Tuesday, September 25, 2012

2 "Happy Fall, Y'all" Linky Party on October 1st!

I love fall!
The weather, the holidays, pumkin, apple cider, time with friends and family, and just a sense of thankfulness in the air!

So a few of my "blog" friends and I are hosting a "Happy Fall, Y'all" linky party on October 1st!
Link up with recipes, DIY crafts, decorations, whatever your heart desires! 
When you link up to Elizabeth Ann's Recipe Box, your link will immediately be shared with these other blogs!
It is a wonderful way to share great ideas and receive more traffic! :-)

Here are the sweet girls who are hosting with me!

Y'all already know Meg from Henning Love from our recipe swaps! :-)
Meg has great down to earth recipes, a wonderful fashion sense, and is an avid runner!
More than anything, I love her sweet spirit and the way she loves other! :-)

I am so excited to introduce you to Allison from Cupcake Diaries

Allison is a mom of two, an incredible baker, cook, and someone who loves to craft! She is always whipping up something new and she is a pretty amazing photographer too!

And here is Whitney from Harvest Home!
 
She is a great cook and teacher! :-) I especially love seeing pictures of Whitney's cute classroom! Whitney is a native Texans who is living in Arkansas and we have never met but have a couple of "real life" friends! :-) !
We are so looking forward to this fun linky party, so come back and join the fun on October 1st! :-)
I'm already thinking about what I'm going to link up with! :-)

{this Pumpkin Fluff Dip seems like the perfect fit!}

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Monday, September 17, 2012

1 Recipe Swap with Henning Love! :-)

I am so excited to be swapping recipes with Meg again! :-) Make sure to check out the addicting cookies I am sharing over at Henning Love!
 
Dear Elizabeth Ann's Recipe Box readers, 
Elizabeth Ann and I are at it again, doing a recipe swap for you all. Be sure to check out Elizabeth Ann's recipe over at my blog, henning love.
For you all today, I have made whoopie pies with chocolate ganache. Are your mouths watering yet? If not, then they should be after you read this recipe.
First, gather together your ingredients. 1/4 cup butter, softened, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 egg, 1 cup milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 3/4 cup flour, 3/4 cocoa powder. For the ganache filling, 1/2 cup heavy cream, 4 ounces chopped chocolate. 
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. In your mixing bowl, cream the butter.
Add in the sugar and brown sugar. Mix these three ingredients until creamy. 
Crack the egg and and add it into the sugar butter mixture  and mix well. 
Add in the milk, flour, vanilla extract and cocoa powder.
 Turn on your mixer and until the ingredients are incorporated and the dough is smooth looking. 
Drop 2 teaspoons amount of dough into your baking sheet. 
Bake your whoopie dough for 12-14 minutes. Remove the pies from the oven when they are finished and place them on a baking rack to cool. Let the pies cool completely before you add in the ganache filling.
To make the ganache, put both the chocolate and heavy cream in a sauce pan and stir while the chocolate melts. 
Once the ganache is smooth, remove from the heat and let it cool slightly. When the ganache has a creamy consistency, spoon some ganache on one whoopie pie and them place another whoopie pie on top to make a sandwich. 
Then serve, eat and enjoy with a tall glass of ice cold milk because you will need it!
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Sunday, September 16, 2012

