Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My Pastor Loves Me

I have a rather large sweet tooth. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner: Dessert is always a viable option. Always. You only think I am kidding. 

I realize this might not always be the most nutritional choice, but it is dessert. It makes my taste buds scream with joy.  Other food groups are good, I guess. They just aren't as good as dessert. 

Now, here is a dessert that my pastor sent to the congregation. Of course, I had to try it. It was a necessity. Since he sent it, I have made it not once, but twice. It is just That good. 

The very best part: it is healthy. Well, kinda. Bananas make it healthy, right?

Greg Matte's Chocolate Chip Banana Bread:

1 1/4 cups sugar
1 stick butter, softened
2 eggs
4 medium ripe bananas
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup milk chocolate chips (next time I am going to try dark chocolate)

Step One:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease the bottom of the bundt pan and dust with flour.

Step Two: Mix sugar and butter in a large bowl. Stir in eggs until well blended.  Add bananas, buttermilk and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Mix in remaining ingredients (except the chocolate chips) until moistened. Now you can go ahead and add the chips.

Step Three: Pour into the bundt pan and bake for 45 minutes, or until the top is light brown. Let it cool for 5 minutes before you remove it from the pan. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Step Four: Serve warm with butter and a glass of cold milk. 
The milk really does make it that much better, I promise.

This cake is pretty dense. The original recipe called for three bananas, but it didn't have that good banana taste that I love, so I added another banana. 

Reasons why it is a perfect dessert: It works for breakfast and dessert. Can dessert get any better?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

John 15:12

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.

John 15:12

This is the bible verse that I am memorizing this week with my Sunday School girls.

Monday, August 29, 2011

My Fav Cover Songs

Some people might be music purists. They might believe that no cover can ever come close to even comparing to the original. These people do not like Glee. But this post is not about Glee, as much as I do love that show. This post is about those songs that completely blow you away. The songs that make you forget it is not the original song. I am not saying that the originals can be replaced. They just sound like brand new songs. 

You should definitely take a listen. They are amazing. 

3. Adele, Make You Feel My Love.
Originally written and recorded by Bob Dylan. 
I'm not a huge fan of country music, which is how you will hear this song most of the time. Adele's version adds a bit of soul to the song. She is what my dad would call a Diva. Her voice is rich and soothing. I love it. 

2. Ellie Goulding, Your Song.
Originally sung by Sir Elton John.
First off, I love Ellie Goulding. Her voice makes me happy. I also really like Elton John. He is a classic, one that cannot be messed with. However, Ellie seems to really understand the lyrics of this song and you can hear this as she is singing. 

1. Gavin DeGraw, Against All Odds
Originally written and recorded by Phil Collins.
I couldn't tell you how I first learned about this song, or even how it ended up on my iPod. But, I can tell you that this is one of my all time favorite songs. Phil Collins' version is great, but Gavin really brings it home. 

These are my three favorite covers. I know I am forgetting some other memorable covers. I would love to hear your favorite cover song. Leave me a comment and I will be sure to check it out. 

Also, this past weekend I reached over 1,000 views since I created this blog a couple of months ago. I cannot begin to tell you how blessed I am to have you reading my blog! I have loved posting every day, and it is great to know that you (hopefully) enjoy what I have to share. I never expected anyone to read it.

Thank you!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Weekend Update

I am not Tina Fey (I wish) or Jimmy Fallon. So, hope you weren't expecting a lovely news report. Thanks.

This weekend was wonderful. Just the right amount of busy. I was able to spend some quality time with some of my favorite people. And, if you know me, quality time is very important. 

This is the highlight of my weekend. 

I went to my very first bridal show this weekend. It was quite the experience and gave us a ton of killer ideas. I am so excited to be Betty's Maid of Honor. I cannot wait to get planning. Wait, who are we kidding here? I already have at least a ton of plans. 

But, seriously. I have the best friend in the whole world. I am so honored to be able to spend her special day by her side. And while she doesn't know this (well, okay, now she will) I will be able to cross a couple of things off my list by the time this wedding is done. At least five. You will just have to watch and see :) There will be a ton of hilarious stories by the time this is over. I just know it!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Our Pesky Little Shelves

They are going to be the death of me. I have been giving them the eye since I moved in a year ago. A year, I have been looking at these frustrating shelves. 

The thing is, my roommates and I are on a budget. And, it doesn't help that all three of us have very different decorating ideas. So here we are. With these shelves. These lousy, stinkin', no good shelves. 

