Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tasty Tuesday - Apple Buttermilk Custard Pie

I was introduced to this pie by my friend and running partner, Diana, and I am hooked!  It was so good and will definitely be added to my list of favorite holiday pies!  It's rich, decadent, and delicious - perfect for a special occassion!

Apple Buttermilk Custard Pie


1 (9 inch) pie shell
1/4 cup butter
2 tart apples - peeled, cored and sliced
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/3 cups white sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons butter


1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).

2. To Make Apple Filling: Melt 1/4 cup butter or margarine in skillet over medium heat. Add apple, 1/2 cup white sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Cook 3 to 5 minutes, until tender. Set aside.

3. To Make Buttermilk Custard: In a large mixing bowl combine 1/4 cup softened butter or margarine with 1 1/3 cups white sugar. Beat until creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating until yellow disappears. Mix in vanilla, then 2 tablespoons flour. Combine thoroughly, then pour in buttermilk, beating until smooth.
(This is my awesome Mom!)

4. Fit pastry into pie pan and prick with a fork. Spoon apple mixture into crust, then pour buttermilk custard over it.

5. Place in preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes.

6. To Make Streusel Topping: While pie is baking, combine 1/4 cup white sugar, brown sugar, 1/2 cup flour, and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon in a small bowl. Cut in 3 tablespoons butter or margarine until mixture is crumbly.

7. Remove pie from oven after 30 minutes and sprinkle streusel topping over custard. Return to oven and bake for an additional 40 to 50 minutes, until a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand 1 hour before serving.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Holiday Project #1 - Easy Tree Centerpiece

Wednesday night my pal Michelle and I had some fun crafting together!  I saw the tutorial for this centepiece on Just Sew Sassy and knew I had to make some! 

First we gathered our supplies:
Glue Guns
Ice Cream

Chick Flick (our choice: Sex and the City 2)

Wine (oh, and styrofoam trees, ribbon, feathers, fur, and yarn)

 And we got to work on...
...a tree wrapped in a piece of white fur...

...a tree wrapped in a white feather boa...

...a tree wrapped in yarn...

...and a tree covered in ribbon loops.

We love how these turned out!!  Plus, we both love a good tedious craft involving ribbons and hot glue.  It's a sickness.
Here's Michelle's Christmas-y grove of finished trees!

Here's my "Winter Wonderland" grove of finished trees!

Join  us Saturdays at tatertotsandjello.com for the  weekend      wrap    up           party!


Friday, November 26, 2010

One Year!

This blog post is being brought to you from somewhere above South Carolina, thanks to free onboard wi-fi! I'm headed to Atlanta for Thanksgiving (a day late) with my family!

I've been a homeowner for officially one whole year!  Many a paint roller has contributed to making my house into my HOME.  Check out my "House Tour" link above to see my progress!!

Coming soon - 5 Days of Christmas Projects! 
Happy Holidays!!!


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tasty Tuesday - Roasted Cauliflower Soup

Here's an easy cold weather soup that is tasty and low in calories!  Don't let the word "cauliflower" scare you, it tastes a lot like potato soup!
Roasted Cauliflower Soup
(from Family Circle magazine)

1 Large Head Cauliflower (3 lb), cut into flowerets (10 c)
1 Large Onion, sliced
2 cloves Garlic, each halved
2 TBS Olive Oil
2 cans (14.5 oz each) Chicken Broth
1 C water
1 bay leaf
1 TSP chopped fresh thyme
1 C Half and Half
1 TSP Salt
1/8 TSP Black Pepper

1.) Heat Oven to 400 degrees F. In large roasting pan, toss cauliflower, onion slices and garlic with olive oil.
2.) Roast in 400 degree oven for 30 minutes, stirring after 15 minutes.
3.) In large saucepan, combine roasted cauliflower mixture, chicken broth, water, bay leaf and thyme. Cover; bring to boiling. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, 20 minutes.
4.) Discard bay leaf. In blender or food processor, puree soup in batches. (I used my immersion blender and pureed right in the pot) Return soup to saucepan. Stir in half and half, salt and pepper; gently heat.

Find more Tasty Tuesday recipes at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam!


Monday, November 22, 2010

Thankful Overload

Yesterday at church, we spent our gathering time sharing the things we are thankful for.  I contemplated standing up and sharing, but as I sat there trying to gather my thoughts into a coherent statement, I realized I just couldn't piece it all together.  I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the things God has done in my life this year. 

