Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pecan Pie Cookies

This is another Pinterest recipe that proved to be a great success!  These cookies were easy to make, and oh so yummy!  Sweet, soft, crunchy - exactly what a pecan pie cookie should be, and perfect for a fall party!

Pecan Pie Cookies

For Cookies:
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
For Filling:
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. Combine all cookie ingredients except flour and baking powder in large bowl.
  3. Beat at medium speed until creamy. Reduce speed to low; add flour and baking powder. Beat until well mixed.
  4. Shape dough into 1-1/4-inch balls.
  5. Place 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  6. Make indentation in each cookie with thumb; rotate thumb to hollow out slightly.
  7. Combine all filling ingredients in small bowl; fill each cookie with 1 rounded tsp. filling.
  8. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets.

Monday, October 29, 2012

A Fall Sunday

The makings of a perfect Sunday in the fall...

Leaves, boots, and tights...

...Chicken Noodle Soup from Earth Fare...

...and a little cup of joy to close out the evening.

Friday, October 26, 2012

A Day on the Farm

Tomorrow night The Well is having a Barn Party, and this afternoon a bunch of us went over to the farm where we'll be having it to get set-up.  Here are a few highlights...

While walking past a pond into the woods to collect marshmallow roasting sticks I told stories about the pond at my grandparents house...Like when I was really little I would go "fishing" with peacock feathers, and I could never figure out why I didn't catch anything.  And then, when I was not so little, I was throwing pumpkins onto the frozen pond one Thanksgiving.  I started to step out onto the ice and it broke, and my whole left leg went in, but my right one was still on the bank so it stayed nice and dry.

The guys were working on hanging these pallet chandelier things that we have.  We only had one big ladder, so Seth hung them by standing on a pallet, on a Bobcat, that Brandon was driving.  It was amusing and scary at times.

There were goats!  I walked outside of the barn for a minute and there was a goat standing right there!  And then I saw another one.  I followed them down the road for a little bit because I wanted to get close enough to pet them, but whenever I reached my hand out they would just "baaaaa" at me.

And when I was taking this picture:

I heard a funny noise and turned around and saw this:

This goat just jumped up on the truck!  If these goats hang out tomorrow night, I'm sure I'll have some more good stories about them!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Fall in East Tennessee

I've been saying that East Tennessee is absolutely, positively one of the most beautiful places in the world in the fall, and to help prove my point I'll share some photos.  No filters. No photoshop.  Just God's glorious creation!

These were taken from two different scenic overlooks on Interstate 26, between Johnson City and Asheville, NC.

And these were taken on campus.

Monday, October 22, 2012

My Bucket List

I've been meaning to write this post for a while now!  As much as I love lists and experiencing life, I've never had an "official" bucket list.  There have always been things I knew I wanted to do in life, but I have never had them written down somewhere; until now.  I figured this would be the best place to write out my bucket list, so I'll always know where it and I can entertain people in the process!  And I actually have two lists...

Before I turn 30 list
Go to a professional sports game. (Patriots vs. Lions - Thanksgiving Day, 2010)
Spend the night somewhere to get free food. (Buffalo Wild Wings, September, 2012)
Go to either a Red Sox game at Fenway Park or a Patriots game a Gillette Stadium.
Travel to a country I've never been to.
Pay off my school loans.  This probably won't happen unless I win the lottery, but a girl can dream, right?
Take a vacation alone.  This probably makes me sound like a loser, but I think it would be wonderful!
Go to Dollywood.
Visit the Biltmore. 

Lifetime list
Go to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Travel West.
Have a food named after me, like a sandwich called The Aimee Jane, or something like that.
Visit NYC during all 4 seasons; so far all of my trips have been in the winter.
Write and illustrate a children's book.
Meet someone famous.
Go to a restaurant featured on Diners, Drive In's, and Dives.  I have actually been to one, but now that I have this list, I want to go to another.
Learn how to make Brunswick Stew as good as Granny's.

