair, beginning 2" away from your roots. That big tangled mess of hair will add volume.

(I don't have my hair clipped in this pic because I am just adding it to show the direction of the straightener - I just took these and I did my hair hours ago.)

9.) Work all the way around the bottom, then do the middle of your hair. When you come to the last section, at the very top, straighten front to back - so when you are looking in the mirror, you should see your straightener going left to right, not front to back.

(New pic added: This is how to hold the straightener for the crown of your head. I usually do this in three sections, back to front).
10.) Using a paddle brush, tease the crown of your head. Then use your fingers to part your hair. Lightly use your brush to style then spray with hairspray.

You could do way more teasing than I do if you like it even bigger. For me, this is just the right amount of volume. Let me know if you try it!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Home Sweet Home!

I'm home!!!

My mom is doing really well! She got released from the hospital on Saturday, and Dad and I took her back to the hotel. The way the Cleveland Clinic is setup is so great. They actually own three hotels there on site and ours was connected to the part of the hospital where my mom was. She enjoyed being able to get some actual sleep without anyone poking at her or alarms constantly going off! I left on Sunday but they will be staying until she gets the all clear after her post op appointment.

I had three boys who were pretty happy to see me when I got home! I thought they were picking me up outside the airport entrance, but as I came down the escalator, they were there with a Welcome Home Mommy sign! I was SO happy to see them!

I have such a great husband. I came home to a clean house, all the laundry was done, and the kids had even made me an art project! Check out my new birdhouse!

Both boys put their initials and handprints on it:
So sweet!
Thank you ALL so much for your prayers for my mom while she was in the hospital!

Also, I keep forgetting to mention - if you'd like to win one of five Android Tablets, I'm giving one away here!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Cleveland...Getting Here.

I mentioned that I was heading to Cleveland to be with my mom before her surgery and to stay with my dad while she was recovering. I ended up flying through Chicago to get to Cleveland - first they changed our gate because our plane broke down (always a good sign...) and then they loaded us onto our new plane two hours late. We all got on, got ready, headed for the runway, started down the runway....and stopped. Dead in the middle of the runway, we parked.

Apparently it had just started to storm and we got blocked for takeoff! The wind picked up to 70mph and we literally stayed parked on the runway waiting for the go-ahead. Here's a pic I snapped out my window. It was bizarre; the wind was shaking the plane so much that it felt like we'd blow over.

Finally the storm blew over, but by that time, we'd ran out of gas! We had to taxi back to the gate and wait over an hour for fuel. My mom's surgery was at 5:15am the next morning and I was beginning to wonder if I'd even make it in time!

This is my happy face:

I brought my iPad loaded with goodies like Chevy Chase Christmas Vacation:
Finally I made it! Yay!!! My parents surprised me by picking me up at the airport. I was little worried about taking a cab by myself. Flying I didn't mind but getting a cab worried me, ha!

My mom had surgery bright and early the next morning, Everything went very well. Cleveland Clinic is quite possibly the best heart hospital in the world and the campus is HUGE! We were also very blessed to have one of the leading surgeons specializing in Aortic issues as her lead doctor and surgeon. Dr. Svensson is an amazing surgeon and also a very kind man. It's nice to have a doctor with a good bedside manner!

The entrance to the building we are in (there is something like 8 square blocks of of buildings here!).

The view out the front - the HUGE building on the left is actually one of the parking garages! Crazy!
Mom had surgery on Monday and it's Thursday now. She got moved out of ICU yesterday and we are in a private room today. I know many of you on my Facebook and twitter were praying for her and I so appreciate it! She was in terrible pain that they couldn't get under control for the first few days, but she is doing much, much better now!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Win one of FIVE Android Tablets!

Have you ever tried to log in to you blog account only to realize you have forgotten your password? What about your email account? Pinterest? Twitter? An online community group? Me too. In fact, this is about a once a week occurrence for me!
As more and more online accounts are requiring more difficult passwords (I had one the other day that required a capital letter, lower case letter, number and symbol and had to be 10 characters long) in an effort to protect your identity, it's becoming increasingly more difficult to for me to remember the passwords to all of my accounts. Gone are the days when you had one password for everything! Well, maybe those days never should have really existed, but that's a whole other topic.

Enter Norton Identity Safe, an online program with some seriously awesome features. Like what, you ask? Have you ever had to go through the tedious process of resetting your username or password because you just can't seem to remember it? Sometimes you have to wait hours for the password to be reset and emailed to you. Norton Identity Safe will safely and securely store all of your usernames and passwords for you. Just download Identity Safe then visit the site (like Twitter, Pinterest, your banking account etc) and enter your login information. After that, it will be stored in Identity Safe.

Something else that I really dread doing is filling in the same information over and over again. Let's say I'm sending a gift to someone, or ordering something for myself. Each time, I have to enter my address, credit card etc. Storing all of this information and auto-filling it into the web forms is another great feature of Identity Safe.

Sometimes, I have difficulty coming up with a password, especially for certain accounts that I really want to be sure are protected. Now I can just use the Identity Safe Password Generator to come up with a safe and secure password that is extremely hard to crack.

Want to know something awesome? If you download Norton Identity Safe by October 1, 2012, you can enjoy it FREE of charge forever, no strings attached!

Head over to the Norton Identity Safe website and download the product for FREE. And visit to find other bloggers' reviews of Norton Identity Safe.

Share a story below about a time you forgot or lost your password for a chance to win one of five Android Tablets (Samsung Galaxy Tab 2- 10.1-Inch, Wi-Fi) with Norton Mobile Security and Identity Safe installed! Just leave your story in a comment below and you'll be entered in the sweepstakes.

You must include your e-mail address in your comment, otherwise I have no way to contact you if you win.

Sweepstakes Rules:
No duplicate comments.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
a) Leave a comment below as stated above.
b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post.
c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post.
d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw from all participating blogs, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected. The Official Rules are available here. This sweepstakes runs from 6/12 - 7/31.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

My favorite...

You might know that I LOVE So You Think You Can Dance. It is my very favorite show of all-time. Ha!

Each year I usually end up posting videos of my favorite performances. My all time favorite was an Allison and Ivan number from a few years ago (posted here) but I think I might have a new favorite...

Who watched on Wednesday? There are some really different dancers this year. Cyrus has his own unique style combining popping and robotics, Brandon is a stepper and Cole is a martial artist.

So what happens when you combine those three unique and very different styles? This:


So, do you watch? What did you think of this years Top 20? And what do you think about there being 2 winners this year?

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