2015 Goals and Aspirations

Welcome 2015!!! I have so many things I want to accomplish this year. There are, of course, big dreams and even just small things to better myself each and every day. I’m hoping that by putting this out for everyone to see that it might make me more accountable. I’m going to review this post at the end of June to see where I am with accomplishing all of these.

Deep breathe…ok…let’s do this!

1. Buy a house. This is probably the biggest goal of them all! One with a yard big enough for us to have a vegetable and flower garden and for our dog to be able to run around. It will also have a big enough kitchen and living room for all our friends and family to come visit. I crave having friends and family over to entertain and our last house wasn’t big enough for that. It will also give me LOTS of excuses to make more food and desserts to blog about 🙂

2. Read the book May Cause Miracles by Gabrielle Bernstein. I started this book about a month ago and LOVED it, but I didn’t make enough time to truly sit down and immerse myself in it. I only got a few days in to it. I will be dedicating 30 minutes at the beginning and end of each day to reading and journaling about what I learn from this book.

3. Take a photography class! Yep, I haven’t taken a single one yet. I have been meaning to for years but never made the time. Everything I know is self-taught and that only gets me so far.

4. Launch an Etsy site so I am able to sell my nature photography online. Sadly, the store where I had my photography displayed decided after the 1st of the year they will no longer be displaying artists. It was a great learning experience and now it’s time for me to move on and find other avenues to sell my work.

5. Create a coffee table book from our trip to Panama. I plan to document our trip in photos so that I will be able to sell it. Big goal I know…but it’s been a dream of mine to make a book like this so I figure it’s the perfect opportunity.

6. Start living a healthier life by working out and making healthier eating choices. I’m in the process of creating a menu board to plan meals and I now have a kickboxing bag so I don’t have any more excuses about not wanting to leave the house to workout!

7. Take this blog to the next level. I have a long way to go to getting this blog working exactly the way I want so this is going to be a year-long goal. The first step will be getting more consistent with the days that I post. Quality over quantity. I can’t wait to share all kinds of new things with you this year 🙂 It’s going to be GREAT!

There you have it. A snapshot of what I’m hoping to accomplish in 2015. What goals and aspirations do you have for the New Year? I’d love to hear about them down in the comments 🙂

Until next time.

Much love,
Liz

 

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2014 ~ Year in Review

As this year comes to an end and a new one begins, I want to take some time to reflect on all the amazing things that have happened.

The year started off very exciting for the photography side of my life. In February I was added as an artist to a local gallery where I sold note cards, prints, and canvases of my nature-inspired photos. We listed our house for sale in May and sold it within a month’s time. That was honestly the biggest thing that happened to us this year. We’ve been trying to sell it on and off for many years, so to be able to close this chapter of our life was important. After our house sold, we moved in with my mom. It’s been a great experience and I’m enjoying being able to spend so much time with her. I met one of my favorite authors, Debbie Macomber, at a book festival. My step-brother graduated from high school which makes me feel incredibly old.

The second half of our year was even busier than the beginning! We finally got settled into a routine at Mom’s just in time for my photography season to start picking up. It’s seems like once that happens, the rest of the summer flies by. Add in camping on top of that and it seems like we’re never home! I took a day trip to Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison with a friend. It was a photographer’s paradise. I hosted my sister’ bridal shower as well. August was our busiest month and probably the most fun of the whole year. It started with my husband and I celebrating our five-year wedding anniversary! We took an extended weekend trip to Thunder Bay, ONT. You can see a whole run down of our trip here and here. I also attended a local music festival called Mile of Music. You can read all about that experience here. I heard and met some amazing artists and look forward to what next year’s festival brings. We got in a camping trip and a Brewer game, as well.

We headed up north for two camping trips in September, one at my dad’s land for Labor Day where we also celebrated my grandma’s 90th birthday. Labor Day is always so much fun because we have a big group that comes with us. We also went with a group to the campground where we used to permanent camp. It’s the weekend we celebrate Halloween and is always a blast. My birthday is at the end of the month and my mom surprised me and my husband with AMAZING tickets to a Wisconsin Badger football game. We had a great time and they won! Can’t beat that 🙂

My sister got married at the beginning of October. It was a beautiful wedding but a very cold and rainy day. I  just got news that they are expecting again! This will be their second child and I can’t wait to meet him or her. You may remember, if you followed my old blog http://www.4evermysweetpea.blogspot.com, that I participated in Alex Beadon’s blogging challenge. It was a wonderful experience; I learned so much and I now know where I want the future of my blog to go. I also met some creative women who I still keep in touch with regularly.
Now that we are finishing up the last part of the year, things are slowing down. I saw an AWESOME a capella group called Straight No Chaser with my mom. If you ever have the chance to see them, DO IT! My sister-in-law had her baby at the beginning of December and we are celebrating my husband’s 40th birthday on New Year’s Eve! It’s the perfect way to say farewell to 2014 and welcome in 2015.

I hope everyone had a year full of blessings, and I look forward to seeing what 2015 brings for my family.

Until next time.

Much love,
Liz

Recipe ~ BBQ

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 There are some recipes that I just crave and my mom’s BBQ is one of them. I love making it on the weekends because that seems to be the only time I can give it the time it needs to simmer lol. I decided that the Packer Sunday was a good excuse to make this recipe.

