Grasshopper Cheesecake

December 30, 2019

I wanted to share one last recipe for the year. They’ve been few and far between, just like my free time lol, so while on Christmas break I had a little bit of time to type this one up! I love this mint and chocolate combination, especially after a lasagna dinner! Or in this case for a family Christmas get together! (It is one of my brother’s favs so I make it for him!)

I love making cheesecake! I’ve blogged about my top cheesecake making tips previously..don’t over beat or over cook, etc. (Find it here )

Grasshopper Cheesecake
Makes one 10″ cheesecake
Crust:
Approximately 35 Oreos or fudge mint cookies, crushed
3 tbsp butter or margarine, melted
Filling:
6 oz semisweet baking chocolate
4 1/2 (8oz) pkgs cream cheese
1 1/2 cups sugar
6 eggs
1 tbsp flour
1 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
6-8 drops green food coloring

Directions:
Heat oven to 300*, wrap bottom of 10″ springform pan with foil. Mix crushed cookies and melted butter until crumbly. Press in bottom and part way up sides of prepared pan. Bake 12 minutes a d allow to cool whole making cheesecake filling.
In large bowl beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth and creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating just until combined. Add flour. Stir in extract and food coloring. Do not over beat.
Transfer into prepared pan, on top of crust.
In small bowl microwave the chocolate in 30 second intervals until melted. Stir until smooth. Drop by spoonfuls into cheesecake filling. Use butter knife to swirl chocolate around to give marbled affect.
Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until set approximately 2″ from edge of pan. (Center will still be ‘jiggly’.)
Turn oven off, crack oven door to remain open while cheesecake remains in oven for approximately 1 hour to cool. Then transfer to refrigerator. Best if refrigerated 3 hours before serving.
Garnish with ready whip whipped topping and mint chocolate candy if desired.
Enjoy!

2019 coming to a close…

December 29, 2019

I am not sad to say goodbye to 2019.

I know I should focus on the positive things from 2019; I am always so encouraged by people who constantly, even in the worst circumstances are still seeing the the good in the situation.  (Note to self- work on this in 2020.) I normally tend to remember things in a ‘rosey’ way…choosing to remember things fondly, forgetting any of the negative things that may have happened, etc. But when I look back at 2019 my vision is totally clouded by this overwhelming feeling of stress. Yes, in my mind, all I can think of when I glance back over 2019 is this overwhelming feeling of stress that I feel was there 85% of the time. Believe me, I know things could be worse and I feel guilty feeling so stressed and ‘whining’ when I know so many people are dealing with much worse struggles. But I guess it has helped me to fully realize that we all have struggles big and small and we all deal with them differently…

In my head I know the truth I’ve read and learned from the Bible and my faith. I believe all things happen for a reason and there’s a season for everything. My hope is in Jesus and that is what gets me through. I’m thankful for that. I’m not sure how people who do not have faith in Jesus manage in tough times; it would be even more overwhelming.

It’s funny as I think back to when I was pregnant with Henry, the theme of so many devotionals and Bible verses during that time was ‘prepare for an upcoming season of change.…’ Oy. Anyone who knows me, knows that I hate change. Things have definitely been different since baby #3 arrived. I wouldn’t trade him for the world, of course, but we can’t deny, it’s different. In addition to the usual ‘new baby different,’ there’s been some added stress of minor (compared to so many other possible worse situations) health issues for our little guy… ER visits, out of town specialist appointments, special diets, speech/OT appointments, and even a helicopter ride (hence the added gray hairs), not to mention a potential surgery looming in the future. I felt this baby and past year has aged me sooo much lol. I guess stress will do that to you (and help you lose your baby weight, only plus side lol).

Anyway, the point of this blog is not to whine to everyone…I hate that…I actually even hate talking about Henry’s health issues and when most people ask, unless they are close to me or known prayer warriors, I’ll probably just say ‘oh we’re pretty good/he’s doing pretty well’… (We’re probably all guilty of that at times..)  I guess my point is we all have struggles and should all greet people with the perspective that we don’t know what each is going through. Maybe someone in the checkout line seemed like a jerk, but maybe they’re just having a tough time. Maybe it would be nice to say a quick little prayer for those people who we cross paths with.

