I’m not a huge sweets fan, but I absolutely love to bake. I think its the joy that it brings people when you give them a huge plate of chocolate chips cookies or a big slice of pumpkin cake.
Chocolate chip cookies are one of my all time favorite treats to make. They’re the perfect balance of salty and sweet. This recipe includes extra flour because I like very puffy cookies.
I’m posting my Monday meal just a little bit late this week.
This soup is so perfect for the chilly fall temperatures we’ve been having. It warms you right up. My favorite thing about this soup is that it is not heavy. You can eat three servings and not feel too full. This is probably due to ingredients like ginger and coconut milk.
Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add oil to pot. Add mushrooms, pepper, ginger, and garlic. Saute for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chile paste and cook for another minute.
Add chicken stock, coconut milk, fish sauce, sugar, and lime juice. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Add chicken to pot and cook 1 minute, or until heated through. Pour soup into bowls and garnish with green onion and cilantro.
This recipe of courtesy of Tessa from Handle the Heat. I hope you enjoy!
I’m going to try to start sharing a few of my recipes on here. I love the idea of starting my week off with a great, home cooked meal. I have always loved to cook and it really is a creative outlet for me. It’s also the perfect way for me to de-stress after a day of work.
Tonight I made chicken parm. There is nothing better than cooking a simple meal with ingredients you already have in your pantry.
I used my cast-iron skillet for this recipe. This most important tip I can give you about cooking with a cast-iron skillet, is that you always want to properly heat your pan. I set my skillet over medium heat for 5-10 minutes before I’m ready to start cooking. Once the pan is nice and hot, you can then add your oil.
Next, I crushed up the bread to use for the coating on the chicken breast. I mixed the bread crumbs with a little bit of Italian seasoning and parmesan. I wish I knew moe specifically how much of each but I never measure anything!
When I have chicken breast, I like to slice them in half or butterfly them so that they cook a little bit faster.
I made an easy egg and milk mixture and added a little bit of salt and cayenne pepper. We like spicy food in our house. I dipped each piece of chicken in this liquid and then moved them to the bowl of breadcrumbs. Once the chicken was nice and coated, I added some olive oil to my cast-iron began searing the chicken.
In order to cook all the way through, the chicken needed about three minutes on each side. When I could tell that it was done, I moved the chicken to a plate to rest while I cooked down some cherry tomatoes. I dumped about 10 small tomatoes into my cast-iron and let them blister on medium heat for about 7 minutes.
I then added the chicken back into the pan along with half a jar of store bought pasta sauce. While these ingredients got to know each other, I set my broiler.
Finally, I topped everything with some mozzarella and another sprinkle of parmesan and transferred the whole thing to the broiler for about 8 minutes.
In my opinion, the finished results were not only delicious but also very pretty. You know what they say! Our phones always eat first.
Below you can find a list of ingredients and simplified instructions. Enjoy!
I’ve been wanting to write about our engagement for a while. Mainly because I am a memory collector and I always want to be able to peek back into this part of my life. It truly has been the sweetest time of my life so far. I am getting ready to marry the love of my life!
Quentin and I got engaged on December 16th, 2017, seven months after we graduated. We met at Rockhurst University in the fall of 2013.
It was truly the most perfect proposal. I couldn’t have dreamed up a better day.
That morning, I went with my mom and sisters to go and get my nails done. I was a little bit suspicious but my mom did a really great job of throwing me off. I got my nails painted Christmas-y red. Christmas is my absolute favorite time of year.
That afternoon we got dressed and ready to head down to Top of the Rock (one of my all time favorite spots in the Ozarks). My parents, Paige and John-David all left about 20 minutes before us to go pick up John-David’s friend Joey.
30 minutes later, I was starting to get stressed. Claire was taking so long to get ready. I was beginning to think that we would miss our reservation. We finally left the house and just as we got to the highway, Quentin realized that he left his wallet at home. I was so frustrated! We were definitely going to miss out reservation.
Little did I know that Q was timing everything perfectly. We finally arrived at Top of the Rock. It was a beautiful, unseasonably warm December night. The sun was just beginning to set over the lake. Quentin and I strolled around looking for my family who had beaten us there.
We walked out on a patio with a stunning view of Table Rock. I realized that no one was around. Somehow, we were the only two people around. We took in the view for a few quick minutes. It was enough time for me to realize what was about to happen. I turned towards Quentin who was getting down on one knee.
He pulled the ring out from under his shirt. He drove the entire way to Branson with the ring hidden in the armpit of his sweater! Haha!
He said a few things that neither of us can remember, but I’m sure they were so sweet. And then finally the words, “Will you marry me?”.
I burst into tears and feel onto my knees. I was wearing huge shoes and was worried that I would trip from excitement. Quentin pointed up to a balcony above us. His family had traveled all the way from Kansas City to celebrate with us that night. Both families had a perfect view of the proposal. It was the best night of my life.
We had dinner in a small, secret room. You had to enter through a false bookshelf! I remember not being able to eat. I’ll never forget the feeling of gratitude I had that night; celebrating with the people I love, cozy in a small room lit by the fireplace.
We are getting married on June 15, 2019 at the same church where my parents were married 27 years ago. Quentin, I cannot wait to spend the rest of our lives together!
Reading is one of my favorite past times. There’s nothing better than, for a few hours, escaping to someone else’s world.
For the past few years I have been keeping a running list of which books I’ve read throughout that year. It’s fun to look back on each one. It almost serves as a little time machine into who I was in that small phase of my life.
