Friday, March 4, 2011

A recipe for birthday fun

So, I'm such a slacker. I haven't been keeping up with the "Foodie Fridays" as I had intended to do. But in my defense I've been really sick the last few weeks and....wait...this is my blog. No defense needed.

My husband surprised me with a trip to Austin to The Melting Pot on Saturday. Oh my gosh. Yum! It's one of my favorite restaurants and it was amazing. I know most people go there for the chocolate, which of course we had. But the best part to me is the cheese fondue. Except for the fact that I'd be 300 pounds and unable to move, I could live on cheese fondue and granny smith apples. Mmm!

In addition to the surprise from my awesome hubby, we also had a party with our church Lifegroup which is always a blast. The concept for the party was to bring a homemade dessert to share with the group and to bring a copy of the recipe for me. I loved it! We had a great variety of desserts (including the ice cream cake from Baskin Robbins that we brought). I treasure each of these recipes so much not simply because I can add more recipes to my collection, but because they came from dear friends who have made my life a better place. :)

Listed below are the pictures (poor quality that they are) and some of the recipes from the desserts that were enjoyed that night. I'm looking forward to making all of these again in the near future. Some of the recipes like the Tiramisu are very long, so I'll have to type those up when I have more time.

"Good Luck Cookies" - Courtesy of Anne

2 C. Flour
2 tsp. Baking Soda
2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. Ground Ginger
1 tsp. Ground Cloves
1 tsp. Salt
1/2 C. Shortening
1/4 C. Molasses
1/4 C. Butter
1 C. Brown Sugar
1 Egg

Sift dry ingredients (including spices). Beat shortening, butter and sugar together. Add egg and molasses. Mix in dry ingredients. Chill dough for one hour. Roll dough into 1 1/4" balls. Dip quickly into ice water, then roll in white sugar to coat. Place on lightly buttered cookie sheets (2" apart) and cook for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Let cool for 1 minute before transferring to cooling rack.
(No picture available for this one, sorry).

Happy Pudding Bundt Cake - Courtesy of Amy

1 White Cake Box Mix
1 Chocolate Pudding Mix
1 Bag Chocolate Chips

Follow directions on cake box, plus mix in the chocolate chips and chocolate pudding mix. Cook at 325 for 25-30 minutes.

Fool's Toffee - Courtesy of Larissa


1 C. Butter
1 C. Brown Sugar
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 package Soda Crackers
2 C. Chocolate Chips
Optional: Chopped nuts


Boil the first 3 ingredients for 4 minutes. Place foil on a rimmed cookie sheet and butter the foil. Place a single layer of soda crackers on the foil, then pour the melted butter mixture over the crackers. Bake at 375 for 5 minutes. Pour all of the chocolate chips on top of the crackers, let them melt, and then spread evenly. Spring with nuts. Chill for at least 30 minutes and then break into pieces.

Apple Dumplings - Courtesy of Erica


2 Large Granny Smith Apples, peeled & cored
2 Cans Crescent Roll Dough
1 C. Butter
1 1/2 C. White Sugar
1 T. Cinnamon
1 Can Mountain Dew


Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9x13 baking dish. Cut each apple into 8 wedges. Separate dough into triangles and roll each apple wedge in one triangle of dough. Melt butter and stir in sugar and cinnamon. Pour over the dumplings. Pour Mountain Dew over the dumplings. Bake 30-45 minutes or until golden brown.

Oatmeal Shekinah Glory Bars - Courtesy of Grant


1 1/4 C. Flour
1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 C. Butter
3/4 C. Brown Sugar
3/4 C. White Sugar
2 Eggs
1 tsp. Vanilla
3 C. Old Fashioned Oats
3/4 C. Butterscotch Chips
3/4 C. Chopped Walnuts
1/4 C. Milk Chocolate Chips + 1 1/2 C. Milk Chocolate Chips


Mix together and set aside the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. Add both eggs and vanilla to the butter mixture. Mix completely. Mix in the oats. Then stir in the butterscotch chips, chopped walnuts, and 1/4 C. milk chocolate chips. Pour into a 9x13 baking dish, and bake at 375 for 18-22 minutes. Melt 1 1/2 C. milk chocolate chips and pour over the top.