0 A Miracle and Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

One of my favorite things to do is have coffee with friends. 
Two or three hour coffee dates
If we were meeting for coffee, I'd order my Venti nonfat latte and quickly catch up on trivial items while we waited. 
As soon as we got our coffee and sat down, I'd want to know how you are, 
your family, job, kids, church. . . 
as the conversation went along, I would tell you about the absolute miracle that happened in my life. 
You would probably already know that Gus gets nervous during thunderstorms . . . 
you would know that this is from being at his trainer's the two times the river in the past 8 years (quite far away from the kennel) has overflowed and caused his kennel to flood. 
You would know that I adore Gus' trainer and totally understand that random acts of extreme weather aren't his fault. . . and that before the water even reached Gus' kennel (both times), the trainer was already there evacuating the dogs to higher ground. But needless to say, huge thunderstorms, with a metal roof overhead, have caused Gus to not really enjoy impending rain and storms!
Of course, you would know that Gus has gone to Grandparent Day Care while I was at school for most of his life. 
But then I would tell you how a couple of weeks ago, there was a quick thunderstorm that might have lasted 10 or 15 minutes. 
After school, my mom realized that Gus was gone and called me. When I got to their house, I saw that he had dug out of the backyard. . . something Gus has never done. 
I immediately called my dad and Nate who both raced home from work. . . 
Nate called my brothers. . . 
who brought my sister in laws.  . .
and in a matter of time there were six cars searching my parents neighborhood. 
We searched for hours. . . 
my dad emailed the neighborhood and asked if anyone had seen Gus. . . 
In the back of our minds, we knew that Gus doesn't really know what a street is and that he normally runs to cars not from them. . . 
he knows what my dad's car looks like and every time we are walking and a car that looks similar drives by Gus' ears pick up and he tries to go towards the car. . . thinking his Grandpa has come to see him. . . 
My mom received a call from a neighbor who said she saw Gus run across a very busy street . . . she said he was running as fast as he could and of course didn't look right or left. . .
but he crossed without getting hit.
you would know, that in the big city that we live in . . . the roads are always busy. . . but on a Friday afternoon. . . it is only a miracle that Gus ran across such a busy street without getting hit.
My mom said God parted the "Red Sea" for him. 
Because of that phone call we knew more of a specific area to look in. 
But still two hours later, we hadn't found him. I looked on the sides of all the busy streets and the highways near my parent's house. . . thinking he had been hit. 
But still there was nothing. 
Nate walked up and down the bayou thinking he would have wanted water. . . 
But he was nowhere to be found.
Finally, it was turning dark. . . 
my mom, dad, and I randomly all pulled up to a park at the same time and decided we would go home and reconvene. I was going to walk the perimeter of the park just to see if Gus had been hit and had crawled somewhere to hide. 
I was on the other side of the park when I received a phone call from my mom (and then my dad) saying my dad had found Gus. 
He was running as fast as he could down the middle of a street towards a very busy street when my dad spotted him and called to him.
We were so so thankful.
(and Gus was so excited to see my dad!)
The likelihood of a dog running around my parents neighborhood on a Friday afternoon, crossing busy streets and not getting hit is an absolute miracle.
My mom still can't talk about it without crying.
She says God scooped Gus up in his arms and just held him until we found him.
A 100% miracle.
I would laugh and show you this picture
and tell you about how Gus the next morning had to deliver flowers to his aunts and tell them, "Thank you for helping find me!"
We would talk about how important having tags and a microchip is and how I was so comforted by that while we were searching for Gus. I would tell you how we took sweet Wrigley, at 15 years old, to get microchipped that Monday. As my vet said. . . you just never know.

We would probably marvel at God's hand over the whole event and just sit in disbelief over such an obvious miracle.
I would want to hear more about your life. . . you would most likely have an amazing story of how God performed a special miracle in your life.
Towards the end of our time together I would hand you a bag of these cookies and pass on a family favorite recipe!
We would hug, talk some more in the parking lot and then three hours later finally drive off. . .
and our coffee date would have been one of my favorite ways to spend the day.
Sadly, I can't have coffee with my "blog" friends. . .
but hopefully virtual coffee is the next best thing!
Happy Sunday!
Marveling at God's goodness today!
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
1 1/2 c flour
1 c brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
3 c Oatmeal (Quick Oats)
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 c shortening (or butter)
1 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 nuts (optional)
1 c raisins, craisins, or dried blueberries
Cream the sugars and shortening together then add the rest of the ingredients one at a time. Mix well. Roll into pin pong ball sized balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10-11 min at 350 degrees for chewy cookies. Cool on a rack. When cool put in a large storage bag or plastic container
Recipe from my Aunt Debbie
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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

