Monday, July 23, 2018

Strawberry Crinkle Cookies

These are the easiest cookies in the world to make, and they really are delicious.  My friend made some lemon crinkle cookies recently and  a watching audience is the only reason I didn't take the whole plate.
Last week I helped host a shower and we wanted to have a bunch of pink cookies for dessert, so this was one I made to add to the mix.
All you need is a box of cake mix, an 8 oz tub of whipped topping, an egg, and a bowl of powdered sugar.
Mix the cake mix, tub of whipped topping, and the egg.  Make balls (it's pretty sticky) and roll each one in powdered sugar (each ball should be about 1 T.).  Place the cookies on a greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 for ten minutes.  You should be able to get 32 out of your batch....or 31 if your lab sneaks one off the tray before it goes in.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Soda Shop Party

I forgot to share this little party I helped throw a few months back.  Every summer (for the last 9 years) a group of friends and I go to a retreat house we rent out for 4 days.  One of the gals was turning the young age of 70 this year on our first day of the retreat.  
 She likes old soda shops, so we put together a little lunch to greet her when she came.  I found this old drink crate (apparently Frostie was a drink in the 40's)-we had coke floats, and then used the little paper boats (from Party City) to serve up frito pie (all those ingredients were in the kitchen.  I also made shirts for each of the ladies to wear so that when Louise showed up, we were all there to great her without any doubt to our willingness to party.
This is most of the group at dinner in the evening.  Simple and fun.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Bible Journal Walk Through Link

I head to GMT today to talk about bibles.  I won't have time to walk through my journal on air, but I did a quick walk through here, with several more videos that are much more specific also on the channel.
I'll post the segment later on facebook.
A few follow up tips:  
-A great site for ordering stuff online is  They have a super cute print and pray shop you can also order from.  I buy full size mailing labels, print the sheets of on these and then cut them out and stick them down to my bible.  I really like the clear ones b/c you can still read the words through the pictures.

-They have also started selling some of their products at Michael's and Hobby Lobby in the scrapbooking section, which means you can use your coupons!  They also occasionally go on sale!
-Some online sites with adorable printable pages you can put under the pages of your bible/trace and color can be found here.
-This site has a bunch of really cute doodle how to's that take you step by step.
-AND here and here are a few older videos with some 'how to's' on bible journaling start/details.
-AND here is a blogpost about using napkins as bible decorations.
I'm going to commit to doing more and posting more because it's one of my favorite crafts right now.  One of my goals is to journal every chapter in the bible (not this year, but.....I'm working on it...).

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Travel Journal Brazil

I just finished my travel journal to Brazil.  Instead of photos I did a quick video.  This time I  journaled and left blanks.  I waited to decorate it when I got home-the Amazon River is not conducive to adhesive...go figure.
Here's the Link.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Bacon Jalapeno Bites

I have a favorite jalapeno recipe I take to a lot of pot lucks.  This week, I brought a few dishes to a bbq themed birthday party for a friend.  The hostess was already making corn bread (which my favorite recipe is stuffed with), but I wanted to bring some jalapenos, so I brought this recipe, which is also delicious....because....bacon.
It's super easy-jalapenos, 1/2 c. cream cheese (softened),  1/2 c. sharp cheddar cheese, and 12 pieces of bacon.
Cut the jalapenos in half.
I use gloves to remove the seeds and the white innards.  Mix the two cheeses and stuff 1/2 of the jalapeno with the cheese mix and then place the other slice back on top so the jalapeno is 'whole' again.
Wrap a slice of back around each stuff jalapeno.
Line a pan with foil.  Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees (until bacon is crisp).

Monday, July 02, 2018

Brazil 2018

I just returned home from my 7th trip to Brazil (over the last 8 years).  To say that I love Brazil would be an understatement.  Ten years ago, the idea of traveling on a boat into the remote jungle, swinging the nights away on a hammock on an open deck with no AC would have not even crossed my mind.  Regardless of whether I go 18 more times, or never again, it will always be one of the highlights of my life that I was given the opportunity to serve with the Brazilian people on these shores.  
Each trip is unique.  Some years we struggled up the river, and sometimes it's a trip with double rainbows and villages full of baby monkeys.  This year the team I traveled with were mostly new to me, which is always a little scary, but they were INCREDIBLE.  Everyone worked hard without complaint, despite some injuries and illnesses-everyone was all in, which makes all the difference.  We traveled with some of the translators I've been with in the past, and new ones I met this trip.  One morning, the pastor performed Baptisms in the Amazon River-a first for me to witness.  

