Friday, January 27, 2012

The Heat of Expenses

It's FINALLY Friday! Wow. It has been one hectic week, to say the least. The hubby and I have still not settled into our new home completely, but we are getting there. We still have to find a dining room set, a TV for the living room (because the ancient dinosaur BOX-style big screen TV just isn't cutting it anymore), and an entertainment center. Pray that we do not have to spend too much money, please. Moving in a new home is EXPENSIVE for sure!
I wish I could plant one of these out in my back yard! (Then, I would probably have a problem with theft).

I have settled down a bit in my thinking about McKinlee's child care dilemma. It is just one of those times when the idea is FRESH and NEW that it excites the dickens out of me to where I am rambling ON AND ON about things. And then those thoughts lead to new ones...and so forth. I know that God will help guide me through my choices and deliberations. BELIEVE!

Have I mentioned lately how incredibly blessed I am! God has given me such wonderful things, and without Him present, I know that nothing would be possible. THANKFUL!

I am feeling inspired after reading my friend and fellow believer Nicole's post today. She is amazing; I only hope to get to know her more and more each day. The vulnerability and boldness of her post has made me more aware of my relationship with God. God speaks through her so fluently and graciously that I am baffled after even just reading what she has to say. I can only imagine what a DAY with her would be like!! I guess this is me calling you out, Nicole! We need to have lunch or do something sometime soon so I can get to know you better. 

Aside from all of that, I will be leaving you with a WONDERFUL recipe today. A great idea if you are hosting a party or event (SUPERBOWL PARTY):

JALEPENO POPPERS (or any other pepper you like)


12 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 package of shredded Cheddar cheese
1 tbsp. bacon bits
12 oz. jalapeno peppers, seeded and halved
1 cup of milk
1 cup of all-purpose flour
1 cup of dry bread crumbs
2 qts. of oil for frying


  1. In a medium bowl, mix the cream cheese, Cheddar cheese and bacon bits. Spoon this mixture into the jalapeno pepper halves.
  2. Put the milk and flour into two separate small bowls. Dip the stuffed jalapenos first into the milk then into the flour, making sure they are well coated with each. Allow the coated jalapenos to dry for about 10 minutes.
  3. Dip the jalapenos in milk again and roll them through the breadcrumbs. Allow them to dry, then repeat to ensure the entire surface of the jalapeno is coated.
  4. In a medium skillet, heat the oil to 365 degrees F ( 180 degrees C). Deep fry the coated jalapenos 2 to 3 minutes each, until golden brown. Remove and let drain on a paper towel.
Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Chicken Legs and God's Glory

Happy Tuesday to everyone! I am glad to see I have just a few followers since the last time I was here. I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. The hubby and I had a great time with friends at the concert (I LOVE BRANTLEY GILBERT!). It was mind-blowing to see how many people turned out for this event!  The crew from 95.3 FM even announced that this was the BIGGEST crowd to EVER fill the building since its making.

Yes, those are cell phones... It almost looks like a sky full of stars. :)

At one point during the concert, I remember looking over at Brandon (while he was singing along to one of the songs) and thinking to myself, "Clara, you are so lucky to have this man in your life. He is caring, he is humble, and above all he is a man of God." I know that we have "bumps" in the road here and there, but what makes it all worthwhile is the undeniable love we have that strengthens everyday, thanks be to God. 

Well, the cupcakes cake turned out very YUMMY! I got halfway through the recipe before realizing that my cupcake pan (I thought I had) had vanished from my cabinet. So I turned the recipe into a cake, and it was still magnificent. Life threw me a speed bump, but I cruised right on through (with the much needed assistance of my mommy, of course). The old saying, "You are never too old that you don't need your mom," proves true just about everyday day in my life.

We have had a tremendous overflow of blessings that have come our way over the last few weeks. We just moved in our new home, I have been offered a salary-based promotion at my workplace, and it looks like we will finally be able to afford a daycare for McKinlee (if you do not have children, I bet you would NEVER guess the cost of this LUXURY). Yes, I am calling it a luxury because, in my case, I am fortunate enough to have a mother and a mother-in-law to watch my child whenever I need them to. I get the satisfaction of knowing that my child is comfortable and being taken care of by someone who TRULY cares about her and her well-being. The only downfall to this arrangement I have is that she is getting no social interaction with other children. It is said that children who DO NOT attend a daycare when young are 18 months behind when entering into kindergarten. I do not want to be responsible for holding my child back....

