Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Summer Pasta Salad

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A sure sign of summer is when my pasta salad makes it's arrival. Well, summer must be here because the pasta salad is freshly made, chilling in the fridge. 

When I first made this a few years back the Mr. stuck up his nose and informed me he doesn't like cold pasta dishes. After I pleaded with the suddenly picky eater to at least give it a try he was amazed. Amazed because he liked it. I thought I would surprise him today with his favorite pasta salad and welcome summer with open arms.

This dish will make a frequent appearance these next couple months and I pretty much couldn't be happier about it. 

Summer Pasta Salad

1 cup house italian dressing
1/2 cup mayo
2 mini cucumbers sliced
1 can black olives, sliced
2 roma tomatoes, diced
1 green pepper, diced
sharp cheddar cheese, cubed
monterey jack cheese, cubed
6 pieces of hard salami, cut into strips
1 lb rotini noodles, cooked according to package directions

Whisk together dressing and mayo until well blended. 

Add remaining ingredients; mix lightly. 

Cover and refrigerate until chilled. If necessary add more dressing. 


As I was putting the salad together I was thinking of additional add-ins that would go well with the dish. Here's what I came up with: crumbled bacon, feta cheese, broccoli, grilled chicken.

Friday, June 21, 2013

High Five for Friday + a Birthday Celebration

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one. It goes without saying that these two make me so happy. It was so much fun celebrating this incredible man on Sunday, even if he's only a doggy daddy.

two. I diced up celery for some homemade potato salad. For some reason I always get a kick out of the bottom of a celery stalk. 

three. My rose bush bloomed this week. I can't get over how much I love these pretty little pink flowers. 

four. Homemade trail mix; dried apricots, almonds, raisins, and pumpkin seeds. Perfect snack. 

five. This little man has more cat-like tendencies than he should. He's a dog of course, but I think by us calling him "kitty" all the time he's starting to believe it. Look at him all curled up, grooming away.

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Today we get to celebrate my beautiful Mom! She is such an inspiration to me and many others. It's an honor to make her birthday extra special today. 

We're going to enjoy every moment today. So far she was served chocolate chip scones {with a candle} and coffee for breakfast in bed. What a great way to start a birthday. We'll also really enjoy slow cooker ribs, bruschetta on the grill, and a summer salad for dinner.

Have a very Happy Birthday Momma!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Wisconsin Meets Mississippi

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Something big is happening in my life. My little sis, who as a 24 year old woman isn't so little, is moving all they way across the world. At least it feels like it. She tells me Mississippi is in the United States, and only a { impossibly long} days drive away. Good luck trying to convince me that is the truth, because as far as I'm concerned, any city that's not found in Wisconsin is considered across the world. 

Bree and I have spent the majority of our lives either living together, or living in the same city as each other. Of course when I got married and moved with my brand new hubby to Oklahoma she was only 17. She had her own busy high school life and although we missed each other like crazy it seemed we were in two different parts of life. 

Now that we're reunited in Wisconsin and have been for the last 4 1/2 years we've gotten closer than ever. We see each other every day and talk even more on the phone about who knows what. She's the only one who will ever understand my love for Target and Dairy Queen crunch coat, and the affects of a parent's divorce. We're lifelong buddies, her and I.

I can't imagine not having her around to live life with; the every day kind of stuff. Now we'll have to plan trips to see her and vice versa. She'll have to come home to get a white Christmas and we'll have to decide which birthdays will have to celebrated via Face Time.

Even though my heart is sad that she'll be far from me, I am so happy for her to go live her adventure.
I came across a quote the other day, and when I read it I knew I had to make it into a print to frame for her. Part of me wishes she will look at it every day, bawl her eyes out, and return home to Wisconsin immediately. I do know that is a horrible thing to wish upon her and I also know that will most likely not happen. I guess that's just the selfish part of me. In reality I know she will love living in a new state, making new friends, and for crying out loud, enjoying the beach that she can see from her house. I guess this move means I'll be seeing a whole lot more of Mississippi than I ever planned on.

For some {most likely} hilarious updates on her move and my life in Wisconsin without her be sure to follow along on twitter; #wisconsinmeetsmississippi

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Installing a Search Box {a Tutorial}

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I recently discovered that I didn't have a handy dandy search box on the blog. This is a tool I use on other blogs when I'm searching for a post I read once and am trying to find again. So, I knew it was a feature I wanted to offer as well.

Since I just installed the search box for myself I thought I would show you how you can do it too. It's so incredibly easy. If you haven't done it already here's your chance to learn how.

Let's get started! 

1// Sign into Blogger and select "layout".
2// Select "add a gadget".

3// Once you have selected "add a gadget" a small window will pop up with several choices. Scroll down until you see "search box". Click on the plus sign. 

4// This "configure search box" will automatically show the title box filled in with the words "search this blog". Whichever words are typed into this box is what will appear above the actual search box on your blog. I chose to have the word "search" only. The tabs you see below the title box will all come checked. I chose to only keep "this blog" checked simply because I wanted readers to only have the ability to search for content on my blog.
5// Right below all the information seen in the above image will be this image. It's simply a preview of what your search box will look like. It's also where you will need to click "save".
6// Once you click "save" you will be brought back to your blogger dashboard. Your "search box" gadget will automatically be located at the top of all your gadgets. I simply used the drag and drop method to move my search box where I wanted it. 
7// After you are satisfied with its location click "save arrangement" at the top right of your screen and you're done! 

