Monthly Archives: January 2016

Liebster Award!

liebster

I’ve been nominated for the Liebster Award by Caleb from Intrepid Muses. His blog is super cool & I am touched that he thinks mine is, too!

The Liebster Award is an award for bloggers. It helps to discover new blogs and to build a sense of community in the blogging world! I love this concept, because due to Caleb’s nomination I clicked on the other 10 bloggers he nominated & found some cool blogs I probably wouldn’t have otherwise.

I was trying to look up the origins of the Liebster award & came across this post from Wording Well. Looks like the rules have changed along the way; it’s like that childhood game Telephone! I’m going to stick to the rules my nominator used.

Here are the rules that were given to me:

• Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you
• Answer the 11 questions the blogger gives you
• Nominate 11 bloggers that you think are deserving of the award
• Let the bloggers know you nominated them
• Give them 11 questions of your own

Caleb’s nomination included the option to skip the “award post” if that isn’t your style – I love that suggestion! I do agree with him, though, that answering the questions, getting to know each other, & having fun is the point here!

I nominate the following 11 awesome blogs I follow:

  1. 365 Days Of Marriage
  2. Purposeful Parenting
  3. Life In Between
  4. Ordinary Epiphanies
  5. A Cupcake For Love
  6. The Newish Wife
  7. Wood Kitchen
  8. Coastal Kelder
  9. The Love Bungalow
  10. Fabulous Fare Sisters
  11. My Name Is Not Katie

My questions to you guys are below the ones I answered 🙂

1. What is your favorite book and why? Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland. I love the nonsensical fun nature of it!
2. If you could write a book what it would be about? I would like to write a book about how all 15 children from my mom’s family made it to the US from Cuba.
3. Who is your favorite contemporary author? Stephen King, though I haven’t picked up one of his books in a looong time.
4. If you could meet someone in history who it would be? Paul the apostle.
5. What is your favorite movie/tv show? GILMORE GIRLS!!! I am SO excited for the revival coming to Netflix!
6. What is the worst movie ever made? Wikipedia actually has a nice list about this!
7. What are your hobbies? Besides blogging! I suppose my hobbies are the things I blog about – crafts, baking, & cooking! I also play a little music (handbells in church & trombone just for fun!)
8. What is your favorite place in the world and why? *sappy alert* Anywhere with my husband. I enjoy life the most when he’s around.
9. What place have you not visited but would you like to visit the most? And why? I have always wanted to go to Australia to go diving in the Great Barrier Reef. First I have to learn how to dive…
10. What is your favorite literary quote? Oh man, I could totally lie & pick on right now but I really don’t have one!
11. Tell us a random fact about you… I’m a Jeep girl! I have always loved them (probably because Lorelai drives a Wrangler) OlllllllO

For my nominees:

1. Why did you start blogging?
2. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?
3. What is the furthest you’ve ever been from your home town?
4. What was your favorite subject in high school?
5. Do you love your current job? If not, what is your dream job?
6. In an ideal scenario, how many children would you like to have?
7. What’s your favorite dish that your parents made for you?
8. Cilantro: love it or hate it?
9. What’s your favorite type of cuisine?
10. What is your favorite fictional character – movie, book, or tv show!
11. If you started another blog, what would it be about?

I am looking forward to seeing your answers! Thanks again, Caleb, for the nomination! This has been fun 🙂

 

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Photos For Life

The crowd was smaller this year, but the heart was bigger.

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Before the March & the snow.

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Two of my favorite people in the world, who both inspire me to always be better.

The Students for Life conference got canceled because of the blizzard. Lots of students & groups got stuck in the snow on their way home. It was definitely not a storm to take lightly.

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I am so glad that we made the trip & went to the March.

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We were able to safely make it to Caroline’s house before the blizzard started.

The blizzard couldn’t stop the pro-life generation!

March For Life 2016

This Floridian is travelling to DC tomorrow night.

Yep, even as Major Winter Storm Jonas approaches, seemingly promising to hit hard on Friday – the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade -the day of the march. Even if the forecast was worse, as long as I could physically get my ass to DC I would still go. Hundreds of thousands of people agree with me.

The cause is so worth it.

March For Life 2015

March For Life 2015, Photo by Matt Barrick from the March For Life Facebook page

5 years ago I attended a pro-life group meeting in college. My friend Caroline was very involved with the group & asked me to come. I did it just because she was my friend, not because I felt strongly about the subject, though I’ve always considered myself pro-life.

During that meeting, someone decided to read the first chapter of Abby Johnson’s book unPLANNED. I strongly suggest you click that link & read the first chapter for yourself. I have not yet read the rest of the book, but that first chapter changed my whole life.  I believe God put me in that meeting & laid this cause on my heart.

It was relatively easy to be a pro-life college student. Sure, most people around me were pretty liberal, but I had a great group of friends around me & plenty of outreach opportunities – sidewalk counseling, tabling demonstrations around campus, bringing in guest speakers, articles in the campus newspaper, etc. I was president of our on-campus club my senior year & attended my first March For Life that year & went to the Students For Life Of America conference & everything. At times these activities were emotionally draining, but I always had a pro-life friend near by for support.

