Inside the Life of Me.....

Friday, October 29, 2010


So, I have been thinking lately that I want to make some changes in my life, either things I want to do and never have, or traits I think are important that I never really pursued for myself. Right now, with my job being really slow and lots of time on my hands, what better time than the present to go about making some change, right?

So here it is, the "list" of to do's or to be's before I get too old! (I don't really have a time frame, so I just say, before I get too old!)  P.S, these are in no particular order...

- find a cute look for the house for Fall and Winter (I think I accomplished Fall, still working on Winter.. going for a silver and white theme this year, so excited!)
- keep better track of my friends, where they are at, what they are doing... send cards, make phonecalls... I am really bad at this since I got married (not that I am blaming marriage)... I just don't think about it as often as I should.
- have a girls weekend somewhere where I can just be me and let loose with them... laugh, tell stories, wine possibly?? :)
- travel somewhere with Tyler, just us, to go somewhere where we don't have a schedule to follow, just have some time to be together and have fun! (Hopefully for our anniversary next year)
- be OK with where I am in life, not constantly worried that I have not accomplished enough at 29, almost 30 years of age.
- understand that this is the age of change, friends are moving away, family is changing, finances are different, jobs are different... and to be able to adjust accordingly with a POSITIVE attitude.
- My life is NOT my friend's life... it is so easy to compare what I am going through with where they are, forgettting that we are different people with a different plan from God.
- Find a look/ hair color I really love and stick with it.. I am so indecisive... it would be nice to have something solidified with my look so that I can move forward with it, haha...
- Someday, and prob not this year, I want to seek out a elderly home and plan visits to go see people who have no family and just need a buddy... I would LOVE that... I have a total heart for them...
- take flowers and put them on someone's grave randomly... and then hope that I didn't pick a "bad" person ... I know that sounds mean, I guess they need love too!
- continue with my love for cooking and baking and put together a BIG cookbook of recipes for my kitchen!
- buy a bigger house someday with Tyler so that we can have a big family! (well, by big I mean three... but still)
- Send out Christmas cards... with a note on what our family is up to... every year I mean to do this and every year it passes me by.
- Start family traditions with Tyler for the holidays...
- Continue my blog and be consistent about it
- Have a family and do fun things with them... don't really have specifics since we don't have kids yet!
- Continue the tradition of zoo lights before Christmas with Ashley and Pat, although we complain how busy it is every year, it is so much fun!
- Continue The Nutcracker and Italian dinner with Tyler as our Christmas gift to eachother... it is so fun to get dressed up and go on a Christmas date!
- Aparently... my mind is on Christmas... haha
- Start excercising and eating healthier and really stick to it! No more crash diets!
- Put a backyard in to our house
- Plan a whole day just for Tyler because he does so much for me
- Love with no strings attached...
- Get better about going to church every week
- continue our bible studies
- move to CHICAGO!! Ok, it won't be for a long time, but still, we want to go!
- celebrate Tyler finishing his tests and PASSING!! He is so smart, I know he will do it!
- Give people the benefit of the doubt, even when I don't want to
-AND... continue making lists for myself so that I stay on track!

These are not all of my goals, but they were all on my mind!! I hope I can accomplish them!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Moravian Sugar Cookies with Toffee, Choco Chips, Cinnamon and Nuts!!

So, I maybe added a few things to the topping of these dessert bars, but they are soooo good! Here is the recipe that I found online from

Moravian Sugar Cookies with Toffee, Choco Chips, Cinnamon and Nuts

This is a MAJOR close up of one of the bars... doesn't it look soooo good?? :) Oh, it was!

-1/2 c. butter
- 1 c. sugar
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 egg
- 1 1/4 c. flour

1/4 c. toffee bits
1/4 c. choco chips
1/4 c. nuts
2 tsp. cinnamon

How to:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Soften butter and then add sugar, baking powder, vanilla and salt. Blend in egg and flour.
3. Grease two cookie sheets well. Spread half the mixture on each sheet into a 10 by 8 inch rectangle
4. Spread mixture evenly onto dough
5. Bake for about 10-12 min. or until edges are golden brown
6. Cut into small bars and ENJOY!!


I LOVE BRIE!! It is a common snack at my house and I love it even more when it is right out of the oven!
Here is a recipe I found in Better Homes and Gardens for Baked Brie with Praline Topping!

Praline Topped Brie

Great appetizer for guests!! Can serve with crackers or apples!


