Thursday, May 29

PUSH ~ Pray Until Something Happens

Our entire community has joined in prayer with a local family who recently experienced a tragic accident. A young boy was involved in a serious roping accident. We barely know the family and I won't pretend to know all of the details. But a request for prayer was sent out through our church and social media has kept all of us informed of his progress.

My boy mom heart goes out to his family and I kneel before God with heavy prayers. This morning, I was reminded of this story and wanted to share it with you, in case you need a little PUSH in your own life.

"Have you heard the PUSH story about the man that had to walk through a mountainous area to get to work? There, on his path, was a huge boulder wedged between two mountainsides. This boulder was bigger than big, 10-15 feet wide and thousands of pounds. Everyday, as the man approached the rock, he would struggle up the mountainside to pass around it. He wished this obstacle would be removed from his path.

Then one day he asked God for help. He said, 'Lord, can you see this boulder in my way? It is slowing me down. It's hindering me. Lord, please remove this obstacle.' The man was amazed when he immediately heard from the Lord. He said, 'Son, I'm not going to move the rock, you are. I want you to PUSH it out of the way.'

The man began to argue with God. He said, 'But Father, I am not strong enough. It weighs thousands of pounds. If I could move it, I would. It can't be done!'

The Lord listened patiently and replied, 'Trust in Me and you will have the strength.'

So the man decided to obey God, even though he didn't understand how this could be accomplished. He thought in the back of his mind, if he obeyed God then He would most likely move it for him. So he pushed...

And pushed...and pushed.

He strained and struggled. He got on the high side of the boulder and pushed with all his might. After hours of pushing, he was exhausted and he said to the Lord with disappointment, 'Lord, I pushed all day long and this rock hasn't budged. I told you I couldn't move it, it's too big and too much of a struggle.'

Just like the boulder, God wouldn't budge either.

He told the man, 'Son, I want you to continue pushing until this obstacle is removed from your path. I know you can do it!' Everyday, the man pushed...and pushed. He labored more than he ever had.

Finally, the Lord spoke to him. He said, 'Son, you don't have to push anymore. I'm going to make a path for you around the boulder.'

That afternoon, a tornado came and cut a perfect path around the rock. Although the man was grateful, he was a slightly frustrated.

He said to the Lord, 'Why did you have me waste my time pushing when you were going to make a way? I don't understand, Lord.'

God said, 'Son, you haven't wasted your time. Look at how physically strong you are. I used that boulder to develop you. Now you have persistence, determination, and stamina. The entire time you were pushing, I was watching you very closely. Every moment you struggled, I was beside you. As soon as I knew you were strong enough and the work was done IN YOU, that's when I made a way.'

You see, God knows our struggles and always does a work in us. Our job is to PUSH (Pray Until Something Happens).

This is dedicated to Dane and his entire family. We stand with you, PUSHING!

Wednesday, May 28

Spaghetti Squash with Mushrooms & Bacon

My first experience with spaghetti squash, I envisioned a laboratory hybrid created by a man in a white coat crossing spaghetti noodles and squash. Looking back, it doesn't seem that far-fetched. After all, it's a veggie disguised as pasta with the same yellow hue.

Years later, I LOVE it. We have an abundance growing (thriving) in the garden. In preparation of the bountiful harvest, I'm getting my stringy veggie feet wet.

This is my new favorite creation, hope you enjoy it too. (I'm serious, it's delicious...without all the guilt of carbs!)

1/2 Spaghetti Squash
2 cartons of white mushrooms (rinsed and sliced)
6 slices of bacon
1/2 cup spinach
1/2 cup onion (chopped)
Asiago cheese (grated)
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon thyme
Salt & pepper

Slice bacon as seen below.
In saucepan over medium heat, cook bacon until crispy. Remove and place on paper towels to cool.
Drain majority of bacon grease, leaving bacon drippings. Add onion to saucepan with two tablespoons of butter. Cook over medium heat until onions turn golden.
Add mushrooms to pan with onions. Add Worcestershire sauce and 2 tablespoons of butter. Stir until they are cooked to your preference. Confession, I like my mushrooms charred. I like black mushrooms and I can't lie, you other brothers can't deny! (Name that song.)
While mushrooms are "blackening", cut spaghetti squash in half. More accurately, have a bigger...stronger person with actual upper body strength cut spaghetti squash in half. Hush, I'm deceivingly weak and I enjoy seeing Super Hunk flex his super hunky muscles!
Microwave half on high for 7-8 minutes. When it's cooked thoroughly, the shell will be pliable and steaming. Scoop seeds with spoon.
Use fork to scrap squash from sides, creating spaghetti-ish noodles.
Mushrooms should be cooked. Reduce heat to medium low and add spinach, stirring until slightly sautéed. 