Cherry Pineapple Dump Cake - Courtesy of Becca


1 can (16 oz.) crushed pineapple
1 can (20 oz.) cherry pie filling
1 pkg. yellow cake mix
1/2 to 2/3 C. chopped nuts
1/4-1/2 C. butter (or less if preferred)


Grease a 9 x 13 inch pan. Dump in the pineapple and juice, spreading evenly. Pour cherry pie filling over the pineapple, spreading evenly. Add dry cake mix evenly over the fruit. Add nuts, then drizzle melted butter all over the top. Do not mix. Bake in a 350 degree oven 1 hour.

Mardi Gras King Cake - (I brought this item as well as the ice cream cake, but the recipe is courtesy of, with a few changes of my own.

Cake Ingredients:

2 1/4 teaspoons yeast or 1 package instant yeast
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup butter softened (1/2 stick)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon nutmeg
grated zest of one lemon (1 tablespoon)
2 1/2 cups flour

Filling Ingredients:

10 oz. cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 C. to 1 C. Raspberry Jam or Jelly

Icing Ingredients:

2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
colored sugars (green, purple and yellow)


1. Heat milk to 105-110 degrees in a small saucepan over low heat. Place milk in the bowl of a standing mixer, add yeast and stir to combine. Allow milk mixture to rest for about 10 minutes or until frothy.

2. Beat the egg in a small bowl and add to milk mixture. Then add 2 1/2 cups flour, butter, sugar, salt, nutmeg and lemon zest. With the dough hook on low speed, mix until dough comes together. The dough will be slightly sticky, not too wet. If the dough seems very moist you may add up to 1/2 cup additional flour 1 tablespoon at a time. (having made my dough twice using both amounts of flour, I found less flour worked best as I incorporated a little extra flour when kneading it by hand).

3. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for a few minutes until dough is soft and smooth. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a towel or plastic wrap. Allow dough to rise in a warm and draft-free place for about an hour, or until doubled in size. (Since it is quite a cold day today and my house is a little drafty I turned on the oven and sat the bowl on the range).

4. Make filling by beating the cream cheese, vanilla, and sugar together with a mixer until fluffy then set aside.

5. Lay dough on lightly floured surface, punch down and roll into a 20" by 10" rectangle. Spread cream cheese mixture evenly on one half of the dough, then spread raspberry jam on top of that, then fold other half over to cover. Pinch dough together to seal in cream cheese. Make a ring and pinch ends together, the ring can be a circle or oval. Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet, cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rose for 45 minutes.

6. In 375 degree oven bake king cake for 20 minutes or until slightly browned. Remove from oven and set a side to cool. I add the bean at this point by making a small slit underneath the cake with a paring knife.

7. Mix icing ingredients together and whisk until smooth. Drizzle icing heavily over king cake, and while still wet, sprinkle with colored sugars.

Saturday, February 5, 2011


Sorry the menu plan for this coming week is late. Sometimes homework just gets the best of me :)

Sunday - Random snacks for our anti-Super Bowl party/game night
(Snacks include brownies, bacon wrapped pineapple, cheese puffs, and other yummy bites).

Monday - YourAtHomeBasedMom's Teryiaki burgers (with sweet potato fries and a veggie)

Tuesday - Lasagna (Using the recipe off the back of the HealthyHarvest whole wheat pasta box. It's one of the best lasagna recipes I've ever tasted. Yum!), bread, and salad.

Wednesday - BBQ chicken burgers

Thursday - Leftover lasagna

Friday - Toasted ravioli (again, same recipe from last week. It's so good we wanted to have it again this week).

Saturday - Out? :)

Don't just breathe in and out. Live a life worth living!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Foodie Friday ... Round 2!

As promised, here is the menu for the upcoming week (January 31 - February 6):

Monday (1.31.2011) - Chili Frito Pie w/ Southwestern Corn (recipe courtesy of one of my clients at my internship!)

Leftover chili
1 small onion, diced
Extra sharp cheddar cheese (to your cheese preference)
Couple of handfuls of Frito chips

  • Saute onions until browned. 
  • Layer onions in a casserole dish, top with Fritos, leftover chili, and as much cheese as you want.
  • Cook at 350 for about 20-30 minutes.
Tuesday (2.1.2011) - TheMomDept's Firehall Marinaded Chicken, couscous, broccoli, and pita bread

Wednesday (2.2.2011) - Baked ham, lima beans, salad, Parker House rolls (store bought, since I won't have time to make them before church), and RollTideGirl's Sweet Potato Casserole.