- 1- 13 ounce round baked brie cheese
- 1/2 c. orange marmalade
- 2 tbs. packed brown sugar
- 1/3 c. coarsely chopped pecans toasted
- apple slices or crackers/bread

How to:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place cheese in a shallow oven safe dish or pie plate. 
2. In a small bowl, stir together orange marmalade and brown sugar. Spread on top of cheese.. sprinkle with pecans
3. Bake about 15 min. or until cheese is softened and topping is bubbly.

Salsa, Black Bean and Rice Salad

Since Tyler LOVED the black bean salad I started making back in September, I decided to try this new one that looks similar to the older one! Hope it is as good as the other salad!!

Salsa, Black Bean and Rice Salad

Looks light and easy to make!


- 2 c. cooked long grain rice
- 1- 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 c. chopped tomatoes
- 1 c. chopped red pepper
- 1 c. whole kernel corn
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 2 tbs. snipped fresh cilantro
- 1 c. salsa ( I use deli salsa)
- 4 ounces Monterrey Jack Cheese with jalapeno, cut into small cubes
- 1/4 c. light sour cream

How to:

1. Toss all items in a large mixing bowl!
2. Line bottom of bowl (s) with a lettuce leaf and top with mixture!! Add sour cream to the top!

Hot and Cheesy Chicken Casserole

We ate a lot of casserole growing up, and I love it!! It is total comfort food and is great for leftovers!! Here is another casserole dish I want to make this week:

Hot and Cheesy Chicken Casserole

It looks so good!!


- 3 c. chopped cooked chicken
- 1- 14 ounce package of frozen broccoli florets
- 2 c. cooked rice
- 1 1/2 c. frozen peas
- 1- 10.75 ounce can of cream of chicken soup
-1-10.75 ounce can of nacho cheese soup
- 1- 10 to 15 ounce can diced tomatoes and green chilies, undrained
- 1/2 c. milk
- 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 c. crushed rich crackers

How to:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place chicken in bottom of a 3 qt. rectangular baking dish. In large bowl combine broccoli, rice and peas. Spoon mixture over chicken
2. In a medium bowl, combine cream of chicken soup, nacho cheese soup, undrained tomatoes and milk. Stir in 1/4 c. of cheddar cheese and 1/4 c. of mozzarella cheese. Pour mixture over broccoli mixture in baking dish. Sprinkle crushed crackers evenly over all of it. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.
3. Bake, uncovered, for 40-50 min. or until heated through

Recipe found in Better Homes and Gardens Magazine

Mediterranean Style Tuna Casserole

I LOVE tuna, so I am excited to try this recipe this week... looks good!!

Mediterranean Style Tuna Casserole

The picture is a little blurry... sorry!


2 c. dried bowtie pasta
1 small onion- thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tbs. olive oil
1- 12 ounce can chunk light tuna (drained and broken into chunks)
3/4 c. water
1/2 c. dried tomatoes (not oil packed)
1/4 c. oil cured black olives, halved
1 tbs. snipped fresh parsley
1/2 c. finely shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 c. torn basil leaves

How to:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook Pasta according to directions on package, drain well when cooked.. set pasta aside
2. In skillet (oven proof), cook onion and garlic in hot oil on medium heat until onion is tender, stir occasionally. Add tuna, water, tomatoes, olives, and parsley to mixture... stir in cooked pasta.
3. Bake in skillet, covered for 25 min. Uncover and sprinkle with cheese. Bake uncovered for another 5 min. or until cheese is melted.
4. Sprinkle with Basil before serving!!

Recipe found in: Better Homes and Gardens Magazine

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

For those of you who like Pumpkin...

I, myself, am not completely fond of pumpkin.. I mean I LOVE me some pumpkin candles and the smell is intoxicating, but.. I do not like the mushy TASTE of pumpkin, unless it is masked.. you know like baby medicine in applesauce....

Yet, I found these Martha Stewart recipes and think they look awesome for Fall... maybe I will try them??

Pumpkin Cake with Brown Butter Icing


Serves 8 to 10
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup homemade Pumpkin Puree, or canned
  • 1/2 cup warm (110 degrees) milk
  • Brown Butter Icing
  • Caramelized Walnut Halves


  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-2-inch round cake pan. Line pan with parchment, and butter the parchment. Coat pan with flour, and tap out any excess.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, salt, baking powder, and baking soda; set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat sugar and butter together until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, and beat until combined. Add pumpkin puree and milk; beat until combined. Add reserved flour mixture; beat on low speed until just combined.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pan, and bake until a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool. Let cake rest 20 minutes.
  5. Unmold cake. Using an offset spatula, spread icing over top of cake, and decorate with caramelized walnut halves.


