Thursday, July 28, 2011

Don't stand in your own way - you can do more!

This is a great example of how we don't believe in ourselves the way we need to so we can keep moving forward and progressing. I tend to not believe in myself. And often, before I move forward, I waste a lot of time thinking of all the bad things that 'could' happen, the mistakes I'm sure I will make, the failure that I will be. After my little pity party - I am usually able to pull myself together and move forward. I think tomorrow when I'm on the treadmill - I will be pushing myself to do more than I think I can.
Thank you Time Out For Women.

Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake

I have a few 'go-to' desserts and this is one of them. It's moist, it's full of cinnamon flavor and it's great for breakfast or as a dessert. It is definitely a moreish dessert - you always want a little more! Enjoy!

3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon plus 2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups milk
2 eggs

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans (optional)
2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup firm butter

2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3-1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9x13 cake pan with non-stick cooking spray. Mix all the dough ingredients together until moist and beat 1 minute. Spread half of the batter in the cake pan and set the rest aside. Mix the filling ingredients together and sprinkle over the cake layer in the pan. Pour the rest of the batter over the filling, spreading carefully. Prepare the streusel topping by mixing together all the ingredients until crumbly and sprinkle over the top of the dough mixture. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Meanwhile, beat the powdered sugar and butter together until creamy. Add the vanilla and mix well. Add the water as needed, a tablespoon at a time to make a drizzle consistency. Drizzle the baked cake with the glaze while warm.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

This Sucks!

Literally - it does!! And it's wonderful! We bought a new vacuum a few weeks ago. It helped that it was on sale at Kohls AND we had a 30% off coupon. We didn't really NEED a new vacuum. Ours was still working - or so we thought. We bought the machine, then went on vacation. It sat in the family room in it's box until we got back. My sweet husband put it together a couple of weeks ago and he can't stop vacuuming! We LOVE this Eureka vacuum. We don't know if it's better than Dyson - but it is definitely better than what we've been using.

Case in point. Hubby vacuumed the living room with old vacuum. Then did the same room with the new vacuum. This is what came out after that cleaning. Gross, huh? All that stuff left in the carpet after it had already been vacuumed. Ick!
We had our carpets cleaned not long ago - but truthfully - since we started using this vacuum they look cleaner. They don't mat down as easily (don't we all just love a fluffy carpet?) and they look new.
Love my vacuum! And I love that hubby wants to vacuum! The whole house - every Saturday!

Friday, July 22, 2011

My Obsession

Ok - so I have more than one obsession - my family, baking and chocolate being three of them - but this is another one that doesn't go away. I LOVE candles! I have them in every room - different shapes and sizes. My favorite scent usually involves spice, cinnamon or fall and/or Christmas scents. I found a new scent the last time I shopped at FARMHOUSE COLLECTION Candle Store that I have totally fallen in love with! Cinnamon Spruce! Hmmm - a warm combination of cinnamon and Christmas! Seriously - could there be anything better than that?

I do love shopping at Farmhouse Collection in Jamesport, MO. It has the BEST selection of candles and scents and they are a wonderful quality. I'm going to take a deep breath and say that I think I like them better than Yankee Candles....and I have a collection of Yankee Candles in my closet too, but they just haven't seemed to burn as well or have an even scent as they burn lately.

Check out their website. You can order candles and candle accessories from there - but if you want to see the rest of their fabulous things - you'll have to make the trek to northwest Missouri and visit Farmhouse Collection. By the way - Jamesport is an Amish community - so there are other fabulous shops to visit too. (My sweet hubby surprised me one Christmas with a handmade BEAUTIFUL Amish quilt and a handmade oak quilt rack!) But Farmhouse Collection and their candles is my favorite place to stop. I have been known to drive the 60 miles to get there - go only to Farmhouse Collection - buy my stash of candles and a few other goodies from their store - then turn around and head home.

What is your obsession?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Variation on a favorite - or - Chicken, Bacon Alfredo Pizza!

Have you ever noticed that when you do something over and over it becomes mundane and you get to the point where you don't even notice it anymore? You don't recognize the nuances that made it special in the first place - those things that first drew you to enjoy it. Take pizza for instance. I recall my first ever pizza. It was at a mom & pop joint in rural Soda Springs, Idaho. It was in the mid 70's. It was HUGE! And it was covered with melted cheese, wonderful marinara, sliced olives and pepperoni galore. From that first bite - I was hooked. I've had lots of different kinds of pizza - but we always wander back to that classic favorite - pepperoni.

While visiting with family this summer - our daughter and son-in-law made a bar-b-que chicken pizza. It was nothing less than amazing. Last night I spread my wings a bit and made a 'from scratch' chicken, bacon alfredo pizza. I'm sorry that it was gone before I even had a chance to take a picture of it - but let me share the recipe.


2+ cups white flour
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. very warm water
2 T. olive oil
3/4 tsp. salt
1 T. brown sugar
1 T. white sugar
1 T. yeast

Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl and stir quickly to combine. Add wet ingredients and mix well. Add enough more flour to make a soft dough. Knead until smooth and elastic. Cover and let rest on the counter or in a warm spot for about 10 minutes. If using a pizza pan - spray with nonstick cooking spray and dust with cornmeal. Roll and stretch the dough to fit the pan. (this makes enough for a LARGE pizza).

While dough is resting - cook 2-3 chicken breasts with your favorite seasoning. I use garlic powder and Lawry's seasoned salt on mine - along with a little pepper. When the chicken is almost done - I cut it into bite-size pieces and finish cooking. Cook 4-6 slices of bacon till crisp - blot with a paper towel to get rid of excess grease, then break into bite-size pieces.

Using your favorite alfredo sauce generously spread over the dough. Add grated mozzarella, cheddar and monterey jack cheese over the sauce. Top with cooked chicken, bacon, chopped green onions, chopped or shredded green/red peppers, sliced olives and fresh tomatoes.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.

It was truly yummy!

And tell me how you spice up something ordinary to make it new and wonderful.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Millie & Casey - Together Forever!

There are a few days here and there in my life that I would deem as 'perfect'. This was certainly one of them! Millie Miller and Casey Lewis were sealed for time and for eternity in the Logan LDS temple. She is marrying into a wonderful family and we were happy to share the day with them. In the LDS faith, we believe that when a marriage is performed in one of our sacred temples by the correct priesthood authority, that the marriage does not end at death, but continues throughout eternity. And likewise, the children that are part of that family are also sealed to the parents. Thus, the family is also an eternal family unit. It brings such peace to my soul to know that we can be together forever!
Setting up --- we had lots of good help!

After spending the morning decorating, we stopped here to have some lunch. If you are ever in Logan, UT - check out 'Great Harvest Bread Company'. We enjoyed a free slice of bread, and also ordered some yummy sandwiches and soup. It quickly became a favorite stopping place for our family!

Here comes the Bride! ...and groom of course!

And then came the party - the celebration to share with lots of family and friends!

They were dancing to the song: "Stealing Cinderella", but he was thinking: 'I Loved Her First'. Both of them blamed the other for starting to cry first.