December 11, 2010

Cheesy Hamburger Soup

This soup is hearty, creamy, and delicious!  I usually make a double batch and freeze it so I can reheat it whenever I want.  It is really easy and quick to make and I would suggest enjoying it with some warm crusty bread!

Serves:  6-8

1 lb. ground beef (I use turkey)
3/4 c. chopped onion
3/4 c. shredded carrots
3/4 c. diced celery
1 t. dried basil
1 t. dried parsley
4 T. butter
5 c. chicken broth
1 c. water
4 c. peeled and diced potatoes
1/3 c. flour
8 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 1/2 c. half and half
1 T. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1/3 c. sour cream

Brown and drain beef, set aside.  In the same pot, saute onion, carrots, celery, basil, and parsley in 1 tablespoon of butter for about 10 minutes, or until veggies are soft.  Add broth, water, potatoes, and beef and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

In a small saucepan, melt remaining butter, add flour and cook for 3-5 minutes until brown and bubbly.  Add to soup and bring to a boil.  Stir well and reduce heat.  Continue cooking for another 5 minutes.  Add cheese, salt, and pepper.  Once cheese has melted and seasoning is to your taste, remove from heat and stir in sour cream.  Serve and enjoy!

Zuppa Toscana

This recipe is adapted from the Olive Garden and is so yummy!  Perfect for cold days!  I've had a number of friends request that I post it and so here it is.  Enjoy!

Serves: 6-8

1 lb. ground Italian sausage
1 1/2 t. crushed red peppers
1 large diced yellow onion
5 strips bacon, diced
2 t. minced garlic
10 c. water
5 cubes chicken bouillon (or chicken base)
1 c. heavy cream
3 large potatoes, large dice
1/2 bunch kale, sliced

Saute sausage and crushed red pepper in a large stock pot.  Drain excess fat and set aside.
In the same pan, saute bacon until crisp.  Add onions and garlic over low-medium heat for about 15 minutes or until onions are soft.

Add water and bouillon and bring to a boil.  Add potatoes and reduce heat to a simmer for 30 minutes.  Add cream and cook just until heated through.  Stir in sausage and kale.  Cook for another 10-15 minutes and serve.

October 24, 2010

Chocolate Lasagna

A Delicious Mess...
So a few years ago I mentored two women whom I dearly love.  One of our favorite things to do in meeting together was to meet over good food... especially dessert.  Olive Garden used to have this Chocolate Lasagna that the three of us would devour.  It was amazing!  They no longer serve it and I have been craving it.  SO... I found the recipe and made it last night.

If I do it again I would use the following recipe instead; using less cake which I really didn't need.  AND... if you are into calorie counting, this is not the recipe for you.  Just looking at the ingredients made me gasp... not that it stopped me from indulging in it.  Let me just say that this cake is a Delicious Mess and tastes EXACTLY like the one they used to serve at the Olive Garden... Heaven.  Now all I need to figure out is what to do with this enormous cake!

So this one is for you Kinsey and Laurel!  Love you both!

Chocolate Lasagna
Serves 8 (yeah right!  try 16-20)

4 c. flour
3 1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. cocoa powder
1 T. + 1 t. baking soda
3 c. milk
1 c. butter, melted
8 eggs
2 t. vanilla extract

Butter Cream
2/3 c. water
4 T. meringue powder (if you can't find this, use 2 egg whites)
12 c. sifted powdered sugar
1 1/4 c. shortening
3/4 t. salt
1 t. clear almond extract
1 t. clear vanilla extract
1 t. clear butter flavor (if you can't find clear, that's ok)

Approximately 1 1/2 c. Semi-sweet chocolate chips for sprinkling

Cake:  Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease two 9 inch round cake pans.  In mixing bowl, stir together sifted flour, sugar, cocoa, and baking soda.  Add butter and mix well.  Add milk, eggs, and vanilla.  Mix thoroughly (it will still be a little lumpy).  Pour about 5 cups of the cake batter into each prepared pan.  Bake for 40-50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes before you remove the cake from the pan.  Cool completely on a wire rack.

Butter Cream:  Combine water and meringue powder (or egg whites); whip at high speed until stiff peaks form.  Add 4 cups of sugar, one cup at a time, beating after each addition at low speed.  Alternately add shortening and remainder of sugar.  Add salt and flavorings; beat at low speed until smooth.  Thin out 1/2 of of the frosting with a little extra water.  The thinned frosting is used as the filling between layers.

