Summing Up the Summer

9 Sep

This summer was such a good one, as BG summers always are. It is hard to sum up what our little town means to me and our group. The best way I have heard it put is that it is a modern day Mayberry. It’s really the best way to say it. Everyone slows down and enjoys the little things: good conversations on the porch, bike rides and everyone’s favorite American pastime, baseball.

My friends Bryan and Karissa captured the summer by taking a Polaroid every day. It became a challenge for them to find the picture of the day. Check out the project here.

I, on the other hand, tried to capture our summer days with my camera of choice, the iPhone. 

Here are some highlights:

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Loren and I shot a wedding together in Beaver Dam, Kentucky. These fun bridesmaids made the day such a blast.

photo 1photo 3 We recreated one of my favorite youth group memories for the Grace & Peace youth group: the gutter banana split sundae.Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

So much softball! And the runner-up title for the Mid Summer Best of the Rest tournament. On top of that, we got our jerseys just in time for the very last game. 
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Playing softball with Ryan was probably the highlight of the summer. He started playing hesitantly since he hadn’t played since little league, but by the end of the season he was pitching half the time. I can’t believe it! I love being your teammate, Ry!Processed with VSCOcam with x1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset photo 2 photo 1 Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset photo 4 Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset photo 1 Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetBikes to the grocery, bikes to softball then dinner, bikes to snow cones and so much more.
photo 4 Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetIt was a summer for the books. Thanks to those who participated in any and all activities that made it so memorable.

Lemon Asparagus and Shrimp Risotto

3 Sep

I plan to be back to be blogging soon! The end of the summer has been so busy and there is lots to catch up on. In the meantime, here is a recipe that should be added to your menu as soon as possible.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetIngredients

  • 4 cups fat-free, less sodium chicken broth
  • 3 cups (1-inch) sliced asparagus
  • 1/2 pound peeled and deveined medium shrimp
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup dry vermouth (I used white wine)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

  1. Bring broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.
  2. Cook asparagus in boiling water for 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain.
  3. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 5 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Add rice; cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in 1 cup broth; cook 5 minutes or until the liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring frequently. Stir in 1/2 cup broth, vermouth (or wine) and salt. Add remaining broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next (about 25 minutes). Add asparagus and shrimp; cook 4 minutes. Stir in cheese and remaining ingredients.

A Brave New World Cookie

10 Jul

As brave as I think I am in the kitchen, I have never altered a recipe when baking. Yesterday all of that changed.

For the Leftovers Club this month, I was paired with Shaina Wizov of “Take a Bite Out of Boca“. She writes reviews on restaurants in her area of Boca Raton, Florida, as well as sharing her own recipes.

I decided to experiment with these cookies and I am so excited about how they turned out. I used my normal chocolate chip cookie base so the consistency would still be delish. Then I added chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, coconut and chopped pecans. They seemed a little dry right before I was going to add the extras, so I put in some coconut oil.

A few friends tried them and approved, so I will have to try more experiments soon! Shaina, I hope you enjoy my Brave New World Cookie.

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A Brave New World Cookie

Adapted from my favorite chocolate chip recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • a few drops of coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans

Directions

PREHEAT oven to 375° F.COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels, coconut and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

 

Leftover Club

One of my favorite things about the Leftovers Club is that it gives me new opportunities to experiment in the kitchen. If you are interested in being part of the club,  make sure you visit theleftoversclub.com for more information!

Beach Week

9 Jul

Ryan and I spent all of last week at the beach with my family, minus Gray (who was on a mission trip to Mexico). The beach is my happy place and it was pure bliss to be there for a whole week!
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The first couple of days, I was sporting my Rifle Paper Tattly Tat from Katie Meek. I enjoyed three books while I was there. The first was “Cold Tangerines” by Shauna Niequist. I really enjoyed the way that she writes and celebrates life. The second was a suggested beach read at Barnes and Noble, “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” by Maria Semple. It is very quirky, but fun to read at the beach. The third was “Wife School” by Julie Gordon. This book has already been so helpful since I finished it a couple days ago. There are some great principles defined in a way that is so easy to ingest.

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One of my favorite parts of this trip was riding around in my dad’s jeep with the top off. We also got some funny shots with the Go Pro. This is just a photo taken from a very interesting video…. Hopefully I will be able to share it soon!jeep

My dad just got a Go Pole so you can take photos out in front of you. We tried it out in the seaweed filled ocean a few times.DCIM100GOPRODCIM100GOPRODCIM100GOPROProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 presetDCIM100GOPROProcessed with VSCOcam with c1 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 presetThese two are so cool. Ryan was putting the camera into the water and you can see the water coming up around the camera. It happened so fast that we didn’t see it, but the photo caught the action.

