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Monday, July 23, 2012

Sunset into Sunrise

Hello, friends!  How are you?  I hope all is well and that you all had wonderful weekends.  Scott and I had a great weekend together.  For the past few weeks, we've taken road trips out of town to visit family.  It was really nice to stay at home for a weekend, relax, and enjoy one another's company.

Sometimes, it's hard to get back into the groove of things when Monday rolls around....well, a lot of times it is.  But this morning I woke up thinking about something that motivated me.  I woke up thinking about my last sunrise in Uganda--it was so beautiful {see picture below}!  Although I took the trip 4 months ago, the memories I made over there stay fresh in my mind and in my heart-- and the 3,500+ photos I took certainly help with that.

You know, a few years ago, if asked whether I love sunrises or sunsets more I would answer "sunsets" without hesitation.  But my answer would be different today.  There's so much hope that comes with a sunrise.  To me, a sunrise is symbolic of new beginnings, a fresh start, the promise of light...so beautiful.  Now, I would have to say I appreciate sunrises more than sunsets.

Have a great week! 

“The Lord has turned all our sunsets into sunrise.” 
Clement of Alexandria

My Last Sunrise in Uganda

Thursday, July 19, 2012

New Sponsor: Bow Ray Mi!

Hello Everyone!  I hope you're all doing well today.  
Today, I'm pretty excited to share that I have a new amazing sponsor!  

Please help me extend a warm welcome to my newest sponsor:  Bow Ray Mi!



Bow Ray Mi was created and is currently operated by a lovely lady by the name of Stephanie.  Stephanie started making bows in Spring 2010 for her two girls. She was looking all over to find bows to match their Easter dresses and couldn't find any in styles or colors that she liked. So, being the studious and constructive lady that she is, she researched online how to make bows and thought she could do it!  Well, she certainly can!  She I bought some ribbon and got to work.  After awhile, people started to ask her girls where they got their bows, and with the questions, came requests for Stephanie to make bows made for them.  Stephanie received so many requests, she decide to start her own business--Bow Ray Mi! 

Hairbows for the Princesses in your life!


Bow Ray Mi mostly does special orders to ensure each customer gets the exact bow they want.  Stephanie will take it one step further and match the bows to outfits, if you provide a picture. If you don't see a style you like, send me a picture and I will let you know if I can do it or not. Special orders do not cost extra!  Pretty amazing, right?  

Bow Ray Mi offers a large assortment of bows.  Stephanie makes and sells boutique bows, pinwheel bows, korker bows, flower loop bows...and this list goes on!  Seriously, you have to check out the Bow Ray Mi Facebook Page--there are just too many amazing styles to list/explain in one post!

My twin nieces actually wear some of Stephanie's flower headbands and they look pretty dang cute in them--and I'd say that even if I weren't partial!  Here are a couple of photos of them sporting their Bow Ray Mi gear. {Proud Auntie Moment!}


 
Thank you, Stephanie!  Welcome to the team :)

Would you like more information about Bow Ray Mi or how to purchase your bow?  
or 
Email:  bowraymi@gmail.com



Tuesday, July 17, 2012

From Your Kitchen To Mine: Recipes 96-100!!

Wow, it's hard to believe I'm at the end of the series.  The next 5 recipes will help complete my goal to sample 100 Recipes from 100 Blogs!!  I have an idea of what I'll do next, but I'm still trying to figure some things out.  Any recommendations??  I'm all ears eyes!

Well, let's take a look at the last 5 recipes...

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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 this week's recipes!

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Clean 7-Layer Taco Dip
  

This recipe came from Cooking On the SideAlright, I love 7-layer taco dip, but it's not always the healthiest side to snack on.  But, this one's not too bad for you.  In fact, it's packed with lots of good veggies.  The recipe called for olives, but Scott's not a huge fan of olives and there was no way I was gonna eat this one alone, so I left the olives out.  It was pretty easy to put together and very easy to eat.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Click here for the recipe.