Pumpkin Mousse Pie

Serves 8 to 10
  • 9 ounces graham crackers
  • 3/4 cup plus 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus 1 tablespoon for dusting
  • 1/4 teaspoon plus a pinch ground nutmeg
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 2 tablespoons unflavored powdered gelatin
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups homemade Pumpkin Puree, or canned
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Heat oven to 325 degrees. In a food processor, combine graham crackers, 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, cocoa powder, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and pinch nutmeg; process until finely ground. Transfer to a medium bowl; mix in butter with a wooden spoon. Press mixture onto bottom and sides of a 10-inch tart pan. Bake until set, 12 to 15 minutes. Set crust aside to cool.
  2. In a small bowl, place brandy and 2 tablespoons water. Sprinkle gelatin powder over liquid; set aside to soften, 10 minutes. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat eggs on medium-low speed until fluffy. While the mixer is running, combine remaining 3/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until temperature registers 245 degrees (firm-ball stage) on a candy thermometer, about 5 minutes. Immediately turn mixer to high speed. Carefully drizzle sugar mixture into eggs in a thin stream; continue to beat until mixture increases in volume and is pale yellow, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, place bowl with softened gelatin over a saucepan of simmering water; stir until gelatin has dissolved.
  3. Turn mixer to low; add gelatin mixture to egg mixture. Add pumpkin puree, remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, the allspice, ginger, salt, and sour cream; combine. Pour filling into pie crust; refrigerate until set, 4 hours or overnight.
  4. To serve, whisk heavy cream, confectioners' sugar, and vanilla in a medium bowl until stiff. Using an Ateco #864 star tip, pipe whipped cream in rosettes onto pie (or spread the whipped cream evenly over the top of the pie with a spatula). Sift remaining tablespoon cinnamon on top. Serve chilled.

Another Macaroni and Cheese Dish

Tyler and I both love macaroni and cheese, so I found another recipe that looks good to try!

Three Cheese Macaroni and Cheese

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for baking dish
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 pound medium pasta shells
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 4 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (1 cup)
  • 4 ounces Havarti cheese, coarsely grated (1 cup)
  • 4 ounces Muenster cheese, coarsely grated (1 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 6 slices white sandwich bread


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Butter a shallow 4-quart baking dish (oval or 9-by-13-inch rectangle); set aside.
  2. Generously salt boiling water; add pasta. Cook, according to package instructions, until 2 minutes short of al dente. Drain pasta, and return to pot.
  3. While pasta is cooking, melt butter in a large saucepan over medium. Transfer 2 tablespoons melted butter to a small bowl; set aside for topping. Add flour and mustard powder to remaining butter in saucepan. Cook, whisking, 1 minute (do not let flour darken). Whisk in milk. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until sauce is thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Remove sauce from heat. Gradually whisk in cheeses; add Worcestershire sauce, and season generously with salt and pepper. Add sauce to pasta, and toss to combine; transfer to prepared baking dish.
  5. Place bread in food processor; pulse until very coarse crumbs form (you should have about 3 cups). Add reserved melted butter, and pulse just to moisten. Scatter crumbs over pasta in baking dish. (If making ahead, cover and refrigerate up to 1 day.)
  6. Place dish on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake until topping is golden and sauce is bubbling, 15 to 20 minutes. (If refrigerated, bake for 30 to 35 minutes.) Cool 5 minutes before serving.
From Everyday Food, September 2007

Macaroni and Cheese with Tomatoes

  • Oh my gosh this looks so good!!! Can't wait to try it, love me some comfort food!!

Macaroni and Cheese with Tomatoes

  • Coarse salt
  • 8 ounces dried elbow macaroni
  • 6 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for baking dishes
  • 1/4 cup finely diced yellow onion
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 2 ounces Italian fontina cheese, grated (1/2 cup)
  • 3 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated (1 cup), 1/3 cup reserved for topping
  • 6 ounces extra-sharp white-cheddar cheese, grated (2 cups), 1/3 cup reserved for topping
  • 2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (1 cup), 1/2 cup reserved for topping
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Slow-Roasted Tomato Slices
  • Thyme sprigs


