Thursday, 26 December 2013

If I Only Had an Oven...

We watched The Wizard of Oz on Christmas Eve and the song "If I Only Had  a Brain" got me to thinking about what I would have baked had I an oven this Christmas season.

So I thought I'd take a moment to round up some drool worthy recipes I saw on the web this year.

I would have made these cuties from Not Martha for My Dec 1st Christmas party:

How-To: Tiny Gingerbread House for your Mug from Not Martha - still a fan favorite! Love this one! :)
The weeks before Christmas I would bake up a storm making Hot Chocolate Sandwich Cookies from I heart eating

Hot Chocolate Sandwich Cookies
Along with these turtle thumbprints from Handle the Heat

turtle thumbprint cookies
And these chocolate peppermint babies from Bakerella

choc peppermint cookies
These coconut macaroon cupcakes for work:

Coconut Macaroon Cupcake -  Devil’s food cake with dark chocolate chips, coconut cream filling, topped with coconut cream cheese frosting and a coconut macaroon.
I would have made these Strawberry and Chocolate French Toast Rollups for breakfast Christmas Morning:

French Toast Roll-Ups
Cheddar Bacon Beer Bread from Texanerin to go with dinner:

100% Whole Grain Cheddar Bacon Beer Bread |

What was your favorite holiday treat this season?

Monday, 23 December 2013

Week 2:

Here is our menu for the upcoming week. It will probably be tweaked here and there, due to the upcoming holidays. I know we are going to a western style buffet Christmas day but as for New Year's I'm not sure of any food related plans yet:

Tuesday- Bacon, Eggs and Pancakes
Friday-Pork Chops with Rosemary Bacon Potato Hash (prep Saturday's chicken)
Saturday-Broccoli Carrot Chicken Ramen
Monday-Pork Chop with Bacon Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Tuesday-Chicken and Dumplings
Wednesday- Vegetarian Chili

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Homemade Chicken Stock

I made my own chicken stock for the first time. I made the stock on Monday night, froze it and used it Friday at lunchtime to make Duck Gumbo (link to follow!). The chicken I boiled to make the stock was used for tacos in Tuesday's lunch.

Makes 3 cups of stock. I made so little because we are very limited on storage containers and storage space. This recipe adjusts easily. You need to make sure you have enough water to keep the chicken covered throughout the cooking process.


1/2 lb chicken
1 onion, cut in half
2 stalks celery (including leaves), cut in half
1 Carrot cut in half
sprinkle of s&p (optional)
bay leaf (optional)

I had just over half a pound of skin on drumsticks so that is what I used. If you aren't using a whole chicken, I recommend using dark meat as it tends to be more flavorful. If you use more chicken adjust the veggies accordingly.

Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, covered, for 3 hours. If you use more chicken and it isn't cooked at this point, simmer until the chicken is done.

Be sure to discard the veggies and the bay leaf if you used on. I didn't actually use the bay leaf when I made the stock but used it when I made the gumbo. However, I saw several recipes called for the bay leaf in the stock.

Friday, 20 December 2013

My Daughter

Somewhere along the way, I developed the idea that I was less.

Less than beautiful.
Less than capable.
Less than desirable.
Less than.

I don't know exactly when the thoughts began to occur or where exactly they stem from. What I do know is that they were and are there.

I began to imagine that people only saw my acne scarred face, my greasy hair.
I began to imagine that when I walked, my movements were disgusting and awkward and that my running posture was nothing if not highly laughable.
I began to think that my speaking voice was annoyingly high pitched and my singing voice like nails on a chalkboard.
I began to think that I wasn't capable of successful completing everyday tasks, much less complicated endeavors.
I began to think that my needs, thoughts and  feelings didn't matter. That they imposed to much on others.

If I think about it I can try to pinpoint certain phrases I've heard, from people near and dear, and from people, who for one moment had more impact than they will ever realize. Maybe there were phrases I heard once in jest, and magnified in my head. Maybe there were phrases repeated to me-whether in jest or not.

Regardless, I began to try to change my body, my movements.
I began to feel less important than those around me and began to minimize the discomfort I thought I was causing others.

My speaking voice grew quieter and quieter. Some days it is barely audible and my husband frustratedly asks me to repeat myself.

My singing voice grew dim, a mere echo of the joy I used to  (harmoniously or not) release into the world.

My walk grew more stiff. My body stiffened, trying to stifle any movements that would cause laughter or disdain. My posture suffered and my eyes grew accustomed to the view of my feet.

I let others take over tasks for me, believing that I couldn't do them properly myself, or that I would take to long to complete them.

I began to refuse drink and food when offered, internally reasoning that to agree would be to much of a inconvenience for my host. When sharing food, I always chose the smallest pieces, thinking that someone else deserved the bigger portions.

 When being treated to dinner, I agonized over choosing the least expensive meal I would enjoy.

Only with my truest and dearest friends could I be my whole, genuine self. And even then, I struggled to come out of the shell I had become.

Today, it all changes. For sometime, I have been struggling (with the support of my husband) to overcome these beliefs. To be a strong woman, not just under the guise of one.

Today, at a church gathering I was prompted to pray and ask God how he sees me.And so I prayed.

And as always, God answered with the perfect response.

My daughter, echoed in my head

My daughter, my daughter, my daughter reverberated through out my body, and to the deepest parts of my soul.

