Monday, 29 August 2011

Stash Busting Monday #3: Mustard Glazed Pork Chops

This recipe from BHG has been hanging out in my "Try Me" notebook since April so I thought I'd give it a whirl!

I'll post the recipe with my modifications and note where it differs from the original

  • 4 bone-in pork chops
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped into wedges
  • 1/2 cinnamon applesauce (o called for 1/2 cup apricot perserves and 1/2 tsp nutmeg)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1TBSP. spicy mustard
1. Season pork chops with salt and pepper. In a skillet heat olive oil, add pork and onions. Cook 3 minutes, flip, cook 3 more minutes
2. Combine applesauce, water, paprkia and mustard. Pour over pork. Reduce hear and cook covered ten minutes.

3. Serve and enjoy!

The recipe suggests serving with roasted sweet potatoes or mashed potatoes. I served it with leftover macaroni salad.

I thought the porkchops were fabulous, but Mike didn't care for them.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Stash Busting Monday #2: Choreos


While filing through my recipes to find something sweet to make for our new neighbor, I realized that I had a recipe for Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies, or Choreos save in several places.  I think that the orginal recipe came from Picky Palate.

I followed her recipe to a "t", well I tried to. And then I was half a cup short of flour and had to use a half  cup of whole wheat flour. That being said, I think the cookies turned out fabulous and don't have a strange taste/texture due to the substitution. However, my batch only made around 15 cookies, and not the two dozen that hers did.

I made these for our neighbor and planned to make them for care packages as well, but since they made less than expected I may have to send a bag of assorted goodies, instead of just choreos.

Here's the cute gift bag for the neighbor:

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Becoming a Proverbs 31 Woman: Speaking Encouragement

Proverbs 31: 26-27

She opens her mouth with wisdom,

And on her tounge is the law of kindness

The above section of Proverbs 31 verse is what inspired me to participate in the 30 day Husband Encouragement challenge. For the next month (so until September 17th) I am not suppoused to say anything negative about my husband, to him or anyone else. I am also suppoused to say something positive about my husband every day to him and to someone else.

I am hoping that this challenge will make me realize how often I speak badly to my husband and work super-duper hard to change that. I want to make a new habit, not only of biting my tounge but of dissolving the negative thoughts about my husband and realizing that I most likely do not feel negatively about my husband but rather about the situation.

As part of my personal challenge to become a Proverbs 31 Woman I want to change old habits and make new ones. Not only when it comes to my husband but throughout my entrie life. I want this encouragement challenge to bleed over into the way I speak with everyone- even my rude customers at work.

My therapist friend says that if we take something away we must feel the void with something. I am going to take away talking and thinking  negatively  about people and replace it without a more structed thought process that allows me to analysis situations before issuing a carefully thought out, positive response.

I know this sounds like a bunch of sounds good goobly gook, but it is something that is important to me and something I AM striving to change and not just talking about.

What habits are you trying to do away with? What habits are you trying to replace them with.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

The Saints Are Marching In...

My husband is a huge Saints fan and they play tonight so I worked hard today to make sure my wreath was ready to reveal tonight.

I found the inspiration for the wreath while browsing pinterest. The pin linked to here. Its really a fabulous site, you should check it out!

I didn't have any of the supplies I needed so I had to take a big shopping trip on Wednesday, after indulging in Peach French toast from Denny's.


2 spools of curling ribbon, 1 in each color
hot glue gun and glues sticks
black and white spray paint
brown paint
painters marker
football shapes
wreath form (i had a poofy foam one because it was cheaper but in retrospect I would choose the flat wooden ones because there is less area to decorate)

Step 1:  Spray paint form black, letters white and paint/decorate foot balls. You may want to use the paint marker to make your letters polka dotted, but since my letters were smaller than I wanted I was afraid that if they had polka dots they would get kost in the wreath.

Step 2: Cut 6 inch lengths of ribbon and staple 4 of each color to each other, to create bundles of 8. I think I had close to 100 bundles.

Step 3: Curl bundles and hotglue around the form, filling in as needed.

4. Arrange letters and footballs and hotglue onto ribbons!

That's it! Its simple. It took me three days of on and off work to finish the wreath. I always say that I can envision things bunt not create them and I am starting to learn that I do have some skills but have a real lack of patience.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Favorite Things Friday!

I like to use Fridays to reflect on my week or to share some of my ATM favorite things. This week I want to reflect.