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We went deep sea fishing on morning with the Persons. As we had done in the past, it became and guys vs. girls competition. The ladies dominated once again!
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There is just something magical about catching a huge fish! When we got back, our guides filleted them up and we took it to a restaurant that cooked it up for us. You can’t get fresher fish than that!
IMG_7217 IMG_7220 IMG_7227 IMG_7234 IMG_7237 IMG_7241 IMG_7245 IMG_7259 IMG_7263We ran in the Color Run on the morning of the 4th of July. The Go Pro came in handy once again! I loved all my dad’s selfies.

DCIM100GOPRODCIM100GOPRODCIM100GOPRODCIM100GOPRODCIM100GOPRODCIM100GOPRODCIM100GOPRODCIM100GOPRODCIM100GOPROMy very favorite part of the trip was uninterrupted family time. I’m so glad we were able to get away for a little bit and spend that time together.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetMy family went back a day earlier than us to see Gray when he got home. Ryan and I enjoyed a day to ourselves and had a date night in Seaside at the Great Southern Cafe. It was my second time there and won’t be my last. The food is so delicious! Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with b5 preset Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with x1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Until next time!

Summer Daze

27 Jun

The end of May and the beginning of June are always crazy months. Even though work has been nuts, the summer has been such a blast. Looking through these photos from the last few weeks has me feeling so grateful for life in BG.

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Ryan and I got to spend some quality time with Nat, our forever roomie, before she left for Cali for the summer. This girl has been such a blessing to me the last few months. She is such a joy to be around, an encouragement to me and really loves the Lord. We were said to see her move out of our guest room (now called Natalie’s room), but we are so happy that her new home is just two blocks away.
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Our porch is one of my very favorite spots in the world. Some of the best days have been spent here with friends who come over unannounced and end up staying all day. A few weeks ago, we had a perfect Saturday. My birthday bike came in, we had a group ride to get snow cones, turned our front yard into a bowling alley and made a scrumptious dinner. Check out this video Loren shot for the highlight of the day: here. One of the best parts of life in this little town is that our friends live so close. We are all live close enough to walk to see each other and have spontaneous adventures. Plus how cute is my bike? Elaina is riding it in the left of the photo below.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetphoto 1My neighbors grow the most beautiful flowers.1401595778.885570.IMG_5198We have been playing lots of softball this summer and having so much fun.

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Other highlights include:

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with c1 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetRy and I are so excited about our vacation this week with my family! I’m praying for sunshine.

 

Tally Wrap Up

26 Jun

About a month ago, the Talisman staff was working hard to make our final deadline. Over the last few years, it had been a pretty small group that stayed until the very end, but this year was different. Since so many people stuck around, it made the work load easier and we had a whole lot of fun. I am grateful for these memories. Spending all day, every day with these folks is such a treat!10326658_554855131301881_1300514128_n

Photo Credit: Katie Meek

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Photo Credit: Ryan for Katie Meek‘s Insta10387903_648223638597923_1451247415_n

Photo Credit: Katie Meek

photo 1photo 3Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetgroup dinnerThe last celebration was a long promised dinner at my house. Wrapping up the book is always such a bittersweet time. I am really glad we got to make it such a party this year.

Key Lime Bars

5 Jun

The last month has been such a doozy. The yearbook has been sent and I am happy to have time again!

It is time for the Leftovers Club once again. This month I was paired with Elizabeth Cavallari, the founder of the club and blogger at Food Ramblings. I really appreciate everything she does to organize and coordinate the club, so I wanted to make her one of my favorite treats: Key Lime Bars. If I could pick just one recipe that reminds me of my mom, it would be these. She loves them and gave me this wonderful recipe!

Key Lime Bars

from the kitchen of Julie Hill
 

2 cups flour

1/2 cup confectioner sugar

1 cup melted butter

Mix the flour & sugar, then add butter. Press crust into a 9 x 13 pan. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

2 cups sugar

5 Tablespoons flour

1 teaspon baking pwder

4 eggs, beaten

8 Tablespoons lime juice

green food coloring, a couple drops

Mix sugar, flour, & baking powder. Add eggs, mix well. Add juice & food coloring and pour over crust. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until it begins to firm up. Cool a little, cut while warm. Dust with powdered sugar.

You can use lemon juice & yellow food coloring for lemon bars.

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Leftover Club

If you are interested in the Leftover Club, go here for more info: theleftoversclub.com

 

Derby Pie

4 Jun

I’m not sure when this became a food blog…. but I hope to come back in full swing this summer. In the meantime, I will try to catch up!

