Sunday, August 26, 2012

Family Love


This weekend has been a happy blur. I have been constantly reminded of how blessed Andy and I are by our family. Friday and Saturday we spent time visiting with Andy's family. Every year around his late grandmother's birthday, they try to have a get together, or family reunion of sorts. I never thought of my extended family as small until I became a part of Andy's family. His dad was one of 9 children, so he has aunts, uncles, and cousins galore. Even after years of being part of this family, I still have to be reminded sometimes of which cousin or grandchild or boyfriend goes with whom. I can count on one hand how many cousins I have, but I won't even begin to try to count how many Andy has. We spent most of Saturday enjoying being with family, watching some old home videos, eating until we were way past stuffed, and roasting in the sun watching the kids run around. (I was a bad blogger and didn't take any pictures unfortunately)

Today we experienced the blessing of being with our faith family. Once a month, our smaller house church groups meet together in what we so aptly call our "large group gathering". I had to work the last Sunday we had large group, so I was especially glad to get to see everyone today. It is just past one year now that we have been meeting together as a church here in East Lake. It is amazing to see the things that the Lord has done in this one year. It is especially sweet to me to see the neighbors that God has brought into our church and how we truly have become like a family. Love you TCASEL peeps!

On a totally unrelated note, I discovered today that Publix has digital coupons now! I am a recovering coupon-aholic (I got burned out from couponing overload a couple years ago), so I like finding couponing methods that are simple, not time consuming, and don't require lots of printing and cutting. Sounds too good to be true, right?

Well, Publix has started a digital coupon program in select states/cities. All you have to do is register your phone number, then click the coupons that you want. At checkout, you enter your phone number into the card reader and it automatically applies your applicable coupons to your purchase. Since I don't have a smartphone to upload coupons to, I feel like this is the next best thing. If you shop at Publix, check it out!

Hope you have a wonderful week! We are counting down the days until our Labor Day lake trip. Heber, here we come!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Long Time Coming


This week is an exciting one for me & Andy. In the 4 years that we have been married, we have never worked "normal" schedules. With me being a nurse, my hours have always been a little outside the norm. And Andy has been working in Montgomery (a 1 1/2 hour commute one way) for almost 2 years now. For a while, Andy has been hoping for a transfer to the Birmingham office and...starting tomorrow he will be working in Birmingham!!! So instead of that long trek down the interstate, he will only have to drive about 15 mins to get to work. And...

For the past year, I have been working an evening-ish shift Mon-Fri of either 11am-7:30pm or 10am-6:30pm. Not too bad, but still not "normal".

Well, it just so happens that this same week, I got to switch to the 7am-3:30pm shift. So now, for the first time in 4 years, we will both be working decent hours. This may not be a terribly exciting post for you readers out there, but we are beyond excited!

However, adjusting to getting up earlier every day has not been the easiest thing. I have always been the type of person that has to be dragged (drug?) out of bed in the morning (right, Mom?). I set 2 alarms so that I can wake up gradually and hit snooze a few times.

Because every minute saved in the morning is a minute longer I can sleep, I tried out a grab & go recipe for breakfast this week. Sunday afternoon, I made some egg muffins similar to these. I kept a couple in the fridge for my first few days of work and stuck the rest in the freezer so I could just pull one out in the mornings and pop it in the microwave. So far they've been pretty tasty!



Egg Muffins

11 eggs
4-5 T milk
salt & pepper to taste
whatever toppings your heart (or tummy) desires:
sausage, ham, turkey, cheese, mushrooms, peppers, onions, broccoli, etc.


Last minute picture of toppings


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin pan. Saute veggies, if desired (I wanted my veggies nice and tender). Whisk together eggs, milk, salt, & pepper. Pour egg mixture into muffin tin until 1/2 to 2/3 full (depending on how many toppings you want to add; more toppings=less egg mixture). Fill with desired toppings. Bake for about 25 minutes, until muffins begin to brown on top.


This time around I tried these combos:
    Mushrooms, onions, spinach & cheese
    Peppers, onions, sausage & cheese
    Broccoli, onions, cheese, & green peppers

Now I can hit the snooze one more time in the morning...


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Strawberries and Cream Pie



As much as I love sweets, I had to work a dessert recipe in here before too long. I saw this recipe (again, on Pinterest) a while ago and had been wanting to try it. It didn't disappoint! How can you go wrong with strawberries, cream cheese, & some sugar?

Strawberries & Cream Pie

(from lululuathome.com)

Crust
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

Filling
1 cup whipping cream
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
10 fresh strawberries, halved (*)

Glaze
1/2 cup chopped strawberries
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons cornstarch

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9-inch pie dish.
To prepare crust, mix graham cracker crumbs and melted butter in a small bowl, and mix until a moist yet crumbly mixture forms. Firmly press the mixture into the bottom and sides of the pie dish. Bake for 10 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

To prepare filling, in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the cream until it holds firm peaks. Remove cream from bowl and keep cold in fridge.

In the same bowl, use a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese until it’s soft and creamy. Add sugar and vanilla, continue beating until combined. Gently fold 1/3 of the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture to lighten the mixture, then add the remaining cream and continue folding until incorporated. Pour the cream mixture in the cooled crust. Smooth the top with a spatula. Arrange strawberries on top of the pie.

To prepare the glaze, cook over medium heat the strawberries, sugar and water for 2 minutes. Add cornstarch, stir until thick and clear, about 8 minutes. Strain through a sieve (**), let cool slightly before pouring over halved strawberries.
Refrigerate the pie until set, about 3 hours, or preferably overnight.

*The strawberries I had were kind of large, so I sliced them instead of halving them
**My sauce was a little thick, so it didn't strain well. Instead, I pureed it in the blender and then poured it over the pie.



Graham Cracker Crust



Glaze
 

Finished product!