To Assemble:  Carefully slice each cake in half (horizontally). Spread 1/3 of the thinned frosting between each layer.  Sprinkle semi-sweet chocolate chips on the top of each layer of frosting before placing the next layer of cake on top.  Once all of the cake is layered, frost the entire cake with remaining (non-thinned) frosting.  Sprinkle top of cake with chocolate chips.

Slice into wedges and enjoy the sweet goodness of this decadent cake!  It is very rich!

October 7, 2010

Chicken and Couscous Salad

So I decided to cook my way through some of my cookbooks to try some new recipes and it has been a blast!  This recipe is from the Cooking Light Essential Dinner cookbook.  I tweaked it a bit.

1 1/4 c. chicken broth
1 (5.7 ounce) box uncooked couscous
1 1/2 c. cooked chicken, cubed
1/2 c. thinly sliced green onions
1/2 c. diced radishes
1/2 c. chopped seeded peeled cucumbers
1/4 c. chopped parsley
2 T. pine nuts, toasted

1/4 c. red wine vinegar
1 1/2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. salt
1/8 t. freshly ground pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
Pinch sugar

Bring broth to a boil; gradually stir in couscous. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 5 minutes.  Fluff with a fork.  Spoon couscous into a large bowl; cool slightly.  Add chicken and next 5 ingredients; toss gently.

To prepare dressing, combine vinegar and remaining 6 ingredients; stir with a whisk.  Drizzle dressing over salad; toss to combine.

Serves 4.

August 22, 2010

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

I changed up a great recipe I found online and used an old family pie crust recipe (instead of the one the recipe called for) and it turned out SO yummy!  It looks like there is a TON of cornstarch, but my pie turned out a bit wet at first, so make sure you let it set for a bit before you slice into it.

Serves 8
Never Fail Pie Crust (this is an old family recipe... works GREAT every time)
3 cups sifted flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chilled vegetable shortening
1 egg, beaten with enough milk added to make 1/2 cup

3 1/2 cups 1/2-inch-thick slices trimmed rhubarb (1 1/2 pounds untrimmed)
1 16-ounce container strawberries, hulled, halved (about 3 1/2 cups)
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier (or any other orange flavored liqueur)
1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 large egg yolk beaten to blend with 1 teaspoon water (for glaze)

Make crust: Combine flour, sugar and salt in large bowl.  Cut in shortening with pastry blender until the mixture resembles pea-sized pieces.  Add egg mixture and mix just until combined.  Pat on a floured surface into a large disc of dough.  Cut dough in half.  Flatten each half into disk.  If not using immediately, wrap in plastic and put in refrigerator.

Make filling: Preheat oven to 400°F. Put rhubarb and strawberries in a large bowl and pour Grand Marnier over them to let soak for 10 minutes.  Add next 5 ingredients. Toss gently to blend.

Assemble Pie: Roll out 1 dough disk on floured work surface to 13-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter pie dish. Trim excess dough, leaving 3/4-inch overhang.  Roll out second dough disk on lightly floured surface to 13-inch round. Cut into fourteen 1/2-inch-wide strips. Spoon filling into crust. Arrange 7 dough strips atop filling, spacing evenly. Form lattice by placing remaining dough strips in opposite direction atop filling. Trim ends of dough strips even with overhang of bottom crust. Fold strip ends and overhang under, pressing to seal. Crimp edges decoratively.

Brush glaze over crust. transfer pie to baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Bake pie until golden and filling thickens, about another 25 minutes. [The original recipe suggested a total baking time of 1 hour and 55 minutes.  Mine was done in just shy of an hour.] Transfer pie to rack and cool completely.

July 25, 2010

My Newest Craving

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Filled Grahams

Graham Crackers broken in half (as many as you want to make)
Peanut Butter (enough to spread between the cracker halves)
Dark Chocolate Chips
White Chocolate Chips

Fill graham crackers with peanut butter to form sandwiches.  Chill in refrigerator for about 1 hour.  Melt dark chocolate in one bowl and white chocolate in another.  Spread dark on one side of cracker sandwiches, let cool.  Spreak white chocolate on other side, let cool.

I have seriously craved these!  I just can't get enough of them.  I'll just keep using the excuse that I'm nursing and need the extra calories for now!

July 18, 2010

Reluctant Tuscan

I just finished a GREAT book!  In all your spare time I highly suggest this fun, easy, and entertaining read.

The book is about a married couple who buys a run down house in Tuscany, Italy.  It is hilarious!  If you've been to Italy you will laugh because of the way he writes about the unique and quirky things about Italy.  If you've never been to Italy (first of all... you should go), you will laugh because you will get a glimpse of the humor of a place that is so different from the US.