I love celebrating Derby and even though we didn’t have a big plan this year, I still wanted to serve Derby Pie to a few friends. I used a recipe from Paula Deen.

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Kentucky Pie

Recipe from Paula Deen
 

Ingredients

4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups sugar
1 (12-ounce) package semisweet chocolate morsels, melted
1 cup sifted self-rising flour
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups chopped pecans
2 (9-inch) deep dish unbaked pie shells or 3 (9-inch) unbaked regular pie shells
Ice cream, optional

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine eggs, sugar, and melted chocolate in large bowl. Add flour and mix well, stirring in remaining ingredients except for pie shells. Bake 50 to 60 minutes.

Serve warm with ice cream. Freezes well!!
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Raspberry Crumb Bars

8 May

I can’t believe it is already time to post for the Leftover Club! May has come and the last week of school at WKU is wrapping up.

This month I was paired with Shashi from Runnin Srilankan. She sent me some delicious Pumpkin White Chocolate bars. Be sure to check out her blog!

My friend Elaina and I baked a recipe she had recently found on Pinterest: Raspberry Crumb Bars. Ryan said they were the perfect combo of soft and crunchy (his favorite type of dessert). I look forward to making this recipe again and experimenting with different types of jam.

raspberry crumb bars

Raspberry Crumb Bars

Recipe from Cooking Classy

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup rolled oats (old fashioned)
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup raspberry jam, seedless if preferred

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8 by 8-inch baking dish with aluminum foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang of foil on two sides. Grease foil.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Stir in oats and brown sugar, and use clean fingertips as needed to break up brown sugar clumps. Add butter, and using fingertips, work butter into mixture until evenly moistened.
Add 2 cups of the oat mixture to the prepared baking dish and press into an even layer. Spread raspberry jam into an even layer over oat layer, coming within 1/4-inch of all edges. Sprinkle top evenly with remaining oat mixture, then slightly press into jam layer.
Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, about 34 – 38 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before cutting into squares. Store in an airtight container.

 

If you are interested in the Leftover Club, go here for more info: theleftoversclub.comLeftover Club

 

Strawberry Shortcake Cake

1 May

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetStrawberries are my absolute favorite fruit. Most every time I see a strawberry dessert recipe, I give it a try.

Over the weekend, I watch an episode of Pioneer Woman and she made this Strawberry Shortcake Cake. It was the first thing I thought to make for small group this week. It was a major hit with everyone in the taste department, but kind of ugly.

I tried it again last night so you would have a better example to look at and I knew my coworkers would have no problem taste testing.

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Strawberry Shortcake Cake

Recipe from the Pioneer Woman

Ingredients:

  •  Cake
  • 1-1/2 cup Flour
  • 3 Tablespoons Cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 9 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, Softened
  • 1-1/2 cup Sugar
  • 3 whole Large Eggs
  • 1/2 cup Sour Cream, Room Temperature
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  •  _____
  •  Icing
  • 1/2 pound Cream Cheese, Room Temperature
  • 2 sticks Unsalted Butter
  • 1-1/2 pound Powdered Sugar, Sifted
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 pound Strawberries

Directions:

Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, and corn starch.
Cream 9 tablespoons butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well each time. Add sour cream and vanilla and mix until combined. Add sifted dry ingredients and mix on low speed until just barely combined.

Pour into greased and floured 8-inch cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes, or until no longer jiggly like my bottom. Remove from cake pan as soon as you pull it out of the oven, and place on a cooling rack and allow it to cool completely.

Stem strawberries and slice them in half from bottom to top. Place into a bowl and sprinkle with 3 tablespoons sugar. Stir together and let sit for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, mash the strawberries in two batches. Sprinkle each half with 1 tablespoons sugar and allow to sit for another 30 minutes.

Make icing: combine cream cheese, 2 sticks butter, sifted powdered sugar, vanilla, and dash of salt in a mixing bowl. Mix until very light and fluffy.

Slice cake in half through the middle. Spread strawberries evenly over each half (cut side up), pouring on all the juices. Place cake halves into the freezer for five minutes, just to make icing easier.

Remove from freezer. Use a little less than 1/3 of the icing to spread over the top of the strawberries on the bottom layer. Place the second layer on top. Add half of the remaining icing to the top spreading evenly, then spread the remaining 1/3 cup around the sides.

Leave plain OR garnish with strawberry halves.

IMPORTANT: Cake is best when served slightly cool. The butter content in the icing will cause it to soften at room temperature. For best results, store in the fridge!

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