Friday, December 31, 2010

Book Review: Love and War Devotional for Couples

I was looking for a couples devotional for me and my husband... and this is wonderful!!! It is a 8 week long devotional, 5 days a week. They are short and to the point. The topics range from expectations, to intimacy. Each day has scripture, prayer, and a short message from the authors. The devotionals are very easy to ready but with a very strong message.

I would recommend all couples to read this together. Whether you are newly weds, and married for 20 years, all couples can gain something from taking 5 minutes a day to do this devotional.

Note: "I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review".

Book Review: International Children's Bible: Holy Bible

When I first read the description for this Bible, I thought it was a children's "bible story" book... not the actual Bible... so as you can imagine, I was utterly disappointed when I received a full children's translation of the Holy Bible instead. The images on the cover are actually a bit difficult to see due to the glitter effect. Jesus is the only clear image... the rest of the characters you see above are actually pretty difficult to see.

Even though the cover might not be to my liking, the translation is very good. I will be using this translation to teach my elementary school kids during story time, but I would not use it for an actual Bible study. Even though the translation is written so that kids can understand what they are reading, I feel that some of the changes made in translation takes away the original meaning.

This Bible has a dictionary in the back with full definitions, and references to where it is mentioned in the Bible. This is a wonderful feature for youngsters... even for adults! As for the pictures in the Bible, it will definitely attract children, but as an adult, I was not a fan of the computerized characters.

Even though I was not a fan of the art inside or on the cover, I would give this book as a gift to an upper elementary school student. It is easy to read, with good size font and would be a good resource for the kids.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Recipe: Cranberry-Orange Scones

I found this recipe on: Obsessed With Baking Blog

2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar (I added 4 tbsps for a bit more sweetness)
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter
1/2 cup craisins
1 cup heavy cream 
zest of one orange

Directions I followed:
Step 1: Place all ingredients except for heavy cream in food processor... and pulse about 12 times or so. 
Step 2: Pour cream in slowly and mix... next time, I will use the KitchenAid Mixer.
Step 3: Cut dough in half. Make into ball, flatten into about 1/2 inch thick or so and slice into 8 pieces. 
Step : Bake at 425 degrees for 12-14 minutes on un-greased baking sheet.

I liked this recipe because it didn't require too many ingredients, and it was sooo easy to make! One modification I would make is to put an orange glaze on top for that extra zest! :o) Yummy. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Book Review: Life Without Limits

A couple weeks ago, I joined Blogging for Books... Like many other publishers, WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group will send you free books to review for just a short blog review of the book. As I started my journey as a reviewer... my first task was to select a book...

What better book to begin reviewing with than the story of Nick Vujicic. I had previously seen a youtube video about his DVD, No Arms, No Legs, No Problem, and found him to be fascinating, and super inspirational. So I just had to see what he had to say!! 

Life Without Limits is Nick telling about his life, and his secrets to finding "ridiculous" joy from life. He shares his struggles growing up without limbs, his parents' struggles in raising a child without limbs, and how both overcame the "limits"! I really enjoyed reading this book. At first I was a little nervous that this was going to be a self help book, trying to encourage me to go out and take on the world, but as I read deeper into the book, Nick really opens up about his life, people who impacted him as much as he had impacted them. I loved the part of the book where he talks about meeting a little boy named Daniel for the first time... Daniel was just like him, no arms, no legs... and even had the same little stubby foot!

I really enjoyed Nick's perspective on God's role in making him... and how God has used his "disability" and turned it into his "abilities". His ability to inspire hundreds of people at once, and how he has changed people's lives is just amazing!!! He talks a lot about what he has seen throughout his travels as a motivational speaker and that joy comes from within us, not from around us.

This is a great book of encouragement for people who are struggling with self-doubt, in tough situations, or just really enjoy a good read about amazing people! Be prepared to laugh and cry throughout the book. I love Nick's sense of humor throughout the book, even when talking about very tough subjects. The book also includes pictures of Nick as a child, teenager, and as an adult doing some incredible things!

Note: "I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review". 

Friday, December 3, 2010

Recipe: Chocolate Mint Squares

I found this recipe for Chocolate Mint Squares on the Joy of Baking Website:

Of course, I never bake according to directions... so...

I made a homemade batch of brownies from scratch using my favorite brownie recipe... though, I am sure you can use just a box of brownie mix and no one will be able to tell the difference. I made only half a batch of brownies to fit into a 8x8 pan because these little suckers are so rich that really... you don't need a WHOLE batch of them... especially when it's just for you and your husband. If you have family coming in though... this would call for a whole batch.

I did follow the Joy of Baking recipes for the mint frosting and the chocolate topping.

Mint Layer:
tablespoons(28 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (115 grams) confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted
1 - 1 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract or 1-2 tablespoons creme de menthe
green food coloring (optional)

Chocolate Glaze:
3 ounces (90 grams) semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon (14 grams) unsalted butter

Directions I used:

Bake brownies and cool.

Combine all Frosting ingredients, and blend till smooth. Spread on top of brownies.

Melt Chocolate chips and butter in microwave (30 seconds at a time) until smooth.

Spread on top of frosting.

Refrigerate for one hour and then serve.

One modification I did make... I used 2 Tablespoons of whipping cream instead of just 1.5 Tablespoons for the frosting... and for the chocolate topping... I had to add some whipping cream to that too because it did not melt properly... sigh... it's not as smooth as I would have liked... maybe next time.

Heavenly goodness.... my husband had 3 pieces in ONE sitting!!! 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Recipe: Shepard's Pie

I found this recipe for Shepard's Pie on:



  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels 1 can of peas, drained 
  • tablespoons butter  cooking spray
  • large onion, chopped 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • stalk celery, chopped 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 1/4 lbs ground beef
  • garlic clove, minced
  • tablespoons flour
  • cup beef broth 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • cup diced canned tomatoes or cup crushed tomatoes in puree
  • teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

*Note: You can see where I crossed out and made personal modifications to the recipe.

Directions I used: 

1. Boil potatoes in pot.
2. In a skillet, saute onions and celery
3. Add very lean beef
4. Add broth, flour, then diced tomatoes, then seasonings. Add drained canned peas.
5. Spray casserole pan and layer meat filling.
6. Make mashed potatoes and place on top of the filling.
7. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese and paprika.
8. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. 

Instead of sauting the veggies in butter, I just used cooking spray. Instead of using corn, I just drained a can of peas and added it at the end. 

For my mashed potatoes, I did a basic garlic dirty mashed potatoes. I was too lazy to peel potatoes, so I just cut 4 medium potatoes into 3rds, and boiled it for about 25 minutes. Next time I will boil it a bit longer to make sure they are easier to mash... I added about 1 cup of skim milk, 1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream, salt and pepper to taste, and 2 cloves of minced garlic... delicious! The best way to fluff it up is using a hand mixer!

The Results: