26 October 2015

Secret Recipe Club Reveal

This is my second assignment with the Secret Recipe Club and I was given the beautiful blog of Without Adornment to choose a recipe from.  It was with great pleasure that I chose the Roasted Vegetable and Sausage Pasta.  This is something my husband and I would love, as we are big fans of all things sausage, and roasted vegetables!

While she has quite a few recipes to choose from, like these Carmelized Pineapple Slices and these beautiful Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa, I was completely fascinated by her photography!  What beautiful photographs, like this post taken in Quebec.

Her photographs show a beautiful soul, and as you dig deeper into her blog, you can find beautifully written essays about discovering herself, such as this line from a 2012 post:

But I didn’t as there was an angel there who caught me because God wanted me to live. 

Sigh, isn't that lovely??

Back to the dish.

Gluten, Dairy and Egg Free Roasted Vegetable and Sausage Pasta
by Without Adornment

6 Servings
12 oz Pasta
6 Large Sausages (Or 12 if smaller)
1 lb grape, cherry or other small tomatoes
2 small zucchinis, halved and sliced
1 lb mushrooms, washed and quartered
1 onion, chopped
1 pepper, diced
1 bunch of asparagus, ends broken off and cut into pieces
1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
Olive Oil
Garlic Powder
Any other seasonings you desire
  1. Preheat BBQ or oven to 450F. Coat a non-stick pan with olive oil.
  2. Toss veggies in a few tbsps of olive oil until coated. Spread out on pan and sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
  3. Roast veggies for ~30 minutes until the veggies are soft, the tomatoes have burst and there is liquid in the pan.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the pasta and grill or fry the sausages, pronking them with a fork or knife to let the fat out.
  5. Once the sausages are cooked, paper towel the grease off and slice.
  6. You can either assemble the meal in your bowl/on your plate or put everything in the pasta pot and stir until the pasta is coated in the tomato juices. You can add a bit of oil if the pasta is too dry for your liking. Salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Enjoy!
We halved this recipe to work for the two of us.  Our sausages were small so we sliced them up. We also used what veggies we had on hand.  This was so good and we did follow the suggestion of stirring until the pasta was coated with tomato sauce adding a little olive oil and adding salt and pepper and cheese. Delicious!

If you desire to be a part of the Secret Recipe Club, please head to the link above and check it out!  Beware, you will have a good time, eat great food and make wonderful friends!

22 October 2015

Halloween Outside Decorations Home Tour!

A few of us Halloween fans got together to show you our outdoor Halloween home decorations.  For many, October is one of their favorite times to decorate.  While I am still #1 with Christmas, it is fun to decorate for Halloween because it is all about the kids!

Our Halloween decorations tend to be more on the side of whimsical than frightening.  We have a lot of small children in our neighborhood and I want them to WANT to come to our house to trick-or-treat.  So all the ghosts, scarecrows and goblins are friendly ones at the Steffes house!

Along the wrap around porch.  Witches, leave your brooms at the door, please.  Loving the purple mums and the striped gourds!

The front of the house, with its ghosts and pumpkins!

I love the ghosts hanging from the tree!

This screen wire ghost is friendly, even though he is a bit scary.

The crow pillow was a find at a local shop, Dwell in Design, here in New Town.  The mum is from Steven's Produce.  I love the jack-o'lantern bucket!

Some other friends have their outdoor decorations up and running and you will have so much fun seeing the creativity displayed throughout the blog world  Go and check out:

These lovely ladies have their homes decorated, come and see their lovely decorations!

Three Different Directions

Garden Chick

New House New Home New Life

The Freshman Cooks!

The Gardening Cook

You can join the fun by adding your own outdoor decorations to our linky party!  Join us here!

20 October 2015

#CreativeCookieExchange: Pumpkin Oatmeal with White Chocolate M & Ms

This month our #CreativeCookieExchange members are playing with pumpkin!  You are going to find all kinds of pumpkiny goodness in the form of cookies, just in time for your Halloween or Thanksgiving fun.

