Thursday, June 27, 2013

Easy Breakfast Casserole

I have not made it much of a secret that breakfast is my favorite meal of the day.  Unless you count dessert of course, though I think sometimes breakfast would still win.  Anyway, since I love breakfast so much, I am totally a fan of breakfast for lunch or dinner.  Or both...

And this breakfast casserole is my go-to when I'm fixing breakfast at any time of day and I want some eggs and meat.  This casserole is so easy to throw together for any meal of the day.

I don't know the full origin of this dish.  My mom found it in her church cookbook years ago and has been making it ever since.  I'm not sure who it came from or where that person got it either.  But, one thing I know for sure, I can't take credit!

Breakfast Casserole
Makes a 9x13 dish (I half-ed it and used a 9" pie pan.)

  • 1 pound ground sausage, cooked
  • 6 slices of toast, crumbled
  • 8 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese (or another kind)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Dash of pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Brown the sausage in a skillet.
  3. Meanwhile, toast your bread.
  4. In a large bowl, slightly scramble the eggs.  
  5. Crumble the toast and add it to the bowl.
  6. Add all other ingredients, including the browned sausage, and mix well.
  7. Pour into a 9x13 pan and spread evenly.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until a knife stuck in the middle comes out clean.
  9. Enjoy!
As you can see, even though there is bread in the casserole, I still like to serve it with some type of bread: bagel, biscuits, muffins, etc.  Also, the leftovers are great to make wraps with.  Thomas and I love to heat some up and wrap it in a tortilla for a fast and delicious meal!


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Date Day! and a rather long discussion of movies

This was supposed to by my "Lundi Little Lovelies" post yesterday, but alas, I was so busy having a wonderful date day, that I just didn't have time to sit down and blog it all.

Thomas had the day off work yesterday, so we had a little bit of a date day!  (And of course, I have no pictures to show for it.  I really need to get better at taking pictures.)

First up, we went to lunch at The Mansion.  Yum yum!  They have absolutely great sandwiches, but the part that surprised me the most was their french fries!  They are like the best french fries I've ever eaten.  Yum!  And their chocolate silk pie is quite delicious also!

We had some time to kill before our afternoon movie so we browsed around Barnes and Noble for a while.  Don't you just love bookstores?!  I do.  A lot.