So, I’m sorry to anyone that crossed my path..and mostly to my household family for being difficult to love/live with at times. For times I seemed grumpy or distant, or didn’t check in enough or stop to visit, for having to say ‘no’ at times..etc. I felt down right miserable sometimes. Feeling stressed and/or overwhelmed 90% of every day isn’t a fun feeling.

But here’s to a New Year! A fresh start! I’ve always been one for New Year’s resolutions- from giving up pop and cookies when I was 12, to running 1200 miles in a year, to practicing being intentional- I honestly try to keep them, unlike the other reported 80% who fade off by February. I’m going to try something new, in addition to making some resolutions, I’m going to have a ‘verse of the year.’ I came across a verse in my devotional this morning that spoke to me and felt it should be a focus for me for 2020.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

I’m going to write a few copies of it and place it several places I’ll see it regularly throughout my day. I would like to challenge you to do the same. Make a resolution for 2020, something you want to improve on, something attainable. Then also pray and ask God to lead you to a verse to be your focus for the upcoming year. Lastly, consider praying for those who cross your path that might be having their own struggles (aren’t we all in some way or another?).

Here’s to a New Year ahead! A year of prayer, rejoicing (in all circumstances), and sharing more love and feeling more grace. I haven’t decided completely on my running goal for the year…I’d like to ‘run the year,’ but I know I don’t have time for that big of a commitment right now. I’m going to shoot for something more than the 1200 miles I’ve done in the past and also a new goal of a 4 hour marathon. I’d also like to get back to sharing recipes more often…I’d like to resolve to blog once a week but I know what my ‘free time’ looks like and I only make practical/attainable resolutions. 😜 Don’t set yourself up for failure.

Thanks for caring, because I’m sure you must if you made it through all that! ☝️😉😁♥️

Happy New Year!

Picture from my morning run. 11 miles, burning the Christmas calories! We’ve had 5 Christmas get togethers over the past week! 😳🎄😜😍♥️

Comeback!

September 8, 2019

Happy Sunday morning! Long time no see- er long time no blog for me! Been doing some baking…and lots of running…just no time to blog about it. Feel this is the busiest my life has ever been and it’s an exhausting whirlwind.

Baby #3 has been a stressful transition, mostly because of some health issues we’ve been trying to figure out over the last 6 months. Nothing major I don’t think; but still enough to cause stress daily. I decided a few weeks ago that we needed to celebrate every little victory with this Lil guy! It seemed like it was ‘always something’….one little issue after another, as soon as one would resolve it would be something else. Well celebrating every little victory, no matter how small, has definitely helped!

Well, this morning I am celebrating our breakfast! 😜 And Mr. Henry is making a comeback! I made blueberry teacake for breakfast (and turkey bacon and eggs- yum). Henry has slowly been able to start eating ‘real’ non- purreed food (just bananas, strawberries, and peaches so far) without gagging- well, victory- he had a few bites of this teacake and did great! He must have been waiting for the ‘good stuff’ lol! 😋 (I realize this probably isn’t the healthiest thing to give him but we will try pancakes next Sunday 😉…I honestly didn’t expect him to really eat any of it. A lot of what we try goes in and comes right back out…)

On a running side note, I too feel like I’m making a comeback! Thankful marathon training is going better than I expected. I’m totally committed and really looking forward to this marathon in December!! Three months from yesterday and I’m about 3 weeks ahead of where I feel I need to be.

On the ‘hunger for God’ note (since I updated on baking and running), I’m planning to read Soul Care again. Our church is offering the class/experience again, and as much as I’d love to, I just can’t commit to one more thing… especially something in the evening with a baby bath/bedtime of 7pm. I’d love for one or two people to read along with me and maybe we can talk weekly or something…if you’re interested please touch base with me! 😊

So that’s my update since it’s been soooo long.

And here’s a recipe for the blueberry teacake. It’s another goodie from one of those local church cookbooks. Those have some of the best gems. I also plan to post recipes for the lemon zucchini bread and smore cake I made last week. Stay tuned…😘

Blueberry Teacake
1/4 cup margarine
1 egg
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk (I subbed almond milk)
2 tsp baking powder
2 cups blueberries

Topping:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup margarine
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Cream margarine and sugar. Add egg and milk. Mix well and then add dry ingredients. Spread batter in a greased 8×8 pan. Mix crumb topping: dry ingredients first then cut in the margarine to form course crumbs. Sprinkle crumb topping on top of the batter.
Bake at 375* for 40-45 minutes.

Enjoy!

Position yourself…

April 21, 2019

Often times when I run in the early morning, around the time of daybreak I find myself chasing a sunrise. I found myself eager to see a sunrise this Easter morning. The weather forecast showed chance of rain, so I figured my chances of a sunrise were slim to none…but if I was going to see one, I knew exactly where I wanted to be.

It was almost 100% cloudy when I headed out but there was a small break in the clouds in the direction the sun would be peaking up. I had decided to head up this big hill just outside of town…kinda steep, but a nice quiet dirt road with a view of the town and a chance to see the sun rise over the opposing mountains. I knew if I was going to catch a sunrise this morning, this was my best chance.

As I was climbing the hill (slow but sure) it made me think of the parallels of life, running, and seeking God. If I wanted to see a sunrise this morning, I had to position myself to do so. Similarly, if I want to see God, feel His presence, hear Him talk to me, etc, I need to position myself to do so. If our previous Pastor Joe taught us anything, it was the need to include daily disciplines into our lives…reading the word, journaling, praise and worship, quiet meditation, etc. By doing these things we are positioning ourselves to hear from God. This Easter morning, I not only wanted to see a sunrise, I also wanted to be in His presence.

To make another comparison, it reminded me of how hunters position themselves to ‘make the kill.’ I have a friend who is one of the most avid hunters and outdoorsman I know; naturally he’s raising his boys to be the same. He was preparing to take them hunting for youth spring gobbler I believe. He wanted the boys to have a great experience and hopefully get a turkey, but he did more than hope it would happen. He did a lot of preparation and positioning himself to help make it happen. His many early mornings of scouting, learning about the sport and the animal, and guiding his boys, helping them to practice their aim, etc. All of that paid off when he got to celebrate their first successful turkey hunt. Point is, he was intentional about positioning himself and it probably wouldn’t have happened otherwise.

I need to be intentional in positioning myself if I want to experience all that God has for me. I feel like I’m better at doing this when there is a rocky road or something I’m struggling with/through. Recently, the last 5-6 weeks have been kind of tough for me. Our newest little guy has been sick…nothing earth shattering, but still enough to feel sad, worried, stressed, helpless..all the feels. I know others have much more serious storms they’re going through but this was my current storm and it was trying.

In these situations I do find myself seeking God, asking for answers or healing or whatever I need. But what about in just my everyday life…when all is pretty smooth sailing…I may not be as focused on God or as intentional about seeking him as I am during life’s storms. (Sounds kinda like I use God for what I need when I need it…🤔😏)

So as I turned around to head back down the hill this morning, I wanted to remember this feeling. Not just the ‘wow this was a great run; the most relaxed I’ve felt in weeks’ feeling; but the little fire I was feeling in my soul, one I believe only God can put inside me. That’s the feeling I wanted to continue to feel, even once I’m off the quiet, beautiful hilltop, back in the traffic and mundane cloudiness that can exist from day to day.

Once I reached the bottom, back to the main road of traffic, I was reminded that God is there with us, peaking through the clouds, today and every day.

I plan to try to be more intentional at seeking God and not just when I need something. I will say though, everytime I went seeking Him or cried out to Him, He gave me reminders he was there… through song, my daily devotional, random devotional, or through a friend or family member saying they’re praying. For this I am thankful…I’m also extremely thankful that my little one seems to have turned a corner and is feeling better. ❤

One more lesson this morning: don’t fall for a decoy 😂

Happy Easter! He is risen!

