Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Need a special Father's Day Recipe? - Steaks with Gorgonzola Butter

I am actually thinking ahead in my recipe posting today. It is probably because I am getting my Father's Day menu ready. We have no money to go out to eat, so I am going to fix a special meal for Justin with his favorite sides. Here is the special part.. Steak with Gorgonzola butter...

We love Bonefish Grill and they have the most amazing fillet with Gorgonzola butter. The only time we get to go there is when my dad is treating... Even though money is tight this Father's Day.. I am going to splurge a little and fix Justin this recipe with his favorite sides. The Gorgonzola butter makes alot, but it freezes really well. This butter is the perfect addition to any steak!

Gorgonzola Butter (6 servings)

2 heads of garlic, top 3/4 inch cut off to expose cloves
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
1/3 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese (about 2 ounces)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


Preheat oven to 350°F. Place garlic on piece of foil; drizzle with olive oil. Enclose garlic in foil. Bake until garlic is very soft, about 1 hour. Cool. Squeeze garlic cloves out from papery skins into medium bowl; mash garlic with fork. Mix in butter, cheese, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer Gorgonzola butter to sheet of plastic wrap. Using plastic wrap as aid, form butter into 1 1/4-inch-diameter log, wrapping plastic tightly around butter. Chill until firm. (Can be made 2 days ahead; keep chilled.) Cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds.


Steaks (his favorite cut)
-Marinate with Gravy Master (my aunt's secret ingredient) and Garlic Pepper
-Grill or Cook in Skillet or Cast Iron Skillet to desired doneness (4 -5 min per side for med-rare).
-PLEASE DO NOT OVERCOOK! (Although even if you overcook, the Gorgonzola butter will add flavor and take away the dryness.)

Serve with his favorite sides. I will be serving this with Potato Skins (appetizer) and Green Bean Casserole.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Why haven't you updated your blog?

My mom called me last week and asked.. Why haven't you updated your blog? I told her to tune in this week, I have plenty of stories from last week. If she would have seen my house and if she knows how slow I am at writing blogs.. she would have said.. you need to take a break and get your house in order. So much happened last week.. I will get you caught up now.

Kate threw her first real fit.. yes, that was NOT fun! Oh, and she says "Toby" all the time and loves him.. I wish I could say that he feels the same way, but he is a little fickle.. he usually acts like he likes her, jumps up on her, licks her, etc. Then last Tuesday she tried to take back her socks he stole and...I think demons came out of him and he bit her hand. She is fine (he is so small, so no real damage done). I think they are back to loving each other now. Justin on the other hand... says he is moving to FL. We will see.

I got caught up on laundry/cleaning, mowed the lawn (the first time ever.. and will save the story for another post) and re-did two rooms. Ok, let me be honest, I didn't even do those things last week (I have done all those things the past two days.. since Justin has been out of town). For some reason I get so motivated when he is gone. I really have no idea why... my only excuse is he is so much fun when he is home.. I just want to hang out with him... therefore, my chores do not get done. Oh wait, that doesn't exactly work... because is his not here all day, only the evenings.

Last Monday we had just woken up. I was getting Kate up and ready for breakfast. Justin was taking Toby out and watering the plants. (This is our normal and exciting daily morning routine). All of a sudden Justin ran in the house and yelled, NICOLE... there are ANIMALS {ok, I want to pause right here.. because in that second I was picturing rats, mice, raccoons and snakes in our attic or garage.} He said, "there are animals... eating our new plants." For those of you who missed it, we just had new landscaping put in (Here is the post.) Last Monday it had been one week.

You know I love before and after photos.. so here you go, did I mention it has only been two weeks since we planted these plants?

Before Deer:

After Deer (the circles show the now DEAD plants):

You have no idea the lengths that Justin has taken to keep the deer away.. I won't go into detail of all his secrets.. but it has included liquid fence, eggs, garlic, pepper, hair and urine. I will have to say that I think it is working (I hope). Also.. I am calling the landscapers today.. hoping they will replace the plants!

Other things we have been up to.. graduation parties, and going to the pool. Here are a couple pictures of our baby girl.. she is growing up so fast!
Here is Kate at Tiffany's graduation party. She took every lei out of the basket and put it on her.

Kate this morning.. I took it with her new favorite toy. She loves the little bunny purse my friend Laine got her. She carries it everywhere.

Now back to cleaning and getting ready for VBS tonight. I hope you have a wonderful Monday!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Need a new favorite, fast recipe? Kielbasa, Veggies and Rice

I am taking a break from blogging this week.. don't worry, I do have stories to tell, but they will have to wait until next week. I decided to go ahead and post a recipe today.. mainly because I cooked this on Monday and it was so EASY, FAST and really good! We had it again for leftovers last night and Justin kept telling me how good it was. To make it even better is a recipe you can easily adjust depending on what you have on hand.

My friend, Amy told me about this recipe and I decided to try it. You really don't even need a "recipe", but here you go.

I always forget to take a picture of the recipes, but you will get the idea.

