Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip

Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip
Iphone pic after someone had tried it. Oops.
12 oz Fresh Cranberries

1/4 C Green Onion - chopped
1/4 C Cilantro - chopped
1 JalapeƱo Pepper - small
1 1/4 C sugar
1/4 t Cumin
2 T Lemon Juice
Dash of Salt
16 oz Cream Cheese
Wheat Thins

Put the cranberries in a food processor or chop them up by hand. Chop the green onion, cilantro, and jalapeno pepper into small pieces. Add all the ingredients (but the cream cheese and the wheat thins) into a bowl. Mix them together, cover, and store in the fridge for at least 4 hours. The sugar needs time to soak in to the cranberries and break up their bitter taste. After the mixture sits for a while it can become slightly juicy so absorb as much juice from the mixture before spreading it on the cream cheese. When ready to serve, place the cream cheese on a plate and spread the cream cheese out as evenly as you can. Pour your cranberry mixture over the cream cheese and spread it all around. Serve immediately with Wheat Thins, Ritz Crackers or Tortilla Chips.

Taste better than it looks. I promise!

This is a wonderful, holiday appetizer and I promise that you will not be disappointed. I have served it twice for Thanksgiving and Christmas parties, and it was a huge hit each time. It’s addicting and the flavors make a great combination. Plus, it can be prepped the night before which can save time.

My European Etsy Email War

Although many of my posts consist mainly of recipes, I really do love sharing personal stories with you as I have the most random and awkward things that happen to me. Today, I will share one of these recent experiences with you.

Have you ever shopped at Etsy? If not, check out http://www.etsy.com/. It is a site that consist of online shops. This place is wonderful for personalized gifts as everything is usually homemade. For the past few years I have used this site for birthday gifts, baby gifts, Christmas gifts, teacher gifts, etc. All you need is patience to browse through everything. I ordered a brooch about 3 weeks ago. The money was taken out of my account 2 weeks ago, but I had not heard from the seller or received any shipping information. I have literally copied and pasted the email correspondence into this post. Nothing has been changed aside from an initial to represent our names.

Email #1:
I am inquiring about my order as I have not received any tracking information and you have taken the money out of my account.

Fabric flower brooch, light and dark brown color, handmade floral brooch ,ready to ship, Free Shipping Item #: 81525416

Response to Email #1:
Hello! I shipped the item to you exactly 9 days ago and you should know that it takes about 2 weeks for a package to arrive to the U.S. from Europe! It is not my fault that it didn't arive yet, I am not in charge of the post office and I do not like the way you wrote your email to me, quoting "you have taken the money out of my account", this is the first time someone said someting like that to me and I must say it is very insulting as I am a very honest and loyable seller.

The brooch could arrive before Christmas as it is still a week away! But I cannot guarantee that it will, and I never had.

Also the shipment was free and nobody should expect a tracking shipment if it is for free, I suggest the next time you'll purchase someting, read the listings very carefully because I have listed on my auction that: "Please take this into account. If you require insured shipment, please contact us for Additions corresponding amount.".

As I said, the brooch could still arrive so I suggest being patient and just wait for the flower to arrive.

Kind regards, J

*Um what? I continued to re-read this email. What had I missed? Did I accidentally send her something else? Nope. I also sent this email to some of my friends to make sure I wasn't crazy (and also to provide some entertainment). And of course, there is nothing better than tearing someone apart and then ending it with a fabulous valediction.

Email #2:

You have incorrectly assumed too much from the short, two sentence email that I wrote. It has been misread on your end. I never accused you of lying or being a disloyal seller. That was not mentioned and it was not implied. I was inquiring about the status of the order that I had already paid for and had heard nothing about. I have ordered multiple things from Etsy and this was the first time that I did not receive a notification from the seller regarding the status of my purchase.

I did not ask about Christmas so there was no reason for you to become defensive about the Christmas guarantee. Again, that is not an issue.

I am not sure why I should not have expected a tracking number - regardless of how it was shipped. With that being said, I expected at least a notification that the package had been sent. You stated to contact you if needing the package insured, which I did not need. Do not insult me about implying that I do not know how to read your listing. As a seller and shop owner on Etsy it is very rude and unprofessional for you to insult a customer in such a manner.

I am very patient considering it has been over a week and I had yet to hear anything from you. I simply wanted to know the status of my order. You assumed too much when reading my email. My email was not rude - it was quick and to the point. However, you jumped to the wrong conclusion.

In the future I suggest that you respond to the email in a professional manner and simply answer any questions about the order. If you had any concerns about what my email meant, you should have asked me instead of responding in a vicious way. I have never had a situation like this evolve from an Etsy transaction and it is unfortunate that this has happened. Actions like this will only lose you customers.

I really liked the design of the brooch and the other products that you offered in your shop. It is a shame that this will be the last transaction between us. Still, I look forward to receiving the package and I hope it is as lovely in person as it was in the picture.

Have a Merry Christmas!


*I couldn't help myself with my awesome valediction as well. Plus, I was still in shock that she had decided to write such a scathing email to a CUSTOMER.

