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Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday Calls for Cookies!

On Wednesday I got an unexpected day off from work.  Along with getting some much needed relaxing/reading in I decided that I wanted to do some baking.  I made cookies and a new pumpkin muffin.  I cannot say that I was that impressed with the pumpkin muffins, they just were not that pumpkiny (is that a word)!  Anyone have a good pumpkin recipe?

But the Snickerdoodle cookies I made I took the cake.  They were crispy on the edges and soft in the middle.  Not to mention snickerdoodles leave your kitchen smelling heavenly, nothing beets the smell of fresh baked cookies and cinnamon!  Snickerdoodle cookies rank right up there with chocolate chip cookies, and of course  peanut butter cookies.  

This particular snickerdoodle recipe comes from Cooking Light, I do love Cooking Lights online archive of recipes!

Lets get baking.
What you will need:
1 3/4 Cups Flour 
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda 
1/2 Teaspoon Cream of Tarter 
1 Cup Sugar 
1/4 Cup Butter Softened
1 Tablespoon Corn Syrup 
1 Teaspoon Canilla 
1 Large Egg 
3 Tablespoons Sugar 
2 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon 
Cooking Spray

Here is what you do :
Combine the flour, baking soda and cream of tarter.  Stir to combine.
In a mixing bowl combine butter and sugar until well blended.  
Then add your corn syrup, egg and vanilla.  Mix well. 
Slowly add your four mixture and mix until well combined.
Now sit your cookie dough in the fridge for 10 min.
While the cookie dough is in the fridge combine 3 Tablespoons Sugar and your 2 Teaspoons Cinnamon.
After 10 minutes in the fridge pull your cookie dough out.  Roll cookie dough into 42-1 inch balls.
Roll the cookie dough balls into the sugar and cinnamon mixture. 
Once your cookie dough balls have been rolled in the cinnamon sugar, place them on a cookie sheet.
Now flatten the cookie dough balls with a water glass.
Bake the cookies for 5 minutes, and allow the cookies to cool for 2 minutes on the cookie sheet!

Next step, grab a big glass of milk and enjoy a nice warm, fresh snickerdoodle cookie!
Enjoy, and Happy Friday
A bit of inspiration!
Remember to live Happily Ever Healthy!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fall Flavors-Stuffed Acorn Squash

Does anyone else have another grey day on their hands?  Up her in Minnesota we do!  I have the day off so I am trying to stay motivated to get my to do list done!  I have to admit I am a bit groggy this morning,  did not sleep well at all.  I stayed up later then usual reading this book. 
I saw the movie Sarah's Key this past Saturday with My mom, my moms god daughter and family friends.  We all left the movie with watery eyes and heavy hearts.  Sarah's key is about the July 16th 1942 French round up of the Jews.  The book itself is a Historical Fiction, but the events described in the book/movie are very much real.  The book follows the lives/happenings of a young Jewish girl Sarah.  She is one of the many children that are rounded up in France back in 1942.  The story slowly works Sarah's story into 2002 where it intersects with a American Journalists.   Both the book and movie are heartbreaking, hopeful, thought provoking and at times dark.  But with that being said I still highly recommend the book and the movie.  The book is  page turner, I am already 190 pages into the book Sarah's Key and I got the book Sunday(it was one of those I have to read the book now type things)!   

Now onto the food related topics of this post.  Before my mom hit up Barnes and Nobles on Sunday to pick up Sarah's Key we decided to go to a local apple orchard!  The weather was perfect not to cold but still the crisp fall air that I absolutely love!  Nothing smells better then crisp fall air, mixed with the scent of fresh apples!  
Not to mention the orchard we went to had apple donuts and the smell wafted through the little shop, it truly smelled amazing.  My mom and I decided not to go apple picking, but we did not leave empty handed!  We left the apple orchard with 2 big bags of apples, 2 acorn squash, and one butternut squash.  I had never prepared acorn squash before but was excited to try something new. I looked up a few recipes for inspiration and after a long 5 mile hike with my mom I rolled my sleeves up and got to work on dinner!  Dinner featured an acorn squash (we picked up at the apple orchard) and was stuffed with wonderful flavors of fall.  Think cranberries apple and cinnamon!  I love the smell of cinnamon and apples baking, the smell seems to linger throughout the house.  