At the start of 2010, I wrote about looking ahead to this year and how I knew it would be a year of loss in my life.  I also wrote this:  "But, I also look to this year with great hope.  I know, without any doubt, that God uses every single pain and hurt we go through to make us more like Him.  Before I met Isaac, I prayed that God would somehow make me one of those "really faithful" people.  You know the kind...they give a testimony at church and you are crying your eyes out by the end at how they followed God through everything and came out better in the end.  I wanted to be one of those people.  So here I am...enduring a struggle not many experience, often wondering why I ended up here...but always trusting that God is using this for good.  God is using every single second of this journey to make me more like Him, to show me who He is, to draw me closer to Him, and to make me more dependent on Him."

My first thought of thankfulness was "After this year, I'm thankful I'm still standing".  But then, Pastor Jay quoted a passage from Job.  After Job hears of the calamity that has taken everything away from his life, it would've been easy for Job to turn from God and be angry.  Instead, Job "fell to the ground in worship and said: 'Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart.  The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.”  (Job 1: 20-21) 

I am thankful for so many things this year - for my family, my job, my co-workers, my home, my new church family, the women's ministry I am able to be involved in, my friends...I could go on and on.  But, I am most thankful for a God who never changes.  I am most thankful for a God who is ALWAYS good, and who is worthy of praise no matter what circumstances surround my life.  I am thankful for a God who has taken something tough and tragic in my lfe, and has used it to draw me nearer to Him.  And, I am thankful that someday, I'll be spending eternity with Him...and I'll get to see Isaac again.

I shared this with Emily at Chatting at the Sky.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

WFW - More Habakkuk

The book of Habakkuk used to scare me.  First of all, it was in the Old Testament and when I was a new Christian, the Old Testament was intimidating.  But then on top of that, it's called Habakkuk...and I'm still not confident in my pronunciation of it.  Hu-back-uk or Hah-back-uk?  So naturally, God would point me to this book as I work on writing and developing the story of the last 4 years of my life! 

Last week I shared from Habakkuk 3:18, which has become one of my favorite passages of Scripture.  Today I'll take you back a book to Habakkuk 2.  I've written before about the decision I made to make my prayers "Your will be done", and the first verse of Habakkuk 2 fits this time in my life.

(Habakkuk 2:1)

A rampart is a defensive wall, used to defend a city from potential threats.  Habakkuk is referring to the walls around Jerusalem.  The image in our minds is of a guard taking his spot on duty to watch and protect his city.  In many of the Psalms, the Lord is described as a fortress, a protector, and a stronghold.  So, I choose to climb up into my tower and watch for the enemy to attack, being prepared to defend my heart.  My rampart is my God.  He is my fortress, my strong tower, my protector, and my strength.

Do you need a break?  Looking to refresh your walk with the Lord?  Check out Girlfriend Getaway - we might be coming to your town!


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Wreath-a-palooza - The Christmas Edition

Today I whipped up my first Christmas wreath!  I had a lot of trouble getting a picture that really does it justice, thanks to the shiny silver ribbon in the middle!

This was a really simple wreath.  I just picked up a flat wreath form at the craft store and wrapped in silver ribbon.  The ribbon I used is actually not fabric ribbon, but was gift ribbon from Target!  (I used 2 rolls that had 25 ft each)

I layed out my ornaments first, so I could get the pattern I wanted and make sure I had enough to go around.  I got these ornaments for $5 a pack at Target, and used 1 and a half packs. 

From there, it was as simple as putting a blob of hot glue on the bottom of the ornament and holding it in place for about 10 seconds!   The whole project took me about a half an hour.

Shared this at Tatertots & Jello and Along For the Ride!


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

WFW - Habakkuk

I've been reading through the minor prophets this Fall.  You've seen Word Filled Wednesdays from Hosea and Micah.  Last week I was reading through Habakkuk, which happens to contain one of my favorite verses. 

This picture of a dry, withered corn field doesn't always bring the words "rejoice" and "joyful", but if you read Habakkuk, it will make sense.  The verse that precedes this one says "Though the fig tree does not bud, and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls."  Do you hear that?  That's a whole list of stuff that has gone WRONG...no buds, no grapes, no crops, no food, no animals. 

If I could describe September 2009-February 2010, I think it would be that verse.  It seemed like around every turn, Isaac and I got more bad news.  It could've devastated us.  It could've made us bitter.  On February 24, 2010, I could've walked away from God.  But instead - I decided to choose joy.