And then we went to see "World War Z", which I was a little worried about, considering I had a zombie nightmare Sunday night and had to wake myself up enough to get out of it that I didn't really go back to sleep.  (Just fyi, I'm the kind of person who will get nightmares from anything.  Like, when I was younger, I got nightmares from the Injun Joe character from the movie "Tom and Huck" when I should have been way too old for that to be scary.  And I have really psycho dreams even without nightmares.)  But anyway, I really wanted to see it, but my stipulation was that we had to see it in the afternoon, not at night.  And it was really good.  (Only if you like that kind of movie, though.  Mom, you would not like it.)  I know the zombie and vampire thing has been played out quite a bit lately, but I do enjoy seeing all the new things writers come up with.  Most zombie/vampire movies succeed in creating something new when I'm thinking that there couldn't possibly be a new take on the undead.  A couple of random things I liked about the movie:
  • Brad Pitt's character was not married to a twenty-something person.  It was so funny, though, I kept looking at the actress who played his wife thinking, she's too old for Brad Pitt!  But then I remembered how old he actually is now, and thought, Wow!  Kudos to them for giving him a realistically aged wife.  (She wasn't old by any means, I just always think of Brad Pitt as like 29, even though he ages just the same as the rest of us.  Ok, maybe not exactly the same... he definitely ages a little better than most of us.)
  • I really liked the way the movie was filmed.  At many points, Brad Pitt's character notices things (he plays an investigator for the UN).  When chaos is going on around him, he notices key details about the situations, not in a theatrical way, but in a way that someone could be trained to look for and notice details.  And through the movie, his characters is working things out and thinking them through, and it's almost like you get to solve the mysteries with him.  Sort of like watching CSI or NCIS, the whole time, the movie shows you what he sees in a situation and you're trying to put the puzzle pieces together like he is.  (I'm a very involved movie watcher.  Thomas and I are the people who are constantly leaning over and whispering predictions in each others' ears as we watch, trying to figure it out before the characters do.)
  • A shout out to the movie makers for creating a movie that helped me burn calories while watching!  Seriously, very large amounts of adrenaline were coursing through my veins for the entire movie.  I'm really jumpy to begin with, especially with movies like this.  But this had zombies jumping out, Brad Pitt trying to figure out the puzzle, the race against time, the fight against impossible odds.  Wow.  Seriously, my heart was still pounding and I was jittery long after the movie was over.  It was intense to say the least.
  • The official music/theme song of the movie was Muse.  That was just awesome.  All through the movie, you could hear the under currents of their songs.  Love it.
Before you jump off your couch to go see a movie I like, you should know that I am all together too apt to like movies in general.  I like almost everything I watch and can easily downplay the faults in a movie if I like something else about it.  Some people may say that I have poor taste in movies, but it isn't really that, I just like all movies.  Except horror movies.  I don't watch horror movies.  And you're thinking... um World War Z is about zombies taking over the planet, that sounds pretty horrific to me. And that is true.  However, I have my own definition of a horror movie that goes something like this:  A horror movie is one where the sole purpose of the movie is to scare.  The plot, characters, and setting are all created around fear, and without the motive to scare the audience, the movie would be nothing.  So, I watch zombie movies, post-apocalyptic movies, vampire movies, etc., but nothing scarier than that.  Thrillers are fine, horror NOT!

Then the hubs and I came home and played some Wii, etc.  And we ended the night on the porch making s'mores with candles.  I just love s'mores, and since we have nowhere to make a bonfire, candles on the porch is the next best thing!

What a lovely day!  Dates with the hubs are the best!  Finding contentment is definitely easier on some days!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The 6 Month Project {Wednesday Wins}

Well, I'll tell you what, it can get really frustrating when a project that should only take a week or two ends up becoming a six month, painstakingly slow project.  But that's just life, isn't it?!  Especially with changes we're looking forward to or lessons we're learning.  For example, I'm pretty sure God's teaching me a lesson in faith right now.  With quitting my job and not being sure what is around the corner, I am really learning that I have to have faith that if I seek Him and His will, God will not let me fall.  And sometimes I feel like God is waiting for me to lean fully on Him trust Him completely before He tells me what's next.  Now, I know that I cannot fully understand His motives and His ways, so this may not be the case.  But I find myself thinking, hurry up already and have some faith!  This is taking for-ev-er!  But, sometimes, we and other things get in our way, and things just don't happen on our wishful time schedule.

Such was the case with this scarf!  I got this project started on the loom in JANUARY, and I just finished it and pulled it off the first week of June!  Yikes!  I surely wish this had not sat in the corner gathering dust for six months... but it did.  Life just gets in the way.  Things get busy.  Hobbies aren't always on the top of the ever-growing to-do list.  However, since summer started, this scarf became a priority!  And FINALLY, after hours and hours of sitting at the loom (in front of movies, of course), it is finished!  Yay!  So, here are a few pics of the new accessory!

Also, one more photo of my adorable kitten.  I had jeans on for part of the day and just laid them across the bed when I changed, and here's the result.  A sweet kitty zonked out on them.  She's so adorable!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Oreo Filling Dip

From all the blog posts I've written, you would probably have no idea that Thomas and I are eating healthy.  It's just that eating healthy can be a little boring sometimes (at least on the cooking front).  I tend to stick to staple recipes that I have for cooking, and then baking is where I really like to experiment.  And since baking isn't incredibly healthy, I have to tame myself... or make things to take to group gatherings!