0 Banana Crumb Cake

I made this Banana Crumb Cake to celebrate the first day of school a couple of weeks ago!
It was pretty incredible and was enjoyed by all! :-)
The winner of the Bungalow Card Co. giveaway is Lauren!
Banana Crumb Cake
For the Crumb Cake:
2C sugar
1 C milk
1 C chopped nuts (optional)
2 C self rising flour
1 stick margarine
2 eggs
3 bananas
1 tsp vanilla
For the Crumb Topping:
1 stick (1/2 c) Margarine
1 Cup brown sugar (dark or light)
1 cup flour (self rising or plain, whatever you have on hand)
Directions
1.Spray two loaf or two 8×8 pans with cooking spray. 2.Place peeled bananas in mixing bowl, add sugar. Mix until bananas are liquefied.
3.Add margarine, mix until creamed together with banana mixture. Add all other ingredients and blend well.
4.In medium bowl, place all topping ingredients. Cut together with a long tined fork until well blended.
5.Pour 1/4 of batter into each pan, top with 1/4 crumb mixture.
6.Pour remaining batter over and top with remaining crumb mixture.
7.Bake for 45 minutes to an hour at 350.
8.Cake is done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
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Sunday, September 9, 2012

1 Chicken, Spinach, Goat Cheese Quesadillas with Avocado Sour Cream

Happy Sunday! I hope y'all have had a wonderful weekend!
These quesadillas are an easy meal to put together on weeknights but are so so incredible! :-)
I especially loved the goat cheese aspect and the Avocado Sour Cream! :-)  
The Bungalow Card Co giveaway ends tonight at midnight! :-) Don't forget to enter!
Chicken, Spinach, Goat Cheese Quesadilla Ingredients:
Flour Totrillas (whole wheat would work fine too)
Chicken (cooked and sliced)
Garlic (1 tsp., minced)
Baby Spinach (1 pre packaged bag)
Salt, Pepper, & Cayenne Pepper to taste
Goat Cheese (4 oz, crumbled)
Reduced Fat Shredded Monterey Jack
Non-Stick cooking spray or olive oil
Directions
Heat the spinach with the garlic, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper over medium-low heat in a pan until just wilted. Remove from heath and set aside.
Heat the grill pan (or regular pan) over medium-high heat. Spray with non-stick cooking spray or drizzle with olive oil. Toast the inside of the tortilla for about 30 seconds.
Take the tortilla off the grill pan and assemble as follows. Over half the quessadilla sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of monterey jack cheese, following by a few slices of chicken, then the spinach, then the crumbled goat cheese.
Add to the grill pan and cook for about 1 - 2 minutes. Carefully use a spatula to flip the empty half of the tortilla onto the loaded half. At this point I like to let the quesadilla cook for about 30 more seconds, then flip it over. Give it another 1 -2 minutes, then remove from the pan and enjoy!
Avocado Sour Cream
Ingredients
1 Avocado, chopped
1/3 c. sour cream
1 T maynoaise
1 lime juice
1/4 t onion powder
salt and pepper to taste
Directions
Use a fork to mash the avocado as much as you can. (You can put it in the food processor if you want a smoother dip, but I just use a fork and a spoon).
Combine it with all other ingredients and stir together.
Note: If you want a thinner dip, stir in a few tablespoons of buttermilk. If you want a smoother dip, throw everything in the food processor. Sugar Cooking
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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

