Monday, August 23, 2010

As Summer Winds Down

Last week was exactly how I was hoping and praying it would be as our summer vacation comes to an end. 

I've been looking back through my journal and reflecting on what these summer months have held for us and there seems to be a constant theme running throughout. God is faithful. I've seen His faithfulness in every single circumstance and trial that came our way. 

There has been such a significant change in me spiritually too. It's really hard for me to put it all into  words right now, but I am confident they will come. I recently caught up with a friend of mine through email and as I shared with her where I was, something I wrote seems to say it all. "It always comes back to the pursuit... my pursuit of Jesus, but mostly, His pursuit of me." My faith and love for the Lord has been renewed like I never thought it could. 

This summer is also going to be marked with the memories of friendship. Whether it was the time I spent with friends or being able to see firsthand that even after 16 years of losing touch with a best friend, the bonds of friendship are strong. 

Last week I actually got to spend the afternoon with a friend I met through blogging. I began following Amber's blog shortly after I began blogging. When she emailed a couple weeks ago and said she was returning to her home state of Ohio and wanted to meet up, I was so excited! Amber is every bit as sweet and beautiful as I knew she would be. I loved hearing about the ministry she and her husband are a part of. Because of their obedience, faith, passion and love, this couple is making a difference in the world. We talked the afternoon away and even found out that we were born in the same hospital. We talked about marriage, family, our struggles, mission trips and ministry. We also gave stories of Gods provision in our lives and our desire to walk closely with Him. I love how two women who otherwise would have never met, had the opportunity to do so because of the blog world. Friendships can be made even through that and I am thankful and blessed. 

Monday, August 16, 2010

Where I'll Be

School starts a week from tomorrow and I just can't believe the summer is over. This summer has been filled with vacation, resting and being lazy, celebrations, family, and a whole lot of fun. It's also been a season in which my heart has been revived. 

Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?
Psalm 85:6

I know that the next few months are going to require me to really be intentional about keeping my priorities in order and not allowing myself or our family to be controlled by our schedules and busyness.

I want to take these final days of summer to rest, regroup, and be in a place in which I am preparing my heart for the Lord to continue His work in me.

Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.
I give thanks to you, O LORD my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.
Psalm 86:11-12

See you soon...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Key Lime Cream Cake

Today, I am linking up to Quit Eating Out's Saturday Swap and sharing the birthday cake that I made for my husband yesterday. This is the third year in a row in which I have made this cake for him on his birthday, and it is one of the easiest cakes to make with out of this world results. It's fresh, pretty, delectably sweet and a perfect dessert during the summer months. 

So, here is what you need for KEY LIME CREAM CAKE...

1 cup graham cracker crumbs, crushed
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 T. Key lime or regular lime juice ( I use the Key Lime juice. You can find it with the lemon juice.)
1 package Betty Crocker Supermoist butter recipe yellow cake mix
1/2 c. butter, softened
2 t. grated Key lime or regular lime peel
3 eggs

Creamy Lime Filling...
1 can (14 oz. ) sweetened condensed milk
2 t. grated Key lime or regular lime peel
1/2 cup Key lime or regular lime juice
1 1/2 cups whipping (heavy) cream

Directions for cake...
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottoms only of 2 round pans, 8x 11/2 inches with shortening. (Dark or nonstick pans are not recommended). Line pans with waxed paper. Grease top of waxed paper and sides of pan; lightly flour. Mix cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter in medium bowl. Spread 2/3 cup of mixture in each pan.

Add enough water to lime juice to measure 1 1/3 cups. Beat cake mix, softened butter, lime juice mixture, lime peel and eggs in large bowl with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds. Beat on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Pour into pans.

Bake 42-52 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Run sharp knife around sides of pans to loosen cakes. Cool in pans 15 minutes. Remove from pans to wire rack, placing cakes crumb mixture side up and removing waxed paper from top of cakes. Cool completely, about 1 hour.

Place 1 layer, crumb side up, on serving plate. Spread with 1 cup Creamy Lime Filling to within 1/4 inch of edge. Add second layer, crumb side up; frost side and top of cake with remaining filling. Store loosely covered in refrigerator.

