Thursday, May 31, 2012

Overnight Maple Oatmeal

Since I don't have work these days ( I am working on applying for a job, but until then I can have a little fun with cooking because I have more time), I am staying up later and while my husband and I were up, I thought I'd make some oatmeal for breakfast! I love oatmeal, and anything that makes it easier is right up my alley. I knew I had a recipe on pinterest, so I found it and saved on my recipes for this week. On a side note, I started the new board a few weeks ago because I got so frustrated that I couldn't search within my own pins for a recipe since I have so many. So when I make my menu now, I add the recipes to my board for meals this week and can find them much easier through the chaos. If they are good they go on the keeper page OR get deleted if we aren't a fan. Anyway, that is really beside the point, I am an excellent rambler at times so let's get down to the good stuff!


6-8 cups of water*
2 cups steel cut oats
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup dried blueberries (or your choice of fruit/nuts)

*the amount of water you add is dependent upon how you like the consistency of your oatmeal. I prefer a thicker oatmeal and we sometimes add milk after we make it, so we use less. If you like a thinner, more wet oatmeal I'd go toward the 8 cups.

Spray the inside of a 4-5 qt crock pot with cooking spray. Combine all of the ingredients in the slower cooker and stir. Cook on low for 7-8 hours. Before serving stir thoroughly and then place in bowls. You can then add any yummy extras like nuts or fresh fruit on top :)

Ok, so I didn't get a picture in of this, but either way, it is tasty!! You should definitely try it out, and maybe if I remember I will take a picture tomorrow when I eat the leftovers.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Carrot and Zucchini Bars

Well, I promised I would be back in action and on top of things this week. I missed Tuesday, but here it is Wednesday and I am ready to go! We are mostly all moved in (with just some boxes left full of random stuff we will probably just shove in a closet) with the exception of some little furniture we may pick up along the way  to add to our little home. However, we are planning to buy a house in the next few months, so we don't want to get too settled since another move is in our future haha Anyway, since it was my first day as a stay at home wife while my husband was away at work, I thought making a fun dessert for dinner would be a good idea. I tried out this recipe for fun, but made a few tweaks because I didn't have some of the ingredients. It worked out perfectly that I found these because with the recent move the only two veggies we had in the fridge were carrots and zucchini! A match made in heaven haha Anyway, here is my version!

2 eggs, slightly beaten
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla
3 medium shredded carrots
1/2 shredded zucchini
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking soda

cream cheese icing

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x11 baking dish with cooking oil. In a large bowl combine the egg, brown sugar, oil, honey, and vanilla. Once these are well mixed fold in the zucchini and carrot.

In a separate small bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and combine thoroughly. Then pour into the greased baking dish and bake for approximately 20-25 minutes depending on your oven. Let dish cool, then spread the icing over top and cut! So yummy, even the husband liked them :)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Getting Settled

We made it to Iowa!! I had pre planned some posts because I knew it would be crazy and hectic during the move! I was right, it was and we just got our internet figured out. The good news is that everything went so smoothly during the whole process :) We packed up the uhaul all day on Thursday and then we drove out to Iowa that evening. We got to stay with the senior pastor of the church Josh will be working for, that way we could get up early Friday morning and start moving in! That's exactly what we did, and now it is Saturday evening and we have almost all of our boxes unpacked, we've purchased most of our essentials with our wedding gift cards at Target, and we've gotten to take some time to get to know the area (and even try to find a house to move into).

Moving is such a process, especially across state lines, but it is also a blessing. It helped me realized how much God has blessed us with loving, supportive parents and with wonderful friends and family who blessed us with so much wedding stuff!! We can't fit nearly everything for our kitchen, so our spare bedroom closet is full of extra kitchen items, camping equipment, and tools. We love our little apartment, but are also excited to begin our house hunt and hopefully buy and move in the next six months (since our lease is up). Anyway, just an update! Hopefully, I will be able to be more regular with posts starting next Tuesday again seeing as we start Josh's youth pastor position right away with church in the morning and a lock in tomorrow night!! Have a great day!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Button Bobby Pins

As our last days in Indiana grew near, I had to find some quality hang out time with my friends before we left. So, we decided to have a craft day! I love doing crafts, and using stuff around the house to make something new. So, that is just what we did! My friend Sarah and I both have lots of antique buttons from our grandparents, so we got those out along with some thread, glue, and bobby pins. We had seen a couple of pictures on pinterest of bobby pins with buttons on them. We figured it couldn't be too hard, so we got started. First we collected which buttons we liked and began placing them in cute little patterns. Once we decided how we wanted our bobby pins to look, we glued the buttons together and sewed them to the bobby pins. It was super simple and look how great they turned out!