The Reluctant Tuscan on Amazon

July 7, 2010

Orange Banana Pudding Pops

Avery and I have been on a Popsicle making kick. I bought a bunch of small metal containers used for condiments and they work perfectly of Popsicles. These are so yummy and Avery loves them!

3/4 c. plain yogurt
2/3 c. thawed orange juice concentrate
2 large bananas
Zest of 1 lime
1 tablespoon(s) fresh lime juice

Puree yogurt, thawed orange juice concentrate, bananas, lime zest, and fresh lime juice in a blender.
Pour into the molds. Freeze until smoothie pops are solid, about 4 hours.
To release pops, dip molds into hot water until pops loosen and slide out. If using cups, peel away paper.

Agave Vanilla Ice Cream

The great thing about this ice cream is that is doesn't have any refined sugar and I think it tastes better. It is rich and creamy... enjoy!

Banana-Chocolate Chip Variation

1 c. 2% milk
1 t. vanilla
½ c. light agave nectar
Pinch of salt
2 large egg yolks
2 c. heavy cream (for a lighter version, use half & half)

Place milk in a saucepan with vanilla, agave nectar, and salt. Heat over low heat until the mixture is hot. Lightly beat the egg yolks in a bowl. Add ¼ c. of the hot milk and whisk. Pour the egg mixture into the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until it starts to thicken, about 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat and place the saucepan in a bowl of ice water. Continue stirring to cool down the mixture. When the mixture is only slightly warm, stir in the cream. Cover and chill in the refrigerator until cold – several hours or overnight. Pour the mixture through a fine strainer into the ice maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Variations (Add these at the end of the freezing process):
Banana-Chocolate Chip: 2 mashed bananas & ½ c. chocolate chips
Coconut-White Chocolate: ½ c. toasted coconut & ½ c. chopped white chocolate chips
Nutella: Melt ½ c. nutella with 2 T. milk over medium-low heat, transfer to bowl, cool in refrigerator for 1 hour.

"When is this ice cream going to be done?"

June 27, 2010


I have lavender on my front walkway and as I was clipping it the other day I couldn't resist taking a picture. It was beautiful, smelled so sweet, and provided a much needed quiet moment. It is good to enjoy the beauty of God's world.

June 4, 2010


How beautiful is this?

Onion Fact

Did you know that you can replant scallions and they will grow back. All you have to do is chop off the white ends after you dig them up and then replant them in the ground. Within days you will have a new scallion growing. I thought that was pretty cool.

My Garden

So I am learning more every year about gardening and how to grow herbs and veggies. It has been so much fun and I LOVE watching a seed turn into something edible and beautiful. This year I've got so much growing and I have already harvested radishes... they are delicious too. Just thought I'd share my fun hobby.

The blue things you see in the garden are called water walls and they help insulate warm weather plants and help them to grow faster and endure colder nights. It's about time for me to take them off, but boy do they work! I have two tomato plants that were threatening to die, I put the water walls on, and literally the NEXT day they were coming back to life and sprouting new branches. Pretty cool!

May 16, 2010

She Has My Heart

"Making the decision to have a child — it’s momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body." Elizabeth Stone

April 26, 2010

Little Inspiration

Meet my new daughter! Madison Hope Schultz... born April 24th at 12:42am.

April 11, 2010

Things I LOVE

I am SO glad that the weather is warming up! It is amazing what sun, warmth, and plants blooming can do for my heart. To walk around my house and see this was awesome! I'm so excited to begin digging in the dirt and watching things grow. I've already got radishes, lettuce, and peas coming up in my garden and I am just itching to plant more! And there is certainly part of me that is trying to do as much as I can to pass the time since I only have one more week until my due date.

March 20, 2010

Rainbolt Wedding

I got to do the photos for a friend's wedding last weekend and it was such a blessing! The wedding was in Estes Park and it was a beautiful day! Click on the photo below to see just a few of the pics.
March 12, 2010
Bobby & Alexandra, I sure love you guys!

March 10, 2010

Hummingbird Cake

Another recipe from my Food Network magazine that I just had to try. "Why is it called a hummingbird cake?" Great question... some say it is because of the 'nectar-like' sweetness and others have said because it tastes so good it will make you HUM. So, you be the judge. It is one of easiest cakes to make!

AND... for those of you that are big cake lovers, the texture and flavor are actually more like a bread and it is delicious!