  1. Heat oven and boil pasta: Heat oven to 375 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add salt generously and cook pasta 2 to 3 minutes less than manufacturer's instructions (the outside should be cooked but the inside underdone. Transfer to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well.
  2. Meanwhile, make bread crumbs: Tear bread into large pieces and pulse a few times in a food processor to form very large crumbs. Transfer to a bowl, and add melted butter. Toss evenly to coat.
  3. Prepare baking dishes: Butter eight 6-ounce shallow baking dishes or one 1 1/2-quart baking dish.
  4. Make cheese sauce: Melt butter in a 4-quart pot over medium heat, add onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Whisk in flour and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until bubbling but not browning, about 45 seconds. Add milk and whisk to combine. Bring to a simmer, stirring with a wooden spoon (scrape across the bottom and around edge of pot to prevent scorching), until thickened, about 4 minutes. Add fontina, 2/3 cup grated Gruyere, 1 2/3 cups grated cheddar, and 1/2 cup Parmigianno-Reggiano, stirring until completely melted and sauce is smooth. Season with salt and pepper, add cayenne and nutmeg, and stir to combine.
  5. Assemble and add cheese topping: Add pasta to sauce and stir to thoroughly combine. Pour into prepared baking dishes and sprinkle evenly with the reserved cheeses, followed by the bread crumbs. If using, top with roasted tomato slices and thyme.
  6. Bake: Place dishes on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until bubbling and cheese is golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.
From The Martha Stewart Show, January 2009

Another pasta dish!! Mozzarella and Parmesan Pasta with Balsamic Vinegar Sauce

This recipe is so quick and easy! I grabbed it online a long time ago, don't quite remember where I got it from, but it is yummy and only takes as long as pasta cooks!

Parmesan and Mozzarella Pasta with Balsamic Vinegar Sauce

- 1 box of Penne Pasta noodles
- 8 oz. mozzarella ball (cut into small squares)
- 1 can of diced tomatoes ( I used the ones that are already seasoned)
- 2 tbs Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp. fresh black pepper
- 1/2 c. grated parmesan
- 6 tbs. olive oil

How to:
- Cook Pasta over the stove until soft
- drain tomatoes
- mix olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in a small bowl or glass measuring cup
- drain pasta and toss (in a large bowl) with the dressing you just made
- add cheeses on top and toss again!

I LOVE this one and it is light and refreshing cold or hot! Makes for good left overs too!

Fast Pasta

Tyler and I wanted something quick and easy for dinner the other night, so we made some pasta... it is silly to even blog this one, but here you go!

Quick and Easy Pasta

Looks good huh??!!

- pasta noodles (any kind really)
- Italian Sausage
- 2 cans of seasoned tomatoes (I used tomatoes seasoned with garlic and herbs)
- parmesan cheese
- 1 cannister of Pillsbury rolls
- salt and pepper!

How to:
1. Cook pasta on stove and drain
2. While pasta is cooking, grab a frying pan and cook sausage until cooked through (8-10 min)
3. Once drained, add canned tomatoes and sausage (cut up of course!)
4. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle parmesan on top!
5. Add the roll to the mix!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Bottom Round Roast with Onion Gravy

Found this recipe on and thought it looked good! I bought a bottom round roast this week for dinner, so thought I would try out this recipe for tonight! We will see how it goes!

Bottom Round Roast with Onion Gravy

Ok, so the picture looks a little interesting, but I bet it will be good!!


  • 6 onions, sliced
  • 1 (4 pound) bottom round roast
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup water


  1. Place sliced onions in the bottom of a Dutch oven or stock pot. Season the roast with salt and pepper, and place on top of the onions. Add the vinegar and bay leaf to the pan, and heat over high heat to get it simmering. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 3 to 4 hours. Try not to take the lid off while cooking.
  2. When the roast is done, remove it from the pan to a serving platter. Mix the flour into the water, and pour into the drippings from the roast. Simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently until thickened. Carve roast, and serve with the pan gravy.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A Simple Pudding Dessert

For those of you who have a serious sweet tooth (like me) and don't want ALL the calories that go along with it. try this super simple recipe.. yummy!

Chocolate Pudding with Strawberries

What you need:

- cup of JELLO pudding (vanilla and chocolate swirl... sugar free... pudding)
- cut up strawberries

How to:

Mix it together in a cup! How easy is that.. right?? You can add low fat whip cream to the top too if you are really daring... haha.. love it!

Salmon Caesar Salad with Lemon

I found this recipe from a magazine a long time ago and it is one of Tyler and my favorites.... so simple, and so good!

Salmon Caesar Salad with Lemon

What you need:

- 2 fillets of Salmon
- Caesar Salad mix from the store
- 1 green pepper
- 1 cucumber
- salt/pepper
- 1 lemon

How to:

1. Broil the salmon in the oven for about 20 min. or until cooked through
2. Pour salad into large salad bowl and mix in croutons, cheese, pepper and cucumber (don't add dressing until salmon is ready so the salad doesn't get soggy!
3. Cut the salmon into chunks, add to salad, add dressing and mix!!
4. Squeeze lemon on top and enjoy!

So good! If you like salmon, you will love the flavor in this salad!