Do people in college still carry backpacks??

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That’s just one of the many questions flying through my head as I lie down to go to bed lately. I start college (again) on Thursday, and to say I’m nervous would be like asking if the Ronald McDonald wants a BigMac. DUH! I’m freaking out. I feel like a fourteen-year-old trying to choose her first day of school outfit. Do I wear boots with a heel? Do I wear Converse? If I wear Converse, will people think I’m trying too hard to look like I’m not trying too hard?!?!?! Do or don’t people still carry backpacks in college!!! TELL ME!!!! Okay…sorry…. But, please, someone tell me.

Other than having miniature panic attacks every time someone asks when I start school, I’ve spent a lot of time in my kitchen lately. If you’ve read my blog before, you would know about my resolution. I’m surprised and pleased to say I have held true to it so far. Normally, by now I BEEN HAD jumped off that bandwagon! But, I have successfully cooked/baked something new everyday since January 1st. To keep up with my creations, check out my pinterest board called recipe-a-day//2014.

In my last blog post, I mentioned cooking a chicken in my crockpot. Let’s just say it was edible. For some reason, no matter what recipe or method I use, I cannot for the life of me cook a delicious and juicy chicken in the crockpot! They always seem really dry to me. I always think I’m over cooking them, but this last time I intentionally didn’t let the crockpot go as long as the recipe called for, and it STILL ended up dry!!! Someone, please shed some light on this really dim situation. I long to put a chicken in the crockpot before work and come home to a perfectly juicy and delectable chicken just ready and waiting to be eaten. Apparently at this time in my life, that is not in the cards.

Looks can be deceiving. This chicken LOOKS juicy, but alas, it is dry.

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Although the crockpot chicken did not pan out well, there have been quite a few successes in my baking endeavors lately. My friend Rebecca came over to catch up the other day, and while she was here, we made a Tres Leches Cake. Seriously, the best cake that’s ever entered my cake-hole. The cake itself has a little cinnamon in it, which really put it over the top for me, not to mention the three milks you pour over the cake as it’s just come out of the oven and the freshly whipped cream you top the entire cake with once it’s cooled. (I hope you’re drooling right now, because if you aren’t, I need to ask you to leave my blog. Your kind is not welcome here.) Needless to say, everyone that ate the cake loved the cake. If you are needing to take a dessert to Bible study, bunco, or the in-laws’, take this. You will no longer have enemies.

Although I didn’t take pictures of the delicious Tres Leches Cake, here is my favorite picture of Rebecca and me.

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I have to include this one to showcase how beautiful Rebecca is (and so she won’t disown me as her friend).

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I also tried my hand, and succeeded, at making a gluten-free cake. I have a friend who switched to a gluten-free lifestyle, and her birthday was Saturday, so she asked earlier in the week if I’d try to make her a cake. I accepted, but was quite nervous to step into this uncharted territory. I researched a couple different recipes, found one that seemed the most straight-forward, and headed to Publix. Side note, xantham gum is quite expensive, but I learned it’s necessary in gluten-free baking. Invest once, and you’ll have it for a long time. Back to the cake. Per my friend’s request, I made her a vanilla cake with blueberry compote filling and cream cheese frosting. The cake itself stressed me out a little, but I also made the blueberry compote and cream cheese frosting from scratch, and those two weren’t nearly as intensive as the cake. I even impressed myself a little by torting the cake (cutting the cake and filling it). I asked my friend to give me honest feedback about to cake so that if I needed to, I could improve. Well, she texted me and reported that the cake was delicious! I’m so happy I could do that for her, and was grateful for the learning experience! WHEW!

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Tonight, I’m trying my hand at a dairy-free chocolate banana nut bread. Once the verdict has been reached, I’ll share the recipe for that. For now, thanks for reading my ramblings and supporting me in these a’changin’ times. I’m doing my best to inject consistency into different facets of my life, and I appreciate you hopping on board with me. Until next time!!!