Our focus this year was the Bucket Ministry one of our trip members began the ministry about five years after realizing the river is the source of water for these villagers, and their lives are gravely impacted by this.  He began working with a company to provide filters and buckets for the families.  We work with established missionaries in the area who utilize these filters to help improve the lives of the people in these jungle communities, and open doors to start building relationships.

I've thought a lot about how to sum up this year, and the truth is, I think the stories are still being written, so maybe I'll bring them back in pieces from time to time.  Or maybe I'll let the pictures tell the stories where my words can't.  
Another highlight of the trip-I finally held a sloth!  Most of the folks who travel to Brazil a lot of have done this before, but they have never been a part of my trip.  This little guy was a pet to one of the gals at a store we stopped at on the last day.
One of our amazing translators (Lia) offered a few of us a ride around her city (Manaus) while we waited on our airplane on the last day.  The World Cup was going on, and something I have learned about Brazil (and South America) these last 8 years is that they LOVE their soccer.  Lia took us to a street totally decorated for the world cup from top to bottom.  Each building was playing the soccer game (not even a Brazil game at the time).  We see this over and over.  No matter how remote the village-they find a way to hook up a satellite and a generator for these events and gather around a small tv.  I didn't have cell service for over a week, but I was always apprised of how Brazil was doing on the soccer front!
This trip will be one of my favorites and I can't wait to hear from the missionaries we got to love and left behind and hope to see them again soon!  

Monday, June 18, 2018

Baby Numbers

One of my good friends is about to have baby #4.  She has not found out the gender of the last 3, but she wants the other kiddos to be able to talk to them/talk about them, so she always gives them a nickname-Peanut, Sweetpea, Pumpkin, and now Apple.  Sweetpea was my godson, so I made him some Disney baby countdown numbers when he was born (she loves everything Disney).  For brother #3 I made some pumpkin countdowns, and now for Baby #4 I was commissioned to make apples.  These are really simple to make.  I just use full sheet labels and then use word to create a circle, put a clipart and some text boxes inside and then cut in a circle.  I'm sure I could do it on my Cricut as well, but this was the 'get this done in a hurry b/c I have 456,345,234 on the to do list, but numbers can't wait way to do it!

Friday, June 15, 2018

Scrappy Birthday Cards

I recently bought a card at a little artist booth in downtown Denton.  I decided to use the card to inspire me to make some cards for myself. 

I stamped Happy Day on some scraps of canvas. 

I sewed those squares to the inside of some solid colored cards from Hobby Lobby, and then I sewed on some scraps of fabric to the front of the card.  I'm always digging for cards last minute, I'll have five fewer trips to the store when I realize I need a card ASAP. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Lots O' Meat Lasagna

I have been meaning to post this recipe for years.  My friend Regan makes this lasagna and it's soooooooooooo amazingly tasty.  It's originally a Paula Dean Recipe via the foodnetwork.  I love to make lasagna and cut it into squares and freeze it by the square so that I can eat it over....and over....and over again.  It's summer now so I'm cooking, and baking, and making lots of goodies.
Lots O' Meat Lasagna
Ingredients:  1 1/2 lb ground chuck, 1 lb ground Italian sausage, 1 onion (chopped), 2 cloves garlic (minced), 2 t. ground oregano, 1 t. ground basil, 1/4 t. salt, 1/4 t. pepper, 14.5 oz diced tomatoes (with basil, garlic, and oregano), 30 oz of tomato sauce, 6 oz tomato paste, 1 1/2 c. small curd cottage cheese, 5 oz grated Parmesan Cheese, 2 T chopped parsley, 2 large eggs, 9 oven-ready lasagna noodles, 16 oz mozzarella cheese
1.  In a large saucepan, combine sausage and chuck, onion, and garlic.  Cook over medium heat until browned and crumbled.  Drain.
2.  Add oregano, basil, salt, pepper, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and paste.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes.
3.  In a small bowl, combine cottage cheese, eggs, Parmesan, and parsley.
4.  Layer:
-1/4 of the sauce on the bottom of a 9x13x2 inch pan.
-3 uncooked noodles (don't overlap)
-Spread 1/3 of the cottage cheese mix on the noodles.
-1/4 of the sauce
-1/3 of the Mozzarella cheese
-Repeat cottage cheese, sauce, Mozzarella layers again
-Top with sauce.
-Set last 1/3 of cheese aside.
5.  Bake for 45 minutes at 350.
6.  Top with cheese and bake another 15 minutes.
7.  Rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Bacon and Egg Asparagus Salad