Response to Email #2:


I am very sorry, I never meant to insult you in any way! And also maybe I did have assumed too much from your first email. I am really, really busy now before Christmas and I'm constantly nervous as I keep getting new orders in and I just have so many things to do. And because of that I assumed that you would like the brooch to arrive before Christmas too.

As speaking of the notifications, I always tick the box on the listings after the item is shipped. Maybe I should also send emails to buyers when the item/s they purchased were shipped.

I really do hope it will arrive next week!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,


I chose not to respond with a triple valediction. Maybe I should have taken the time to log on to Etsy and look up my order, but with the craziness of the holidays sending an email to the seller was much easier. Regardless, she could have been much nicer and could have displayed just an ounce of professionalism in her first response. This has NOTHING to do with the Etsy site itself - just this particular seller. I will continue to shop on Etsy, but I will never buy from her shop again. Email drama over an inexpensive brooch with free shipping and no tracking information. :) I received the brooch this past weekend and I am satisfied with it. Winning.

Reindeer Food

Reindeer Food
6 C Chex Cereal
1/3 C Crushed Peppermint
1 bag Nestle Tollhouse White Morsels

Melt the entire bag of white morsels. This can be done by microwaving and stirring the chocolate in 30 second increments. Take half of the crushed peppermint and mix into the white chocolate. Mix the cereal and melted chocolate mixture in a big bowl. Make sure the cereal is well coated. Pour the cereal onto a sheet of aluminum foil and top with the remaining peppermint. Let it sit for 20 minutes. Store in an air tight container until ready to serve.

I am not a huge peppermint fan by any means. That being said, this is a secret recipe for crack. I swear it is that addicting. I made it for a Christmas party last weekend. It made a good amount, but if you are going to be serving a large group I would double the recipe. It is very, very easy to make and requires little effort. A great snack for the holidays.

Cheddar Bacon Dip

Cheddar Bacon Dip
2 C Sour Cream
1 C Shredded Cheddar Cheese
3 oz. Bacon Pieces (in bag)
1 Packet Spicy Ranch Dressing Mix

Mix all of the ingredients together and refrigerate for at least 24 hours. Serve with potato chips.

Where do I even begin? Pinterest is EVIL. This is another recipe I tried for tailgating last weekend. It was amazing. I kid you not. The picture does not do it justice. I used the spicy ranch packet to add more of a kick, but a regular packet would be yummy as well. It was a perfect dip because it does not need to be heated. Plus, it can be made a day ahead. Not to mention that you simply mix all the ingredients together. How easy is that? I would also use the finely shredded cheese, but that's a weird personal preference. It was a big hit with my friends and I was craving it the following days. It was served with plain Ruffles potato chips. Other sites suggested veggies. I would use any leftover dip to put over a baked potato, but chances are there will be none left. I will be making it for our last tailgate of the season, but this time I will be doubling the recipe. SOOOOOO good.


Pretzel Hugs

Pretzel Hugs:
1 Large Bag of Waffle Pretzels (the square kind)
1 Large Bag of Hershey's Hugs Candy

Spread the pretzels on a baking sheet lined with foil. Make sure the pretzels do not overlap. Unwrap and place a Hug candy on each pretzel. Place in the oven at 300 degrees for 2 minutes. Take the baking sheet out of the oven and let it sit for one minute. The Hug candy should be soft at this point, but not fully melted.

Place another pretzel on top of the candy and lightly press down. Once all of the sandwiches are formed place the tray in the fridge for roughly thirty minutes to cool.

This is another idea from Pinterest - I am an addict. I decided to try these for last week's tailgate. They can be served cold or at room temperature so it was perfect for being outdoors. These were really good and it only took around twenty minutes to make.. It was a prefect combination of salty and sweet. The directions are so simple and you only need two ingredients. Plus, you can transport these easily. I kept it classy and threw some in a ziplock bag. :) These would be perfect for any Holiday parties and they are kid friendly! A great choice for everyone.

Sliced Baked Potatoes

Sliced Baked Potatoes

A Baking Potato
Olive Oil
Seasoned Salt
Extra Toppings: Bacon Pieces, Cheese, etc.

Wash and dry the potato. Lay the potato on the flatter side. Using a knife, begin at one end of the potato and thinly slice. Take the knife almost to the base of the potato, but DO NOT cut completely through. Once completed, drizzle olive oil and seasoned salt over the potato and place a small amount of butter throughout the sliced potato. Add any extra toppings in between the slices. Bake the potato at 425 degrees for an hour or until done.

Again, I can thank Pinterest for this idea. It was a nice change from the standard baked potato. When we cook baked potatoes, we do not eat the skin and I always feel like a lot of the potato is wasted. J & I actually split a potato when I made this and it was a filling side. The potato slices are tender, but with a crispiness around the edge. We used seasoned salt, EVOO and butter. I would love to play around with it and add other toppings, but that was all I had on hand. Next time!

