Sunday, April 28, 2013

Fresh Strawberry Pie

We are enjoying some Spring weather! HAPPY DANCE!!!  Winter has been around here for too long! With the gorgeous day we had yesterday I decided to make a fresh strawberry pie.  It FINALLY feels like S~P~R~I~N~G!  The gorgeous weather does a lot for one.  I will tell you I was getting a little grumpy with the cold dreary snow that showed its face the last several weeks.  

Today {since it is already gorgeous out as I type this at 7am}, I am going to take the kids and visit our local greenhouse to get this years garden plants.   I have a very small raised garden.  The hubs plans on building me another one because he wants more tomatoes... which is fine by me!  I am deathly afraid of snakes, so with a raised garden I feel that they are less likely to be in MY space! Ha!  My oldest daughter wants a strawberry bed as well.  Which leads me to my pie....

No, these strawberries are not from my garden or my MIL's or my friends, which is where I usually snag them from.  It's been too cold this year to enjoy garden strawberries.  I did buy these at my fabulous little grocery store!  I love my store!  If you have read my blog over the years you have probably heard me mention this several times.  In fact, I talked with my grocer about blogging a trip to the store and he said to go for it.  So maybe someday I will take you shopping with me and ya'll can say hi to Bruce....1. 2. 3.  Hi Bruce!!! {sorry, that was a Finding Nemo quote}

The pie.... {I can't focus this morning}

This recipe is for 2 pies.  Only want 1 half the recipe.

2  9" baked pie shells
1 8oz pkg. Cream Cheese
1 Cup Powdered Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
3 Quarts Strawberries
2 Cups Sugar
4 Tbsp White Karo Corn Syrup
2 Cups Water
1 3 oz. Pkg. Strawberry Jell-o
1/4 Cup PLUS 2 Tbsp Cornstarch 
1 tsp Salt

Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla until well blended.  Divide mixture equally and spread over both pie shells.  Cook sugar corn syrup, water, cornstarch, and salt over medium heat until thick, add jell-o and combine.  Allow to cool.  While mixture cools, wash, hull, and slice the strawberries.  Arrange strawberries in both pie shells.  Pour mixture jell-o mixture over strawberries and refrigerate.  Top pie with your favorite whipped topping.     


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Monster Cookie Bars

I shared the recipe for Monster Cookie Bars over at Her View From Home.  They are a great alternative when you aren't up to making the traditional monster cookies.  Everyone loves a quick easy recipe, right!!!  

These cookie bars are very soft and full of my favorite food group....chocolate!  I will defiantly be making them this summer for a field meal dessert!!!!


Monday, April 15, 2013

I'm Going To Become A Hoarder...{and a recipe}

If you follow me on Facebook, you probably saw the question I asked about chocolate chips.  I prefer milk chocolate chips except when it comes to things like chocolate dipped strawberries.  The semi-sweet work much better for that.  I am an addict of chocolate.  The problem being, is my entire household is too.  This can be a serious frustration folks!!!!  I will explain.....

The other night, I was craving a nibble of cookie dough and one....just ONE... fresh baked chocolate chip cookie.  That is ALL I wanted!!!  This is no problem because I'm the type of person that if I want something, I will make it.  So, I started grabbing the ingredients to make cookies.  I went to the freezer where I keep my chocolate chips and I could not find any.  That was okay, because I know that I have a chocolate loving household and they find it necessary to walk by the freezer and grab a handful of chocolate chips whenever they want.  It happens everyday!  I decided I would start hiding a bag of chocolate chips so that when I was in NEED of know...for baking, I would have some.  I went to the cabinet where I stashed an extra bag and when I couldn't find them I went into chocolate shock!!!  Ugh!!!  I was so darn frustrated.  It was one of those "crabby cravings" I guess.  When my hubs got home I explained that I wanted to make chocolate chips and I purposely hid a bag for this very occasion.  To which he replied to me "whelp, I found em".

It is apparent that in this house chocolate chips are a hot commodity.  The last time I went to the store I picked up 4 bags of the hot item.  When I got home and put the groceries away I decided I will put 2 bags in the freezer and try another attempt at hiding the other bags.  At this point, I decided maybe I should become a hoarder of chocolate chips!