I am His daughter.
He created me.
I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
I am beautiful and worthy, because of Him. Because of the blood shed by the only one who is the Holy One.

I have a place to stand, with all of God's other children. I can freely stand among them.


I am that me that He has made.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Upcoming Meals

I spent the weekend pouring over recipes trying to come up to add some variety to our diet.

I need roughly 4-5 unique meals a week. This week we'll have less because I wasn't able to grocery shop until Monday night. We usually eat these for lunch and then have leftovers or sandwiches for dinner. We also eat out Thursday lunch and during the weekend.

Tuesday-Chicken Tacos (leftover chicken to go to the freezer for chili)
Wednesday-Hot Fried Chicken with Fried Rice
Friday-Duck and Sausage Gumbo (using homemade chicken stock)
Sunday- Cheesy Tuna Cake with Broccoli

Successful recipes to follow!

Sunday, 15 December 2013

2 Easy Peasy Semi-Healthy Desserts

Not having an oven, I miss baking a lot. A super duper lot. A lot of the baked goods I purchase over here aren't half as good as what my taste buds desire.

To satisfy my sweet tooth, I've been playing around with ways to turn yogurt into a sweet dessert.

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Yogurt


  • 1 small container of strawberry yogurt
  • 1 small container of plain/Greek yogurt
  • 1 hot cocoa packet
Note: You can substitute the strawberry yogurt for another container of plain yogurt with diced strawberries, sweeten a little with honey. Strawberries are currently $5 for a small container here so, I went with the pre-flavored yogurt.

1. Pour the plain yogurt into a bowl. Mix in the hot cocoa.
2. Pour the strawberry yogurt into the center of the chocolate yogurt. Swirl gently.

Tropical Caramel Parfait

  • caramel sauce (store bought or homemade)
  • 1 small container of plain/Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped pineapple
1. Layer yogurt, pineapple and caramel sauce in a small glass.

Friday, 29 November 2013

What I'm Thankful For..

So far Korea is teaching me a big lesson in gratitude. Here's a short list of things I've become newly aware and/or extremely grateful for.

1. New friends. We've made great friends out of the two Korean teachers and Chinese teacher at work. We hang out on the weekend and go out for lunch every Thursday.

2. Old friends (and family). I'm extremely grateful for old connections. I love being able to stay in touch and continue to share our lives together despite the many miles between us.

3. Salvation Army I bought a brand new bright red Ralph Lauren down coat at the end of winter last year, anticipating another cruel Pennsylvania winter. The jacket has served me well in Korea's windy city.

4. Crossword puzzles They give us challenging English after a day of repeating, " I like the smart queen. No, I do not like the stupid mouse."  Also, it gives us time to bond together as a couple when we work on one.

4. The fact that I'm from a country where I don't have to physically take my gas pipe with me. Apparently, when you move, you take the piece of pipe that connects to the gas line outside with you. I'm not sure if this is to discourage squatting or what. Why can't they just shut off the gas?

5. That I'm from a place where I don't have to boil or purchase drinking water. 'Nuff said.

6. That God lead us out of the USA during a particularly rough time. We didn't have to deal with the stress of the government shut down or the health care fiasco. Hopefully, when we return, America will have a new, stronger, Christian leader to lead us out of the mess we have created

7. I have a God that cares for me. Me, individually. He provides meals, warmth and even a kind person here and there to translate an extremely large Korean menu.

Let's remember to always give thanks!

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Its Chili in Daegu!

The winds a blowing and I'm missing the comfort foods of home.

So, what better to do than brew up a nice hot bowl of chili!

The recipe differs slightly from what I make in the States do to the availability of certain ingredients. Anyway, here's what I concocted.

Serves 4!


2 cans pintos in chili sauce
1 can red kidney beans (drained)
2 dangcho (spicy peppers) chopped
half an onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 carrot, grated
1 orange pepper, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 packet taco seasoning (from overseas)
pinch of red pepper powder
baby spoonful of butter
s&p to taste

1. Mix beans  with taco seasoning and red pepper.Set over low heat.
2. Meanwhile, sauté all vegetables except the carrot, in the butter. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Add veggies to beans and increase heat to medium.
4. Stir in grated carrot.
5. Simmer for hald an hour

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

My God is an AWESOME God!

So do not worry ,saying, "What will we eat?" or "What will we drink?" or "What will we wear?" For the pagans run after all these things and your Heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and these things will be given to you as well. -Matthew 6:31-33
When we arrived in Korea we learned that we would be paid on the 15th of each month. This meant, on October 15th that we would be paid for a weeks worth of work and would not receive a full paycheck until the middle of November.

We had several unexpected  out of pocket expenses such as physicals and alien card fees. We also needed things for the bathroom, like a shower head an a toilet seat.

We'd saved money to bring with us but these unexpected expenses cut in quite a bit.

Now, we come to the week before payday.

We got down to our last several thousand won (I can't remember but I think it was around $50ish). (1,000 won is just under $1) This had to get us each 2 meals a day  for a week and a  six pack of 2 liter water bottles. We also usually buy a small snack to get us through the afternoon. 8 hours without eating gets to be a long time!

Our cupboards were down to 2 slices of bread, 3 slices of ham, a couple slices of processed cheese, onion, a box of cereal (no milk)and 3 packs of ramen. We also didn't have enough water to make it a week.