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Curried Egg White Salad

I found this recipe on The Broccoli HutI wasn't completely sure what to expect with this one.  I love curried dishes, but curried egg white salad?  Never tried anything like it before.  But I dove in.  I hard boiled the eggs and mixed up all the ingredients to create an amazing dish!  I made it for lunch on a Saturday afternoon; Scott and I really enjoyed it.  I kept things pretty simple while serving it up--check out that fancy paper plate in the bottom photo :).  Thanks so much for sharing this recipe, Caroline!

 Click here for the recipe.

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Sweet & Hot Shrimp Tacos

This recipe came from My Life in Many Titles.  Tacos + shrimp= gotta try it!  This recipe didn't take nearly as much time as I thought it would.  The flavors were amazing, and it was a nice light, yet, very satisfying meal.  Honestly, I was nervous there wouldn't be enough to fill us both up, but we had enough for left overs for both of us for the next day.  Delicious!  I'll be making this one again soon.
 
Click here for the recipe.

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Crab Nachos


This recipe came from Cooking With ChristenOkay, friends, please don't judge my nachos hahah...I know they don't look very pretty, but they tasted sooo good!  To get them looking nicer, next time, I'll cut the tortillas before putting the ingredients on top.  Whoops... you live and you learn, right?  Something I also learned with this recipe is that it doesn't take much time to put together at all.  I had a teleconference I needed to attend a few nights ago and I only had 20 minutes to put something together to snack on--this dish saved me for sure!  Thanks, Christen!

Click here for the recipe.

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CrockPot Falafels

This recipe came from Stephanie at  A Year of Slow CookingA couple of months ago, my good friend Andrea recommended that I make this dish.  Silly me, I waited so long to try it--why did I wait so long??  I don't know, but I'm glad I finally tried it!  It was easy and didn't require a lot of (or any really) my attention to put together...gotta love crockpots!  The flavors were amazing!  Scott and I both loved this dish.  If you're looking for a tasty meatless meal, this is a good one to try!  Thank you, Stephanie & Andrea :)!

Click here for the recipe.

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Well, that wraps it up...
~From Your Kitchen To Mine~!  

100 COMPLETE!!!!


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Free Photoshoot!!!


WWII
I'm so excited to share this news with you all.  Parapet Photography, one of my amazing sponsors, is hosting an awesome photo contest and guess what the prize is?  Well, if you read the title of this post, I'm guessing you already know--yep, a free photoshoot!  But, you won't win just any photoshoot, you'll win a themed photoshoot!! 

They're so creative with their themed photoshoots.  If you haven't checked out their blog or their facebook page, you definitely need to head over there to see more photos.


You want even better news?  There will be TWO first prize winners.  Each winner will win a complete, themed photo session package, including a photoshoot for up to 2 hours, a $25 print credit, and a CD with all the high resolution digital images.  They offer some pretty cool prizes for contests and giveaways, don't they??

There's more...
Cowgirl & Indian
They'll will even work with you to figure out costumes, props, and a perfect location to make everything epic!  Amazing, right? 

 For more info on how to sign up for the competition, click HERE.  
Flamenco Dancer
And since I'm not hosting this giveaway, I'm going to enter the competition.  Maybe if we win, Scott and I will wear grown-up costumes like these for a Star Wars theme shoot...{in his dreams...:)}...am I serious or am I joking??  If we win, only time will tell ;).
Source


 Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Jump For Joy!

 


This past weekend, Scott and I traveled to Virginia to visit my brother and his wife.  We spent some time in the 100+ degree heat hitting golf balls--blazing!  Of course, I brought my camera and snapped some pics all day.  Thanks to my sister-in-law, I was in some pics because she took over the camera for a bit.  While headed inside for some games followed by go-karts (side note: I'm the defending go-kart champ!), my brother did a little leap in the air.  I caught this shot on one of his jumps!

Linking Up Here: 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

From Your Kitchen To Mine: Recipes 91-95

Hey All!  I have 5 new recipes from 5 new blogs to share with you all today!  I still can't believe this series is almost complete!

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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 this week's recipes!


