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Fall … Maybe?

30 Sep

Finally feeling better!  I even made myself a cup of coffee this morning!

For multiple reasons, I have drastically cut back on my coffee consumption lately, so this was such a treat!

It was also a treat because I was tasting another flavor from Godiva + Foodbuzz.  I liked this flavor even better than the pumpkin one!

Bruce and I have been talking about the leaves lately and we’ve come to the conclusion that Hurricane Irene may have done a number on our pretty New England foliage.  I’m seeing a lot of leaves die or fall before the colors change – such a bummer!  That’s one of my favorite parts about fall …

Anybody else having a sub-par foliage season?

So Cheesy

23 Sep

Sometimes it is necessary:  I took the afternoon to disconnect and start in on some much-needed cleaning and organizing.  It felt amazing and was a great distraction from everything else on my mind. 

Does anyone else ever feel like they are constantly drowning in paperwork?  We get so much junk mail and I feel like I can never keep it all sorted!  I’m a work in progress when it comes to organization.

Leftover Mexican Soup for dinner! Two nights in a row without meetings = two nights in a row that I get to have dinner with Bruce.  Love that equation!

We ate this while counting down until the season premiere of The Office!  Did anyone else watch?

So I need to backtrack a little bit.  Before I started posting about Troy’s case (I really didn’t feel right posting about anything else) Bruce and I had a fun opportunity to taste-test cheese as part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program.

The program was made possible thanks to a collaboration with Sargento.  It was neat – we went to the grocery store and bought some sort of Sargento Cheese, another processed cheese and some sort of cheese pairing for the tasting.

We paired the cheese with crackers with the intention of using the whole plate as an appetizer to this dinner:

It was such a great pairing!  Between the different cheeses and the meat and potatoes meal, we were definitely eating hearty that night.

I have a confession: I was a little bit skeptical about this tasting opportunity.  I generally buy cheese in block form because I thought cheese was cheese and that if you bought something pre-sliced (the Sargento cheese that we bought was pre-sliced in one of those skinny bags) it didn’t have as much flavor as if you had bought the block and sliced/shredded yourself.

So I was shocked when this pre-sliced stuff actually was packed with flavor!  Real cheese flavor.  The processed stuff tasted more like milk in cheese form than actual cheese.  AND (I’m sure you’ve never looked this closely but I read it on my “tasting sheet” and was curious so I looked) you can actually see the ridges on the Sargento stuff where it was sliced.  Apparently processed cheese is melted and then formed into the slices and packed. 

That’s … not appetizing.  But now it makes sense as to why processed cheese doesn’t actually taste like cheese.

Anyway, I was a skeptic, so I’m glad I had the opportunity to do this taste taste.  Many many thanks to Foodbuzz and Sargento.  Bruce said the words, “this is worth the extra money” after we finished tasting.  You know what that means. 🙂

Okay, it’s time for me to bring myself to bed – goodnight!

pssssssst. Foodbuzz and Sargento gave me the funds to buy the cheeses and pairings but didn’t pay me to say nice things about it.  Over and out.

Love. Godiva. Love. Coffee. Love. Fall.

19 Sep

I received a lovely package in the mail the other day …

Coffee from Foodbuzz and Godiva!

Godiva has recently come out with fall seasonal flavors (available nationwide, but only for a limited time) and I was sent two bags to review as part of the Featured Tastemaker Program.

We are generally not big flavored coffee drinkers, but Bruce and I both love and adore fall and were intrigued by this review opportunity.  I am in the process of changing my day off so that I can spend time with Bruce on his day off (which is Monday) so today we had a lazy morning, tried out our new coffee and had a fall-inspired breakfast to go with it.

We brewed Pumpkin Spice this morning and paired it with … 

Oatmeal, of course!  Mine is on the left, Bruce’s is on the right.

The coffee paired so nicely with the oatmeal – I think if we had gone with our original plan, which was egg sandwiches, it wouldn’t have tasted so good.  It’s definitely a seasonal drink and should be complimented by other seasonal-esque flavors.

