Thanksgiving Favorites

I had forgotten how exhausting my family can be! Not in a bad way, but in the running from here to there from dawn until dusk, and into the evening (since it’s winter and sunset is at 4:30 in the afternoon). I am so very thankful for all that my family has done for me and how there are always there! My mom has been sick so this Thanksgiving was a little different than in years past. Normally my mom prepares all the food, recipes taken from secret vaults hidden behind the tupperware. My mother can cook, bake you name it and she has a recipe for it somewhere, and she knows exactly where it is too. While my mother is in the hospital this year my father, sister and I had the task of finding and making the family favorites! A pretty intimidating task, we all wanted to make sure we got it right because Thanksgiving Day my mom was going to be able to come home and eat Thanksgiving dinner with us before she had to return to the hospital. None of us wanted to disappoint her, but lets be honest here folks, there is just something about when mom makes something that even if you use the same recipe and ingredients it just doesn’t taste the same. I don’t know what it is, everyone said the food that I made tasted great, even mom! Maybe it was all in my head but I am convinced that it did not taste as wonderful as when my mom makes it. On the plus side I now have two recipes that the family makes every holiday season. For as long as I can remember my mom has always made this wonderful pound cake!!

Pound Cake

Ingredients:

1 lb salted butter, softened

1 box (16 oz.) powdered sugar, sifted

6 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

3 cups flour

Image

I even used the special vanilla my mom gets from Mexico!

Directions:

Cream the butter and powdered sugar. Once mixed, add the eggs, one at a time, beat after every egg. Slowly add the flour and beat. Grease and flour a bundt pan, bake at 325 degrees for 60 minutes, checking once it is at 45 minutes until it is done.

20121130-093922.jpg

20121130-093950.jpg

20121130-094005.jpg
Last week I may not have had the chance to go the gym, but I did get to take my parents dog for a walk. As well as not only meet but hang out with my sisters new puppy, if a 70 lb American Bulldog/Great Dane mix can ever really be a puppy :) Isn’t he cute?!

20121130-095416.jpg The next favorite from Thanksgiving was the steaks, I know you’re supposed to eat turkey on thanksgiving, but there are only 4 of us in my family and we like steak more than turkey! Within the last couple of years my mom found a great turkey breast that is in a bag and goes from ‘freezer to dinner table’ in 3 hours. I must admit I do really like that turkey! What makes the steaks so amazing is the marinade, something my parents have used since before my sister and I were born! My mom said that she got it from a friend and it was originally used for kebobs, I don’t care what it was originally used for, I’m just happy that I now have the recipe!

Marinade

Ingredients:
1 cup soy sauce
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup white vinegar
½ cup pineapple juice
2 tsp salt (optional)
½ tsp garlic powder
1 cup lemon juice

20121130-095559.jpg
Directions:
Mix all ingredients together and bring to a boil in a medium sauce pan. Let completely cool, otherwise there is a chance that it may start to cook the meat! Marinade for at least 4 hours or overnight is best. Cook and enjoy!!

It’s almost December!!! To kick off the Christmas season I will be doing a series called ’12 Days of Cookies!’ I am hoping do be able to do this within 12 consecutive days, but am giving myself the a little slack and saying that all 12 recipes need to be up before Christmas Eve!! So please stay tuned and get ready to see some yummy cookie creations!! What’s your favorite cookie for Christmas? Comment below and maybe I’ll make them :)

Lasagna Cups

20121002-153153.jpg
I saw this idea on pinterest, you’re shocked aren’t you?! There are probably about 100 recipes for this alone! I really love the recipes that are on there, there have only been a couple that hasn’t turned out as I thought they would. These, however, were great! The first time I made these I layered the meat on the bottom layer, which made it seem to fall apart a lot easier, so the second time I put the meat on the top layer and it worked out a lot better. One of the things I like a lot about that recipe is how it can be made with really any type of cheese that is in the fridge, it can also be made with whatever type of tomatoes that are laying around the house, whether its fresh, canned, or sauce.
Lasagna Cups

Ingredients:
Tomatoes (either fresh, canned, or sauce)
Cheese (mozzarella, ricotta, parmesan or mix of all)
Italian spices
½ lb ground beef

20121002-153525.jpg

20121002-153634.jpg
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2. Spray the muffin tin with Pam or some other non stick spray
3. Brown the ground beef in a skillet, season with salt and pepper, drain and set aside
4. Now start the layers: won ton wrapper, tomato, cheese, Italian spices, won ton wrapper, tomato, ground beef, cheese and Italian spices.
5. Place in the oven 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted and it is heated throughout.

