Monday, November 15, 2010

Recipes Continued!


I don’t really know the definition of stewed, but we called it stewed in my family!

I use fresh squash from the grocery store, but you could use frozen too. Fresh is better though! Cut of the ends and slice the squash. Cut up a sweet onion, yellow is my favorite with it. If you want it to be REALLY yummy fry two or three pieces of bacon first. If you do that, add the onion and squash then with a little butter or margarine.  If you don’t do bacon, put a little butter or margarine in the pan and just start cooking the squash and onion down. Cook it on high first, tossing it a bit, until the onions start to not be so tough. Add a water and cover it and cook it on low. And as always, add salt and pepper. Don’t add a lot of water, you can always add more but you can’t take out. Just very little, enough so it doesn’t stick to the pan and burn. The squash will be tender and yummy when it’s done.


You make this pretty much just like the squash. Chop your cabbage up pretty small. Not like cabbage small, but small. Add some butter or olive oil to the pan. Once it’s warm add one chopped sweet onion and chopped cabbage. Toss it around until cabbage starts to wilt a little. Then add water. With the cabbage you can add more than with the squash, cover the bottom of the pan with water, but just barely. Turn on low, cover, and let it cook! It’s will melt down into yumminess. Add salt and pepper. You can do bacon with the cabbage too if you want.

Totally just made this up because I didn’t want to cook when I got home and wanted to use the crock pot. I cut up two onions, 1 red and 1 yellow and tossed them in the bottom of the crock pot. I rinsed some pork chops (which were actually pork steaks on the label but looked and tasted like chops with a different kind of bone or something) and put them on top of the onion. I poured a can of mushrooms with juice on top and then 1 can of fat free cream of mushroom soup and a half a can of water on top of that. Turned the crock pot on low and let it cook while I was at work. It was really yum! The meat all just fell of the bone and it had really good flavor.

Black Bean and Corn Salad I just threw this together to have a side dish with quesadillas. Simple. It’s nothing magical or fancy, but a good quick, cheap side dish for Mexican meals. 1 or 2 cans of black beans drained and rinsed, depending on the corn to bean ratio you like. 1 can of corn drained. 1 small red onion chopped. Salt, pepper, garlic powder. If you have lemon or lime juice squeeze some of that in. Drizzle just a tad bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar to your taste preferences. Can add up to a 1/4 cup of balsamic. If you don’t have balsamic you could use Italian dressing. Add some cilantro if you like and have it. Let it chill for 15-30 minutes for all the flavors to marry. You can also add green onions and chopped bell pepper if you want, or even some chopped tomato. Use what you have and want! I did mine with just beans, corn, onion, seasonings, olive oil, and vinegar.


Simple, yummy, and impressive! You can stuff them with whatever you like. I usually do spinach, onions, and Monterey jack cheese. You could do a laughing cow cheese wedge, cheddar, mozzarella, whatever you like. Or no cheese at all! You could really stuff it with anything you like, mushrooms, olives (eww for me), capers (always ew), a sauce, etc. The sky is the limit.

So you need your stuffing stuff and chicken breasts, how every many you want to make. If you want to butterfly the breasts you can, but I’m not very good at that. Knives scare me. So I choose a more fun method! Smash! Pound! I  place a chicken breast between two pieces of plastic wrap, break out the good ol’ mallet and pow! Pound it until its flattened and thin-ish. 1/2  or 3/4 inch maybe? I’m a horrible judge of inches and such. Sounds right. I mean not paper thin or thin enough to rip, but thin.

Season the chicken on both sides. I use salt, pepper, and Chef Paul’s Magic Chicken Seasoning. You can use whatever you want and whatever flavors work with your stuffing. Next, lay out your stuffing items and roll the chicken breast up tightly. Stick in a tooth pick to keep it secure. Place chicken seam side down in a baking dish. Bake at 350 for 30ish minutes. It depends on your oven. Remove toothpicks before serving. You can serve them whole. For a pretty presentation for entertaining, slice the breast in little rounds. It’s really pretty. You can see the swirl of the yummy stuff inside.

Funny tip: If you use colored toothpicks, your chicken will be pretty and colorful aka look silly. If you aren’t trying to impress and it’s just family, who cares. But just fyi, use non-colored ones if entertaining.


