Cheater Cheater, Cheese Sauce!

This week Michael made it to the grocery store on his own while I was away for a pleasant girls weekend in Philadelphia.  I am so grateful for the favor.  This way we did not have to make mystery meals through out the week with whatever it may have been left around in our pantry.

He came home with a cauliflower- and for some reason this is a thing I generally avoid when shopping.   I think its just because I just haven’t mastered making it taste good- unless of course its covered in cheese!  I was also feeling a heavy case of the Mondays… so roasting a vegetable seemed ruthless after a long tired day.   Starting the week with cheese and no workout on the books felt a little like a personal sabotage.

While trying to plan the evening menu I was reminded of a delicious cauliflower soup recipe Ive made in the past, and how there is NO added dairy.  Then my mind tripped over seeing a whole30 IGer who obsesses over cauliflower ‘Alfredo sauce.’

So, I very lazily put together this VERY delicious, easy peasy, and NOT SO bad for you cheese or Alfredo sauce.

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Ingredients :

  • 1 Large Cauliflower
  • 1/4-1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Salt/ Pepper

Thats it!

My cauliflower was scary in size.   I used about a 1/4 for the sauce, and a 1/4 to steam.

  1. Boil your cauliflower for the sauce- about 30 minutes.  It should be fall apart tender.
  2. Blend your cauliflower ( I used the nutribullet), with remaining ingredients and about a 3/4 cups cooking water from boil.

Pro Tip : more cheese, more yum.  less cheese, less guilt.  Its truly a win-win situation!

That is ladies and gents!

It seriously taste ALL cheesy.  The consistency of a cauliflower matches exactly that of blended cream.  The nuttiness caries along with the nutty parm cheese.  I can’t believe how yummy this mostly veggie blend can taste.

I plan to guise many a veggie sides with this:  zoodles (zucchini noodles), roasted broccoli, the list is easy enough to make long- because what doesn’t taste good with guilt free cheese sauce!?

 

 

Enjoy!

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Angels on Earth !

Today I will write my post while fighting tears.  They are a mix of selfish tears and joyful tears.  Many know, but for those who do not- my baby sister Stevana Estime has dedicated her life as a missionary.    Today she leaves for her permanent move to Haiti where she, her husband and Haitian native, their son, and the rest of the New Life Mission- Haiti team will build and maintain a children’s home.

It stings a little to imagine her closeness growing with her in-laws, as they watch her son grow, and celebrate special moments with out me by her side.  Of course I know her mission is bigger than birthday cakes and family outings.

I never stop feeling astonished at what a strong women she is.  Its really hard for me to imagine denying the American lifestyle.  Giving up not only luxuries and entertainment, but basic amenities.  Mostly it would be hard for me to commit to a life where my family is not a car ride away.    The thought of becoming a minority in a land where the language for her is second at best would terrify the average person.  The list of sacrifices for my sister and her small family is long- and for that I am beyond proud of her and her selfless journey.

I know at least in less than 5 short months my baby sister, angel on earth, and matron of honor will be home to stand beside me on my wedding day.

I think her story is best shared through their missionary website:

Zacharie & Stevie met when Stevie went to Haiti for a one week trip in 2011. They became friends, but never thought they’d meet again. However, after college graduation, Stevie returned to Haiti for a 4 month trip to teach english to the children in Charrier. Zacharie was her translator over that time. Soon into the trip, Stevie & Zacharie were drawn together by their passion for children’s ministry. Both had lost their fathers at young ages. So in their different countries yet similar family situations, they both witnessed firsthand, the struggles of a single parent home and the challenges it can cause.  Their hearts go out to the many children in Haiti who grow up in like scenarios whether with one parent or without any.  A lot of these kids are sent to live with another family because their own cannot provide for them. Many are forced into slave labor like conditions and never have the opportunity to even go to school or feel the true love of a parent. They feel called  to return to Haiti to help these kids. They want to raise them in a loving home where they can grow up with hopes of a future. They want them to learn to be confident in themselves and help them realize their potential. They hear God telling them to rise up leaders in Haiti who are proud of their country. They hear God telling them to teach these children about his never ending love for them.

The couple has now wed and while on their honeymoon in Haiti purchased about 2.5 acres about a mile down the road from Zacharie’s Momma’s house and New Life mission’s mission house. A wall has been built around the property and construction projects have begun! They are living stateside now as they are expecting their first child this August, 2015. They are making the move to Haiti in January 2016. Their hope is to open up New Life Mission’s children’s home by September 2016. Please pray for them as they prepare for these upcoming changing.