Monday, September 26, 2011

Chocolate Wonderland

Good Morning lovely bloggers!  I hope you had a wonderful and relaxing weekend.  Is everyone having a good start to the week?  My day has started a bit slow, and it is rainy here in Minnesota.  It makes me just want to stay curled up by the fireplace with a book.  But I know that cannot happen today, I have a long to do list and I have to go to work!  I have been sitting by my phone waiting to hear how Marks first day of work went!  I hope it is going well.

Anyways I have the perfect recipe that is sure to brighten any rainy day.  Because lets be honest who doesn't love lots and lots of chocolate?  I have grown up eating this chocolate cake, it has been a family favorite for as long as I can remember.  I remember being a little girl helping my mom make this cake.  This was the very first chocolate cake I learned how to make!

  The best part was getting to eat a cup full of the chocolaty batter before the eggs went in (and yes I did this the other day when I made it, and so did my mom)!  It is just that good.  This cake is nothing fancy, just a simple chocolate sheet cake, but sometime simple is better.
(You can see we have used this recipe a lot)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Just A Soup Kinda Day

Alright before I start talking all about soup I have a bit of a side note.  I was going through my moms cookbook cabinet last night (just for something to do) and stumbled across these, 
These are my very first cookbooks!  Did anyone else have these American Girl Doll Cookbooks or have a slight obsession with the dolls as a little girl?  I had to laugh as I flipped through the pages of the cookbooks.  I can still remember all the recipes that my sister and I used to make when we were little.  Who would have thought I would eventually learn and love to cook!

Just a little childhood memory I felt I had to share with you all!  Just like I feel I have to share these soup recipes with you!  While yesterday was sunny it was still pretty chilly, and nothing sounded better then big bowls of soup.  Soup for lunch and soup for dinner!  I have been flashing this photo
pretty much all week, and guess what I made it yesterday for dinner!  Five and a half hours in the crock pot, the kitchen smelled amazing.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and let me say I thought the soup tasted just as good as the picture looked!  But before I talk about the Crock Posole I want to discuss pumpkin soup.  Since we are in the lovely season of fall it seems pumpkin recipes spring up everywhere.  From pumpkin bread, to pumpkin cupcakes, soups and even oatmeal.  Till yesterday I had never made a pumpkin soup. But as a bowl of leftover pumpkin stared me down from the fridge yesterday I thought to myself why not give this pumpkin soup a try!

Here is my quick quick recipe!
Black Bean and Pumpkin Soup for One!
1 Large Bowl of Soup

1/2 Cup canned Pumpkin 
1/2 Cup Black Beans 
1 Cup chicken Broth 
Garlic, Pepper, Cayenne, and Cinnamon to Taste

Here is what you do:
Throw all the ingredients into a small sauce pan and cook until heated through!
See I told you it was simple!
Pour in your favorite soup bowl and enjoy!
Here are a few more recipes I would like to try out!
Black Bean Pumpkin Soup - I would leave out the Ham and add more beans thats just me!

Now on to soup #2

If you love the way cooking in a crock pot makes your house smell, I think you will love this recipe.  This soup was a hit with my parents, kinda like a chicken tortilla soup.  My dad thought the soup would be amazing with guacamole on top, and maybe some tortilla strips.  I served the soup last night with warm cornbread, yum!

Here is what you need:
2-14.5 Ounce Cans Golden Hominy Drained 
2-14.5 Ounce Cans Chicken Broth 
1-14.5 Ounce Can Diced Tomatoes Undrained ( I used Fire Roasted)
1-4 Ounce Can Green Chilies 
1 Pound Chicken cut int 1 inch cubes 
1 Medium Onion Chopped 
2 Cloves Garlic
Fresh Cilantro 
Fresh Oregano

Here is what you do:
Chop your onion, Mince your Garlic, and cut your chicken into cubes.
Now Place everything into your crock pot.
You can either cook the soup on low for 5.5-6 Hours 
on high for 2.5 Hours
I decided I would cook mine for 5-6 hours on low.

My anticipation grew as the kitchen was filled with the wonderful smell of spices!
The finished  product!
This makes a huge batch of soup, 8-10 servings!  You will have lots of left overs, I plan on eating this for lunch today.  I think adding some fresh lime juice would be a nice touch before you serve the soup!  
I hope you enjoy, and remember to live Happily Ever Healthy!

