Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pumpkin Carving Fools

Chris and I decided to carve our first pumpkin together. For some reason or another, we didn't carve one last year, but this is definitely a tradition we want to keep up! Chris was like a little kid in a candy store, and was adament that the pumpkin needed to look "perfect." Which means he ended up fixing a bunch of the places I cut out because apparently, I am no good at pumpkin carving. Who knew!?!?! Haha! Zeppelin enjoyed being outside with us and barking at the pretty fall leaves blowing around in the wind. He was great, and mostly sat on his chain, just like in this picture.

Have you ever seen a cuter puppy?

Our "Perfect" pumpkin before surgery

Chris took care of most of the guts, cause I don't like to get my hands messy :)

He was really excited he got to carve the mouth.

I carved the eyebrows and 1 eye.

Our Pumpkin, after surgery (it looks way cooler at night)

A cute fall family photo! Love my boys!
Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Trick or TREATS

Happy almost Halloween! I am enjoying these last few days of peace before I get back into the real world of work. Zeppelin and I have been taking long walks, playing with tennis balls, and eating lots of food. Yesterday my best friend Whitney and I got together to make some adorable Halloween treats. We made a ton, so after we each took some, I delivered the rest to a local nursing home, where the residents loved them! They are super cute and decently easy to make so I wanted to share our baking adventure with you guys! And the fact that they turned out okay, that's awesome in itself. Just ask either of our moms how many batches of soupy blueberry muffins Whitney and I made when we were younger ;)

The first thing we made were eyeballs. I originally found them here. Those looked way better and cooler, but we did pretty well for our first time. They were pretty easy and fun to make, however, we had problems with the candy coating. I would like to try to make these again and get the coating right, but they taste great and were fun to make!

These are the ingredients.

Make the cake per the box directions, and let it cool completely.

Crumble the cake into a large bowl.

Mix in one container of cream cheese frosting and mix together well.
It's messy, but it's easier to do if you use your hands.

Told you it was messy! Roll mixture into small balls and place on cookie sheet(cover with foil or wax paper).

Place in refrigerator for a few hours or the freezer to speed things up.

Melt your vanilla candy coating and generously pour over balls.

Add lifesavers and use red gel icing to make veins. We had the wrong red icing, and couldn't get the candy coating to cover the way we wanted. The residents at the nursing home didn't seem to mind the way they looked though!

Then goof off with your best friend!
The next we made adorable mummy cupcakes! I originally saw them here. These were pretty easy to make, and these have to be my favorite so far!

These are the ingredients. We opted not to use the chocolate chips.

Make the cupcakes per box directions.

Let the cupcakes completely cool.

Ice the cupcakes with regular vanilla icing.

Add gummy eyes.

Roll out the fondant. Except, apparently that is the one thing I'm missing in my kitchen. So we pulled, flattened, and rolled with a soup can. Talk about being resourceful!

Slice the fondant in long thin pieces and apply to cupcake.
Done! And yummy to boot!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this girl!

My loot!
We had an awesome time creating these. Hope everyone can enjoy a fun project too!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Yummy Vegetarian Dish

I have had a little extra time on my hands lately, try an extra 70 hours a week compared to the last 5 months, so I have really enjoyed taking time to cook great food. I have been trying to experiment with vegetarian dishes because it is so healthy and they taste great too! I was a little leery of this dish, but decided to give it a whirl anyway! It was sooooo GOOD!!! I originally found the recipe here, and wanted to share it with everyone! Enjoy!

-4 Large Zucchini(the recipe calls for 2, but Chris and I demolished that, so I would suggest more zucchini)
-2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
-1 large onion, diced(I used 1/2 an onion and it was perfect)
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-16 ounces of your favorite spaghetti sauce(I used Prego Traditional)
-1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese(I used Italian Style)

-Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
-In a large pot, boil the zucchini until tender, drain
-Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat
-Saute the onion and garlic until onion is tender
-Combine the zucchini, onion, and garlic in a 9x12 inch casserole dish, and mix well
-Pour the pasta sauce over the mixture and stir well
-Top with Mozzarella cheese
-Bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until heated through and cheese is bubbly!

The recipe says it makes 5 servings, and that each serving only has 217 calories. I didn't make any side dishes and we both got full. I wouldn't change any amounts in the recipe except for adding more zucchini! Enjoy

Getting Back In The Swing Of Things

Life has been very mellow lately. Considering how the last five months of my life have been, I welcome the change of pace. I have moved back to Knoxville, found an apartment, and I start work next Tuesday. Its funny how life can bring you full circle because I will be working for the same company where I had my first job...Texas Roadhouse. I start server orientation next week and then will hopefully be "rolling in the dough" soon after! I feel blessed that I have found a job, and there is actually some great opportunity for management at this store, so we will see where it leads. It helps to know God is in control.