The family though close- is still collecting funds to make this lofty goal a reality.    The team is always looking for others to travel to Haiti and donate time or resources to those in need.  Although financing and travel may be outside of your abilities- the team is also collecting clothing and other softly used home goods as well!

 

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I ask for thoughts and prayers for my sister and her family on this fabulous journey  !

Thank you Janae Rose Photography !

So very lucky and thankful to have met such an amazing, kind, and comfortable husband and wife photography team.  I just wanted to send this shout out!

If you are in need of any photos- I send my highest recommendation !  (Pst- they travel too!)

Feel free to view a few featured shots from our dreamy out door/holiday themed engagement photo session  here:

http://janaerosephotography-blog.com/2015/12/11/lancaster-city-engagement-photo-session-rachel-michael/ 

Be sure to follow on facebook :

https://www.facebook.com/janaerosephotography/

 

Wishing you are yours and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year !

$10 DIY Tomato Cage Holiday Tree !

You have to love the internet!  How would life be with out pinterest and a facebook full of minifeeds with crafty friends and mothers!? I have to thank a DIY champion and sorority sister for this idea.  She really hit hers out of the park.  My quick rendition was simply that- QUICK!

I had been on the hunt for a reasonably priced 3′ – 5′ tree for the front porch.  I made mention before that this is only our second holiday season decorating together.  That means that we slowly making a holiday decoration collection.

Last year I promised post season I would pick up mark downs.   And of course I forget.  Desperate to add a tiny bit of cheer to the front of our home- I scoured the internet (aka- Amazon.com.)  I did not have the urge to spend $65.00 on the tree I thought would be the best fit.  So I promised myself once again- I would buy one post season.

Then I saw this great suggestion- and there are several ways to make it your own.   Although mine is a bit simple- you can surely dress it up here’s what you need :

  1.  a tomato cage (We had ours from the summer stacked in the back yard)
  2. tree trimmings OR faux garland (I got 6 15′ strands at the Dollar Tree for $1.00 each)
  3. your favorite decorations (this year, I got that at the dollar tree as well!)

Thats it!  My garland was on a wired string- so I didn’t even need glue or ties to adhere it to the tomato cage frame.  Now I can choose to reuse the tomato cage or garland for other projects if I choose.

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Sharing Smiles

Found this on the internets, and I just had to share– enjoy!

Student Captured People’s Faces When They Were Told They Are Beautiful

 

Student Captured People's Faces When They Were Told They Are Beautiful

http://aplus.com/a/people-react-being-told-their-beautiful-video?utm_content=inf_32_459_2&c=2547&utm_campaign=i2984&utm_source=a86232&ts_pid=973&tse_id=INF_951ccebdff734c86b5dac8a9b7e479ac&utm_medium=share

Soon it will be Christmas Day!

Of course I enjoy the holiday season, but never has it been that I get overly excited, giddy, can not stop talking about it.  Until this year.   As you get a little older, and a little wiser I suppose– you start to value the ‘little things.’

This year it all has felt so much more exciting.  Hearing the familiar Christmas tunes on the radio and watching social media threads fill with proudly decorated homes and yards has just filled my heart with happiness.   Maybe it’s because this year I am genuinely happy and grateful- and so I can appreciate when others have the chance to feel this way too.  Or maybe its the growing families I have been surrounded by- including my own.

This year it’s about making traditions more than just an idea but a ‘2nd annual’ reaffirmation that this is something our small family has now done more than once.  This year is about humming and singing carols to my new baby nephew dreaming of which will be his favorite one day.  This year is the last year I will carry my maiden name.

I can’t say for sure what has encouraged this excitement- but I can say, I am loving it!

Last year Michael and I erected our first Christmas tree.  With a limited collection of decorations, we promised to surprise each other each year with one new ornament.    Last night we set up our holiday decor and exchanged our little gifts.

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What is your favorite holiday tradition?

Game Night Snacks!

Michael and I have some friends that like to have the periodic “game night” !  Its such a great time.  We look forward to sharing snacks and stories, have a few cold ones, and tease each other for hours while we all try to win!  I enjoy this time with friends very much- and always try to contribute by bringing a few munchies to thank our hosts.  The week of this past occasion I was busy as usual- and I was in need for something quick/easy/cheap  (I mean, when are we not) to throw together quickly in between Friday rush hour and our game night start time.