Three Layer Lasagna

Three Layer Lasagna

12 Lasagna Noodles
1 lb Ground Beef - cooked & drained
2 Jars of Sauce - Classico Four Cheese
15 oz. Ricotta Cheese
4 C Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1/2 C Grated Parmesan Cheese
2 Eggs - lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cook noodles according to package directions; drain and separate. In a large saucepan, combine cooked meat and 1 1/2 jars of marinara sauce, simmer 5 minutes. In a large bowl, combine ricotta cheese, 3 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese and eggs. Spray 13″ x 9″ baking dish with cooking spray. Spread 3/4 cup marinara sauce over the bottom of the baking dish. Place 3-4 lasagna noodles over the bottom, slightly overlapping. Spread half of the cheese mixture over the noodles and cover with half of the meat sauce. Repeat layers. Cover last layer with remaining noodles and remaining marinara sauce. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese.Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

This recipe was divine. I love pasta so anything with noodles and cheese tugs at my heart. One of the best things about lasagna is it makes so many leftovers AND you can freeze the leftovers as well. Perfect for days when you do not want to cook.

Dump Salad

Dump Salad

Head of Lettuce
1 Pint Grape Tomatoes
1/3C Onion - Chopped
1/3C Green Olives
Cavendars All Purpose Greek Seasoning

Lemon Pepper
Garlic Salt
Olive Oil
Red Wine Vinegar or Balsamic Vinegar - very small amounts

Wash the lettuce and shred by hand. Cut the tomatoes and olives in half. Dice the onion. Mix ingredients together and sprinkle the desired amount of seasoning into the salad. Start out with about a teaspoon and slowly build the flavor. Add the olive oil and the red wine/balsamic vinegar. Toss with a large spoon and fork. Adjust as needed for flavor.
This salad is quick and easy to throw together. It is also very tasteful and goes great with an Italian dish and could probably be used with many recipes that are not classified as Italian.   

Antipesto Tray

Antipesto Tray
Boar's Head Mozzarella
Italian Pecorino-Romano
Parmesan Bread Chips

There is nothing I love more than appetizers, especially appetizers with cheese. Keeping in line with the Italian Thanksgiving theme, our hostess had this delicious antipesto tray awaiting our arrival. You cannot go wrong with meat and cheese!


Sausage & Cheese Crescent Squares

Sausage & Cheese Crescent Squares
2 Cans (8 oz each) Pillsbury® refrigerated crescent dinner rolls 
1 Lb Spicy Sausage
1 Package (8 oz) Cream Cheese
2 C Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Heat the oven to 375°F. Unroll 1 can of dough into 2 long rectangles. Place in ungreased 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish; press over bottom and 1/2 inch up sides to form crust.  Cook sausage over medium heat and discard drippings once it is cooked. Add the cream cheese and cook over low heat until melted. Spoon mixture evenly over crust in baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese. Unroll second can of dough on work surface. Press to form 13x9-inch rectangle; firmly press perforations to seal. Carefully place over cheese. Bake 21 to 26 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 15 minutes. Cut into small squares and serve.

Okay. Where do I start? I was so excited about this recipe as it was the first one I have tried from Pinterest. I decided to use spicy sausage for a little kick and because I already had it in my freezer. I began to run behind schedule because I was watching crazy cat videos on You Tube - no lie. Because of the time constraint or because I have issues, it appeared that I did not have enough dough in the second can to roll out the top layer. Regardless, I thought the recipe was yummy and I would use regular cream cheese and dough sheets (or purchase another can of crescents). A friend of mine also made this and threw in some veggies to add a healthier aspect to it. My picture displays how it lacks in presentation, but I promise if you have enough time and concentrate on the recipe that it will look like it does on Pinterest. 


HHBC: Italian Thanksgiving

Last night was our second super club meeting of the Hungry Hungry Bia's Club. The theme was an Italian Thanksgiving and our wonderful hostess did a fabulous job with the decor, gifts and food. Plus, a few of us were able to jump into a Jersey costume. Poofs were everywhere!

An Italian Thanksgiving
Tiramisu Cheesecake
Red Wine
The lovely table before dinner.

Our cute gift from our hostess - a wine stopper.

Hostess R shaking up the Italian Salad.

Jersey Shore DJ was in attendance.

And I have a poof the size of Snooki.

Check back in a few days for the recipes from the Italian Thanksgiving!


Crock Pot: BBQ Chicken

Crock Pot BBQ Chicken
Chicken Breasts - skinless, boneless, uncooked
1 Bottle BBQ Sauce - I used a yellow mustard sauce 
1/2C Italian Salad Dressing
1/4C Brown Sugar
2T Worcestershire Sauce

Place the chicken in a slow cooker and cover with the remaining ingredients. Mix the ingredients and make sure the chicken is covered in the sauce. Cook on low for 8 hours.

Wow. This was so simple and so good. I poured everything into the crock pot the night before and placed it in the fridge. In the morning, I simply turned it on low before heading to work. Very easy. By the time it was done cooking, the chicken began to shred on it's own. The sauce I used was spicy/tangy so it definitely had a kick to it. Perfect recipe to make BBQ chicken sandwiches for a tailgate. This recipe will absolutely be used again.

Toothpick Tricks

Sometime this past weekend my car was under attack and vandalized by toothpicks. Actually it may not have been this weekend; it could have been last week.

