Saturday, July 27, 2013


...When it comes to blogging, I've got it!  My birthday/anniversary week, I did so great, tons of posts.  And then I just magically fall off the face of the planet for two weeks.  Boo.  I annoy myself.

In my defense, this week has been busy.  Last week though, there's really no excuse; I just read a couple of really good books.  Band camp started on Monday.  Yes, I'm a nerd.  I'm twenty-five years old, and I still go to band camp.  In fact, I just counted, and this year marks my 14th band camp.  Wow.  I'm such a nerd!

Anyway, other than sweating my butt off in the hot Florida sun everyday this week, not much is going on. Band camp is pretty exhausting.  However, here are a few minor updates.

  • I finished The Book Thief (a while ago), and I really liked it.  The storytelling was so interesting from "Death's" point of view.  It was an interesting story about what one little girl's life could have been like during World War II.  It was a very enjoyable read.
  • Thomas and I just went to see "The Wolverine" today!  And it, of course, lives up to the X-Men tradition.  It was a truly enjoyable two hours!  And there's an Easter egg at the end!  (Those are always one of my favorite parts!)
  • Also on the movie front, I cannot wait to see "2 Guns" this weekend.  Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg are both stellar actors, and this movie looks like the perfect blend of action and comedy!
  • We're having some new friends over for lunch tomorrow!  Woot woot!  I love having people over.  It's so fun, and it really brings out my "Suzie Homemaker" side.
  •  During the busy days this week, these verses brought me comfort.  Here, the Lord is speaking to his people, Israel, during a time of rebellion, and yet He loves us.
"But now, this is what the Lord says-- 
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you. O Israel:
'Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; 
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead.
Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you,
I will give men in exchange for you, and people in exchange for your life.
Do not be afraid, for I am with you"
Isaiah 43:1-5 (NIV)

Hopefully it won't be two weeks before the next post!!!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Oatmeal Cream Pies {Lundi Little Lovelies}

 Ok!  So these oatmeal cream pies are AMAZING!!!  I made them about a week ago for Bible study and they were a big hit!  I mean really, it's an oatmeal cream pie, of course it was a big hit!  Who doesn't love these things?!
I'd had a version of these pinned forever, but I hadn't made them because they seemed really time consuming.  And not to lie, they kind of are.  But I divided up the process into two days, so that really helped.  On Saturday afternoon, I mixed up and baked all of the cookies.  Then on Sunday afternoon before Bible study, I whipped up the filling and assembled the pies.  So, even though it's time consuming because it makes so many, doing it in two days really made it manageable.  And trust me, they are TOTALLY worth the work!!!  You absolutely MUST try them!
The original recipe comes from Macaroni and Cheesecake.   I kept her cookie recipe and then used the Oreo Filling Dip recipe that I've blogged before.  The main reason that I combined the two recipes is because Macaroni and Cheesecake's filling recipe required a double broiler and whipping eggs until they formed soft peaks, etc.  And I'm just not that patient.  I knew that the Oreo dip was amazing, so I figured I'd stick with that!

Oatmeal Cream Pies
Adapted from: Macaroni and Cheesecake (cookies) and Cookies and Cups (filling)
Makes about 24 pies (48 cookies)

Ingredients for Cookies:
  • 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups oats (quick or old-fashioned)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Using a hand or stand mixer, cream the butter, brown sugar, and sugar together until light.  
  3. Add in eggs, honey, and vanilla and beat until combined.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.  Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.  Do not over mix.
  5. Stir in oats until mixed throughout.  (I used old-fashioned oats and pulsed them in the blender a few times before adding them so they would be chopped up a little bit.  This step isn't necessary, it's just a consistency thing.)
  6. Refrigerate the dough for about 15 minutes.
  7. After dough has been refrigerated, drop by tablespoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets.  (Cookies will flatten and spread while baking.)  Bake for 8-10 minutes or until edges just start to brown.
  8. Allow cookies to set up on cookie sheets for about 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
Ingredients for Filling:
  •  1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons hot water
  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Using a hand mixer, stir until smooth.
  2. Spread filling onto the bottom of an oatmeal cookie.
  3. Top with another cookie.
  4. EAT!!!
*Note on the filling: I used almost all of the filling for my 24 oatmeal cream pies.  You may need more or less depending on how generous you are with the filling.

Like I said, it is time consuming, but baking the cookies one day and assembling them the next really made it seem like it wasn't that much work!  Enjoy!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Anniversary Awesomeness!

Ok, so first of all, sorry that you had to wait a whole extra day to find out about my anniversary surprise.  Lol.  I was too busy enjoying myself to blog yesterday.  Also, I just really couldn't put The Book Thief down when I had the free time that I could have used to blog.  I'm almost halfway through it, and I'm really, really intrigued.