What about you, what's something on your Bucket List?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Thrifty Thursday

One of my tips for thrifting is to get outside the realm of Goodwill; most cities have thrift stores associated with non-profit ministries.  In Johnson City one of those thrift stores is the Heaven Sent Family Outlet.  I was there about two weeks ago looking for lots of random items to make some staging props for Wednesday nights, and while I was the book section I saw this cute little magazine holder.  I wasn't sure if it was to hold magazines that they were selling or if it was for sell too, so I figured I'd ask.  The lady I asked said I could have it for $5, which I thought was a little steep for a thrift store, but I'd still get it.  When I got up to the counter to pay, before I could even say that someone had said I could have it for $5, the lady at the counter said, "I'll put a dollar on it," and I said, "Ok!"  See, it never hurts to ask about things!

I took it home and tried my best to clean it up, since one side had some stains on it.  The canvas couldn't be taken off of the frame, so I spot treated it with Shout and then put it under the tub faucet.  I poured laundry detergent on a rag and scrubbed it as best as I could.  I really don't think it got any cleaner, but I feel better knowing it's been cleaned and somewhat sanitized.

So here it is; so cute!

The only thing is that that whole little wall is all neutral colored and looking really blaaa.  I'll have to figure out a way to bring more color to it.  If the canvas on the magazine rack was removable I'd take it off and paint the wooden frame, but I'd be afraid to paint it with the canvas still on it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Old School Pinterest

I really like magazines.  I get a lot of magazines.  It's hard for me to get rid of magazines.  And therefore they're all over my apartment.  I realized this summer that the stack of cooking magazines in my kitchen, that I kept "just in case I needed to look up a recipe,"  hadn't been opened in months and was collecting dust.  I had to do something about it.  So I went through every. single. page of every. single. magazine and tore out the recipes and "tips and hints" articles that caught my eye.  Then I sorted the recipes into categories like entrees, sides, breads, desserts etc.  I bought a three ring binder and a pack of those clear page protectors, trimmed up the edges of the pages, and slippped them inside.  So instead of a basket of dusty magazines, or messy piles of torn out pages, everything is nice, neat, and organized inside the binder.  Basically,  it's like old school Pinterest!  Now, when I read something in a magazine that I like, I go ahead and tear out the page, and I can toss the magazine with no worries. 

One section for recipes...

...and one section for tips, hint, and how to's.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Fall in a Cup

I finally found some fall colored skinnies!  And if you read my 11 Questions post, you'll get the significance of the purple pen :)

I went to Barnes and Noble tonight to work on some Bible study stuff, and thoroughly enjoyed a Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate while there.  Those things are amazing!  I definitely like them more than the Salted Caramel Mocha, and it may even be my new favorite drink from Starbucks.  And I don't usually indulge like this in one day, but I also had a Pumpkin Pie and Heath Bar milkshake from Cookout today!  I figured I needed to try the Pumpkin Pie milkshake before it was gone, and I added the Heath bar because I didn't think I could handle a  plain pumpkin milkshake.  It was ok, but I think Oreo or Snickers would have been better.  Now I am home, typing this at the moment and getting ready to work on some work stuff, and there's a mug of Pumpkin Spice tea next to me.  I have definitely tasted fall in a cup today!

Butternut Squash and Fettuccine

This is another Pinterest recipe that I made a few weeks ago.  It wasn't quite as good as I had hoped, but I think I know how to make it better and I'm definitely going to try it again.  For one thing, I over cooked the pasta, so that didn't help.  The recipe also called for either goat cheese, blue cheese, or shredded Parmesan.  When I went shopping for the ingredients the grocery store didn't have goat cheese, which I do like, they did have blue cheese, which I don't like, so that left me to use Parmesan.  But the Parmesan just melted into the pasta and you couldn't distinguish the taste at all.  Next time I make this I will find goat cheese, the sourness of it will be a good balance for the sweetness of the squash.  I also used the 4 teaspoons of sage like the recipe called for but I thought it was overpowering, I'll probably just use 2 1/2 next time.  But like I said, even with all these issues it was good enough for me to want to make it again.