We sewed them to the actual bobby pin and then glued around the thread to help keep in in place because it is a little wobbly with just the thread. Also, be sure to wrap around both sides of the bobby pin so that it stays in place better, otherwise it has a tendency to want to rest on the side of the bobby pin. If you try this, you will know what I mean :) Anyway, check out the bobby pins I made in just an hour!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Black Bean and Barley Soup

With the big move just a few days away, we area really getting creative to clean our our cupboards. So, last night I thought I'd make some sort of soup. I had some beans, crushed tomatoes, and vegetable stock to begin my journey. I began searching through my cupboards and cabinets to find anything else that might be tasty in this random soup...which turned out more like a stew, but had my husband asking for more. I wasn't sure how it would turn out, but it ended up being very yummy!

1 Tbl olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cans black beans
1 cup frozen corn
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 can crushed chipotle tomatoes ( I don't even know why we had these, but it did give the soup some spice!)
1 tsp cumin
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup barley
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add chopped garlic. After a few minutes, the garlic will become very aromatic and that is when I added the beans, corn, and tomatoes. Stir until well mixed. Then let this set on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Then turn down to low heat until barley is done cooking.

While that is cooking on medium, begin boiling vegetable broth in a saucepan. Once it begins to boil, add the barley. Then cover and lower heat to a simmer, let cook for ten minutes.

One the barley is finished, pour into the bean mixture. Stir thoroughly, and there you have it folks! A black bean barley soup. We added some cheddar cheese to the top, and my husband added some oyster crackers, just to finish off the bag. Since we have leftovers, I think that we will eat it again tonight, but this time I will make cornbread because I still have plenty of baking ingredients left to use in my cabinets. Wish I had thought of that last night, but it will be a nice addition tonight! Enjoy :)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Basic Spring Bouquet

So, last week I showed you how to make a triangle arrangement. It was a little bit complicated, but this week's demonstration is far simpler! This week we don't need a base or extra materials. All you will need is flowers, a vase, and water :)

Let's get started! The first thing you need to do is decide your color scheme. I used a complementary color scheme with yellows and purples, they seemed fitting since it was close to Easter. Once I had picked my flowers (tulips, gerber daisies, alstremeria, just to name a few) I began my arrangement. This one is strangely easy, yet it almost seems without skills. However, you do need to make sure you keep your bouquet balanced and to scale.

You will begin by gathering your foliage in your hand. Then add in the flowers to your fist bouquet. One thing to keep in mind if you use similar flowers is that tulips keep growing in water. You can see that mine are longer than the rest of the flowers, so cut them a bit shorter than the rest of the stems. Once you have gathered all the flowers you want into your fist, place them into the vase and let them fall naturally. This  gives a very natural, fresh picked spring flowers kind of look.

This is one of my very favorite flower styles. It looks so beautiful and is easy to do! Let me know if you have questions :)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

May Date

Well, we finally picked a night to do our May date. If you have no idea what I'm talking about check out this post to explain mine and my husband's wedding gift to one another. This is one of the dates that I created. It was lots of fun to think of all the dates, and this one seemed like a winner because I had a number of things that my husband in particular loves. So, our date for this month was going to see the movie Dark Shadows (after dinner) then going star gazing with snacks. So, we went to see the movie, which I wouldn't particularly recommend. It wasn't funny and there was a lot of sexual content. Usually my husband and I really enjoy Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, but this was a disappointment. Anyway, after the movie we headed home to grab a blanket, snacks, a flashlight, and a constellations book that  I borrowed from a friend. Our snack consisted of this yummy asiago with basil cheese I bought (we love trying fun cheeses) paired with a sea salt and olive oil cracker.

Plus, we took cherries with us too. We also had bought a hard cider drink that sounded good which we never do because 1) we don't like spending money on alcohol 2) neither of us ever drinks, so this was quite the splurge. Then we headed outside with our goods and set up our blanket. I meant to take more pictures, but we just sat and talked and laughed and tried to figure out the constellation book. There wasn't much to take pictures of, plus it was dark out :) Anyway, it was so nice to get away from all of the craziness of moving, packing, saying our goodbyes and all that fun stuff and just be the two of us enjoying each other as we approach our two month anniversary. This date is a winner for should definitely try it out!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Teriyaki Rice and Broccoli

Well, good news today. Not only did I accomplish a lot packing for our big move, but I also made a successful "get rid of everything in the cabinets" meal. As we get closer to our big move, we are increasingly trying to rid our cabinets of food items so they don't get tossed or have to be moved. Earlier this week I made some delicious butterscotch oatmeal cookies that way, with a Hershey's recipe, but it used up all my butterscotch chips and a lot of my regular ingredients I keep on hand, so that was nice. Anyway, this was my own creation and it was super simple!

