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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

From Your Kitchen To Mine: Recipes 31-35

It's that time of the week again!  It's time to share 5 new recipes from 5 different blogs.  What makes this week even more exciting is that you all helped d me choose the theme for the recipes.  This week, I focused on all desserts.  Yummy!

Scott and I don't eat a lot of sweets but when we do, we mostly enjoy them outside of our home.  Needless to say, I looked for as many ways as possible to share these treats with others. For those of you who follow my Facebook page, you may remember reading a post last week about how thankful I was to have friends to share these desserts with...let's just say, my hips are even more thankful! 

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**If your recipe is featured today, feel free to grab my button and tell the world you were featured here!
I'd love it :)!**





Check out the recipes!

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Mini Snickers Caramel Cheesecakes 

I found this little dessert floating around Pinterest.  When I clicked on the picture, it lead me to Six Sisters' Stuff.  This dessert contains some of my favorite sugary treats rolled up in one:  snickers + cheesecake.  Seeing that they were mini desserts made them even more appealing.  The recipe wasn't difficult at all.   In fact, I think the hardest part was chopping up the snickers and trying to avoid eating them--and keeping Scott at bay.  Scott and I each enjoyed one, and I shared the rest of these tasty treats with some ladies at a book club I attend; they were a hit!  A huge thanks to the Six Sisters for sharing this recipe and I'd also like to thank Picky Palate for supplying the original recipe!
Click here for the recipe.


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Buttery Crisp Snickerdoodles
When I saw the link on the Six Sisters' Stuff page for Picky Palate, I decided to follow it and see what other tasty treats Jenny was sharing at her spot.  Whoah...snickerdoodles!  There was a time in my life when snickerdoodle cookies were the only cookies I would go ga-ga over.  When I saw this recipe, I had flashback to that stage of my life and my taste buds returned there in an instant.  This recipe was super easy to follow; I whipped these cookies up in no time.  I did, however, halve everything in the recipe because I didn't have a lot of people to share the loot with and didn't want all of that temptation for myself or Scott.  Because I tried to cut everything in half (not completely successfully), my cookies may have come out a little flat.  BUT, they were super tasty, crisp and soft at the same time.  Delicious!  Thanks, Jenny!

Click here for the recipe.


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Easy Refrigerator Pumpkin Cheesecake

I found this recipe at  Ezra Pound Cake.  Boy, with all of these cheesecake recipes, some of you may think I have a problem.  Just wait, there's one more in this line-up.  Three things caught my attention when I read the title of the dessert:  'easy', 'pumpkin', and (you guessed it ) 'cheesecake'.  This recipe was certainly easy.  The only thing is, I think I my have added a little too much pumpkin (more than the recipe really called for), but it still tasted great!  I shared this yummy dessert with some ladies at Bible study and, like me, they loved it!  Thank you, Rebecca, for sharing this!
Click here for the recipe.


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Cherry Crisp in a Jar
 
This recipe came from My Kitchen Addiction as shared by Jamie at My Baking Addiction.  I also found this dessert floating on Pinterest.  The picture looked so good, that I decided find the source.  My favorite part of the recipe was realizing that I had almost all of the ingredients on hand (all except the cherry filling); it made my life a little easier.  It took about 10 minutes, at the most, to get everything mixed up, fill the jars, and get them in the oven.  The result?  Tastiness!  I didn't have vanilla ice cream in the freezer, but I may have to take Jamie up on that suggestion next time.  Thank you Jamie & Jen for sharing this recipe!


Click here for the recipe.


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Creme Brulee Cheesecake Bars
 
Singing with Birds also supplied a winning combination for a delicious dessert:  creme brulee + cheesecake.  Holy cow!  I think I could end my description right there.  These things were amazing and everyone I shared them with at a fellowship dinner thought so too.  The entire dessert was relatively easy to produce, I mean, even I could do it.  If you look at the picture Renee supplies with the recipe, you'll probably notice that our pictures look very different.  I had a hard time finding toffee to put on top of the bars so I used chopped up pieces of butterscotch, and even then they weren't chopped up all the way.  Regardless, the dessert still came out beautifully and all who partook enjoyed!  Thanks so much, Renee!