P.S. If you have any recipe suggestions of any kind, BRING ‘EM ON! 🙂

brinner. (or, brupper, depending on where you’re from.)

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It’s a beautiful little thing when one has breakfast for dinner (or supper. Only weirdos call it supper, though. I digress…) Tonight, my mom and I spent our Saturday evening making homemade pecan waffles and bacon for brinner. It TOTALLY hit the spot. If you haven’t had brinner lately, I urge you to do so as soon as humanly possible. Maybe not tomorrow though, I think someone said something about some snow. Anyway, brinner is probably one of my absolute favorite meals. It’s so very nostalgic. My mom, my brother, and I used to have brinner once a week when I was a kid. My mom use to let us pick out chocolate milk at the grocery store, being that it was a special occasion and all, and we used to all have a job in the kitchen. Bob would pour the milk (chocolate, duh.) and set the table, I would help mom with the bacon or waffles, and mom would fly solo on the egg-making; she definitely knows what she’s doing when it comes to some eggs.

Down the road, in the early days of being a wife, Grant and I made brinner PLENTY of times. It seriously makes you feel like a light-hearted eight-year-old. We would set our brand new little dining room table for two in our little one-bedroom apartment and gaze lovingly into each others’ eyes over banana waffles, over-easy eggs, and a glass of ice-cold milk. Those were the days. (I know, barf.)

Everyone has a meal or type of food that resonates with them in the same way that brinner gets straight to my heart. It brings back innocence, warmth, and comfort like few things in this world can. What’s yours?

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PECAN.WAFFLE. aka, key to my heart-belly. they’re one in the same.

“This next year will be your year!”

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My best friend Jessy wrote this to me in my 25th birthday card. And I believe her. My 25th birthday was a day that started with meeting my sweet friend Caitlin for coffee, spending the day with my look-alike friend Regina and her two boys, having dinner with my stepmom Julie, with whom I share my birthday, and my dad and younger brother Joe, and ended lying in bed next to the love of my life. The next day, my mom accompanied me to Sunset Grill in Nashville where we were driven around in a top-of-the-line Lincoln MKZ by an ex-racecar driver named Mario, then served a three course meal on the house! UMMM??!!!! Yes, it was amazing.

The following weekend was met by a HUGE surprise: my husband told me we had a 9pm reservation at an undisclosed location (which I already knew because no one, and I mean NO ONE, can surprise me, I tell ya!). I played along and acted excited, which I really was! He knows how much I love food and trying out upscale restaurants. Little did I know, however, that some of my dearest friends were all at the bar anticipating our arrival. We walked into the restaurant, turned to the left to head to the bar, and there they all sat! Okay, so I guess every now and then I can be surprised!

That was probably in the top 3 of best birthday dinners ever. Seriously! Great conversation, good wine, and exceptional farm-to-table cuisine. Definitely the key to my heart.

That wonderful celebration had my 25th year off to a hopeful start! I started a new job at an awesome vintage marketplace, had a great holiday season with my family, and got some cool presents to feed my addiction: cooking. In two weeks, I’ll go back to college in hopes of completing a degree in Marketing. I’d say I’m off to a great start. I’m hoping that praying, cooking, and blogging regularly will help keep me grounded and focused as I embark on this new journey. I appreciate and welcome any advice, encouragement, criticism, or whatever comment you’d like to make. Here’s to being 25 and soaking up every second!

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Coffee with Caitlin, both of us looking our best! 😉

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Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture with Regina, but Boone made sure to take a picture of me on my birthday. And then, of course, sweet Oliver just made googley eyes at me all day, and I let him.

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My stepmom, Julie. We both turned 25 on the same day!! 😉

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Mom and I pretending to be knowledgable in the ways of the high-class life. I’d say we passed.

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My precious Grant and I before walking into Lockeland Table for dinner…little did I know what (or who, I should say) was waiting inside!!!

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Some of my nearest and dearest, from left to right: Heyburn, Jessy, Jonathan, Tyler, Rebecca, and two other weirdos that ended up at our table. What an unforgettable meal and evening.