This cookie recipe was inspired by one I saw on pinterest that used chocolate chips.  I was in Walgreen's and saw the white chocolate M & Ms and was sold.  Perfect for pumpkin!

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies with White Chocolate M & Ms
by Terri Steffes
Prep Time: 8 minutes
Cook Time: 8-10 minutes

Ingredients (2 dozen)
  • 1/2 c butter, softened
  • 1/2 c pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 1/2 c rolled oats
  • 1 1/4 c flour
  • 1 t pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1 pkg white chocolat m & ms
In a mixer bowl, beat together butter, sugars and pumpkin. Add vanilla and beat thoroughly. Add in spice, oats, flour, baking soda and salt. Beat until well mixed. By hand add in M & M candies. Drop 1 T sized cookies on cookies sheet.
Bake at 350 on a greased cookie sheet for about 8 minutes. Bottoms should be light brown. Cookies will firm slightly as they cool.
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19 October 2015

Top Ten Thanksgiving Leftovers Recipes

One of the best things about Thanksgiving is being creative with the leftovers!  Do you have a family favorite?  We really don't, because we love to try new things!

Our Top Ten group is focusing and Thanksgiving and Harvest as our Top Ten theme this month.  Go and check out all the participants below for their wonderful contributions.

1.  Turkey Enchiladas.  A very different flavor profile from traditional Thanksgiving makes these an extra tasty treat.


2.  This has ALL the flavor profile of Thanksgiving, but with the goodness of something grilled and yummy...


3.  What a fabulous way to use leftover stuffing and mashed potatoes!  Yummy!


4.  These egg baskets use leftover stuffing for the shell.  I think it sounds like the perfect breakfast for the day after Thanksgiving!


5.  Who doesn't love stromboli?  Using the turkey and additional sauces make this a delicious treat.


6.   I love the creativity of quesadillas.  This one, using the best parts of Thanksgiving dinner, would be a welcome meal in our house.


7.   Everyone has to have a casserole dish that uses Thanksgiving leftovers.  Casseroles are so comforting and if you are a bit sad that Thanksgiving is over, this will relive all those wonderful family moments.


8.  I am a waffle freak!  I make cookies using my waffle iron!  It is awesome!  So adding this one is a no brainer!  Uses leftover stuffing and eggs to make these waffles.  I am going to have to make a lot of stuffing this year!


9.  Turkey pot pies.  Oh yes.  This is a favorite all winter for me.  Cooking a turkey just for the meat isn't possible for us, so twice a year we get to use turkey.  We love these!


and 10.  This is sure to please:  turkey and cranberry pizza.  Everything tastes good on a beautiful pizza crust.  I cannot wait to try this with my family!


Do you have a favorite way to use Thanksgiving leftovers?  Leave me your link in the comment box!  Cannot wait to hear from you creative bloggers!

Top 10 Harvest Sensory Fun Activities from Adventures of Adam
Top 10 Turkey Crafts for Preschoolers from P is for Preschooler
Top 10 Thanksgiving Time Savers from Sunny Day Family
Top 10 Harvest Recipes from Nemcsok Farms
Top 10 Thankful Trees from Rhythms of Play
Top 10 Corn Crafts for Kids from Artsy Momma
Top 10 Harvest Sensory Bins from Study at Home Mama

15 October 2015

#BundtBakers: Apple Juice Spice Cake with Caramel Apple Glaze

This month in #BundtBakers we were to use a beverage to inspire us.  I also needed to take a little something to a fall party and so this lovely cake was born.  It was inspired by an Orange Juice Cake I saw on Pinterest.  It was an easy spin to use apple juice instead!

The house smells amazing with the spice cake and the apple.  I used my convection oven and the cake rose and browned beautifully!