Kielbasa and Veggies with Rice

Kielbasa (1 package per 3-4 people)
Veggies (what ever you have on hand or whatever you like) (I only had onions, so I only made it with onions)
3 Onions (sliced)
Green Peppers (sliced)
Mushrooms (sliced)
Emeril's Essence
2 Tablespoons Butter

Rice (white, dirty, jambalaya) {I had jambalaya, so that is what we used)

-Turn on Grill to Heat (medium heat)
-Start Cooking your favorite Rice.
-Tear off a two large pieces of foil (To make a foil pouch)
-Slice Kielbasa and place on foil.
-Place sliced veggies over Kielbasa.
-Sprinkle Salt, Pepper and Emeril's Essence over veggies.
-Place two tablespoons of butter on top of veggies.
-Cover and seal foil - to make a pouch and make sure it is sealed (you may need a couple pieces of foil).
-Place pouch directly over burner on grill.
-Cook for 30-40 min.
-Remove from grill, place in pan and serve over your favorite rice.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Want a free Doughnut? Freebie Friday

Did you know that today is National Free Donut day? Seriously, who comes up with these "holidays"? Anyway, Krispy Kreme and Dunkin Donuts are both giving away free donuts today. Are they completely trying to sabotage my 30 day shred? Krispy Kreme is giving away one free donut per customer (no purchase required) and Dunkin Donuts is giving away one free donut with purchase of a drink.

In case you were wondering...

Why is National Donut Day celebrated on the first Friday in June? In 1917, Salvation Army female volunteers known as “lassies” prepared thousands of fresh donuts to the homesick soldiers that served in France during World War I. National Donut Day was officially established in 1938 by the Chicago Salvation Army to raise much-needed funds during the Great Depression.

Donut Facts:
-In the U.S. alone, more than 10 billion donuts are made every year.
-The largest donut ever made was an American-style jelly donut weighing 1.7 tons, which was 16 feet in diameter and 16 inches high in the center.
-Per capita, Canada has more donut shops than any other country.
-The hole in the donut's center appeared in the first half of the 19th Century.
-Adolph Levitt invented the first donut machine in 1920.

Also, did you know there are two correct ways to spell doughnut and donut?

Ok, so enough of this boring, pointless and COMPLETELY RANDOM post. I guess I am bitter.. this free donut stuff doesn't really go with my 30 day shred!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Do you want to see the "after"? "Need" new Flip Flops?

Our new landscaping is now in and daily watering has begun. I have posted pictures below... you may have to squint, yes the plants are very small (we were on a SMALL budget). They tell us they will grow fast, but I am pretty sure they will not grow as fast as I want. Hopefully we won't kill them. Good news though, it cost less than they quoted us. Thank you Barefoot & Assoc. Landscaping!
Now for something totally random.. I got these in the mail today. I LOVE THEM!

I saw them on the E! channel. They were doing a special for cheap summer fashion. I had a rough week last week and Justin (my sweet husband) gave me some money to go shopping with. When I saw these on TV, I immediately went online and ordered them. They are even cuter in person and on my feet. So I thought I would share. They are are 100% vegan and 100% recyclable footwear so lightweight and airy, they'll feel better than bare feet on a warm summer day. So if you are looking for a cute, cheap pair of sandals.. I totally recommend these -Footpetals Flexyfeet . They are only $22.95. I ordered them in black, but I want the silver and gold. Seriously cute!

Now for our new landscaping photos:










Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Love Disney World and the Food? Recipe Wednesday - Tonga Toast

Breakfast recipes have been non-existent on my blog. I decided to post a recipe from one of my favorite places on earth... Disney World. This is from the Kona Cafe at the Polynesian Resort. When we were there in March, I was explaining this dish to my family.. and completely embellished and called it "life changing". They will not let me live that down and now constantly ask me.. is that "life changing". Of course, while this is not "life changing", it is delicious and completely indulgent. It is from the Disney Resort cookbook.

With school finishing up, I thought this would be the perfect recipe to treat your family. I am going to make it for Justin this weekend.

Tonga Toast with Strawberry Compote

Serves 4


1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 8-inch loaf sourdough bread
2 bananas, peeled
1 quart canola oil, for frying


-Mix sugar and cinnamon with a fork in a shallow bowl until thoroughly blended; set aside.
-Slice the bread into four 2-inch-thick slices.
-Cut each banana in half crosswise, then each piece lengthwise.
-Place a bread slice flat on the counter and tear out just enough from the middle (do not tear all the way through) to stuff half a banana into;repeat with each bread slice.
-In a large pot or a deep fryer, heat the oil to 350°F; use a candy thermometer to make certain the oil does not get any hotter, or it will burn.
-Gently place one bread slice into the oil for 1 minute or until light brown. Turn and fry for another minute on the other side.
-Remove from fryer, drain on paper towels, then toss in sugar and cinnamon mixture.
-Repeat for each piece. Serve with a drizzle of warm syrup and strawberry compote.

