Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sweet & Salty, Creamy & Crunchy

Tonight I made a delicious homemade lasagna that was out of this world (will post at a later date)! I tried to do dinner and dessert at the same time, since I had to juggle my time in the oven. I think I did pretty good, but will have to plan on starting earlier or prepping to some extent because we didn't have dinner until 7:30pm. While everyone was starting to chant, "When is dinner gonna be done?" I must say, the pay off is that there is near silence during dinner since everyone is shoveling food into their faces to ravenously to speak. Also, everyone raves about what you just made. Following dinner was a dessert that I was at first skeptical of. The crust is unconventional, but WOW! It makes the whole dessert as far as I'm concerned. It is low sugar, but if you want to go for it, it is easy to convert to all sugar as everything is one to one. So, without further ado, here is:

Creamy Peach/Strawberry Crunch Dessert


  • 2 C crushed pretzels
  • 3/4 C butter, melted
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
Mix crushed pretzels, butter and 3 sugar together and press into a 9x13 inch pan. Bake at 400 for 8 minutes. Cool.

  • 1 pkg (8oz) cream cheese, room temp
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/2 C Splenda
  • 1 (8oz) frozen cool whip (sugar free if you can find it), thawed
Mix softened cream cheese and sugar. Fold the 2 cups thawed whipping topping into cream cheese mixture and spread over cooled pretzel crust.

  • 1 lrg pkg sugar free strawberry gelatin
  • 2 C boiling water
  • 8 oz frozen strawberries
  • 8 oz frozen peaches, chopped
Dissolve strawberry gelatin in boiling water and add frozen strawberries and peaches. Chill until soft set, then pour over the cream cheese layer and refrigerate. Cut into squares and garnish with whipped topping. Enjoy!

The saltiness of the pretzel is perfect with the sweetness of the strawberries and creamy cream cheese. A total hit in my house.

Friday, October 22, 2010

A Call To Action

I find myself gazing at the sunrise, streaking across the sky after dropping my kids off at school. The moon fighting to keep it's position, against the marauding sun. The colors are so amazing and I envy God's artistic mastery of color and composition. The stillness of the morning with the mist burning away slowly, frost clinging to the grass with greedy, sharp claws. Winter will soon be upon us and our thoughts will turn to wishes for spring, then summer. We live in a constant state of dissatisfaction with our surroundings and often miss it's brutal beauty.

In my dreams I am always someplace warmer. A place without piles of bills, laundry, dishes and duties. Errands are not frantically run, and I no longer am chasing daylight, trying to get ahead, yet never reaching the finish line. In my dreams, there is no burden of money and it's strings that drag us down and we have everything we need, and want for nothing unnecessary. I wonder, "How can we ever find peace like this in reality?" We are taught to lean on God and let go of all our cares, but I cannot seem to release the clutch on my worries. Fear has twisted me into thinking, that if I let go, then I will fall far and fast, and never catch up. Even though I know that my grasp makes me weak and I will never truly gain any new ground. It is a never ending cycle, the desperation of this life.

I look at my children and wish I could freeze them in this moment. I don't want them to feel disappointment or failure. I want to spare them heartache and cruelty. My six and seven year olds have already felt rejection and it makes my heart hurt. I see the confusion in their eyes as they struggle to understand why anyone would hurt them intentionally when they only want to be friends. It is even harder to control my rage, when the ones with mean spirits are adults who are calloused. I wish I could scrub their souls clean of the memories of mean kids and immature adults who have maliciously harmed them emotionally. I want to confront those who would be so careless with the hearts of children!
Momma Bear

I then find myself overcome with sorrow for the kids I see, who's eyes are dark and sad. Who has been hurting them? Why? Where is their champion? I want to help, but what can I do besides pray for their safety? I feel like I should be doing more? If I had a huge house and more money for resources, I would bring them to my home so they can experience love, safety and comfort. Raise them to be strong and honorable. This generation lacks moral fiber and it's sickening. Society is rotten and diseased with the profane, cruel and disturbing. Perversion is celebrated. Violence is cheered and injustice, common place. Where are the men, who would fight for the honor of family? Where are the women who strive for excellence in hearth and home? Where are the officials, who should be holding all accountable to the law? Silence.

Someday, we will all stand together, and see our misconduct and cruelty, splashed across a massive screen. All the things we thought were hidden. All the filth we thought was a secret, and we will be ashamed. But where is that shame now? Will you take a stand today? Will you decided that NOW is the time to strive for excellence? We are not perfect and we all make mistakes, but when will we learn from them? Work harder not to make the same mistakes over and over and over? Are we willing to acknowledge our own shortcomings and have patience with others?

I challenge myself, to speak more softly. To let go of my anger. To love more deeply and focus on my family. I am going to try to respect myself, by holding my husband up more often and honor him. I am going to continue to work hard on getting us to a place where we no longer owe anyone. I will respect my body as a temple and work steadily to put healthier things into it, so I have the energy to keep moving forward, never looking back. And every day, I will try to connect with someone and let them know that God loves them, with some small deed. Will you join me?
The Weight of The World On A Woman's Soul

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Chocolate Fix

Ever have one of those days? Where you just have to have something chocolate? It can't just be an average chocolate bar and it has to have a richness that forces you to slow down and savor every luscious bite. THAT is the kind of craving I had today. Nothing sounded good. Not ice cream or the various chocolate bars and bits at the grocery. Then, it hit me: Lava Cake! Nothing could possibly satisfy one's craving for pure rich milk chocolate, like Lava Cake. If done right, it is rich moist cake surrounding a pool of steaming chocolate. Choose a rich high quality chocolate bar for this recipe and you will have found the key to slowing time. You cannot devour this dessert with veracity. With the first bite, everything slows as every taste bud strains to hold onto the flavor. But I digress... Make this for someone you love, for chocolate laced kisses of gratitude later!

Chocolate Lava Cake

Moelleux au Chocolat: A French classic that literally melts in your mouth, and induces feelings of euphoria.


  • 6 oz. Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate (or use your favorite 70% dark chocolate bar)
  • 6 oz. Butter (diced, room temperature)
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1/2 C Granulated Sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 C Flour
  • Butter for Ramekins

Preheat oven to 350°F

Melt chocolate on low flame in a bain-marie (double boiler). When melted, take off flame, and stir in diced butter, until it melts.

In another bowl, beat eggs and sugar, until it starts to whiten. Stir in melted chocolate (making sure to stir quickly while drizzling chocolate in), vanilla and then the flour.

Butter 4 individual ramekins, and pour in chocolate batter. Cook for about 10 minutes, adding 5 minutes at a time until desired doneness is reached.

Cool until ramekins can be handled safely, but this is a dessert best served very warm! Tip ramekins upside down onto dessert plates and serve.

  • You can  prepare your chocolate lave cake recipe ahead of time, and then bake 10 minutes before serving.
  • In terms of buttering the ramekins: butter the bottoms first, and then butter the sides, wiping from the bottom up to the top. It helps the chocolate to rise even more.
  • Regarding baking time… it depends on how runny you want it! I like it with the center runny like rich homemade cooked pudding.  For this, you want the top to be cooked through, but the center to be liquid. You can check with a toothpick after 10 minutes of baking. I've also pulled it out of the oven when the top is still shiny and just the edges looking cooked, then let it sit for 10 minutes (it continues to cook from the heat of the ramekin for a little while).

If you don't like liquid-center chocolate desserts, just cook for a little longer, and you will have an incredibly moist chocolate cake. Either way, it's a treat that is a perfect end to the day.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Mother Lovin' Meatballs!

So, in my post entitled "Love Is In The Meatloaf", I gave the basic recipe for the meat mixture to make meatloaf, that called for reserving one pound to make meatballs. You cannot argue with any warm blooded, proud countryman, that homemade meatballs are sacred and that every homemaker worth his or her salt, should know how to make proficiently. There is something about the savory caramelized crust from the browning of the meat, to the satisfying garlic and herb taste that lingers on the tongue that just cannot be copied in a frozen counterpart. So, without further ado, please take some time to master this dish, even make it your own by adding, subtracting, varying the seasonings and tackle this dish with all your heart! Here is the recipe!

Homemade Meatballs

refer to the recipe in "Love Is In The Meatloaf"

Form the meatballs into golf ball size balls. Place on a cookie sheet and cover with foil and freeze until firm. Transfer meatballs to freezer bags and into freezer until you are ready to make spaghetti or meatballs subs with marinara sauce... or, you could try making my Garlic Zucchini Cream Sauce with thin spaghetti or angel hair pasta. Mama Mia!