You guys.  This.  This was sooooo tasty.  I usually prefer my vegetables roasted, but I decided to try out this recipe from skinnytaste because....well, bacon.  Apparently if you get Whole30 approved bacon and Dijon this works in that program.  I'm not doing anything whole30, but if all the food taste like this I could be convinced!
Asparagus Salad

1 hardboiled egg (peeled and sliced)
1 2/3 c. chopped asparagus
2 slices of bacon (cooked and crumbled)
1/2 t. Dijon mustard, 1 t. extra virgin olive oil, 1 t. red wine vinegar, pinch of salt and pepper
1.  Bring a pot of water to a boil.  Add the asparagus and cook for 3 minutes (tender, yet still a little firm).  Drain and run under cold water to stop the cooking.
2.  Mix the Dijon, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in a separate bowl.
3.  Top asparagus with bacon, eggs, and drizzle with the vinaigrette.

Friday, June 08, 2018

Crockpot Butter Ranch Chicken

In the summer, it is my life's ambition to not turn on my oven.  I don't have a convection oven, so the last thing I want it to add any heat to this house in the Texas Summer.  I saw this recipe awhile back and it was so easy I had set it aside not really trusting the outcome.  I was sooooo wrong.  This was so yummy I created a new "keeper" label below so I won't forget to make it again....and again.  I house most of my recipes on this blog and not on paper form anymore (though I may work on that), BUT this turned out to be so easy and tasty I didn't want it to get lost on the web.
Basically-throw 4 pieces of chicken in a crockpot.  Sprinkled a pkt of dry ranch seasoning on top and a cut up stick of butter (1/2 c) (it melts as the chicken heats up).  Set on low for 8 hours.  Mine took less time.  It was falling apart and had so much flavor.

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Everything Croissants

These are literally the easiest 'rolls' to make.  I took a can of crescent roll doughs (I accidentally bought the sheets so I just tied a 'knot' in 8 pieces I had cut into strips, but it would work if you follow the can's instruction for the crescent rolls too).  I took the Everything but the Bagel Seasoning from Trader Joe's and sprinkled it on top.

I baked the rolls as directed and they were sooooooo tasty.  I didn't add any butter etc, and the seeds stuck to the top without having to brush them with anything.  This 'recipe' is a keeper.  Here all these folks on the net are wasting that seasoning on healthy vegetables....and all this time there was this calorie rich delicious recipe just waiting for this seasoning.  ;o)  It was worth the calories.  

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Greek Pasta Salad

I may never emotionally recover from my trip to Greece.  So, in order to heal my Greek Homesick Heart....I make variations of Greek food.  This was tasty.  The original recipe (from lecreamedelacrumb) called for tortellini, but I had cheese raviolis I wanted to use up....and it was really delicious.  This stays on my rotation.  I'll probably cut back on the apple cider vinegar for personal taste, but it really was good and it had all my favorite veggies!
Greek Pasta Salad
1 lb cheese tortellini pasta (cook according to package's instructions)
1 c. cherry tomatoes (cut in half)
1/2 red onion (sliced thin)
1 large cucumber (peeled and sliced thin)
1/2 c. canned artichoke hearts (roughly chopped)
1/2 c. olives (whole or sliced)
1/2 c. crumbled feta cheese
1/3 c. fresh basil leaves (chopped fine)
Dressing Ingredients:  
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil, 1/3 c. apple cider vinegar, 3 t. minced garlic, 1 t. dried oregano, 1 t. dried basil, 1/2 t. dried thyme, 2 t. sugar, 1 T Dijon mustard, 1/2 t. salt, black pepper (to taste), juice of 1/2 lemon
1.  Combine the dressing in a jar, shake well.
2.  Mix all the other ingredients.  Pour dressing over the top and toss.
3.  Store in fridge (the original recipe calls for up to only 6 hours, but mine was great the next day as well).