Make sure to point out to all your readers that they now have the option of searching within your blog to find their favorite posts.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Secret to Perfect Sugar Cookies

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Did you know that the perfect sugar cookie comes with a secret? It's a secret I just learned. Normally, any given sugar cookie recipe has done the trick for me. I mean, honestly, you can't really mess these cookies up. 

Here comes a big BUT. If you don't know the secret ingredient then you haven't had the perfect sugar cookie and in turn, you didn't know you were missing something. 

Take a look at the recipe and see if you can figure out the subtle ingredient that makes a huge difference. 

Perfect Sugar Cookies

1 cup sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1-2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
1 egg
2 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Mix ingredients together, roll into balls. 

Place cookie dough balls onto cookie sheet. Press balls lightly using the flat bottom of a glass, dipped in sugar. 

Bake for 12 minutes. Do not over-bake to ensure a chewy cookie.


Did the coconut extract surprise you? It's just enough that you can tell these cookies are better than average, but not too much that you're thinking these are coconut cookies.
Give them a try and let me know what you think!

{recipe from a close family friend}

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Alphabet Dating

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As a wife of almost seven years I'm pretty much always on the hunt for new date ideas. The Mr. and I have our usual go-to dates, but it's fun to mix things up from time to time. Alphabet Dating is the perfect way to do just that! 

Thanks to Kaitlyn and Sharlee several awesome ladies and myself have planned dates themed around the letters of the alphabet. You can go here to catch up on letters A-K, today I'm sharing a date the Mr. and I planned with the letter "L". 

My first thought was to go on a picnic lunch, lay by the lake, and drink limeades. Sounds like the perfect day to me! Although we didn't end up getting that picnic lunch, we did manage to lay lazy on the hammock, make raspberry limeades, and walk to the lake to enjoy a sunset.

 We got a chance to be lazy together and lay on the very hammock we used to snuggle on when we met 9 years ago. 

And just because you might need a little giggle, here we are the summer of 2004.

The Mr. snapped this photo at the lake, absolutely no editing, that's just how beautiful God's handiwork is. 

We made our favorite limeade recipe, but this time we added fresh raspberries. Yum.

If you had to plan a date around the letter "L" what would you do?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Veggie Fried Rice

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Today I came home to a delicious bowl of homemade veggie fried rice, courtesy of my sweet sis.

Veggie Fried Rice

brown rice
chicken bouillon cube
fresh veggies 
1 egg
soy sauce

Cook rice according to package directions. To add flavor to the rice add a chicken bouillon cube while it's simmering. 

Meanwhile steam fresh veggies of your choice. I'd highly recommend broccoli, carrots, and edamame. Also scramble one egg. 

When the rice is cooked thoroughly add the steamed veggies and scrambled egg. Season lightly with a little soy sauce. 


Friday, June 7, 2013

Spring Fever Vox Box

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I recently signed up to become an Influenster and was chosen to receive their Spring Vox Box. I'm not going to lie, I was pretty giddy when the box arrived. Today, I'm giving you my honest opinion about the products.

 imPRESS manicure: I think this is a great concept and the product looks well thought out and made, I'm just not one for fake nails.

Secret Outlast Deodorant: Shockingly enough I use my hubby's deodorant. Mainly because it's one of few on the market that doesn't contain aluminum in the product, also because it's a clear gel that doesn't get all over my clothes. The Secret Outlast does contain aluminum so I won't be using it, but I love that it's a clear gel and it smells so clean and fresh. Sorry babe, you still have to share with me!

TastyKake: I am a lover of all things sweet so when I saw the S'mores treat in the box I was all over that. I read the ingredient label first and realized it was better than a candy bar. That made me feel good, but then I noticed that the treat expired last month. Total bummer.

Schwarzkopf Rough Rubber Texture: This is my second favorite item. I tried it after styling my hair one day. I noticed it kept the "fly aways" under control really well and didn't make me feel like a grease ball. 

$5 Ulta Coupon: I love Ulta. I love coupons. This was a win win. 

NYC Applelicious Lipstick: I was first drawn to this little beauty. This is probably my favorite item in the box. It smells amazing, feels great, and looks good too!

Product Grades:
{1= not for me + 10 = this is right up my alley}

imPRESS manicure: 3 out of 10
Secret Outlast Deodorant: 3 out of 10
Tasty Kake: 1 out of 10
Schwarzkopf Rough Rubber Texture 5 out of 10
Ulta Coupon: 5 out of 10
NYC Applelicious Lipstick: 7 out of 10

I received these products complimentary for testing purposes from Influenster.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Tis the Season for Rhubarb

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My mother-in-love introduced me to the best rhubarb bread recipe of all time. This afternoon I packed up the recipe ingredients and went over to a friend's house where we baked the bread together. This recipe is perfect for that sort of thing since it makes two loaf pans. I love sharing good things.

Rhubarb Bread

1 cup almond milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups chopped rhubarb

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two loaf pans, set aside. 

In a small bowl stir together almond milk, lemon juice, and vanilla. Let stand for 10 minutes. 

In a large bowl mix together 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, oil, and egg. Combine the flour, salt, and baking soda. Stir flour mixture into sugar mixture, alternately with the milk mixture. Fold in rhubarb. Pour into prepared pans. 

In a small bowl combine topping ingredients. Sprinkle mixture over the unbaked loaves. 

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. 

recipe adapted from allrecipes.com

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