Confused? As was I when I got into my car on Sunday and saw this:

Let's rewind. If you have remotely spoken with me in the past 3 weeks then you have heard my constant complaining regarding my poor, little car that became violently ill Florida/Auburn weekend. As it turns out my car had a jacked up transmission.  And thus the car drama began. Basically J and I shared a car for two weeks while the transmission was rebuilt or something. On 3 different occasions during these two weeks the transmission person called and said the car was fixed. J would pick up the car, drive it a few miles and the check engine light would magically come back on as the car struggled to switch gears - or whatever. The whole situation is frustrating, but even more so because I believe all automobile businesses try to rip consumers off. Last Thursday, my car was returned and so far the check engine light has not lit up. Thank goodness.

A few days later, I got into the car and noticed the sketchy toothpicks in my visor. My visor has issues of staying up when not needed. In fact, it refuses to stay up and falls down ALL the time. Apparently, this annoyed a mechanic and they took their anger out by using MY toothpicks and stabbing the visor. Yup, they took the green little toothpics in my consul and ninja rigged the visor. I would not be so angry aside from the fact that their oily, dirty, little paws left grease on the toothpicks, no one gave them permission to fix the visor and lastly, no one gave them permission to stab a hole in my visor.
Visor pulled down.
Dirty, smudged toothpicks when the visor is up. 
What would have happened if I did not have a stash of toothpicks laying around?

And for your information, the visor is semi fixed. Instead of falling all the way down, it only falls about 25% of the way. Scandolous.

Apple & Pear Cobbler

Apple & Pear Cobbler
4 Fresh Pears - sliced
4 Fresh Apples - sliced
2T Cinnamon Powder
1T Nutmeg Powder
1C Sugar 
3/4C Butter - melted
1 Box Yellow Cake Mix

Mix the cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar together with the sliced apples and pears. Place the pear and apple substance in a baking container and cover with the yellow cake mix. Pour the melted butter on top (make sure the top is coated w/ butter). Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.

I personally have not made this, but I would. Such an easy recipe that seems to require minimal effort and a short baking time. My sister works at a hotel and this is a popular recipe served there. She emailed it over - however she has not tried it either because she doesn't eat apples, pears or cinnamon. She's an odd bird. :) As with any cobbler, I imagine ice cream would be a heavenly addition.

Homemade Apple Pie

Homemade Apple Pie
8 medium apples - 4 Granny Smith, 4 Courtland, Jonathan or another firm apple (You need about 8 cups)
Lemon Juice
3/4C Sugar
1/4C Brown Sugar
1/4 C Flour
2 t Cinnamon
1/4 t Nutmeg
Pre Made Crust
Pillsbury Dough

Peel the apples and cut them into slices or chunks. Put the apple slices in a large bowl and toss with the lemon juice. Mix the sugars, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a separate bowl. Add this mixture to the apples and toss well. Make sure the apples are completely coated. Fill the pie crust with the apple mixture. For the lattice crust, you can use the Pillsbury dough that you unroll and use a pizza cutter to slice the dough into strips. Place the strips vertically and horizontally across the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour. Check the crust to make sure it is not burning -if it is than place aluminum foil on it. Ten minutes before it is done, brush the crust with butter and sprinkle with sugar. Serve hot with ice cream.

This was our dessert from the October HHBC. It was SO delicious and even better with vanilla ice cream on top. A wonderful festive dessert for the fall season.

"I Put A Spell On You"

Happy Halloween!

Back in the day I had a lot of fun on this holiday. In fact, over the past few years I helped host some pretty awesome parties. This year is the first year - maybe ever - that I didn't get a chance to dress up. Is this a sign I am getting old? Every year I am Britney Spears. I mean EVERY year I have worn some sort of costume that relates to Britney. Last year I was her fairy tattoo. The year before I was the circus ringleader. In my mind, I don't think I needed to dress up as her because I have turned into her. Fact.

On that spooky note, J (my husband) has this new thing he is on the look out for. He loves to read what churches do to celebrate Halloween. Most churches have fall festivals, etc. Well the church across the street from us was holding a cookout for the holiday. You could join them for a "Holy Ghost Wiener Roast." Yes I am serious. If I can take a picture I will put it up as proof. I'm not witty enough to make this stuff up.

DQ teams up with Girl Scouts to promote a girl scout blizzard. However, this is freaking hilarious.

Apparently if you are a rewards member at TGI Fridays you get free chips and salsa. This measly amount of five chips and 3T of salsa was brought out to our table to thank us. Heavily debating sending this picture into corporate just to let them know that teasing your reward customers with a half put together appetizer doesn't make the customer happy even if it is free.
I am super mad this pic will not load properly, but if you turn your head you will see how great Columbus, GA is. Here we were driving to dinner when this man with a sombrero was sitting on this blow up animal thing. Just chilling. On the side of the road. On top of train tracks. No sign. No message. Nothing. Just a grown up man and his blow up animal friend.


Caramel Appletinis

Caramel Appletinis

2 oz. Green Apple Vodka
1 oz. Butterscotch Schnapps
Caramel Candy
Apple Slice

Mix the liquid together in a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour into a glass and add a piece of caramel candy. Complete with an apple slice for garnish.