This is the skeleton recipe I use to make these ribs. I’ve made them using everything listed and leaving some things out when I didn’t have them. I prefer it without the diced tomatoes. It also tastes fine without bell pepper if you don’t have it. I just use regular cider vinegar, I don’t know if it’s different from dark or not, but tastes fine too me. I think it would be fine with any kind of vinegar that you have really, and even without if you don’t have it.


I try to work in at least one turkey breast cutlet meal in my monthly meals. I was trying to not do the same baked, shake-n-baked, etc, method. The turkey cutlets are cheap and yummy and I love turkey. It’s a good variety to the normal meats we eat and use often. So I sliced the turkey cutlets into little nugget sized pieces. I gave them a milk bath and then a seasoned flour dip. I did a mix of flour, cayenne, bread crumbs, parmesan, salt, pepper, and Chef Paul’s Chicken Magic. Then I coated the pan in about an inch of a mixture of olive oil and vegetable oil, let it get hot and fried them. It wasn’t a deep fry, but not a sauté either. I put them on paper towels to get excess oil off and patted them with another napkin to get even more. Yummy with some homemade honey mustard (honey + mustard is all I use and how I like it, I don’t like it with mayo).


I actually found premade beef kabobs on sale at my local grocery story and cheated and used those. But it’s simple. Skewers. Beef cut into pieces. Bell peppers cut into pieces. Onions cut into pieces. You can use mushrooms too if you want. I made a marinade of orange zest, lime juice, salt, pepper, worcheshire sauce, and red pepper flakes and let them sit in that for a couple of hours (could do longer if you had it, even overnight). I grilled mine. Before grilling I sprinkled on some steak rub seasoning. I turned them to get the nice yummy grill marks on each side. I ate mine with A1 because I LOVE A1.


These are really yummy as a snack! Just in a bowl like peanuts or trail mix at a party would be great too. I made them with my meal and loved them as well.

Drain 2 cans of chick peas then spread them out on some paper towels. With another paper towel dry them. Just run it over, rolling them around, getting them as dry as you can. Cover a cookie sheet in tin foil and transfer chick peas to the cookie sheet. Drizzle olive oil and toss the chick peas around to coat them in the olive oil. Sprinkle with Tony’s or Greek Seasoning or cayenne pepper, you can  use whatever seasoning you like. Roast them in the over on 400 for 10 – 15 minutes. Check them every five minutes. They can burn easily and quickly. You want them to have a slight crunch.


I was so so so proud of this gravy. I’ve made gravy, but never this good. It really is all about the elbow grease and perseverance. The best method is to use the pan you used to make some sort of meat and use the drippings. I wasn’t making meat, so I decided I try “seasoning” the pan by frying up some onions I’d use in the gravy. I coated the bottom of the pan with olive oil just barely and sliced up two onions. I sautéed them down REALLY well. I let the pan and the onions get caramelized. I took out all the onions to save for later. I added two heaping tablespoons of flower to the pan and began to wisk. And wisk. And wisk. And wisk. Elbow grease. Keep going and going and going. Let your flour brown, not burn! But brown. Not light brown, but a medium to dark brown. When you think it’s brown enough, go a little longer! When you really are happy with the browningness (yes, I made up a word), keep wisking and start to slowly add broth. You can use whatever, I used chicken because it’s what I always have on hand. You can use water as well if you don’t have broth. Slowly add it so you can dissolve all your yummy browned flour. Add a can of broth, or about 1 cup and 3/4ths. I added just a tad of beef bullion granules since I used chicken broth. Salt and pepper to taste. Taste it! Add what it needs. I added a little parsley too. I then added the onions back. Was the best gravy ever!


I have no measurements. I just tasted and made it how I like it to taste. I washed and quartered red potatoes, leaving the skins on. Boiled them until tender, but not super mashed potato worthy tender, a little more stiff than that. I drained them and let them sit in the drainer cooling so they kept a little of their shape. Once cool, I put them in a bowl and added some mayo, a  little mustard, some sour cream, chopped some sweet and dill pickles, grated some onion in, added some dried dill, salt, and pepper. It’s all about you and what you like. Like it creamy? Add more mayo or wet stuff. Like more mustard? Add it. Don’t like pickles? Don’t add them. Make it your own! I like it with red potatoes, with skins, chunky, and not too creamy.


These are so yum! The have great depth and texture from the addition of crunchy peanut butter and chocolate chips. I made the cupcakes exactly like this recipe: The only difference was I made mini cupcakes because they feed more people usually are are just cute!