Click here for the recipe.

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Homemade Coffee Ice Cream

The ingredients of this recipe came from my sister-in-law, Kelly.  Up until this point, I've only attempted to make homemade ice cream in our maker once before and I neglected some key points (i.e. freezing the bowls before use...I was completely foreign to all of this domestic stuff then) so my product fell a bit short--or should I say "soggy"?  Anyway, I used the instruction manual/recipe booklet that came with our maker this time (it's amazing how much that little manual can help when you read it) and found some steps that seemed to work for me.  After you read the steps, let me know if you would change the steps...I'd love to learn!

Ingredients: 
  • 2.5 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 3 small Starbucks instant Via packs (I used the caramel flavored kind)

Steps: 
  • In a medium bowl, use a hand mixer or whisk to combine the milk, sugar, and coffee powder until the sugar and coffee are dissolved (appx 1-2 minutes on low)
  • Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla
  • Turn on ice cream maker and pour mixture into the freezer bowl
  • Let mix until thickened, about 25-30 minutes
  • If desired, transfer ice cream to an airtight container and put in freezer until it has reached the desired firmness
  • Enjoy! 
Recipe Courtesy of Kelly H. 


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I hope you all enjoyed this week's recipes  ~From Your Kitchen To Mine~!  35 Complete- 65 left!
 I'll be back with 5 new recipes next week.  Stay tuned!


If you're interested in having your recipe sampled and featured, click here for more information. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Hands4Uganda

In a couple of months, I will be traveling to Uganda on my first overseas mission trip.  My trip will be in support of a non-profit organization called Hands4Uganda.  
 
 
The Mission of Hands4Uganda:
To make a positive difference in the lives of the children and youth of Uganda, primarily through a faith-based education, and to assist them in achieving their highest potential as they grow to become responsible, fulfilled Christian adults, by providing compassion, love, economic, and spiritual support. 

Rock of Ages School 
One primary way Hands4Uganda influences children and youth through faith-based education is by supporting Rock of Ages School.  Betty Wasswa, founder of and teacher at Rock of Ages, opened the school in the village of Mbiko, Uganda a small suburb of Jinja.  Sadly, Jinja is known for drugs, prostitution, and high levels of AIDS infections.  Over 1.2 million Ugandan children have been orphaned by the country's devastating AIDS epidemic; Jinja has contributed to the count. 
 

Betty wanted to open the school to physically, emotionally, and spiritually help children without parents, children whose mothers are prostitutes, and children from families that have been overcome by other tragedies.  In Rock of Ages School, children are taught the word of God and are given the opportunity to become responsible, fulfilled, Christian adults. 

Rock of Ages currently has approximately 150 children from kindergarten thru second grade. Unfortunately, education is not free in Uganda and families must pay fees for uniforms, books, and other supplies.  The average monthly income in Mbiko, for those who are fortunate enough to have a job, is only three dollars per month. Needless to say, this makes it very difficult for families to send their children to school.  

Hands4Uganda Goals: 
 
Hands4Uganda has specific goals in place to support the Rock of Ages School:  To obtain sponsorship of all the children enrolled at Rock of Ages, to add classrooms to the current Rock of Ages building to enable more children to attend, to build an entirely new school for Rock of Ages that meets government requirements and regulations that will also host preschool through eight grade. 

While in Uganda, I will be assisting Rock of Ages School by providing supplies, teaching classes, documenting stories (in writing and photography), and helping in any other way I can.

How You Can Help: 
 
I've had several friends and family members ask how they can support those in need in Uganda; I'd like to encourage them and you to consider sponsoring a child to go to school.  Each tax-deductible contribution of just $20 a month connects your child with a loving, church-based child sponsorship program that provides: food & clean water, educational opportunities, important life-skills training, and, most important of all, your sponsored child will hear about Jesus Christ and be encouraged to develop a lifelong relationship with God.
  Click here for more information on sponsoring a child. 
 For more up-to-date information, visit them on Facebook

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As I continue to pray for my trip, for those I'm traveling with, for those I will be meet in Uganda, I feel God carving out a big place in my heart for all of them!  I know my life will be changed on this trip and I will come back seeing the world through different eyes.  