Oh November

What a fun couple of weeks I’ve had! The first weekend of November the middle school students at my church and their leaders went to Boyd’s Orchard , third time this year I’ve gotten the chance to go there. Each time I’ve gone it’s been a different experience, but always a good one! You can read about those visits here and here This was the first time I was there at night, I got to scare students in the corn maze, make s ‘mores at the bonfire, and hang out with some really awesome students and leaders! That night was just filled with bonfires! After I left Boyd’s I stopped by a friend’s house where we were celebrating a birthday and were outside by the fire. Another friend was there and brought his guitar and amazing voice! Having live music makes everything better! It just does. During the week has been fun too, I’ve gotten the chance to eat dinner with friends on several occasions. There is something about sitting down with people around a meal that just bring us closer together.

This past weekend, well really it was Saturday that was a whirlwind of fun. In the morning there was a get together with some of the leaders involved in Children’s Ministry, and there was breakfast there too! Loved, just loved the display of fruit that someone brought.

20121116-134509.jpg
What a beautiful day Saturday turned out to be. It’s November, I would normally think it would be cold, while this week was chilly the weekend was great. It was in the 60’s and even some of the flowers around my place were in bloom!

20121116-134616.jpg
Apparently there was an earthquake that happened in eastern Kentucky that was felt in several surrounding states, I didn’t feel a thing.

The earthquake didn’t stop my friend’s wedding from going on either! They got married with a castle in the background!

20121116-134745.jpg I love how every wedding I’ve been to has been a little bit different to reflect the couple’s personal tastes. We were talking with someone about how there got married 10+ years ago and that weddings were pretty much all the same then.

After the wedding the fun didn’t stop, I met up with some friends to celebrate another birthday! There seems to be a lot of birthday’s this month. We hung out; I ate some more cake, and played fishbowl, the most amusing game ever! If you all are unfamiliar with this game here’s a rundown of it: each person there gets 3 slips of paper and writes down a person, place or thing and then places the papers in a bowl. Split the group up into two teams and have someone who can be a timer. Each team has one minute to get as many as possible, when the one minute is up it’s the next teams turn, this continues until all the slips are used up and then the next round starts. The first round is like catch phrase, you can say anything except the word, and act it out if you want. Round two is strictly charades no noise!! And the third and final round is just saying one word. Another one of our friends has added a bonus fourth round to this game, sounds, and no words or actions. That can be a very interesting round!! Do you have a party game that you love that is always played at get togethers?

Spinach Feta Crescent Rolls

Recipe from Claire Bidwell Smith

20120828-154121.jpg
Ingredients:
2 packages of crescent rolls (8 in each)
4 oz feta cheese
4 oz freshly shredded mozzarella cheese
3 oz spinach chopped
1 egg white
1 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. shred the mozzarella and chop the spinach, mix those with the feta cheese, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper

20120828-154512.jpg
3. Unroll the crescent rolls and place a heaping spoonful of the cheese and spinach mixture onto the large part of the triangle of the crescent roll and roll them up.

20120828-154724.jpg
4. After they are all rolled get the white of an egg and using a pastry brush and paint each roll until they are coated with the egg white.

20120828-154922.jpg
5. Place in oven and bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

20120828-155008.jpg
Every Monday evening I meet with a group of friends, which is a great place to try out the appetizer recipes that I have found. The possibilities for this concept are endless! I could make mini pizzas, pigs in a crescent (instead of a blanket), even go the sweet route and fill with apples and cinnamon, chocolate, really there are so many things to try out. While explaining what I was making to a friend as I picked her up from the airport I mistakenly said that I would be smashing the egg whites on to the crescent rolls, ha! It may be one of those things where you have to be there to appreciate it, but we were cracking up and I will always think of it whenever I make these rolls. One of the things I would recommend is that if you have the space roll out all the crescent roll and fill them all before you roll them up. Trust me it’s really hard to try and shove spinach and cheese into the side of an already rolled up crescent roll! If you were wondering the ladies approved of this one

Home Stretch – Workout Challenge #2

Will I make it?