Monday, May 21, 2018

(Vegan) Peach Pecan Crispy Cobbler

Last summer I was armed with some Texas pecans and peaches when I was invited to my brother's place for dinner.  He's vegan and I told him I'd bring the dessert, so I had to combine all of that together.  I found this recipe at Sally'sBakingAddiction and by substituting the butter for nondairy I was able to make this vegan.  The original recipe says it serves 8-12, but in reality-maybe 6 could eat unless your guest are all on a major diet.
It really was a delicious cobblerish dessert, and I loved the pecan and oat topping.  I used a combination of 'regular' and white peaches b/c I ran low on the regular and it tasted great.  I also had frozen some of my peaches in advance, and it baked up just fine, so fresh or frozen-I think you'll be pleased with the outcome.
Peach Pecan Crispy Cobbler
FILLING:  5 c. thinly peeled and sliced peaches (about 5-6 medium peaches), 1/4 c. flour, 3/4 c. sugar, 1/4 t. salt, 1/2 t. vanilla
TOPPING:  3/4 c. brown sugar, 2/3 c. flour, 2/3 c. oats, 1 t. cinnamon, 1/4 t. salt, 3/4 c. pecans (chopped), 1/2 c. dairy free butter (you can also use regular butter if you aren't trying to make it vegan).
1.  Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease an 8 or 9 inch square (or circle) baking dish.
2.  Make the filling by gently tossing all the ingredients.  Spoon into the prepared dish.
3.  Make the topping.  Stir together all the dry ingredients, make sure to get out all the brown sugar lumps.  Add the butter and work it through the dry ingredients with a fork until it's crumbly.  Evenly sprinkle over peaches.
4.  Bake 40-45 inutes until the top is golden brown and peach juice is bubbling on the edges.  Cool slightly before serving.
*This is also great with (vegan) vanilla ice cream.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Honey Fruit Salad

Finally....fruit.  After a long winter and bitter fruits, I'm stocking my fridge with fruit.  When I'm indecisive.  I usually just toss together about five cups of random fruits and then squeeze a lime or lemon over top and drizzle with a few T of honey.  Toss and eat within a day.  If it does start to turn a bit, you can bag it up and freeze it in the freezer and blend it into smoothies later on.  I missed summer.  

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Garden Party Hacks

The above photo is my overgrown garden....and a plastic bucket from the dollar store I sprayed to look like a galvanized tub.  
See that orange bucket?  I passed out Halloween candy from that random bucket that has been hanging around my house for way too long.  I bought  Krylon spray that has a primer built in and goes on plastic (I found it at Walmart for just over 5 bucks).  It only took one coat.  The great thing about this approach is it makes these buckets more affordable, and you can vary up the shapes and sizes of buckets you use to create a cluster of drink buckets instead of one large bucket.....and you can toss them after b/c it was a buck, plus a little spray.  I'm taking this quick trick and 7 more to Good Morning, Texas tomorrow.  I'll be live sometime after nine.  I'll post the video later on facebook as well.  

Monday, May 07, 2018

Repurposed Container Garden

I'm doing all the 'easy' things first on my list of 40 before 40.  A(nother) garden is on my list.  The truth is, I've planted....and killed, many fruits, veggies, and herbs through the years, but this year I wanted to plant something I was proud of that fit 'me.'  I can successfully grow jalapenos....this year I put two of those in the mix b/c I knew they wouldn't fail me.  This was one thing on my list-really GO FOR a garden again, and I went back and forth about creating a box and filling it up in the traditional way.  I may go back there again, but this year I tried this out.  I had all of these things, except for the baby bath, lying around my yard or house.  The baby bath is vintage from Hungary.  I bought it off of William Sonoma when they had a sale going on...after I saw one at my friend Kelly's house.  Each piece is upcycled in some old stand with the tabletop missing, an old galvanized pale I had my brother drill holes in, an old coke grate I'm hoping cucumbers will love hanging out in....
Next up I'm going to make a planting station out of an old door.  
In the meantime, I commit to not overwatering.  Not forgetting it's out there, and doing a little research when the plants protest their new homes.  