What is your favorite thing to eat on a cold day?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

25 Things

Since I turned 25 yesterday I thought it would be fun to share a list of 25 things.  These are 25 things I have learned throughout the years, things I love and a few things I am thankful for!  I hope you enjoy!

1. In 25 Years of living I have learned to never take 'No' as an answer.  At a young age (5 to be exact) I had no problem say what I was and wasn't going to do with my life.  My parents love to tell me the "College" story.  Touring the University of Minnesota at age 5 with my parents I declared I wanted to go to the U of M.  My dad stated he thought it was to big and would be happier if his little girl went to a smaller school.  I turned to him and declared that if I wanted to go to the U of M I would, and that no one could tell me what to do.  Im strong willed I guess. 
Oh Yea I didn't even apply to the U of M when the time came, and I did go to a much much smaller school!  Yea Butler!
2.  I have learned that people come in and out of your life.  But your family will always be there for you.  
What can I say we are a pretty goofy bunch!

3. I have learned that life is tough, and sometimes doesn't turn out the way you wanted it to.  However I am thankful for the path my life has taken, I have had many wonderful experiences in my 25 years.  

4. I am thankful for a very very strong support system.  I have a caring and loving family, a wonderful boyfriend and best friends who sometimes know exactly what I am thinking before I say them.  
5. I have learned that it is ok to cry.

6. I have learned that I have a passion for cooking, and enjoy making a ridiculous mess in the kitchen.  Somethings never change!  
7. In 25 years I have learned that sometimes there is no place like home.  And no matter how far you travel you can always go home.
8. I have found that putting your whole heart into something can end up hurting you.  But I fully believe in loving to the fullest, you can never be to passionate.
9. I have learned the hard way that computers can't swim! I am on my third lap top!
10. It is never to late to try something new, and completely fall in love with it!  Mark introduced me to wake boarding and I love it!  I absolutely love being on a lake!
11. I have learned that I love running!  (never thought that would happen)!
12. My parents have taught me the greatest lesson, always do the best you possibly can.  That was their motto for my sister and I growing up.
13. I have learned there is nothing wrong with a little me time.  Sometimes you just need a night to yourself, where you can do whatever you want!

14. I have learned it is ok to ask for help.  
15. I have learned that a good pee your pants laugh can be some of the best medication in the world.  I love sitting around reminiscing with old friends, especially when the night ends with belly aching laughs!

16.  It is never to late to reinvent yourself.

17. I have learned there is nothing like loving completely and getting that love back in return.

18. I have learned/or am learning that sometimes you just have to go with the flow

19.  I have learned it is ok to make a fool out of yourself, and you should never take yourself to seriously!
20.  I have learned that things don't usually happen right when we want them to happen.

21.  I believe and have learned that everything happens for a reason, and sometimes we don't know what that reason is for a long time.

22. I have learned that shopping or window shopping can be a great cure for a bad mood.  And when you get to tired to walk anymore just sit down and try on shoes!

23.  I am thankful for for another year, another year to live with more adventures to come!

24. I have learned that you have to believe in yourself, and sometimes take a leap of faith.

25. And last but certainly not least, in 25 years I have learned to be true to myself!

Hope you enjoyed this!  Have a fabulous rest of your day and remember to live Happily Ever Healthy!

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Birthday, and Ask5For5

Happy Monday Everyone!  I hope that you all have a wonderful start to your week.  I have a full day of Birthday celebrating to do today with Mark and my family!  Mark and I had a great weekend celebrating with his parents, and we fully plan on continuing the fun today!  25 is a big year! 

I have a wonderful and touching guest post for you today.  I bring you Sarah Lenssen from Ask 5 for 5.  I encourage you to check out the Ask 5 for 5 blog, and please continue reading.  I will be back later this afternoon with a lit of 25 things I have learned in the 25 years of life.  Enjoy and remember to live Happily Ever Healthy!

Guest Blogger: Sarah Lenssen from #Ask5for5
Family photos by Mike Fiechtner Photography

Thank you Happily Ever Healthy and nearly 150 other bloggers from around the world for allowing me to share a story with you today, during Social Media Week.