As mentioned in my previous post, I hosted our first HHBC meeting. I chose the main dish and decided to also have a drink to keep in line with the theme. This drink was so simple and festive! I will warn you that it was VERY strong. Some of the guests may have added a splash or two of pink lemonade, which sounds random, but apparentely it was very good. As with any martini, make sure the drink stays cold - otherwise you may not be able to stomach it!

Apple & Spice Pork Roast

Apple & Spice Pork Roast
1 Boneless Pork Roast - 3 lb
1 C Applesauce
1/3 C Brown Sugar
2t Vinegar
1t Yellow Mustard
1/8t Cloves - ground
1T Flour
1/2t Salt
1/4t Sugar
1/8t Garlic Powder
1/8t Pepper

Stir together the applesauce, brown sugar, vinegar, mustard and cloves in a small bowl and set aside. Combine flour, salt, sugar, garlic powder and pepper in another bowl and rub this mixture over the entire pork. Be sure to season evenly. Place the seasoned pork in a crock pot and cover the meat with the applesauce mixture. Cook on low for roughly 8 hours. With a crock pot you will cook the meat about 3 hours per pound. The internal temperature should be about 140 degrees F. Once the temperature has been reached, transfer the roast to a serving platter and let the meat sit for 15 minutes before slicing. Spoon the sauce mixture over the pork slices and serve.

This recipe is so much fun for the fall weather! Instead of cooking it in the oven, I wanted to use my crock pot since I was at work all day. It was so easy to make and tasted heavenly. I seasoned the meat and made the sauce mixture the night before. I popped everything into the crockpot before I ran off to work. The meat was so tender when it was ready to serve that it literally was falling apart - hence, the not so pretty picture. I accidentally purchased a roast with a bone in, but it added flavor to the dish while cooking all day. I would definately make this again and I would use the sauce mixture for other dishes that use pork. It was sweet with a kick of spice, but the flavor was not overbearing.

Roasted Asparagus

Seasoned Asparagus
Asparagus - cut/break off ends
Olive Oil
Garlic Powder
S & P

After rinsing the asparagus, drizzle olive oil over the veggies and season with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Roll the asparagus in the olive oil and seasoning to make sure that the asparagus is completely covered. Preheat the oven to 450 and bake 20-25 min until tips look crispy!

Yum Yum! A great way to make a vegetable taste delicious.

Hungry Hungry Bia's Club

One day while I was stalking an Eat, Sleep, Cheer blog, I decided that I wanted to do something similar. I had always thought about having something like that in Abilene, but life gets crazy and the idea was hidden somewhere in my brain. However, after deciding that I do not have enough on my plate this fall, I finally decided to sent out an email and see if there was any interest in a supper club. It was at this time that Hungry Hungry Bia's Club was born. We decided to get together monthly: the host picks the theme, the main dish and something else (side, drink, appetizer, etc.) Everything else gets assigned to the guests.

Last week, I hosted the first HHBC meeting and I believe it was a success. It was great to have a few drinks with the girls (my featured drink almost killed everyone) and I love new recipes! We started with a small group (4 of us total) which worked out well because most of us currently reside in an apartment AND everyone was able to eat at the table. Winning.

Autumn Harvest Dinner
Apple &Spice Pork Roast
Feta & Tomato Pasta Salad

A wonderfully flavored menu! Maybe apple should have been the theme? My mother had given me a few place settings that were "fall ish" so I used the linens to set the table. Also, since most of our stuff is in storage (including all of our bar ware), I picked up a few martini glasses for the featured drink. I put a few caramel candies in each glass and also placed a few blank recipe cards on top. Voila! A very inexpensive, but useful favor for the guests. In the next few days I'll post the recipes to the dishes listed above. Yum!

The table setting. I would have gone crazy if our stuff wasn't in storage. :(

Recipe cards from Hobby Lobby.

Martini glass with caramels for the drinks.

Autism Speaks: Follow Up

I wanted to write a follow up blog post regarding my run for Autism. I apologize that this update was not sooner, but we have had some random car issues come up and I was ill with a fever for most of last week. Yay.

Last Sunday (or two Sundays ago by now) on October 16th I participated in the 5K run for Autism Speaks. There is nothing like a "fun" run after a day of tailgating. It was also a lot warmer and a much hillier course than I thought, but all in all it was a great run for an awesome cause. I finished the 5K in a little over 31 minutes, which has been my best time to date.

I was able to raise $380! Even though my goal was $500 I am not disappointed! This also helped my team rank in the top 5. Woo hoo! Alpha Xi Delta raised over $40,000 for Autism, which is a huge amount of money for a sorority philanthropy.

Don't judge my ability to look awesome in all photos.
A lovely, sweaty, smelly picture of yours truly after the run.

My Adoption Story

Some people have asked about my adoption story so instead of writing it as if I can recall everything, I had my mother write about it. I have had this for almost a year now and finally decided to post it. 

D and I had been married for 12 1/2 years. Although we weren't trying to get pregnant for a while after we got married, we had been a good bit of that time. When we realized there might be a problem, we went to doctors and tried the suggestions they made. Of course, we were praying for God's will as well. I remember one Saturday I was talking to God and felt impressed for the first time to look into adoption. D had mentioned it before, so I told him I thought we should pursue it. It was December so we decided to wait till after the first of the year since we were busy with the holidays and going out of town soon. So that night we were going to a Sunday school party and riding with some friends. We mentioned to them that we were going to look into adoption, but nothing else was said about it.