You could top them with a cream cheese icing, or just a buttercream icing or chocolate icing. I was really hooked on the idea of a banana icing. The idea of chocolate, peanut butter, and banana made me just so excited! But I couldn’t find a banana icing recipe. The icing was trial and error and will probably be for you too, BUT I think I got a recipe down. I haven’t tried it again since “perfecting” it, but I think it should work well. If it doesn’t, do you own trial and error and have fun eating the mess ups!

What ended up working the best was taking a buttercream recipe and altering it a bit to add the banana. It wouldn’t make it until second day, but it was soooo good first day.

1 banana
1/2 cup butter, softened (you can use margarine but the flavor will not be the same)
2 2/3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/3 cup half-and-half (can use cream and milk or just cream or just milk)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
banana chips (optional)

Ok cut the banana into thirds, or big pieces, and mix it until it’s mush. I just put it in my stand mixer and let it mix. Could easily do it with a hand mixer as well if you don’t have a stand mixer.
Cream butter with banana. Blend in remaining ingredients until desired consistency. If it’s too runny, add more powdered sugar. Spoon icing into a ziplock back and snip off the end. Pipe icing unto cupcakes. You can top with pieces of banana chips. Crowd pleaser! Everyone that had them loved them. The banana compliments the chocolate peanut butter flavors soooo well!


My cousin Marissa and I made these a couple years ago and just LOVED them. I mean it really is s’mores without the fire. I make it just like the recipe usually, but I do prefer dark chocolate bars to milk chocolate bars. The milk chocolate is a little too rich for me. The dark chocolate is more bitter so not as sweet. This time I also used homemade marshmallow fluff in place of marshmallows. But you can do it either way. It’s a perfect end of summer beginning of autumn dessert. Also would be great for a rainy, cold day inside with hot cocoa.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Recipes, Recipes, Recipes

More recipes! My lovely friend, Sam Jones, has requested quite a list of the listed recipes. I could just email them to her... Or I could post them here for everyone to enjoy! I chose that option.


So… I LOVE hummus. Like, I know you say you love hummus, but I REALLY LOVE hummus. The Sabra brand in the store and one other are the only ones that compare to real Mediterranean hummus (or the restraurant versions I've experienced). They are supper yum and I could eat the whole container with a spoon, BUT it’s still not as good as the restaurant one. I’ve attempted to make hummus before, and it was okay, but just not as good. I discovered a year or so ago that tahini is the secret to hummus. Since that discovery, I have been on the hunt for tahini. Who knew it was so hard to find where I live?! I finally found it at a gas station, of all places, in Slidell that sales Mediterranean food. It looks like a jar of liquidy peanut butter. I followed the recipe I found exactly except for one fun fact the guy at the gas station told me!

This very nice Mediterranean man told me the secret to great hummus! It sounds crazy… but it works! So follow the recipe but make two small adjustments. Before you dump the chick peas in the food processor, heat them up just a little bit. Maybe like 45 seconds. Just enough to give them a little warmth. And then… the secret! Add 1 cup of ice. Yes ICE! It sounds crazy but somehow it works! It makes is silky smooth just like they serve it in Mediterranean restaurants. Mix all the ingredients with the ice in the food processor until all the ice is crushed. It should be a creamy, smooth, velvety texture. Drizzle a little olive oil on top and sprinkle with paprika or salt and pepper to make it all pretty! Serve with warm pita bread or pita chips or spoons! Okay well only serve it with spoons if I’m there. I told Mr. Nice Mediterranean man that I’d keep the secret, but he gave me permission to share.

1 big can of canned white meat chicken
1 package of dry ranch dressing mix
1 package of cream cheese, softened
1 small package of nuts (I liked chopped pecans or sliced walnuts best)

Drain chicken and shred in a bowl with a fork, it comes out of the can in chunky pieces. Mix thoroughly with cream cheese and ranch mix. I use a fork and just stir and smash and stir and smash until it all looks the same. Now… get messy! Scoop all of it up with your hands and roll it into a ball. Roll the ball up in plastic wrap and let chill as long as you can. You can do it as little as 30 minutes or as long as overnight. Roll it in the nuts before serving. If transporting roll in nuts and cover with plastic wrap again. Serve with crackers or toast.

I bring this to almost every potluck or party food type thingy I go to. So easy and EVERYONE loves it.

1 lb of ground turkey
1 egg
bread crumbs (or crushed crackers)
sliced onion
sliced mozzarella (or any cheese you like)
spinach leaves
Whatever you want to stuff with!

