Wednesday, September 30, 2015

September Update

Wow, September has came and gone already!

We celebrate a lot of family birthdays in September. Mine, my Dad's, and the Hubby's are all within a week of each other.

We celebrated our 4 year wedding anniversary. The Hubby surprised me with some pretty flowers!



Fall is here and of course Indiana weather can't decide between summer and fall temperatures. The week started off in the 80's and the low this weekend will be 44... really?!?



We went to the local orchard this weekend and got pumpkins and apple cider! It was packed!

The Hubby has been trying to teach me how to play chess. Can we just say it is a frustrating game? I am not good at thinking ahead on strategy or figuring out why he is doing what he is doing... if I can ever check-mate him, I will be amazed!



I saw this article on Facebook and loved it. People really do not understand how a small, insignificant question can break your heart every time. 

I am also 2-1 in my Fantasy Football league... I am riding on Peyton Manning's coat tails. Can we say still the greatest? 

Well here is to October!




Until next time,

Kara

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Happy 4 Year Anniversary

Today is our anniversary! We have been married for 4 years. I cannot believe that 4 years has passed by already.

We have been together for 8 1/2 years and I couldn't imagine my life any different.

I love the Winnie the Pooh quote, " If you live to be 100, I want to live to be 100 minus a day so that I would never have to live a day without you."

I was so lucky to find my other half.

Since we have been together for so long, I put together some of my favorite memories we have shared!


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Happy Anniversary!

Love always,

Kara

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Happy Hump Day!

One of my favorite actresses is Mindy Kaling. I think she is hilarious, beautiful, real, and a great role model. She has taken control of her career and doesn't let anyone tell her she can't do something. 

I found this quote by her and I totally agree!

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So many kids today, boys or girls, really base their self worth on what others think about them. What they don't realize is that in the scheme of things, those people in high school are a speck of sand in the lifetime they plan to live. 

I saw a quote somewhere that stated, the friends you have in high school were your friends because you saw them five days a week. I completely agree. It is rare to hold on to a few good friends, because most of the time those relationships are relationships of convenience.

High school isn't an easy place to be, but if you get through it so many wonderful things await beyond that. 

September is suicide awareness month. I really just wish so many people truly saw things clearly before they do something as rash as taking their own life. Something that seems impossible today, will cause you to look back and become stronger for it.

Life truly gets better.

Until next time,

Kara

Friday, September 18, 2015

Happy Friday!

WE MADE IT! Whew, I'm so glad Friday is here.

I'm in a good mood today because the Broncos won last night AND Peyton did great! If they would just let him throw the ball and not bother with all this running nonsense, they would be just fine.

Hopefully, the rest of my fantasy football team will perform this week. I need to get a win!

We had a great time last night. I went golfing with the Hubby. Well he golfed and I caddied for him. Really I just am keeping him company and probably being annoying most of the time by asking him, are you sure you want to use that club?

Oh well an annoying caddie is better than no caddie!


We will be busy with golf sectional this weekend. I am hoping the weather holds out, we are supposed to get some rain!

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I hope you have a fabulous weekend!

Until next time,

Kara

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Bacon-Ranch Dip

Football season is finally here. In our house this means soup, snacks, fantasy teams and afternoon naps (for me at least). 

Let's not discuss how mad I am at Peyton Manning... I just don't think he realizes how important he is to my fantasy team and how he under-performed this week. C'mon Manning!

At least my food is always good during football season, even if my players aren't playing well. 

Since I'm on the low-carb diet, it's hard for me to eat a lot of dip without chips, so I decided to turn one of my low-carb wraps into chips, so I can eat this dip. Because it is heavenly good!


Bacon-Ranch Dip
1 container of sour cream
1 packet of dry ranch seasoning
1 bag of real bacon bits
1 cup of shredded cheese, I like the mixed bag kinds

This is a easy recipe that is just so good! You just need to throw all these ingredients into a bowl and mix them up. Store in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving!

You could add some green onions for a little more flavor, but the Hubby doesn't like them, so I left them out!

You can serve this with crackers or chips! It's the perfect dip to snack on all Sunday long!

Until next time,

Kara

Monday, September 14, 2015

Caramel Apple Cocktail

In Indiana we are known for our being able to experience all seasons in the same week! 

Well I think we steadily fit a couple in this week. It was 95, then dropped down to a high of 67 and a low of 48 within two or three days!

It's like you need to carry a tank top, light sweater, and your winter hoodie all around in your car because you just never know what the weather will be like when you get done with work at 5:00.

ANYWAYS, this weekend the weather felt so much like fall; which leads me to get my Halloween decorations set up, thinking about going to the apple orchard to get pumpkins and to get apple cider and cinnamon sugar donuts! 

Since I haven't had time to head to the orchard yet, I picked up a gallon of apple cider at the grocery store and decided to make our favorite fall cocktail!


Caramel Apple Cocktail
8 oz of apple cider
2 oz of Smirnoff Kissed Caramel vodka

This cocktail is super easy and yummy! You could enjoy it warm or cold. The Hubby prefers to drink the cold version. 