A hungry child in East Africa can't wait. Her hunger consumes her while we decide if we'll respond and save her life. In Somalia, children are stumbling along for days, even weeks, on dangerous roads and with empty stomachs in search of food and water. Their crops failed for the third year in a row. All their animals died. They lost everything. Thousands are dying along the road before they find help in refugee camps. 

At my house, when my three children are hungry, they wait minutes for food, maybe an hour if dinner is approaching. Children affected by the food crisis in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia aren't so lucky. Did you know that the worst drought in 60 years is ravaging whole countries right now, as you read this? Famine, a term not used lightly, has been declared in Somalia. This is the world's first famine in 20 years.12.4 million people are in need of emergency assistance and over 29,000 children have died in the last three months alone. A child is dying every 5 minutes. It it estimated that 750,000 people could die before this famine is over. Take a moment and let that settle in.

The media plays a major role in disasters. They have the power to draw the attention of society to respond--or not. Unfortunately, this horrific disaster has become merely a footnote in most national media outlets. News of the U.S. national debt squabble and the latest celebrity's baby bump dominate headlines. That is why I am thrilled that nearly 150 bloggers from all over the world are joining together today to use the power of social media to make their own headlines; to share the urgent need of the almost forgotten with their blog readers. Humans have the capacity to care deeply for those who are suffering, but in a situation like this when the numbers are too huge to grasp and the people so far away, we often feel like the little we can do will be a drop in the ocean, and don't do anything at all.

When news of the famine first hit the news in late July, I selfishly avoided it. I didn't want to read about it or hear about it because I knew I would feel overwhelmed and uncomfortable. I wanted to protect myself. I knew I would need to do something if I knew what was really happening. You see, this food crisis is personal. I have a 4-year-old son and a 1 yr-old daughter who were adopted from Ethiopia and born in regions now affected by the drought. If my children still lived in their home villages, they would be two of the 12.4 million. My children: extremely hungry and malnourished? Gulp. I think any one of us would do anything we could for our hungry child. But would you do something for another mother's hungry child?
My friend and World Vision staffer, Jon Warren, was recently in Dadaab Refugee Camp in Kenya--the largest refugee camp in the world with over 400,000 people. He told me the story of Isnino Siyat, 22, a mother who walked for 10 days and nights with her husband, 1 yr-old-baby, Suleiman, and 4 yr.-old son Adan Hussein, fleeing the drought in Somalia. When she arrived at Dadaab, she built the family a shelter with borrowed materials while carrying her baby on her back. Even her dress is borrowed. As she sat in the shelter on her second night in camp she told Jon, "I left because of hunger. It is a very horrible drought which finished both our livestock and our farm." The family lost their 5 cows and 10 goats one by one over 3 months, as grazing lands dried up. "We don't have enough food now...our food is finished. I am really worried about the future of my children and myself if the situation continues."
Will you help a child like Baby Suleiman? Ask5for5 is a dream built upon the belief that you will.

That something I knew I would need to do became a campaign called #Ask5for5 to raise awareness and funds for famine and drought victims. The concept is simple, give $5 and ask five of your friends to give $5, and then they each ask five of their friends to give $5 and so on--in nine generations of 5x5x5...we could raise $2.4 Million! In one month, over 750 people have donated over $25,000! I set up a fundraiser at See Your Impact and 100% of the funds will go to World Vision, an organization that has been fighting hunger in the Horn of Africa for decades and will continue long after this famine has ended. Donations can multiply up to 5 times in impact by government grants to help provide emergency food, clean water, agricultural support, healthcare, and other vital assistance to children and families suffering in the Horn.

I need you to help me save lives. It's so so simple; here's what you need to do:

  1. Donate $5 or more on this page (
  2. Send an email to your friends and ask them to join us.
  3. Share #Ask5for5 on Facebook and Twitter!
I'm looking for another 100 bloggers to share this post on their blogs throughout Social Media Week. Email me at if you're interested in participating this week.

A hungry child doesn't wait. She doesn't wait for us to finish the other things on our to-do list, or get to it next month when we might have a little more money to give. She doesn't wait for us to decide if she's important enough to deserve a response. She will only wait as long as her weakened little body will hold on...please respond now and help save her life. Ask 5 for 5.