2 Baked Pumpkin Donuts with Maple Cinnamon Glaze

Since Starbucks is now serving Pumpkin Spice Lattes. . .
clearly pumpkin season is back!
There is a Pumpkin Crumb Cake in the oven! Since it is Back to School Night tomorrow, I thought my teacher friends might need a little sustenance to keep them going throughout the long day!
Last year, I swapped recipes with Meg from Henning Love and then forgot to share these donuts with y'all!
Since fall has started, here is a perfectly lovely "pumpkin" breakfast!!!  
Don't forget to enter the Bungalow Card Co. Giveaway! :-)
Baked Pumpkin Donuts with Maple Cinnamon Glaze 
Yield: 12 doughnuts
Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Maple-Cinnamon Glaze
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon maple extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons milk
Instructions
Preheat the oven to 350F. Prepare a doughnut pan by spraying with non-stick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger. Set aside.
In another bowl, cream together the brown sugar, butter and pumpkin. Add in the eggs, mix well, then mix in the vanilla. Stir in the reserved dry ingredients.
Place the mix in a large zip-top bag. Cut off the corner and pipe into the doughnut pan.
Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven, let rest for 5 minutes, then remove from pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
Meanwhile, make the glaze: In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, maple extract, cinnamon and milk.
When the doughnuts are cool, dip them in the glaze. Return to the wire rack to allow the glaze to set.
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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

2 Gazpacho

I made Gazpacho earlier in the summer and literally could not get enough of this healthy and cool soup! 
Since the weather is (hopefully) going to start cooling down, I wanted to share this with y'all before fall sets in! 
Don't forget to enter the Bungalow Card Co giveaway! :-) 
Gazpacho
2 cloves Garlic, Minced
1/2 whole Red Onion, Diced
1 whole Large Cucumber, Diced
5 whole Roma Tomatoes, Diced
1 whole Zucchini, Diced
2 stalks Celery, Diced
1 dash Salt To Taste
1/4 gallon Tomato Juice
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/8 cup Red Wine Vinegar
2 Tablespoons White Sugar
6 dashes Tabasco
1 dash Black Pepper To Taste
In the bowl of a food processor or in a blender, combine the minced garlic with half the red onion, half the cucumber, half the tomato, half the zucchini, half the celery, half the tomato juice, olive oil, red wine vinegar, sugar, Tabasco, and a dash of salt.
Pulse until all ingredients are blended well; mixture will have a nice speckled, colorful texture.
Pour into a large bowl and add the rest of the tomato juice, and half of the remaining onion, cucumber, tomato, zucchini, and celery. (Reserve the rest of the diced vegetables for garnish.)
Stir mixture together and check seasonings, adding salt if needed. Chill soup for at least a couple of hours; soup needs to be very cold!
Remove the soup from the fridge and stir. Check seasonings one last time. Ladle into a bowl and garnish with remaining diced vegetables, a sliver of fresh avocado, sour cream, and cilantro. Finally, place a grilled shrimp on the top and serve with grilled slices of bread.

Pioneer Woman
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Monday, September 3, 2012

31 Bungalow Card Co. GIVEAWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Happy Labor Day! :-)
It is no secret that I adore stationary, monograms, and handwritten cards as shown here.
And because of my love of stationary, I am SO SO excited to introduce you to a new company that I already love!
My sweet friend, West Jackson, introduces Bungalow Card Co. in her own words:
"Bungalow Card Co.
personalized notecards for thoughtful people
Stationery, notecards; anything paper.
I’ve loved it all ever since I was little.
So, a stationery company of my own has been in the back of my mind for years.
Finally, with great joy, I announce the launch of Bungalow Card Co.
Personalized thank you notes, family cards and classic stationery are designed with a fresh, clean look,
well suited for your own use or as a gift.
All orders are gift-ready, packaged in a hand-stamped cloth, drawstring bag.
Pay homage to the timeless tradition of a handwritten card from Bungalow Card Co.
Sweet West, if I could describe her with one word, it would be graceful! She lives her life full of love, joy, and grace! And, oh how she loves Jesus! Basically, she is amazing and I am so blessed to call her friend! :-)
Here are a couple of amazing examples of her stationary!
Each set of cards comes in a beautiful bag as shown below! :-)
Here are the two that I picked out!
Want to win a set of personalized stationary from Bungalow Card Co.???
TO ENTER:
1. MANDATORY: Must be a follower of Elizabeth Ann's Recipe Box and leave a comment telling me you are!
You can leave an additional comment for each of the below.
2. Visit Bungalow Card Co. and tell me which stationary you would choose if you won! 
3. Follow Elizabeth Ann's Recipe Box on Facebook
4. Follow Elizabeth Ann's Recipe Box on Twitter
5. Follow Elizabeth Ann's Recipe Box on Pinterest
 6.Tweet about the giveaway
7. Facebook post about the giveaway
8. Blog about the giveaway
9. You have Elizabeth Ann's Recipe Box on your blog roll!
10. You have Elizabeth Ann's Recipe Box button on your blog!
11. Pin something from Elizabeth Ann's Recipe Box on Pinterest!
12. StumbleUpon this post (to learn how to stumbleupon, go here)
You have 12 chances to win this incredible giveaway! :-)
The Bungalow Card  Co. giveaway ends at midnight on Sept 9.
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Sunday, September 2, 2012