Some of my favorite things that happened this week are:

1. I discovered and have joined a group of ladies that I hope to get to know and participate in fun activites with.

2. My Martha Stewart Living magazine came in the mail!

3. I picked up a cute,  polka dotted business card holder.

4. I finally got the schedule for my new job!

5. I had two days off in the middle of the week!

6.  I participated in a blog swap.

7. I set some crafty goals.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Revisiting: 7 in' 11

I think its time to check in on my resolutions:

1. I wanted to work out 3-5 times per week. I did really really well with this until summer time and then I lost all motivation. Hopefully starting my new job with a more consistent schedule will energize me!

2. I think I'm following through on number 2: learn to cook. I make dinner almost every night and enjoy trying new recipes. I can only make a few things from memory- pancakes, mexican manicotti, beet eggs, blueberry cake filling, twice baked potatoes, macaroni salad.  But thats more than when I got married!

3. I'm making or altering  most of the cards I send out to friends so thats a check for goal number 3!

4. As for sending out care packages, my two roomies got one while they worked at camp. And back to school care package gifts are chilling on my guest bed!

5. I have a job! So thats a check for number 5! I have two actually, and start my 3rd on Monday!

6. As for doing more crafts, I've been making more cards. I've got a wreath going right now. I haven't made a scrapbook or my wedding box yet but its coming!

7.  And I haven't gained weight...yet. I better get going with goal number one!!

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Goals Are Always Nice

So lately I have been in a super crafty mood. I've yet to actually craft anything but I have been digging around for inspiration and making plans.

Here are my goals:

1. Make a Saint's football wreath (started today! my husband keeps asking me what I'm doing and I won't tell him!)
2. Make a Christmas wreath.
3. Make a shell wreath.
4. Make back to school packages (supplies bought!)
5. Make homemade vanilla
6. Make poinsetta pillow covers
7. Make 25 more Christmas cards.
8. Make gifts off of Pinterest.
9. Make vintage post card wreath for kitchen (just need postcards....(
10. Make man's shirt totebag

What are your craft goals? Have you started your holiday crafting yet?

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Blog Swap with Sarah The Writer!

Today I am swapping blogs with Sarah from This Writer's Journey! She has a wonderful, eclectic blog filled with tasty recipes and interesting posts! Our topic was "Summer".

Hello all! I’m Sarah the Writer from This Writer’s Journey. Rachel and I were paired up for the 20 Something Bloggers Blog Swap. I hail from Washington state, a small city somewhere between Seattle and Tacoma and I blog about all kinds of things: interesting stuff that happens in my life (which isn’t often); recipes I bake; and my musings.

Now, I’m supposed to reflect on my summer, talk about cool vacations I took. The thing is, I kind of already did that. Back in June, my family (my parents, my two younger brothers, and I) went to Boston for a week, mainly to celebrate my and my middle brother’s college graduations. We planned just about every day. I documented the whole week in my blog, which you can read here. My only regret/wish from that week is for my mom and me to have gone to the American Girl Place Boston, which is really about a half hour out of the city. But because we walked everywhere and riding the T train would’ve been a 2 hour trip, we decided to forgo it. Besides, one just opened up here in the Puget Sound about a month ago. We can go then. I did love going to the science museum and the Red Sox game (despite the pouring down rain).

Other than unsuccessfully search for jobs (like I said – recent college grad), I spent a week in central Washington in a little town I like to call “paradise.” It’s a small town with plenty of time share resorts around a lake. We go every year with most of my dad’s immediate relatives and their families. A whole week of sun, family time, and pool – perfect for mid-July. It’s pretty much the only time I go in the pool, and over the past few years, I’ve only wanted to go in with my cousins. I guess that’s part of growing up? Anyway, this year while poolside, something happened that I know we’ll never forget: we found a butterfly! But don’t worry – we were gentle with it.


This Writer's Journey

So there ya have it, folks. My summer in a nutshell. Kinda boring, I know. My only excuse is that I’m too shy to make friends to hang out with. I’m hoping to try and not transfer that shyness to my blog now that I’m done with school, but at the same time, I’m still kinda new to this blogging thing. Anyways, hope to see you over at This Writer’s Journey!