We've slowly learned that in this country it is usually costs more to buy groceries than it does to eat out. We could easily spend $50 on groceries and not make it a week.

Mike and I prayed that God would get us through the week and that we wouldn't be miserably hungry. We usually purchased snacks to get us through the 8 hour shift, but it looked as if we wouldn't be able to afford them this week.

On Sunday we bought a pizza box. It included a pizza, chicken tenders and fries and spaghetti. We were able to eat all day Sunday and lunch on Monday from this box. Monday we stopped and bought drinks for later in the afternoon.

However, the amount of spaghetti we shared left us hungry part way through work. It was Pepero day. A day devoted to cookies sticks covered in chocolate and other toppings like nuts. Teachers and students often exchange these treats. We didn't have any to give out, but God blessed us greatly by having students gift us with a couple boxes of them. We were able to have our snack after all! I truly felt has if God had had some marketing guru suggest Pepero day just to help Mike and I out of our hunger!

Monday night we ate more leftover pizza and left over chicken from Friday night. On Monday night Mike calculated our cash in hand to be 20,000 won (just under $20)

Tuesday morning, Mike counted our money and determined we actually had 40,000 won. It was as if God had come into our apartment and slipped us a $20.

Tuesday we went out to eat for lunch. Mike had a rice stirfry type dish and I had a noodle soup. Our typical orders at this restaurant. Usually, it costs us 8,000 won. This time it was 7,500 won. This allowed Mike to buy a Pepsi, for a pick me up. Another food related blessing came today. We had been helping a student prepare for a speaking competition. Her mother dropped off two loaves of coffee and nut bread for the teachers to share.

Wednesday, we ventured to McDonalds and discovered that (Praise God!) they were running specials. We both ate full size meals for the same price as two Happy Meals. Towards the end of the work day, I was starting to get hungry. Suddenly, I began to smell cinnamon. One of the managers had gone out and purchased brown sugar cinnamon pancakes from a street vendor. Knowing my love of sweets, she graciously shared with me.

Wednesday night, our next door neighbor and former boss dropped off a bunch of extra bananas. I ate mine for dessert with melted pieces of chocolate that were a gift from my student. We have enough bananas to each eat one for a snack tomorrow afternoon.

Tomorrow, God has provided enough money for us to keep up our traditional lunch with the teachers at the food court across from out school. I'm so looking forward to a warm bowl of curry.

We've yet to see what God has in store for the rest of the week but I am confident he will provide. Ever since we've started tithing we have never needed for anything.

I feel as if I am living the story of Jesus multiplying the loaves and fish.


Saturday, 19 October 2013

What We Eat When We Don't Eat Out

Eating out in Korea is fairly cheap, and in some cases definitely cheaper than buying groceries. It tends to be healthier than a lot of restaurants at home too. Nonetheless, we still enjoy eating from the comfort of couch.

Here's a look at the types of meals we've enjoyed thus far

  • Ham and Onion Omelets with Fried Potatoes
  • Ham Omelets with Cereal
  • Ham and Cheese sandwiches (the bread is thicker and almost stale, the cheese is uber processed and the ham is not the best quality)
  • PBJs
  • Cereal with Bananas or Apples
  • Sausages and Fried Potatoes
  • Ramen (spicy, beef)
Coming up on the menu...

Precooked Spaghetti
Sausages and Mashed Potatoes
Ham and Onion Omelets with Cereal and Fruit

Notice a theme? Yeah, its eggs and potatoes.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Home Sweet Home

After 3 days of hard core cleaning, unpacking and organizing our new home is almost in ship-shape.

Our bedroom...abstract pink and green wallpaper

I brought artwork from my friend Ginny to spruce up our apartment. Check out her website HERE.

The view of our living room from the bedroom.

leaf print wallpaper

TV  and dart board!

 Our storage table...seasonal, water, tp and recycling


Kitchen + washing machine

His and Hers clothes racks...princess wallpaper in the spare room

Drying racks in the spare room

Mirror, Air Con and Dresser in spare room

Spare room shower/tub space just the shower head

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Two Meals in the Life of an English Teacher in Korea

There is a bakery that seems pretty popular here- Paris Baguette. By popular I mean there is one every couple of blocks.

In addition to baked goods and pastries they also serve sandwiches, preassembled hot dogs, smoothies, coffee etc.

We stopped and picked up lunch today.I picked out what was labeled as "onion toast".

I opened it at home and found a club style toasted sandwich. The first layer contained pizza sauce, cheese and ham. The second layer? A very mayonnaise-y(like) corn salad. They must have been out of onions.

Anyway, I did not care for the corn salad but once I scraped it off I enjoyed the rest of the sandwich.

For dinner, Mike and I stopped at a chicken and beer restaurant. Most restaurants in the S. Korea are not like the ones in the USA. For instance, you could usually go into a restaurant and have your pick of the type of meat for your entrée: chicken, beef, pork, etc. Here, the restaurant usually specializes in a type of meat (pork, beef, chicken, seafood, rice etc) and you can order different cuts or at least a couple of different sauces for it to be drenched in. You pay for the meat and receive unlimited refills on the side dishes.

We ordered the spicy garlic chicken wings. It was accompanied by a side of cubed pickled radishes (not my fave!)

While we waited for our chicken we received our other 3 side dishes:

Yeah. You're seeing that correctly. Those are sea shell...creatures still intact, a bowl of cold corn and corn chip Styrofoam half-breeds.