Reduce heat to low, add bacon and thyme and stir.
Top spaghetti squash with mushroom mixture. Add salt and pepper (I'm generous with the salt, because I'm so sweet. Bahahaha!). Top with grated cheese. 

It's good to the VERY LAST BITE! Please sir, may I have some more? (Name that movie.)
Super Hunk's endorsement: "This is my new favorite. I think I like it more than Super Hunky Tacos!" Whoa, the earth just shifted on its axis...that's BIG...HUGE!

If you enjoyed this, caring is sharing!

Tuesday, May 27

Chair Affair Transformation

I'm seeing chairs in my sleep, one chair...two chairs...three...zzzzzzzzzzzz. To be honest, I see them all day. I have paint everywhere but I finally mastered the spray nozzle, after the third chair! How can a 97 cent can of spray paint make you feel so inferior?

I originally introduced my bargain projects in my Chair Affair post. If you missed it, here is a before photo.

The chair on the right has a fresh, new look. You provided some very creative options and I appreciate your ideas. I went with a colorful floral design. Cue drum roll...


I painted the base a tan (putty) color to coordinate with the fabric. I initially thought about green but didn't want it to be too wild. Is there such a thing?

I painted the back turquoise (it looks blue in the photo) and applied a series of flowers from the seat fabric.

What do you think? Be honest! Super Hunk said it's a little "old lady" but he said it in the most loving way. I tend to disagree, I think it's happy! 

Okay, let me have it...I want to hear from you! Would you buy it?

Saturday, May 24

Cabbage, Carrot & Almond Slaw w/Honey

Super Hunk and I have more things growing in the garden than we can count, I think we were a bit overzealous with the seeds this year. We've already had three cuttings of arugula, green leaf lettuce, spinach, and cilantro...we're actually giving it away. Hey garden, slow your grow!

This was the first year we planted cabbage, I'm a huge fan from way back! Raw or cooked, I don't discriminate. The smell of it cooking doesn't even bother me...hey, don't look at me in that tone of voice...this is a judgement free zone!

Here's a picture from our garden this morning. No need to adjust your screen, they really ARE ginormous!
Apparently, there's a critter that shares my fondness and has been feasting. Off with his head!

Today, since my cabbage are out of control and (coincidentally) I noticed the local grocery store had it on sale, I'm sharing my favorite cabbage recipe with you. I know, right? You can hardly contain your excitement! Enjoy and have wonderful holiday weekend (taking a moment to remember each person in uniform)!

Cabbage, Carrot & Almond Slaw w/Honey
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil                        
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar                        
1 tablespoon honey                        
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard                        
2 carrots, grated                        
1 head cabbage, shredded                        
3/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

In a salad bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, honey, mustard and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Add the carrots, cabbage and almonds and toss to combine. 

Perfect for you Memorial Day BBQ! 

(Recipe from Rachael Ray)

Friday, May 23

Le Creuset GIVEAWAY ~ Winner!

************* WINNER **************
Jess Temple
Can I just say, this is the first time Jess has participated in a giveaway...and she WON! These are amazing odds, I recommend she run (not walk) to purchase a lottery ticket!
Email me your contact info and I'll get your goodies to you.
Stay tuned for more Favorite Things giveaways.

It's time for another Le Creuset giveaway! Thumbs up, happy dance!

The last piece I gave away was so popular, I think we should do it again. Don't you agree?

Because it's Friday, I'm loving the color red at the moment, and I love you, I selected these two darlings to share.

The Le Creuset piece is the small (mini) baking dish. I adore mine for dips and desserts (the two main food groups). Also, the cheerful color makes me happy!

One giveaway is nice but two is stupendous! And yes, they color coordinate...would you expect anything less?