Strawberry Compote


1 pint strawberries, cleaned and stemmed
1/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla


Cut the strawberries in half. In a saucepan over medium high heat, combine strawberries, sugar and vanilla. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. In a blender or food processor, puree sauce and strawberries. Store in refrigerator.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Why Change?

Last week I started the first day of the "shred" and book club. I received many private responses to my post on forgiveness. I obviously hit a hot spot and boy was I tested last week. Since I have been baring my soul and struggles to you.. today I thought I would take a break and answer the question.. WHY CHANGE?

I did not have many responses to participate in the book club (we are reading, How People Change). I don't know if is because you really don't want to change (am I getting hotter) or if you are just too busy to participate.. anyway... I decided to keep myself accountable and work on the things that NEED TO CHANGE in my life (which consist of ALOT).

Next week, I will again bare my soul with another HUGE struggle of mine, but this week I want to give an excerpt from How People Change, answering the question.. Why do I need to change? I would love your thoughts..

Why Change?
Tripp and Lane, the authors, give "Five Gospel Perspectives" in directing their book How People Change. I thought I would give an excerpt from each perspective.. to answer the question.. Why Change?

Perspective #1: The Extent and Gravity of our Sin
It has been said that the doctrine of sin is one doctrine you can prove empirically, yet we all tend to minimize it. The struggle to accept our exceeding sinfulness is everywhere in the church of Christ. We accept the doctrine of total depravity, but when we are approached about our own sin, we wrap our robes of self-righteousness around us and rise to our own defense.

Scripture challenges this self-righteousness with clarity and power: "The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. (Gen.6:5) and " 'There is no one righteous, not even one' " (Rom. 3:10). The effects of sin twist every thought, motive, desire, word and action. This disease has infected us all, and the consequences are severe.

Perspective #2: The Centrality of the Heart
That is why the Bible is very clear that God wants our hearts. Only when God has your heart does he have you. As much as we are affected by our broken world and the sins of others against us, our greatest problem is the sin that resides in our hearts. That is the message of the gospel is that God transforms our lives by transforming our hearts.

Perspective #3: The Presents Benefits of Christ
Our hope is not in our theological knowledge or our experience within the body of Christ. We are thankful for these things, yet we hold onto one hope: Christ. In him we find everything we need to live a godly life in the here and now. Paul captures it so well: "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." (Gal. 2:20)

Perspective #4: God's Call to Growth and Change
What is the goal of change? It is more than a better marriage, well-adjusted children, professional success, or freedom from a few nagging sins. God's goal is that we would actually become more like him. He doesn't just want you to escape from the fires of hell- though we praise God that through Christ you can! His goal is to free us from our slavery to sin, our bondage to self, our functional idolatry, so that we actually take on his character!
(2 Peter 1:4)

Perspective #5: A Lifestyle of Repentance and Faith
God has blessed you with his grace, gifted you with his presence, strengthened you with his power, and made you the object of his eternal love. Because we belong to him, we live for his agenda. And if change is his agenda, then repentance and faith is the lifestyle to which we have been called.
There are always new sins for the Christian to address and new enemies to defeat. The Christian life makes God's work of change our paradigm for living, while we celebrate the grace that makes it possible. "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say 'No' to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope- the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ: (Titus 2:11-13)

I love how they lay out why we need to change, but I wonder.. with all the power we have through the gospel of Christ and his "life-changing" power.. why do so many Christians live in defeat? Why have we not allowed Christ to truly CHANGE us? I think the answer is seen in "perspective #1". We have become "self-righteous" and don't see the depravity of our own sin. We are constantly comparing ourselves to other "Christians" and not to CHRIST.

Another reason is... we hold a low view of Scripture.. and high view of ourselves. It amazes me how I can justify sin.. especially the "little" sins. (as if there is such a thing). There are scriptures that talk about gluttony, coveting, wanting "things of the world", discontentment, selfishness. (My struggles.. well, a few of my struggles.. I have plenty more!). For some reason, we as "Christians" only focus on the "big" sins. If we aren't doing those..then we are OK.

NO!! The effects of sin twist every thought, motive, desire, word and action. This disease has infected us all, and the consequences are severe.


Monday, June 1, 2009

Do you love makeovers?

I love makeovers. Specifically the ones that show the before and afters. It could be anything... if they show me the before picture.. I am hooked to stay and wait for the "after". This week in our home we are having a lot of before and afters. I am starting the Jullian Michael's 30 Day Shred. (Don't worry, I won't scare you with a before picture.) Our home is getting new landscaping tomorrow and today, Toby got a serious makeover. I know that he is completely neglected and was in desperate need of a hair cut. He doesn't even look like the same dog...

Here some pics of Toby's before and after.

Here are some pictures of our yard and Justin working so hard. We saved money by taking out the plants ourselves. He said it wasn't that bad, but it was ALOT of work. These plant here were HUGE. We had a friend bring his truck over to pull these out.

Kate was out there helping her daddy.

Stay tuned... I will show after pictures. I just hope it looks different, I have this fear that we are going to hate it or that it won't really look any different. We will see.