One of my favorite weekend activities is going to Half-Priced Books and browsing the clearance section. One time I left with 10 books for just $30.
Sharing with others is a such a huge part of who I am so I thought that I would release my lists out into the world.
If you have any book suggestions send them my way!
As part of my Lenten goal for this year, I decided that I wanted to take a break from social media and really make an effort to live in the present moment. I didn’t know how this would effect my blog writing. I decided that, if I was feeling inspired, I would write. I did not want to push myself to meet any deadlines or stretch my self to live up to unrealistic standards that I tend to set for myself.
A large part of living in the moment began with my morning routine. I have never been much of a morning person up until this year. Mornings have since become my most cherished part of the day. A great morning makes for a fantastic day.
There is something about waking up and having time to sip some coffee and watch the sun come up. I was blessed with an absolutely beautiful sunrise this morning. Even better than watching the sun rise over the rainy clouds, was opening my copy of Jesus Calling and reading this:
“Bring Me the sacrifice of thanksgiving. Take nothing for granted, not even the rising of the sun.”
Could that have been any more perfect? God is always speaking to us. We just have to take the time to listen.
I love to take the time to journal and pray first thing in the morning before I have the chance to become distracted by my to-do list or my iPhone. Even if five minutes is all I have to offer to God, those five minutes have the power to influence the rest of my day. God knows exactly how to speak to you and what you need to hear. This morning I was reminded of how incredibly lucky I am to be able to see the sunrise.
Meditation is another great tool for staying mindful. Many people struggle with the concept of meditation. Sitting still with your thoughts, even for just a few minutes, can seem incredibly daunting. The key is to remember that practice always helps. Stay positive and be patient with yourself. With time, meditation will become second natured.
Guided meditation can be very beneficial to a meditation practice. There are endless options for guided meditation on YouTube or on your smart phone. I use a free app called Calm. Guided meditations can help you to stay focused and in the present. Here is a quote from my afternoon meditation:
Add things to your room that make you happy. Keeping fresh flowers or your favorite stuffed animal by your bed will never fail to put a smile on your face 🙂
I am coming up on a year of living in my apartment. Having been in college the last four years, I’ve moved around a lot. As in like, once a year. My apartment definitely feels like home and it’s somewhere I want to stay for a long time.
As a little gift to myself for signing a new lease, I decided I wanted to spruce up my room with a few new decorations. I did some research and got some inspiration from numerous talented bloggers on Instagram. I have been especially inspired by the style of blogger Lunar Over Linear. Check out her blog here 🙂 I began to notice how popular house plants have become. That was exactly what I needed to add some life to my bedroom.
I set out to Home Depot having done no research on house plants. I was excited when I found that they had a huge section of indoor plants available. I was nervous that this would not be the case considering it’s the middle of February.
I scanned over the plants, judging only on price and appearance. I quickly settled on a large Majesty Palm. I took it home and found the perfect spot for it in my room.
I was so excited about how it looked. I felt like I was at the beach. My room was turning into a secret little oasis and I loved it.
Now here’s the sad part of the story. I figured out that it would be pretty smart to do some research into the care of my plant. I googled “how to care for a Majesty Palm”. Disaster struck. Every website, every blog, every post I could find, strongly warned against buying a Majesty Palm for your home. Apparently, they are one the most high maintenance, dramatic, temperamental plants you can find. They also attract spider mites… gross.
Sorry Majesty Palm, as majestic as you looked, my personal oasis does not include spider mites.
It was back to the drawing board. This time I decided to take my time and do my research. The unanimous opinion by almost all of the online sources I found, was that the snake plant is the best indoor plant you can get. Even researchers at NASA have said that the benefits of having a snake plant in your home are huge.
I consulted my good pal Kolt. He loves plants and is very knowledgeable on the subject. He recommended that I go to a little place called Soil Service on the corner of Troost and Gregory here in KCMO. They staff were so incredibly friendly. I worked with Caleb to find the perfect Snake Plant for me. He was not only incredibly knowledgeable but also so passionate about plants.
I am in love with my new plant. And I actually mean it. It is the perfect size and so low maintenance. It only needs water about once a month!
At night while were sleeping, the Snake Plant works tirelessly to convert carbon dioxide into fresh and pure oxygen. It also removes toxins including formaldehyde and benzene from the air. This is so beneficial for creating an ideal sleep setting. It’s pretty magical.
I have to say, this may be my first house plant (with the exception of a few succulents I already have), but it won’t be my last. Everyone should consider the benefits of owning a house plant. Not only do they provide physical health benefits, but they can also provide mental stability and wellness. Being able to love and care for something in order to promote its growth and well being is always a great thing!
Featured on the home page of my blog is a beautiful photo of a few delicate, white peonies. I love this photo. It is hanging in my bedroom above my desk where I do a lot of writing. Its simple and clean colors inspire me to clear my mind. Something about it is just so refreshing and classic.
The most special part about this photo is that it was a gift from my grandfather, or as I call him, my Poppy. Poppy has a true talent for photography. All of his photos capture the light just right. They are absolutely beautiful and look absolutely professional. He has natural born talent that I truly envy! Maybe I’ll inherit it one day…
I was lucky enough to get to interview Poppy about his photos and he had some wonderfully insightful things to say…
There’s another one, one I took in Colorado Springs. There’s a big resort there and I took some pictures of these flowering bushes. They had pink flowers. I really like that one. Those are probably my two favorites.