Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Strawberry Oatmeal Cookies

I am a huge fan of a good oatmeal cookie. The softer, the better. I came across some fruity oatmeal cookie recipes and decided to modify them a bit and make my own creation using ingredients I had on hand. These were yummy. As soon as I put them in the oven I remembered I had some bananas in my freezer that would have made these even more delicious. (you could even throw in some mini chocolate chips for a bit of a "banana split" cookie). I'll continue experimenting in the kitchen and sharing with you! Bon Appetit!

Strawberry Oatmeal Cookies (makes about 15)

 You'll Need:

-Half cup one min. oats
- 3/4 cup Whole wheat flour
- 1 & 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 2 tbs. salted sweet cream butter melted
-1 egg
-Half cup honey
-2 tbs. brown sugar
-About 6-8 large strawberries diced in little bits

1. Mix oats, flour, baking powder, and cinnamon.
2. In another bowl, melt butter, add honey, sugar, and egg.
3. Put flour mix in honey mixture. Fold in strawberries.
4. Chill dough for 30 mins.
5. Bake at 325 for about 15-18 minutes (I like crispy edges so I kept them in for closer to 20 mins)
6. Cool for about 10 mins then move to wire cooling rack.

Note: You could Pam your cookie sheets, but I am kinda in love with these baking mats.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Break Time!

It's here! It's here! Spring Break! Two of the most beautiful words in the English language! Guys, we are have a chill break and I am loving it/looking forward to more. It was sort of a topsy turvy week last week as AJ's mom was not well and in the hospital. We considered sending flowers but when her stay in the hospital went beyond a week, we decided she'd like AJ better than some daisies anyway, so we sent him. I missed my honey for the week but I am glad he decided to go and spend time with his dad and stay until his mom got better. We really appreciated the love and will wishes and of course prayers sent up to Oregon. Mama Steele is still healing, but thankfully, on the mend. I went to my family's house one night, had them over to our house one night, and generally got lots of errands and school things done. AJ returned to work today but I have the week off. Don't worry, I'm being a nice wife and not shouting at him to "keep it down and turn off the lights" as he got ready this morning while I snoozed blissfully till 9 am. Nope, didn't do that at all.

We enjoyed a nice Easter celebration with my family on Sunday. My mom made ham and all the fixings and my contribution was this lovely Southern Banana Pudding  from Paula Deen. It was a winner and we are thinking might be a new holiday tradition. In other news, I'm just about town running some errands (bought the baby a bath tub yesterday. EEEK, I've looked at it about 100 times because I can't really fathom a small human will be lounging in it in about 4 or so months), getting new tires, trying new recipes, and willing myself to go to the gym. I'm reading a new book and taking naps, and working on my fall maternity plans. (I know, I know, I'm type A, what can I say?). I'm in full break mode (yoga pants but no actual yoga? check. Ponytail and no makeup? Check. Massive overhaul of my closet? check. Finally catching up on good blogs I've neglected reading? Check).

I teach for many reasons: aha moments, the smile and joy on little one's faces, planning fun and engaging lessons, forming a connection with my students, making a positive impact on the future, but I'd be a dirty liar if the schedule and breaks weren't a major reason to teach as well. If any educator tells you differently, hook them up to a polygraph on Dr. Phil for the truth.

Have a great week, readers!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Spring Book Round Up

I've been reading a lot lately (I was mainly motivated because I checked out Girl on a Train from the library and waited until my 3rd week with it to begin, it was not able to be renewed and I was not about to buy a book I already had in my hot little hand for free. A 3 hour marathon reading session last weekend allowed me to finish it). Here's a few of the reads I've been digging into lately:

1. Driving with the Top Down: I really liked this one! I was expecting classic chick lit, but the plot was actually pretty involved and I found myself not wanting to put it down. This is a great beach read (or you know, just an "in your house" read, too). Check it out for some laughs, romance, and reflections on being a girlfriend through thick and thin. Pair with a glass of white wine (or a smoothie if you're in the motherly way) and a bubble bath. 

2. Girl on a Train: I really enjoyed this book. I know it was the hot read last summer but I was just now getting into it. I love any tale told from different perspectives, and it kept me on the edge of my seat. It read like a more detailed, character-driven Lifetime movie. It reminded me of my girl, Gillian Flynn's work, and I highly recommend it.

3. I Said Yes. I know, I know, I am a sucker for anything in The Bachelor franchise. This was a really interesting book and made me realize there's a lot more to Emily Maynard than a pretty face and a "West Virginia hood rat" beat down should someone call her precious daughter "baggage" (damn, I loved her season). If you are a fan of the show, this is worth the read. 

I have yet to read these last 2, but they are on my list:

1. Saving the School: My parents bought me this one for my birthday (they later confessed they found it at the dollar store. What can I say, my family is well skilled in identifying diamonds in the rough.) I love any good teacher book I can nerd out to. Education reform gets me all fired up so I'm looking forward to the perspective outlined here. 

2. Firefly Lane: his book came highly recommended by by hair dresser and since then, I've heard a few others talking about it. According to Amazon, "Firefly Lane is the poignant, powerful story of two women and the friendship that becomes the bulkhead of their lives." I love a good chick lit about friendship (see above, "Driving with the Top Down," so I'm excited to read this one. 