Unsalted butter, for greasing
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 cup pecan pieces
3 ripe bananas, chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh pineapple (I used canned)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil

For the Frosting:
2 packages cream cheese (8 ounces each), at room temperature
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter two 8-inch round cake pans and line with parchment paper. Butter the parchment and dust with flour.

Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and bake until fragrant and toasted, about 8 minutes. Let cool slightly, then roughly chop. Toss with the bananas, pineapple and 1/2 cup flour in a small bowl.

Whisk the remaining 2 1/4 cups flour, the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Beat the eggs and granulated sugar in a separate bowl with a mixer on high speed until thick and light, 5 minutes. Gradually beat in the vegetable oil.

Sprinkle the flour mixture over the egg mixture, then gently fold to make a thick batter. Fold in the pecan-fruit mixture, then transfer the batter to the prepared pans. Bake until the cakes are firm and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes. Cool in the pans on a rack, 25 minutes, then invert the cakes onto the rack to cool completely.

Make the frosting: Beat the cream cheese in a large bowl with a mixer until fluffy, then gradually beat in the butter until combined. Sift the confectioners' sugar over the cream cheese mixture and beat until smooth. Add the lemon zest and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy.

Place one cake layer on a serving plate. Spread about half of the frosting on top, then cover with the other cake layer. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake.

March 6, 2010

Cranberry Walnut Scones

3 c. flour
1/3 c. sugar
1 T. baking powder
½ t. baking soda
½ t. salt
Grated zest of 1 orange
¾ c. (1 ½ sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
¾ c. dried cranberries (can also use chopped figs or dried cherries)
½ c. chopped walnuts
1 c. cold buttermilk
2 T. sugar mixed with ¼ t. each cinnamon, allspice, and mace, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Grease or parchment line a baking sheet. In a medium bowl using a whisk or electric mixer, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and zest. Using a fork or electric mixer, cut in the butter. The mixture will resemble coarse crumbs. Stir in the cranberries and walnuts. Add the buttermilk to the dry mixture, stirring just until a shaggy sticky dough is formed.

Turn the dough out on to a light floured surface and knead gently about 6 times, just until the dough holds together. Divide into 3 equal portions and pat each into a 1 inch thick round about 6 inches in diameter. Using a knife, cut each round into quarters, making 4 wedges. The scones can also be formed by cutting out with a 2 inch biscuit cutter to make 12 to 14 small scones.

Sprinkle tops with spiced-sugar mixture. Place the scones about 1 inch apart on the baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until tops are golden brown.

Makes 12 scones.

February 16, 2010

Rosemary Apple Bread

I've made this bread so many times! It is a great sweet/savory bread that is awesome with a dinner or for toast. And it's even better the second day!

3 c. flour
1 1/4 t. salt
1 t. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 package quick-rise yeast (about 2 1/4 t.)
1 c. warm water (100 to 110 degrees)
1 c. finely diced Granny Smith apple
Cooking spray
2 t. butter, melted

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, level with a knife. Combine 2 3/4 c. flour, salt, rosemary, and yeast in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add water, stirring until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes), add enough of remaining flour, 1 T. at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands. Cover and let rest 5 minutes. Knead in apple. Place the dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rest 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375.

Shape dough into a loaf, place dough in an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Gently press dough into pan, cover. Let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, 30 minutes or until doubled in size.

Bake at 375 for 45 minutes or until bread is lightly browned and sounds hollow when tapped. Brush top with butter. Cool in pan 5 minutes. Remove from pan, and cool completely on a wire rack.

Servings: 16.

February 10, 2010

Pensione Window

"Pensione Window"
June 2001
Pisa, Italy

This was my view all summer when I lived in Pisa working with Campus Crusade for Christ on campus there. Not too shabby.

February 8, 2010

Super "Bowl"

So, I found this idea in my Food Network Magazine and HAD to try it for our Superbowl party yesterday! It was SO fun and totally worked! We filled it with M&Ms and when those were gone, we ate the bowl itself. Pretty cool.

8 cups Chex Mix
2 large egg whites
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Add 2 T. water to egg whites and beat until not quite stiff peaks form. Add Chex Mix and mix until everything is coated. Generously coat a three quart, oven-safe bowl with non-stick spray. Pour mix into bowl. Take a large sheet of foil, spray one side with non-stick spray and place that side down against the Chex Mix and mold to form the inside of the "bowl." Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before removing foil. Let cool for an additional 20 minutes. Invert the bowl over a plate and then gently re-invert it. It is very sturdy, tastes great, and will definitely impress!