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Turkey & Butter Bean Cassoulet

This recipe came from Megan at Clean Eating Fanatic.  When I saw this recipe, I was excited to try it for 2 reasons.  1)  I hadn't cooked turkey legs before  2)  I hadn't made a cassoulet before.  I'm all about trying new things, and this recipe allowed me to try 2 in one!  It was fairly easy to arrange everything, but you should know that this dish is a bit time consuming to complete and demands your attention.  I started making it a bit later in the evening than I had originally planned, so Scott and I watched a movie and had wine & cheese while I got up every 30 minutes to add more tomatoes and broth.  It was a pretty tasty meal, but because of how time consuming it was, I'm not sure I'll be making this one anytime soon unless I put it in the crockpot where I don't have to check on it multiple times. 

Click here for the recipe.

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Country Fried Steak 
With Mushroom Gravy

I was craving some kind of comfort food for a Sunday night dinner and came across this recipe on A Blog About Food.  Just by looking at the title of the recipe, you may be thinking that it's unhealthy and really bad for you.  Not this one!  This country fried steak is a clean version--yep!  It didn't take too long to make and it turned out to have a ton of delicious flavor.  One tricky part was the gravy.  As you can probably tell from the pictures, I struggled with that a little; it wasn't as thick as I was hoping it would be.  All-in-all, my comfort food craving was satisfied and so were our appetites!

 Click here for the recipe.

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Healthy Mashed Sweet Potatoes 
With Rosemary

I had some sweet potatoes I needed to use and wanted to try a new mashed sweet potato dish to accompany the country fried steak dish (above).  Thankfully, I found this recipe that came from Sally at A Food Centric Life.  These sweet potatoes were super easy to make.  I used the olive oil option (instead of butter) to keep it as healthy as possible.  The potatoes had great flavor and we loved them.  Thank you, Sally!

Click here for the recipe.

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Scallops with Blackberry Chipotle Sauce

This recipe came from Cereal Girl.  I love scallops, so when I saw this recipe, I was dying to try it.  Until I tried this recipe, I hadn't made scallops before...I was a little nervous.  After reading the directions for the recipe, I figured it couldn't be too hard.  And it wasn't!  The longest part of the recipe was cooking the couscous, and that didn't take long at all.  The combination of flavors of the blackberries and chipotle peppers---amazing!  I think this will be a great dish for a dinner party.

Click here for the recipe.

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Creole Dirty Rice 

I love Dirty Rice, but I hadn't made any from scratch until I used this recipe.  This recipe came from Act Fast Chef.  I was super excited to see that this was a clean recipe!  The dish was fairly simple to put together.  I opted not to use okra, but I don't think it took away from anything.  This is the kind of meal that "sticks to your ribs"...Scott and I left the table satisfied and we had plenty for leftovers the next day.  I'll definitely be making this again!
Click here for the recipe.

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 I hope you all enjoyed this week's recipes  
~From Your Kitchen To Mine~!  

95 Complete- 5 left

  I'll be back with THE LAST 5 RECIPES next week....

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Time-Wasting Appliances

Have you ever purchased an appliance or a kitchen tool that you thought would help save you time in the kitchen, but it did just the opposite?  Well, I did that a couple of weeks ago.  I bought this "handy-dandy" chopper thingy because I thought it would help save me time chopping onions and other veggies for different meals.  I quickly discovered that the chopper thingy was not so handy-dandy.

It's so sad, I had such high hopes for it.  You see, I own something similar to it but it's tucked away in storage.  The other device I own is pretty amazing.  It allows me to chop up onions and other veggies so fast and I don't have to do anything extra to or with it.  Not the case with this one. 

When I first used the new chopper, I thought maybe I was doing something wrong.  Pieces of onion kept getting stuck in the grooves and I'd spend at least five minutes trying to get them out.  I gave the chopper the benefit of the doubt for 3 meals--yes, I was being very patient.  Each time, Scott would see me struggling with it, he'd just chuckle...yeah, it was pretty comical.  I even tried it on more solid foods like carrots, but no luck there either.  The chopped food pieces would get stuck in the grooves and the grooves were too sharp for me to stuck my finger in to pull them out, so I'd have to pull out a knife to wiggle them out---ugh!!  I thought about giving it away or donating it, but why put someone else through the same pain and frustration I experienced only to learn that it's a faulty tool?  So, I've finally decided to lay this device to rest.  Good-bye!