4 servings of instant white rice
1 Tbl olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
frozen broccoli (amount to your liking)

Prepare white rice according to direction on the box. While that is cooking, cut the garlic cloves into small pieces.Once the rice is done cooking, heat the olive oil and garlic into a medium skillet on medium heat. Pour the cooked rice into the skillet and stir with oil and garlic. Then pour the teriyaki sauce into the skillet and stir until all the rice is coated in a nice brown. Add in the frozen broccoli, cover, and turn to low heat. Let cook 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Voila! Done :)

I paired this with the last frozen chicken breast for my husband and just ate a heaping pile for myself since I am all out of protein substitutes and don't want to buy more with less than a week before the move. I know, I know, I am being a terrible vegetarian example and not using variety or getting protein, but I promise once we are all moved and settled I will be a much better example for vegetarians everywhere. Anyway, have a blessed day :)


Sunday, May 20, 2012

"Olive Garden" Bread Sticks

Ok, I was doubtful when I found a recipe to copy cat Olive Garden breadsticks. I love those breadsticks, and I couldn't imagine actually imitating them at home. Boy, was I wrong! This recipe which I found at Full Bellies, Happy Kids couldn't be much closer the true thing. Even if they are a little diffferent, it didn't matter because they were sooo yummy! Josh and I love Olive Garden, but we don't like to eat out often, so it is nice to know you can make similar delicious food at home. I only have one picture, and it is with my Roasted Red Pepper Pasta and sauteed asparagus, so ignore those other things :)

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 package dry yeast
4 1/4 cups flour
2 Tbl butter
2 Tbl sugar
1 Tbl salt

In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar and yeast in warm water. Then let sit for ten minutes, covered. The mixture will look frothy.

While you are waiting, mix together flour and salt. After the ten minutes, add flour mixture to the yeast/sugar mixture and add melted butter. Use a paddle attachment or wooden spoon to mix thoroughly. Knead the dough until it smooth, but don't over knead the dough. 

Grease a cookie sheet. Place the dough onto the greased cookie sheet, cut into strips. Roll the strips into breadstick shape, as thick or thin as you prefer. Cover the dough and let sit for 45 minutes to an hour in a warm place. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, bake for 6 to 7 minutes.

While waiting, make the butter mixture.

1 stick butter
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp salt

Melt the butter, add in garlic and salt. After the 6 or 7 minutes, brush the breadsticks with the butter mixture and continue baking for about 6-7 minutes or until golden. Once you remove them from the oven, use the rest of the butter mixture for that yummy finishing touch! Enjoy :)

Everyday Mom's Meals


I Heart Nap Time

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Reflections of a Blessed Year

Almost one year ago to the day I was moving back home to Indiana from California. Deciding to move home was one the most difficult decisions I have ever made. I was a 24 year old who was very involved in her church's youth group, involved in her school (as a co-president in student government and a teaching assistant), and was one of the best in her class. I had just finished my thesis and was leaving not only my amazing friends, but my doctoral candidacy behind. While California was an amazing adventure for me, and I loved exploring every part of the state, there was something missing in my life. I prayed often about what I was lacking, but couldn't quite figure it out. California was full of great memories with the youth group

with exploring an exciting state

and beginning to date my now husband

Either way, I made the decision to move home. I came home with two random degrees, no prospective jobs, and a new chunk of debt. I had no idea why I was coming home, but I had never felt more at peace in my life. And I had no idea what great things God had in store for me. This is my chance to reflect on that wonderful year that started full of uncertainty and complete faith. Days after moving home, Josh and I got to celebrate the marriage of two of our dearest friends!

A few weeks later we left to visit New Orleans with a big group of our friends to celebrate yet another marriage between two of our dearest friends.