March For Life 2012

March For Life 2012

It is much harder to be a pro-life adult. Sometimes I’m more vocal than others, but these conversations are much more difficult without the catalyst of a campus event. This is one of the reasons that going to the March For Life is so important. It is a sacrifice of time & money. It requires taking time off from work & life & traveling to DC in the winter. Am I going to have fun on this trip? Of course I am, but that doesn’t mean I lose sight of the reason I make such a journey almost every year. I get to spend time in our nation’s capital & reconnect with old friends who live in the area. I get to hear amazing pro-life speakers – from senators to Silent No More. But I think what I enjoy the most is that I get to be a part of something much bigger than myself. And then I get to share about my experience.

March For Life 2013

March For Life 2013

Last year I did not write about the march. I had just recently started blogging & I didn’t want to make this “too political”. Well, this isn’t a political issue, or a religious issue. This is literally a life & death situation. Yes, I believe that God is the author & creator of all life & that He has given me this mission. However, I’ve become increasingly more involved with Secular Pro-Life because ALL life is precious & ALL people should come to that conclusion regardless of their beliefs (or lack thereof). Yes, I lean to the right, but I follow groups like Democrats For Life because it’s really not about politics. Do politics play a role? Absolutely. It is up to our leaders to pass laws to defend life while also providing funding to programs like welfare, medicaid, & DCF. The scenarios that drive women to choose abortions are never easy or black & white, & it is important for the government to be able to help its people.

March For Life 2015_1

March For Life 2015

This year is a little different. This year most of my coworkers know I am going to DC to march for life. This year I am writing about it & will share some photos from the event when I return. This year will be my 4th time at the march; my husband’s 2nd. I am incredibly lucky to have such a supportive partner in life, for the rest of my life, fighting for life with me.

So bring on the snow, Jonas. A little bad weather cannot stop the truth about LIFE from spreading.


 

If you are interested in seeing what the march is all about from the comfort of your own home, please check out the March For Life website & click “Watch the March For Life Livestream” on Friday, Jan 22.

Cinnamon Gingerbread Ice Cream

My husband & I decided to host Christmas dinner. We had a pretty successful Thanksgiving at our house, so we decided to take on Christmas dinner as well.

I actually like the whole hosting thing. We made a roast, some veggies, & dessert. Our family & friends made & brought way more food than we did. We just had to do the clean up, but even then we had some help. It was a lot of fun!

For dessert I made pudding.

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Just kidding! I made cinnamon gingerbread ice cream.

My friend Beth had gotten me some gingerbread cookies from Ikea when she was gathering supplies for our Ikea cookie contest baking & that’s what inspired this whole recipe.

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I almost called this Pepparkaka ice cream, but I didn’t think the joke would go over too well.

It had been a while since I made a custard-style ice cream, so I knew I wanted to do the whole egg yolk cooking shebang for this one. It also worked out well because I saved the egg whites for my chocolate mousse a few days later. I basically followed the custard-style ice cream recipe – the first recipe I ever posted – only I swapped out vanilla for cinnamon & whole cloves.

The cinnamon & cloves are the base flavors of this ice cream. The gingerbread comes from crumbled up Ikea cookies,  but I’m sure any ginger snap type cookie would be good. I also added cinnamon chips. I saw them at Publix one day & was so curios! I’m glad I found a use for them.

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I waited until the ice cream was almost done churning before adding the mix-ins, then I transferred the ice cream to a container & put it in the freezer.

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Everyone loved my ice cream!

Cinnamon Gingerbread Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1/2 cup cinnamon chips
  • gingerbread cookies, crumbled
  1. In a medium saucepan set over medium-low heat, whisk together milk, cream, half the sugar, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and salt. Bring the mixture just to a boil.
  2. While the milk/cream mixture is heating, combine the yolks & remaining sugar in a mixer bowl. Beat on low until the mixture is pale and thick.
  3. Once the milk/cream mixture has come to a slight boil, beat about 1/3 of the hot mixture into the yolk/sugar mixture. Add another 1/3 of the mixture, stir, then return the combined mixture to the saucepan. Using a wooden spoon, stir the mixture constantly over low heat until it thickens slightly & coats the back of the spoon. Do NOT boil the mixture – egg yolks will over cook.
  4. Strain the mixture & bring to room temperature. Chill in fridge for 1-2 hours.
  5. Turn on the ice cream maker, pour in the mixture, & let mix for about 20 minutes. During the last minute, add cookie crumbles & cinnamon chips.
  6. The ice cream will be soft. Transfer the ice cream to an airtight container & freeze for 2 hours.

How Do You Name Recipes? + 50 Followers!

So today I was working on a blog post for the recipe I’m making for dinner tonight & when I was done writing the name I realized what a colossal mouthful it was!

Cheesy Bacon Veggie Crescent Roll Quiche.

The title is basically the recipe itself! I’m torn between wanting to be descriptive/informative (for easy searching) & wanting to be innovative/succinct (for aesthetics & reading pleasure).