I have a confession (speaking of coordinating), I can't wear brown with black. It goes against every fiber of my being, no matter how trendy it may be! Confession #2, seeing people wear white before Easter gives me a twitch, no matter how trendy it may be. Oh good grief, this is supposed to be a giveaway, not a therapy session. 

Back on subject.

My Giada spoon spatula was a gift from my sweet Mom and I love it mucho. So you're getting one too. I promise, it will bring you joy...great joy!

To enter, comment below with your answer to the following question. 

"When baking, do you lick the spoon?" 

C'mon, be honest. This is a judgement free zone! Winner will be selected at random on Monday evening.

Now go and share this with all your spoon-licking friends.

Thursday, May 22

This little stool is mine!

A few weeks ago, I shared a post with you regarding an upcoming Chamber of Commerce event called The Chair Affair (read it here). I included a couple of pics of "project chairs" and enlisted your help to get my creative juices flowing. I have to say, you are so imaginative and came up with some really clever options. They are still in the incomplete phase but I'm determined to finish within the week. Some people need a Personal Assistant, I need a Personal Cheerleader!

Having said that, I'm pleased to report I have marked this little cutie off my lengthy to-do list (with only the excited squeals of a toddler to keep me pressing on). I failed to get a "before" photo, these days I'm lucky to remember to apply mascara to BOTH eyes! But here are the "after" shots, it turned out pretty adorable. Don't you think? 

The original color was red and I dry brushed a little turquoise to add more color. I painted a white star and gave it a little sanding to make it appear old. We make new furniture look old, such a paradox.

The saying is my favorite, it reads as follows.

"This stool is mine,
I use it all the time.
To reach the things I couldn't,
And all the things I shouldn't."

Little Man has enthusiastically entered this stage so I can relate. It will make some little squirt very happy!

Disclaimer: I spent two days trying to perfectly align the wording. Finally, Super Hunk said "it's supposed to look like a kid wrote it"...I automatically felt better. This is why I love him and I've decided he can stay, forever!

For more information on the event, visit the Chair Affair page.

Monday, May 19

Happiness is a tortilla!

We recently embarked on a family road trip. In my preparation, I visited a few of my favorite mommy blogs and Pinterest boards. Armed with a few new ideas for keeping a toddler occupied, I felt a little like Supermom...ready to flick my cape!

As time does, it flew by and there I was packing the day before (my cape was a bit tattered). My list of creative ideas, gourmet road trip snacks, and car games became much like my Pinterest imaginary world where I never sleep.

Loaded with the usual cast of characters, we set off on our journey. Four hours later, we arrived and life taught me a lesson...simple is sometimes better!

Instead of an array of special snacks, ham and cheese tortilla wraps yielded the same adorable smile.

Instead of a basket full of activities, a $5.00 bargain DVD and a new matchbox car were well worth the investment! I even planned an elaborate rope and pulley system to transfer a basket of goodies from the front of the car to the back. In the end, crawling over the seat to sit next to him made my little guy just as happy.

The moral of this story, don't overthink it! While I support creativity (and love Pinterest), sometimes simple is better. Do what you can, enjoy every moment, and keep in mind that occasionally happiness is a tortilla!

Sunday, May 18

Cherry Pecan Bread

Super Hunk brought home a loaf of this goodness last year at Christmas. One of his clients is a sweet little old lady with what I can only imagine are hundreds of years of family recipes.

Here at Saucepans & Superheroes, we're friends so I can be candid...I'm not usually a maraschino cherry fan. Having said that, I was a bit skeptical but my LOVE of bread convinced me to try it (remember, I've never met a bread I didn't like).

After one slice...tickle me pink...I had to have this recipe! I recruited Super Hunk, he can be very convincing (his charm knows no limits). Even sweet little old ladies cave when approached by those big blue eyes!

Here's the skinny, hope you enjoy it!
Cherry Pecan Bread
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter (softened)
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 cup chopped pecans
1 (10 oz) jar maraschino cherries (drained and chopped)
1 teaspoon vanilla

(See instructions and ingredients in my Hot Cross Buns post.)

Chop cherries and pecans, set aside. (Fingers subject to turn blood red!)

In mixing bowl, cream together butter, sugar, and eggs. In separate bowl, whisk together flour, soda, and salt. With mixer on low, slowly alternate adding flour mixture and milk to wet mixture.