Egg roll in a bowl

January 29, 2019

First of all, I was proud of myself for actually planning meals for the entire week and grocery shopping all at once for the week. Woohoo…that never happens. As I was planning meals, I was sick of the same ol’ dinner options so I decided to try a few new recipes this week.

First up is this ‘egg roll in a bowl’ that I keep hearing people talk about. Sounded good to me but I wasn’t sure if everyone else was going to like it. Thankfully it was a success! So before days went by I decided I should probably write down how I made it so I can remember for next time, since it was a hit!

I had looked over several different recipes and kind of came up with my own from tidbits of each. Sorry for the lack of picture, you’ll just have to trust me that it was yummy! Here’s what I came up with… I used turkey sausage…I know friends who have used pork sausage or ground beef or even chicken. I served it with (brown) rice.

Egg Roll in a Bowl
2 bags of coleslaw mix
1 lb ground sausage (or turkey sausage)
1 onion, diced
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp fresh minced ginger OR 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 cup chicken broth
2 Tbsp soy sauce
3 tsp apple cider vinegar
Salt & pepper
1 1/2 tsp sesame oil

Brown sausage in a large pan; when nearly done, add in onion, carrots, garlic, and ginger.
Cook until carrots and onion tender. Then add in the chicken broth to deglaze pan.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Add in the coleslaw mix, stir. Add in soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, and sesame oil. Stir.
Cover and cook 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cabbage has reached desired tenderness.

Enjoy!

Chopped!

January 28, 2019

Do you ever watch the show on Food Network called Chopped? It is one of our family’s favorites; even the kids ask to watch it. And I’ve been shocked at some of the things they’ve learned and remembered from watching it… Simon regurgitated some valuable information about preparing artichokes one time while in the grocery store. It’s not something I ever make so I was surprised, he said, ‘I learned it on chopped mom!’ 😁

The kids also love to pretend they are chop judges at dinner at night. Like the show, they pretend I am a contestant, daddy too (even if he didn’t make anything lol), and then they judge my food. It’s comical most of the time.

Last night we had family over for dinner and my hubby used his smoker. We all LOVE it when he smokes something for dinner..and it had been a while. He decided to smoke a 6 pound pork loin with homemade rubs and then glazed with BBQ sauce. I wish I could share the smell with you in addition to the picture because it was SO good and the picture just isn’t enough!

I made garlic parmesan hassleback potatoes and salad, that didn’t come close to comparing to the pork loin. As my husband brought the pork in from the smoker he grinned and said, ‘you just might get chopped tonight momma!’ 😂 Haha I had to agree.

My sister-in-law brought her famous maple roasted vegetables that are a favorite of ours too! The kids had a hard time deciding who to chop so they said we could all advance to the final dessert round. However, I think daddy won, but they knew mom made the pie and Aunt Kim brought the ice cream so they felt they best not chop us! Haha! All good fun and a yummy meal.

We finished it off with apple pie, my dad’s favorite, since it was his birthday we were celebrating. 🎉❤🎈

Fresh trax…

January 27, 2019

Fresh fallen snow this morning…2-3″ meant I got to use my new yaktrax for the first time. It was so quiet out early on a Sunday morning. Still dark out and the snow was still really coming down! Not many cars had made tracks yet and no snow plows were to be found.

Despite the snow, cold temperatures and slow pace/extra work, I was thankful to be able to get a run in. I wasn’t as lucky this week as I was last; with the weather and baby’s schedule I just didn’t get as many miles in. Do what ya can, right!?

Whatever you’re doing, keep at it!

Ripe bananas…

January 21, 2019

What do you do with your extra ripe bananas?

I was looking for something different than the typical banana bread or muffins. Then I remembered my husband really likes baked oatmeal and it has been quite some time since I made him any. There are many different varieties, we enjoy the blueberry too; but today I searched for a banana recipe to use up some ripe bananas. Makes a nice quick, easy breakfast when it’s made ahead of time or super delicious served fresh and warm right out of the oven.

My recipe is adapted from the one I found from ‘love grows wild’ blog.

