Monday, August 31, 2009

Monday Munchies - Faux Vietnamese Coffee

BONUS! You get two recipes today! And this is one that I meant to post awhile back, but it never happened. It's SO easy to make, and so good. I keep it in my fridge and drink off of it all week long - tons cheaper than starbucks, and you only have to make it once a week.

Faux Vietnamese Coffee

10 cups of strong coffee
1 can sweetened condensed milk (I use Fat Free)

Mix together and store in the refrigerator.

Can it GET any easier than this?!?! You don't even have to add milk or sugar - it's already included!

Monday Munchies - Spinach and Cheese Log

Ok, so this doesn't look too pretty, but it sure as heck tasted good! And the best part is that it was so stinkin' easy to throw together. Obviously needs to be served with crackers...

Makes 25 appetizer servings

1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
2 (8-ounce) blocks sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened and divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup strawberry preserves
Garnish: toasted chopped pecans

Line a 9- x 5-inch loafpan with heavy-duty plastic wrap.

Press spinach between layers of paper towels to remove excess moisture; set aside.

Stir together Cheddar cheese, pecans, and mayonnaise; spread half of mixture evenly into prepared pan. Stir together spinach, 1 package cream cheese, salt, and pepper; spread evenly over Cheddar cheese layer. Stir together remaining package cream cheese and strawberry preserves; spread evenly over spinach layer. Top with remaining Cheddar cheese mixture. Cover and refridgerate or freeze up to 1 month. Thaw in refrigerator overnight. Garnish, if desired, and serve with assorted crackers.

Prep: 15 min., Thaw: 8 hrs.

To make two loaves, use two(7- x 3-inch) loafpans. Mix ingredients as directed; divide mixtures in half, and follow layering procedure for each loaf.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Friday Floatsam - 08.28.2009

Here are a few thoughts from this past week...

- I have been really convicted about texting while driving thanks to this video. If you haven't watched it, please take 5 minutes and do so. I'm leaving my phone alone now while driving. I'll check it at red lights if I need to (meeting up with someone, etc.), but will not be typing/reading while driving anymore. It was a bad habit to begin with, but seeing that video really drove it home...

- My workout plan has gone a *little* better this week. I did a double shot of Jazzercise on Monday, didn't do anything on Tuesday (out of town), Jazzercise on Wednesday, started Thursday and today didn't go so well... My goal is to make it to the EARLY classes next week - my day goes so well when I do, not to mention traffic was killer this week with everyone back on the roads - ugh!

- I declared war in my pantry on Sunday. I got attacked by the red flour beetle. They had taken up residence without my consent - and they were being evicted! So I had to pull EVERYTHING out of my pantry. EVERYTHING. I cleaned it all, found the source(s) of habitation and threw away anything that might be a problem. I left all of my pantry contents out for a couple of days, spread out on every counter surface in my kitchen. In the process I realized I have way too much food - HELLO WEIGHT ISSUES! Ha! I finally reorganized and put it all back together on Tuesday night - and lo and behold - I had more room! I was able to put all of the bags of chips that I save for YL events on a shelf, and still have more than 1/2 a shelf empty - I was proud! Here's what it looked like when I was done...

- I'm excited about things coming up this 'semester' - now that I'm working with high school friends, my life once again works according to the school calendar. Young Life had our kick off meeting, which was a lot of fun, and Beth Moore's fall bible study at Houston's First Baptist Church starts on the 8th. She's covering the book of revelation this fall, if you're interested in joining us, just let me know. As of right now, there are 3 of us (myself, Courtney and Joanne), and we would love to have you!

- I'm once again in the midst of a friend baby explosion! I love it! Can't wait to meet these little munchkins...

Ok, I think that's enough rambling for now... y'all have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thursdays Rock - My latest obsession...

Ok, so I am a bit obessed with someone. And it's not the actual person I'm after, but rather the music that this person creates. And while I enjoy the music, it's the lyrics that stun me. They make me cry, make me laugh, make me smile, make me wish, make me sigh, make me think and make me dream.