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Menu Planning Board

I have seen quite a few different variations of a menu planning board on Pinterest and I knew it was something I needed in my life. We are constantly asking each other “So what’s for dinner tonight?” so I thought this would be a great way to plan out meals. It will also help use achieve one of our goals this year which is to eat out no more than once a week. We would get in a bad habit that if there wasn’t something planned for dinner, we would just go out to eat.

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Recipe ~ Ham Roll-ups

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This may seem like an odd recipe to post, as most people think ham roll-ups are easy to make. I’ve actually had quite a few people comment on the way I make them and how good they taste, so I thought I better share my secret.

Ingredients:

Whipped Cream Cheese

Dill Pickle Spears

Honey Ham

 

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Directions:

1. Remove the ham slices and place them on a paper plate. Pat each piece dry with paper toweling.

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2. This is the secret part; fillet each spear. Yes, just like a fish. The “guts” of the pickle make the roll-up soggy if you don’t remove them. I then slice the spear in half.

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3. Lay out a piece of ham out on a cutting board and spread a thin layer of cream cheese over the whole piece.

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4. Place a pickle at the end of the ham.

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5. Roll up the pickle and cut in to four pieces. I generally cut the ends off because I don’t think they look pretty on the plate.

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6. Arrange on a serving platter.

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Hope you enjoyed this easy recipe. These are my favorite appetizers to make and they are always a hit.

I’d love to hear your recipe for ham roll-ups down in the comments.

Until next time.

Much love,

Liz

Recipe ~ Almond Meltaway Cookies

 

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I am once again working on the list of recipes I want to try. These almond melt away cookies from The Novice Chef Blog sounded delicious and looked so simple. I’ve accepted the fact that I am not a patient baker or chef, for that matter. I like easy recipes that are ready to consume quickly. Don’t judge. I like to taste my work right away and not have to wait for it to set for hours. This recipe fit the bill.

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Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons almond extract
Icing:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and almond extract, mixing until combined. Add flour mixture 1/2 cup at a time, mixing until completely combined.
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Roll 1 tablespoon of dough into small circles and then press with hands into a disk shape. Place on prepared baking sheet.
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Bake for 8 minutes. The cookies will not look browned or cooked, but they are!
Remove from oven and let cookies rest on baking sheet for 5 minutes. Then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
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To Ice: In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, milk and almond extract – until smooth. Using a spoon, smooth icing onto the top of each cookie and let set for 10 minutes, or until hardened. Store in the fridge, let come to room temperature when ready to serve.
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This is what happens when you cover the cookies with a cloth towel overnight. The cat decides it would be a good idea to walk on them. Don’t worry, it was just a few, and those were thrown away.

 

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Hope you enjoyed today’s recipe. Isn’t this silver platter beautiful?! St. Vincent find for the week! I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas!
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Until next time.
Much love,
Liz

Recipe ~ Brown Sugar Toffee Cookies

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I always love it when I have an excuse to try new recipes. Not that I ever need an excuse, but it helps to know that whatever I’m making won’t be staying in my house to tempt me. My husband wanted to bring a treat in to work for his birthday and knew I’d jump all over the chance to make cookies 🙂 I have quite a long list of recipes I want to try, so I started at the top with this one. The original recipe came from Two Peas & Their Pod. I’ve copied it below for easy reference.

 

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose Gold Medal flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup Heath toffee bits
Extra dark brown sugar for rolling cookies, about 1/2 cup

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, cornstarch, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
  3. Place butter and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add the egg and vanilla extract, and beat on medium speed until combined.
  4. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients. Mix until the just combined. Stir in the toffee bits.
  5. Using a spoon or cookie scoop, form tablespoons size balls of cookie dough. Roll balls in brown sugar. Place on balls on prepared baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges. Do not over bake. Cool on the pan for 2 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire cooling rack and cool completely. Store in an air-tight container for up to 4 days.

 

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I hope you enjoyed this recipe. My hubby’s co-workers sure did! Do you have a favorite cookie that you bake during the holidays? I’d love to hear your suggestions in the comment section.

Until next time.

Much love,

Liz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WELCOME!!

I’m so excited to be beginning this new journey 🙂 I’ve finally made the jump and moved my blog from Blogger to WordPress!!! I’m not sure how I feel about it yet, but I will definitely keep you updated along the way. Please excuse the mess as I figure out how all this works. This blog is a way for me to share my love of photography, DIY projects, updates about my life and really just a way for me to interact with and inspire all of YOU!

I’m going to start by introducing myself. Hi! My name is Elizabeth, but I go by Liz. I’m married to the most amazing man and we have three furbabies. Aayla, our black lab and Sammy and Bridger, our two cats. We live in Wisconsin and are currently staying with my mom so that we can save up for a new house. So far, it’s been great:) Our plan is to buy a house next year and there will be a whole section dedicated to our adventure in house buying and moving. You’ll also get to see all the recipes I try, including the ones that fail, Pinterest projects, thrift store shopping, trips we go on and so much more!!

I look forward to hearing from you all in the comments about what you think about my posts, good or bad, as the only way I can learn how to make this blog better for both of us is by getting your feedback 🙂

Until next time.

Much love,

Liz

 

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