"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.