What is a hoarder?

hoard |hôrd|nounstock or store of money or valued objectstypically one that is secret or carefully guarded he came back to rescue his little hoard of gold.• an ancient store of coins or other valuable artifacts hoard of Romano-British bronzes.• an amassed store of useful information or facts, retained for future use a hoard of secret information about his work.verb [ trans. ]amass (money or valued objects) and hide or store away thousands of antiques hoarded by a compulsive collector.• accumulate a supply of (something) in a time of scarcity many of the boat people had hoarded rations.• reserve in the mind for future use [as adj. ( hoarded) a year's worth of hoarded resentments and grudges.

Yep, I think that is what I need to become!

  I began thinking of places I could "hoard" my precious milk chocolate chips.  Where you might ask?  Well here is a few places I thought my family may never find them:

1. I could put some by the toilet paper.  I swear I am the only one that can put a new roll back on the holder so they would likely never find them there.
2.   The laundry room....need I explain more!
3.  My sock drawer.  If you see me with melted chocolate on my socks....don't judge!
4.  With the cleaning supplies....another one I don't need to explain.

This list is just a start, if you have a suggestion I would love to hear it.  It might save me from another chocolate shock!

Since my fresh baked cookie craving wasn't going to leave I ended up making Reece's Cookies.

Reese's Cookies are actually delicious!  They did help with my cookie craving.

You can find the recipe on the back of a bag of Reese's Peanut Butter Chips, but I will share it with you here as well.

2 Cups All Purpose Flour
3/4 Cup Cocoa
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
1 1/4 Cups Butter, softened
2 Cups Sugar
2 Eggs
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 pkg. Reese's Peanut Butter Chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with mixer until fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla, beat well.  Stir in peanut butter chips.

Drop by rounded teaspoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 8-9 minutes.  

P.S.  If you ever watch Hoarders on TV and they air an episode about a chocolate hoarder please know I had do it for myself!!!


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Remembering 10 Years Ago {a personal story}

I am going to take you back 10 years ago today.

On April 11th, 2003, I woke up and got ready for the day.  My co-workers and I had a dental meeting in Kearney.  I was not thrilled to go because they are usually not very fun, and I was 7 months pregnant and had a lot of leg pain (which I later found out were blood clots).  But, me being me, I put on my happy face and headed to meet my co-workers in a nearby small town so we could travel together.  Our road trips are usually pretty entertaining so that makes up for boring meetings!

When we arrived at the hotel where our meeting was held, the speaker was a female.  They usually seem to be men, so it was a nice change.  I noticed she had a saucer and tea cup sitting on the podium.  I thought, she must be English and likes her tea...haha!  I don't remember her name, but I remember the words she spoke that day and they stuck with me.  I'm sure she spoke about dental terms and such, but that is not what struck me.  This lady was very open about her life and the fact her mother had been suffering from Alzheimers.  I remember the gal speaking of the fact her mother had this disease and somedays her mother didn't know who she was.  I thought to myself, how terrible of a feeling that would be to not have your mom know you.  This gal had my attention the entire time.  I never felt like I was at a dental meeting, but more of an uplifting service at church.  This lady was so positive despite going through a battle with her mother.  She talked about her faith in God and also her trust in him.  She mentioned her favorite scripture from Isaiah (I can't remember off the top of my head which one) and gave us a little piece of laminated paper with the scripture on it.  I stuck it in my wallet and carried it for many years.  Then, the non English woman picked up the saucer and tea cup.  She read this poem to us.  

Drinking From My Saucer

I've never made a fortune
and it's probably too late now.
But I don't worry about that much,
I'm happy anyhow.

And as I go along life's way,
I'm reaping better than I sowed.
I'm drinking from my saucer,
'Cause my cup has overflowed.

I haven't got a lot of riches,
and sometimes the going's tough.
But I've got loved ones around me,
and that makes me rich enough.

I thank God for his blessings,
and the mercies He's bestowed.
I'm drinking from my saucer,
'cause my cup has overflowed.

I remember times when things went wrong,
My faith wore somewhat thin.
But all at once the dark clouds broke,
and the sun peeped through again.

So God, help me not to gripe about
the tough rows that I've hoed.
I'm drinking from my saucer,
'Cause my cup has overflowed.