A few days later we were driving to North Carolina to visit family for Christmas. Our first planned stop, however, was Chapel Hill for a basketball game. On the way D started feeling bad and said he couldn't make it to Chapel Hill, so we went to my mother's in High Point, N.C. This was NOT a planned stop, but when we arrived she said a friend of ours had called and wanted us to call him that night no matter how late it was. (This was before cell phones.) D went to bed, and I called the friend who was the man with whom we had ridden to the Sunday school party a few days before. He said he had been trying to work that evening and kept feeling impressed to call a Christian OB-GYN he knew. He didn't know why, but he called him. The doctor said that he had delivered a little girl earlier and had a list of 60 people wanting to adopt her. He was praying about who should get her. He didn't have a peace about anybody on the list when that friend called to tell him about us. He felt that was an answer to prayer and that God intended us to have this little girl. Wow!

We flew out the next day-got the last 2 seats on the plane as it was holiday season- and got our baby right out of the hospital! We didn't have a thing, and she slept in a dresser drawer the first few days. We did rent a car and take our new daughter back to North Carolina to meet her extended family. What a Christmas that was and what an answer to prayer! I'm crying as I think about it. Sometimes we have to wait a long, long time for God to answer prayers, but she was SO worth it. What a joy and blessing she is in our lives and we love her very much!
And there you have it. I am very important and I like to remind my sister of that on the daily. :) Yup my sister. Crazy enough my parents had my sister 3 years after I was born. Maybe I felt the need to share this since I am at that age where my friends are trying to have babies. Or maybe you know someone who has a similar story. Regardless, for those of you who wanted to know, you finally have the story. And for those of you who randomly wandered to this post, maybe my mom's testimony can be an inspiration to someone else.  

Crock Pot: Sweet & Sour Chicken

Sweet & Sour Chicken
1.5 C Baby Carrots
2 lbs. Chicken - boneless and skinless
1.5 C Sweet & Sour Sauce
1 Can (20 oz) Pineapple - chunks, juice drained
1 Bag Frozen Stir Fry Bell Peppers & Onions - thawed, drained
6 C Rice - cooked

Place the carrots in the slow cooker and top with chicken. Cook for 6-7 hours on low heat. Drain liquid from slow cooker and pour the sweet & sour sauce over the chicken. Top with pineapple, bell peppers and onions. Heat on high for 45 minutes to an hour. Serve with rice.

With the cooler weather arriving expanding my crock pot recipes is a must. It's so easy to throw everything together, go to work and come home to a cooked meal. My friend tried this recipe and passed it along to the blog. Never in a million years would I have tried to create a sweet & sour chicken - that's what delivery is for. It's a safe bet that this meal is less expensive and healthier than what you would call in for dinner. Yum! Yum!

Pumpkin Dip

Pumpkin Dip
3.5 oz. Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix
1 C Canned Pumpkin
1/4 C Milk
1t Pumpkin Pie Spice
8 oz. Non-dairy Whipped Topping

Whisk the first 4 ingredients together. Fold in whipped topping. Chill at least 2 hours. Serve with graham crackers or anything else fitting with the pumpkin flavor.

There is something about the weather cooling down and people going crazy over pumpkin flavors, decorations, etc. My mom sent this recipe because it was right up her ally: quick, easy & good. Mom can cook, but doesn't have the passion for cooking so recipes need to have little instruction, but a big taste. This recipe was a hit. It's a perfect appetizer to celebrate the amazing fall weather!

Broccoli, Macoroni & Cheese

Broccoli, Macoroni & Cheese
1 Box Elbow Noodles
2 t I Can't Believe It's Not Butter
1/4 C flour
1/4 C onion - minced
2 C skim milk
1 C fat free chicken broth
2 C shredded reduced fat sharp cheddar
3 fresh broccoli florets (3 "trees)
1/8 C grated parmesan
1/4 C seasoned wheat bread crumbs
Cooking Spray
S & P

Cut up the broccoli into bite size pieces. Boil the pasta and broccoli together according to the pasta directions. In a large skillet, melt the butter and the onion. Heat over low for a couple of minutes then add the flour. Cook mixture until flour is slightly brown. Add the broth and milk. Heat on medium high and mix well. Once it reaches a boil, cook for roughly 5 minutes. Season with S & P and remove from heat. Add the cheese and mix until the cheese is melted. Combine the sauce, pasta, broccoli and mix well. Pour into a greased baking dish and top with grated cheese and breadcrumbs. Lightly spray the breadcrumbs with cooking spray. Bake for 17 minutes at 375 or until breadcrumbs are golden.

This is a recipe I wanted to try from Gina's Skinny Recipes. This site is great if you are trying to count calories or if you are on Weight Watchers. Each recipe gives the nutritional information and how many WW points you are eating. Beweare: this recipe makes a lot! I had about 10+ servings so I stuck some of the leftovers into the freezer. It was very tasty. J and I both enjoyed it and it is great way to sneak in some veggies. It will fill a mac & cheese craving without making you feel like you need to hit up the gym.