The buzz about Sean McConnell started mid-2008 when Wade Bowen and the Randy Rogers Band were both putting out CDs within the same month - and those CDs had a common tie through Sean. On If We Ever Make It Home, Wade covers two of Sean's songs, Somewhere Beautiful and Into the Arms of You, the first one being my favorite on the CD and the second one made me pull over and cry the first time I heard it (I've gotten a little better now! ;o) ) For the RRB CD, Randy co-wrote two songs with Sean, In My Arms Instead and Buy Myself A Chance - which turned out to be my favorite songs on THAT CD (along with Didn't Know I Could, but that's totally unrelated at this point). Due to the CDs coming out, and the success of these songs for each of the bands, they started bringing Sean to Texas to open for them and give them exposure. Which was glorious! Sean's played at the Firehouse Saloon a couple of times, and I've enjoyed it everytime.

All I can ask of you is that you check it out. I rarely get this excited about bands - I like a lot of bands, but I LOVE this band. When I finally checked him out on Itunes, I was blown away - I started buying anything and everything I could. And I'm still not sick of it. I could listen to it on repeat for days and have the biggest smile on my face. Just to give you brief recap of some of my favorites:

- Madly In Love With You: God's love song to us. I want the world to hear this song. And ultimately I want the world to believe this song. It's my greatest wish...

- Tired of Waiting: Oh am I ever.

- Tell the Truth: heart-breaking, but a vivid picture of a woman that cheated on a man and comes back to talk afterwards. It's his response and it's somewhat brutal, but honest.

- Bob Dylan: This is the one that makes me laugh. It's the story of a song-writers struggle.

- One Thing Right: I want this song played at my wedding should I ever get married.

"If I could get one thing right in every moment of my life, it would be to see you and me - a spark of God's divinity, and appreciate the artistry that connects us all as family, if I could get just one thing right I want to see you through those eyes..."

- Lie Baby Lie: This one is fun in concert. Title pretty much says it all.

- At Least I Have Love: Waking up from a dream that seems like reality.

- Mr. Whoever You Are: The lonely girl at the dancehall...

- Hold On: The song I want to give my friends when there doesn't seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel.

- Somewhere Beautiful: (not on a CD, but you can hear it on his MySpace page, it's on Wade's CD). This is Young Life put to music for me.

- Saint's Heart, Sinner's Skin: Not released yet, but a GREAT song. I think a lot of us face this conflict.

And on top of all of that, Jason Castro's next single, Let's Just Fall In Love, was written by Sean as well. All I can do is urge you to check it out. I fully anticipate that he will be the next 'big thing' in Texas, even though he's not Texas music... As they say, "get it while the gettin's good..."

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Steamboat, CO

Tuesday Toodles - Swap Cards

Yeah, yeah, yeah... it's Wednesday. I was out of town for a meeting yesterday and didn't get 'plugged in' in time to do it before I headed off to sleep last night... so here it is, one day late.

Today I'm posting a couple of the swap cards I've made for past stamp camps. For swap cards, you make 12 cards of one design and bring them to Stamp Camp - then trade out with the others that have done the same. So in the end, you end up with 12 different cards when you leave (if 12 people participate!)

This is a case I made to take my cards to Stamp Camp - and to bring home my swaps in...

And here are a couple of the swaps from past Stamp Camps - they are based on a layout - we are given a basic layout to follow, but the colors, stamp sets and accessories we use are up to us!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Monday Munchies - Pecan Pie Bites

I found the recipe for these little gems at some point last year, and they became my 'go-to' recipe - I made them for everything - including Thanksgiving Day! My dad is pretty picky when it comes to food to say the least, and was very skeptical when I brought these for the 'pecan pie dessert'. I told him to trust me - that when he got done with one bite, he would realize that he had just tasted a pecan pie, without the gooeyness! He ended up loving them - and had me leave all of the left overs so he could take them in his lunch throughout the next week - they were his favorite dessert out of everything I brought last year...

Even if you prefer the gooey traditional pecan pie, make these anyways - they are definitely more transportable than your typcial pie. And bite size. And cute. And well... just make them. Trust me!

Pecan Pie Bites


1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped pecans
2/3 cup butter, softened
2 eggs, beaten
Add to Recipe Box

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour 18 mini muffin cups (use LOTS of Bakers Joy)

2.In a medium bowl, stir together brown sugar, flour and pecans. In a separate bowl beat the butter and eggs together until smooth, stir into the dry ingredients just until combined. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups. Cups should be about 2/3 full.

3.Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 20 to 25 minutes. Cool on wire racks when done.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday Floatsam - 08.21.2009

A few random thoughts/happenings/suggestions/etc...

