Monday, November 28, 2011

Crunchy leaves, bright eyed boys and stripey sweaters all equal fall ;-)

I just love watching my little munchkins playing in the backyard in the crisp autumn air, hearing the giggles combined with the crunching of leaves makes me smile...and reminds me of the simple things in life..the smile and giggle of a small happy child can make my day! especially if that child is my child! Makes me think twice about how God loves to hear us happy and rejoicing in Him! motivates me to be more positive and loving toward the job He has given me! Have a wonderful day and rejoice in the Lord always!

"Are-you-turtely-enough-for-the-turtle-club-cheesecake" aka turtle cheesecake!

lol did you catch the reference in the title ;-) as I am writing this my hubby is watching "master of disguise" (oh my right...) thought it was appropriate lol
Not really a thanksgiving dessert but heavenly just the same! I guess this time around I'm extremely proud of this cheesecake because my hubby decided to help me out in the kitchen and bake up this masterpiece together! (And also because it's my first baking project in my new oven!!!)wow and was it ever a masterpiece! The flavors of homemade caramel (by the way try this caramel sauce recipe from annie's eats it's amazing!)and the chocolate and cheesecake were just divine, positively sinful lol.
The reason I made this version of cheesecake instead of the ever popular pumpkin version is because my hubby doesn't really favor pumpkin and loves chocolate and caramel so the decision was easy!
I love cheesecake, it's amazing in so many ways, the science alone is cool and the rich flavors and possibilities are endless!
this one did not disappoint!
If you are in need of a custom cheesecake (gluten free too) let me know!

Our thanksgiving was amazing, and we had tons of great food and company...did you all have a great thanksgiving? It was a good reminder this past week to remember all the things God has blessed me with (read more here)
I pray you had a great time with family and friends! may God bless you this holiday season ;-)

Turtle Cheesecake


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 6 tablespoons cold butter, chopped

  • 4 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Spice Islands® pure vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips, melted and cooled
  • 1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans

  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pecans
  • Optional garnish: pecan halves and additional caramel ice cream topping


  • Place a greased 9-in. springform pan on a double thickness of heavy-duty foil (about 18 in. square). Securely wrap foil around pan.
  • In a small bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar and pecans; cut in butter until crumbly. Press onto the bottom of prepared pan. Place pan on a baking sheet. Bake at 325° for 12-15 minutes or until set. Cool on a wire rack.
  • In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugars until smooth. Beat in 1/4 cup flour, cream and vanilla. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Remove 1 cup batter to a small bowl; stir in melted chocolate until blended. Spread over crust.
  • Combine caramel topping and remaining flour; stir in pecans. Drop by tablespoonfuls over chocolate batter. Top with remaining batter. Place springform pan in a large baking pan; add 1 in. of hot water to larger pan.
  • Bake at 325° for 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours or until center is just set and top appears dull. Remove springform pan from water bath. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight.
  • Place chips in a small bowl. In a small saucepan, bring cream just to a boil. Pour over chips; whisk until smooth. Cool slightly, stirring occasionally.
  • Spread over cheesecake. Sprinkle with chopped pecans. Refrigerate until set. Remove sides of pan. Garnish with pecan halves and additional caramel topping if desired. Yield: 12 servings.


Recipe adapted from taste of home

    Tuesday, November 15, 2011

    Cute Candy Corn Cupcakes

    Here are some cute candy corn cupcakes I made for the church's fall festival ;-)
    Cupcake recipe
    Frosting recipe 

    Pompoensoep aka Pumpkin Soup

    Some day's I can really miss the place I grew up, and I guess that's a natural feeling if you were born and raised in an entirely different country let alone a different continent. I grew up in Belgium (Europe). I was born and raised there. The fall and winter days are the days I miss Belgium the most...I miss the fall colors and the kerstmarkt(Christmas market), sinterklaas (saint Nicholas...not to be mistaken for st.nick!)the colder weather...etc
    It's half way through November here and I am running around in shorts and a t-shirt so wrong on so many accounts!
    well anyways why I miss Belgium: 
    When I was in high school I studied "social technical applied sciences" this was a course that had a broad a selection of possible degrees one of those being a restaurant or hotel manager. I had always wanted to be either one of those growing up so this seemed a good choice at the time. We had 4 hours of "cooking" a week, it wasn't just cooking it was learning to put together menu's, arrange flowers, setting different types of tables based on their function, even how to preserve the color of veggies while cooking and tons of other neat and useful tips...
    We'd have to cook a dish and learn the science behind each step then serve it as if we were running a restaurant and our classmates were high end customers. It was really fun and educating.

