Monday, June 25, 2012

Song of the Week is Returning!

I am officially re-instating my beloved song of the week posts.

This week the song is: "Some Nights" by Fun.

**Disclaimer: This video is about war & soldiers.  It is graphic at times and this is the un-edited version.

I first heard it on the radio on my way home from work.  It has an awesome beat and interesting lyrics.  If you are sensitive, get the edited version; although unless you are really listening, you won't hear the "bad" word.  The band Fun is kind of "hippie-like" and really open with their feelings/actions.  You may recall their big hit "We are Young" (the song all about smoking pot).  Really "fun" (haha pun.) song, but probably not the best influence for young listeners if they can decipher what it means. 

It took me a while to find it on itunes, but I was excited when I did.  It is one of those songs that you just want to sing along with.

It kind of has that a capella-type/instrumental sound to it.  Not like a lot of stuff you hear these days with popular music.

I just watched the video and it strikes somewhat of a nerve because Scotty is working on becoming an Officer in the Air Force, and my bro in law is in the Army National Guard, and I have a lot of  military history in the family.  With the 4th of July approaching, however, I feel it is important to remember the things that have happened (like the civil war as semi-portrayed in the video) and how we can learn from them for the future.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Camera Giveaway!

I would love a chance to win this camera is giving away, so here's my blog post about it!!!

Monday, June 18, 2012


I really love to cook.

Not enough to study it in depth at school or anything---I'm not really into that whole cooking at a restaurant scene.  Especially if this guy (or others like him) are involved in the process:

too stressful methinks
Along with my love of cooking comes a love of cookbooks (an addiction I inherited from my mother).  I love finding good cookbooks and even more, I love finding good recipes in them.

I'm all about the recipes that aren't too complicated, but present amazing results.  There is nothing more fun/awesome than people ogling over something you made that literally required very little effort :)

In lieu of all this cooking talk, I'm going to share with you a blog/cookbook reference that might change your life:

Our Best Bites | Tips, Tricks, and Tastes from Two Real-Life Kitchens

I stalked the book these two wrote on Amazon for months and when I saw it at Costco one day for cheaper than Amazon I couldn't resist.  Probably my favorite aspect about this book, is that the two ladies who wrote it STRONGLY encourage you to use REAL ingredients (like use butter when the recipe calls for butter).  It makes all the difference and it feels SO good at the end of the recipe to know you really made everything from scratch and/or the best way you could make it.  Scotty and I are on a journey of better for you/whole/clean foods and I don't really even have to think about this book having any problem recipes in it.


I can't say that I've made everything in it yet, but everything I have tried thus far has not disappointed!

Here are some of the recipes I have tried (that are fortunately, also shared on the blog) and have absolutely LOVED:

Strawberry Sauce
Nothing fancy here, but delicious!  Perfect if you have some strawberries around and want something yummy for ice cream, waffles, or whatever you want strawberries on!  

Buttermilk Caramel Syrup
 Ok seriously.  Who would ever buy syrup again after tasting this?  I am 100% sold and 100% hooked.  Easy to make and DELICIOUS.  The book also has an apple cider syrup that also turned out great, but I would save that for chilly Fall/Winter mornings.

Spinach Mandarin Poppy Seed Salad
I am LITERALLY eating this right now.  Yum.  With the following salad dressing:

Poppy Seed Salad Dressing
My husband even likes this stuff, and he's the kind of guy who NEVER strays from ranch.  AMAZING, no?  It is also super easy.  I've tried making salad dressing before and this gives me hope that I can make more kinds in the future.

Brazilian Lemonade
Have you ever eaten at Tucanos?  You should go right now if you haven't.  Seriously.  Make sure you try the pineapple and order the Brazilian lemonade--you might die it is so yummy!  I've always wanted to know how to make it and this recipe comes pretty darn close.  I think this recipe is a bit sweeter than the restaurants', but it does the trick.  Don't drink too much or you WILL get a tummy-ache!

Mini Cheesecake Tarts
I made these for my bro-in-law's farewell party and they were the "secret" treat everybody kept sneaking around to find.  Easiest cheesecake of my life to make and one of the yummiest.  Top with some whipped cream and fresh fruit (or strawberry sauce) and you are good to go!

Here's my fav whipped cream recipe if you are interested (courtesy of the Lion House Entertaining cookbook...if you want another one to pick up...hehe)
1 Cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 Cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

Whip the cream until it starts to stiffen.  Add sugar and vanilla.  Continue whipping until stiff peaks are formed.  Done & Yumminess is born. 
NOTE: The original recipe has you use gelatin so it will stay stiff longer, but I have found that in most cases I don't need to worry about that. If you are worried about it staying "whipped" than go for it, but I find it's often too much of a hassle.

Last, but not least I am going to share with you the Lasagna recipe that I will be serving for book club.  It takes a LONG time to make, but it's not really complicated and the delicious smells kind of make it all worth it while you are cooking.

Peter's Pasta & Lasagna Sauce
I almost nixed the lasagna and made some pasta when I was making the pasta sauce.  This sauce is the part that smells SO GOOD.  

Peter's Lasagna
This was my first attempt ever at making lasagna and I do have to say that I am very proud of the results.  My mom calls it "creamier" than she is used to, but she still liked it.  It is supposed to be crazy authentic.  I hope it is, because you will feel super accomplished after making this.  ***If you are planning on doubling the recipe, make sure you have a BIG saucepan to cook the sauce in.  I had to outsource to a couple pans to get everything to cook and not explode/spill everywhere.  I'll let you know what the book club ladies think of it at the end of the week :)

I felt this was appropriate.... :)