Like this dip!  I've been liking dips lately.  And this one is definitely a keeper!  It's Oreo filling dip, so where can  you go wrong?  Seriously, I have tasted many Oreos in my lifetime, and this dip is incredibly close to eating the filling out of an Oreo cookie.  YUM!  It's quite amazing!

And the best part is that you can mix and match your "dippers".  I tried graham crackers (definite yum), chocolate graham crackers (which were good, but not as good as I'd hoped), and vanilla wafers (super yum... especially if you put some creme in the middle and then smoosh two wafers together!).  But the best combination I found was with cookies!  (How much more unhealthy can you get?!)  I happened to have some oatmeal peanut butter chocolate chip cookies sitting around that I made earlier in the week, and when you put some of the dip between two cookies (or fold the cookie in half like a taco to avoid an insane amount of calories), you get the best oatmeal cream pie you could ever ask for.  O my, they were amazing!

I'll post the cookie recipe some time in the future, because it needs tweaking first, but here's the dip!  Oh, and such a shocker, I found this one on Pinterest too!

Oreo Cookie Filling Dip
From: Cookies and Cups

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 Tbsp hot water
  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until well combined.  (I used a hand mixer, but I think a little elbow grease would do it too.)
  2. Enjoy with your choice of "dippers" and store in an airtight container.
 Enjoy that delicious-awesome-amazingness!  Yummy!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Oh Marriage! {Sunday Fun Day}

So, last night I was reading some of the blogs I like and Pinteresting for recipes, and I somehow came across this video from youtube.  I can't give credit to the blog I found it on, because I just have no idea where I found it.

For any of you out there who are married, you can relate to this video.  It is SO true!  God made men and women unique, and we can both do dumb things sometimes, but this one is just so typical.  Husbands and wives will like this one!  Please, please, please take the minute and a half to watch this... you will not regret it!!!

Haha!!!  I love it!  Have a fun day this Sunday!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Recent Reads

Well, here's a peek into another part of my life that summer allows me to enjoy:  reading!  I absolutely love to read.  There are very few things that are better than sitting on the beach all day reading a good book.

However, there is a disclaimer to this post and any future posts that talk about books I read.  I don't read a lot of adult books.  I could say that I just came out of two years of high school where I wanted to read teen books to relate to my students more, but that would really just be an excuse.  I really like teen fiction.  I get caught up in a good "fantasy" story.

See, here's my opinion.  If I'm going to spend a considerable amount of time reading a book, then I want it to be about something that I can't flip on the tv and see on the news.  Most of the books I read take place in fictional worlds, and I love that about them.  There is a plethora of sources I could get information from that involve our own world, so I like my reading to be more creative, more unique.

It's not like I'm trying to convince you to like the books I like, but I just want you to know why I like them.  Also, though I am very secure in knowing what I like in a book, I will say that I have read and liked some books that I am a bit embarrassed about.  I tend to read books that are very popular, and therefore, I sometimes come off as a 15 year old girl in my taste.  Oh well, that's who I am, but it is sometimes embarrassing talking to adults and confirming that I have, in fact, read the Twilight series, and I did actually like them.  Ya know, especially when I'm supposed to be an adult.  (Just between you and me, I'm just waiting for the day when word gets out that I'm an "imposter adult", because I never did really grow up in some areas.)  : )

Anyway, here are some books I've read recently and enjoyed.  Not that you'd like them, unless you are actually a 15 year old girl!  Lol.  Just kidding, I'm pretty sure a lot of grown-ups secretly still like teen books!  Just FYI though, I can't guarantee that you'll like any of these books; they're just my personal preferences.

