Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Chocolate and friends

I'm so blessed to have such wonderful, wonderful friends.  Over the weekend, I had some friends over that I used to work with.  We never seem to be able to get together so we had a girl's night. It was fun to cook for them...I made the chimichangas that I posted a few weeks ago, homemade guacamole and pico de gallo and for the first time ever, I made real deep fried ice cream!  It was not nearly as difficult as I thought it would be and you can find the recipe HERE!  It was so much fun.  Being with them was a soft place to land after an emotional but wonderful day on Friday. 

So, I got a little cupcake crazy and made these last week too...Inspired by a blog I follow, "Inside BruCrew Life"...you can see it on my blog list...
...chocolate cupcakes with a REESE's cup baked in the batter and Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting.  The recipe for the batter came from another blog,  and was taken from the Cake Mix Doctor. Here it is:

Darn Good Chocolate Cake
vegetable oil or spray for pan
flour for dusting pan
1 pkg. devils food cake mix
1 (3.9 oz) pkg. chocolate fudge instant pudding mix
1 C. sour cream (you can’t taste it I swear)
1/2 C. milk
1/2 C. vegetable oil
4 large eggs
1 1/2 C. semisweet chocolate chips (I actually used only 1/2 C., melted
them in the microwave first, and then added into the mixture and made sure
it was mixed in well)
Preheat the oven to 325 and prepare the cake pan or line your muffin pan
with paper liners. In a large bowl combine cake mix, pudding mix, sour
cream, milk, oil, eggs, and mix on low for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Scrape
the sides of the bowl and then increase mixer speed to medium for 2
minutes or until mixed well. Fold in chocolate chips and distribute evenly
throughout batter. Pour into the prepared pan and bake on the middle oven
rack for 28-35 minutes (cake) and about 20-25 minutes (cupcakes). For this
cake the longer the better or it may sink in the middle too easily, but
that is also dependent on your oven so just be careful not to overcook.
Remove from the oven and let cool 10 minutes in pan before removing to a
wire cooling rack.
Peanut Butter Dream Buttercream Frosting
1 C. butter, softened
1C. creamy peanut butter
3 C. powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 TBSP heavy cream
Cream peanut butter and butter together. Add in powdered sugar and mix well on high speed for about 1 minute. Add in vanilla, mix again, then add in heavy cream and continue to mix on high for about 3 minutes.

ENJOY and have a great week!


Friday, October 15, 2010

A Hole in My Heart

On this day, one year ago, at 5:15 pm, I sat by my precious Daddy's side, one hand on his chest as it rose and fell with labor, and one hand in his hand, and watched as Jesus came and accompanied his sweet soul to heaven.  It was one of the most beautiful and amazing moments of my lifetime. 

Several people have asked me if I thought today would be hard.  Yes, it is difficult, but so are the days when the sorrow comes like a wave, out of nowhere.  I miss him terribly but love the legacy that he left. One of determination, perserverance, hard work, loving what is right (well, and loving TO BE right...I think I got that from him for sure!) but most importantly, loving the Lord and believing in His goodness. 

Today I honor him.  I celebrate his life and I rejoice in the love he gave me. 


Monday, October 11, 2010

My Anthro Inspired Kitchen

Kelly's Korner, a favorite blog, is featuring kitchens...since the kitchen is truly my favorite room in the house, I thought I'd share mine.

When I bought the house 3 years ago, I had dark cabinets and dark walls.  Thanks to some very talented people, I can now "see the light"!  I love everything Anthropologie and thanks to some great finds over the past few years I'm happy to have a Anthro-like kitchen.  See what you think:

This is my message center.  We have to have this in our house or we wouldn't know where to begin each day!  I found the silver dry erase board at Gabriel Brothers and copied the idea from IKEA...

There's still plenty to do...countertops, backsplash and stove...with time...
I found the chalkboard at a local home consignment store covered the flowers painted in the corners with some little trim pieces I painted gold.  I'm grateful to have some really neat things from my grandmother including the little yellow, gingham salt and pepper shakers and
these awesome canisters circa 1940-50 I think of her every day scooping out the flour and sugar to make her delicious pies and breads for her family.  Her hands were never idle, instead, always serving others. 
Hope you've enjoyed my little kitchen!


Friday, October 8, 2010

Highlander Pride

The fun continues at Huntington High with Homecoming Spirit Week.  I'm still having trouble believing that I have not one, but TWO children in high school when it seems like, like yesterday, like I was totally in, like, High School! (Can you guess my year of graduation?)

We've had "Decade" day for which Emily chose the 70's and Lydia, the 80's...
Cute, don't ya think?

Today is Green and Gold day.  One of the perks of having my office at the school is getting to hang out every now and then with my girls...whether they like it or not! :)


One other thing...
So I feel as if I must share my recipe disasters as well as my successes.  I made a new "Creamy Spaghetti" recipe from one of my fav Food Network gals who will remain unnamed...Uh, hum.  I'm taking full responsibility for the dud-ness of the recipe.  I will however tell you that we made these YUMMY little treats...
We decided they are DEFINITELY a do-over.  These are called EASY ITALIAN PINWHEELS and I think you'll love them just as much as we did!

Happy Friday!!