Directions for Creamy Lime Filling...
Stir together milk, lime peel and lime juice in small bowl; set aside. Beat whipping cream in chilled medium bowl with electric bowl on high speed until soft peaks form. Fold milk mixture into whipped cream just until blended.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Pesto Pasta Salad

This is another one of my favorite pasta salads that came from the The Farmchicks In The Kitchen cookbook. This is a great cookbook with simple and delicious recipes which are all inspired by country living and times spent with family and friends. Plus, there are great photographs of the recipes which is one of the things I love most in a cookbook. 

So, here is what you need...

3 cups bowtie pasta
1/4 cup pesto
1/4 cup sour cream
1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
1/2 cup halved pitted black olives
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese ( I used shaved parmesan cheese)
1/4 cup pine nuts


Cook the pasta in a large pot of lightly salted boiling water according to the package directions. Drain, rinse under cold running water, drain well, and let cool. Place in large bowl.

Mix the pesto and sour cream together in a small bowl and add to pasta, tossing to coat. Add the tomatoes, olives, cheese, and pine nuts; toss to mix. 

This recipes makes 4 main dish servings. 


Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Jesus Calling

Hold My Hand, and walk joyously with Me through this day. Together we will savor the pleasures and endure the difficulties it brings. 

Be on the lookout for everything I have prepared for you:

stunning scenery, bracing winds of adventure

cozy nooks for resting when you are weary, and much more. I am your Guide, as well as your constant Companion. I know every step of the journey ahead of you, all the way to heaven.

You don't have to choose between staying close to Me and staying on course. Since I am the Way, staying close to Me is staying on course. As you focus your thoughts on Me, I will guide you carefully along today's journey. 

Don't worry about what is around the next bend.

Just concentrate on enjoying My Presence and staying in step with Me

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Chicken Sausage Pasta Salad

There is nothing that beats a light, delicious and easy pasta salad during the summer months. Especially when I am feeling lazy and can make it early in the day so come dinner time, all I have to do is pull it out of the refrigerator. Which is exactly what I did last night with this Chicken Sausage Pasta Salad.


1 pound orzo pasta, or other small pasta
4 whole flavored chicken sausages, cubed (they have them at Sam's, Kroger's and Trader Joe's in a variety of flavors... I used Aidell's Italian Style)
8 whole sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
8 oz. mozzarella, diced
1/2 cups olive oil
1 whole lemon
1/2 t. garlic powder
fresh ground black pepper
crushed red pepper flakes (optional)


Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and pour into a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil to keep it from sticking ( I also used the remaining oil from the sun-dried tomatoes). I added baby spinach because that's what my sister did and it's a great way to sneak in those leafy greens.  Set aside. In large skillet, sear the chicken sausages until they are browned and heated through. Cube the chicken sausages and add to pasta. Mix in tomatoes, and mozzarella. Season with garlic powder, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over salad and add more oil if needed. Garnish with fresh flat leaf parsley or any other fresh herb. This is a dish you could really be creative with!!!

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Georgetown Cupcake

We've just returned home from a wonderful vacation visiting my parents in Virginia. Whenever we make the trip there, we take advantage of being able to visit some very dear friends of ours that live in the D.C. area. Liz has a passion for cooking and she certainly didn't disappoint us with the fabulous lunch she prepared for us. After lunch, we decided to make a trip into Georgetown for what else but cupcakes!!! Perhaps you have heard or seen the new show on TLC called "DC Cupcakes". This is where it all takes place...

We waited in line for about an hour which gave us plenty of time to decide what kind of cupcake we were going to have.

We even got to meet Sophie who was so kind, generous and every bit like what you see on the show.

Ben and I both chose the Chocolate2 cupcake because really, what other option is there?

Sam and my husband both went with the Lava Fudge Cupcake...

Thank you Liz and Ryan for a day filled with fun, delicious food, and great conversation. We can't wait to see you again!

Here are the recipes from Liz's menu...

Summer Pasta Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

Barefoot Contessa Barbecue Sauce

Cannoli Dip with Strawberries