Thursday (2.3.2011) - Dinner out as we'll be out of town while I work on research for grad school.

Friday (2.4.2011) - Leftover baked ham, eggs, and Pioneer Woman's French Breakfast Puffs

Saturday (2.5.2011) - Beef tips over egg noodles, green beans, and salad

Sunday (2.6.2011) -Leftover beef tips with rice, corn, salad, and rolls


Don't just breathe in and out. Live a life worth living!

Foodie Friday!

So, I'm a total slacker when it comes to updating my blog and well, probably lots of other stuff too! But in an attempt to start posting more frequently, even when I'm busy, I decided to commit to a weekly blog post called, yep you guessed it...Foodie Friday!

I noticed on lots of other food blogs that they will post a weekly menu, but don't do so until Sunday night or Monday morning. I shop on Saturday evenings or Sunday morning at the latest to prepare for the coming week, so seeing a yummy food on Monday that I don't want to wait a whole week for is just no fun! So, I present to you "Foodie Friday" where I will post on Friday of each week the menu for the coming week, with links to websites I pulled recipes from or if it's my own creation, a copy of the recipe. Once I have more time, I'll try to include pictures as well.

Enjoy and happy eating!

(The menu for this past/current week)

Monday (1.24.2011) - Weight Watcher's Rosemary Chicken with Balsamic Caramelized Onions & Laurie's Whole Wheat, Rosemary, and Caramelized Onion Rolls (broccoli and salad on the side)

Tuesday (1.25.2011) - Dinner out with friends

Wednesday (1.26.2011) - Sausage/Cheese/Egg/Pepper/Onion breakfast tacos
-Cook 1 lb. sausage in skillet until cooked through.
-Sauteed diced onions and diced peppers in 2 tablespoons olive oil until browned but not crispy.
-Scramble eggs with a dash of pepper, salt, garlic powder, and 2 tablespoons milk or cream.
-Combine sausage, cheese, egg, and veggies in corn tortillas and enjoy!

Thursday (1.27.2011) - Cooking Ventures' Easy Stromboli & salad

Friday (1.28.2011) -  SkylersGirl Toasted Ravioli w/ marinara & salad

Saturday (1.29.2011) - Pancakes or Waffles with leftover sausage/onions/peppers

Sunday (1.30.2011) - Debbie's Simple & Delicious Chili with cornbread
(This is my mother-in-law's recipe, with a few changes of my own. Super yummy and great as leftovers!)

1 lb. ground beef, cooked and drained
2 - 14 oz. cans chili beans with liquid
1 - 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 - 8 oz. can tomato "no salt added" tomato sauce
1 small onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
2 T. chili powder

  • Saute onions and peppers until soft. 
  • Combine all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil, then turn to a simmer and let cook for 15-20 minutes.

Hope you have a fantastic week of food!

Don't just breathe in and out. Live a life worth living!

Friday, December 31, 2010


As we usher in 2011 and say our farewells to the happy and sad of 2010, I cannot help but count the many blessings in my life and the many ways in which my life has been changed in this past year. I finished my first year of graduate school and started the final year, became engaged to and married my better half, made incredible friendships and strengthened family relationships, and most importantly, found a deeper connection with Christ than I've had in previous years.

(A few pictures from this past year, in no particular order)

The new year celebrations are always a time of celebration and excitement, true, but for me as I suspect is the case for many of you, this is always a time of reflection and wistful thinking about the past as well as the future. There are things in this past year, and years before, that I wish I had never done, done differently, or tackled when instead I moved from them in fear.

It is my desire for myself and for each of you that 2011 is not only a time of looking forward to your dreams and goals, but that this new year is a time for you to reflect on the friendships and dreams of the past. Look at the years gone by and know that each friendship was for a reason, even if you are no longer in contact with the person. Look back at the years and remember those dreams you had that may have seemed silly or unattainable and reach for them. Keep reaching and never stop. I'm pretty sure you'll be surprised at just how many of those dreams become reality.

Know that as I countdown the clock tonight with friends that are near, you my friend though far away, will be near to my heart as always. You hold a special place in my life, and I'm forever thankful for you. May you find all the joy, happiness, and peace in 2011 that you deserve.