Apple Juice Spice Cake with Caramel Apple Glaze

by Terri Steffes
Prep Time: 8 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients (12 servings)
  • For the cake
  • 1 spice cake mix
  • 1 small box instant pudding (vanilla or cheesecake)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 c apple juice
  • 1/2 c vegetable oil
  • For the glaze
  • 1 c powdered sugar
  • 1/c c apple juice
  • 1/4 c caramel dip
For the cake, preheat oven to 350. Prepare bundt pan, spray with Pam or coat with lard and flour. Mix cake mix, pudding, eggs, apple juice, and oil. Beat for 4 minutes. Pour into bundt pan. Bake for 50 minutes or until inserted knife comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes. Invert on a plate and cool thoroughly.
For the glaze, boil sugar, juice and caramel over medium heat for two minutes. Let cool completely. Pour over cooled cake.
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14 October 2015

A Perfect Fall Day: The Frugal Way

What makes fall so special for me, is the wonderful display of color that we get here in Missouri from flowers and trees. The perfect fall day for me is doing a driving trip to see all the fall color around the city.  I always check with the Missouri Department of Conservation to see what the Fall Color Report is around the state.  This was the report as of Friday:

It seems that fall color is a bit reluctant this year with the warmer weather slowing color change in many trees, shrubs, and vines. Species with early fall color are a bit more consistent, but overall color is scattered. Flowering dogwood, Virginia creeper, poison ivy, sassafras, black gum, white ash, persimmon, and sumac have good color, and you may see a few maples and mockernut hickory turning as well. Oaks and many hickory species are still green.
Areas away from the St. Louis metro will have greater color, so consider a day trip to Meramec Conservation Area or Meramec or Washington State Parks. Remember to enjoy the late season wildflower displays to enhance your fall color tour!

Fall color from the 2014 season

Fall color from the 2014 season
The wildflowers are going crazy around us, though, so it is fun to see all the flowers on the side of the road. Collect a few,  and make a beautiful arrangement for your home!  When you go out to collect, take a 5 gal bucket half filled with water, and 1 T of clorox in it.  When you cut your stems, cut them long and put them in the water immediately.  This will help keep your flowers fresh!

Queen Ann's lace, asters, ragweed, coreopsis, all taken roadside!
Missouri is home to Homecoming, and the University of Missouri is home to the first Homecoming!  You can see the parade for free by heading downtown Columbia, finding a good place to sit, and letting the bands play, the children chase candy, and floats roll right on by!  Missouri high schools have homecomings, too, and your local high school may have a parade you can attend!  If you are lucky, you might see Truman while at MU!

There are many fun, fall things to do that don't cost a lot of money, but that will make memories for years to come.  Step outside, and check it out!

13 October 2015

Tipsy Tuesday: Pumpkin Pie Martini

Our cooking club met again this weekend and make recipes using cauliflower.  We made pizza crust, wings and soup.  All the recipes were delicious, then Linda brought out her concoction: a Pumpkin Pie Martini.  She and her husband are working on their bartending skills.  I think they mastered it with this drink!

Pumpkin Pie Martini

1 part rumchata
1 part pumpkin liqueur
1 part whipped cream vodka
2 parts half and half
a sprinkle of 5 spice
whipped cream

Shake with crushed ice, strain.  Garnish with whipped cream and a sprinkle of 5 spice.  Delicious.

You can make it and store it in the refrigerator, too.  Then it is available any time you need it!  Joining my friend, Pam at The Grey is the New Black Tipsy Tuesday.  Come and see all the yummy goodness there!

09 October 2015

30+ Fall Home Decor Ideas: It's Friday We're In Love

It’s Friday, and we’re in Love with Fall Decor!  This is the fourth installment of our weekly link-up party, It’s Friday, We’re In Love!  Each week, one of our 8 co-hosts will share featured ideas we LOVE from that week’s theme.