Neither one of us could muster the courage to try sucking something out of the shell but we did eat the other two to quench our tongues.

All in all, out dinner (over two dozen wings, 2 beers and 4 "side dishes") cost about $19 bucks.


Friday, 20 September 2013

Book Review: Intentional Walk by Rob Rains

Intentional Walk is a book about the Christian testimonies of different Cardinals baseball players and staff members. Each testimony reflects how the Cardinal’s acceptance of Christ as their savior transformed their lived both on and off the baseball field.

The concept of this book is highly intriguing. I loved reading about Christian people who are not only successful but well known. I love that this book is able to speak out to non-Christian baseball fans who may be curious about the blessings that they see the players experiencing.

What a disliked about this book is the fact that it is written from a third person point of view. The stories of the powerful transformation that occurred in these Cardinals lives could better capture the wonderful power of God if the stories had been told from the players’ perspective. I feel the point of view greatly limits the inspiration that could be gained from the stories. The book, as it stands now, reads almost like a collection of high school papers about Christian ballplayers.

*I received a free copy of this book from booksneeze in return for an honest review.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Book Review: Dreams so Big by Steve Peifer with Gregg Lewis

This is the story of a family who moves to Kenya as short term missionaries in order to overcome the death of their new born son. But, surprise-surprise, God has bigger things planned for this family and their one year commitment turns into a lifetime journey for service and discipleship.      

This book was a huge inspiration to me and my family. The story was not only immensely interesting but wonderfully well crafted as well. God’s hand is definitely all through this book. From the beginning whispers urging  a husband to make his wife’s dreams come true to the masterful telling and publication of their story, He is present.

I believe the title is an apt one. Dreams are one of the catalysts for the Peifers' journey. Also, the book inspired me to dream big. A key message I learned from this book is that God puts dreams into our hearts for a reason. No dream is too big or too small for him to fulfill, if He is the One who has given it to you. I plan on recommending this book to many people, as well as re-reading it several times. It is very touching and the truth of it makes it even more so.

If you enjoy this book I also recommend Kisses from Katie by Katie B. Davis.
PS: I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my review via the booksneeze program. This statement does not apply to Kisses from Katie.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Things I Want to Bake Before Moving to South Korea

As I am a list maker by nature, I have been thinking of things I would like to bake before we head over that great big ocean.

My list includes:

  • Avocado Truffles....the second part of my challenge on Hot Glue Baking
  • Macarons  ....are these as hard as they look?
  • Boston Cream husband asked challenged me to make these for him)
  • Fried Cupcakes...these have been on to my "to do" list for sometime now- they even made it on my 101/1001 list.
  • Mini Chocolate Soufflés
  • Coconut Macaroon Cupcakes....after seeing this mouthwatering picture on pinterest how do you NOT want to?
Coconut Macaroon Cupcake -  Devil’s food cake with dark chocolate chips, coconut cream filling, topped with coconut cream cheese frosting and a coconut macaroon.

What's on your baking "to-do" list? Do you have any good recipe suggestions for any of the things I'm looking to make?

PS: I'm on the lookout for a good fruit pie recipe

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Korea Calling!

In case you haven't heard...the hubby and I are trying to move back to South Korea where we will both be teaching English.

Mike taught there while we were engaged and I was fortunate enough to visit. We have most of our paperwork lined up and have applied for many jobs.

Now we're just waiting got the right job, in the right city.

We will most likely be taking a couples position at the same school. The school will provide our housing as part of our contract.

We'd appreciate your prayers as we start down this journey.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Americas Best Baker

Did anyone watch this show on CBS?

I was astounded by who one, but love the show regardless. (I was rooting for Francine. She is my home girl after all. I wonder if she'd mind if I stopped over for some of that pie!)

I thought Darlene, Elaine and Effie were all really good too.

But the show has got me thinking. Many of the bakes I've never attempted. My baking bucket list as definitely grown thanks to this show.

I'm curious....

What do you think are recipes that every good baker should know how to make?

Thursday, 11 July 2013

It's a prize!

Yenta Mary of Food Floozie has given me an award!
Yenta Mary is quite possibly my favorite food blogger. Her blog stars fabulous recipes and features great local places to eat on the cheap. Reading it makes me want to take a trip to Michigan. (PS: She has red kitchen cabinets that I adore  !)

The rules of the award are that the nominee must:

- link back to whomever awarded the prize
- state 11 random facts about him- or herself
- answer the 11 questions from the award giver, and then - finally!
- nominate another 11 bloggers and devise 11 questions for them to answer.

11 facts

1. We're looking into moving back  to South Korea. My hubby lived there before and we feel called to go back. Our recruiting agency actually called while I was typing this.

2. I'm in the process of writing a book or two. More later on that subject.

3. I love baking and trying new flavor combinations. Especially with cupcakes.

4. I love the old shows like Gilligan's Island, Petticoat Junction, Green Acres and I Love Lucy .

5. I am in love with Captain Jack Sparrow. And my best friends boyfriend does a darn good impression of him. Its his looks, his mannerisms and quite possibly that I am where the rum went.

6. I love Reisens but I rarely buy them because they're so darn expensive. Maybe once I'm done paying off my student loans.