 "Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples." Psalm 96:3


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Finagle A Foto #2: Sugar, Spice...& Everything Nice!

Hello everyone!  It's officially Week 2 of the Finagle A Foto Challenge.  Exciting, right??  You know what's even more exciting?  The new challenge is up and going and can start posting your pictures!  I can't wait to see what you do with this week's challenge.
As announced yesterday, the challenge for the week is:   
Sugar, Spice...& Everything Nice!!
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To be honest, I had a really hard time trying to think of something fun to do with this challenge.  I wanted to think "outside of the box," but I had some trouble with it.  I ran the challenge idea by my husband and here's how that conversation went down:

Me: "We have a fun challenge this week but I can't think of what to do."
Scott: "What is it?"
Me:  "Sugar, spice, and everything nice."
Scott:  "Take a picture of little girls."
Me:  "Little girls??????"
Scott:  "Sugar, spice, and everything nice, that's what little girls are made of..."
Me:  "Oooooh, duh! (yea, I said "duh")  Good idea!!"

Well, I thought about using his idea, but we don't have children yet (no daughters).  We do, however,  have 5 super cute nieces but the closest ones live over 2,000 miles away...sad, right?  So, I went with the next best thing(s), a literal translation of sugar, spice, and something I consider very nice.

Sugar: 

Spice:

& 
Everything Nice!  
Those of you who've been following my blog for some time will know that every Tuesday I share my "From Your Kitchen to Mine" series where I feature 5 different recipes from 5 different blogs.  Well, this week was the all desserts week.  Needless to say, I used quite a bit of sugar and a lot of spice throughout the week.  This is one of my new favorite kinds desserts: a delicious mix of creme brulee and cheesecake--yum!

(If you'd like to learn more about this dessert stop back in on Tuesday :)! )

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Simple Challenge Rules:
  1. Have Fun!! 
  2. Link only your own photos.  Although the word "finagle" is used in the name of this link-up party, we don't permit or encourage imagery theft or plagiarism in any way shape or form.  Let's keep this fun and share what rightfully belongs to us.  
  3. Follow HERE and co-host The ArtsyGirl Connection
  4. Display a button or a link back at the bottom of your post for The Foreign Domestic and The ArtsyGirl Connection
  5. Link to a specific post and not your blog's url
  6. Help us pick a winner by liking your favorite photos
  7. The winner will help us choose a challenge theme!
  8. It wouldn't be a party if you didn't mingle a little bit.  Spread the love and visit fellow challengers!






    Now, let's see your challenge Foto(s)!

    Saturday, February 25, 2012

    Finagle a Foto #1 Winner!

    Happy Saturday!  I hope you're all having terrific weekends so far.  A BIG thanks to everyone who participated in the first challenge of  Finagle A Foto last week!!  If you're just joining us, you can catch up on the shots you missed from the previous challenge (B&W Texture) here.

    We have a winner and a runner-up for the B&W Texture Challenge based on the number of LIKES they received on their pictures.  


    The winner of Finagle a Foto Challenge #1: B&W Texture is....

    Melanie from Happy Jax!!!

    How can you not love this adorable picture?? Congrats, Melanie!

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    The runner-up for Finagle a Foto Challenge #1: B&W Texture is....

    Martin from Photo Life Site!!!

     This shot makes me want to move back to New York!

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    Please congratulate the winners from this week's challenge and say hello!

    Again, thank you to everyone who participated in the challenge. 

    And now to announce our next challenge....

    Finagle a Foto Challenge #2: 
    Sugar & Spice [& Everything Nice!!]

     Have fun with the challenge!  Let your imaginations run wild!
    We'll have the link open tomorrow (Sunday) thru Friday--I'm looking forward to seeing what you do!







    Friday, February 24, 2012

    Happy Friday! A Fair Warning



    Source
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    Sometimes it's the simple things in life. 

    Oh, have you submitted your photo for the Finagle a Foto challenge yet?  Have you voted for your favorite photo?  If not, make sure you do it soon because the link-up closes tomorrow and the winner (the person with the most votes) will be announced!  We'll also be announcing the next challenge tomorrow! 