  • Last weekend I got to see my perfect musical storm - Sean McConnell and Wade Bowen in concert together in the hill country with some of my favorite friends and a bottle of wine. Does it get much better than that?
  • My vehicle and I have become a little too well acquainted over the past month or so. The traveling isn't going to stop anytime soon, but I'll be in the air instead of on the road. Dallas this weekend, Birmingham on Tuesday, possibly Nacadoches next weekend (I'm riding, NOT driving), Bryan the weekend after that followed by Boston, Denver (work) and then Baltimore/Washington D.C. My dogs are going to hate me. I won't have a weekend at home until October.
  • My roommate, Kaila, moves out this weekend. She was a totally unexpected surprise and delight this summer. I'm going to miss her, but will be happy to return to my anal-retentive dishwasher loading methods. (Ha!)
  • Every time I hear about future plans for the Firehouse Saloon in Houston, I get more and more excited - there are some awesome, and long overdue things headed our way - finally!
  • I don't think I will ever understand corporate radio - and I don't think I want to. Ignorance is bliss in this case.
  • My Young Life friends, past and present, continue to amaze me. Some have just left for college, some are returning to college, and the rest are looking forward to the year ahead in high school. I can't wait for it all to get started again and I'm excited to see what the year ahead will bring for all of them... and me too!
  • I had major plans to workout this week - but they haven't happened. I do have a cleaner house though - that should count for something! I will start again next week - or something like that. I really wish paying for gym memberships would magically melt pounds off of you - who needs to sweat? (I'll be more accountable here next week - I'll post what I've done, or haven't done, and I'll be honest, yuck.)
  • This week I made the following: Turkey Tacos, Red Hot Chicken Salad and Faux Vietnamese Coffee - all 3 hit the spot! I'll be sharing one of the recipes as a bonus tomorrow...

See y'all then! Have a great weekend! God Bless!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thursdays Rock - Who is your musical 'ONE'?

The other night, on our way home from a show, my friend Christy and I got into a conversation about how many of us that follow the same type of music all have our 'ONE' (there was another term coined for it, but we won't get into details...)

Christy - Jason Boland
Meg - Hayes Carll
Suzy - Randy Rogers Band
Amber - Jason Eady
Me - Wade Bowen

Sure, there are others that we travel to go see, that we love listening to, but there seems to be SOMETHING about that ONE that's just a little different, that hits us like nothing else. And I really started thinking about why my favorite is my favorite.

Was there one moment? One song? One concert?

For me, it's a combination of all three. My story of following Wade Bowen (formerly West 84, and then Wade Bowen & West 84) started WAY back in 1999. I remember going to Hastings in College Station at the beginning of every school year and with leftover loan money, my roommate and I would each buy 5 CD's. In the fall of 1999, I bought 3 CD's I had wanted and 2 totally random CD's for the fun of it. I wanted to be surprised. One of the CDs I bought was West 84, because I thought the guys on the front were cute. (For the record, looking back at that CD now makes me laugh A LOT because the guys look so funny dressed like that standing in an open field... it was a little cliché for a Texas band at the time).

Anyways... the cd was ok at best. And I think most that have it, or have heard it, would probably agree. Not bad for a 1st CD, but it wasn't produced in Nashville or anything. I'd listen to it every once in awhile, but it didn't stand out.

Fast forward a few years to the fall of 2003. I was at the Firehouse Saloon on a Thursday night for an acoustic show with Bleu Edmondson, Stoney LaRue and Wade Bowen. It was the first time ever I have been 100% glued to my seat. The show ran long, my friends left, it was almost 1am and I had to work the next day, but I didn't care - I was riveted by the song writing of all 3. The very next day I ordered all of the CDs by all 3 that I didn't have. And I was a big fan of Wade Bowen's sophomore studio album (Try Not to Listen) and his Live at the Blue Light album. They were both a step up, and I started catching every show I could from that point forward. I loved it!

And that was that for awhile. Wade was my favorite because I really liked his show and his music - very basic, very surface-level (not the music, but rather my relationship with it). Then came 2006. At this point it had been AWHILE since Wade had released a CD - AND there was one already DONE and ready to be released, but they were waiting for the right time. Well that right time happened at the end of February 2006 and Lost Hotel was released. Just over 2 weeks later, my life was turned upside down. I have a hard time believing in fate or coinscidence, therefore I think it was perfectly timed that the two songs that would get me through the journey of recovery, Broken Reflection and Walking Along the Fenceline, were on that CD. The CD I had been waiting for from my favorite band for a long, long time. I believe it was during this time that I really realized how much healing power the music truly had.