Next, add chopped cherries and pecans to dough. All food should be this pretty!

Gently fold until thoroughly mixed. Yes, your dough will turn a slight shade of pink but you won't hear complaints from me.

Pour in your favorite loaf pan, mine happens to be this Le Creuset cutie...I think I'm inspired for another Favorite Things giveaway! Stay tuned...

Bake in 350 degree oven for 55-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Slice and top with icing, if desired. Super Hunk prefers it "sans icing" so I refrained. I REALLY love him! Reward yourself for all your baking hard work with TWO slices.


Friday, May 16

Primrose & Yellow Nose

Little Man and I stumbled upon a patch of primrose wildflowers the other day on our morning walk. I was instantly transported to my childhood soooooooo many years ago. Those were the days when life was simpler (and slower)...the TV had to be changed, the phone had to be answered, and new roads were discovered on a map.

The Primrose (aka, Pink Lady) was the first flower I ever sniffed. Likewise, it's also the first flower I ever the hands of my brother. I'm not sure why I always fell for it but a suggestion to sniff always ended with yellow on my nose. 

Sharing this memory with Little Man was priceless. Just another reminder of how life comes full circle. Interestingly enough, he didn't care for yellow on his nose either but I couldn't resist. 

Excuse me while I call my brother...

I hope your weekend is full of unexpected childhood moments!

Wednesday, May 14

Creating a life you can't wait to live!

A few years ago, I had the incredible privilege of attending a Zig Ziglar conference. Actually, it was almost ten years ago! What, where has time gone? I was twenty-seven, immersed in my career, and defined by my title of "Young Professional". I had the tiger by the tail (name that tune) and nothing could stop me!

Full of drive and determination, I enthusiastically skipped down the aisle to my seat. After all, Zig Ziglar was there to motivate me (even though I was already running on high metabolism and large amounts of caffeine).

His wisdom was invaluable to me and truly changed the course of my journey, professionally and personally.

Here are a few of my favorite aha moments.

"You were born to win. But to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win."

"If you learn from defeat, you haven't really lost."

"Expect the best, prepare for the worst, capitalize on what comes."

"Do more than you are being paid to do and eventually you'll be paid more for what you do."

"The person who climbs the highest is he who helps another up."

At that moment, I realized my perspective on success and failure were grossly distorted. I left with this book in hand, committed to memorize each page and apply it to every area of my life.
Zig was correct and I accomplished my goal of creating a life I couldn't wait to live!

One of life's important milestones, Graduation, is upon us and many young people will be entering the professional world for the first time. I've gifted this book more times than I can count, hoping it will inspire others to create a better than good life. If you need gift ideas for your graduate, this is worth the investment!

I'll leave you with my favorite Zig one-liner, "If you aim at nothing, you'll hit it every time!" May your life always be better than good!

November 28, 2012 ~ "Zig Ziglar passed from this world today after a short bout with pneumonia. Though his time on earth has ended, he is speaking with Jesus now in his heavenly home. The angels in heaven are rejoicing and his family is celebrating a life well lived." RIP

Dessert On A Stick!

There was such a mondo (yes, "mondo" IS a word) response to my Sandwich On A Stick post, I decided to share dessert on a stick. An entire meal consumed with your fingers, from a stick...what could be better? A campfire! That would make it better but that's another recipe for another day!

The thing I enjoy most about food on a stick is the interaction with Little Man (besides the minimal amount of dishes). He can help assemble and he's equally as thrilled to disassemble. Having him involved in the kitchen is on the highlight reel of my day.

I made a yellow sheet cake for Super Hunk (with homemade chocolate icing that had waaaaay too much powdered sugar...minor avalanche occurred while pouring) and he never eats it all. I know, it's freaky how much self-restraint he possesses!

To repurpose the cake (so it didn't sit, pitifully, on the counter waiting for me to eat it), I created dessert on a stick (tipping my hat to caramel apples everywhere).

Confession, I had one for lunch! Yep, that just happened (it made me wish I had longer skewers)!
Red apple
Yellow sheet cake, cubed
Caramel sauce
Chopped nuts

Skewer, drizzle, sprinkle.

I also see a Strawberry Shortcake version on the menu for next week. A little Angel Food Cake, sliced strawberries, and whipped cream...YUMMO!