Have you ever seen a kitchen tool like this?  Does it work??

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July!

 
I hope you all have a wonderful day celebrating our Nation's independence!


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

From Your Kitchen To Mine: Recipes 86-90

Wow!  I can't believe that I've completed 90 recipes from 90 blogs.  You know that means, right?  Only 10 left!!  It's seriously the final countdown!  I can count the number of recipes left to try on 2 hands!  When I shared this exciting news with Scott, he said:  "Awesome, so now you can recook some of the really good ones, right?"  Yep!  
For the past few months, I've been making something new for dinner almost every night.  It will be nice to go back and retry some of our favorite dishes from this series and even from before.  But until then, I have 10 more unique dishes from 10 unique blogs to look forward too.  Let me know what you think about the five from this week!

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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 this week's recipes!


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Stuffed Zucchini


I found this recipe at Committed to Get Fit.  The ingredients of this dish looked a lot like the ingredients from the Overflowing Portobellos recipe I shared a couple of weeks ago.  Scott and I enjoyed that dish so much, when I saw the ingredients of this one, I knew I had to try it!  And I'm so thankful I did try it, it was delicious!  The dish was very easy to put together and full of flavor.  This will surely be a repeat customer.  Thanks, Melanie!



Click here for the recipe.

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Spicy Moroccan Mussels

This recipe came from The Farmer's Daughter Blog. When I first found this blog, I was moved by the inspiration of the site.  The Farmer's Daughter was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2002 and with a brain tumor in 2008.  Her goal is to help others with the challenges of finding organic and natural food coupons and recipes.  Pretty cool, huh?  Well, when I found this recipe on her site, I knew I had to try it.  Mmmm, mussels!  This dish literally took under 20 minutes for me to make from start to finish.  It had great flavor and the potatoes definitely added enough substance to the dish to fill us up. Amazing!

Scott gave this dish a thumbs up
 Click here for the recipe.

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3 Cheese Stuffed Shells

I found this tasty recipe at The Bare Midriff {hopefully after eating all of these healthy meals and exercising I'll sport a bare midriff too!}.  Cheese!  I love cheese and this dish made me appreciate it all the more.  I'm pretty sure this was the first time I've ever made stuffed shells and I was a little nervous about it at first.  Thankfully, it turned out to be really simple.  Actually, stuffing the shells was a little tedious--not difficult, it was just a long process compared with the other steps.  But the final taste of the shells was worth the work I put in stuffing them.  We really enjoyed this dish.  I may make something like this for our next dinner party.  Delicious!

Click here for the recipe.

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Raspeberry & Brie Flatbreads
 


I found this recipe on Mrs. Rugueiro's Plate, and when I looked her ingredients list, I was reminded that I have the magazine she got it from!  This was the first time I ever made flatbread.  I ended up finding a whole wheat, gluten-free pizza dough mix at the grocery store so I used that and followed the package directions.  It took a little bit of time for me to make; I was making the bread for friends and re-read the package instructions about 10 times to make sure I didn't mess it up!  Once I felt comfortable with the bread-making process, the rest was a breeze.  I thought (and so did my friends) that this was super tasty!  If I ever have friends over for coffee or tea, this will be the first recipe I think of to make.


Click here for the recipe.

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Kung Pao Chicken


Whenever I think of Chinese food, I typically think of deep fried and not so healthy--until now!  This amazing recipe came from Happier, Healthier, More Fit MeA healthy version of Kung Pao Chicken??  Yes, please!  I was surprised by how quick and easy this was to make.  Erin said it took about 15 minutes for her to make...she was right!  For anyone who's trying to eat healthy but craving a good Chinese dish, this is the one for you!  Thanks, Erin!
 
Click here for the recipe.


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Well, there you have it folks.   
~From Your Kitchen To Mine~!  

90 Complete- 10 left!!

  I'll be back with 5 new recipes next week....



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