1 lb makes two BIG burgers or 3 medium burgers. 4 are doable, but they are really small and hard to form with the stuffed stuff (that’s fun to say). Mix meat and what ever seasonings you like (I used Tony’s, red pepper flakes, onion powder, garlic powder, and parsley flakes). Use seasonings generously. Turkey is blander than ground beef. Mix in the egg and a little bread crumbs to make it stick and hold. If you are making 2 burgers, separate meat into 4 equal sections. If you are making 3 burgers, separate into 6 sections. Flatten our each section. Take one section and top with a slice or wedge of cheese, sliced onions, spinach leaves, etc. Don’t use too much! It won’t close if you do. Take another flattened section and place it on top. Fold and mash the edges together until all the stuffed stuff goodness is packaged inside the meat. You can grill these or bake them. I’ve done it both ways. If you bake, bake at 350 for 30ish minutes. You have to judge your oven. Turkey is poultry so make sure it is done, but don’t overcook. Just watch it close. On the grill 7-10 minutes on each side. Yummy on a bun or without! I like them with A1 too. Good with homemade onion rings or sweet potato fries or potato salad!


Make couscous per package instructions (which is boil 1 cup of water, a little salt, a little butter, then add 1 cup couscous, stir, remove from heat, cover for 5 minutes, fluff with a fork). This makes 2 cups of cooked couscous. I use the tricolor couscous which some Walmart’s, Rouses, Wholefoods, and other grocery stores sell.

I replaced the water with 1 cup of chicken stock for more flavor. Instead of adding butter, I drizzled some EVOO in the liquid.

After the 5 minutes I added about 1/4th of a container of feta and 1 bag of pine nuts. Walmart sales toasted pinenuts on the baking isle now. Then I added almost the entire container of lemon juice from the little lemon juice bottle.


I didn’t change this recipe in the slightest. I know it sounds weird and not like traditional scalloped potatoes and like it won’t be cheesy but oh my stars it’s good! Don’t change it! The thyme and nutmeg make it. It’s so good! Perfect for a Thanksgiving side dish. AND I mean… hello… Tyler Florence made it! My once-upon-a-time-future-husband-until-I-realized-he-was-married made it!

Please DO NOT try to slice all these potatoes by hand! I started doing that, and then realized my cheese grater has a slicer on the slide. Use a slicer! There is no way you can get them as thin as they should be by hand plus it is way quicker!


Instead of using 4 big potatoes I used 8-10 small red potatoes. I did it exactly like the recipe. Be careful when you scoop not to break the shell/skin since it holds the filling. I also used Real Bacon bits instead of bacon. These are really good! They are really pretty as well. I topped mine with green onions.

(Stefaney Lockwood's Recipe)

2 pounds frozen hash browns
1/2 cup melted margarine
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup minced onion
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 pint sour cream
2 cups grated cheese (I use cheddar)

Thaw potatoes. Mix first 8 ingredients together and place in a 9x13 casserole dish. Add topping. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes to an hour. You can use low fat soup and sour cream and 2% cheese for a lower calorie casserole.

This recipe makes a lot! Perfect for a potluck or side disk. I made it for me with baked apples for dinner. I ate leftover MANY times and still had quite a bit to freeze.

Stay tuned! More recipes requested by Sam (and posted for everyone to enjoy) to come!

Lemon Poppy Seed Chicken

One of my friends, Beth, requested this recipe from the list! It's one of my favorites. I have made it several times and love it. It is from my Rachael Ray cookbook.


  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock, divided
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 lemons zested, 1 juiced
  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast cutlets, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds 

    Place a large skillet over high heat  with 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil. While the skillet is heating up, place the flour on a plate. Toss the chicken in the flour to coat, shaking off any excess. Add the chicken pieces to the hot skillet. Season the chicken liberally with salt, pepper and the lemon zest, and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring every now and then to get them brown all over.

    Once the chicken has browned, add the chicken stock to the skillet. Once the stock is hot, add the butter and poppy seeds. Stir until the butter has melted and the sauce has thickened up a bit, about a minute. Turn off the heat and squeeze the juice of 1 lemon into the pan. With a microplane or the smallest grade of a handheld box grater, grate in the garlic the last 2 minutes of cooking.