  • The Maze Runner Trilogy by James Dashner - I really liked these three books that are quite popular right now.  I'm on a post-apocalyptic kick, and these were an interesting take on trying to remake the world after the end has come.  It starts out with a bunch of teenage boys dropped into the middle of a maze with no adult supervision, and they must survive.  The books evolve a lot from the original scene and scenario, and I was constantly wondering what was going to happen next, who was really on which side, and which characters I should trust.  These three novels were action packed and suspenseful.
  • Divergent and Insurgent by Veronica Roth - These two books burst onto the scene just after The Hunger Games (another series I love) and have been making waves.  There is a movie being made and the highly-anticipated third book comes out later this year.  These are another post-apocalyptic set of books where the surviving population is set in highly separate factions.  The main character, Tris, seems to be going about her life semi-normally until things start happening and the world begins to change.  They're really great and just the perfect blend of action, suspense, romance, etc. for me.
  • The Lorien Legacies by Pittacus Lore - If you pay close attention to movies, you may have heard of one called "I am Number Four" that came out a couple of years ago.  The movie was based on the first book in The Lorien Legacies.  The series is really hard to explain mainly because it involves two separate races of aliens hiding on Earth and trying to kill each other.  (Trust me, I do know how ridiculous that last sentence just sounded.)  But they're really interesting if you're into aliens and superpowers and stuff.  (Wow, I'm just going to move on... I'm sounding more convincing by the minute!)
So, those are a few of my recent reads.  However, just in case you were wondering, here's a photo of my book case so you can see some of my favorite reads!  (The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis are my all-time favorite.  And here's proof:  I own seven different copies of the series in all different formats.)  As you can tell, I'm also obsessed with hardbacks... if it's not a hardback, I basically don't buy it.

Friday, June 14, 2013

You may or may not have noticed...

Well, you may have noticed my absence this week.  Or, maybe not, considering I'm not the most dependable blogger in the world.  But, I've been on vacation!  Woohoo!

Thomas and I just got back from a trip to St. Louis to visit our families.  We were so blessed to get to travel there since our chances to see family and friends are few and far between since we now live 1100 miles away!  So we were very thankful to get to see everyone again!

The one thing I miss about St. Louis, besides our families of course, is some of the food.  There are a couple of places in St. Louis that we just don't have where we live.  And on this trip, I'm pretty sure I got to eat at every single one of them!  Yay!  So, I should be set on my St. Louis food cravings for a while.

Just in case you're wondering, here are the faves I am referring to (most of which are major chain restaurants that do not live in my area of Florida):
  • Qdoba Mexican Grill - This one is a major chain that Brevard County, Florida seriously needs to adopt.  Moe's has NOTHING on Qdoba!
  • The Old Spaghetti Factory - Once again, an AMAZING chain restaurant Florida needs.
  • Imo's Pizza - A thin crust St. Louis pizza company... either you love it or you hate it.  And I love it!
  • Red Robin - Aaaahhh!  Best chicken caesar wrap ever!  I could eat it every day.
  • McAlister's Deli - We had to take a special trip to McAlister's just for sweet tea and POTATO SALAD.  Seriously, I could cry eating their potato salad; it is that good!
  • And last but certainly not least, SnoBiz - A little old shack that serves the best sno-cones ever.  This place holds so many memories for me.
 This was our after church hang out spot on Wednesday nights in the summers.  Our whole group would drive over, grab sno-cones and sit in the bed of Thomas' truck hanging out.  Thomas and I went to SnoBiz after dinner, before homecoming junior year when we went as "friends" because I didn't like him yet.  We went there on the night before I left for college freshman year (I had band camp so I had to leave before everyone else.  I know, I'm a nerd.).  We went there the night before our wedding.  And fifty million times in between...  So much laughter, so many memories.  Here's another memory to add to the mix.

I have some more things to blog, goings on, movies... but I'll save them for later.  I have a kitty cat bugging me to hang out, so I'm going to be an old cat lady and oblige her!

Have a great weekend!

Friday, June 7, 2013

In the Tough Times... tend to lean on God more.  It's much easier to think you can go it alone when everything's hunky-dorey.  But when life throws starts throwing proverbial curve balls, we all tend to wanna hit the "Pause" button and talk to God a little more.