Friday, May 04, 2018

Homemade Jam

     I'm working through the 'easier' things on my 40 before 40 list right now.  Some things are simple, but I've never taken the time to try them canning.  I've always wanted to can something, in particular, jam.  I didn't take this through the whole process of boiling this and sealing the jar b/c my plan was to A)  See if it was worth preserving.  B)  Eat it quickly. 
     Having made this recipe, I will definitely make more and boil it to seal the jar so I have jam past the strawberry season.  I don't think I've ever had homemade jam, I'm not sure I can ever go back to the store.
     I found this recipe at allrecipe.  I used the one with the fewest ingredients (and no gelatin).  See that foam at the top?  You can skim it off if you want-it's just air bubbles. do you.  The below recipe makes about 3 jars of jam, but I halved the recipe to start with....because there is nothing worse than three jars of grossness, but....having made it.....I'm going to go cut up the rest of my strawberries....and there will be gifts in the future for some of my friends.
Strawberry Jam
Ingredients:  2 lbs of strawberries (4 cups total of crushed strawberries), 4 c. of sugar, 1/4 c. lemon juice.
1.  Hull and roughly chop up strawberries.  Crush with a pastry cutter until the larger chunks are crushed and it's mostly juice.
2.  Add strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice to a pan.  Stir on low until combined until the sugar is dissolved.
3.  Bring to a rolling boil.  Stir frequently.  Allow jam to get to 220 degrees (I used a candy thermometer).  This took a few minutes (10 min), and the process helped break down the strawberries even more.
4.  Use a funnel to pour into hot (sterile) jars.  Leave 1/4-1/2 inch at the top.  Wipe off liquid from the top before adding the seal.
5.  Place in fridge if you are eating right away, or prepare in a water bath if you are saving these for later.
*Mine is a little runny, but it taste sooooo good.  I read to test to see if it's ready to gel, place a plate in the freezer.  After 10 min of boiling, place a teaspoon of jam on the plate.  Return to the freezer for 1 minute.  Pull out and run your finger through the middle.  If it doesn't pull back together-it's ready.

Monday, April 23, 2018

40 Before 40 Album Pieces

I started a new project.  I'm making a 'little' album of big and little things I want to do over the next year and 3 months.....before I turn :gulp: 40.  I've completed my first two things, and made the pages to prove it.  One-I haven't worn earrings in almost ten years....and so I was determined to get a pair of earrings back in my ear.  Silly, but true.  I also have never organized the stupid Tupperware in my kitchen.  My kitchen is in desperate need of repainting, but my goal was to at least be able to open that cabinet of terror without stuff falling out.  It hasn't happened in the 17 years I've lived here.  It was time!  I have big things (trips/people to see), and more little things.  I'm just trying to fill these months with memories.  I don't want to rush it, but I also don't want to waste it!  Once I've done ten pages or so I'll do a better tutorial on the pages.  In the meantime, here are the first few pages and a little video of the supplies I'm using!

Monday, April 09, 2018

Spring Wreath

I took this wreath recently to Good Morning, Texas.  It's currently my spring wreath, which replaced a wreath similar to this I made years ago with REAL eggs I blew out and cleaned.  They were beautiful, but they broke often.
A few years ago I discovered 'fake' hard boiled egg that you can get at Walmart, most craft stores, or (in my case) the 99 Cent Store.
I spray painted 3 1/2 dozen blue and flicked them with brown paint to look like Robin Eggs.  
I also grabbed some moss at the dollar store and I hot glued the moss and the eggs to a grapevine wreath and then added a bow.  Easy, and very cheap!

Friday, April 06, 2018

Nest Cookies

I usually try to post crafts before the holiday, but....I still don't have my act together.  I'm trying really hard to chill out on my scheduling, but it was another crazy spring.  So, all this to say, I'll post this here for next year.  If time is an issue this is SUCH an easy 'cookie' that I shared last week on Good Morning, Texas.  You can make these a little dainty and they would be super cut cupcake toppers as well.  The easiest version of this...
You take a handful of chow mein, melt some chocolate, stir the chow into the chocolate and toss until it's coated, and drop it on the wax paper.  I also popped some cadberry eggs on top to look like eggs before the chocolate hardened.  The chow is sold in most grocery stores near the Asian food section.  It really is such a tasty cookie and so simple....and adorable!