    Our cooking class would start on Monday morning we would have to be at school at 7:30am. we'd all head out to the local market (this was a weekly market where all the local farmers and sellers could conjugate and sell their produce) the market would open at 6am and close by noon or 1pm. we would head out there as a class and buy the produce we would need for our recipes that day. We learned first hand how to pick and choose choice pieces of meat, fish and veggies and cheese.This particular day we were going to make soup, it was fall and the weather had started to get cooler. One thing that I really liked about the Belgians is that they would love to make soup, it was made with the veggies available in that season and was served right before your main meal.
    1. It was warm so it warmed you up.
    2. It would fill you up just enough so that you wouldn't over indulge on the starches and protein, but still getting all the nutrients you need for a far less price.
    3. Soup is healthy...less obesity 
    During the wars people in Europe were put on rations, meat was a commodity and soup was easy, filling and still had the nutrients you needed. I guess it just stuck as a good habit ;-) 
    I  LOVE  soup and this particular recipe is one of the recipes we made that day in's a typical Belgian soup and is so good and creamy (you don't even need cream to make it creamy, the potato does a good job of it).
    It's made with pumpkin but it does not include cinnamon as we Americans seem to add to all pumpkin recipes. I remember bringing an all American pumpkin pie to class one day to share lol the kids thought it was the weirdest and strangest concoction ever lol and I must say cinnamon does not go over so well over there. nutmeg on the other hand is an entirely different story ;-)

    This recipe brings back's found in "Ons kookboek" and I've translated it for you (I so badly want to get my hands on that book! but they don't ship it to the USA)
    I hope you enjoy!

    Pompoensoep (Pumpkin Soup):

    • 1 small pumpkin peeled and cubed or half of a normal sized pumpkin
    • 1 peeled and cubed russet potato
    • 1 leek chopped (only use the white part of the leek, if you use the green part the orange color of the soup will turn brown!)
    • 1/2 large onion diced
    • 1 large carrot chopped
    • 8 cups water
    • 8 vegetable bouillon cubes (I use the Maggi brand green/yellow box)
    • 2 Tbsp butter
    • Splash of cream per serving

    1. In a stockpot over medium heat, melt butter and saute onion, leek and carrot until all are tender. Add the pumpkin cubes to the onion, leek and carrot and saute further.
    2. Mix the vegetable stock cubes with the 8 cups of warm water until cubes are dissolved. Add the vegetable stock to the pumpkin. Turn heat to high let the soup come to a boil, then reduce heat to low and let the soup simmer for 45 min till all vegetables are soft.
    3. Puree the soup with a food processor or blender.(the soup will be hot and will produce pressure in the blender so make sure you cover the blender lid with a towel so you don't burn yourself)
    4. Serve the soup in bowls and pour 2-3 Tbsp of cream in each bowl (optional)
    5. If you want to shake it up a bit add 1 Tbsp of soft goats cheese, bacon, apple..
    enjoy! ;-)

    He is enough!

    Here is something to think about, this really helped me out today as I struggled to get a hold of my day!

    When I watch someone paying 4 pennies for $50 in groceries… I am not frugal enough.

    When I drool over colorful projects on PinterestI am not creative enough.

    When I read about clever busy bags and toddler crafts… I am not fun enough.

    When I replace my empty roll of paper towels… I am not green enough.

    When I open yet another facebook request to promote someone’s new at home business … I am not driven enough.

    When I fall into bed at the end of the day, praying frantically before sleep covers me… I am not holy enough.