So, here are some highlights of our fifth anniversary celebration on Friday!

  • We spent the morning at Andretti Thrill Park riding go carts, playing putt-putt, competing at arcade games, and all out having a childishly good time!
  • For dinner Thomas took me to a five start restaurant called Yellow Dog Cafe, which was absolutely amazing!  We are not hoity-toity restaurant people (mainly because we are low budget), but this place was such a treat!  It's by far the nicest restaurant I've ever eaten at, and the food was absolutely delicious!  After I got done devouring everything, I realized that I should have taken a few photos of my food because it was so pretty.  But, being the horrible food blogger that I am, when you set a dish in front of me, taking a picture is absolutely the last thing on my mind!  We sat in a covered porch area looking right out onto the Indian River.  We took the picture of us together when we walked out on the pier before dessert!  It was fabulous!
  • The surprise requires a tiny bit of back story:  When I woke up that morning, there was a card by the bed.  Thomas had written a sweet note, and at the bottom he told me to pack an overnight bag because we weren't coming home after dinner!!!  So I kind of knew what the surprise was all day, but I didn't have any specifics.  So after dinner, we got in the car and drove over to beach side.   There is this one hotel, the Radisson, that we always comment on as we drive by because the way they built the hotel is really cool.  It's a really long, skinny building that faces the beach so that every guest room can have an ocean view.  And lo and behold, that's where we were staying!  Thomas had gotten us a jacuzzi suite on the top (16th) floor for the night!!!  Needless to say, it was amazing!  Then Saturday morning, we got up and watched the sunrise and then went to our yummy beach side breakfast restaurant, The Blueberry Muffin, hung out at the beach and the pool and came home!  IT was awesome!  And all pulled off by my wonderful husband!  Here are some photo highlights!
The view from our balcony
Evening walk on the beach
Just one of the dozens of photos of the sunrise
Half of the hotel // Our room was the top right in this photo.
A whole wall of windows overlooking the ocean
Another view down the beach
One last photo on the balcony before we left

 So, all in all, my husband is amazing, and he worked hard to make our fifth anniversary very special.  Thank you honey!  (Random note: Now I'm going to have to write a post about how he really isn't perfect and sometimes he just makes me so crazy that I want to throw him out a window.  All you married people know what I'm talking about!  Lol.)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Randomness Stuff

What a great, specific, and descriptive title that is!  I had a recipe all queued up for today, but on a whim decided that it can wait.  I have noticed recently that I seem to be really good at posting on Mondays or Tuesdays, but then I sort of slack off the rest of the week.  So, this week I tried to prepare some posts ahead of time.  Overall, it has worked pretty well, but I also don't love that the posts don't reflect my mood of the day.  So, long story short, today I'm breaking free!  Lol.

Anyway, random thing #1:  Tomorrow is Thomas' and my fifth anniversary.  And yes, I know, Tuesday was my 25th birthday.  Yes, my birthday and our anniversary are only three days apart.  And yes, I also know that we got married pretty young.  All I can say is, when it's right, it's right.  And I knew we were right before we even started our senior year of high school. But that's all a long story, so yeah... anyway, I'm super excited about our anniversary tomorrow because Thomas has some special surprise planned and will NOT tell me what it is!  I absolutely love surprises, but they also just about kill me because I want to know what they are soooooo bad!  I can't wait.  And trust me, I'm sure I will share the surprise on Saturday!

Randomness #2:  This last b-day present arrived a little too late to make the birthday post!
Canisters to match all of my other kitchen stuff!!!  They're so adorable!  Thank you to all of you who helped to make my birthday special!  I love you all so much!

Random Thing #3:  My current read is The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak.  This is another "teen" book; in fact I'm pretty sure it was on the Florida Teens Read list or something.  Anyway, I've seen it all over and have been pretty curious about it.  So, I got it from the library without even reading the description.  Yep, I just checked out a book that I knew absolutely nothing about.  That's why it's free, right?!  Anyway, I'm only about 4% into the book (according to my Kindle), and so far it is very interesting and a little confusing.  The book is set in Nazi Germany, and the main character is a young girl who steals books.  The thing that sets the book apart (so far) is that the story is told by "Death", yes like a grim reaper character.  So, Death's storytelling style is a bit different than a normal style. So, disclaimer: I am a really good reader, meaning that I can generally read fast while still comprehending and retaining information, and this book takes some concentration.  Just because the style the author has written in is a little hard to follow; you really have to pay attention.  But, like I said, I'm still at the beginning, so we'll see how it pans out.