Roasted Tomatoes with Basil

This recipe is from Ina Garten... one of my favorite cooks! It is like HEAVEN in your mouth!! And they are so easy.

Servings: 4-5

12 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1/4 c. olive oil
1 1/2 T. balsamic vinegar
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 t. sugar
1 1/2 t. kosher salt
1/2 t. black pepper
10 large fresh basil leaves, julienned

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Arrange the tomatoes on a sheet pan, cut sides up, in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with the garlic, sugar, salt, and pepper. Roast for 25-30 minutes until the tomatoes start to caramelize and the flavors are concentrated. Sprinkle with basil on top and serve warm or at room temperature.

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

These are a great way to make plain old mashed potatoes a little "up-scaled."

Servings: 4

5 medium russet potatoes, peeled & cubed
1 head roasted garlic [See HOW TO ROAST GARLIC]
6 T. butter, melted
1/4 c. milk (or cream)
Salt & pepper, to taste
(Optional) 1-2 T. fresh herbs (thyme or parsley are great)

In large pot, cover potatoes with an inch or two of cold water. Bring to a boil and cook until fork tender, about 15-20 minutes. Drain the potatoes. Put back into pot adding garlic, butter, milk, salt & pepper. Using a mixer or potato masher, mash to the consistency you like! Enjoy!

PS. You may need a breath mint after these... but so worth it.

February 5, 2010

Chicken Cordon Bleu w/ Cranberry Chutney

We made this a few nights ago with some students and they loved beating the "you know what" out of the chicken. We served this with Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Tomatoes with Basil. YUM!

Servings: 4

4 chicken breasts skinless and boneless
4 thin slices ham
4 slices Mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup bread crumbs

4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely minced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs
Extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Lay the chicken breast between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Using the flat side of a meat mallet, gently pound the chicken to 1/4-inch thickness. Remove the top sheet of plastic and lay 2 slices of ham neatly over the top to cover the breast and then add one slice of mozzarella per chicken breast. Tuck in the sides of the breast and roll up tight like a jellyroll inside the plastic wrap. Squeeze the log gently to seal and twist both ends tight to form a nice log. Repeat with remaining chicken.

USING THREE SEPARATE DISHES... Season the flour with salt and pepper. Mix the bread crumbs with thyme, garlic and kosher salt, pepper, and melted butter. (The butter will help the crust brown) Beat together the eggs and season with salt & pepper.

Remove the plastic wrap from chicken rolls. Lightly dust the chicken with flour, dip in the egg mixture and gently coat in the bread crumbs. Lightly coat a baking pan with olive oil and carefully transfer the roulades onto it. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until browned and cooked through (should have an internal temp of 180).

Let them rest for a few minutes before slicing. Cover with cranberry chutney (recipe below).


2 cups fresh cranberries
1/2 cup red wine
1/4 cup sugar
Freshly ground black pepper

Add ingredients to saucepan and set over low-medium heat for 10-12 minutes until cranberries are just cooked through and tender.

It went too fast for me to get a picture BEFORE we ate it all!

February 3, 2010

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is honor of my good friend Paige... this is her recipe & it is AWESOME! I have made them lots of times for girls who can't have gluten and they love them! And Brian and I would say they taste just as good as regular cookies. I use a combination of milk & butterscotch chips, but use whatever you like! So, here's to you Paige...

Makes about 2 dozen.

1 stick butter, softened
3/4 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. sugar (optional, depending on how sweet you like your cookies)
1 egg
1 c. rice flour
1/4 c. tapioca flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 c. chocolate chips
1/2 c. butterscotch chips

Mix butter and peanut butter until smooth. Add sugars and egg and blend well. In a separate bowl, combine rice flour, tapioca flour, baking soda, and baking powder. And dry ingredients to wet and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips & butterscotch chips.

Spoon onto cookie sheet and bake at 375 for 6-8 min.

*You can get both rice and tapioca flour at most grocery stores in the baking aisle. If you can't find it there, Whole Foods or any other health food store will have them.

Morning Glorious Muffins

These are so delicious & moist! They are also super healthy and good for you... Avery gobbles these up. Enjoy!

Makes 24 muffins.

2 c. flour
1 1/4 c. sugar
1/2 t. salt
2 t. baking soda
2 t. cinnamon
1 1/2 c. shredded carrots
1 1/2 c. shredded apple
3/4 c. coconut
1/2 c. chopped dates (can also substitute dried cranberries... yum)
1/2 c. chopped pecans
3 eggs - slightly beaten
1/2 c. canola oil
1/2 c. applesauce
1/2 t. vanilla
*I also add 2 T. of ground flax seeds for extra nutrients, but you don't have to.