Thank you on behalf of all of those who will be helped--you are saving lives and changing history.

p.s. Please don't move on to the next website before you donate and email your friends right now. It only takes 5 minutes and just $5, and if you're life is busy like mine, you probably won't get back to it later. Let's not be a generation that ignores hundreds of thousands of starving people, instead let's leave a legacy of compassion. You have the opportunity to save a life today!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Spaghetti Pie

Hello Thursday.  
At this time tomorrow I will be heading up to the cities to catch a flight to Indy. I take off at 9:45 AM and Mark will be there to pick me up and take me back to Dayton!
I have a great recipe for you today, one that I thought would be a little tricky at first and came together way better then expected!  I should have made soup last night because oooh my gosh did Minnesota get cold!  I mean we are talking cold here people, I had on multiple layers!  Hooray for fall weather, now I just need to find my boots!  Ok, back to dinner... I made something along the lines of a spaghetti pie.  However dinner didn't start out in the direction of spaghetti pie.  I got started on sesame noodles only to find out mid recipe that I did not have all the ingredients!  Oops!  Note to self check cabinets before you start cooking!  However I think the lack of ingredients was really a blessing in disguise, because the spaghetti pie turned out to be more of a dish I was craving!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Pumpkin Bread Anyone

Happy Monday Everyone!  Did you all have a fabulous weekend?  Did you do anything fun?
I have a wonderful recipe to share with you today.  On Saturday I finally decided enough was enough, I had to make pumpkin bread (I had only been craving it for the past week), and boy am I glad I made it.  I was extremely happy with how the bread turned out, moist, a little sweet, melty chocolate and PUMPKIN!
Read on to get this wonderful recipe!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Pumpkin Oatmeal Pancakes

I know today I was supposed to share the wonderful salad I made a few days ago but I think my breakfast deserves the spotlight.  Especially since everyone seems to be all about these right now!
Fall is finally here!
And I have a small confession to make something I would have never thought possible!  I am getting a bit sick of my daily bowl of oatmeal, I know this is shocking!  But as I was flipping through recipes last night Pumpkin Pancakes caught my eye!  The only problem was that I was not finding a recipe that I absolutely fell in love with.  The recipes either had way way to many ingredients or had things I didn't have (like bisquick).  So I developed a plan or I guess an idea and prayed that today when I set out to make these pumpkin pancakes that my idea would work!
The end result?  FABULOUS!

Not only did I want pumpkin pancakes today, but I wanted those pumpkin pancakes to be oatmeal pancakes.  I know I know just a few small demands.  Well remember those Applesauce Oatmeal Pancakes I feel in love with?  The ones from this post?  Well my thought was why couldn't I sub in pumpkin puree for the applesauce?  They both have the same consistency, and would not change the nutritional stats of the pancakes at all!  And you know what that crazy idea worked!  This morning I was happily munching on delicious pumpkin pancakes with a pumpkin yogurt topping!

Here is the fabulous recipe, which was adapted from this Taste of Homes Recipe
Pumpkin Pancakes
Serves 5 - 2 Pancakes Each

Dry Ingredients 
1-Cup Quick Cooking Oats
1/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
1/4 Cup Whole Wheat Flour 
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
Cinnamon, Nutmeg and a bit of sweetener-All as much as you want (not in original recipe)

Wet Ingredients 
1 Cup Milk (Calls for Skim I used Unsweetened Almond Milk)
2 Tablespoons Pumpkin Puree (Not Pumpkin Pie Filling)
4 Egg Whites 
A Splash of Vanilla

What you do:
Combine all Dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
Then combine all the wet ingredients in a separate bowl. 
Add your wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and start flipping pancakes!
Cook the pancakes as you would a normal buttermilk pancake, about 3-4 min per side.  Wait till you see tiny bubbles form and pop to flip your pancakes!
For the Pumpkin Yogurt Sauce!
1 Container Dannon Vanilla Greek Yogurt
1 Tablespoon Pumpkin Puree
Cinnamon, and Nutmeg
Combine all the ingredients together stir and enjoy!
I ate all the yogurt atop my pancakes with a bit of peanut butter!  I have to say there was jut the faintest hint of pumpkin to these pancakes, that is why I added a pumpkin dipping sauce! But still they were YUM!
I will leave you with this, enjoy your Thursday and remember to live Happily Ever Healthy!
This quote was emailed to me today and I laughed a bit to myself when I read it!
"Always behave like a duck-keep calm and unruffled on the surface but paddle like the devil underneath"
-Jacob Braude