Donate to Autism Speaks!

My sorority has a philanthropy coming up in October. What? Are you in shock? You didn't know that sorority girls do more than date and party? Yes, yes they do. They do a LOT more. Part of being in a sorority means playing a role in raising funds for a philanthropy. Alpha Xi Delta at Auburn University has the pleasure of putting on a philanthropy event for Autism Speaks.

Hello All,

No, this is not a pregnancy announcement. Instead, I am asking for your help!

As many of you know, I was very passionate about my sorority Alpha Xi Delta at Auburn University. AZD has a philanthropy event called Step It Up. This is an event where the sisters raise funds for Autism Speaks, the nation’s largest autism advocacy and research organization. Last year, the chapter was able to raise over $40,000 for Autism Speaks. Autism Speaks is dedicated to funding global biomedical research into the causes, prevention, treatments, and cure for autism; to raising public awareness about autism and its effects on individuals, families, and society; and to bringing hope to all who deal with the hardships of this disorder. They are committed to raising the funds necessary to support these goals.

Now that J and I are much closer to Auburn, I am planning on running in the Step It Up: Autism Speaks 5K on October 16th. This is a run/walk event that is being held the day after the Auburn v. Florida game at Auburn. Yikes!

I would greatly appreciate your support in my effort to help this organization. Please do not feel pressured by this email. You can donate as little or as much to Autism Speaks as needed. Even if you solely donate because you think it would be hilarious to make me run, that is perfectly fine. $10, $20, $100 – each amount adds up and most importantly, it goes to a great cause!

Team Auburn – Zeta Xi High Rollers (yes that is our alumni team name) has a goal to raise $10,000 and many of the members will be participating in the event. Please click on the link to check out our page and donate through our team name. From this link you can also join our team, receive more information about Autism Speaks, and Alpha Xi Delta.

Again, I am incredibly thankful for any support you can give – big or small. I am aware many of you have new babies to feed, weddings coming up, and you live in an uncertain economy. As I have stated, ANY support is appreciated! If you know someone who is very passionate about this cause, please send this email to them. Feel free to send prayers my way as you can imagine how excited I will be to run with an unhealthy knee the day after a big SEC game! Lol.

War Eagle!

You may read this blog for fun, but know someone with autism. You may not know anyone who is autistic, but $10 to a philanthropy would not break you. Regardless, if you are able to give please do!

Chicken Potato Casserole - Frozen Meal

Chicken Potato Casserole
Cream of Chicken Soup
1 C Sour Cream
1/4 C milk
Chicken Breasts - cooked and cubed
2.5 C cheddar cheese - shredded
3.5 C frozen hash brown potatoes - thawed
1 large onion - diced
1-2 bell peppers - diced
1.5 C potato chips - crushed

Combine soup, sour cream, milk, chicken and half the cheese. Spread three-fourths of the mixture in a greased baking dish. Place hash browns, peppers, and onions over the mixture and top with remaining soup mixture. Cover with the chips and the rest of the cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes. Serves 8.

*If you plan on making the casserole and putting it straight into the freezer, do not thaw potatoes or veggies. Also, do not sprinkle with chips. When ready let the dish thaw overnight in the fridge. Uncover and bake at 350 for 60-70 minutes and then top with chips and bake for a remaining 5-10 minutes.


This is one of the few recipes I have made where I did not taste it. Because it took a while to bake I made it the night before. Leftovers were sent to work with J and he said it was good so I'll stick with that. 

Overnight Meatball Casserole - Frozen Meals

As our schedule started to pick up hence, the lack of blogging lately, I started to research meals that freeze well. It's so nice to be able to come home from work and not have to slave away in the kitchen. Since I pack J lunch everyday, it is also nice to be able to freeze lunch sized portions to send with him to work.

Overnight Meatball Casserole
16 oz spaghetti sauce
10 oz cheddar cheese soup
3 C pasta - uncooked
1-2 bell peppers - diced
1 large onion - diced
16 oz frozen, precooked meatballs
2 C mozarella cheese - shredded
1/4 C parmesan cheese
1.5 C water

In a baking dish, mix sauce, soup and water until blended. Add uncooked noodles, veggies, meatballs and stir to coat. You can substitute a frozen package of onion and peppers instead of using fresh veggies. Once the noodles are completely covered with the sauce mixture, cover tightly with foil and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight. Back casserole at 350 degrees, covered, for 45 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with cheese and bake for 5-10 minutes longer. Serves 6-8.


This is a great meal that can be prepped on the weekend, and cooked a day later. I would absolutely consider this a "man meal" and J liked it very much. Using meatballs was a great change from continuously using chicken in casseroles.

"Get Out of My Head"

Even though I began posting some recipe related blogs entries this week, I still felt the need to give a few updates regarding my lack of blogging. There is no reason I have been a slacker except for the fact that life just gets busy.

Now where have I been for the last few months?

I think my last update was about J having surgery.

Around that time I went to the Britney concert in ATL. I have yet to post pictures - an obvious sign that I have been busy!