Child care is always so tough to get a grip on. Just as soon as you feel like you are doing a good job, something pops up and slaps you around in a circle. Of course I am being metaphorical, but sometimes it does feel like I can ever get ahead with McKinlee. If I am not worried about her health, it is her development. If I have moved past that, it goes onto her well-being... I never believed it when I was younger, but a mother's job is 24/7. Even if she is sleeping in her bed, my thoughts are about what she is going to become and how will we deal with it...... it goes ON AND ON! I know these things are inevitable, but I do not want to see my little girl grown up and moved out anytime soon. It will be here before I know it, though. I just have to remember to take each day for what it is and make the best of it. I treasure every moment spent with McKinlee, and I hope she will know that one day when she understands. Above all, I trust that God will guide Brandon and me in each and every parenting decision we have to make.

Enough ranting today... here's what is for dinner tonight at the Gregg home:

Mediterranean Chicken

1 lemon
2-3 tsp. of dry oregano (depending on your taste)
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbs. of EVOO
salt and pepper, to taste
4 chicken legs (or any other cut, but I am using legs)

Preheat oven to 425.
In a large bowl, grate the peel of 1/2 of the lemon. Squeeze out the juice from the entire lemon (I cut in half and hold in my hand upside down to ensure no seeds slip through into the bowl). Add oregano, oil, and garlic to the lemon peel and juice. Set aside.
Put chicken legs into a gallon sized Ziploc bag. Pour in the lemon mixture. Seal the bag and shake the chicken around, coating each piece evenly.
In a 9x9 baking dish, pour the entire contents of the bag. Cover the dish with aluminum foil (or lid).
Cook for 20 minutes. Turn the chicken over and baste.
Reduce heat to 400 and bake for another 30 minutes (turning and basting the chicken every 10 minutes)
Serve the chicken with pan juices.

I will be accompanying this wonderful chicken with roasted garlic potatoes, cheesy green beans, and dinner rolls.

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” -Proverbs 22:6

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Sweet Sound of Music

Hello out there! I hope everyone is doing well. I can't wait to get started exploring the creativity of cooking throughout this blog. I hope that you will bear with me, as I am very new at this. I couldn't think of any other way to kick this off  than sharing a WONDERFUL recipe! I will be making these this evening for my family and friends.

Chocolate Mint Cupcakes (makes 24 cupcakes)
for the cupcakes:
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp peppermint extract
1 cup boiling water
Preheat oven to 350F. Line 2 muffins pans with cupcake papers and set aside.
In a large bowl whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add in eggs, milk, oil and extracts. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour in boiling water and whisk to combine. Batter will be thin.
Fill each cupcake paper 2/3 of the way full with batter and bake for 16-20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.
for the frosting:
6 egg whites, room temperature
1 3/4 cups plus 2 Tbs of sugar
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) of butter, room temperature
2 tsp of vanilla extract
2 tsp peppermint extract
green food coloring, as desired
Whisk together egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Set bowl over a small pot of simmering water and whisk constantly until the sugar dissolves. You know it’s ready with the you cannot feel the sugar when you rub a small amount of mixture between your fingers.
Transfer the bowl to the stand mixer and use the whisk attachment to beat the egg whites into stiff peaks, about 10 minutes. The bowl should be cool to the touch before you move on.
Switch over to the paddle attachment and set the mixer to medium speed. Add the butter 2 Tbs at a time, letting it incorporate before adding another piece. Turn the mixer up to medium-high speed and beat until the frosting comes together. This will take a while, so don’t worry if it looks soupy or curdled at any point. I find that it helps (if it’s not cooperating) to briefly chill in the fridge for a few minutes and then remixing.
Place half of the butter cream into a small bowl and whisk in vanilla extract. Set aside. Using the remaining half of frosting in the stand mixer bowl, mix in peppermint extract and green food coloring. Alternately, you can mix 1 tsp of vanilla and 1 tsp of peppermint into each bowl if you want the peppermint flavor to be consistent through both colors. I’ve done it both ways and don’t have a particular preference. Place frosting in piping bag as detailed above and pipe as desired. Sprinkle cupcakes with chopped Andes or other chocolate mint candies.

To get the green and white swirl effect, I placed my prepared piping bag in a skinny tea/kool-aid pitcher and cut a piece of poster board to fit right down the middle of the bag, vertically. Then I filled one side with green frosting and one side with white frosting and carefully pulled the poster board out. I would suggest doing a practice cupcake first (I always pick the ugly duckling of the bunch) so the white and green is coming out evenly.

We will be having baked cabbage, corn, twice-baked potatoes, and pan-fried herbed pork chops for our entree before eating devouring these YUMMY treats!

Afterwards, it is off to the...

to see...

with special guest...

I heard one of Brantley Gilbert's new songs on my way to work this morning... take a listen...

Beautiful lyrics. I am not even going through a break-up, but this song brought tears to my eyes. I am THRILLED about tonight, and I hope to see some new reader-friends soon. Thanks for reading today, and I hope you have a GREAT day!