Random Rachel #4: We just got back from seeing "White House Down" at the movies.  And I thought it was pretty good.  Thomas and I both walked out of the theater feeling like we got an enjoyable two hours out of it.  However, it is impossible to get around comparing it to "Olympus Has Fallen" that came out in March.  They're basically the same movie with slight plot changes and different actors.  The White House gets taken over by some bad guys and it's up to either Channing Tatum or Gerard Butler to save the president, the country, and the day.  They're both highly enjoyable movies if you like people getting beat up and explosions and stuff.  And quite honestly, between the two, I just like whichever one has Gerard Butler in it better ("Olympus Has Fallen").  You could switch up everything else in the movies, and I would still like the one with Gerard Butler better.  (He's my favorite actor, and I will like just about anything he's in because he is totally awesome, on-screen and off.)

I was going to have one more, but this post is already really long; I still have to check it all for spelling and grammar and stuff; it's getting late, etc, etc, etc.  So, I'm signing off.  Woot woot, tomorrow's my anniversary!!!  I love summer!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Healthy, Protein-Rich, Customizable Pancakes! {Wednesday Wins}

Seriously... the title says it all.  These pancakes are a major win!

Now, I'm not a crazy pancake fanatic.  For a long time growing up, I didn't even eat pancakes.  They're so dense that I always felt like I was going to throw up after I ate them.  Too much information?!  Sorry, moving on...

But now, I eat them; I just have to been "in the mood" for pancakes.  Sometimes they still sound awful, but other times, they sound pretty good.  So, the other day, they sounded good, mainly because I ran across this amazing recipe for healthier pancakes!  Key: they have a secret, protein-rich ingredient!

So, that morning, I whipped up some plain pancakes for breakfast, and surprisingly, they tasted just like regular pancakes!  I kept telling Thomas as he sat down to eat while I was flipping the last two... "If they taste funny, you don't have to eat them.  I promise, it won't hurt my feelings.  Are you sure they don't taste weird?"  He kept assuring me that they were very normal tasting pancakes, but I just couldn't fully believe it until I tried one.  Wow!  No weirdness at all!

So, a few days later, I changed it up and made blueberry pancakes.  And believe it or not... those were delicious too!  So, I know you're dying to know what this mystery, secret ingredient is... so I'll tell you.

Yogurt!  And not just plain yogurt either, you can use any flavor you want based on the flavor of pancakes you want to make!  Huh!  I just love Publix fat free yogurt (so high in protein, and no fat!).  So the first time, for plain pancakes, I used vanilla yogurt (my favorite flavor).  And then with the blueberry pancakes, I used blueberry yogurt (which is why the pancakes look a little blue) and mixed in some fresh blueberries!  Yum!

The original recipe called for greek yogurt.  But I do NOT like greek yogurt, so I just tried it with my regular stuff.  Since they turned out great, I think you could use whatever kind you like!  And the flavor and mix-in options are ENDLESS!

Yogurt Pancakes
Adapted from: Family Fresh Meals
Makes 5 medium-sized pancakes

  • 6 ounces yogurt (Greek, regular, fat free, any flavor you like... the possibilities are endless)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • A mix-in, optional (any fruit would be great, or chocolate chips for a less-healthy option)
  1. Stir together the yogurt, honey, and egg in a medium bowl.
  2. Add in baking soda and flour; stir until combined.
  3. Fold in fruit (or sprinkle onto pancakes once they're on the griddle).
  4. Heat a skillet or griddle to medium heat.  Drop pancakes into the skillet using a 1/4 cup measuring cup.  The batter is very thick, so you'll need to spread it out with a spoon a little.
  5. Cook on each side for 2-4 minutes depending on your stove heat.  If they are underdone, the middle will still have a yogurt-ey texture, so make sure the heat isn't too high that the outsides are done but the insides are still raw.
  6. Add a little butter and syrup or more healthy options if you like and enjoy! 
Delicious!!!  I hope you like them!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Twenty-Five and Counting...

Woot woot!  Today I turned 25.  So, here's how I spent my day!

We woke up this morning and opened presents!
 Love "Doctor Who"!  Got some new kitchen stuff to match my dishes.  A girl can never have too much nail polish!  And, to take care of the my kid side, one of my favorite Disney movies!  "Yzma!  Yzma's in your chair!"  (Love Kronk!)  And of course, I watched my new movie!

Then we had lunch and spent the afternoon at the beach!  There is absolutely nowhere else I'd rather be!

Of course, dinner was at my favorite seafood place in Cocoa Beach, The Lobster Shanty!

And here's my fabulous birthday dessert!  (Which I did not make)  Cheesecake covered in strawberries!  Yum yum!
It has been a wonderful day!  I am so blessed!  Contentment is achieved for today!