    When I walk over yesterday’s crumbs on my dining room floor… I am not clean enough.

    When I look at the pile of dishes and laundry before me… I am not organized enough.

    When I open the store-bought package of tortillas for lunch… I am not real{food} enough. 

    When I can't come up with awesome games for my children to play...I am not playful enough

    When I can't seem to keep friends for very long...I am not social enough

    I am not enough.

    But I am redeemed, because

    He is enough.

    If your focus, like mine, turns you down a road of self-depreciating incompetence, then your vision is blurry. Clean off your glasses. Put your contacts in. Wipe the sleep out of your eyes. Enjoy the clear vision of confidence.

    He is enough.

    Hope you have an awesome day!

    Saturday, November 5, 2011

    Like oil, the blessings flowed

    Well I have started re-writing this blog entry three times now...I have a hard time putting my thoughts into words on paper or even in the computer. I have taken the advice of some very wise women in my life my mother being one of them. I was encouraged to think of a "God Story" in my life, a time where God stepped in and took full control and changed my situation and life for the good. My mother encouraged me to write stories like that here goes...this particular story has not yet finished and like most events in my life  will most likely not evolve and progress anywhere close to my idea or planning (thank God for that right?!) anyways my story actually will start with an amazing story check it out:

    The title of this blog entry is the title of my lesson in our bible study book "women of the covenant"

    The story we are told to read is the story of "the needy widow" (no...not needy as in whining but needy as in, in utter distress") I find that a lot of times when I read the bible and I know the story, my mind tends to slow down and take the story word for word...when I do that I miss out on  true feelings that are found behind the characters and events. The bible is not the most "emotional" book and it was definitely written by men lol If a women had written the bible we would have had a far larger book that might not even fit on your shelf due to all the emotions added in to the story...can you imagine what Jesus birth story aka the Christmas story would have been like if it had been written by, lets say Mary herself? a whole different story. I have found it very helpful to read the bible and imagine the said person in the story was would I feel in that precise situation? it becomes clear to me that all the people in the bible where just that people...with very similar emotions to mine. The stories become very real to me as they portray how God uses those who are willing and gives them the strength and courage they need.

    But all this to lead to the story I read today (actually reread we had covered this in Sunday school). You can find the story in 2 Kings 4:1-7   (just click to read)
    Here is a short film on the story: (there are a couple things that I don't quite agree with in this movie clip, the story is correct but I wish they had put emphasis on God doing the miracle and not Elisha. Elisha had told the widow to collect all the pots she could gather and to return to her house and close the door behind her...the miracle that followed was only witnessed by the mother and her sons, it was a direct miracle and gift from God. Elisha was only the messenger.)

    The story is a remarkable one if you let the true emotions get to you. that's why I wanted to post the video because it shows more emotion. We (meaning mostly me) turn to this story for comfort in our own situations, and I'm sure that is why the story is in the bible to show us the God always takes care of those who trust in Him. But I tend to feel like I'm right there with her (women in the story)..."I'm in soooo much trouble things just can't get any just don't understand...I don't know if I can handle this anymore...God please save me...this is too am I going to get out of this?" and on and on and on...sound familiar? sadly these are things I have said in the past week (hangs head in shame).

    The widows situation:
    • Husband died
    • No food
    • Massive debts
    • Sons are being threatened to go into slavery
    • Most likely looked down on by others
    • No money
    My situation:
    • I still have my husband
    • I have food
    • I don't have any debts that are due and bills are paid
    • My sons are staying right here with me
    • I'm hopefully not looked down on by others
    • The only thing I have in common with her is no money (at the moment)
    My situation all at once becomes very insignificant in comparison to hers. I can't imagine what it would feel like to lose my husband, money, food...and then possibly losing my kids to slavery...utter despair comes to mind as a feeling I would have. But this remarkable widow does one incredible thing that blows me away...very simple...she puts her trust completely in God.
    Trust is not a new word to me and often you will find me saying it "oh I'm just trusting God"...but sadly it has become a phrase to frequently used and hardly ever truly applied.