7. I went to a college just for women.

8. I love jokes. However, I am terrible at telling them.

9. I love to talk on the phone and prefer it to texting. I love random, how are you doing phone calls.

10. I really really enjoy shopping for gifts and putting together care packages for my friends.

11 Answers 1. What is the first thing you'll ask God when you get to Heaven?

Oh wow. I'm sure it will take me awhile to get over being speechless. He is so magnificent, so Holy, I can't even imagine what it will be like to be in His presence.

 2. What is your favorite "me time" indulgence? Reading all day long....oh and shopping without looking at the price tags!

3. What is the word or phrase you overuse the most? "Really?"

4. What is your favorite side dish at Thanksgiving? Cornbread stuffing. oh man

5. What is your most cringe-inducing, most appalling, most ridiculous dating story? I'm going to plead the 5th on this one.

6. What has your greatest accomplishment been so far in 2013? I've started the book God is leading me to write. I lead a group in prayer for the first time.

7. What website do you check most often throughout the day? facebook, pinterest, blogger

8. It's Christmas in July; in your letter to Santa, what are you asking him to leave under the tree for you? a red convertible  beetle!

9. Have you ever been to Michigan?no

10. If so, when, where, why? If not, why not??? I just haven't gotten there yet!! I'd love to come hang out.

11. What is your favorite kind of pie? chocolate rum pecan

11 bloggers

1. Kristen of Yada Yada Yada
2. Shelly of Life is a Many Splendored Thing
3. Mary Jane at Joy in the Morning
4. Brenna at By God's Southern Grace
5. Chef in Training
6. Finding Joy in My Kitchen
7. Carmen at Life Blessons
8. Mandy at Mandy's Life After 30
9. Jennifer at More than a Mommy 
10. The Answer is Chocolate
11. The Baking Robot

11 questions

1. Are you going to Heaven? Why or why not?
2. What's your favorite book? Why?
3. What's your favorite flavor cupake?
4. Whats your signature dish?
5. Where did you take your favorite trip? What made it special?
6. How would you describe yourself in one word?
7. If you won the lottery what would be the first thing you'd do?
8. What's your favorite website?
9. What is your favorite summer activity?
10. Favorite cocktail?
11. Who would you like to meet?

Wednesday, 10 July 2013


Every month I gleefully await for the arrival of a very special box.

And then the day comes when it arrives on my doorstep....

I pay $7 per month for this box of deliciousness to be delivered to my door. Every month I get 5-7 "samples" of snacks. This is a high point here, as the "samples" are often times full product sizes. This is why I unsubscribed to the snack box I previously subscribed too. The service I previously used cost $10 a month and included 5-7 mini bites.
I am almost always pleased with the contents of my box. I love to discover new tastes.
Inside June's box was:
1. gimME cheddar cheese flavored seaweed snacks (seaweed was a BIG good in S. Korea)
2. Lay's Stax...Adobadas flavor
3. Smooch--a fruit puree/mashup type snack that you suck out. (liked the snack but not a fan of the sucking apparatus)
4. Highland Shortbread cookies. Two cookies in a pouch. Perfect size. Perfect texture. Perfect taste
5. A pouch of Pringles Stix..cheddar flavor
6. A shot size of Dream Water, a supplement that claims to help you sleep. While all of the products were welcomed, I was quite unhappy to discover a "supplement" in my snack box. It is going directly into the trash.
Overall, the box is well worth the money. I'm delighted each month. Other boxes have included, hot fudge, organic ketchup, olive oil, a tote bag, guacamole, candy, tea, cookies, brownie brittle (my ultimate favorite) baking mixes, chip clips, beanitos, granola bars and a whole assortment of other foods.
Also, you earn points as you review the products in your boxes. I've just earned enough points to score a free month!
What subscription boxes do you use? Have you tried goodies?
PS: While I do subscribe to goodies, I received a free box in exchange for a review of the product

Friday, 28 June 2013

(I love Uncle Si! ) Introducing...

The Si Tai!

I'm a huge huge huge Duck Dynasty fan. The show makes me happy happy happy.

During the season finale, the family went to Hawaii. My favorite character, Uncle Si, grabbed one of the woman's Mai Tai and declared it a "Si Tai".

That was it for me. I knew I had to create it.

I based the ingredients off a Mai Tai recipe that appears in Racheal Ray's magazine.

Mix together:

3 oz rum
3/4 oz curacao
dash of either amaretto or almond extract
1/2 oz simple syrup
1.5 oz lime juice**

And pour into a glass of sweet iced tea. If you're not sure how much an oz is you can use the lines on a red solo cup to help you measure.

Garnish with

** Omit the lime juice if you're sweet tea has lemon in it.

I tried the sweet tea with lemon and didn't care for it as much as I think I would like the lime juice.

What do you think?

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

S'moreo Ice Cream

I just love my yonanas machine.

Tonight I experimented a bit and made my own flavor- I call it S'moreo.

Its part Oreo and part S'more.

I started by putting 4 oreos in my banana base.

I stirred mini-marshmallows into the "ice cream", melted half a Hershey bar and poured it on top.

Next, I crumbled a graham cracker square  on top of it all.


Do you have a Yonananas machine? Whats your favorite flavor?

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Successful Day of YARD SALES

 The hubby and I both like to go yard sale shopping.

There were a few community yard sales in our area today so we decided to give it a go. Despite the overcast weather, we had quite the luck.

