Christmas Ornament Wreath

This wreath was super easy and fun! I got some ornaments from the dollar store. I cut out an "O" from cardboard, and simply hot-glued the ornaments to the cardboard frame.  A little bit of ribbon finished the decoration.

Total cost $2.00

24 Days of Christmas Scripture Chain

 This is something I came up with after finding a cute Christmas chain on Pinterest. The author of the pinterest picture had put fun Christmas activities that you could pull off and enjoy during the holiday season. I thought it would be fun to up Christmas scriptures on the chain to pull of each day and read. It is a fun countdown, and a good way to remember the spirit of the season. 

It is super easy. Just print out the scriptures on Christmas paper, cut out links, and staple together. Tear off and read one scripture starting December 1st. (ps. if you want the document with the list of scriptures, e-mail me and I'll send it to you :) )


Ruffled Scarf

I had a pair of cotton lounge pants that I never wear, so I decided to make a scarf, and proceeded to cut them up.

The technique I used was similar to this blog's instructions. Basically what you do is use a zig-zag stitch to surge the ends, while stretching the fabric. That way when the stitch is complete, the fabric pulls back into a ruffled design. I did this to two strips (one, 3/4 inch wider than the other), plus some lighter colored fabric (which I ended up sewing onto either end of one of the strips) to add some depth.

I then layered the two pieces together, folded them in half on top of each other, and surged the center fold into a ruffle as well. I ended up sewing the two ends together to make a double looped tube scarf.

Look at my diagram for a better idea of the layout. It was fun, easy, and I only had to buy the thread. Now that is what I call a bargain :)

Muffin Tin Advent Calendar

I found this great idea on pinterest. Look at this cool blog for the details. It is actually made with a mini muffin tin. I had so much fun making it.

Put a treat or scripture behind the door
The two things I did differently were I used mod podge instead of spray adhesive, and I painted the muffin tin gold. What a cute and functional holiday decoration :)


Pie Crust

I have tried to perfect my pie crusts for some time. I just never seamed to make it both tasty and beautiful. The crust edges would either slip down during baking, or the unbaked crust would crack as I put it in the pie tin. Then I figured out what makes a good pie crust GREAT. The key is to refrigerate (or freeze briefly) the crust before rolling out, and for after shaping into the tin. I'm not a pie crust expert, but this recipe is the best I've found.


  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 - 1/2 cup cold water


  1. Mix shortening, flour, and salt together with a fork or a pastry blender until very crumbly. Add as much water as needed to hold together, and mix lightly with a fork.
  2. Press into a ball and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 40 min or freeze for 20 minutes. 
  3. Roll out on floured surface and then lay over pie tin. Cut off excess, and if desired crimp edges. 
  4. Refrigerate for 40 minutes, or freeze for 20 minutes. 
  5. For a double crust pie, double the recipe.

Pumpkin Pie



  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin pure
  • 1 can (12 fl. oz.) evaporated milk
  • 1 unbaked 9-inch (4-cup volume) deep-dish pie shell (see pie crust recipe)
  • Whipped cream (optional)


  1.  Mix sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.
  2. Pour into pie shell.
  3. Bake in preheated 425° F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350° F; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. If crust begins to brown too quickly, cover with aluminum foil. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate. Top with whipped cream before serving.

My Beef Bourguignon


  • 1 ½ lb. beef chuck, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 ½ cups pearl onions, shelled
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 5 medium carrots, sliced
  • 4 medium potatoes, diced
  • 2 celery ribs, diced
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz. each) diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz. each) beef broth
  • 1 can (10.75 oz.) condensed tomato soup, undiluted
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley flakes
  • 1 tsp beef bullion

  1. Combine all ingredients in a 5-quart slow cooker. Stir. Cover and cook on low 8-10 hours or until meat is tender.

This recipe can also be frozen in bags and thawed for a quick meal. Just don't freeze the potatoes. 

Broccoli & Potato Cheese Soup



  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 (16 ounce) package frozen or 2-3 cups fresh broccoli (chopped)
  • 2-3 medium potatoes, diced into small cubes
  • 4 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
  • 1/2 lb processed cheese food, cubed
  • 1/2 lb shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup water


  1. In a stockpot, melt butter over medium heat. Cook onion in butter until softened. Stir in broccoli and potatoes, and cover with chicken broth. Simmer until vegetables are tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Reduce heat, and stir in milk and garlic powder. When hot, add cheese and stir until melted.
  3. In a small bowl, stir cornstarch into water until dissolved. Stir into soup; cook, stirring frequently, until thick.                                                                                                *note: if you don't like broccoli and potatoes together, this recipe can be used to make broccoli cheese soup or potato cheese soup separately. Just don't add the other vegetable, and double to one being used.


Honey Mustard Dressing, Dip, Sauce

I found this quick and easy dressing recipe on allrecipes.com. We tested it on a simple green salad, and it was amazing! I can imagine it would be delicious as a dip or sauce as well (I bet it would be great on a hamburger). It is even easier than going to the store to buy dressing.