Monday, July 8, 2013

I Love my Kitchen! {Lundi Little Lovelies}

Well, my day/past week has been filled with little lovelies!  But in an effort to not make this post super, super long, I'm going to focus on one tonight!  But first, here's a sneak peek at some of the things you'll be hearing about this week:
  • MY BIRTHDAY IS TOMORROW!!!  I know it's selfish, but I just love getting presents and dressing up to eat out on special occasions!
And some lovely new recipes:
  • Delicious, healthy, personalize-able pancakes
  • Buffalo Chicken Dip
  • Homemade Oatmeal Cream Pies
  • S'mores Cookies
However, tonight, I am so excited about some fabulous new stuff I got for my kitchen today!  I had lunch and went shopping with one of my absolutely wonderful friends today, and she is so sweet that she bought me a LOVELY little birthday present and talked me into buying some ADORABLE linens for the kitchen table!  Yay!
 My kitchen is white and black with teal accents.  And since teal is a diverse color, it's hard to find things that match, but we found these beautiful and funky chevron linens that match perfectly with my teal color!  So I got the beautiful table runner and some place mats and cloth napkins!  So now I've got lots of cute options for the table!  Yay!  I'm sure you'll be seeing these linens in a lot of food pictures to spice them up with some color!  I'm also thinking some chunky black napkin rings would be great for the napkins to bring a little more black into the mix!
And my sweet, sweet friend bought the beautiful cupcake/cake stand for me!  I can't wait to take a picture of my birthday cheesecake on it tomorrow!  You can also change out the ribbon color to match your different occasions!  Love it!

Tomorrow=birthday post!  Yay!  (It's ok if you're not as excited about my birthday as I am!  You won't hurt my feelings!  Lol.)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Being an adult... {Wednesday Wins} not always fun.  Bills, jobs, cleaning the house, laundry, taxes, etc.  The list of un-fun things you "get" to do when you're an adult goes on and on.

But... sometimes being an adult can be super fun.  Like when you're planning on having an early dinner one night, so you know you don't really need to eat lunch... and so you and the hubby decide that ice cream sounds good... for lunch...

 And then your ice cream ends up probably being more calories than you should eat in an entire day...
... But you proceed to eat the entire thing anyway.

And there isn't anyone there to tell you no.  (Even though a rational person, child or adult, probably should.)  Also, notice the goofy smile... apparently sugar highs can kick in very quickly, even while you're still eating the sugary food!  Lol.

So, being an adult isn't all that bad sometimes!  Being an adult=win!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

No Bake Funfetti Truffles

So... an important fact to remember about me is that I LOVE sprinkles!!!!!!!  So, I also love all things "funfetti".

I've had these truffles pinned on Pinterest for quite a while now, but I hadn't made them because I so rarely buy cake mix.  If I do buy it, it's always yellow butter cake for gooey butter cookies (the hubby's fave).  But, the other day I was in Walmart, putzing around and decided to pick up a box on funfetti cake mix.  And then I made these truffles... twice... this week alone.

In my defense, I quartered the recipe the first time and only made six truffles just for Thomas and me.  The second time, I made a whole batch to take to Bible study.  But that also doesn't mean that some of them didn't stay at home to get eaten...

So, needless to say, these are delicious.  And sprinkles is a main ingredient, so you can't go wrong with that!

No Bake Funfetti Truffles
Adapted from: Chef in Training
Makes about 24 truffles

  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup Funfetti cake mix, dry
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 4-6 tablespoons milk
  • 16 ounces of your choice of chocolate (I used vanilla baking chocolate and milk chocolate chips.)
  • 4 tablespoons Funfetti cake mix, dry
  • Extra sprinkles
  1. Combine the butter and sugar using an electric mixer.
  2. Blend in vanilla.
  3. Add flour, cake mix, and salt, and mix thoroughly.
  4. Add about 4 tablespoons of milk and mix thoroughly with a spatula or your hands.  I eventually started kneading it like a dough.  If the dough is still crumbly, add a little more milk.  You want the dough to stick together but not to be really wet.
  5. Add 2-3 tablespoons of extra sprinkles if desired.
  6. Divide into equal sized portions and roll into one inch balls, about 24.  Place on a cookie sheet or plate covered with wax paper, and refrigerate for 15-30 minutes.
  7. Melt baking chocolate or chocolate chips in the microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring in between.  Make sure the chocolate is very melted before proceeding.
  8. Stir in the extra 4 tablespoons of cake batter.
  9. Dip truffles into chocolate using a small fork or toothpicks.  Shake off excess chocolate and place on a wax paper lined cookie sheet.
  10. Top with sprinkles.
  11. Refrigerate until it's time to serve them!
 Enjoy your pretty easy, yummy treat!