For $3 I walked away with:

  • a work shirt (tied with the purse for my favorite, although the purse was by far the better deal)
  • a brand new gift for my secret pal
  • a brand new purse and matching wallet
  • a dessert pedestal
  • and a book about dino poop for a special kiddo!
That's about .60 cents an item!

My husband spent a bit more, but still got some good deals. For around $12 he came home with:

  • a beer gass
  • a 3 drawer filing cabinet
  • a power pad for his Nintendo  (his favorite score)
  • brand new insoles
That's an average of $3 an item. But the filing cabinet really makes up the majority of the total.

Did you go yard sale hunting today? What's your best ever yard sale find?

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Pinterest Love

If you're like me and addicted to chocolate and Pinterestt then perhaps you'd like to join my "Everything Chocoholic" board on Pinterest.

If you're interested shoot me an email (rrwrites at hotmail dot com) and include your pinterest ID and I'll invite you to the board.

I'd love to have a board dedicated to all sorts of chocolaty goodness. If you blog, feel free to include your own recipes.

Please be sure all pins link to the original source.

Happy Pinning!

Friday, 31 May 2013

Friday Fav Day-Sweet Summertime!

Happy Friday!

Today I'm linking up at  Finding Joy in My Kitchen

Here's a collection of recipes that I discovered this week:

No Bake Boston Cream Pie Strata
Pinned Image

Better Than Sex Chex Mix (camping?)
Pinned Image

Strawberry Nutella French Toast

Strawberry Mint Lemonade
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Bacon Ranch Potato Salad
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It looks like if it contains chocolate, strawberries or bacon you can count me in!

** All recipes and pictures belong  to the linked websites

Thursday, 30 May 2013

S is for Southern Hospitality

Some say you're born and bred with it.
Others say its a skill you learn.

As for me? I love it. I think its part practiced skill, part natural love .

A lot of things have been changing inside me lately, thanks to my growing relationship with the my Father through His Son, Jesus Christ.

One of those things is a growing sense of hospitality. A desire to love through taking care of people- feeding them, talking to them, making them feel at home.

Reading Bread and Wine started to ferment these feelings and ideas.

At our bonfire last weekend, someone commented to me that I always have plenty of good food around when we have company. Wheels turned a little further down the track.

Today, a godly woman at work remarked that she sees me  as being in the hospitality ministry.

And then it clicked. That's who I want to be. Who I feel God is leading me to be.

I am shy. When I am in my element, I am more open. More likely to share the Word of God or voice my opinion.

I love feeding people, sharing and laughing with them.

My new dream is to be the one who invites the newcomer (at work, church etc) over for dinner. The one who holds old groups of friends together by hosting gatherings

God has blessed me greatly and I can't wait to share them!

What talent, skills and desires has God blessed you with?

Monday, 27 May 2013

Summer Drinks

In my last post I mentioned that we were drinking pink bikinis and love and peace cocktails. I thought I'd share the recipes with you. They are both yummy but the pink bikini was the all around favorite.

Pink Bikini

1.75 liter raspberry lemonade (we used Simply Lemonade)
1 3/4 cup coconut rum
1 cup amaretto

Mix together and shake.

Love and Peace

Pour the following ingredients into a 1.75 liter container. I used the empty Simply Lemonade container from above.

4 scoops of pink lemonade
1 cup strawberry vodka
1/3 cup Triple Sec
1/3 cup coconut rum

Using cold water, fill the rest of the container up to the base of the neck. Cap and shake gently to mix.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

By The Light of the Moon

We held a bonfire party last night. It was a beautiful night, an almost full moon, a toasty fire, good food and even better friends.

We laughed, we talked and laughed some more. The comment I heard the most this morning was "my cheeks hurt". That's the sign you had a good time!

We sipped on pink bikinis and love and peace:

Everyone pitched in with the food and drinks. We had quite the spread, from fruit and veggie trays to jalepeno boats, chocolate pie, pasta salad, lucky salsa, banana boats and s'mores.

After everyone left, Mike and I sat alone by the fire. We shared thoughts about our jobs, our society, the Bible, and our future family.

 His sentiment "And then there were two", brought a quick tear to my eye, as it was a modified version of one he shares with his army buddies, "The Triad", as they call themselves.

It was a fitting end to a magical night.

And it all happened underneath the Pennsylvania moon. (which strangely enough, when you're with the right people feels just like home)

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Book Review: Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist

Bread and Wine is an excellent book.  I love how Shauna relates memories of people, places, events to the tastes and smells of the food she enjoyed while experiencing those moments. I can relate quite well. She writes beautifully about her families and friends, sharing engaging stories from different times in her life. She then shares a recipe for a dish that she thinks captures the moment for her. Her memories come alive as she takes in the smells, tastes and textures of certain foods.

I really enjoyed the way Shauna relates faith and food. Friends, family, faith and food. She stresses that important moments often happen around the kitchen table. And although the book doubles as a cookbook, she urges us not to forget that the moments make the meal, not the food. You can serve frozen pizza as long as you do so with love.

With love, with love, seems to be the reoccurring theme in this beautiful book. The book includes a good portion of recipes for breakfasts, sides, mains and dessert. Each one is written in a easy conversational style, that makes me want to whip up a risotto, and feel comfortable doing so, even though I could barely identify it in the grocery store. I have not yet tested any of her recipes but they all look simple and detailed enough that I want to try every single one of them.