These coffees are a wonderful fall treat and I would recommend at least grabbing one bag this season.  I can’t wait to try the Caramel Pecan Bark!

pssssssst. Foodbuzz and Godiva sent me this coffee for free but didn’t pay me to say nice things about it. Bruce and I both genuinely enjoyed the coffee and can’t wait to brew it again.  Over and out.

Kara-Age Chicken

5 Sep

Tonight’s dinner was courtesy of Foodbuzz’s Tastemaker Program and Kikkoman!

I was intrigued with this Kikkoman Kara-Age as soon as I opened the box.  Kara-Age is a Japanese fried dish with soy and ginger flavors.  I don’t really eat a whole lot of fish, so I decided to prep it with chicken.  It was incredibly easy.

Kara-Age Chicken
1 pound Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
1 package Kikkoman Kara-Age Seasoning
Vegetable Oil
(Don’t you love four ingredient meals?)
The seasoning was really simple to use.  I first cut the chicken into bite-size nuggets.  Then I rinsed off the chicken with water and dropped the wet pieces of chicken in a bowl with the seasoning (no dredging in flour/eggs – it simplified the process a lot!).  I tossed everything together so that the chicken would be coated and dropped the nuggets into hot vegetable oil (I heated the oil to about 300-325 degrees).  I let them cook for about 10-15 and then drained the excess oil.  See?  Very easy!

To compliment the soy and ginger, I served the Kira-Age Chicken with sticky white rice and broccoli cuts.  It was a fantastic combination!

The flavor was actually a lot more subtle than I thought it was going to be.  When I first opened the seasoning package, all I could smell was ginger – but the taste wasn’t overwhelming.

(This was a fabulous end to the meal!)

I was honestly a little bit wary when I was making dinner because I have never done a ton of cooking with ginger before.  That being said – I was pleasantly surprised with how it turned out!  It’s definitely something I would try again. 

And (I cannot believe I am about to say this) I think I might even try it again with some kind of fish.  Most people know that I never eat fish (I just never had a taste for it), but I just think this seasoning would bring out an awesome flavor on a subtle-tasting (read: not overly fishy) fish.  So we’ll see!

What are everyone’s thoughts on cooking with ginger?  Does anyone have any recipes or cooking methods they would suggest?  Now I’m curious …


Now for some legal chatter: I was contacted by the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program and Kikkoman to do a review of this specific product and was given the product free of charge. However – the opinions I expressed in this post were completely my own. Over and out. Amen.

Book ‘Em Danno!

13 Aug


My night has been spent with my iPhoto library and a movie in the background and now I have something ridiculously fun to share!  As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program with KODAK Gallery, I was lucky enough to be selected to review one of Kodak’s Quickstart Photo Books!  I think that photo books are quickly becoming the new photo album, so I was thrilled to get the offer to review one.

Bruce and I thought about some different book ideas and ultimately decided that it would be neat to create a book that reflected all of the changes that we have been through over the past year.  A year ago we were living in Georgia and I had no idea what my next step was in my ordination and job search.  Now I am ordained, we’ve moved to Massachusetts, I’ve started my first call and Bruce is getting ready to start a new job as well (more on that later!).  I thought it would be incredible to see that year-long journey in one book.

Once I had the idea, it was very easy to get started.

I started by digging into my archives and pulling the photos that I wanted to use.  Honestly, that was the most tedious part of the entire process – and that is only because I don’t keep all of my photos on my laptop!

Once all of the photos were uploaded, Kodak immediately dropped them (in the order of the date that they were taken – very helpful!) into a book.  The best part about this was the fact that you do not have to start from scratch with the book (which is kind of daunting).  There is already something there to work with!

At that point, I could either look at the whole book or individual pages to rearrange, pick new layouts, add captions, delete pictures/pages, add pictures/pages, etc. etc.

Oh – If you look at the top right hand corner, you’ll see a price.  That price updates every time you add or subtract a page – great if you are on a budget.

I named the book, “Grace Unexpected: Our Journey Here” and I absolutely cannot wait to see it in person!