Have fun with it and skewer until your heart is content!
Do you cook (or skewer) with your little ones? What is their favorite kitchen task?

Monday, May 12

What's Shakin' Bacon ~ GIVEAWAY Winner!

*********** WINNER ***********
Send your contact info here and CONGRATS! Welcome to The Coin Laundry Fan Club!
Thank you to all who participated, stay tuned for more Favorite Things giveaways.
At the risk of sounding like Mr. Rogers, it's a beautiful day in the neighborhood (I feel the need for a wardrobe change). With the sun shining and a house filled with the aroma of bacon (hooray for Bacon Week), I'm inspired to do a giveaway! Cue the bacon dance!

In my recent post, The Gift of Bacon, I listed a few adorable gift ideas for bacon lovers. While doing my research, I stumbled upon The Coin Laundry on Etsy. Such a charming little spot on the worldwide web, I knew I had to share with you.

With so many darling choices, I selected the What's Shakin' Bacon Tea Towel. It's precious and deserves to live in your kitchen. Don't you think?
To enter, comment below with your answer to the following question. "What is your meat of choice? Beef? Pork? Chicken? Squirrel?"

Winner will be selected randomly on Monday. Happy (early) Mother's Day, hope your weekend is excellent!

Friday, May 9

Farfalle with Bacon & Leeks

Day #5 in our series "A Week of Bacon" and it keeps getting better and better. I was trying to save this recipe for the last day, a glorious encore, but no luck. I'm the kid who opens presents on Christmas Eve, I can't help myself!

This is a Pioneer Woman inspired recipe, with a few Courtney modifications. Hey, she doesn't mind...she encourages individuality (unless it involves butter and she's pretty by-the-book).

This is my absolute favorite recipe! White wine, bacon, and leeks...what could be better? I hope you agree.
Farfalle with Bacon & Leeks
12 ounces, farfalle (cooked)
5 slices of bacon (cooked and drained)
1 whole leek (thinly sliced)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup heavy cream
Parmesan cheese (grated)
Salt & pepper to taste

With bacon cooked and pasta boiled (and drained), thinly slice leeks (using light green and white portion).
Heat oil in large saucepan and add onions. Cook over medium heat until slightly sautéed.
Add chopped bacon to pan and stir (reserve a small amount to sprinkle on top when served).
Add white wine to onion and bacon and let cook for about 5 minutes until wine is cooked down (I give you permission to have a glass while you wait).
Add heavy cream and stir. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low.  Add a handful of grated parmesan (more or less, depending on your preference). Let simmer for a few minutes until sauce becomes creamy (not runny).
Add pasta and mix until thoroughly coated.
Serve with sprinkled parmesan on top and crumbled bacon. 

This is my gift to you, I love you that much! Now go, enjoy!

Make sure to stop by the first three days of "A Week of Bacon", swine everywhere will thank you!

Thursday, May 8

The Gift of Bacon

Day #4 in our "A Week of Bacon" series. I hope you've added a few yummy new recipes to your culinary arsenal.

Let's take a break from whisking and chopping and talk gifts. I have MANY bacon lovers on my Christmas (and birthday) list and sometimes my creativity takes a brief siesta. With a little research, I've compiled a list of unique (and affordable) bacon lover must-haves. Here are a few ideas.

Baby Bib from Tasty Threads ~ I wish I would've known about this when Little Man was wearing most of his food. Oh wait, he still is!
Eggs Are Sides Tee (Available on Amazon) ~ You have to giggle...and then exercise.
Bacon Cloth Napkins From Ruby Farms ~ We are usually a paper napkin household but these cuties are worth the extra laundry!
What's Shakin' Bacon Tea Towel by The Coin Laundry ~ I'm ordering one of these (maybe two) right now!
Seasonal Bacon Sampler from White Flower Farm ~ A more affordable alternative to the ever so popular "Bacon of the Month Club".
Bacon Tea Towel from Iron Accents ~ I agree, wholeheartedly!
Never Cook Bacon Naked Apron from Cafe Press ~ True statement (the visual is a little unappealing)!
Stealing Bacon Appetizer Plate from Cafe Press ~ Love this, so charming!
Hope you found a few unique gift ideas. As for me, I'm off to "add to cart"! Stay tuned tomorrow for another delicious bacon creation!