Also, for those of you who have read and enjoyed Molly Wizenberg’s A Homemade Life, this book is stylistically similar and equally delightful. I love the book club discussion guides and the extra sections on party planning and weeknight meal planning.
Basically, I love this book and look forward to reading her other two.
PS: I recieved a free copy of this book from Booksneeze, in exchange for my honest opinion.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Are you going to Heaven?

We discussed this at last weeks Bible study and my boss encouraged us to discuss this concept with all of our friends. Since I've come to think of many of you as blog buddies, I decided to discuss this here.

So, I'd like to hear your thoughts. Do you think you are going to heaven? Why?

Here, I'll go first.

I believe I am going to Heaven because God sent his Son, Jesus, and that he died on the cross and in doing so saved me from all of my sin. I accept that Jesus did this for me, as my Savior. I believe accepting Jesus' sacrifice is the only way to spend eternity with God.

If you agree, or not I invite you share your thoughts below or email me at rrwrites at hotmail dot com and I'll do my best to explain my beliefs.

In a similar vein, I am looking for guest bloggers to fill in so that I can spend some more time working on my novel and finishing my tshirt quilt. Feel free to comment or email me if you'd like to help.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Book Review: Unleashed: Release the Untamed Faith Within by Erwin McManus

This book relates the way Jesus lived his life to the way we out to live our lives when we profess ourselves as Christians and claim to follow Him. To sum up the book, Jesus never promised this following him would consist solely of sitting in church pews in pretty clothing. The author reiterates that the Christian path can be a hard, dangerous and surprising one- but that because we have Christ we have no need to fear it.  Rather he suggests we embrace it.

I love the author’s ideas and he writes with great passion. I believe, like the author, that we often put Christianity in a nice safe box and don’t experience life to the fullest because we don’t unleash our untamed faith.  I very much want to live as a disciple, and not merely a Christian, to go where Christ calls me, no matter what the cost.

However, I did find flaws with this book. The authors style is somewhat disconnected. It’s almost as if he published his first draft, without undergoing any editing process. He has passion, but lacks finesse (much like me in the kitchen haha). I’m not sure that I would recommend this book because there are several other good books out there with a similar perspective-like anything by Mark Batterson. However, the passion behind this book could make it a faith changer. Overall, I think I have a fairly neutral opinion of this book  (which is pretty rare).
PS: I was given a free copy of this book (via BookSneeze) in exchange for my thoughts.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Once a Month/Week Cooking Review

If you remember, a few weeks ago I tried my hand at freezer cooking. I opted to try just a weeks worth of meals to see how the process worked for my family.

Boy am I glad I let me husband talk me into that! Otherwise we would have wasted a huge amount of food.

I made 7 recipes and only 5 came out edible and only 3 were enjoyable.

The pasta tasted terrible, although it had smelled amazing on cooking day.
The pizza crust refused to bake, but the toppings and sauce were delish.
The chicken cordon bleu, was so-so.
The breakfast burritos were a hit with the hubby.
We both enjoyed the breakfast and bean burritos.
The meatloaf tasted okay but took almost 2 hours to cook.
I like the taste of the frozen fruit cups, but they take a good 20 minutes until they are thawed enough to get a spoon into. Maybe my freezer is too hard core. Because they take so long to thaw I have been eating them as dessert instead of breakfast.

I think I'll try the pizza again, make it, bake it and eat it all in the same day.

Overall, I think I will just strive to do my chopping and prepping in advance but leave everything to be cooked the day of.

How have your once a month cooking experiences gone?

PS: I'm going to be looking for a few guest posters soon. Email me at rrwrites at hotmail dot com if you're interested!

Monday, 22 April 2013

Stash Busting Monday: Taste of Home Cannoli Cake (2 for 1)

Yummy! I found this recipe in Taste of Home and had been waiting to try it. A coworker offered to bring in chicken scampi the other day, so I offered to bring in dessert.

I thought this would be the prefect combination.


The Taste of Home recipe calls for a french vanilla cake mix but since I shy away from cake mixes I baked up a buttermilk vanillabean cake that I found in Molly Wizenberg's A Homemade Life. (I highly recommed her book. Its full of lovely stories and recipes)

To turn the vanilla cake into a  cannoli cake, you need to make the filling and frostings and chill until spreadable:

16oz ricotta cheese
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
2tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

16 oz marscapone
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 cup whole milk
2 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract

Because I used Wizenberg's recipe, I had thinner cake layers and thus had extra icing which I think I will use to make hummingbird bread.

After filling and frosting the cake (place filling on top layer of cake, to within 1 inch of edge and then use frosting on the edge and sides) press almonds around the sides of the cake and sprinkle chocolate chips on top of the cake. Chill until serving.

PS: If you want to pick the next recipe I make, post a comment with a number from 1-329!

Friday, 19 April 2013

Cooking Through Christmas: Spiced Fruit Bowl

I made this for our Christmas celebration and it was super easy and tasty!


2 cans (29 oz each) sliced peaches
1 can pear halves (29 oz)
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
4- 3in cinnamin sticks
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cloves
1 pound red grapes, halved


Drain juice from peaches and pears into saucepan and set aside. Add vinegar, allspice, cloves and salt to juices. Add cinnamon sticks. Bring to a boil and simmer for ten minutes. Remove from heat and cool 15 minutes.  In a large bowl, combine the peaches, pears and grapes. A dd juices and cinnamon sticks. over and refrigerate at least 12 hours. Sir occasionally. Remove cinnamon sticks prior to serving.

