Monday, December 31, 2012

3 Kit Kat Cake

I first saw this cake on Becky Leach's blog a couple of years ago and immediately fell in love! 
When I had tons of M&M's left over from Christmas, I knew a Kit Kat Cake would be a beautiful and delicious way to use the left over candy!  

Whether you have plans to curl up on the couch or attend a soiree, I hope you have a lovely evening reflecting on the joys of 2012 and looking forward to 2013!

Kit Kat Cake
Box cake mix, icing and ingredients on back of box
A large bag of M&Ms (enough to fill the top of the cake) 
4-5 packages of regular sized Kit Kats (not bite sized) 
Bake cake according to direction on the back of the box. Let cool and then ice the cake. Stack Kit Kats along the sides of the cake pressing each Kit Kat into the icing. Fill the top of the cake with M&Ms! I would suggest tying a pretty bow around the Kit Kat's to keep everything set!
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Saturday, December 29, 2012

6 Apple Streusel Cheesecake Bars

When putting together a large dinner like that of Thanksgiving or Christmas, oven space is a luxury. Even with two ovens, the turkey, all the sides and the rolls have priority over a dessert! 
With that said, I always try to serve a cold or room temperature dessert when cooking a dinner for a crowd  .  . . like these Apple Streusel Cheesecake Bars!
They were amazing, easy to make and a hit at our Christmas lunch! 
Apple Streusel Cheesecake Bars 
1 pouch (1 pound 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker Oatmeal Cookie Mix
1/2 cup firm butter or margarine 
2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened 
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1 can (21 oz) apple pie filling 
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped walnuts 
Heat oven to 350°F. Spray bottom and sides of 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray.Place cookie mix in large bowl. With pastry blender or fork, cut in butter until mixture is crumbly and coarse. Reserve 1 1/2 cups crumb mixture; press remaining crumbs in bottom of pan. Bake 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in large bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, flour, vanilla and egg with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over partially baked crust. In medium bowl, mix pie filling and cinnamon. Spoon evenly over cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle reserved crumbs over top. Sprinkle with walnuts.Bake 35 to 40 minutes longer or until light golden brown. Cool about 30 minutes. Refrigerate to chill, about 2 hours. For bars, cut into 6 rows by 4 rows. Store covered in refrigerator.
Betty Crocker
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Friday, December 28, 2012

2 Sic Em and Homemade Vitek's Gut Pack

In honor of the Baylor Bears win over UCLA in the Holiday Bowl, 
I'm sharing a Waco classic. . . 
as in been around since 1915 classic. 
Vitek's BBQ began as a butcher's shop and that high standard of quality meat has remained after all of these years.  
While everything at Vitek's is wonderful, your first time visiting this iconic place, you must order a Gut Pack. 
A Gut Pack is what I would consider a Texas version of the standard frito pie. 
 They add chopped beef, beans, and sausage. Served with a side of onions, pickles, jalapenos and, of course, a sweet tea! 
While my homemade version isn't served in the standard Gut Pack Styrofoam box and I use chili instead of beans, if you aren't near Vitek's, this might help your "Waco" homesick heart (and tummy!)  
Sic Em Bears! :-) 
Homemade Vitek's Gut Pack
Chopped Beef
2 slices of White Bread
Cover a plate with Fritos. Spoon chili over the fritos and add beef and sausage. Top generously with cheese. Add pickles, onions, and jalapenos to the top! Serve with 2 slices of white bread!

2 pounds Ground Chuck
3 cloves Garlic, Minced (optional)
1 can (12 to 14 ounce) Tomato Sauce
1 can (10 ounce) Ro-tel (diced tomatoes and chilies)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground oregano
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 can (14 ounce) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (14 ounce) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup masa (corn flour) or regular corn meal
1/2 cup warm water
Brown ground chuck with garlic in a pot over medium high heat. Add tomato sauce, Rotel, salt, oregano, cumin, and chili powder. cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add drained and rinsed beans. Stir to combine, then cover and simmer for another 20 minutes  Mix masa with water, then add to the chili. Stir to combine and simmer for a final 10 to 15 minutes. 
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Thursday, December 27, 2012

6 Thoughts on the New Year. . .

Christmas is such a magical time. . . 
from traditions
to spending time with loved ones. . . 
Christmas is so special. 
And as I said before, Christmas is spending time in AWE of the grace we have received. 

This Christmas was relaxing. . . full of laughter, food, and fellowship. 
 I spent early Christmas morning reading this on Wynne's recommendation.
The puppies praying that they got a little taste of Christmas lunch. 
Sweet gifts 
And funny gifts. . . 
and, of course, a Christmas Day nap! :-) 
We had a gracious guest this year at Christmas! 
Parker invited a Rice MBA friend from China who was delightful and so very thoughtful. 
My dad reading Luke 2 to the family took on a whole new meaning when someone at the table had never heard the story of Jesus. 
I always get excited about new beginnings. . . 
a new year. 
God perfectly planned 2012 for Nate and I. His hand was over us the entire year and I could physically feel his arms around us, holding us, loving us. 
I pray that in 2013 we walk through the year Kingdom Minded. . . knowing that this is not our home and that we are looking towards something greater. Praying each morning that God directs our steps rather than waking up and plowing through the day on our own. 
Let 2013 be a year of daily dying to self and consciously growing closer to Him.

I just finished a four month journey of listening to the Bible (per Robin's suggestion) (email me if you want a copy of the plan that I used) and am excited and renewed to begin a new study. 
A friend and I are going to do Beth Moore's 2013 Scripture Memory but I am also looking for a daily bible study. I have couple in mind but would love some suggestions! :-) 

I hope your Christmas was sweet and that you are ready for the New Year. 
Thank you for reading. 
Thank you for giving me a little spot in the blogging world of fellowship and the opportunity to share something I love. 
I am so blessed. 

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

3 Goat Cheese Log with Pistachios and Cranberries

I served this red and green appetizer on Christmas Eve and it was devoured and loved by everyone
(except for Nate who is suspicious of any cheese that isn't cheddar! :-) 
The salty pistachios with sweet cranberries and cheese makes an amazing combination.
This is the perfect appetizer to distract guests while you are putting the finishing touches on the main meal! :-)  
Goat Cheese Log with Pistachios and Cranberries
1 8-ounce log goat cheese  
1/2 cup pistachios, shelled, roughly chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped

sliced baguette or crackers for serving
In a small pan over medium-high heat, toast the pistachios until fragrant; about 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let cool.
Combine the pistachios and cranberries in a plate and roll the goat cheese log in the mixture until completely coated. (Make sure the goat cheese is very cold before rolling it in the pistachio/cranberry mixture) Place on a serving dish and sprinkle the remaining pistachio/cranberry mixture around the log. Allow to sit out at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before serving so the cheese will soften nicely and become more spreadable. Serves approximately 6-8.
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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

0 In AWE of Grace

Today is the day that the Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled with the birth of a baby. . .

"Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign; The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel." - Isaiah 7:14

And with that baby boy's birth. .  . the world was forever changed. 
Praise God for giving up HIS son, to come to earth as a baby, to live a perfect life, and to die on a cross for our sins. 
So that one day we can be with Him in Heaven. 

Spending today in awe of the grace bestowed on me. 

Merry Christmas! :-) 

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