Monday, October 31, 2011

I'll Fly Away!

Are you loving this weather and the leaves that are finally changing?! I am! The weekend was full of fun fall events and we enjoyed chili, a bonfire, and friends.

My parent's church hosted a Trunk or Treat and I thought I would share my dad's creation, as I thought it was quite impressive:

His Lexus looks ready to fly away!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Little Vacation

"It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep." Psalm 127:2

I was recently reminded of this verse by our Pastor's wife Sally when we ate lunch at their house. She has it posted several places around their house. Indeed, it is good to cease anxious toil and to rest.

We enjoyed some rest this past week. Aaron had a 4 day weekend and I was able to line up some subs for my dance classes so we headed to the beach with Aaron's parents and their foster baby. The weather was beautiful and the water was the clearest I have ever seen it. I loved looking down out in the ocean and seeing little fish everywhere. We also saw a fair amount of jelly fish and one sting ray...yikes. I highly recommend the beach in October!

Now we are getting back into normal life, you know, work, groceries, laundry, and cooking. Some Chinese take-out helped ease the transition tonight :)

Hope that you are having a great week and enjoying some moments of rest.

Monday, October 17, 2011

3 for 1

I have mentioned this before, but I especially love when recipes compliment each other and I can use up one purchase to make a variety of different things. This week was the perfect example: I bought a quart of half-and-half at Aldi and used it to make 3 really yummy, different things.

The first was a Southern Living recipe for Queso-Broccoli Potato Chowder. This was delicious and made a ton! This is a great fall recipe and the magazine says that it freezes well.

Since I had leftover hash browns and half-and-half from making the soup, I was excited to find a Paula Dean Hash Brown quiche recipe. The hash brown crust was delicious and filling.

I love a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks. They are sooo good! I was pumped to find a recipe for homemade pumpkin creamer. BINGO- another use for the half-and-half in the fridge.

I highly recommend all these get some half-and-half and get cookin'!

Queso-Broccoli Potato Chowder
Source: Southern Living Magazine
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3 poblano peppers, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 (20-oz.) package refrigerated Southwestern-style hash brown potatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 (14-oz.) cans low-sodium fat-free chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1 cup freshly shredded monterey jack cheese
  • 1 cup freshly shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1 (12-oz.) package fresh broccoli florets
  • Sautéed chopped ham

1. Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat; add bell pepper and next 3 ingredients, and sauté 4 to 5 minutes or until tender. Add potatoes and cumin, and sauté 5 minutes or until browned and tender. Gradually stir in broth, stirring to loosen particles from bottom of Dutch oven. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 25 minutes.

2. Whisk together flour and next 2 ingredients. Stir into potato mixture, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, 5 minutes or until thickened. Reduce heat to low.

3. Add cheeses, and cook, stirring constantly, until cheeses melt and mixture is thoroughly heated.

4. Place broccoli in a 1-qt. microwave-safe glass bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap; fold back a small edge to allow steam to escape. Microwave at HIGH 3 to 4 1/2 minutes or until broccoli is crisp-tender, stirring after 2 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Stir hot broccoli into chowder. Top each serving with sauteed chopped ham.

Hash Brown Quiche

Adapted from Paula Dean
  • 1/2 package refrigerated hash browns
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 3/4 cup diced cooked ham
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Toss the hash browns with melted butter and then press into a pie plate. Bake 20 minutes, or until crisp.

Meanwhile, saute onion and mushrooms in olive oil.

In a large mixing bowl combine eggs, half-and-half and cheese.

When the hash brown crust is ready, top it with ham and veggies and then pour the egg mixture over it and return to the oven.

Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for about 30 minutes until the quiche is light golden brown on top and puffed.

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Creamer
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin
  • 2 T sugar (more or less to taste)
  • 1 T vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
Heat half & half, pumpkin and sugar over medium heat until bubbling and sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and whisk vanilla and spices into warm mixture until well blended. Cool and serve.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Worth Reading

Need some good news today? Read this story. I bet it will make you smile.

Photo Credit: Kevin Williams, Clarion-Ledger

Need to be reminded today that God's ways are so much greater than our own? Please read this post. I bet it will challenge and encourage you.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Tortellini Soup

One thing that I love about fall and winter is making and eating SOUP. It is easy, comforting, warm, cheap and usually makes a lot. Today was rather grey and then rainy tonight so it was the perfect time to make one of my favorites: Tortellini Soup.