I found the leftovers made a great (and fairly healthy) breakfast.

I would definitely plan on making this again. To pick the next recipe I try, comment with  a number from 1-329

PS: This recipe is from TOH's Treasury of Chrismas recipes

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

He's a Turkey!

Last night I pulled back the covers, and found....

I ran downstairs and asked my husband what he meant by this. He siad "Happy Birdday!" and died laughing. (No, it wasn't my  birthday)...He's just a turkey.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Guest Blogging Today

I know its a little late in the day, but I'm the guest blogger today at Life Blessons. Won't you join me as I discuss the ways Christ helps me overcome my fear?

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Freezer Cooking

Has anyone ever tried Once A Month cooking? I've been contemplating it for some time. And then I was introduced to Once a Month Mom. Its a subscription based site, but does offer quite a few free menus to try before you buy, including diet and whole foods. 

After discussing this with my husband, he suggested that we try cooking only one week worth of meals, to use during the my 5pm week. I spent about 2.5 hours preparing 5 dinners and about 14 breakfast servings.

I made:

BBQ Pizza
Pasta Primavera
Pizza Stuffed Meatloaf
Beef Burritos
Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole
Frozen Fruit Cups (breakfast)
Chorizo and Egg Burritos (breakfast)

Since I was cooking for a only a week I was able to make a menu pieced together from several of the sites menus. I'll update you later in the week on how the recipes tasted.

Any freezer cooking tips?

Friday, 5 April 2013

Friday Favorites!!!!!

Oh man!

I almost forgot it was Friday. What a week. Sheez.

Anyway. Here's what you came for today- a list of things I discovered this week that I'd love to make. Linked up at the lovely Finding Joy in My Kitchen, of course. All recipes and pictures belong to the linked blogs.

1. Spicy Buffalo Cauliflower

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2. Chocolate Hazelnut Baklava

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3. Avocado Truffles

Avocado Chocolate Truffles
Chocolate Avocado Shake
Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies
Looks like avacado's the thing.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

The Book That Totally Creeped Me Out

...As in floating fairyheaded nightmares...but we'll get back to that in a minute.

I went to a book club a few weeks ago where everyone brought a book that they had read and liked and were willing to swap.

I took Nora Robert's  Daring to Dream (the first of three) and came home with Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger.

I was about 3/4 of the way through the book and was really into the story. It was strange, mysterious and holding my interest and then it got creepy.

********************SPOILER ALERT*****************
Towards the end of the book you discover that the twins (two of the main characters) are daughters of their father, and his wife's twin. The adult twins switched places to try to test the husbands fidelity, the wrong one got pregnant, and they switched again. The true mother to never see the children twins again until after her death when she remains in the apartment that she bequeathed to her nieces/daughters as a ghost. One of the twins falls in love with the mother/ghosts/aunts former lover and decides to fake her death so that she can separate her life from her more controlling twin sister. Only the plan isn't to fake her death but to actually die, have her mother, the ghost, catch her spirit and put it back in her body later and then move away. Well the mother goes along with the plan up until the point of putting her daughter back. The daughters ghost doesn't have enough ghost strength (which the mother knew all along) and so the mother puts her spirit into her daughters dead body and goes on living with her former lover and has a baby through him and her daughters body

***************END SPOILER********************************

I'm not sure if it was the lack of God in this novel that upset me so much or what but the whole conniving ending and exploiting of others just really stuck a cord with me.

Back to the floating fairy headed dreams. As a child I had a dream that fairys kidnapped me, made me pepetually wash dishes and eat cake. Non stop. I woke up with my hands numb, stiff and pulsating. And then I promptly vomited. From all of the cake, of course.

I've had an occasional experience that gives me the same feeling. The night after I finished this book, I had a dream that the mothers ghost was trying to get into my body. And this produced the same "floating fairy headed" feeling. And I awoke several times feeling quie nausous.

I normally try not to not recommend a book, but I can not encourage anyone to read this. Just because I don't want you to be creeped out like I was.

Have you read this? What did you think? Am I overreacting to the creep factor?

Monday, 1 April 2013

Chocolate Disaster

What the actual name for this dessert is I'm not sure.  I call it chocolate disaster because it can easily wreck havoc on your diet, resolutions and pearly whites  all in one sitting.

But boy are they scumptious!
Or fandamntastic, as a long lost friend once said.

Bottom layer chocolate chip cookie dough.
Middle layer peanut  butter  stuffed Oreos
Top layer, gooey, fudgey brownies.

And if thats not enough, top it with vanilla ice cream or homemade whipped cream. oooooooh.

The original  recipe comes from this blog that I found via Pinterest.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Friday Favorites!

Its been awhile since I've done this, but today I'm linking up again at Finding Joy in My Kitchen!

Here's a list of yummy looking dishes I've discovered this week. (All of the pictures and recipes belong to the linked website)

Creamy Avocado Salad Dressing:

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Steak and Mushroom Pot Pies (I adore mushrooms)

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Easter Bunny Racecar

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Dessert 7 Layer Dip
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KitKat Cheesecake Bars:

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