With less than two weeks left until my challenge is completed. To be honest I don’t think that I will make the weight goal, if it was to lose 15 inches instead of 15 pounds I probably would make it though. Am I upset that I’m not going to accomplish this? Maybe a little but not too much and here’s why:

1. The last time I took measurements I had lost about 4 pounds, but 12 inches! Both of those losses are huge for me, because my scale has not moved in about year not up or down I was stuck. That fact that it did go down shows that my scale isn’t broken, yay! As for the inches, I’ve lost a foot!! I take my measurements from several places (arms, bust, waist, abs, hips, and thighs) so I have toned up all over. I would rather lose inches and talked about that before here

2. I’m healthy, and that was the main focus throughout my entire challenge. I wanted to lose weight but in a healthy and maintainable way. The way the inches have dropped I’m sure the pounds will come off soon. I also feel amazing!! Being able to see muscle definition in my body is awesome. To know that I am getting stronger and eating healthy makes me feel so good. From exercising on a regular basis my energy has increased so much! I workout in the morning, because of the change in my schedule (getting up at 5am) I’ve been resting better as well. When I go to bed I have no problem at all falling asleep and staying asleep during the night. My mood has been a lot better, well at least when I make sure to bring snacks with me to work. But I think most people can be grumpy when they are hungry.

3. I can maintain this lifestyle. I know that I haven’t completed this challenge yet, but while there have been some major changes to my lifestyle they are not changes that cannot be maintained. For example I wake up earlier than I used to (although some days, like today, I just stay in my bed!), workout at least 3 times a week, and eat healthy, and all three of these changes are major changes to my lifestyle but are maintainable.

Major Takeaways:
1. The weight loss will happen, just maybe not as quickly as I thought.
2. I’m being healthy.
3. I feel great!!
4. The changes are maintainable.

“Fitness is not something you achieve and forget, it’s something you attain and maintain” -Bonnie Pfiester

Related Posts:
The Challenge
One week down
Weight vs inches, fat, and water

There’s cilantro everywhere

Cilantro Lime Rice
From: Two Peas and Their Pod

Ingredients:
1 cup long grain brown rice
1 tsp butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp fresh lime juice
1 (15oz) can vegetable broth
1 cup water
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
4 tbsp freshly chopped cilantro

20120825-000651.jpg
Directions:
In a sauce pan combine rice, garlic, 2 tsp lime juice, broth and water. Bring to a boil, cover and cook on low until rice is tender (it took about 35-40 minutes for me). Remove from heat. In a small bowl whisk together the remaining lime juice, sugar, and cilantro. Pour over hot rice and combined.

Now accidentally when I was making this I misread the recipe and used 1 tbsp of butter instead of 1 tsp, it still turned out yummy. Cilantro could possibly be my favorite herb this month! I have had it before, I just never knew that it was cilantro that I was tasting. The rice was to go with the salsa chicken that made in the crock pot. Boy the crock pot is another favorite of mine, I will post the recipe for the chicken soon. To be honest when I read through the ingredients I was a little nervous when I saw the garlic and lime juice. Now I’m still learning to cook and there is so much that I still don’t know, but for some reason line juice paired with garlic sounded odd to me. For all I know this could be a common pairing, this rice tasted amazing, the two ingredients obviously work well together.

A fun Halloween

I knew that even though I missed a couple of Halloween parties this past weekend while I was off hiking that I would see my friends at other Halloween parties around town. Tuesday night is a great example of this, the church I attend partnered with another local church to throw a giant party for children of all ages! I saw so many people there; playing basketball, holding the limbo stick, face painting, hair dying, dancing, showing kids where the petting zoo was, and just running around having a great time. There was so much going on, everybody was having a wonderful time! I was able to borrow some gear from my friends at the local fire department (how cool! Right?!), and a friend dressed up as a Dalmatian.

20121101-171419.jpg Another person I was excited to be at the Halloween party with was my co-leader for our middle school lifegroup. I love knowing that she has such a great heart, serving and investing in the next generation! Here we are Tuesday night, “it’s raining cats and dogs” completely suitable for this year’s Halloween!!

20121101-171652.jpg The next night I got the chance to attend another Halloween party with my girls from the my middle school lifegroup! There are normally around 10-12 girls in the group but a lot of them were out and about. No worries, though, we had just enough for what my co had in mind. Rock, Paper, Scissors!! We pulled another person and my co and the other girl had a match where the rock, paper and scissors would battle it out on stage when we were called! Fun, I know! Our group won “Most Creative Costume” all thanks to my co!! She not only thought of the idea, but was crafty enough to be able to make them as well. When asked why we should win, the rock replied “Because Rock, Paper, Scissors rocks!” She couldn’t have said it any better.

20121101-171742.jpg There was group presentations, a nerd party ( a group dressed up as nerds, had music playing and threw nerds from the stage!),

20121101-171837.jpg games, trivia, and piñata smashing.

20121101-171934.jpg An amazing night overall, hope you all had a wonderful and safe Halloween night.