    So here comes the reason for me writing this blog entry and tying the "God story" and the "Writing it down" together. I have been truly touched by this story and it has taught me something about myself...I do not trust near enough.When troubles come my way I tend to take control while telling myself that I am trusting God.
    So with this blog entry I'm not going to pout and be sad about my situation. And honestly I have been at peace since reading this story and understanding God's promise. So this is by no means a pity party and I am NOT asking for anything, please understand that. What I truly want to portray here is how God provides for His children. I hope that it may encourage you in the end and show that God really does provide.

    My "God story" starts with me finding out we have absolutely no money in the bank, actually we are under...and don't get paid for another week. fear was definitely one of the emotions I felt..."how are we going to pay for gas, food...?" I'm sure a lot of you can imagine the feeling. This is where the story of the needy widow came into the picture. I had already been praying how I could use my blog to encourage others and lately it has just been an online recipe book, not what I was going for...My first plan for the blog was to be an encouragement to other women, showing them that you can do so many things even on food stamps and a limited budget, and to be an honest look at my life and it's struggles. but it hasn't been apologies for that!

    So welcome to the begining of my "God story" it has only begun and I honestly don't know how God is going to work but I am excited and curious at the same time! I will be posting and updating this post as God provides...Watch the Almighty God do wondrous things :-) and I am fully aware that God's plan might not be to get me out of this hard time and His plan very well might be for me to deeper. but I won't just be blogging about the material blessings but also the all the things He will be teaching me. I am human and I will try to be as honest as I can with everything that comes my way good or bad.
    I hope you will be as encouraged as I am right now and that this can show you what an awesome God is capable of if only given the permission to do so.(I had to let go of a lot of things and confess a ton of sins and will continue to have to do that day in day out...)

    Again this is not a plea for help and if you want to contribute please do so by just pray ;-)
    feel free to comment I would love to hear your feedback ;-)

    Love you all,

    SATURDAY November 5th 2011:

    1. WOW!!! The day is not even over yet and our first blessing arrived! God is truly amazing! My husband and I are awestruck! We were given a $100 today in the form of a walmart gift card. This will take care of diapers and wipes and gas for our car. God, thank you so much and please help us continue to trust in you and stay humble. all glory and honor to you!
    2. This evening I remembered my camera (I had saved and sold a lot of my stuff to afford a digital SLR camera for my picture taking a year ago, it had some minor problems with it and was under warranty so I had sent it in to be repaired) that I had sent in to be repaired nearly a month ago, the geek squad had assured me the repairs would only take 2 weeks at most. It had been a month and no word! I called them wanting to know the status of my repair. This is what ended up happening in a nutshell; they had sent the fixed camera to the wrong address (my old address) I had proof that I had changed my address before sending the said camera back. Their fault they acclaimed and they set out to retrieve the camera, they couldn't retrieve it and promptly gave me a brand new nikon dslr camera. cool right!  Well the "lost" camera has been found and was returned to me. So now I have two fully functional expensive camera's in my possession. I know this might not be considered a blessing that will help my situation but it is a blessing in itself, best buy had said this has only happened one other time where the company sent a repair to the wrong address after a clear address change. I don't feel right selling it but I know a couple of people who could really use a good camera. So with that said not only did God provide for our family but He has also provided more so our family can give to others! I'm praying to see where God wants me to use this camera as a blessing ;-)
    SUNDAY November 6th 2011:

    1. Today we were invited to visit our old church and to attend their service, we had figured it would be a good time to catch up and rekindle and fix some relationships (long story). We ended up leaving the church with a very generous gift to pay for our gas out there! God is good! Thank you so much (You know who you are ;-) !!) Not only did it pay for our gas but it will get us through probably an additional half a week ;-) Even in the most uncomfortable and hard situations God can reach through. And even though we were not able to fix everything we set out to God still encouraged us! I hope you have a very blessed and encouraging Sunday!
    MONDAY November 7th 2011:

    1. Monday started off really bad and frustrating (Yes I stumbled) ever have those mornings where you just seem like staying in bed all day and crying? Monday tends to do that to me...oh wait you too??? OK so it's not just me! I tell you I had it bad this Monday...frustrated, moody and down right grumpy...had to get up praying for patience and grace! took the boys to the MC Donalds down the road to play in the play ground, we took our breakfast with us since we had no actual change or money just gift cards. It so happened that nobody was there and it gave me some time to talk to God while the kids played.  I felt a little better and decided I really just needed to pound the frustrations since I work at a gym  I have a free to the gym we went. the kids did great in the daycare. and I got a full two hours of heavy workout done (man I was frustrated lol) I walked out feeling better and God and i had a good one on one when I was working out. Went home to find a letter in the mail from a good very loving friend who had been supporting us monthly. we hadn't heard from her in a while but today we received a letter and a $20 Thank you God! Even when my pea-sized human brain freezes on me and I am in the foulest of moods God still cares enough for me to bless me. I should say my head hung in shame for about 5min then my heart thanked God for the provision. God is good and we have been taken care of.
    WEDNESDAY November 9th 2011:

    1. Today I was able to sell some stuff for a total of $250...not only was it sold but it was sold to a family going into ministry. I talked to them for awhile and they told me he had come from law enforcement and was going to Romania with his family for missions. Wow it was amazing to hear their story and to talk to them...I'm glad my items for sale were sold to them and hopefully they will continue to use them for God's Glory. I thought it was quite interesting that my husband went from being a pastor to a cop and here this man was a cop and now a pastor! God works in great ways...BUT good news...WE ARE NO LONGER UNDER in the bank!!!!!!!!! but I will continue to write about the things that happen...;-) thank you so much for your prayers and comments! you are much loved!
    Thanksgiving week:

    I had promised to keep you updated on new blessings, I haven't forgotten and WOW has God delivered! and truthfully I do not deserve any of them!
    One BIG change in our situation is that I quit my job! this is a BIG step and a very scary one, but one I felt God telling me to take that step. I won't go into details as to why I quit.
    I don't know how we will make it on only Justin's salary, but it has put us in a place where we are trusting God together and forced to make wiser decisions. A lot of household products are being made by hand and I am actually having a blast figuring it all out. But the fear is still lurking and it will be a daily struggle.
    But I just cannot ignore all the awesome blessings brought our way after I made the decision to quit my job. The peace I had after I made the decision about my job was backed by a flow of blessings, most of them were things we had been praying for ;-)  I am very happy to announce that I now have a new oven...YAY!!!!! and it doesn't stop there...I have a new kitchen floor...AND YES AND a new garage door! I am overwhelmed! these were all things we had been praying for. All in time for thanksgiving!
    In addition to those blessings I think the biggest blessing was the generosity of friends and family, we had some very good friends of us donate a generous gift card to us, this just blows me way! wow I just pray God blesses them in abundance! also my sisters came up for thanksgiving it was a very good time and I must say they were more of a blessing to me than ever! the kids had an amazing time with them and I was able to get a rest! thank you very much to all who were a blessing! (you know who you are ;-)...)

    The weeks up till Christmas:

    I have not been updating as much as I had promised...sorry for that :-(
    I might not actually be able to update on everything that has happened. We have been blessed immensely! Since I gave up my job, we were worried how we would make it through. But God has taken care of us like He promised. We have received numerous checks for Christmas, a couple walmart gift cards and loads of little blessings from friends. The best gift of all was my parents, parents-in-law and sister who came up to visit and support Justin at his graduation. We had an awesome time with them, they were an immense blessing. Family is one the best blessings God has given us. And I miss them dreadfully.
    My husband graduated and is now starting his job, it takes some time to get use to him leaving the house with a loaded gun and a uniform (sexy as it is lol) but I'm grateful for a good job and a consistent one at that.
    We have decided to give up presents this year and donate the money toward gift boxes that will be sent to Afghanistan to help a unit of 4 marines who are stationed there. these are the boxes all ready and now sent ;-)

    we each gave our Christmas presents to one marine hence the four boxes, so excited!

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