Once again we fast forward to the fall of 2008, Wade released his latest CD, If We Ever Make It Home, and once again one of the songs, Somewhere Beautiful met me exactly where I was in life. Granted, Wade didn't write that song, Sean McConnell did, but it was on Wade's record, and I don't know that I would have heard it otherwise. To me, the song represents Young Life, an organization that I volunteer with and 100% believe in its' mission. Everyone that got into my car for 6 months had to listen to that song - on repeat. Ha! But that's how much it meant to me...

So, to wrap this up - why is Wade my one? Because he writes songs that hit me where I am in life. Which makes sense - we are about the same age, and while we have very different lives and families, there are still a lot of parallel themes. So to Wade, and the guys in the band, thank you for sacrificing what you do to share your music and thank you for pursuing your dreams.

My question to the rest of you - who is your ONE, and even more importantly, WHY?

P.S. I just got a call from a friend that didn't want to comment, because he didn't have one band that he felt that way about, but rather just a song... and that works too... just trying to open up a discussion and see what people think. So if you don't have a band, do you have a song, or an album that is your 'ONE'?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Tuesday Toodles - Odd Size Cards

So awhile back, I can't remember what month it was, we made odd-size cards during stamp camp. While I enjoyed this workshop, I am not the biggest fan of odd size cards because then you need an odd size envelope to use them - and those are hard to find! Not to mention more expensive to mail... But the following cards could certainly be adapted to 'normal' size cards as well...

P.S. I know some of my images are cut off for right now - especially on the posts that I moved over from Wordpress to Blogger - I'll work on fixing those throughout the week...

Monday Munchies - Almond Joy Cookies

And...we're back! Here we are with the first ever Monday Munchies - I really hope that having a plan helps me to get back into the swing of blogging. Blogging random things just didn't work for me - either I just rambled on and on about things no one cares about, or I was so sporadic that no one really came back to check this thing... hopefully it'll be different this time, and hopefully I post stuff you're actually interested in!

Today's recipe are for some cookies that I've dubbed 'Almond Joy Cookies'. I made them for my Young Life girls for a recent trip we took to the Hill Country and they were gobbled up! I got the recipe from Jamie at My Baking Addiction - one of my favorite recipe blogs! Her recipe was for Coconut Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies, but I left out the pecans because I didn't know if anyone had nut allergies. And I used milk chocolate in place of semi-sweet/bittersweet. So when I bit into it, it tasted much like an Almond Joy after you've picked off the chocolate-covered almond on top and are eating just the little bar... Yum!

Almond Joy Cookies
Adapted from My Baking Addiction
Yields 4 dozen cookies (if you make them small)

2 cups + 2 TBSP all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
12 TBSP unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (I used chopped milk chocolate)
3/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut
Nuts optional - add one almond on top for the full effect of an Almond Joy, or add in a cup of pecans to follow the original recipe


1. Preheat oven to 350*F
2. Cover cookie sheets with parchment paper, or use a well worn baking stone
3. Mix flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside
4. Mix butter and sugars with a mixer until blended and smooth. Add egg, egg yolk & vanilla and mix until fully incorporated.
5. Add dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
6. Stir in chocolate, coconut and nuts if desired.
7. Using a medium cookie scoop, scoop out dough and place on cookie sheets.
8. Bake for 12-18 minutes (mine took 14 minutes and because they were smaller than the original recipe).
9. Cool on cookie sheets to maintain texture.

I hope you enjoy these as much as me and my girls did...

Have a wonderful day - hope you find many reasons to smile!


Friday, August 7, 2009

New Plan

So last night as I was trying to go to sleep, but was still hyped-up thanks to my need to try out the recipe for Vietnamese Coffee I came across, I finally figured out a plan for this blog-o-mine! Which is exciting beyond words... so much so that I'm going to take next week to get things organized and re-launch on August 17th! I'm sure you're all on pins and needles with anticipation - ha!

Here's what you have to look forward to...

Monday Munchies (Recipe of the week)
Tuesday Toodles (Craft project of the week)
Wordless Wednesday (Picture of some sort)
Thursdays Rock! (Music related)
Floatsam Friday (blatant rip-off of Meg - rambling of whatever I want to write about!)

I have A LOT of backlog, so I'll get it organized and get going... wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Have a great weekend!