2 How to Organize Your Pantry

Happy Sunday! 
Today, I wanted to share a couple of tips to help you organize your pantry and some examples of  how I organized ours! 
1. Put items where you can see them. By using clear bins and containers, it is easy to see where everything is located. 
2. Organize shelves or sections by baking/cooking, snack foods, etc. I have each shelf organized into baking, spices, flour/sugar, breakfast, snacks, etc. 
3. Use bins or trays to help keep a lot of little things in the same organized place (like sprinkles or food coloring) 
4. Tiered shelving is a huge help when organizing spices! 
And here is how I put the above suggestions into action: 
Early in our marriage, the cabinets that hold all of my cooking supplies were completely disorganized. I would go buy walnuts at the store and realize later that I already had a bag of them behind M&Ms, morsels, and almonds. 
At one point I got frustrated and totally re-organized the cabinets. 
The most helpful organizing tool at that point was the tiered shelf that I put my spices on. I have a beautiful rotating spice rack but it only holds 30 spices and I need plenty more than that to cook in my kitchen. . . 
So I bought a tiered shelf and put my spices in alphabetical order. 
This alphabetical system has made my life so much easier when cooking and baking or determining when I need to buy more spices. (At some point, I'll buy spice jars that all look the same but until then, this system works perfectly for me) 
In that same organizing session, I put all of my decorating supplies on the top shelf, flour and sugar on one shelf, vinegar and baking supplies on one shelf, etc.  
But two years later, I decided it was time to take it up a notch! 
So after a couple of trips to the Container Store. . . 
I feel pretty good about how our pantry is organized now!! :-) 
I bought little bins to hold candy that I bake with, store bought icing, and food coloring and sprinkles. 
This shelf holds all of my different baking supplies and different types of vinegar and oils. 
These jars are wonderful to keep nuts and morsels in and I just put a label on the top of each with a description of what is inside!
 
This is our drink shelf with a few extra spices that won't fit on our spice shelf. The clear plastic tea bag holder is a wonderful way to see all of the different teas that I have! And these clear baskets hold all of our K-cups (yes, I do also have the K-Cup carousel but clearly, I can't stop buying different K-cups at the store. . . even when we don't have room for them!) 
The next shelf holds all of the different flours, grits, cornmeal, etc. I have pretty white canisters that I keep on the counter from William Sonoma with my flour, sugar, coffee, and tea but obviously when you bake a lot there are many different types of flour you need to have in stock! 
I just organized two areas in my pantry/food shelf. 
I bought another clear basket to hold my Lara Bars for easy access in the mornings
and these pretty jars hold pasta, beans and rice! 
I also bought two tall containers for spaghetti and lasagna noodles and two large containers for cereal. 
Overall, I am pretty pleased about how our pantry looks now! :-) 
Do y'all have any good tips on organizing your pantry?? I'd love to hear them! :-) 
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