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Combine and store in the fridge


Buttered Basil Shrimp

Now first, I must say that I HATE all types of SEAFOOD! That's right. Anything that has lived in water, with the exception of a California sushi roll, disgusts me. So you can imagine my surprise when I actually enjoyed my seafood meal at a west coast restaurant after being referred there by a friend (who incidentally also hates seafood). How could I have been so delighted by my shrimp dinner that I was reluctant to give up even a taste to Josh?

The answer is ... Butter.

Yes, the same answer I have to all cooking questions. Just add butter and it will taste better. I fried these shrimp in melted butter, and they turned out just as delicious as Mo's Restaurant. If you are a seafood hater, just try this! If you don't like basil, try another spice, or heck, just salt! The butter is the key. And make sure you use high quality butter. I have tried countless shrimp dishes from a variety of restaurants, but they must have either used oil (which I feel enhances the fishy flavor, rather than getting rid of it), or cheap butter. I used fresh Tillamook butter...mmmm nothing better!

1 lb uncooked, cleaned shrimp
Garlic powder/ garlic salt
2 Tbls lemon juice
4-6 Tbls butter

1. Sprinkle the shrimp with the salt, garlic powder, and basil, to taste (flip and repeat to the other side if you want extra flavor). Drip the Lemon juice over the seasoned shrimp.

2. Heat a skillet to medium heat. Melt the butter in the pan. Lay the shrimp in a single layer in hot butter. Fry for 3-5 minutes (depending on how hot your pan is). Flip to the other side and cook 2-4 minutes more.

I served these over Fettuccine Alfredo, but Josh liked them with cocktail sauce too.

Blackberry Pie Filling

In Oregon, Blackberries are considered a weed....they grow EVERYWHERE! I absolutely love blackberries, so I wanted to utilize their under appreciated taste and make pie filling. I canned the pie filling I made, so I could use it this winter. It was surprisingly easy, and turned out great. Have you seen how much they charge for canned blackberry pie filling at the store? It is well worth the effort to can your own not only for the superior taste, but also for the savings!

The one ingredient you may not recognize is the "Clear Jel". It's similar to cornstarch, but doesn't break down during the canning process. It also creates a clear syrup when thickened. It can be found at most cake decorating or culinary stores. I don't know if you can replace it with cornstarch when canning, as I've heard mixed feedback about cornstarch's ability to hold up under heat. If you aren't planning on canning the filling, however, go ahead and use the cornstarch.

Now to tell you the truth, I didn't follow any recipe exactly. I was looking of three different recipes, and tweaking them into my own, so I added a bit more/less here and there. This is the general recipe though. As long as you get the clear jel and lemon juice measured correctly, everything else can be tweaked to your taste. Give it a try!

2 quart jars or 4 pint jars (if canning)

2-quarts (8 cups) fresh blackberries
1 1/2 cups sugar                    (can make adjustments for tartness of berries)
1/2 cup Clear Jel                    (replace equally with cornstarch if not canning)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon         (optional, I liked the taste it adds though)
2-3 cups water                       (depending on how thick you want the filling)
 3 Tbls lemon juice

1. Select quality, firm, ripe berries. Rinse berries and set aside.
2. Combine Clear Jel, sugar and cinnamon in a large saucepan. Add water and mix until smooth. Stirring during the thickening process is critical for a smooth product. Heat, stirring mixture constantly until it bubbles. Quickly add lemon juice and boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. (you may add more water at this point if you want to have a berry topping instead of pie filling). Remove from heat and fold in berries. You can eat it right away (makes 2 pies) or can it, as directed below. 
3. Fill 2 quart jars (or 4 pint jars), leaving 1 to 1 1/2 inches of headspace.(I made some in pint jars because when there are only two of us, we don't need such large amounts)
4. Process in a boiling water canner for 30 minutes at sea level, 35 minutes at 1001 to 3000 feet and 40 minutes at altitudes 3001 to 6000 feet. Each quart of pie filling will make an 8- or 9-inch pie.
(FYI: if you decrease the sugar just a bit, this recipe is great for blueberry pie filling too!)

Rosemary Bread (Macaroni Grill copycat)

I came across this recipe a few weeks ago and just got around to posting it. When dipped in olive oil & pepper, it tastes JUST like the bread they serve at the Macaroni Grill. It is really tasty, especially hot!

1 cup warm water
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped (or 2 tsp. dried)
1/4 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 cup wheat flour
1 - 1 1/2 cups white flour (use as needed to form smooth dough)
1 egg, whisked + 1 Tbsp. water, for egg wash
dried rosemary, for sprinkling

1. In a large bowl, combine the warm water, sugar, and yeast. Let sit 10 minutes to proof.

2. Stir in the salt, rosemary, seasonings, olive oil, and whole wheat flour. Add the bread flour and stir until the dough forms a ball. Knead for about 5 minutes, adding more flour as necessary to prevent sticking, until smooth.

3. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl; cover; and let rise until doubled in size, about1 hour.

4. Punch down the dough and form it into a round loaf. Place it on a cornmeal dusted cookie sheet (or pizza stone); let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 F. Once the dough has risen, gently brush the top with egg wash and sprinkle with dried rosemary.

6. Bake on preheated stone for 20-25 minutes until the top is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.

7. If desired, drizzle a few tablespoons olive oil on a plate and sprinkle with black pepper. Dip warm bread into oil. The olive oil and pepper bring out the flavor of the bread. Delicious!