The sad part is, they have a TON of potential. They could be absolutely amazing. Beautiful! It is just a matter of figuring out what we want to do. 

Here are some of my inspirations at the moment. 

For the mantle:

I am open to any ideas! 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Macaroni & Cheese Cuppycakes.

Mac & Cheese: good. Cupcakes: superb. Bacon: wonderful. I cannot see this meal going wrong. 

This was the perfect solution for a work lunch party. The recipe makes enough for the 20+ people in my office, and who doesn't love macaroni and cheese? It is always a crowd favorite, obviously. No one had to worry about their eyes being bigger than their stomach because they were already portioned out. And, it made it easy for everyone to at least try the cupcake. They could very easily pick something out if they didn't like it (but, really, what's not to love?).  The best part was, it didn't take too long to make. Just combine the ingredients, line the muffin pan, pour and bake. Voila! You have an amazing appetizer that everyone will love. I will most certainly be making this again. 

I again, adapted this from How Sweet It Is. I just put my own spin on it. Because, well, Bacon is way better than zucchini. It's just a fact. Here is what I put together:

1 regular size bag of pasta (I chose shells, but it can be whatever)
1 bag of shredded Italian 5 Cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
1 small package of bacon, cooked and torn into bits
2 cups bread crumbs
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt & pepper

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 400.

Step 2: Boil pasta and set aside in a large bowl. Meanwhile chop up the tomatoes and bacon. This is where you can add as much salt and pepper as your little heart desires.

Step 3: Spray cupcake tins with some non-stick spray (Pam) and coat with breadcrumbs. You have to be pretty liberal here. Go big or go home. Once you have added the breadcrumbs, shake off any excess.

Step 4: Come back to the pasta bowl. Add the bag of shredded cheese and combine it with all the pasta goodness. Then, go ahead and fill the cupcake tins about 2/3 full with the pasta-cheese heaven. 

Step 5: Now it is time to top the pasta mixture with those tomatoes and bacon. Yum. This is where you can kind of get creative. The tomatoes & bacon need to be placed throughout the mixture. You don't want all of that flavor just at the top of the cupcake. Let the bottom of the cupcake get in on some of the goodness. 

Step 5: Top with a drizzle of olive oil, some Parmesan and whatever is left of your breadcrumbs.  

Step 6: Bake for 12-15 minutes. Once they are completely cool, you can very, very gently remove them with a spoon. 

My pictures do not even begin to do these little cuppycakes justice. I'm working on it though. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Canvas print of The Beatitudes
I read this today during my quiet time. This passage completely contradicts what we are constantly being told to believe in the world. Every time I turn on the TV or get online I have to make a decision on what I am going to believe. Am I going to believe what the world tells me? Are riches, power, keeping a a perfect persona, and pursuing my own selfish desires all that important? What good do they do?

Instead, Jesus tells us to give up what the world tells us to believe. He lets us know that we will be blessed beyond measure. A happiness outside of worldly circumstance. That is so hard to comprehend. I feel like as a part of society I am constantly being bombarded with what the world thinks I should be. I can't wrap my head around the idea of finding complete happiness in adversity. Not found wanting more. Complete satisfaction.

Our time in this world is so very temporary. What is 90 something years (if we are lucky) compared to all of eternity? Think about how long eternity is. It is forever. Never ending. A very long time. I want to store up my treasures in heaven. That is what really counts, isn't it? In times when the world is beating us down, all we have to do is look to what the Lord has planned for us in Him. It makes those tough days all the sweeter.

Monday, August 22, 2011

This Weeks Obsessions

1. Ellie Goulding. She is all I want to listen to right now. Love. Love. Love.

2. Being Productive. Uh oh, I think I might have started something here...

3. Swimming laps/drills/being back in the water. I guess that's a good thing. The triathlon is in 7 weeks! eek.

4. HGTV Design Star. Probably the only reality show I like...take that back. Love. I have no idea who is going to win! I really like everyone left. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

And So It Begins...

Training. This past week has been fun. In that make me want to fall over and die kind of way.

I have made some progress though. Slim, but progress none the less. As of right now, I got the swimming covered. But that's about it.

I did buy a bike though! I'm pumped.

image 1

Isn't it great!? Now I just need to get used to riding a bike on the road...and for 10 miles. Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy....Right??

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Leather Shorts?

I have seen these shorts on several blogs, and I think I might like them.

Street Chic: New York
Check out more looks from around the world in our Global Street Chic feature!
Photo: Adam Sinding/Le 21 ème Arrondissement

Leather Shorts. I am getting excited for fall. Even more excited for weather that is not in the triple digits.