We kicked off our party when Sunny Day Family featured Apples.  Next up Playground Parkbench featured Leaves,  then Crafty Kids at Home Featured Owls, and last week it was pumpkins at Nemcsok Farms!  It is a virtual good time here with all the fun activities!

I am in love with the adorable frameable that you can make using your own printer!  Check out Where the Smiles Have Been for the instructions.

And what about this pillow!  The pattern is free over at Hudson's Holidays!  What a charmer that little cat is!

Then you have to go over to Gen Y Girl and check out her tutorial for making your own fall printables.  She is one talented lady. 

This gorgeous set of golden fall pumpkins was made by New House New Home New Life.  A simple craft that carries a big punch.  Her blog is filled with ideas like this!

For more wonderful ideas, check out the bottom of this post and be sure to add your own fall decor ideas!  The blogging world is filled with talented people!

Get to know our hosts by following them on social media!  We are a wide range of interests and so  you will get a lot of great content!

                                                     Facebook ♥ Pinterest ♥ Instagram

Fall Décor  
Check back in late October to see our Thanksgiving, Winter and Christmas links!

08 October 2015

Cancer and Birthdays.

There is something about cancer survivors.  We find each other, draw strength from one another's journeys.  This is the case of Heather and me, who found each other on this vast world of the internet.  She heard about my journey and reached out, as cancer survivors often do.

My blog is pretty full of my own cancer story, and six years out, I am starting to feel that maybe I have beaten cancer back.  I am too afraid to say outloud that I have beat cancer! because I know too many people who have and reoccurances after ten or more years.  What I will say that is that every day that I am cancer free, I am filled with gratitude.

October is my cancer free anniversary, and this year, since I celebrated my milestone 5 years last year, I have decided to take a quieter approach.  I decorated this adorable little tree with breast cancer ornaments, and it will remain in my office at home through Christmas.  I am looking forward to filling it up with pink!  I will celebrate six years of being cancer free every day when I look at it!

On to Heather's story, she is a ten year survivor of malignant pleural mesothelioma. Don't know what this is? I didn't either, until I read Heather's story at her blog. 

 Mesothelioma is a preventable cancer that is associated exclusively with asbestos exposure. Unfortunately, in the U.S. and other countries, this toxic material has not yet been banned, so people continue to be exposed to it. Mesothelioma can affect the organs in your body. (For Heather, it affected the lining of her lungs, and her left lung).  

On her blog, she decribes her symptoms, and how she got this cancer.  So innocent.  She talks about her determination to beat the odds, which were not good.  It is a true story of survival.  Please go to her site and read her story.  Cancer survivors need to tell their story.  It helps us all.

This is Heather and her husband, Cam.  Cam strikes me as a man who also has a large dose of determination in his body, too.  As I read about him, it reminded me of the strength of my own husband, who never missed an appointment, surgery or meeting as it pertained to my cancer.  This quote from Cam expresses well what most husbands must feel:

“When my wife, Heather, began her battle with cancer, I was fortunate enough to be able to be with her for her surgery in Boston. But when cancer strikes a family, life unfortunately isn’t put on pause. Having to return to work while she went through her recovery process left me feeling helpless. However, I quickly learned that just because I was far away, didn’t mean I couldn’t still care for her in a meaningful way.”

If you suspect or know someone dealing with this type of cancer, please direct them here to get more information.  Have them read Heather's story and let them know there is hope.  

I also wanted to post today to celebrate my friend Linda's birthday.  She, too, is going through her own cancer journey.  I want her to see all the hope that is out there in the world, people surviving against unthinkable odds.  Happy birthday, dear, sweet friend.  Happy birthday.

Our most recent photo, taken after dinner at O'Donough's, in September, 2015.  Me, Linda, Ashley and Charlotte.

The four of us again!

Linda joined a book club I was in, and enhanced our conversations with her insights and wisdom.

Bunco Babes!

Me, Linda and Ashley, right before my cancer surgery.  Showing support by wearing this cute tees!

Another shot of our fabulous Bunco Babes!