  • 2 Tblsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 350°

Heat oil and butter in crock pot over medium heat until butter is melted. Add single layer of meatballs and cook each side until dark brown (caramelized). Cover and place in oven at 350° for 20-30 min. You can split one ball and make sure center is no longer pink. Then, you can add whatever spaghetti sauce you want and continue to heat until the sauce is bubbly, finally serving over noodles. Or, you can do this:

Garlic Zucchini Cream Sauce

  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 2 small zucchini finely diced
  • 3 heaping Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 C. milk
  • 1/2 C. heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp flour or use Wondra
  • salt and pepper to taste
Melt butter over medium heat and add garlic. Saute until garlic just starts to golden. Add zucchini and saute until tender. Add milk and cream and continue to stir until heat comes back up and it just starts to bubble. Lower heat and add flour or Wondra and cook until it starts to thicken. Add more milk if too thick. Salt and pepper if needed. Add noodles, and fold in. Next, add your meatballs and enjoy with garlic toast. YUM!

Love Is In The Meatloaf

I love meatballs and spaghetti. Especially with a real meaty sauce and cheese on top. I don't like sweet red sauces. The sauce has to have a lot of garlic and top the charts for savory. So, I took a little time to make meatloaf one night for dinner and took one pound of the seasoned meat and made meatballs that I then froze on a cookie sheet so that they wouldn't stick to each other in a freezer bag. So, the following recipe is for meatloaf to be made right away and the meatballs can be frozen for a dinner later in the week.

  • 3 lbs ground beef (I use 80/20 blend)
  • 1 dry onion soup mix
  • 2 heaping Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 C. ketchup
  • 1/4 C. sun dried tomatoes (Italian seasoned) chopped
  • 1/2 C. real bacon crumbles (don't insult the meat w/imitation bacon!)
  • 1 C. plain or seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 1/2 C. shredded Colby cheese
  • 1/2 C. french fried onions (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°

With just the tips of your fingers, blend first eight ingredients well in a very large bowl. Do not squish the meat, as this can affect the texture of the meat adversely.

Set aside one pound of the mixture for now. Take remaining two pounds of the mixture, and pat into a loaf shape in a large baking dish. I highly recommend topping it with the french fried onions. It makes a wonderful crispy topping that put the dish over the top. Do not cover. I like to add red potatoes around the pan to cook with the meatloaf but it's not necessary.

Bake at 350° for approx. 1 hour. Depending on your oven, it may take as much as 1 1/2 hours. Follow guidelines for internal temperatures for beef (I believe it is 160°).

I also serve my meatloaf with mashed potatoes and gravy (with some of the meat drippings from the meatloaf!). Everyone loves it. If you are lucky enough to have left overs (rare in our house) it makes the most outstanding meatloaf sandwich to surprise the hubby in his lunch at work. Or, for yourself. Next post: Mother Lovin' Meatballs!

Sunday, October 03, 2010

The Song In My Head

So, life is a roller coaster of emotions and feelings. We all have soared high and crashed low. Women are incredibly susceptible because our hormones betray us frequently. There was a time, after getting hurt by a guy, when I tried to be aloof and cold like the men I had the misfortune to experience. I failed. I feel too much some times and it can overflow and overwhelm. This can be a blessing too. When we are faced with a beautiful, awe inspiring moment, it can bring us to our knees spiritually and emotionally and that can be so cleansing. Well, I've been contemplating a lot of stuff lately, and while cleaning, this song started to develop in my head. So I wrote it down. Part of me is tempted to see if any artists out there would be interested in writing the music for it and singing it. Who knows. At any rate, here it is, and let me know what you think!


Who made you feel worthless?

Who broke your heart,
And let you down?

Where are those?
Who cut you down,
And left your heart bleeding?
Don't they know who you are?

Don't let them win.
Know you are wonderful,
And in a short time
They will wish they had known all along.

Look at your hands.
These are the hands that,
held a small life.
And wondered in silenced awe.
But you are not alone!

Look in your eyes.
These are the eyes that,
filled with tears.
And choked back anger but gave forgiveness.
But you are not alone!
No you,
are not.

Don't let them win.
Know you are wonderful,
And in a short time
They will wish they had
known all along.

Who broke your heart?
Who stole your joy?
Don't they know,
That this life is so short?
That what we need is

Look in your heart.
This is a heart so open,
and full of love.
Ready to give your all.
Without anything given in return.

So, don't let them win!
Know you are wonderful,
And in a short time,
They will wish they had
known all along.

That you are wonderful,
And in just a short while
They'll wish they had known.
Known all along.
That a woman's heart,
is deeper than the ocean.
As deep and mysterious
as the sea.

Past Musings You Might Ponder

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