Becoming a Proverbs 31 Woman: Listening to What Your Husband Needs

Over the past year or so the verse, Proverbs 31 has popped up more and more in my life. And I think things like that happen for a reason.  Here is the verse (emphasis mine):

Who can find a virtous wife?
For her worth is far above rubies.
The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
so he will have no lack of gain
She does him good and not evil
all the days of her life.
She seeks wool and flax
and willing works with her hands.
She is like the merchant ships,
she brings her food from afar.
She also rises while it is yet night,
and provides food for the household,
and a portion for her maidservants.
She considers a field and buys it;
from her profits she plants a vineyard.
She girds herself with strength
and strengthens her arms.
She perceives that her merchanise is good,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
and her hand holds the spindle,
She extends her hand to the poor,
Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of now for her household,
for all her household is clothed with scarlet.
She makes tapestry for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
Her husband is known in the gates,
when he sits among the elders of the land
She makes linen garments and sells themm
And supplies sashes for the merchants.
Strength and honor are her clothing;
she shall rejoice in time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tounge is the law of kindness
She watches over the ways of her household,
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also and he praises her:"
Many daughters have done well
but you excel them all"
Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised
Giver her the fruist of her hands,
and let her own works praise her in the gates

Everytime I  read the verse I focus on something different or walk away with a new understanding. One of my most recent understands lead to the life application that I need to keep house in a way that helps my husband.

My husband has a touch of OCD and finds it hard to function around clutter. Literally, walking into a cluttered room overwhelms his senses and stesses him out. When he is already stressed out from work or illness a cluttered house becomes the straw that breaks the camel's back.

My husband needs me to change the way I keep house. I am a piles person. Everything has its pile and occasionally (on weekends) those piles get sorted out and put away. Its my process. But it doesn't work for him. I don't make piles becase I am lazy but because it has become my default organizational system. So I am starting from scratch and making sure every item has a place. And yes, a designated junk drawer counts as a place. I am working hard to remember to put things away right after use and not leaving them out to stumble upon them again. I can stumble upon them again and think "oh yea, I need to put this away" and go do it. However, my husband sees the item laying out and starts to stress out. If I can take a few extra moments of thought and work to leave a place looking organized and prevent us from having a pointless argument over left out scissors then its worth it to me.

My husband is helping me with this endeavor and has recognized that creating piles is my "method". He's suggested that if I am having a stressful day and feel the need to create piles then I should do it in the guest bedroom and shut the door. It's out of his sight, gives me more time to come back later and keeps the rest of the house looking neat.

I'm not saying that he needs or expects me to keep a spotless house on my own. But I think that he needs me to change my cleaning and organizing habits. And if changing those habits benefits my husband, and my marriage and doesn't hurt me then why wouldn't I?

The verse says much much much more to me but I want to explore it bit by bit.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Stash Busting Monday #1: Gluten Free Strawberry Cheesecake

Hello and welcome to my first recipe stash busting post!


We had friends come over this weekened for a cookout to see off a soldier. He requested a strawberry cheesecake as dessert. Knowing that his wife is on a gluten-free diet I wanted to make sure that I made something she could enjoy too.

I used the recipe I had saved in my  favorites folder from the last time they came up. Here is the link.
The recipe calls for a crust made of gluten free graham crackers but I decided to just skip the crust and added the nutmeg into the cheesecake itself.


  • 2 pounds softened cream cheese ((4 8-ounce packages))

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 4 large eggs

  • 1 cup sour cream

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

  • Topping
    • 1.5 pints sliced strawberries
    • 1 cup sour cream
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    Soften the cream cheese and then beat it with the sugar and nutmeg until creamy. Add in the eggs one at a time. Then add the vanilla, cornstarch and sour cream. Mix until well blended and smooth. Pour into a parchemt lined pan and bake at 325 F for 45 minutes.

    Whisk together all of the topping ingredients except for the strawberries.  Remove cheesecake from oven and carefully spread topping. Turn off oven and let cheesecake set in oven for 15 minutes. Then chill 4 hours, top with strawberries and serve.

    Ratings? My sister-in-law described the cheesecake as "very light". And my friend ate two good sized pieces within the hour.

    If you want to share your stashbusting post, feel free to leave your link in the comments!

    Thursday, 11 August 2011

    Introducing Stash Busting Mondays

    Over the past year or so I have accumulated a huge stash.

    Of recipes. I have cookbooks, cooking magazines and a whole folder in my favorites devoted to them.

    I've decided that over the next 52 weeks I will make a minimum of one new recipe (savory or sweet) per week. And that the recipe will be one  that is already in my possession.

    Next Monday will be the first in my series. I encourage you to join me in a "stash-busting" adventure!