Banana Baked Oatmeal
4 cups old fashioned oats
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
4 cups milk
2 cups banana, mashed
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 cup walnuts, chopped & toasted

Preheat oven to 350*. Start by placing chopped walnuts on pan and roasting in oven for 5 minutes. Also prepare 13×9 pan with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients: milk, eggs, vanilla, and banana. Then slowly whisk in melted butter.
Then add the rest of the dry ingredients (except walnuts); stir until combined. Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle walnuts on top.
Bake for approximately 50 minutes.

Serve warm or cover in airtight container and enjoy several days for quick, easy, healthy breakfast.

banana baked oatmealEnjoy!

Joy in all circumstances…

January 18, 2019

Finding more joy, sharing more joy, overall just being more joyful, regardless of the circumstances, has been part of my resolution for this year. I feel very fortunate in my life that my ‘circumstances’ have been good….I do not feel like I’ve had to go through any great trials. I haven’t had to fear for a sick child’s life, my and my husband’s health has been good, and I still thankfully have all of my parents and grandparents. Praise God; I am so very thankful and truly know how fortunate I am. I thank God daily for His goodness.

But what about if and when my circumstances may not be so rosey and fortunate? His word tells us to find joy in the not so nice and easy circumstances too. I have many, many friends, family, and even some I do not know, that are really struggling right now, with some very hard circumstances…their health, their children’s health, divorce, etc. I pray for them and believe in the power of prayer and when I can, share verses or words of encouragement with them.

But sometimes I feel guilty doing so…wondering how they are receiving it. Like, sure it’s easy for her to share a verse about finding joy, she’s not walking in our shoes right now. No, I’m not, and I hope if I ever have to I will be able to use my own words as advice for coping during that time. But what if I don’t share it, all hope for finding peace, joy, and comfort in the Lord may be lost.

I felt this devotional was beneficial:

https://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/encouragement/encouragement-for-today-january-17-2019.html

Not only does it have a reference to baking 😉 but explains that joy and hurt can coexist. We don’t expect all things to turn to roses in a tough situation just because we throw up a ‘Praise Jesus.’ But, this may be more realistic:
That’s why I’m glad these verses don’t say ‘feel the joy’ but instead, ‘consider where some glimpses of joy might be even in the midst of all the hurt.

I pray we can all find glimpses of joy amongst any trials (great or small) we’re going through. And realizing, although it may sound cliche, that we do truly go through everything for a reason; whether it’s to shape who we are or bring out the better in someone else, or be there to comfort someone as they walk through a similar trial. God knows best, trust Him that he is with you in all your are going through and all that lies ahead.

The prayer warrior that I am wants to pray for you! Most times out running I am praying the whole time; even for random strangers. So if you have a prayer request feel free to comment or send me a private message. Know that I will pray for you, your circumstances, and that you can find joy and peace along the way. ❤

My drug of choice…

January 13, 2019

Four and half hours of sleep, 19* outside, and 6 miles around town solo, in the dark with no music…doesn’t really sound like the recipe for an awesome run, does it? The x-factor? ☕

I am super sensitive to caffeine and always avoid it unless 1. I need to make a longer drive and fear falling asleep (rare) or 2. I like to have a tiny bit before I run. I guess honestly, I use it like a drug. 😜 I haven’t ‘used’ caffeine since last June before my half marathon. I have avoided it due to pregnancy and now nursing. I’m sure the baby isn’t used to it at all since I dont ever consume it. I’m told only 1 % enters your breast milk. I took my chances this morning since I had such little sleep and wanted to head out for a run; it would be such a small amount consumed, and at least 2-3 hours before he ate again.

Anyway, that tiny bit of caffeine today made me feel like I could run forever! I have been enjoying my runs post-baby, but this was the first time in a longggg time that I had that feeling like I could run forever. I was really slow, but still, I love that feeling! I set out to do 5, being a weekend I had more time, then 5 turned into 5.5, and then heck, I might as well do 6! I honestly could have kept going (at my snails pace), but figured the baby would be waking back up and wanting to eat again soon.

Thankful each time I’m able to get out for a run, and super thankful for that ‘I could run forever’ feeling this morning! Thanks to a little caffeine! 😉 Makes me hopeful that I do still have a marathon in me somewhere, eventually. 😊