Friday, October 5, 2012

It's October! Snicker Apple Salad

Aren't you so excited about the truth of my title?!!  October is, hands down, the best month ever. I get a happy feeling in my belly this time of year, it's so much fun.  I know a lot of folks get really bored and annoyed when all the pumpkin spice lattes roll out, but it couldn't make me happier. I also finally have a good excuse to wear scarfs. (Even though it's still in the 80s outside). It's October, do what makes you happy.  Watch some football, enjoy some food from the Fair, roll around in some beautiful leaves, have a chai latte, read a book. I'll take all of the above.

We all know what else makes me happy: making treats that people love.

I made this little dish this week for the group of folks I work with. I think it was a hit. I'll show you how I did it and add in a couple of ideas to tweak it a little. I think you'll like it, what says "October" like snickers and apples in the same dish?

Snicker Apple Salad: Full recipe below

 Here is what you will need. It can't get much easier!

 How did I get those perfect cubes from a snicker bar?? Well, I used my handy ulu knife. It did the trick flawlessly! 

 Regular knife for the apples. Don't worry about peeling the apples, the skin gives the dish color and character! I used Red Delicious apples. They are very sweet on top of the sweetness from the other ingredients. For a little kick, use Granny Smith or Pink Lady apples.

Mix and stir. 

Drizzle the caramel 


Snicker Apple Salad:

6 Regular Snicker Bars
6 Apples
1 Pack Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix (dry)
1/2 Cup Milk
12-16 oz. Whipped Topping
Caramel or Chocolate Ice Cream Topping

Chop apples and snickers into cubes; set aside. Whisk together pudding mix, milk, and cool whip until creamy and with no clumps. Stir in apples and snickers. I suggest leaving a small handful of snicker cubes out to sprinkle on top. Lastly, drizzle the caramel topping over the entire salad. Serve and Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Off the map

Hello blog world. I'm writing this as an apology that I've been living the title of the post. I have completely been off the map it seems.  Since my last post, ahem, nearly 6 months ago, a lot has happened...

In May, we closed on and moved into our first home! We were so excited and are really enjoying having a place to put holes in any walls we choose! I would venture to say that the house is the main reason I haven't spent much time blogging. Moving at the beginning of summer tends to take up a lot of time! Additionally, there has been far too much drama in the world of late that I just didn't want to jump in on all the hype. If you know me, you know I have very strong emotions and opinions about what is going on in the world, but it seems as if everyone else's emotions were enough for me to keep mine to myself. So, I proactively kept my keyboard shut, if you will... So, for now, we'll settle for a quick update on life from May until September 2012.

In June, my best friend got married :)  It was in Hawaii, which made it impossible not to pass up. Plus, I was MOH and it was the day after mine and my husband's second wedding anniversary! Double trip. You deserve to see a glimpse...

                           The view from our hotel room           The view from the wedding site

 On the way!  

Now, don't get me wrong. It wasn't all fun and games....There were some hard parts. I mean, it was hard fighting that Pacific breeze while trying to look pretty for the wedding. 

 Nah, it was a pretty fantastic day.

 The beautiful bride!!

Finally hitched!! Danny is now living across the pond with her new husband. I miss her like crazy, but I know it's totally what's best. I'm really keeping my fingers crossed that I can go visit sometime next year.

Fast forward a little....

Who wouldn't enjoy a little tropical refreshment??

Fast forward a little more... 
 A little sight seeing...

Hunky hubs :)

That was a little more than a glimpse, but I just couldn't resist!  Later in June, I spent the week at the beach with my family-in-law, minus my actual link to that family. Ben hates the beach. Crazy.

I just so happened to find this shot from my time at the beach with the family... I'll let you take a peek..No time to explain, just go with it.

I was also wounded in the water. Feel sorry for me.

July was a total blurr... except that my dearest of friends finally made it back to North MS! Welcome home Chels!!!!!!!!

Also, we added two members to our little family.

                                                                   Lola                  &                    Lucy

Lola fits right in... 

In August, school started back, so work picked up, but it feels like it's just getting started.  MSU is currently 3-0 HAIL STATE!!
My gorgeous sister-in-law, Lauren, got engaged in August, and we had a great time dress shopping last weekend. I can't show pictures, for obvious reasons, but I guarantee, she's going to look stunning!!! More to come on that front. I'm considering creating a whole new section of this blog just for the weddings I attend. I am the baking BRIDE after all, so it's only fitting that I tell you about all the other brides I join for their days, right?

Well, you've been caught up to speed (very quickly) on the past few months or so in our lives. If you've made it this far into the post, thanks for finding me that interesting. Perhaps I'll even break under the pressure and write some emotional post based on various bait in the news.... Also, some recipes to come. I've really fallen short on that end. I'll bake you all something delicious this weekend, promise!


Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Hunger Games and stupid posts on Facebook

I'm pretty happy to be writing one of my first Soapbox posts... I do apologize that I've been off the radar for so long, but I"m back because I have been so  irritated inspired in the past few days by all this hubbub about the Hunger Games and the imminent deterioration of the preteen age group associated. I've seen so many people on Facebook talking about these books now that the movie is out.  (The movie is fantastic in case you were wondering).  So what is it that's gotten under my skin?

I am not one to start drama on FB, I hate that.  But, sometimes those people (and we all know some), like to make drama over topics they know nothing about. I can't tell you the number of people I've seen talking down about books which they have NOT READ.  It really is humorous that they do this because it just makes them look silly annoying. I also heard that school districts are (just now) taking these books off of reading list due to the violence. This is, no doubt, in response to complaints from people who have not read the books and have only seen previews to the movie.   To this I say: "Quit your belly aching!"

Now, I am not a parent, which surely discredits me to most who have spoken out in the name of adolescent innocence stripped by reading the Hunger Games. But, I have read the books.  And if I had children middle school aged or above, I would let them read the books.  I would also let them watch the movie.  I can honestly say that the overall  message of the trilogy, literary and cinematic alike, is NOT children killing children is OK.  If the neigh-Sayers on Facebook and our local principals' offices had read the books, I would imagine this might not be such an issue. The overall messages of the trilogy, in my humble opinion, would be:

1. Killing is a horrible thing: These books do not celebrate murder of innocent lives.  The entire mood of the book is oppressed. The killing in the arena is the strongest display, but I think the author was intentional in this.  When I first heard the premise of the books, I though "That's appalling that that could happen"  and IF it were true, it would surely be appalling.  There are  many appalling things happening in the world, but I'm not going to bury my head in the sand and pretend it's not there and tell children all is well in the world. 

2. One person can make a difference.  In the face of terrible odds (no pun intended) and an oppressive overbearing controlling government, Katniss  inspires a whole country by being herself.  Loving and courageous.

3. Stay with me on this one... Our role in gov't (elections etc,) does matter. This may sound like a stretch, but I think this is one reason these books should be allowed to stay on school reading lists.  There are a lot of lessons that could be taught from the books in relation to culture, government, and possibilities of the future if we do not get involved in our communities and government. Don't get me wrong, I'm certainly no activists, I just think the books have some really good things to help us think about certain things.

My last point is that we need to be encouraging young people to read.  Especially in our state where literacy is such an issue.  These books have caught on like wildfire and if students want to read these in school, we should let them.  It's a really entertaining story, we should just let it be.

Again, I don't like to start drama, I just think some are ridiculous for making FB posts celebrating school districts decisions to take it away and complaining about violence in a book you've never read. 

That's all. I welcome your comments.  What did you think of the movie?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

House Hunters Starkville

Can I just tell you  how frustrated I am..... Also excited, but I'll get to that.  I started this post on Tuesday after Ben and I went to look at a house. We've been searching for a place to call our own for months now.. Almost a year now. It really boggles my mind how high the market is here. I guess it shouldn't... The University  drives up the prices here and our Realtor says this is the first time in over 20 years that Starkville has been a "buyer's market."  That being said... it's really hard for a young couple just out of college to afford to buy a house.  The issue is that we pay more than some pay for a mortgage in rent each month for a 2bed 1bath apartment. Plus, we're working on 2 years of marriage and we want to stay in the area. We feel it's the right time to look.

We started last Spring and we've been looking off and on since then. We've been inside to tour at least 10-15 houses.  If you haven't ever done this, just get ready.       It. Is. Exhausting.  There are so many decisions to make and it is stressful.  Here are some of the houses we've looked at.

This one we  I really like.  Cute, cozy. Problem: Tiny yard big price.

Eh.... This one had a scary basement laundry situation... Weird layout.

This one we both fell in love with. Can't you just see it at Christmas time?  Out in the country with lights all around the porch???  We put an offer in, it was accepted. It was going to be home.  Then we found some foundation issues and it just didn't feel right. We had to withdraw.  I began to get frustrated.  Also, since then the price has dropped 24K below our offer.  I call that the Lord looking out for us.  So we moved on. 

We've looked at a few others since. I don't have pictures of them since they are off the market now (I think)

Then we went to look at this one on Tuesday. It was sort of my breaking point.
What you can't see from this picture is the pond in the backyard. Like legit little fishing pond on nearly 3 acres.  Ben was thrilled. I wanted to cry. The house had the STRANGEST layout and the "remodeling" that was done really looked like a coat of paint and some new carpet in my opinion. I was just so frustrated and overwhelmed with the whole thing.  I watch the market online pretty much daily, so I know the market here as well as any. I felt like there was just no option for us right now. Then we have to keep thinking about a lease at the apartment and all of that.