How do you fellow bloggers do it when you come up with your own recipes? Is there a method to the madness? Are there any secret tips to share?

Here’s one way we could go about it, I suppose: Food Name Generator. Actually, that’s not quote what I had in mind, but it is kind of fun! Just don’t blame me if you actually try Stuffed Raspberry & Peanut Beef. Blech!

I will keep thinking of a name for my Cheesy Bacon Veggie Crescent Roll Quiche. In the meantime, I wanted to celebrate something special that happened today!

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Thanks, A Joy for A Joy of Baking for being #50! Looking forward to getting to know your blog as well. 🙂

Chocolate Mousse

This post is long over due!

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I first mentioned my chocolate mousse in my very first recipe post for homemade ice cream, & recently mentioned it again on my blog-aversary. It’s sort of become a New Year’s tradition, which is great because as delicious as this mousse is, it’s not the healthiest thing out there so I really don’t need to be making it more than once a year. This mousse is great on its own, but it’s also super delicious with fruits like strawberries or grapes.

My job had an end of the year pot-luck, so I doubled the below recipe & brought mousse in individual little cups.

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This mousse is very rich & chocolaty. My mom originally got this recipe from an old cookbook of hers. She taught me her ways & I have tweaked the recipe a little. I’ve actually cut the sugar down – which I think lets the semi sweet chocolate ships stand out a little more.

This recipe is pretty simple & has 2 main steps: 1) melt chocolate & butter together using hot water bath, aka double boiler (or baño de Maria in Spanish), 2) make meringue using an electric mixer.

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Hot water baths are this easy!

For Christmas I made cinnamon gingerbread ice cream (recipe here!), which called for 5 egg yolks. Since I knew I wanted to make mousse for the pot luck, I saved the whites so I wouldn’t have to crack a dozen eggs. It was a win-win!

While the chocolate & butter are melting, the egg whites were getting nice & fluffy & stiff using the kitchenaid. I just turned the mixer speed almost all the way up & let the eggs go for a while until really stiff.

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REALLY stiff!

Then I added the vanilla & slowly added the sugar. Tada, meringue! You can use that recipe by itself to make meringue cookies – just bake them low & slow in the oven. They are so yummy!

By this point the chocolate & butter were all melted & just needed a good stir. Then it was time to fold the chocolaty mixture into the meringue.

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Gently.

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Keep going.

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Almost…

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THERE!

Look at that smooth, chocolaty goodness!

At this point I portioned it out since I was taking it to a potluck, but you you could also set the whole bowl in the fridge to set overnight.

Guys, there’s nothing else like it. This mousse is quite rich. Chocolate lovers will definitely appreciate this dessert.

Since I didn’t get to enjoy this mousse the same night, I saved a little bit of the meringue & made myself a little treat.

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This is one of the best parts of having a gas stove!

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The next day though, I definitely tore into that mousse!

Chocolate Mousse

  • 6 egg whites
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 12 oz semi sweet chocolate chips (one bag)
  • 1/2 lb butter (one stick)
  1. Melt chocolate chips & butter in a hot water bath.
  2. Beat egg whites using electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Add vanilla & slowly add sugar.
  3. In a large bowl, gently fold melted chocolate mixture into meringue until smooth & uniform in color. Let it set in the fridge overnight.
  4. Serve on its own, or with fresh fruit.
In The New House Designs

Happy Three Kings Day!

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Feliz Dia De Los Reyes!

Also known as Epiphany or Theophany, Three Kings Day celebrates the revelation of Jesus Christ as God’s son. Wise men/magi/kings traveled from the East, following the star of Bethlehem, to find the child Jesus & worship him. (Matthew 2)

This article explains some of the traditions associated with this day. One of the more iconic traditions is putting straw in your shoes for the wise men’s camels. Kind of like putting out cookies for Santa, right Frank?

Today marks the last of the 12 days of Christmas, & is the end of the Christmas season for many (though Orthodox Christmas is tomorrow, Jan 7).

I still have all of my Christmas stuff up around the house, but come tonight I will do as the Relient K songs says.

Take it all down, Christmas is over
But do not despair, but rather be glad
We had a good year, now let’s have another
Remembering all the good times that we had
Oh no more lights glistening
No more carols to sing
But Christmas, it makes way for spring

Happy One Year Blog-Aversary!

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What a great year it’s been!

I’ve come a long from my first post last year. For one thing, this year it’s Stanford vs. Iowa at the Rose Bowl. My husband & I have been married for 377 days & are no longer newlyweds. I’m writing this blog from my very own house where I’ve hosted many a gathering – the biggest one being today, actually!

I would say that I accomplished the goal I set out for myself last year: to honor God & love my husband while making cookies & writing about it.

I am no longer new to wife-hood & new to blogging. I’m not a seasoned professional by any means, either. I still think I’m a rookie in a lot of ways, but life is a journey.

Happy Blog-Aversary to me & mrsdessertmonster.com!

(pictured above is my New Year’s Chocolate Mousse, recipe here!)