Even though this is certainly not something to be proud of, it is very true for me.  It is so much easier to lean on God when you have no idea what He's planning because there isn't anything you can do on your own.  I wish I could say that I look to God first in every situation, but I am not there yet.  I am desperately striving to be the person, wife, daughter, friend, servant He wants me to be, but all too often I get caught up in the everyday activities of life.  And then I find myself, laying in bed after another day, praying for forgiveness for neglecting to seek God continually.

So in an effort to train my heart and mind on Him, I am currently working on memorizing a short passage of scripture.  I have been reading the Bible through in chronological order in my personal Bible study, and this past week, one of the days readings was Psalm 119... the whole long thing.  (Btw, I'm fairly convinced that chronological order is one of the best things ever!)  And while reading, this set of verses really stuck out to me.  I want these to be my heart's desire, every moment of every day.

Psalm 119: 33-40 
(in the New International Version)

"Teach me, O Lord, to follow your decrees;
then I will keep them to the end.
Give me understanding, and I will keep your law
and obey it with all my heart.
Direct me in the path of your commands,
for there I find delight.
Turn my heart toward your statutes
and not toward selfish gain.
Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
preserve my life according to your word.
Fulfill your promise to your servant, 
so that you may be feared.
Take away the disgrace I dread, 
for your laws are good.
How I long for your precepts!
Preserve my life in your righteousness."

I just love the Psalmist's passion for wanting to do the will of God.  Especially the phrases he used like "with all my heart", "away from worthless things", "How I long for your precepts".  I want my passion and desires to match those of the Psalmist; to focus on the things above, the things that really matter and not get caught up in all the worldly, worthless things.

Any thoughts?!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

A Rachel Original {Wednesday Wins}

Are you on Pinterest?  I am... and I'm addicted!  Right now, my current fascination is with all of the single serving "mug" foods there are.  For a two person household, single serving desserts can be a life saver.  We can never eat a whole cake, and an entire batch of cookies is just suicide.  So, I end up giving a lot of food away.  But sometimes, I just want a little something sweet, and I don't want to spend the entire night in the kitchen making a huge batch of cookies that I don't have anywhere to take.  So, I've been trying out some of these recipes.

And after finding this apple crisp recipe, I had the idea to make a recipe of my own!  So, I used several different recipes for inspiration, including the apple crisp, my grandmother's homemade biscuits, and a Better Homes and Gardens cobbler recipe to come up with my very own single serving apple cobbler!  Yummy!!!

I don't want to sound like I'm full of myself or anything, but I was really happy with how it turned out!  It's always a cool moment when you stand in the kitchen, tasting something you made up yourself and finding out that it doesn't suck.  (It's also a relief to know that you didn't just waste all that time and all the ingredients!)

So here's the recipe!

Single Serving Apple Cobbler

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • scant 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1-2 drops vanilla extract
  • heaping 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 tablespoon milk
  • 1 small apple (I used half of a HUGE Fuji apple, my favorite)
  • 1/2 tablespoon flour
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • heaping 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Chop the apple into small pieces and then toss in 1/2 tablespoon flour, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, and 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon to coat.  Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine all remaining ingredients except butter and milk.  
  3. Then cut in butter using a fork until the mixture is nice and crumbly; if it's still too dry, add a little more butter.
  4. Then add the 1/2 tablespoon milk and stir until everything is moist.  The mixture should stick together so you could form a biscuit out of it.
  5. Place the apple mixture in a mug or ramekin.  Break the dough into small crumbles and place on top of the apple mixture.  (If you're using a tall, skinny mug, you might want to layer everything so you don't have a really thick layer of biscuit on top.  I don't know how this would work though because I made mine in a ramekin.)  I then sprinkled a little more cinnamon and sugar on top to make it prettier.
  6. Microwave on high for about 70-90 seconds.  Let cool for a few minutes before eating; the apple will be hot like molten lava!  Also, this would go really well with some vanilla ice cream melting on top!  Yummy!
I hope you enjoy it!