Now that I’ve seen how easy it is to make a book like this, I think I may try to do it more often!  I think it is such a neat way to record your history.  And depending on the type of book you order, they really aren’t that expensive.  I’ve noticed with photo books, your quality really does match your price.  Kodak’s books seem to be middle of the road – they are reasonably priced and still very high quality.  Great balance!

So … Do you want to make one?  Well, guess what – Koday Gallery is providing y’all with an exclusive 40% off a medium or large photo book right now! You can redeem this offer at anytime before 8/31.

Thank you Foodbuzz and Kodak – what a fun product to review.  Stay tuned – I’ll give a full report when it comes in!

Book ‘Em!


Now for some legal chatter: I was contacted by the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program and KODAK to do a review of this specific product and was given this product free of charge. However – the opinions I expressed in this post were completely my own. Over and out. Amen.

Giveaway Winner!

9 May

Good MONDAY morning!

I say MONDAY like that because so far it has been a MONDAY – I was just standing ten feet away from my office phone and it called someone and put them on speaker phone.  Oy.

I heated up some waffles for breakfast, which were delicious!

I have a funeral, Confirmation Sunday and a wedding to work on – so I have to make this short!  But I used to draw a winner for my Wear A Dress Tuesday inspired giveaway and the winner is … my sweet friend Amy!

Amy and I went to college together – she was a senior when I was a freshmen and we met through our Christian fellowship.  She is now married to a wonderful pastor and they have a beautiful son Vincent!

That was fun – I think every time I find something that reminds me of Wear a Dress Tuesday I’m going to give it away.

Have a great day everyone!

A Review – Rachael Ray Bubble and Brown Ramekin Sets

4 May

Dandelions are so pretty!

Are they really weeds?  I think they look magical!

So tonight I was finally able to review these Ramekin Sets that CSN sent me to review!

I ordered two sets of them, one in yellow and one in blue.  They come four to a set.

I made Individual Chicken & Veggie Mexican Casseroles!  Recipe to come …

I absolutely adore these ramekins.  Adore them.  They are extremely versatile – they are oven, microwave AND dishwasher safe.  They are well made in terms of quality and a really good serving size.  And I love the bright colors!  Lots to choose from …

I cannot wait to try out more recipes in these guys!  Thank you to CSN for making this meal happen.


Now for some legal chatter: I was contacted by CSN to do a review of one of their products and was given this product free of charge. However – the opinions I expressed in this post were completely my own. Over and out. Amen.

Wear a Dress Tuesday GIVEAWAY!

3 May

This giveaway is now closed – thanks for entering!


I am so excited.

Bruce and I were out and about the other night when I came across this.

I was instantly in love.

“There is nothing like shopping for a new purse and dress and accessories or cute shoes to make a girl smile and brighten her day.”


It is an art print, meant to be hung on the wall and remind the people who see it every day to feel beautiful.

And to smile!

I bought it.  But I am giving it away.  To you!  Well, one of you.

I have been wanting to do a Wear a Dress Tuesday inspired giveaway for awhile and I couldn’t resist.  Here are the details:

Prize: The print that you see in the photos.
To Enter: Leave a comment telling me what you biggest splurge is that always makes you feel beautiful (gentlemen folk – if you would like to throw your hat in the ring for this giveaway to give to a beautiful lady in your life, tell us how you make her feel beautiful!)
Giveaway Closes: Sunday, May 8th at 8 p.m. EST
Number of Winners: One
Prize Ships To: Anywhere in the United States
Misc. Info: If you do not have a blogger account (or link to your blog) please leave your email address so I can contact you for your shipping info.  I will pick the winners via and announce next Monday!

Good luck!


Giveaway sponsored by myself, Bruce and Lilly.  Over and out.

Reviewing My Excitement

14 Mar

So many wonderful things to share this afternoon!  Excitement #1 – The fine folks over at CSN have asked me to do another review with them!  I have worked with them before and been blessed with the opportunity to grow my kitchen, but did you know they have more than just kitchen loot?  Everything from furniture to LCD TV Stands to pet toys to … well … everything!