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind ?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne ?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we'll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

Farewell 2010 .... hello, 2011!
"Don't just breathe in and out. Live a life worth living".

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Holidays are coming!! ^_^

So, I don't know about you, but I love photography and being creative with the moments I capture of loved ones, pets, or just daily life and travels. I've used Shutterfly services in the past and loved the results, so for the first time ever this year, my husband and I will be creating Christmas greeting cards with photos to send to family and friends. I'm so excited about doing this!

I'm currently trying to choose between a couple of designs, including:


The first choice is so cute, with the feeling of it being a Christmas gift. Adorable! But the second one is so fun with the monogram and multiple pictures. I definitely prefer the cards that say "Merry Christmas" instead of "Happy Holidays", which both of these also have. So many choices! :)

If you're considering Shutterfly for upcoming photo needs, check out some of their other items:

Plus, if you go here , you'll see that Shutterfly is offering 20% off all holiday cards.

It's a great deal! Let me know if you end up ordering some super cute cards. Maybe we'll even be lucky enough to get one from you. :)

Don't just breathe in and out. Live a life worth living! 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Learning to trust

Learning to trust that God is in control and has my best interests at heart is difficult. As in, it is powerfully and overwhelmingly difficult at times. But, I suppose that’s part of my journey in learning to get closer to the heart of Christ and grow in my faith.

I found out today that one of my biggest dreams (and I feel, calling on my life) to go to Cambodia and work with victims of sex trafficking* is not going to happen… or at least not right now. You see, that was why I decided to pursue my Masters in Social Work to begin with. It’s true that I started this graduate program because I felt called to this profession, but I specifically feel a calling to Cambodia and have for years. It was my hope (and still is) that through my experience at Baylor and my social work education, that I would have the opportunity to not only help sex trafficking victims in my own country but in international locations as well.

It was my impression when I started this journey in the Spring of 2009 that I would not only become well-versed in the social work ideals and profession, but that doors would be opened for me to use those skills and training to help others in Cambodia. Fast forward to this past Friday, when I found out (by accident it seemed) that there is a team from the school going to Cambodia a few days after graduation in May 2011 to work with this unique population group. I was elated! However, due to some difficult situations, I found out today that I can’t go.

In some ways I feel like it is okay. I know that God is in control and that what needs to happen will happen, but on HIS schedule, not mine. Even though I know that is true deep within my heart, I also still have the feeling that my dream has been crushed. Sounds silly, I know. “I have my whole life ahead of me” and “there will be plenty of other opportunities” are the words that have already been said to me. Perhaps that is true. I don’t know.

I’m currently in the hardest part of the graduate program, which has generated an incredible amount of stress for me. On top of the stress of school, I’ve been having doubts about whether or not I even belong in this profession. I’m not sure if that comes from my stress about the pile of work before me that still must be done before graduation, or other frustrations I’m having with the profession. Or, perhaps it is my confusion about how I’m ever going to get into the specific field within this profession that I want to work in, if the doors that need to be opened to give me the required experience (such as working in Cambodia or an internship related to this specialty) don’t actually happen. There are a million different specialties within the social work profession, and yet I feel like so few of them are things I’d actually want to spend my life doing.

But, like I mentioned, I suppose this is where trusting God really comes into play. I know that He has a plan for me which is even better than what I have for myself that He has shown time and time again (most notably and recently with my marriage to Luke). Yet it is so hard to see “the reason” that I came to graduate school (Cambodia) right before my eyes and then see it pulled away again. I can’t help but wonder why this would happen. I have to just keep trusting Christ though; that there are reasons for this to happen and that even better circumstances will be presented to me eventually.

In the end, I don’t know why this has happen. I don’t know why I even was alerted to the trip to Cambodia if it was something that God was not ready for me to experience at this time. But I give praise to Him. I give praise that He has through my experiences in this program given me the most wonderful and special people to bless my life (specifically my husband Luke, my dear friend Erin, and our wonderful church lifegroup). I praise Christ that He has a reason for me being here and going through this process, and I’m trying to trust in Him that in time, all things will be revealed as to the plan He has for me. It’s certainly an ongoing process though. Of that I am certain.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28

“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” – Hebrews 11:1

*If you're interested in learning more about the devastating culture of sex-trafficking, check out the following links:

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Don't just breathe in and out. Live a life worth living! - Saleta