BBQ Pasta Bake. Yum!

Aahhhh! I can't believe I wasn't able to post yesterday! Between not feeling too well, attempting to train, starting an exciting project, and spending time with good friends I simply got distracted. I apologize.

I will make it up to you with this great recipe! Again from How Sweet It Is. I have really started to like this whole cooking business. While trying new recipes, I am able to enjoy quality time with new and old friends. And they are an excellent help. This recipe would have gone terribly wrong if one of my friends wouldn't have been there to help me with the roux. It would have helped if I knew what  a Roux was.

This recipe is somewhat adapted

Here is what I got:

1 medium package of cooked pasta
2 pieces of boneless chicken breast, shredded
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons BBQ sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil 
1/2 tablespoon butter
1/2 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup milk
1 bag of shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1 small onion, sliced
Preheat oven to 350.
Prepare pasta and shredded chicken and set aside. In a small sauce pan, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and sliced onions with a sprinkle of sea salt and let caramelized – about 10 minutes.  During this time, combine shredded chicken with 2 tablespoons bbq sauce. Once onions are caramelized, set aside.
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and whisk in flour to create a roux. Immediately add milk and turn down to low heat. Add a small amount of cheese and stir until cheese is melted and mixture thickens – about 2-3 minutes.
In the casserole dish, alternate layering pasta, bbq chicken, and onions. Add cheese mixture, throughly mixing it all together. Top with additional cheese sauce, remaining shredded cheese, BBQ sauce drizzles and panko bread crumbs.
Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.
I am not one for leftovers most of the time. But this one, I could not get enough of it! The cheese sauce gives it this creamy texture. The BBQ sauce adds a great tangy flavor. And, who doesn't love cheese? 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Current Cravings

Do you ever just get a craving for something. No, it doesn't have to be some kind of food, but maybe a movie, or activity?

I get cravings all the time. Most of the time they are random and completely from left field.

Current Cravings include:

1. Coconut
More specifically, a mocha coconut coffee drink, preferably from Starbucks with lots of coconut.
Mocha coconut frap? OH yes. Come to Mama! by LauraReaux
(Doesn't it look delish!)

3. When Harry Met Sally
This movie is hilarious! Gotta love the 80's. I love this movie and could watch it over and over! But, it could never happen today thanks to the internet. I vote for a cheesy modern day interpretation. I would be there in a heart beat. Also, does anyone else just hear Mike Wazowski when they hear Billy Crystal speak?

3. Fall Clothing
Like this
especially this!
Have I mentioned how much I love Pinterest? It has all the best outfit ideas!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

I might be crazy

October 16, 2011. The date of my first triathlon. I might be slightly crazy for agreeing to do this. I've only just started training this past week. I have 9 weeks to get completely in shape. Can I complete all three tasks individually? Sure. Together? Now that will be very interesting.

While I might be extremely crazy, I have to do this. 9 weeks puts the pressure on. In this amount of time I have to prepare. I like having goals. For the next 9 weeks I will be able to keep this goal. It is obtainable.

As a first time tri'er I had to sign up for a race that I could actually complete. Remember, I only have 9 weeks. So, a 300 yard swim, followed by a 10 mile bike ride and finished with a 3 mile run. Totally doable.


And, if I manage to complete this, I will be able to check off Numero Tres on my lists of 100 things!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Plates. They aren't just for eating anymore.

I am loving these plates. I love the use of color and fun patterns that can be made. It is chaos in all its beauty.

A very good possibility for our blank slate dining room. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My Original Idea for the Pinterest Challenge

Okay, okay. I know that the Pinterest Challenge ended last Tuesday. However, I needed my project for this past Friday for my good friend's birthday party! Tuesday would have been way too early to have it ready.

Here is the result of my REAL Pinterest Challenge. And, yes, I did make it completely from scratch.

Things I learned:
1. Cake Flour Really Does Make a Difference
2. Stiff Peaks form after about 10 minutes of beating icing.
3. You shouldn't make icing in a plastic bowl (not really sure completely why this is).

I took this pin to create it:
I followed the recipe to a tee. This project took me two days to complete. Two days. I am not a patient one, so this is a HUGE accomplishment. 

Day One: Make the Cake
1. Gather the Ingredients
2. Mix it all up.
3. Split it up and add some coloring.  Bake & Freeze. 

Day 2: The Icing
1. Beat the icing until stiff peaks form.
2. Ice & Enjoy. 

The cake and party were a hit! Challenged completed.

Happy Birthday, Pam!