I’m excited to be reviewing these two sets of Rachael Ray Bubble & Brown Ramekin sets.  I actually don’t have any ramekins and I think they will be really helpful for me as I continue to figure out how to cook for two!

Excitement #2 – I’m guest posting for Cat over at Budget Blonde today!  Care to guess what I’m blogging about? Why, Wear a Dress Tuesday of course! 🙂 Check out the post here.

Excitement #3 – Lunch was delicious.

Bruce bought a ton of soup while I was under the weather so I made a bowl of chicken & rice today.

I added some finely grated sharp cheddar cheese and crushed up saltines.

Wonderful additions!

Served with a mocktail made up of cranberry juice and ginger ale.  Refreshing!

I’m off to get some more work done before Bruce and I head over to the school to help my dad.  Four days until opening night of Drowsy Chaperone!

Anything exciting going on with you today?

A Run And A Review

17 Dec

Guess who laced up her sneakers and when for her first real run since the half marathon?

3.03 miles in 29:50, averaging a 9:50 mile.  Weeeeeee!  Here’s my breakdown …

Mile 1 – 9:24
Mile 2 – 10:13
Mile 3 – 9:57
3.00 – 3.03 – 0:15 (8:03/mile)

It felt so good to run again!  I’ve only really run 1.0 mile since my race (maybe a couple more as I was running back and forth between our apartment and the moving truck) so it felt good to just push myself past the mile mark and get into my groove.

Also – it was 27 degrees out.  I am serious when I say I am a cold weather runner.  I just feel so free when I run in the cold.  I do need to get some more cold weather running clothes, though.  I made due with Bruce’s cycling tights and lots of layers, but I need my own stuff!  Does anybody have any good suggestions?  I just read a post by Jamie about cold weather running gear, so I’m going to check some of that stuff out.


So let’s get back to this post.  The fine folks over at CSN were kind enough to send me this wok to review in our kitchen.  I really appreciate them being patient with me as we moved and I had to hold off on the review for a little bit.

Here she is in all her beauty!

Before the wok could be used, we needed to treat the stainless steel to remove a factory coating that protects the wok during shipping.

To do this you start by putting one tablespoon of oil in the wok and slowly heat the oil on medium-high heat.
When the oil is heated up (it will spread out across the bottom of the wok), take a paper towel and (CAREFULLY!) wipe the wok clean.
Bruce said that at this point he could feel the film on the wok, so you’ll know what you’re trying to get rid of.
Then rinse in warm, sudsy water.
Repeat these steps until the paper towel wiping up the oil comes up clean (the one on the left is the last paper towel we used, the one on the right was from the time before).  I think we did this about four times (it doesn’t take long, I promise!) to get all of the coating off.  It’s okay if you get some burn marks on the bottom of the pan – they’ll come off.
Well worth the wait!
We did this in the morning and by the time I got back from my run I was ready to put it to work!
I couldn’t think of a better first meal to prepare in my new wok than a huge serving of fried rice!
I kept this batch vegetarian and simple, just using a bag of frozen mixed vegetables and two eggs.
This batch was delicious – I think I am FINALLY starting to get the hang of fried rice!
Even Bruce said that this batch turned out really nicely and I was starting to get a hang of the flavors.  Next time I make it, I’ll take some pictures and post my recipe and process, I promise!
All in all, I really like this wok.  I didn’t realize I would need to treat the stainless steel, but I appreciate the fact that they want to protect the product during processing and shipping.  And we cook with a lot of cast iron that needs to be pre-treated, so it wasn’t that much of an inconvenience for us.  And I love the spatula, chopsticks and ladle that come with this particular set.  The fit in nicely in my kitchen.
Thanks again to CSN for gifting me with this beautiful new kitchen tool! 
p.s. Thanks to those of you who have sent me meatloaf recipes after this post.  My mouth literally waters every time I read your recipes.  I can’t wait to to try them!  Keep ’em coming!

Now for some legal chatter: I was contacted by CSN to do a review of one of their products and was given this product free of charge. However – the opinions I expressed in this post were completely my own.  Over and out.  Amen.