But this would be super easy to pop the cider into your slow cooker and serve it warm! Kids could enjoy the warm cider and the adults can add the Kissed Caramel vodka.

To make the cocktail just add ice to your glass, combine the cider and vodka and mix with a spoon. It's sweet and so good!

My sister-in-law (who HATES vodka) said it was really good and you wouldn't know there was alcohol in it! I'll take that as winning.

I rimmed my glass with a little dulce de leche just for an extra boost of caramel flavor, but this cocktail is a definite winner for the fall season!

Until next time,

Kara

Friday, September 11, 2015

Kit Kat Cookies

It's September, that means it's birthday month. My birthday was last week, my Dad's was Tuesday and yesterday was the Hubby's.

I always like to make something for the Hubby on his birthday. He will eat cake if we are somewhere like a wedding, but not very often does he just want a piece of cake. He likes brownies, cookies, and candy bars. 

For his birthday this year I decided to combine two of his favorites: chocolate chip cookies and Kit Kat candy bars!

This cookie is sweet, chewy, and delicious! 



Happy birthday honey!

Kit Kat Cookies
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 snack size Kit Kat bars, chopped in thirds
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Start out by creaming together the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar. 

While that is working in the mixer, in a separate bowl combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set this bowl to the side. 

Now that your butter and sugars are creamed together, add your egg and mix until completely incorporated. Then add your vanilla. 

Turn down your mixer while you add your dry ingredients (otherwise you and your kitchen will be covered in white...not that I know by experience or anything!). 

Once this is just combined, add your Kit Kat's and chocolate chips. The mixer will break up the Kit Kat bars into smaller chunks. If you don't want to use any chocolate chips, bump up your Kit Kat amount or maybe you like white chocolate chips or maybe you want to use the white chocolate Kit Kat bars... the combinations are endless!

Once everything is incorporated, cover your mixture and chill for a couple hours in the refrigerator.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line your cookie sheets with parchment paper. (as you notice I had ran out and forgotten to buy more! OOPS!)


Scoop out 2 tablespoon sized balls (I used my ice cream scoop to portion it out). 

Bake these for about 10-12 minutes. I recommend 10 minutes. The cookies will look slightly underdone, but you will have carry over cooking and it will give you a moist, chewy cookie.



Let them cool on the pans for a few minutes, before transferring them to cooling racks. This should get you about 22-24 cookies.



Then you can enjoy these with a cold glass of milk! 

Until next time,

Kara




Recipe adapted from Crazy For Crust

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Happy Hump Day!

Starting the week off with a holiday really throws off your sense of what day it is. I woke up thinking today was Tuesday.... lucky for me it's Wednesday!

Whoop Whoop! That is a win in itself.

I'm also super excited because we are supposed to have cooler weather coming just in time for the start of football season this weekend.

Speaking of football... I am in a Fantasy Football league at work and I am feeling confident with my draft picks. Here you can look for yourself! 


My strategy was picking players that I have heard of... I don't want any no names, otherwise I won't care. This way I get to root on my individual players.

I was able to get my favorite player, Peyton Manning! YAY, let's go Broncos!

I'm hoping the weather will be cool on Sunday, so I can make chili and some snacks for opening Sunday!


Have a great day and don't forget to set up your line ups tonight!

Until next time,

Kara

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Book Recommendations for September

Is it really September already? Really?!? It feels like yesterday was the beginning of the summer.

BUT September kicks off the start to my favorite time of year! I love the end of Summer/Fall/Christmas season! It means holidays, food, sweats, blankets, and being cozy!

With that being said.... it seems like the perfect time of year to line up some good reads when you can't be outside all the time!



I am still on hold for a ton of new books, but here are a few of my recent reads!


Nice Girl's Don't Have Fangs- by Molly Harper

This was a hilarious read. It was witty and I enjoyed the relationships between all the characters.


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Don't get me wrong I think the main character Jane is a little high and mighty on herself, but still it's a funny read! 

It's the first book in the Jane Jameson series.

