Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sausage Balls

Several years ago, my husband and I attended a Halloween party thrown by our friends in Virginia.

Here's what we looked like back then.
He was "The Dude" and I was the "Special Lady Friend".
(from The Big Lebowski movie)
He won Best Costume at the Party!
At the party, the hostess served an amazing spread of appetizers.  Among them were Sausage Balls which was our favorite.

This appetizer had a neat story...

While her husband was deployed to Iraq, she would make these, vacuum seal them, and include them in his care packages.  He shared them with a couple guys in his unit.  By the end of their tour in the Middle East, his entire unit looked forward to her care packages.  She couldn't send them fast enough!

I found a recipe that is similar to hers, made a small change, and voila...


They're very-very-very easy to make and perfect to serve or bring to a large gathering.

You may need to double the recipe though, because you can't eat just one.

By the way, I had to rush through this photo shoot because my husband slowly started sneaking a few off the plate.

Enjoy!

Sausage Balls    *Printable Recipe*
1 lb Jimmy Dean Hot sausage, uncooked
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups Bisquick
4 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 400F.  Mix all ingredients until well combined (I use my hands).  Roll into 1-in balls.  Bake 20-25 minutes, or until brown.

Monday, October 29, 2012

A Mommy's Lesson

When I announced my first pregnancy back in 2008, I received tons of advice from people willing to share their wisdom on parenthood.

Solicited and unsolicited.

I discovered that there are a lot of women out there who are willing to share their best practices on raising children.

What I should do and what I shouldn't do.

Most of the advice has been good and I've even adhered to some of them.

But I've learned that every child is different, and every parent is different.

What works for one doesn't always work for another.

I admit that I'm not an expert in child-rearing and have had zero experience.

I mean....I didn't even have younger siblings to help raise.

My past experience was pretty much focused on myself and my career.

And my son certainly wasn't born with instructions.

I confess that I've made plenty of parenting mistakes these past three years, such as letting him play with water guns, resulting in getting reprimanded at his preschool and sunday school.

Also, letting him sleep with a pacifier leaving him with a slight open bite that apparently is troublesome for his pediatric dentist.

And allowing him to watch more than two hours of TV each day, causing his pediatrician to wrinkle her nose at me in judgement.

Mistakes, yeah sure.  I guess.

At least that's what I've been told by the "experts".

But my big question is, "who makes up all of these rules and why?"

Does allowing him to pretend to play cops and robbers breathe hate into his sweet little heart?

Is an open bite so terribly hideous that others would deny his friendship in the future?

Will TV cause him to have poor judgement as he grows older?

Does research after research tell us all of these things to be true in toddlers whose parents allow such things?

I can honestly say that there was a time when I cared about all of this.

What I'm suppose to do and what I'm not suppose to do as a parent.

In fact, even up until last night I cared.

Until it hit me when my husband walked down the stairs after putting our son to bed.

He described our son's evening prayer like this... (a song in the Frere Jacques melody).

"God our Father
God our Father
We thank You
We thank You
For our many blessings
For our many blessings
Amen
Amen."

My revelation ...

None of these worldy things matter.

We are raising our son to have a good heart....... A heart for Jesus!

In fact, I already have an instruction manual on child-rearing.

It's the Holy Bible.

A scripture from the Bible that comes to mind is:  "Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it." - Proverbs 22:6

And another:  "For where your treasure is, your heart will be also."  - Luke 12:34

My job as his parent is to raise him to have a heart for Jesus.

To treasure Jesus and His sacrifice for the world.

To bear good fruit with his servant's heart.

And to shine his light into the darkness so others can see the glory of the risen King.

I know I'll continue to make mistakes by the world's standards, but I know that with God's help and constant direction I'm confident that we'll be on the right path.



"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will."  
Romans 12:2

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Broccoli & Cheddar Soup

During the past couple of weeks, my husband and I have been indulging at our local Panera Bread for coffees and lunch.

We enjoy that place.

The atmosphere is cozy.

The people are relaxed.

And the food is just terrific.

I also love to sit and watch all of the business meetings taking place during lunch time.

Their conversations are interesting.  

Oh yeah, I listen.

I know it's terrible and my husband is just appalled, but I find them entertaining.

The sales pitches.  The interviews.  The contractors.  The book clubs.

It's all very interesting to me.

I figure that if their conversations are private, they wouldn't have them in a public restaurant.

Anyway...