    Happy Friday!  



    Thursday, February 23, 2012

    Williamsburg Winery

    Hello friends!  This may be one of the latest posts I've ever put up...but maybe not.  Although today was a busy day I wanted to hold to the quasi-promise I made yesterday to share some more pictures of our Williamsburg trip. 

    Here are some photos of our visit to the Williamsburg Winery.  We went on a tour and participated in a wine tasting at the end.  I think it was the most educational wine tour/tasting experience I've ever had, I highly recommend it!








    Wednesday, February 22, 2012

    Modern Colonials & Edit Me

    Happy Wednesday!  I hope you're all having a great week so far.  Things are going well here.  

    Since I'm done with the photo challenge, I thought about what picture, or collection of pictures I could share with you all today.  After some thought, I decided to share a shot from our weekend adventure.

    This past weekend, Scott and I traveled to Williamsburg, Virginia to spend some time with my parents; we had so much fun!  I grew up traveling to Williamsburg almost once a year, but it had been a few years since I visited.  This was Scott's first trip there, so it was fun exploring with him and seeing different sites. 

    We got to see some folks dressed in the full colonial garb as we walked around the Historic Area of Colonial Williamsburg.  We felt like we were exploring Williamsburg as it was hundreds of years ago.  

    Here's a photo:  

    Let's rewind for a minute!
    Before we traveled to Williamsburg, Scott and I took a nice long hike at a state park near where we live.  It was a gorgeous day for a hike!  

    We ended up getting to a part of the trail where we'd either have to turn around or wade across a stream to get to the other side.  We really wanted to get to the other side, but wading in the stream didn't sound like much fun.  Being the resourceful man that he is, Scott found a downed tree for us to cross. 

    There he goes:   

    The tree wasn't that high up, but I definitely didn't want to fall off into the stream.  Hiking the last 4 miles in soggy boots didn't sound like much fun at all. 

    And now for the Edit Me Challenge.  The guest judge this week is Bree from His Honey & Her Mommy.  The picture is of her beautiful little girl.  It's such a precious picture, isn't it?   

    Here's the photo before


     Here's the photo after my edit:
     What I did: 
    • I wanted to keep the color in the photo but I wanted to make it look brighter and crisper.
    • I cropped the picture a bit to get her slightly more centered but not too much so it looked staged--I wanted it to have a more natural feel.
    • I decreased the exposure slightly, but increased the fill light and the blacks as well.  
    • I increased the brightness, vibrance, and contrast of the picture. 
    • I masked it a bit but didn't do much for noise reduction

    What do you think?  What would you have done differently??

    I have plenty more photos to share with you all--maybe I'll share more from our Williamsburg trip tomorrow.

    Are you looking for a fun photo challenge?  Join myself and Marilyn from The ArtsyGirl Connection for our Finagle a Foto challenge!!  The challenge for this week is Black & White Texture--are you up for the challenge??


    Tuesday, February 21, 2012

    From Your Kitchen To Mine: Recipes 26-30

    Hey Everyone!  I hope you're all having a great week so far.  I'm excited to share some very tasty recipes with you all today.  Have you tried any of the recipes I've featured so far?  What did you think??
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    **If your recipe is featured today, feel free to grab my button and tell the world you were featured here!
    I'd love it :)!**











    Check out the recipes!

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    French Onion Soup

    Last week, the weather dropped a bit so I thought it would be nice to find some soup recipes to try.  Scott and I love to enjoy a bowl of French Onion Soup every now and then when we go out for dinner, but I haven't made any in years.  Actually, the last time I made French Onion Soup was in middle school for French class.  I found this recipe at Marriage from Scratch and thought it would be fun to try.  The recipe was easy, but you should prepare to spend over an hour to let the onions cook and the flavors blend as the soup simmers.  The recipe also made a lot of soup, so you'll have lots left over for a few days.  Thanks, Christina!  It was delicious!!
    Click here for the recipe.

