Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Birthday Breakfast

Hi friends! :)

I awoke this morning bright & early with a silly grin on my face because it is Justin's Birthday!!

I'm pretty sure I get more excited about this day than he does.  He is SO special to me and I love that there is a whole day designed to spoil him! ;)


From world champion Beer-Pong partners... 

To partners in every-day-I-wake-up-happier life

These last 4 years have been the happiest I've had because of you, 
and I can't wait to share birthdays upon birthdays to come together! I love you. 

Ok, enough of the mushy gushy... let's eat!! 

So yesterday, I told you all that I had some tricks up my sleeve for Justin's special day...

Last night, I put together one of his breakfast favorites, his Mom's famous hashbrown casserole!

Justin's Mom's recipes are the absolute BEST.  She was so sweet and typed me up a bunch of recipe cards with my favorites when we first moved to our new place.

This is one of those recipes I've been hoarding.  I feel like a kid before Christmas when I know Sherri is making her casseroles in the morning.  I'm a little selfish when it comes to her recipes, but, lucky for you guys, I am feeling particularly generous on this special day, so here goes...!

Sherri's Famous Hashbrown Casserole:

2 pound bag of hashbrowns (country style)
1/2 cup of margarine, melted
1 can cream of mushroom soup (I use the healthy request, low fat & low sodium)
2 cups of grated cheddar cheese (go for the 2% for a healthy swap)
2 cups of sour cream (Daisy Light!)
salt & pepper to taste

Topping (optional): 1/4 cup of margarine, melted + 2 cups crushed corn flakes

Step #1: Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Step #2: In a large bowl (you will need a big guy for this mix!) mix everything except the "topping" ingredients together until well blended.

Step #3: Pat mixture down into a 13 x 9 inch baking dish (I use a Pyrex dish).

Step #4: If you're doing the topping (you're crazy not too, it's the BEST part!!), crush up the cornflakes with the melted margarine, and spread evenly over the top of the hash brown mixture.

Eat your "I love playing with my food" heart out! :) 

Step #5: Place casserole uncovered into your oven for between 45 minutes to 1 hour.  I usually bake it for closer to an hour to make sure it's ooey gooey good.

This stuff is fork lickin', plate scrapin', I want fourths thirds, good.

Step #6: Let the casserole cool for about 10 minutes.

Step #7: Spoon the taters on plates along with your other favorite breakfast goodies!


Today, I served Justin up with some reduced fat, peppered bacon, scrambled egg whites, and toast.  I think he was a happy camper!

Didn't ya'll know the best way to a man's heart is through his stomach?! :)

I am also VERY proud of myself because I kept Justin's birthday present a surprise until this morning.

I am the world's worst surprise keeper. I always get way too excited and spill be beans, without even being pressed, days before a big celebration.

It was kind of easy to keep this gift a secret, though, because I didn't even know if it was going to happen until Saturday.

I purchased Game 5 Bulls vs. Pacers tickets over a week ago, HOPING they would play this 5th game tonight.  I hated to route against the Bulls, but I needed them to lose just one game to the Pacers so that the series would go until Game 5, which was conveniently scheduled for Justin's birthday here in Chicago!

I was seriously on the edge of my seat, gritting my teeth through the last 3 games! I couldn't even listen to the game on Saturday while we were in the car because I was so dang nervous.

Last night, I wrapped up a Rose (I wanna go highyaaa!) T-shirt with the tickets, and hid it away until this morning.

I think he was very surprised & excited!! :) Success!

I have a good feeling the Bulls are gonna pull of a big W for Justin's bday tonight to win the series.

Hopefully they have better luck than I did with my Corn Flakes box...

Could have used that kitchen makeover!! Does ANYONE seriously ever win these things? I have had my hopes up with the cereal boxes for about 20 years now, I think I'm due! Luckily, a new kitchen might still be in the cards...

Life News: I think many of you know that Justin & I have plans to move after our lease is up.  We are going to be moving out to the suburbs.  This news usually makes city lovers grumble at me and my suburban friends excited.

We are ready to make the change because, right now, Justin has a killer commute out to the suburbs (up to 2 hours some mornings & nights), and we are ready to slow down the pace a little and to have some more space!

Unfortunately, our lease is up July 1st, which is very inconvenient because I will be in the heat of my Bar Exam studying.

We looked at places this past weekend, hoping to sign a lease and move in by June 15th.  After looking, we did some serious thinking and decided it would be best to wait a couple of extra months to move.

We were under the impression that we would have no problem staying in our current apartment for the extra 2 months (until September), since we've lived here for 2 years now and have a good relationship with our landlord.

Armed with what we thought was a smart decision, I contacted our landlord yesterday to let him know, and, to my surprise, he wasn't havin' it! :(

So, it looks like we will be moving out either June 1st or July 1st, whether we like it or not!

I am hitting the trails today to look at about 6 more places while Justin is at work. Wish me luck -- I really want to get this nailed down so I can focus on more important things (errr...finals, law school graduation, enjoying my last moments of freedom before I become a prisoner to the Bar exam).

I better get to it! Gonna try to get in a little sweat before I'm off to see the first listing.

*cross your fingers for us*

I will see you guys back here tomorrow with some pictures from tonight's festivities and hopefully some good apartment hunting news!

Have a fantastic day,




  1. I hope you find a place you like! Apartment hunting is fun, but super stressful if you're in a time crunch!

  2. Have so so so much fun today/tonight! I have a feeling you will find the one today... Happy bday to Justin!!

  3. Happy Birthday Justin! Jess - are you still working with Rhonda on the apt. search? If so, tell her hi for me :)

  4. I just found your blog via diet starts tomorrow. I like it so far :-) Good luck with exams and bar prep. My fiance and I have started talking about when we'd move out of the city and into the burbs. I have mixed feelings about it now. Both of us work downtown so it just makes sense for now, until we start thinking of little kidlets :-)