    It's fresh and comforting all at the same time. I served it this time with Rice Cooker Apple Risotto. But I usually serve it with some kind of rice and a veggie. In the cookbook she serves it with green pea and mini cous cous. I am not a fan of mint or green peas mixed with stuff.

    I told you I'd post any recipes you want! If there are any on the list you are curious about don't be afraid to ask!

    Tuesday, November 9, 2010

    I'm Back! I think.

    Okay, okay. I know. It's way too obvious and almost pointless to say it's been a while. Almost 3 months is, indeed, quite a while. BUT... in my defense... I was in the hospital and/or on drugs for 2 of those weeks and playing catch up for about 2 more (and still currently doing so). For the rest of the time, I must admit, I have no excuse. Life is busy and I lacked motivation or was lazy. I am sorry I neglected you my dear pretty pink blog whose name is Julie but was previously known as Mitch (Refer to Makeover Madness blog for name change story. And yes I know it's weird that I name things, but we've previously talked about this too!)

    First things first, quite a few recipes have happened since August 23rd. I've avoided updating you Julie, because I was overwhelmed with the overwhelming need to overwhelm you with recipes (who knew it was possible to use overwhelm 3 times in 1 sentence). But, I missed you! So I've decided I will give you (Julie and readers) a list of all the delightful dishes that have occurred and let you tell me which ones you want recipes for. Good thing I'm OCD and keep up with everything. My OCD is also contributing to this by organizing the dishes in easy to browse categories. Don't you just love me and my crazy organizational tendencies? I'm certain my future husband will love (or be driven crazy) by it as well. So here is the quick list. Please do comment if there are any recipes you want. I will be more than happy to give any and all of them to you! And if I haven't bored you to pieces yet, scroll down now that the handling business part of this post is over.

    Chicken Cheese Ball
    Buffalo Chicken Dip

    Main Dishes:
    Gumbo Soup
    Stuffed Turkey Burgers
    Turkey Nuggets
    Beef Kabobs
    Mexican Shepherd’s Pie
    Lemon Poppyseed Chicken
    Hashbrown Casserole
    Homemade Sloppy Joes
    Crock Pot Taco Soup
    Meatballs with Scampi Sauce and Pasta
    Stuffed Chicken Breasts
    Crock Pot Country BBQ Ribs
    Overnight Stuffed French Toast
    Meatball Subs
    Crock Pot Smothered Pork Chops
    Beef Stew 

    Scalloped Potatoes
    Roasted Chick Peas
    Baked Sweet Potatoes
    Twice Baked Potatoes
    Stewed Cabbage
    Rice Cooker Apple Risotto
    Stewed Squash
    Macaroni and Cheese
    Black Bean and Corn Salad
    Sauteed Apples, Pears, and Cranberries
    Best Gravy Ever
    Roasted Pine Nut and Feta Cous Cous
    Potato Salad

    Cream Cheese Buttermilk Spice Cake
    Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding with Coffee Sauce
    Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Banana Buttercream
    Snickerdoodle Cupcakes with Marshmallow Fluff
    S'mores Bars

    Whew. What a few months it has been. It amazes me how fast and busy things get when October hits. Homecomings and holidays and parties and get togethers. I don't think I have had or will have a weekend completely free of something since October and until January. This time of year is full of things. Busy things. Good things. Hard things.

    Holidays are a funny thing for me. My entire life I LOVED holidays. Sometimes holidays were the only time when fighting didn't occur and when Crazyland wasn't so bad. With changes in my family and in myself, and things that have happened in recent past holidays, the last two years have made holidays really hard and my insides are conflicted. I still have that magical draw to love holidays. I love the spirit. I love how everyone really is more giving, more loving. For the most part, aside from the additional busyness, people pay attention to those in need around them more. We reach out more and care more, it seems. But this year I've found myself dreading holidays. They hurt a little. My family situation is different and things aren't always as magical as they once were.

    Also lately, I've been trying harder to work on my relationship with God and to overcome things, to trust and love Him more. I've been trying to pray even when I don't feel like, even when I don't want to, even when I don't feel like I deserve to, even about things I don't want to pray about. He already knows. It's silly to keep it in when he is there waiting to hear from me. I'm doing a Bible study on Ruth with two girls I adore. We're going through it together. Last week we read about Ruth and Joseph (different parts of the Bible) and their desire to change and move forward. Their sole motivation was Christ. Their commitment to obey was rooted in their love for their God. Then this Sunday, our wonderful sermon in our Restoration series was about restoring our awe of God. As always, because God's cool like that, both of these were things I needed to hear now. Because of trials and struggles and trying to get through the muddy mess that is my life, I have lost some of my awe of God. I've really been trying to pay attention to God in the small things. His beauty and wonder. I truly desire for my awe and love for Him to be restored and strengthened. I want my desire to change to be rooted in my love and adoration for Him. I'm working on it. We're getting there.