I got all mopey and emotional about it and downright negative if I'm honest.  I felt bad that Ben liked it and I didn't and just started to feel guilty that he was willing to give up what he wanted most (land/space) as long as I got what I want (pretty house inside).  I have really come to see that house hunting can make or break a relationship. Or, at minimum, define or stress the relationship.  I've been so blessed going through this with Ben. He's been so positive and supportive and he truly wants me to have a house that I love.  He just loves me that way! :)  

My point is, I just needed to rant about this a little.  I've been so angry with the market here. There are so many houses for sale, but they are all around 170K or above (usually way above).  The ones under are few and far between and usually need some work even just cosmetically.  I've felt like it was unfair and I was happy being a baby about it. But, the Lord with provide us with a home. I know that to be true... And when it happens it'll be awesome and we'll know it was Him working for our good all along.

Now to the excited part... There is one I have my eye on. It's fresh on the market. My hopes are pretty way-too-high-for-my-own-good. We're going to look at it soon. I'll keep you posted! 

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

New design

Hey everyone, I hope you've noticed the new format on the blog! I've added some new features including a more organized way of posting my thoughts. Now you can look through different tabs to see different posts. Take a look around! And if you have any suggestions or thoughts/opinions, just let me know!! I'm hoping this will be more user friendly and i"m looking forward to writing more  in the Entertainment section about the books I'm reading and movie/TV characters I love.  I hope you're with me :)

What a weekend

Yes, I know.. It's Tuesday, BUT I'm getting better about posting things in a timely manner.  This past weekend was a whirlwind. I hardly felt like I had 2 days off of work. It was more like coming into work on Monday was a break from the weekend.. only not.
Here's what went down.

Remember how I told you that I had my first big event to bake for? Well it happened and I couldn't have stressed more.  There is so much pressure in coming through for something like that. I still want my bakery one day, but I'll need my partner to make it all happen.

I started Thursday night baking cakes. I got 3 done and wrapped up in the refrigerator and all the strawberries pureed.  I felt like this was good planning and that I had a good start. I was sort of wrong.  I started baking Friday evening after work around 6. I went to bed around 1:00 am and got up at 7:00 to put in the last pan of Pink Lemonade bars so they could cool before I had to leave at 10:00 10:30. I also had to finish the Butter Pecan Cakes. Cream cheese icing can be very tricky to work with. I made an extra batch of it Friday night to touch up the cakes Saturday morning. This was the best idea. I pretty much fluffed the icing with my spreader. I dipped the salted/roasted pecans in white chocolate for garnish. It really worked out well I though.

Here is what my fridge looked like at midnight...

I'm really pleased with how easy the icing technique was. You may have seen around these cakes that look like they are covered in roses. E.A.S.Y.  Just make sure you start from the center and swirl out. that is the trick. Then make them all touch as closely as possible. and it looks like this!

So I managed to get everything loaded into the car around 10:30. This was a major feat in itself since the pans I bought to carry the cakes in weren't wide enough for the boards the cakes sit on. I had to improvise.  Like any good Baptist, I pulled out the laundry baskets to hold the cakes for the 2 hour ride to Lake, MS. We made it without squishing, wrecking, dropping, or even eating the cakes.  Success.

Everyone was very excited to see the cake and said how good they looked. I was worried about the blue icing getting to hard to cut, but AT LEAST it held its shape and looked right.  What can I say? I'm a work in progress. 

I staged the cakes and met the family and Bride and Groom to be. They were just so cute and you could tell they were so excited to be getting married. I was happy to be part of this small experience.

Congratulations Lauren & Quinton!
March 10, 2012

My next adventure over the weekend was engagement pictures with my oldest friend, Danielle. She decided to use my dear friend, Heather to take the photos for her. We made an entire day of it driving down to Laurel from Starkville in the morning and taking pictures all day.  I think she got close to 800 total! :0    It was so much fun acting as a creative director of sorts. Heather was so gracious to let me be so involved in her shoot. I can't wait to see how they turn out!  I don't have any pictures to show you just yet, but hopefully, once Danny gets her preview, she'll spare me one to share with you all to show off Heather's hard work. Stay tuned for that!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A First for Everything

Hay Y'all! I'm getting geared up and ready for this weekend; which is going to start tonight.. I've got my very first big event to bake for!! Aside from the birthday party I made cupcakes for last summer.. Elmo is a big hit to 2-year-olds if you didn't already know ;)  Anyway, I've got a wedding shower this weekend for which they are planning for around 150 people. Yikes, that is pressure.
I'm going to be baking 6 stacked rounds (3 Champagne cake with White-choc butter cream and 3 Butter Pecan Cakes with Cream cheese icing and Praline garnishes) along with 4-5 pans of Pink Lemonade bars. I'm super excited and a little nervous too. I want them to look perfect. I'm going to try a new icing technique that I'm really looking forward to. So I just wanted to let everyone know to be on the lookout for my post coming next week about this experience.

Also, I'm excited about another event this weekend. My best friend Danny (Danielle) is getting married in June and a friend of mine is going to be taking her engagement shots this weekend! Isn't that fun? I'll be sure to give you the details of that and maybe a few sneak peeks if she and the photographer will allow it! I'm feeling all nostalgic now.. Here's a picture of me and Danny from several several years back on our way to prom :) We were both way too blonde for our own good... And apparently really into pastels..