Wednesday, October 6, 2010


A favorite blog I follow Kelly's Corner talks today about God's timing and waiting.  Wow, could I write a book on that?  Oh wait, I AM writing a book on that!  I never dreamed I could be so knowledgeable of such a subject...motherhood, decorating, cooking, speech therapy, yes. Waiting...no.  But, Praise God, He has trusted me with his heart to wait on Him, wait on what He has and what He IS doing. I want to share just a smidge of my story and what the LORD has been and is doing.  Maybe you would like to go there too and share your story. 

I always wanted to be a mother.  When we would play "house" as children, I begged to be the mother; while my sister pretended to be a bride, I pretended to be a mommy.  So, when I met my husband-to-be in college, we immediately began talking about children. There was never a doubt that we would have them.  I already had NAMES picked out.   It was all in the plan!  But, like I'd find many other times in my life, MY plan wasn't always HIS plan!  We were married in August 1991 and went to grad school in Tennessee.  After we left Tennessee, we began trying more intensely.    After a while I mentioned to my doctor that I had not been using birth control for well over a year and that we were not pregnant.  He ran some tests and the news was not good. We began keeping temperatures, charts, had ups and downs, I'd be sure I was pregnant only to find out, I wasn't.  We never miscarried but the month to month absence of pregnancy was so painful.  I remember thinking, "This wasn't the plan!" and "Why wouldn't the Lord give ME a child?".  I never thought to ask Him what he was doing or how He wanted me to walk in what He was doing. 

After medical procedures, tests and lots of trying, we decided that adoption might be for us.  After all, I am adopted and all of my brothers and sisters are adopted. It wasn't a foreign idea to us and it would certainly fit into MY plan.  We continued to try without success.  At the end of May, 1994, my doctor told us to take a month off and after the Fourth of July holidays we were to make another appointment with him to try a new procedure.  I remember leaving the offiice and just saying, "I give up, Lord.  I can't do it anymore".  I was tired...tired of trying, tired of disappointment. 

We were at a Fourth of July cookout when I became horribly nauseous.  I was just sure the meat was bad and even  took my husband aside and told him not to eat it! haha.  The next day, I took a pregnancy test to quiet my mother-in-law and sure enough, I was pregnant!

Now, 16 years later, after a terrible divorce that left me shattered, but praise God, put back together, the death of my precious grandmother, the loss of my brother and then recently watching my father die a painful death, I have learned more than I can write in one little blog.  But,  this is what I believe and what I believe the Lord IS (note present tense) teaching me.  HE waits as WE wait.  He waits for us, LONGS for us to say, "I can't", not because He's mean, plays tricks or has a superiority complex (even though He could if He wanted to, :))) but because He wants us to trust Him so intimately, so perfectly,  and with such abandonment.  He knows that if He has our hearts then we'll have HIS and we'll come to that place of perfect peace where those of us who wait for Him gather...gather to hear Him say, "I know you can't, but I can". 

Blessings to you as you wait...


Monday, October 4, 2010

The Best Laid Plans...

Another football game weekend accompanied by my very first Huntington High tailgate.  I made chocolate cookies with white chocolate chips (recipe found on the back of the TOLLHOUSE white chocolate chip bag)---delish!!  My kids loved them and I think the tailgaters did too!  I also made my old standby, Roasted Potato Salad.  Everytime I make it I'm asked for the recipe and it's SO easy.  You may want to try it the next time you need a potato salad stand in:

You'll need:
1 small bag of new red potatoes (or about 10 potatoes)
olive oil
green onion
4 or so hard-boiled eggs
6-8 slices bacon, crisply cooked and chopped (I used the already cooked bacon this weekend by OSCAR MEYER and it worked wonderfully!  Great for a time saver!)

What you do:  Clean and cut a bag of new red potatoes (cut in bite-sized pieces).  Place them on a large cookie sheet sprayed with PAM.  Drizzle a little olive oil and salt and roast in the oven on 350 for about 35 minutes turning once (just flip the pieces over with a spatula about halfway through!) While the potatoes are baking, make the hard-boiled eggs, chop 3 or so green onions and cook or warm the bacon.  When the potatoes are done, mix all the ingredients together, mix in just enough mayo to hold everything together and add more salt and pepper to taste.  You can serve this warm, room temp or cold!  My brother loves it cold but I love it warm.  It's really great either way.

After the tailgate, I  had great aspirations for cooking this weekend, but they kind of went to the wayside. I had a really yummy sounding and looking chicken/pita recipe to try and had the ingredients but never quite the time or opportunity.  It worked out to be just as well though...I used the rotisserie chicken from Walmart just warmed in the oven with a little olive oil drizzled on top and simplified the pasta recipe and the kids loved it !  I made penne and  put in parmesan and marscapone (bought at Walmart as well!  Thank you Walmart for carrying specialty cheeses!)  I always think of marscapone for sweet recipes but it was so yummy and creamy in the pasta!  I don't LOVE macaroni and cheese but I must say, I LOVED this one! 

Well,  a FUN week is ahead!  Homecoming is this weekend, so spirit week begins with "Character Day".  My girls are part of a brood of teens dressed as Sesame Street Characters.  L is Zoe and E, Ernie.  Her BFF is Bert and there is an Oscar, Cookie Monster and Big Bird running around HHS somewhere!

Hope your week is fun-filled too! 
"A merry heart does good..." Psalm 17:22