I joined a Beth Moore Bible Study - and have slacked off the past two weeks with the "homework." That changed this week.

J is playing softball again, which takes up 2 nights during the week.
We have decided to build a house. Yup. I believe it was this time last year I was probably complaining about the housing process. Apparently we really want to test how strong our marriage is and try this "semi custom" home building process. We haven't even written a contract yet, but will hopefully start that in the next few weeks.

My knee remains jacked up - weak muscles cause the knee cap to pull away from the knee (at least I think that is how it was explained to me). I am still working out though. It's a battle to get in a workout 5 days a week during football season, but so far it has been okay. I went to physical therapy and have hired a PT to aid in strengthening my muscles, which in return will heal my knee.

Football season has started. J and I are football season ticket holders for the best school in the world, Auburn University. I swear, there is almost nothing that gives me such a feeling of excitement and pride as driving around Auburn, Alabama. I am obsessed. Win or lose, football season or not, I always get butterflies in my stomach when I am there. Even though it is about an hour from where we live, it stresses me out to be gone over the weekends for the games. Traveling will wear you out regardless of how short a trip it is - that and the heart attack the games give me - Utah State anyone? Whew.

On that note, I am not sure why people are expecting a championship team to play. We lost so many players to graduation and the NFL draft. Even though it will be doubtful that we play for the SEC championship title, don't ever count Auburn out. This may be a rebuilding year, but we will be back. And I am still a fan regardless.

I went to my first NASCAR race and it was cancelled due to rain.

I am trying to find a book club to join. I love reading. There is one available for 30-40 year olds, but I am almost nervous that I may not have the same interest since I am still in my twenties and kid-less. I would hate to join and not love it. With this being said I have toyed with the idea to start my own book club. I'm not even sure what you do at a book club. Mine would be something like a monthly meeting at a restaurant with wine and light discussion. It would be okay if you couldn't finish the book - we wouldn't kick you out. Thoughts?

So I hope you enjoyed the last few minutes of being inside my head.

Italian Cheese & Herb Pasta

Italian Cheese & Herb Pasta:
1 lb Italian sausage
Philadelphia Italian Cheese & Herb Cooking Creme
1 bell pepper
1 onion
1 box of pasta
Italian seasoning

Boil pasta according to box directions. Meanwhile, cook sausage on medium heat. Chop onion and pepper to cook with sausage. Cook for 5 minutes or until veggies are tender. Season with pepper and Italian seasoning (or whatever you desire). Add cooking creme and heat for 3 minutes. Mix in pasta and serve hot.


I decided to try out the cooking creme and I was pleasantly surprised. This recipe is so easy and is great for a quick meal on those nights you don't feel like cooking. There is another recipe on the back which uses chicken, but I decided on the sausage since it had been sitting in my freezer. Of course pasta dishes tend to yield many servings so I froze the leftovers. This dish is also great re heated from the freezer. I will definitely be trying the other cooking cremes in the future.

Lemon Cheesecake Cheese Ball

Lemon Cheesecake Cheese Ball
10 oz cream cheese
2.5 t sugar
4 t fresh lemon juice
3 graham crackers
Zest from a large lemon
Apple slices, graham crackers, etc.

Combine the cream cheese and sugar in a bowl. Mix well. Add the lemon zest and lemon juice. Continue to mix until the substance is blended. Once smooth, take the mixture and mold it into a ball. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 3 hours. Next, crush the 3 graham crackers and roll the ball in the crackers for an even coat. Once it is covered, place it back into the fridge until you are ready to serve. Serve with apples, graham crackers or anything to your liking.

Rating: 5/5

I will bet you money that this will be a HUGE hit with anyone who tries it. At work we had a retirement party and I searched the Internet for something that would be different and inexpensive to make. I found this recipe and it was perfect! Incredibly simple to prepare, very cheap ingredients, and it was such a refreshing surprise from the typical cheese ball. Everyone enjoyed munching on it and one of the party goers decided to take it home. It is sweet, but not too sugary. The lemon is a great addition to this recipe, but it is in no way overpowering.

"I've Never Heard Silence Quite This Loud"

Gotta love some Taylor Swift - and if you don't, my little "M" has enough Taylor love to go around.

Things have been a little crazy lately over at our house. It just so happens that during this 3 week craziness, M actually called me - TWICE! This is a huge! It's not that we don't get along or there is a lack of conversation during our outings, but since we have been matched I am always the one calling to catch up. Big Brothers Big Sisters strongly encourages littles to call their bigs and I want her to feel like she can call me as needed. I have hung out with one of the other bigs (M is a triplet) and she also said that she never gets a phone call. Therefore, these calls have made me feel extra special. Winning.

I'm going to post some pictures from our past few outings. This week M and I made a mac 'n cheese pizza for dinner. A few weeks ago the triplets, myself and one of the other bigs went to Chick Fil A and bowled afterwards.

M meeting Miss Friski for the first time. Miss Friski is the best animal EVER.

Rolling out the dough for the pizza.


Finished product! 

Triplets at dinner.

On their tour of behind the scenes at Chick Fil A. Yup we were randomly chosen.


Big & Little