    PS: Does anyone know of a good, free linky tool? I've tried mister linky but haven't had any luck making it work! I haven't found one, but in the mean time you can use my button to link your page over to mine!



    Tuesday, 9 August 2011

    Customer Service

    When  was in   school (high school and college), if you would have asked me if I would like a job in customer service, I would have told you no way. I am not good with people. And I waitressed once and the worst part of the job was dealing with the people.

    Yet, here I am about to transition from one customer service position (cashier) to one that actually has customer service in the title. Yep. I'm going to be a customer service rep at the Tribune-Review. It's a newspaper that's over the one that I currently freelance for.

    I was reflecting the other night, trying to come up with a reason for why I seem to only be able to get customer service type jobs lately, and realizing a fear of being stuck in that job path.

    And that was when God spoke to my heart. He's placed me in customer serving positions so that I can work on my lacking people skills.  And its those skills that I will need to move on to the next  bigger/better thing that he has planned for my life.

    I am grateful to have received this insight because I think it will help me have more drive to succeed and actually learn skills as a customer service rep rather than just skating by until I could find a more suitable job. I see now that I have things to learn. I also think it will help me to be happy when I experience bad days on the new job.

    When has God given you insight into His plan for your life? When have you realized that God's plan may not have been exactly what you had been hoping for?

    Saturday, 6 August 2011

    $2 per trashbag full

    I went to a yard sale at a church this weekend. They'd had one the past few weekends and this was the one where you dump everything you want in a bag and pay two bucks.

    I walked out with:

    7 books inlcuding, The Kite Runner....a fantastic read.

    2 pot holders

    4 dessert plates

    1 salad plate

    1 wallet     

    1 set of notecards  

    2 Christmas tins for Christmas baking       

    1 shell shaped salsa dish

    3 Chrismas ornaments

    I think I did pretty well. There was a cute round mug with feet that I wanted to get but I forgot to put it on top of my bad :(. Darn it!!

    If you break it down I spent roughly 9 cents per item.


    Friday, 5 August 2011

    Five Questions for Friday!

    Thanks to My Little Life for the questions!

    1. Do you have siblings and are you close with them?

    I have a younger sister and yesterday was her birthday! I think the older we get the closer we're getting

    2. Would you rather be slightly UNDER weight or slightly OVER weight?

    As long as its slightly in either direction I think I'm okay!

    3. What's your favorite State Fair food to splurge on?

    I love funnel cakes and caramel/candy apples!

    4. What are your thoughts on your kid(s) going to school in a few weeks?

    I don't have kids!

    5. Pool or Ocean?

    Ocean all the way baby!

    Thursday, 4 August 2011

    Too Many Cakes Too Little Time

    I've been given a sneak peek at my next baking challenge. It involves making a cake. So I'm trying to decide what flavor I want to make.

    I'm strongly considering

    • An almond cake with apricot filling...and either a vanilla or almond butter cream
    • A choclate, peanut butter,  banana cake with some combination of banana slices,  pb cream cheese frosting and a chocolate ganache
    • A peach, mango, pineapple cake with caramel cream cheese icing
    • chocolate rum cake
    • strawberry champagne cake, filled with champagne soaked strawberries
    Which option would you choose? What is your favorite cake flavor or flavor combination?

    Tuesday, 2 August 2011

    My First Gluten Free Baking Experience

    We're having a cookout next weekend in honor of a friend who is getting deployed. His wife is on a gluten-free diet and has mentioned how she doesn't like that it limits her sweet tooth so I thought I would try to bake some cupcakes that she could enjoy.

    I started with a recipe from Cupcake Project and decided to follow through with the chocolate hummus frosting.

    The recipe calls for twice sifted flour and I usually skip sifting all together but after reading the whys behind sifting it I decided it was an important step. I set my strainer over my collander which was over my mixing bowl and and my Goldberg contraption was rolling.

    Sifting made the dry ingredients really light and fluffy!  Which is good considering the garbanzo bean flour makes cake denser. I guess the sifting counteracts that.

    Everything was going along normally, until I added the boiling water. Everything was super liquidy and not at all like a cake batter.  So I turned to Cupcake Project (via facebook) and was reassured that this was in a fact normal.

    So I kept going and the cupcakes baked beautifully, but didn't dome- which I was expecting. So I frosted them with the chocolate hummus and didn't like them. I'm not sure if its the "off" texture or the flavor but they just don't jive with me.

    I'm having a friend test them tomorrow and she will decide if they should go in the dumpster or off to work with Mike.