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    Panera Broccoli and Cheese Soup

    I found this recipe at Elsa Cooks .  Whenever we go to Panera Bread, either Scott or myself (or sometimes both) will get the broccoli cheese soup--yum!  When I saw this recipe on Elsa's blog, I knew I had to try it!  The recipe was really straight forward which made it easy to put together.  There's an option to add chicken, but I decided not to do that this time.  Who knows, maybe I'll try chicken next time.  Also, it's mentioned in the recipe that you can puree the veggies to blend them in more, but I decided not to do that as well--we like chunky veggies in our soup.  We were both really impressed with this recipe and I can guarantee that I'll be making this again!  Thanks, Elsa!
    Click here for the recipe.


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    Asian BBQ


    This recipe was shared by Not Your Ordinary Recipes.  When I saw this recipe, I thought it would be a good one to try just by looking at the list of ingredients.  The combination of ingredients looked promising for a strong Asian flavor, and I was not disappointed with the outcome.  I actually made this tasty crock pot dish to take over to a friend's house for dinner, and it was a hit.  There was so much flavor!  Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!

    Click here for the recipe.


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    Four Cheese and Pesto Italian Baked Spaghetti

    It's always nice to have a couple 'go-to' recipes when you need to whip something up really quick.  This recipe has been added to my list.  This recipe came from The Daily Dish Recipes. While Scott was away for training, my friend Alexis came over for dinner on Valentine's Day since her boyfriend was away as well.  I was running low on time and I was really surprised by how easy it was to make.  Mine may be slightly red because I used a homemade sun dried tomato pesto.  This dish was really great; Alexis and I both enjoyed it.  Thanks, Nicole! 


    Click here for the recipe.


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    Milk Pudding With Praline Topping

    Faseela at Good Food Ends With Good Talk shared this recipe, and I'm really glad she did.  This was such a tasty dessert that Scott and I enjoyed after a long hike in the woods last week--the perfect ending to our day.  The consistency of mine may be a little different than Faseela's because the recipe called for china grass, and I wasn't sure where to find that ingredient, so I used gelatin instead.  While the consistency may have been different, I don't think the flavor was.  Oh, and my praline topper was a little on the 'charred' side--just a nice way of saying I accidentally burned it a bit.  Next time I make this, I won't have my pan as hot as I did while melting the sugar. Thanks so much, Faseela!


    Click here for the recipe.

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    Spaghetti and Shrimp


    My good friend, Susi, gave me this recipe.  She actually created this dish on her own last year while experimenting with flavors.  Honestly, I wasn't sure about all of the flavors while reading the ingredients list--the mango addition in particular.  But, after completing all of the recipes I have so far, I shouldn't be surprised by this any longer.  The mango added a huge punch of flavor to this meal and all of the flavors combined blew me and Scott away!  It was amazing.  I'm not exaggerating here.  I made two batches of sauce--one in the recipe below, and for the other one, I just added a couple of dashes of red pepper flakes (for a little heat) and some garlic powder, but the sauce was perfect without the additions.  Thank you so much for sharing this recipe, Susi!

    Ingredients:
    • Half package of spaghetti or linguine
    • 200 g frozen shrimp [7 oz]
    • 1 tomato
    • 1 mango
    • 1 onion
    • 1-2 garlic gloves
    • 125 ml cream or milk [1/2 cup]
    • Lemon juice [1/2 lemon]
    • Olive oil
    • Oregano, Salt and pepper
    Steps: 
    • Boil pasta in salted water; cook according to package directions
    • Chop garlic and onion and cube tomato; peel and cut mango in slices or cubes.
    • Heat oil in wok. Fry onion and garlic. Add tomato cubes and season with oregano, salt, and pepper.
    • Add thawed shrimp and sprinkle with lemon juice.
    • Fry shrimp from each side for a couple minutes. 
    • Pour milk or cream over everything to create sauce; allow it to simmer while stirring.
    • Add mango slices and cook for 1 minute.
    • Pour Sauce over drained pasta
    • Bon Appetit!
    Recipe Courtesy of Susanne D. 

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      I hope you all enjoyed this week's recipes  ~From Your Kitchen To Mine~!  30 Complete- 70 left!
       I'll be back with 5 new recipes next week.  Based on your feedback from last week, I'll be featuring all desserts!!  Stay tuned!


      If you're interested in having your recipe sampled and featured, click here for more information. 

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