In a large bowl, combine, flour, sugar, salt, soda, and cinnamon. In medium bowl, combine carrots, apple, coconut, dates, & pecans. Stir in beaten eggs, oil, applesauce, & vanilla. Add wet to dry ingredients and stir just until moistened. Pour into muffin cups.

Bake at 375 for 18-20 min.

January 28, 2010

I'm A Little Teapot

I would love to share some of the pottery I've done over the past couple of years. I feel like I'm just moving past being a beginner, but I LOVE IT! There is nothing like working with my hands and seeing something being formed from a lump of clay!

So, here is my first teapot... not an easy one to make, that's for sure!

"Yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand." Isaiah 64:8

Cinque Terre, Italy

Cinque Terre, Italy.
June 2001.
One of my most favorite places in all the world! I wish I was there right now.

Alphabet Art

You might have seen those pictures of things that look like letters and are spelling different words. So, for Christmas this year, I grabbed my new camera and headed out to try my hand at it... not as easy as it may seem! But I ended up with some fun pics and put together a frame for my sister and her husband with their last name (Taylor). I think it turned out pretty cool.

January 27, 2010

Frozen Lemonade Pie

Oh my! I made this pie for the first time last week and you have got to try it... wow!

Graham Cracker Crust:
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
7 tablespoons butter, melted

Lemonade filling:
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk, chilled
1 (12 ounce) container whip topping, thawed
1 (6 fluid ounce) can frozen lemonade concentrate, keep frozen
Zest of one lemon
1 teaspoon candied lemon peel (I made my own... really fun! Recipe for that HERE.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In food processor, combine cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup of sugar, and the melted butter. Press firmly on bottom and up sides of pie plate. Bake for 7 minutes and let cool completely.

In a medium bowl, add chilled sweetened condensed milk and cool whip and fold gently. Add frozen lemonade and zest and continue to gently fold. Do not let the mixture become soupy.

Pour mixture into the pie crust and freeze overnight.

Garnish with candied lemon peel.


My sister Tiffany emailed me a bunch of old pictures that my grandmother gave her and I found one of my great-grandfather. What a cool picture! I think there is something beautiful about older photos and the depth they have.

And my great-grandfather had quite a story... much of which we actually can't trace. But what we do know is that he fled to America as an anarchist from Italy and changed his last name to Manfred when he got here. Crazy. Nonetheless, I love that I have this picture.

January 26, 2010

My New Favorite Breakfast Food

Grapefruit. Yep, I LOVE it! Is that wierd?

But... did you know?

Grapefruit are loaded with vitamin C. In fact, half of one grapefruit or an 8-ounce glass of grapefruit juice provides at least 100% of the Daily Value for vitamin C! Vitamin C is one of the most powerful antioxidants, acting as a scavenger to help neutralize free radicals. Antioxidants may assist in fighting cell and tissue damage that could eventually lead to diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Vitamin C can support a healthy immune system to help the body fight infection and increases the absorption of iron.

So, there you have it. And all this time I just thought they tasted good. Who knew?

January 21, 2010

January 20, 2010

Palomino Spaghettini

This is one of my favorite recipes. It is quick, easy, and so yummy! And it makes great leftovers!

Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 20 min.
Total Time: 30 min.

1 lb. spaghetti (original recipe calls for 1 ½)
5 T. olive oil – divided
3 large chicken breasts Рdiced & saut̩ed (optional)
1 t. salt
1 t. pepper
1 T. minced garlic
1 c. diced roma tomatoes
½ c. diced sundried tomatoes
6 T. fresh basil, julienne cut (if using dry, use only 3-4 T.)
1 c. chicken broth
½ c. white wine
6 T. butter
Parmesan cheese
Pine nuts, toasted

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and toss lightly with 1 T. olive oil. Set aside. Saute chicken seasoning with a little salt and pepper and set aside. Heat the remaining 4 T. olive in a sauté pan. Add salt, pepper, and garlic. Saute garlic until it is light brown, about 2-3 min. Add tomatoes, dried tomatoes, 2 T. basil, chicken broth, and wine. Bring to a boil.

Add butter, chicken, and pasta, tossing until liquid reaches sauce consistency and butter has melted.


Place in a large bowl and top with parmesan cheese, remaining basil, and toasted pine nuts. Enjoy! Serves 6-8.
Buon Appetito!