Tortellini (or Ravioli) Soup

olive oil
1 small diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
sliced mushrooms
1 can diced tomatoes
1 carton chicken broth
1 package of cheese tortellini or ravioli

In a large pot, saute garlic, onions, and mushrooms in olive oil until tender. Add a can of diced tomatoes (either Italian style tomatoes or throw in some Italian seasonings like basil and oregano). Add broth and bring to a boil. Add tortellini or ravioli and cook until tender. Serve with Parmesan cheese and bread. Enjoy!

Friday, October 7, 2011


We subscribe to the newspaper on Sundays only. The delivery person has a habit of chucking the paper up the stairs and nailing our front door at about 5:30 AM. We usually briefly wake up to the thud and then roll over and go back to sleep. This morning (Friday) we were both startled awake at 5:20 AM to a loud thud on our front door. At first we thought someone had knocked, and then we realized it was probably a newspaper mistakenly delivered. Aaron checked the time and it was then that he realized that he had failed to turn on his 5:30 alarm the night before. Coincidental? No, we we think it was Providential!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

RiteAid, My New Friend (at least for now)

Have I mentioned before that I get tired of couponing at drug stores? (Yes, I'm sure that I have.) Dealing with coupons at one store (Publix) and getting deals at another (Aldi) is most often times my limit for the week. But I have to acknowledge that grocery store deals for toiletries just can't compete with drugstores. Earlier this year, I was regularly shopping at CVS and in no time at all we had an ample supply of toothpaste, body wash, shampoo, and deodorant that I had spent very little on. And so, with a good supply in the closet, I stopped.

This week we have been squeezing out the dregs of the last tube of toothpaste, Aaron was out of body wash, and we only had one squirt of some less than desirable Aldi face wash. So I bit the bullet this week and headed to a drug store. I chose Rite Aid since they are just across the street and had lots of the items we needed on sale. And about $10 later, I wasn't disappointed and walked out with all that is pictured below. Perhaps it revitalized me to continue with the drug store deals a bit, at least until we have a decent supply again.

What about you, do you coupon at multiple stores? What is your favorite drugstore?

Monday, October 3, 2011

House Hunting

We have done some house hunting in the past few months. We aren't in any big rush to buy, but decided it would be a good thing to begin looking. Let me tell you, we have seen some crazy things! I wish that I had been taking my camera along and blogging about our experiences, because as our realtor says, "I sure know how to pick em!"

The first house that we went to see was in the part of town where my parents live. You might remember that they suffered major tornado damage there in April. We knew that is was possible that this house might have some damage, but we weren't prepared for the fact that it didn't have a single tree left, or a single blade of grass for that matter, and there had been a tree through the roof and ceiling. Lovely :) No wonder the house was priced so low, huh?

We saw another house that was a rather small 3 bedroom, 1 bath house and the owners had decided to expand a bit. They proceeded to add a HUGE den that was about the size of the whole rest of the house. It made for an awkwardly massive room and didn't solve any of the older home's woes of still having the laundry in the kitchen. They made a coat closet into another bathroom, you know, airplane style where you can sit on the pot and wash your hands in the sink. I just don't understand why when adding so much square footage they didn't address some of the obvious needs of the house.

Speaking of poorly planned renovations leads me to another house that ranks up there as an all time favorite of ours. It provided us with many laughs! It was another pretty small house to begin with that the owners had decided to add onto. They started by finishing a room in the attic. We climbed the stairs up and went through a trap door at the top. Yes, a trap door and it was strange. After climbing into the room our realtor declared that it was a room for the Little People from TLC. In other words, you couldn't really stand up in there. They had added a nice bathroom up there too, but sadly it was also made for little people. We quickly headed downstairs and went to check out the other bedrooms. Off of one of the bedrooms was an added master bath and master bedroom. Oddly, to reach the master bedroom, one had to walk through both the other bedroom and through the master bath. The master bath was equipped with a family sized bathtub. I do not jest.

And finally we saw a foreclosure whose kitchen was completely missing, cabinets included. It was a bare room. We further explored the house and were shocked to find a mirror that had hinges on it in one of the bedroom closets. The mirror opened to reveal a secret stairwell to the attic and a very odd room that was half finished in the attic. It was rather creepy to be honest.

And so our house hunting continues. Perhaps I will start taking my camera along. In the mean time, you should check out Hooked on Houses Funny MLS Photos. Seriously check it out, you might even laugh out loud; they are hilarious!!