The key word in that verse, for me, is YET.  All this bad stuff happened, nothing went the way it was supposed to, YET I will REJOICE in the Lord.  I will be JOYFUL in God my Savior.

Do you feel like this withered, dry corn field?  Do you feel hopeless, worn out, and failing?  Open up your Bible.  Read the promises of God.  The Psalms are full of God's beautiful promises.   Allow God to refresh your heart! 

I've shared this at Internet Cafe Devotions and Good Morning Girls!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tasty Tuesday - Part 2!

I tried a brand new Rachael Ray recipe tonight that I was somewhat skeptical about.  It turned out so delicious that I have to share!   It's easy, healthy, and full of amazing flavor.

Roast Mushrooms and Kale over Mashed Sweet Potatoes

1 pound Baby Bella mushrooms - sliced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
A few sprigs fresh thyme, chopped (I didn't use fresh!)
5 tablespoons EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil)
Sea salt and pepper
3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 cup whole milk or half-and-half 
1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
1 1/2 cups extra-sharp yellow cheddar cheese
1 pound kale, stemmed and coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 450°. On a large baking sheet, dress the mushrooms, garlic and thyme with 1/4 cup EVOO and spread out. Roast the mushrooms for 20 minutes, then remove from the oven and season with sea salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, in a pot, combine the sweet potatoes and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, season with sea salt and cook until fork-tender, 15 minutes. Drain and return to the pot, then mash with the stock and milk (or half-and-half). Season with sea salt, pepper, and the paprika. Stir in the cheddar until melted.

While the potatoes are working, in a bowl, toss the kale with the remaining 1 tablespoon EVOO and season with sea salt, pepper and a few grates of fresh nutmeg. Arrange on a rack set over a baking sheet and roast until crisp at the edges, 10 to 12 minutes.

Combine the mushrooms and garlic with the kale and serve on a bed of the sweet potatoes.

**I modified this a bit by using unsweetened coconut milk (only 50 calories a cup!) and I only used about 1/2 cup of cheese, though the potatoes were delicious even before I put the cheese in!**

I didn't love the kale by itself, but in combination with the mushrooms and the potatoes, it was AMAZING!!!  It would make a delicious Thanksgiving side dish.


Tasty Tuesday - Easy Chicken Chilli

This is one of my favorite winter recipes.  It was passed to me by  friend, who had been passed the recipe by another friend, and so on down the line.  So, I'm passing it to you!

White Bean Chicken Chilli
40 ounces of white beans (or any beans - I used light kidney because they were on sale!)
36 ounces of salsa
16 ounces of stewed tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloges of garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded

Put all of the ingredients in the crock pot and cook on low all day!

Serve topped with cheese and sour cream.

Find more recipes at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam!


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tasty Tuesday - Crock Pot Potato Soup

Crock Pot Potato Soup
(From Weight Watchers "In Good Time" Cookbook)

14 1/2 ounces fat free chicken broth
2 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup celery, thinly sliced
3/4 cup carrot, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups 2% low-fat milk
1 3/4 ounces shredded lowfat cheddar cheese

Place first 9 ingredients in a 4.5 quart electric slow cooker; stir well. Cover with lid; cook on high-heat setting 1 hour. Reduce to low-heat setting and cook 4 to 5 hours or until vegetables are tender. Increase to high-heat setting.

Place flour in a bowl; gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Stir into soup. Cook, uncovered, 25 minutes or until thick, stirring frequently. Ladle into bowls. Sprinkle each serving with one tablespoon cheese; sprinkle with pepper, if desired.


Find more recipes at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam


Monday, November 1, 2010

Be My Guest!

I am so excited about this latest home makeover - my 3rd floor guest room!  This is kind of a "good enough" room because it's not exactly how I'd like my ideal guest room to be, but I'm working with what I've got!

Here's the room as it looked for the previous owners:

After we moved in, we had originally planned to make the room Isaac's "man cave".  He wanted a place where he could have his computer and a place to invite guys over to hang out and watch movies and stay up late, without disturbing me if I had to go to bed early.  So, he chose charcoal gray as the wall color.

After he died, the room just sat and became storage, mostly for Isaac's stuff.  Then when my parents moved out of there house, I added even more stuff to the room.  This is what I started with:

And here are the after photos:

And, in the interest of showing you that I am not Martha Stewart...here's the pile of junk in the corner that I couldn't find a place for...

...and the closet full of more junk I didn't have places for!