A few short weeks later, a few of my friends and I from college made a girls weekend at the Wisconsin Dells and following that Josh and I were able to drive out to his family's homes in Pennsylvania to meet some more of his family, including his brother and sister-in-law. Luckily, we survived a big family trip and I left just a couple weeks later to visit the upper peninsula of Michigan with my dad and step mother.
Yet another place I had never been, just encouraging my love of travel. Just one short week after I got home, I left again for a missions trip to Wisconsin to help a Bible Camp re-do stuff for the upcoming year. Not only did I get to enjoy being the female sponsor for the high school girls, but I got to bond with Josh's father who is the youth leader. While on that trip I was also blessed with three phone calls for job interviews.
We built that deck for the camp, it was hard, but rewarding. Once I got home, I interviewed for jobs and took two part time jobs which were a challenge at times, but also very enjoyable. Plus, I made some amazing friends. Not long after I started, Josh and I decided to find me a puppy so I wasn't living alone. The first day we went looking, we found the perfect little guy.

We named him Buchanan, and he has been a little joy for the past nine months. In fact, his birthday was just Wednesday :) He is one year old now! A week after that, the most memorable weekend of my life happened. On Saturday we went down to Purdue for a football game with friends and then on Monday Josh proposed after a perfect date day in Chicago at our favorite park on the way home.
Things didn't slow down after that either. Not only was I able to start paying down my loans, but we started planning a great wedding which I got to make most of myself (as you have seen in previous posts) because I had part time jobs.This was extremely rewarding, and it saved a lot of money. God's blessings just kept coming. On 11/11/11 our beautiful niece was born. We had a great Thanksgiving together and one of my very dear friends got engaged. Christmas was busy and great in Pennsylvania. Once we got back, things just got busier! I had my wedding showers
This is my beautiful wedding party minus two girls out in California. My birthday in February was great, and then I got married in March to the most amazing man I have ever met!!

We went on an amazing honeymoon and found out right when we got back that he was chosen as a candidate for the youth ministries position for a church in Iowa. It was exactly what we had hoped for, and God was blessing us greatly. Josh got the position and we went to visit grandparents in Arizona and then visited Iowa to find an apartment. Exactly one year from when I moved, I will be moving again to start my newlywedded adventure in Des Moines with my new husband, new dog, and new life :) I'd say that the past year has been more than a blessing and I am soo glad I trusted God to guide me in the right direction!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Triangle Flower Arrangement

Alright, last week we got started with the basics for flower arrangements and care of flowers. This week I will show you how to start getting them into actual arrangements for your home!! I have quite a few different styles to show you, so I will do about one a week probably! This week is the triangle arrangement :)

This type of arrangement is really versatile. It can look really fancy or it can look friendly and fun. Usually the triangle arrangement is set up symmetrically. Even when an arrangement is symmetrical, the flowers shouldn't be exactly the same on both sides. As you can see in the picture above, the flowers are shaped in a triangle, but each side is a little different.  Let's get started!

1) Prepare your container. One of the most important parts to your arrangement is having a good base. I used a round base with a water soaked piece of floral foam. The foam can be found at any local craft shop and even wal-mart, I believe. Place the foam in water until it has become full of the water. Then shake a little excess out and place into the container. You flowers will be thirsty after all their hard work.This provides plenty of water for the arrangement, and a solid base. I used waterproof tape to help keep the foam in place. 

2) To begin the actual arrangement, first choose what you want to use for the foliage. The first three pieces you put in are the larges foliage pieces. Mine were the tallest foliage in the back and the two long pieces on the side, creating a base for a triangle shape. The back piece needs to be toward the back of the foam, angled back slightly to counter the front pieces. The two pieces on the side were placed in the sides of the foam, toward the back and angled slightly forward. It looks really silly at this point because it is literally just three pieces of ferm poking out for each end.

3) The next step is to add in the foliage that will fill up much of the space left over. The first pieces that will be placed will fill in the framework shape of the triangle. I started with the back and moved forward. Cutting my pieces shorter and shorter as I went to make the triangle effect. Then slowly fill in the central piece of the foam. The piece will look like an outline and then to give it depth I fill in the front portion of the foam.

4) Now we get to use the flowers! The first three flowers to be placed are the three corner flowers. In this arrangement, I used daisies for the corner flowers, you can see the tallest white carnation, and the two on the very far edges, each of these is placed directly in front of the first three pieces of foliage you placed in the foam. 

5) Next, add the two or three focal flowers. My focal flowers here are carnations. I used three pinks and placed them in the center of the piece because they were my largest flowers. Also, notice that the one flower is facing forward, that is the focal point. The other two carnations are facing out and up slightly to draw the eye into the focal point. 

6) Now that the focal point has been established, start filling in! Use smaller flowers to fill in the spaces, placed at different levels and angles to create depth in the piece. This is where the rest of my daisies came in. There are no specific rules to this section besides preference, especially if you are arranging at home.