Before I found an apartment, I was lucky enough to be able to stay at Chris's parents house. They have 3 beagles, and Zeppelin was staying there too, so it kinda felt like a zoo sometimes, but it was so nice!

Enjoy the pictures!

Chris's brother, Matt, with Obie
Mom came up for a 3 day weekend to help me move in, decorate, and SHOP!!! I am so blessed to have a mom who will drop everything to come and be with me. I had such a great time just spending time with her, talking, and hanging out. We had a great time and I can't wait to do it again soon!

The living room...thanks mom for the great paint job!

Love my kitchen theme!

How cute is this?!?!?! It's the new theme for the kitchen!

Dinning room(pardon the mess, we are working on a puzzle)

My SUPER CUTE fall centerpiece(Thanks Grandmama)

Spare Bedroom. It will eventually be the scrapbook and music room. Right now it is the throw everything in here that we don't want Zeppelin to get! It's a work in progress!

Bathroom! Love the red shower curtain!

Vanity in the bedroom.

Great big closet!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE my bedroom! Mom did such an awesome job painting it!
Chris and I will be taking a short vacation at the end of the month to Saint Louis! We will drive to Nashville to meet up with my family and then head out the next morning. We are driving up for my cousin's WEDDING! I am so excited that we get to go spend this time with my family and can't wait!
Until next time!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Becoming Something Out of Seemingly Nothing

I found this beautiful article here and just wanted to repost it.

"I left graduate school believing that very soon I would have a job, career, ministry...something that I would feel fulfilled in and gain experience from. I didn't feel the need to pay attention to a conversation I had with my grandfather driving home cross-country back to Oregon. we were talking about knowing what one is supposed to do with one's life, and I asked him, "how do I know that it is exactly where I should be at?"

My grandpa shared a piece of advice I would forget, only to remember it after I had to learn the hard way: "Larissa," he said, "when you pray, pray as to get to know Christ. Prayer is about knowing our Father in Heaven."

A little taken aback at the seeming irrelevancy of the advice, I nodded my head and changed lanes. I have to remember this, I thought. Ok, I told myself, I should pray to know Christ.; OK, I have to do that...then I will know what God's will is for me.

Months down the road after discouragement, angst, anger, and frustration, I found myself still in the same place, still with no perspective future, unemployed, and even more worried and restless than before.

I sat on the rocks by a river near our house, having spent a week in tears and confusion, feeling broken and overwhelmed. I felt as though I had somehow fallen into a deep ditch, and I could not even find any foothold to climb out. I had never felt so discouraged in my life. When looking at where I could be in five years or even five months, I could not even conjure up a small picture through the blackness that enveloped me.

Looking out across the river, I just sat. I did nothing.

And a question came to me: "Larissa, what are you waiting for?"

That was easy. "For You, Lord."

"Larissa, what are you waiting for?"

Hmm. "For You, of course, Lord."

"Larissa, what are you waiting for?"

I began to feel like Peter, "Um...for You, Lord!"

"Are you really?"

This question came softly, like a gentle hand that lifted up my chin to help me see more than my feet.

I asked myself the question again, "Am I really?" It dawned on me slowly and my grandfather's words came back to me: "When you pray, pray to know Christ."

Yes, I had been waiting for the Lord, but for Him to come through for me with a job, a plan, anything that came up, just something more than waiting on the Lord.

"Waiting on the Lord" can become cliche quite quickly, but I began to finally see what my grandpa meant. I had an agenda each time I prayed. My prayers did not reveal a satisfaction in God but a dissatisfaction with Him. I knew I could trust Him, but I prayed as though my plans were wiser and better than His. I prayed as though I did not trust Him.

As soon as I began to pray without an agenda, my inner anxieties began to dissolve.

I relaxed about where I was and who I was.

My vision seemed uncannily clearer. I no longer prayed with the nonverbal ultimatum of "come through for me or else."

I arrived at a place of "being" instead of waiting. I became comfortable and comforted.

Sue Monk Kidd tells a story that reflects our often mistaken viewpoint on waiting. During a retreat at a monastery, in her restless state, she notices a monk:

"He was sitting perfectly still beneath a tree. There was such reverence in his silhouette, such tranquil sturdiness, that I paused to watch. He was the picture of waiting.

Later I sought him out. "I saw you today sitting beneath the tree-just sitting there so still. How is it that you can wait so patiently in the moment? I can't seem to get used to the idea of doing nothing."

He broke into a wonderful grin. "Well, there's the problem right there, young lady. You've bought into the cultural myth that when you're waiting, you're doing nothing."

Then he took his hands and placed them on my shoulders, peered straight into my eyes and said, "I hope you'll hear what I'm about to tell you. I hope you'll hear it all the way down to your toes. When you're waiting, you're not doing nothing. You're doing the most important something there is. You're allowing your soul to grow up. If you can't be still and wait, you can't become what God created you to be."

This is where God eventually called me after all those months: to a new perspective of becoming something out of seemingly nothing."