I love Panera's broccoli and cheddar soup.

I found a recipe that resembles the one that I've been noshing on these past couple of weeks.

Except, skip the bread bowl.  

Eat more soup!
Here's the link to the recipe:  click here.

*UPDATE*:  I don't puree my soups because I love to chew on all the veggies, but if you're a puree-er go for it.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Cheesy Broccoli Rice

If you love cheese, you're going to absolutely LOVE this dish!

I found an amazing recipe on Pinterest.

Made a few changes to suit our taste.

And......BA-BAM!

Oooooey ..... gooooooey .... cheesy goodness!


Here's a closer look on my plate ...


Nom ..... Nom .... Nom .....!

My husband and I loved this so much, I made it again the following week.

Except this time, I threw in more broccoli, added several carrots, and some leftover chicken breast.


Comfort food at its finest, my friends.  Enjoy!

Cheesy Broccoli Rice           *Printable Recipe*

2 Tbsps butter
2 Tbsps olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, minced
 1/2 cup flour
2 cups milk
2 tsps dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cube chicken boullion cube (I use Knorr brand)
2-3 cups cooked brown rice
2 broccoli crowns, steamed

Grease a 9x13-in casserole pan.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  In a large saucepan, melt butter over low heat; add olive oil, garlic and saute until fragrant.  Whisk in flour and cook 3-4 minutes, whisking constantly.  Slowly whisk in milk, mustard, boullion cube, and season with salt & pepper.  Bring to a simmer 4 minutes, whisking occasionally.  Add cheeses; stir until mostly melted; remove from heat.  Stir in rice and steamed broccoli florets, pour into casserole pan.  Bake 30 minutes until bubbly and lightly golden on top.  Allow to set 5 minutes before serving.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Helloooo......Gift Cards!

Recently, my husband and I sat down to establish a budget for ourselves.

I don't know why it took us so long.

We've been married five years now for goodness gracious.

Anyway...

We discussed some financial goals.

We talked about life after the military.

We fantasized about retirement.

And ... we met with our financial planner.

We're finally cleaning house and buckling down on the $moo...la$.

One joyful discovery in our financial planning was all of the wonderful rewards points that we've earned with a credit card that we've been using for gas.

Helloooo......rewards points!

We cashed some points in for a few gift cards.

Yipppity - Dippppity.....they arrived today.  We love gift cards!

Obviously, we love eating out too.  ;)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Little Czech Bakery

There's a tiny little bakery in a small town outside of Waco, Texas where most traveling on Hwy I-35 make it a point to stop.

I used to frequent this place during my college years many years ago.

Many ... many... years ago.  

Oy!

It was an itsy-bitsy teeny-weeny place back then.

But boy oh boy, it's a major operation now.

Why?

Because of these delightfully decadent little beauties.


This was my warm berry kolache all wrapped up and sitting on the dashboard.

Like an old friend who never ages, these haven't changed one bit!


Still a little piece of heaven baked to perfection.

And a sweet indulgence that makes traveling on I-35 bearable.

In addition to these scrumptious kolaches, the bakery offers some unbelievable rolls filled with various sausages, cheeses, and all sorts of yummy stuff.  


If you're ever on I-35 driving by Waco, TX, look out for the Little Czech Bakery on the side of the highway, but be careful in the parking lot.  It's super busy now-a-days.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Steak & Whiskey

The day after my husband arrived, we were blessed with a date night opportunity.  Parents Night Out at our church.

Yippppeeee!

Finally, just the two of us.

Finishing our sentences without toddler interruptions.

Enjoying our meal, taking our time, and tasting our food.

We took these "date nights" for granted before having our little one.

Lemme tell ya, we certainly cherish them now.

The restaurant we visited was a little teeny-tiny place in downtown San Antonio named Josephine St.  They have these big neon signs on their windows that read "Steak & Whiskey".

Two of my husband's favorite things.

Here's a photo of my husband enjoying a glass of whiskey right before his yummy steak arrived.


Here's a photo of me with a glass of their homemade sangria.  It was quite tasty :)

Friday, October 5, 2012

Homecoming

Praise God my husband is back home!

It's been seven weeks since he left for South Carolina.

A lot has happened in those seven weeks and we sure missed him.

Here are a few photos I snapped at the airport last night.
me and the boy waiting at baggage claim
"DADDY!!!!!!"
big big big HUGS
helping dad with luggage
ready to go home!
with my loves
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