Here is the description of the book: 
Maybe it was the Shenanigans gift certificate that put her over the edge. When children's librarian and self-professed nice girl Jane Jameson is fired by her beastly boss and handed twenty-five dollars in potato skins instead of a severance check, she goes on a bender that's sure to become Half Moon Hollow legend. On her way home, she's mistaken for a deer, shot, and left for dead. And thanks to the mysterious stranger she met while chugging neon-colored cocktails, she wakes up with a decidedly unladylike thirst for blood.
Jane is now the latest recipient of a gift basket from the Newly Undead Welcoming Committee, and her life-after-lifestyle is taking some getting used to. Her recently deceased favorite aunt is now her ghostly roommate. She has to fake breathing and endure daytime hours to avoid coming out of the coffin to her family. She's forced to forgo her favorite down-home Southern cooking for bags of O negative. Her relationship with her sexy, mercurial vampire sire keeps running hot and cold. And if all that wasn't enough, it looks like someone in Half Moon Hollow is trying to frame her for a series of vampire murders. What's a nice undead girl to do?
A Court of Thorns and Roses- by Sara J. Maas
I really enjoy this author. I already recommended her Heir of Fire series here. Well this is the first book in a new series she wrote. 
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I really like the setting she has created for her main character, Feyre, and how all the fairy tales we have heard as children all have some truth to it. I just love the imagination and adventure!
It's just a really fun, action packed story!
Here is the description:
When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.
As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it...or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever. 
All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes- by Betsy St. Amant
This is an interesting story that incorporates my love of baking and the ideal of reality TV shows, like the Food Network's series Cupcake Wars. 
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This story takes some twists, but will the main character prevail in her efforts on and off set? Read to find out!
Here is the book description:
Kat Varland has had enough of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry.
At twenty-six years old, Kat is still living in the shadows of her family in Bayou Bend, Louisiana. Still working shifts at her Aunt Maggie's bakery. Still wondering what to do with her passion for baking and her business degree. And still single.
But when Lucas Brannen, Kat's best friend, signs her up for a reality TV bake-off on Cupcake Combat, everything Kat ever wanted is suddenly dangled in front of her: creative license as a baker, recognition as a visionary . . . and a job at a famous bakery in New York.
As the competition heats up, Lucas realizes he might have made a huge mistake. As much as he wants the best for Kat, the only thing he wants for himself—her—is suddenly in danger of slipping away.
The bright lights of reality cooking wars and the chance at a successful career dazzle Kat's senses and Lucas is faced with a difficult choice: help his friend achieve her dreams . . . or sabotage her chances to keep her in Louisiana.
Now that fall is on it's way, check these books out and find your coziest blanket.
Until next time,
Kara

Friday, September 4, 2015

Recipe #3, Cake Ball Truffles!

This is our 3rd a final dessert of the week from Chelsea's shower this weekend! 

Let's recap.



We had the Cherry Limeade Cupcake! It was a lime cupcake with a cherry buttercream.

Then we had the Dulce de Leche Churro Sticks. It's pie crust filled with dulce de leche and they were rolled in the cinnamon sugar!

Our final recipe this week is the Cake Ball Truffles!



Cake Ball Truffles
1 box of yellow butter cake, plus the ingredients listed on the box
1 container of vanilla frosting
chocolate almond bark

This is the type of recipe that once you learn the process you can change up all the flavor combinations.

Just make your boxed cake mix according to the instructions. I always add an extra teaspoon of vanilla when I make a boxed cake mix. I baked mine in a 9 x 13 pan.

After it's baked, you want to let it completely cool.

Then once it's cool, you just want to destroy the cake. You can use the food processor or just use your hands to make it cake crumbs. 

Once you have crumbs, you can add your can of frosting. Mix it up until it's well combined.

Now you want to take a ball of cake mixture and roll it up into a ball. You will have to work it between your hands. Then line them up on a cookie sheet and pop in the fridge or freezer until it's set up.

Then you need to melt your almond bark. Once it's melted you just roll around the cake truffles in the chocolate. You can use sprinkles to decorate the truffles before the chocolate sets up. The chocolate will set up quickly since the cake balls were chilled.

I decorated these with a white pearl, but you could use sprinkles, melted chocolate, coconut, or nuts! Again, the flavor combinations are fun to play with.



I stored them in the fridge until ready to serve. This recipe would be great with red velvet cake mix, cream cheese frosting and white chocolate almond bark. How great would that be at Christmas?

Or for Thanksgiving do a pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting and white chocolate almond bark?


OR MAYBE a death by chocolate... chocolate cake, chocolate frosting, and chocolate almond bark!

The possibilities are endless and it's super easy to do with kids!


Until next time,

Kara


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Dulce de Leche Churro Sticks

We are back with recipe #2 from Chelsea's bridal shower!


I am a sucker for anything remotely caramel flavored. When I saw Cookies & Cups post a recipe for these churro sticks I was pumped! I thought this is something a little different for the shower.


This recipe is pretty simple and the possibilities are endless! And honestly, who doesn't like anything rolled around in cinnamon and sugar?!? 

Dulce de Leche Churro Sticks
1 box of refrigerated pie crusts
1/2 can dulce de leche
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2-3 teaspoons cinnamon
1/3 sticks butter, melted

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

I floured my counter and rolled out both pie crusts. 

Then I took about half my can of dulce de leche and spread out all over one pie crust. 

I covered the first pie crust with the second and used my pizza cutter to cut strips.

I then placed the strips on my baking sheets and used a fork to seal the edges of the sticks.

I baked them in the oven for 20 minutes until they were a light, golden brown. 

While they were baking I mixed my granulated sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl.

When the sticks came out of the oven, I had to use my pizza cutter to cut off a little dulce de leche that leaked out and burnt. Ooops.... No harm done! You just have to roll with it in the kitchen.

Next you brush each side of each stick with melted butter and roll it in the cinnamon sugar mixture.


Set on a baking rack to cool a little bit, but these are great eaten warm or at room temperature!

If you don't like dulce de leche, you could fill these with Nutella, caramel sauce and diced apples, peanut butter, whatever your heart desires! Or just bake the pie strips and roll them in cinnamon sugar!

Until next time,

Kara