    Today I was listening to my new Taylor Swift Christmas cd. If you know me, you KNOW how much I love Miss Swift. I do believe we're kindred spirits and that if a movie is ever made about my life, she should gain a little (or more) weight, dye her hair, and play my character. I mean... we have the same curls! It's meant to be. But anyway, I loved her even more after listening to a Christmas song on her cd. I don't know if she wrote it, BUT she sang it. My hopes are she has some belief in what she sang. Lyrics sites do say she did write it, which I hope is true! It's called "Christmas Must be Something More."

    "What if ribbons and bows didn't mean a thing?Would the song still survive without five golden rings? Would you still wanna kiss without mistletoe? What would happen if God never let it snow? What would happen if Christmas carols told a lie? (Kasia interruption: I interpret this to mean the Jingle Bells, Santa Claus type carols, not the Jesus one based on the rest of the lyrics.) Tell me what you would find?

    You'd say that today holds something special, something holy and not superficial. So here's to the birthday boy who saved our lives. It's something we all try to ignore and put a wreath up on your door. So here's something you should know that is for sure: Christmas must be something more.

    What if angels did not pay attention to all the things that we wish they would always do? What if happiness came in a cardboard box? Then I'd think there was somethingwe all forgot. What would happen if presents all went away? Tell me what would you find?

    You'd say that today holds something special,  something holy and not superficial. So here's to the birthday boy who saved our lives. It's something we all try to ignore and put a wreath up on your door. So here's something you should know that is for sure: Christmas must be something more.

    We get so caught up in all of it, business and relationships, 100 mile an hour lives. And it's this time of year and everybody's here. It seems the last thing on your mind.

    You'd say that today holds something special, something holy and not superficial. So here's to Jesus Christ who saved our lives. It's something we all try to ignore and put a wreath up on your door. So here's something you should know that is for sure: Christmas must be something more. There's gotta be more."

    I sat in my car and just cried. It's not profound. It is something we all know. We know why we celebrate the coming season. But don't we get lost in it all? The presents, the parties, the food to bring, what to wear, who and what to buy for, the decorating, the stress of the extra money spent, the sadness of those we can't be with for the holidays. This simple little Taylor Swift songs did two things for me. It gave me a reason to anticipate Christmas and not dread it. So maybe my family situations doesn't looked like I want it to causing holidays to not look like I want. Yes, holidays are for family, but my holiday isn't ruined and something to dread just because my family doesn't look like what I wish it did. This cheery song also reminded me of one more reason to be in love and in awe of our Jesus. That baby boy was born on the day (or close to it) we celebrate for a purpose. He came to save our lives. He has saved my life. And He hasn't just stopped with saving this life of mine. He continues to work and move in it. How can I not love him more? I don't think the holidays won't carry a little sadness for me. I know they will. They will and do for anyone who has someone to miss, some grief, some loss. But... I have a reason to celebrate. I have many reasons! But I have Jesus to celebrate. The baby Jesus who was born on that day to die for us. To live a life, a perfect sinless, hard life. And then die for us to save us.

    Take a breath. Take a moment. Drink some hot cocoa or coffee with peppermint mocha flavor (or gingerbreand or egg nog, or pumpkin spice)! Think, reflect, remember. Enjoy your families and the traditions, don't take them for granted. But don't forget what and why you celebrate. Christmas is more. Life is more.

    I leave you with my favorite holiday cookie recipe! You MUST try these (unless you hate pumpkin).

    Best Pumpkin Cookies Ever!

    The only thing I do different is I drizzle the penuche glaze and not spread it. It's really sweet! A drizzle is plenty for me, but also the perfect compliment for the pumpkin. If you drizzle, there will be left over glaze. You can half the glaze recipe, or freeze it. It reheats fine for use again. It gets hard fast so drizzle fast and keep it over heat. Also pay attention that it says 1 cup of pumpkin not 1 can. I also spoon the batter into a ziplock to make perfect cooking rounds. It's a cakey cookie but so good! Everyone that's tried them loves them.