And in between it all, I've been reading my daily dose of "Savor" --the best daily devotional I have ever read, I cheat and read days and days ahead because it's so beautiful and relevant. I've also been digging into the Bible of moms to be: What to Expect When You're Expecting. It's helpful and interesting, but I can only take so much information before my hypochondriac self needs to back away from the book, rub my growing belly, whisper a prayer, and hope for the best.

 What have you been reading lately?? Any must have books for your spring/summer? 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

boring weeks are excellent weeks

Hello there blog land,
   I was waiting this week to write for inspiration to strike. Inspiration of the writerly sort....thought provoking, deep, tumble around in your heart thoughts, but basically this is what I've got for you, folks:

I am obsessed with these food or animal memes. I discovered a "soft serve cone or pug" one today that just made me smile.

This week has been a blur of teaching , a girls dinner with friends where it was lovely to catch up, changing the channel every time AJ turns on something regarding politics, squeezing in some gym time, and enjoying the bonus sunshine. There are only 48 days left of school this year and when you've had the most challenging (insert other words here for "challenging" students....use your imagination and reach into your own unique collection of swear words to get the full impact) class ever, that makes me happy. We are starting our fun spring plant and butterfly units and made these fun sunflower seed crafts this week. We have to do something fun when spring-like weather beckons, huh?

This week is much calmer than last because 2 nights in a row last week there was drama in the Steele household.

Tuesday night, 7:45ish pm: "Babe, can I put this leftover beef stew meat in the disposal?" (while AJ was grading and didn't even look when I asked). "Yeah, sure." I proceed to pour the entire contents of the crockpot leftovers into the sink, turned on the disposal, then jumped when the sink was making a weird noise and was kind of smoking. Yeah. I clogged the sink. AJ ended up face timing with his dad and did all manner of unscrewing pipes and using tools, and plungers, and such to unclog the damn thing. By 10:30ish that night. Ooopsies.

Wednesday afternoon: Text from AJ  "Let's go out tonight. What sounds good to you?"
Me: "Okay, I know it sounds weird but all I'm craving is a buffalo chicken flatbread from Subway."
Me the rest of the afternoon: daydreaming about buffalo chicken flatbread from subway, extra buffalo sauce and black olives. Use "buffalo" as a word in our class spelling bee.

5:00 PM: On the treadmill, walking, imagining walking toward a buffalo chicken flatbread. Must. walk. faster.

5:45 PM: OH YEAH! Buffalo chicken time! Baby wants buffalo sauce and so does mama!!

6:00: Guy at Subway tells me they don't make buffalo chicken anymore.
Hold the damn phone.
Say what?

So I did what any normal person would do in that situation. I cried. Right there in Subway. But then over the weekend I bought a family sized thing of Frank's Buffalo size so life is happy again and my husband is no longer worried that I have a hit out on the employees of a certain sandwich shop. I should've known they were trouble with all that Jared mess. I still flip off Subways when I drive past. I think it's residual PTSD from the "incident" last week.

So, as you can see, a drama free week is the way to be.

Happy almost weekend, friends!

Sunday, March 13, 2016


Hey There,
   I'm linking up with one of my fave blogs Kelly's Korner for her link up Intro to her "Show Us Your Life Series." I started reading Kelly's blog about 7 years ago and she's still one of my faves. Today's link party is about introductions so if you're new here to Sunday Kinda Love....let me fill you in!

My name is Leslie and I'm a 29 year old 1st grade teacher. I live in a suburb of Salt Lake City with my wonderful hubby AJ who is a middle school teacher. I am expecting our first baby and we can't wait to be parents in August! Some of my interests include: reading, long bubble baths, watching reality TV, following blogs, baking treats, pinterest, taking naps, and pugs. My husband is from Oregon so we love visiting there and the Oregon Coast is our favorite spot in the world.

Sunday Kinda Love was started almost a year ago as a way to chronicle our lives as newlyweds and teachers. I like to write about our daily lives, recipes, books, TV, married life, faith, and pretty much everything else. I love having a place to "journal" and look back on for memory's sake. I want others to relate to my words and find a sense of connection in a busy world. I want to express myself. I want to document our family. This is that space. So welcome to A Sunday Kinda Love. Grab a cup of coffee and maybe a cupcake too, and join us for our adventures. Welcome!

Springing Forward

Hey there,
 Well, the time has sprung forward and so has my age!  I am officially in my last year of the '20's! (the fact that a mere 5 minutes ago I was eating Cocoa Puffs and watching Fuller House is irregardless). I had a wonderful birthday weekend and certainly felt spoiled. Friday morning AJ woke me up with an iced chai, a card from our baby ("Mom, you rock! I love living in here!"... I melted), and instructions to be home by 4:15 for a little surprise. AJ usually works on Friday evenings and we were going to postpone birthday celebrating until Saturday so I was pleasantly surprised to have my man for the night! We drove up to Park City and strolled Main Street then had dinner at Zoom. It was delicious and a fun night. And the surprise continued when I came home to a Petunia Picklebottom diaper bag. These bags are CUTE and adorable and I had been wanting one since before I peed on a stick back in December. Saturday was a day of relaxing and errands then we went to dinner and more celebrating at my family's house. Birthday perfection. I was thinking about how much happens in your 20''s a whirlwind!