If God gives me strength and courage,
when the way grows steep and rough.
I'll not ask for other blessings,
I'm already blessed enough.

And may I never be too busy,
to help others bear their loads.
Then I'll keep drinking from my saucer,
'Cause my cup has overflowed.

Author unknown

This dental meeting was the best one I have ever been at.  I'm sure there will never be one to top it.  My co-workers and I made the trip back home discussing the meeting and we all agreed it was very good.  When they dropped me off at my car I called my husband.  I remember telling my husband what an awesome meeting it was.  I explained what a faith based speaker she was and that I left feeling totally blessed.  I talked about how you never know when God will use someone to touch your life.  I remember going on and on and him being unusually quiet, but figured he was probably tired.

When I was passing through town, it was very obvious my pregnant bladder was not going to last any longer.  I decided to stop at my sister in laws house to use the bathroom.  I also thought if she was home I could share about the awesome meeting I had that day.  I stormed into her house running for the bathroom.  My SIL wasn't home, but my brother in law Kyle was.  He told me something that didn't register right away.  He told me that our niece had passed away.  I remember a million things running through my head in a matter of seconds.  I remember repeating what he just told to only have him verify it again.  The tears started flowing and got in my car and headed home thinking this COULD NOT be real!!!

When I arrived home, my husband greeted me.  He expected he would have to tell me the news, but it was quite obvious by looking at me that I had already learned of our nieces death.  I can't even begin to describe the feelings and emotions of that day.  At one point I was on cloud 9 knowing that the God I serve is awesome and on another point I was mad at him for taking my precious baby niece home.  My husband told me he couldn't  bear to tell me the news over the phone especially since I was so excited about the great day I had.

As we cried, my husband and I reflected back on our prior week.  We had taken the kids and went to visit my BIL, SIL, and our 2 nieces.  We had a fabulous time of hanging out, playing cards, and my SIL and I took the girls shopping.  My niece Abigail hit 6 months old and we cheered her on as she began sitting up by herself.  I remember my brother in law being most excited about his daughters latest accomplishment!  My SIL and I discussed how different kids can be as we both had a baby with colic and now Abigail seemed so mellow.  I remember we grilled at their house and it was pretty nice out so we ate out on the patio taking in precious family time.  The older girls ran around and played in the yard.  I took some snapshots of our evening.  LIFE was good and we enjoyed our visit!  Little did we know, we would be back to visit them so soon.

My husband called his sister to give her our sympathies.  We didn't know what to say.  He let her know that we were packing our bags and would be headed up to their place as soon as possible.  We had over a three our drive to get there which allowed us time to reflect on our precious nieces short life.....which also involved an entire box of kleenex

When we arrived, you could feel the sadness and the lack of presence of Abby.  Our entire close knit family was together, but lacking.  I remember hugging my sister in law and telling her to remember the precious 6 months and 8 days she got to cherish with her daughter.  The next several days we planned her funeral.  We had picked up windmills for all the kids to place at her grave.  We were in the middle of a huge drought and that night of her funeral it rained!!!  I remember all of our family sitting in the kitchen when the raindrops started to fall and a smile came over all of our faces and we talked about how Abby must have some "pull" up there in heaven to send us much needed moisture. 

For the next week we remained in Sidney to be with our family.  Later in the week we learned that Sudden Infant Death Sydrome is what caused Abby's passing.  In the days, weeks, months, and years since Abby went to be with Jesus, we have had to learn to deal with the many stages of grieving.  Our family has learned that everyone is in a different stage at a different time.  This makes things difficult to understand, but all in all we have remained supportive of one another.  We have learned to deal with the emotional roller coaster that LIFE deals us and have stayed a strong close knit family since. 

There isn't a day that goes by that we don't remember this precious big blue eyed Angel.  To be honest, quite often we say "If Abby were only here...".  It is hard!!!  It has be 10 years ago and time does help heal, but I will tell you today, it feels like April 11th 2003 as I am flooded with emotions from that very day.

I am so thankful for our families faith in God and that we have each other to lean on in times like this.  It makes me aware that "my cup has overflowed".

We all miss you Abigail Marie and love you sooo sooooo much!!!  We will see you again one day.

The Farmer's Wife