7) The last part with flowers is to use small filler flowers to fill in the space between and to add a little more color. Don't add too much, the filler flowers can overtake the design, but they are also great for covering up goof ups :)

8) Last, but not least, check all sides of the arrangement, even the back to be sure all mechanical items such s tape are covered up! You want your piece to look great on all sides of the table :) 

A couple other things to think about, I used a analogous color scheme which means 2 or more adjacent hues on the color wheel. It is also symmetrical and balanced well on each side. It contains a focal point, and is proportioned correctly (1 1/2 times larger than the base). Make sure to keep those things in mind as you begin your piece! Good luck!! Check in next week for basic spring bouquet!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Cake Batter Cookies

So, as I am trying to use up all the ingredients in my house before we move, I decided to throw together some random items and make them into cookies. I was inspired from an old recipe I had online here. I gave some to our youth group at our going away party and some to my family, but since the ingredients were a bit random, they were a hit with some and fell short for others.

1 box yellow cake mix
8 oz cream cheese
1/4 c butter
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup peanut butter chips

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Cream together the cream cheese and butter. Then add egg and vanilla until fully mixed together. Slowly add the cake mix until it is completely blended together with no lumps. Fold in peanut butter chips. Then spoon onto a pan and bake for about 10 minutes or until turning golden on the edges.

My suggestion is to use anything you want, but just be sure that you have ingredients that work well together. Next time I might try vanilla cake mix with chocolate chips or butterscotch with vanilla. I also think lemon cake mix with white chocolate chips would be a big hit. One last idea I had was chocolate cake mix with peppermint chips at Christmas time! This particular mix was sort of hit or miss like I said, but hey, pretty good for just using up pantry items :) Let me know what combos you try and how they turn out!

 Katie's Nesting Spot 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Roasted Red Pepper Pasta

This is one of our favorite meals! I didn't have  a blog when I first tried making this recipe, but it turned out so yummy and pretty that I decided to take a picture. That worked out well so that I can use it now. Since it has been so hectic between visiting Arizona for a week and then going to Iowa for apartment/house hunting, we haven't even had a real home cooked meal in what seems like weeks. Once we finally get settled again I'm going to need a cleanse haha I am hoping that the rest of this week and most of next will be a little more normal because we plan to move next Friday! I can't believe how soon that will be, but we are super excited :) So, for the next week I am hoping that we will just be able to pack and see people before we go. Anyway, I wanted to share this with you so you can try it yourself because if you like peppers, this is a winner!

1 red pepper
1 orange pepper
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp dried basil
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups half and half
1 tsp cornstarch
1/3 cup grated cheese of your liking (we chose parmesan)
2 Tbsp butter
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat broiler. While it is preheating, wash the peppers and clean the seeds out. Cut the peppers in half and place cut side down on a cookie sheet. Brush with olive oil and place in the broiler for about 5-10 minutes or until skin looks blackened. Remove from the broiler and peel off as much skin as possible, mine didn't all come off. Chop the pepper into small pieces and place in a skillet over medium heat with olive oil, garlic, and basil. Cook for about 10 minutes.

Once this is complete, place the mixture into a blender. In a small bowl mix together the corn starch and half and half until there are no lumps. Then add into blender. Mix to desired consistency, ours was pretty chunky. We like it a little more smooth, so next time we will blend longer. Then place the mixture back into the skillet and cook until it boils. Add half and half to the desired consistency. Then add cheese and stir until it melts. Last, add the butter, salt, and pepper. Simmer for five minutes. Pour over pasta of your choice.

The breadsticks were a knock off Olive Garden recipe that turned out great, I will share that one later :) So yummy as well! The asparagus was just sauteed with a little olive oil and spices!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Potato Breakfast

Good afternoon, and happy mother's day!!! Today I want to share my favorite potato breakfast. It is really easy, and really yummy :) As you may know, I am a vegetarian so finding healthy recipes full of protein for this diet is very important to me. Let's get started.

1 Tbl olive oil
1 large potato
Egg whites of three eggs (9 Tbl from egg white carton)
1/4 cup parmesan
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
dash of dried basil, oregano, and any other spice you like

Place oil in medium sized pan and heat on medium. Wash and slice potatoes, adding to pan once oil is hot. Cook potatoes until they turn golden brown.

Then add the egg, salt, and pepper and cook until the egg is no longer liquid, stirring frequently. Once the egg is thoroughly cooked, remove from heat. Place potato/egg mixture into a bowl, sprinkle with cheese and spices. Then it is ready to eat! 

This is also really yummy with vegetables, which you would add when the potatoes were partially done. I just didn't have much on hand that sounded good :) Enjoy!