Monday, June 3, 2013

My New Kicks {Lundi Little Lovelies}

Hey yall!  One thing I love about summer: only needing to know what day of the week it is every-once-in-a-while.  Sure, it's a little confusing sometimes, but it is so lovely to not need to know what day it is all the time!  Anybody else there with me?!

Any who, with all the running I've been doing, I decided that it would be a pretty good idea to actually get some running shoes.  I've been wearing a pair of tennis shoes that I got at least 6 years ago, and I'm pretty sure they're not even meant for running.  But, now that I'm jogging and walking for longer amounts of time, my feet are feeling the burn by the end of the workout.  So after thinking and talking about it for a while, this past week we shopped for some new shoes!  And, even better, I bought some!!!
After I tried on what felt like a billion pairs (but was probably more like 12), Thomas picked these out for me.  And it turned out that the fit, color, and price were right.  And I know it goes against everything you should care about when picking out a running shoe, but I am soooo relieved that they're not hideously ugly.  In fact, even though the base color isn't white (an obession of mine), I think they're pretty cute!

They also felt pretty darn good on their first run!  Though anything is better than the worn out, rock hard soles I've been running on!

Fun fun!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Funfetti Dip {Sunday Fun Day}

Woot woot!  Today was a lovely Sunday!!!  (Side bar: has anybody picked up on the fact that I love the word "lovely" yet?!)  Let's count off some things I loved about today:
  1. My breakfast yogurt parfait was delish!  Publix Vanilla Yogurt, fresh strawberries, and Oatmeal Squares (these are a great crunch to yogurt when I don't have any granola made).  Yummy!
  2. I just really love our church.  God has really blessed us with some great Godly people to surround ourselves with.  You all know who you are!
  3. A calm afternoon of hanging out with the hubby and preparing for our trip to St. Louis this summer to see our families.
  4. Then, we spent the afternoon/evening at the beach with our life group and ate some delicious pizza for dinner.
  5. We were leaving the beach when the rain started (I love that it waited for us to be done)  :)
  6. For dessert: chocolate covered cheesecake on a stick at our favorite hot dog joint!  Double YUM!
  7. And finish it up with a nice, hot shower and some snuggling and one of our tv shows in bed with the hubs!
So, I repeat, what a lovely Sunday!

But, here's for the FUN DAY part.  It's so fun, it's called Funfetti Dip!  I found a recipe on Pinterest for Skinny Funfetti Dip, and boom, I was there!  Some of you may not know, but I have an intense love affair with sprinkles.  I would put them on anything.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE sprinkles!  So, funfetti?  Yes please!

 The recipe I found actually called for Funfetti cake mix, but alas, I did not have any in my house!  So, I improvised, and here's my version.  (I also divided everything by 3 because it would have made loads of dip, and we really don't need that in the house, even if it's not incredibly fattening.)  It's pretty darn delish.  Oh, and the even more fun part, after stirring the dip a couple of times, it's now all tie-die-ey.  Like an Easter egg on drugs.  It's pretty awesome and hilarious.

{Low Calorie} Funfetti Dip
Adapted from Sweet Treats and More
(For a LOT of dip, multiply everything by 3)


  • 1/3 box of Gooey Butter Cake Mix (my box was 15.25 ounces, so I just weighed out 5 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup light Cool Whip, thawed
  • 2/3 non-fat vanilla yogurt
  • As many sprinkles as your heart desires
  1. Stir the cake mix, cool whip, and yogurt together in a bowl until smooth.
  2. Add sprinkles and stir in.  Then garnish more sprinkles on top.
  3. Eat with graham crackers, nilla wafers, Teddy Grahams, animal crackers, etc.
  4. Store in the fridge.
So, YUM!  Do you have anything along the lines of "Sunday Fun Day" to share?