20th Bday: Celebrating in Memphis with Gonzaga's alternative spring break
21st Bday: Celebrating in St. Louis with Gonzaga's alternative spring break
22nd Bday: Celebrating in Orlando on a roommate Girls Trip to Disneyworld
23rd Bday: Celebrating in Chicago with grad school pals
24th Bday: Celebrating in Chicago at the St. Paddy's Day Parade
25th Bday:  Celebrating with my family in SLC
26th Bday: Celebrating with my boyfriend AJ
27th Bday: Celebrating with my fiancee AJ
28th Bday: Celebrating with my husband AJ
29th: Bday: Celebrating with my husband AJ, family, and our new little unborn baby.

I can't wait to see what the future holds! Have a wonderful week, everyone! And be sure to take a nap to counteract that spring forward thang. Ugh.

Pic dump:

The Thursday morning sunrise took my breath away! 

My handsome 

Sunday morning pancakes 

Monday, March 7, 2016

Chicago Style Italian Beef

I loved living in Chicago for many reasons. I loved Sunday mornings when I'd hop on the train and head into the city to visit a friend for coffee (I had the fortune of having not one, but two Gonzaga pals move to Chicago the year after I did. Visiting with them was such a perfect slice of familiarity and comfort), window shop, try a new cafe, visit a museum (often free for teachers), or walk from one end of Michigan Ave to the other (well, at least to where the Ghiradelli chocolate shop was). One of the best parts of the city is, no doubt, the food. I will never forget my first night in Chicago when I was settling into my new room and I decided to order a pizza for dinner. I knew I wasn't in Kansas (or Sandy, Utah) anymore. The one medium pizza weighed more than a kettleball and was ooey gooey, cheesy, and one slice was plenty to keep you satisfied. There was also this great little Italian deli just around the corner from where I lived. I am sad to say I didn't truly appreciate it till almost the end of my time there, but they had fresh baked breads, homemade pastas, and the most delicious warm chicken parmesean sandwiches you could imagine. 

However, one one of my most favorite Chicago foods was the Italian Beef Sandwich. At first it sounded sort of strange and I think I panicked the first time I was asked if I wanted the sandwich I ordered "wet" or "dry" (fyi, I pick wet....the delicious beef broth spooned over the warm bread). Italian Beefs became one of my most favorite meals and while Portillo's might not have had the best ones in the city, they were close by and stopping there after school became something I did often. So...what is Italian beef? Basically it's a very tender juicy chuck roast cooked low and slow with Italian seasonings, some tang from pickled veggies, and sweetness from banana peppers. It's served usually with provolone cheese on crusty bread that can soak up the juices. It's wonderful and something I'd never tried before I lived in Chitown. This recipe  from Iowa Girl Eats is our favorite. This one from one of my fave Food Network chefs looks pretty delish too. Try it sometime. You won't regret it. And visit The Windy City, too if you get the chance. And maybe bring elastic waist pants. 

Sunday, March 6, 2016


Hello There, Bloggy Readers!
   I broke a cardinal rule of blogging this weekend and took not a single photo. I know. So this post will be words only but you can manage, right? Last week was BUSY with meetings, errands, teaching, and parent teacher conferences. They went well and I may have shouted "Hallelujah!!!" as a ripped out of the school parking lot Thursday night. Friday I had a glorious day off and went for my prenatal massage. It was delightful. I went to a few thrift stores, but it was one of those "nothing is calling out to me" thrifting visits, so I came home a proceeded to watch 3 hours of Fuller House followed by a lavender bubble bath and banana bread baking. I made a dent in the great book I'm reading (more deets in a future book post), and fell into bed by 9. It was a perfect and relaxing day. Saturday AJ and I went to see "Spotlight." We had been wanting to see it, but with its Best Picture win last weekend, we decided we just had to. It did not disappoint. We went to an early dinner at Red Lobster, to evening church, then we met the fam for Fro yo (little sis is in town for the week on spring break)! Today (Sunday) stared out cozy and rainy so we had a lazy day and besides a trip to the grocery store and the gym, we've been homebound all day and I am loving it.
Oh, and in case you've ever wondered what it's like to be pregnant (or at least me pregnant): The doc told me I should be having 2 or so servings of seafood a week (baby's brain likes fish, apparently). Hence, the Red Lobster dinner. Well. I had a few bites of the salmon I ordered but wasn't really hungry. We got the rest in a to go container and put it in the trunk. Well. After fro yo, I was in the car for about 30 seconds when I caught a whiff of the trunk salmon and proceeded to projectile vomit all over myself and the car. You're welcome for that visual. Pregnancy ain't a glamorous affair, folks. But needless to say, Baby Steele was well behaved after that.
Cheers to a new week ahead of sunshine, well behaved students (please, Lord, PLEASE), and The Bachelor Women Tell All.