Butternut Squash and Fettuccine

1/2 box of linguine *I actually used fettuccine
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
4 cups butternut squash pieces (about 1-inch pieces)
1/2 cup dry white wine or reduced-sodium, fat free chicken broth *I used the chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh sage or 4 teaspoons dried sage
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese, blue cheese or shredded Parmesan cheese *I used Parmeson
Crumbled cooked prosciutto or bacon, optional *Bacon is never optional in my book :)
Additional cheese, optional *I topped it with grated Parmesan
Toasted chopped walnuts, optional *Did not use

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and return to pan; cover and keep warm.
  2. Meanwhile, in large nonstick skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic; cook and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in squash, wine and salt. Simmer 12 to 15 minutes just until squash is tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in sage.
  3. Toss squash with pasta and cheese. Sprinkle with prosciutto, additional cheese and walnuts, as desired.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Clothed in Memories

This weekend I conquered the task of switching out my spring/summer and fall/winter wardrobe.  Which I realized doesn't actually include a lot of switching, just mostly adding.  I still wear tanks and short sleeved shirts under cardigans, and if I add tights, boots, and a jacket, lots of my summer dresses work in the winter.  So I add sweaters, vests, long sleeved shirts, and winter skirts and dresses, and only put away shorts and swimsuits.  Since I have a lot of clothes and not a lot of closet space, all of this "switching out" requires lots of rearranging and using space creatively.  Now where am I going with all of this?  There is a point.  As I was surrounded by clothes for the better part of Saturday afternoon I realized that clothes are like a silky, shiny, fuzzy, cozy, soft, knitted, faded, comfortable, wearable scrapbook!  Let me explain...

Before I could begin putting clothes away I needed to do a bunch of laundry, which then required me to fold a bunch of laundry.  Usually I'll fold clothes while watching TV but this time I was just in my bedroom doing it.  Since I wasn't paying attention to a show, I was paying more attention to my t-shirts, and realized they could mostly be clumped into three categories: Milligan, Virginia Tech, and The Well, and all of these shirts brought back lots of memories.  Milligan shirts brought back memories of soccer games, homecoming, and all the crazy shenanigans that came with being an RA.  Virginia Tech shirts took me to Lane Stadium cheering on the Hokies, sometimes under the sun and one time from under a raincoat.  Well shirts reminded me of special Wednesday night services, watching countless intramural games, and crazy freshman events.  And then there were a few other memorable shirts, like the special shirt I took to China to wear on The Great Wall, and shirts from various 5ks.

Homecoming, Fall 2007

The Sutton RAs opening for Sutton Star Search, Fall 2007 (I'm the one of the far right).

Amanda Mae, Me, and Amanda, Fall 2009.

Me and all of the OMG - Amanda, Brittany, Emily, Melanie, and Amanda Mae, Fall 2010.

Chelsea, me, and Samantha goofing off at The Well photo booth, Winter 2011.

Hannah, me, and Chelsea at Cupcake Wars, Fall 2011.

China! Summer 2011.

After all of my clean laundry was put away it was time to make some more room in my closet for my winter clothes.  I realized that removing all of the bridesmaids dresses that I couldn't bring myself to get rid of would free up some space.  I decided to move them to the over-the-door rack that I have all of my scarves on.  They could go on the bottom level of hooks, and the scarves could just go over them on the top level of hooks.  So needless to say, there were lots of fun memories with those dresses from my college roommate's, best friends', and sister's weddings.

College roommate Mackenzie's wedding ~ June 7th, 2008.

College friend Scottie's wedding ~ June 19th, 2010.

We partied hard at this wedding, as evidenced by my fist pumping and classic "duck lips" dancing face.

Lifelong friend Ashley's wedding ~ March 12, 2011.

Amanda would be next!

Blogging buddies!  And those are the same style dresses as Scottie's wedding, just a different color obviously.

Amanda's wedding ~ July 3rd, 2011.

Love these girls!

College friend Jessica's wedding ~ August 9th, 2011.

See, dancing duck lips. I can't not do it.

After I hung all those dresses up, I hung the scarves back up, and one sticks out as being special.  It's from Kenya and Jillian got it for me when she went there on a mission trip last summer.  I'm sure there's a picture somewhere of me wearing it, but I couldn't track one down.

At this point I was finally ready to unpack winter clothes, and some other memorable pieces I uncovered were the snow boots I was wearing the day I was hiding under a big tree (sneakily) taking pictures of Jonathan proposing to Amanda.

And my tacky Christmas sweater which I first bought for when our RA staff took pictures to make Christmas  cards.  We gave them to all the girls in our building and also mailed them to the President and administration of the college!

Well those are just some of the memorable clothes that I folded and unpacked.  And again you might be asking, "What's the point of all of this?"  Well, I really believe that sometimes clothes can be more than just clothes.  What about you?  Are there clothes that bring back special memories?

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