Of course pinterest will always be there for you in your time of need.  I introduce to you the easiest snack I have ever made in my entire life:

Chocolate Pretzel Bites !

This takes 2-3 ingredients and no more than 10 minutes.  What more can you ask for- except to hope your friends will love them (and that I believe was accomplished!)

Ingredients:

  • Small bite size pretzels (In my opinion “Snyder’s Butter Snaps” will ONLY do).
  • Your favorite type of Hershey Kiss (I prefer the semi-sweets or special darks).
  • Your choice of topper (This time I used Reeses’ Pieces)

*In the past I have used Rolos in place of Kisses and nuts in place of candies!  You might even try red and white peppermint striped kisses with red and green M&Ms for a holiday theme! Get Creative!

  • Preheat oven at 325
  • Line cookie sheet with parchment paper
  • Line your sheet with as many pretzels as you have candy to top
  • Unwrap and add a kiss to each pretzel (this is the hardest part!)
  • Bake for 3 minutes
  • Top with final candy
  • Let cool

 

 

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Let’s get started!

 

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I ran out of kisses so utilized my emergency back up Costco sized bag of chocolate chips from the pantry- not as pretty, but my friends would say “Oh I got lucky, extra candy!”

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I tried first to hold the candy topper between my thumb and index finger, and with out releasing press into the kiss- I soon learned you need to drop the candy just above the kiss, and then press the candy topper with one finger.

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Final result- adorable, and SO tasty!

 

This is the perfect game night snack, no fuss, no mess.   Your hands are mostly free to hide your cards- it only takes two fingers to pop one of these guys in your mouth!

 

Enjoy !

My life, my love, my Bridal Party!

Everyday the Knot.com kindly reminds me that the days until our wedding day are quickly disappearing (214 to be exact).    Although I am confident that I will be able to get it all done- it certainly has not been with out help, encouragement, and recommendations.  My bridal party has been my reference each time I am unsure, for dress shopping, and vendor recommendations.     Besides the idea of marrying the love of my life (I still can not believe I am so lucky) – sharing this process with my closest friends has been the best part thus far.   I would have canceled the day already had I not been able to vent to each one separately about my concerns.   Here is my CREW- whom all I love so dearly!

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Each girl got a small gift bag, with a bracelet, and a few pieces of candy with clever sayings – the bracelet was tied in a knot with a note that says “I cant TIE THE KNOT, with out you by my side”, a ring pop “He POPED the question, now it’s my turn” and some gum “He may be marrying me- but now hes STUCK with you!”

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A gift for Taylor!

My sisters are my Matron and Maid of Honor – and I am so blessed to have these natural born organizer’s to help me along the way.  They know me inside and out, and every single life experience who has built the women I am.  I have never felt luckier than when I take a look at my family.  Our love and loyalty is thick and strong, and it never waivers.  There is no judging nor censoring.  We rest on each other often, and never think twice.  I love these ladies with every ounce of energy in me.

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My NEW Sisters (Michael’s Sister) Beth and Tricia.  There is no other way I would like to start our forever friendship than having them each be by are side to help and support us on our wedding day.  (BONUS:  I get the worlds CUTEST flower girl, Tricia’s daughter Taylor- yay!)  I still can’t believe a family this wonderful, smart, and loving is there with arms open to invite me in.  I didn’t know I could love another family as my own, until I met the Slick/Schuyler clan.  I have instantly felt a part, and look forward to every event that allows us to get closer.

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My college roommate, best friend, and sorority ‘little sister’ Amber.  I always thank her for being there in the weirdest/changing time of my life and still loving me!  We have never grown apart, despite how vastly our lives have changes post college.  She is as honest as you will ever find, and keeps me straight!

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And of course my ‘Ride or Dies’ – Meagan, Kristina, Katie, and Carolyn.  My inseparable/no matter what/no matter where  friends since Middle School. Co-Author’s of  5andwhine!  I can’t be happy if things are well with me and these girls.  They are so important to me, and I am so proud of how tight our bond has continued over the years.  From our first beers to first babies, we have been there through it all.

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I love you all and I am so proud to have you stand beside me!

#SeeYouOnTheSlickSide 6-11-16