Monday, September 19, 2011

Updates and Guest Post

**If you would like to read an overview of our life down here in Grenada, head over here to my friend, Betsy's blog. She is currently on vacation and asked me to do a guest post for her Travel Series. While you're there, be sure to look around at the adorable felt headbands and clips that she makes. I'm sure you'll be able to find the perfect fall accessory from her collection!

For the first time in many months, Ryan and I enjoyed a somewhat normal weekend together. He had his first round of midterms last week, so he was free to enjoy himself until 8:00 this morning. I loved having him around for a few days, and he was able to get caught up on some rest and recharge before classes start again. He is currently in one of the most challenging terms of medical school, but is doing very well so far and actually enjoying the material.

We began our weekend on Friday evening by going out for pizza and ice cream with our friends, followed by playing games in their room. The next morning, we had a communication seminar that all new Resident Assistants are required to attend. However, we were the only ones who actually showed up, so they had to postpone the meeting. We spent the rest of the day watching college football - the perfect way to spend a fall afternoon (if only it felt like fall down here). Last night, we combined all of our weekend activities into one evening and ate dinner with friends while watching Sunday Night Football and playing a game. As much as we would like this to be a weekly routine, Ryan will diligently spend every free minute in the library from now until his next test.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Oatmeal Cream Pies

Last night, I found this recipe for homemade Oatmeal Cream Pies. I happened to mention them to Ryan, and he was very interested in trying them (or me trying to make them so he could eat them). The store-bought variety was never my snack of choice when I was growing up. I can't remember eating them more than once or twice. In fact, I was on the phone with my sisters while the cookies were baking, and they said, "Are those the things that come in those packages? Yeah, they always made my stomach hurt." So even if the packaged cookies aren't your favorite, you still need to try making them yourself. You won't believe how good they really are!

The cookies have 3 cups of oats in them, which makes them healthy, right? You could add raisins or chocolate chips to the cookies, but I didn't have either, so ours are plain. The filling called for mascarpone cheese. Now I can't say that I've ever looked for mascarpone at the IGA down here, but even if by some miracle they had it in stock, I can't imagine how expensive it would be, considering I can't even bring myself to pay for it back at home. So I substituted a little more cream cheese, added a splash of milk and vanilla, and it was perfect. Ryan didn't even notice that it should have been made with mascarpone.

Now I know that when I say I baked cookies, that probably evokes a mental picture of neatly spaced cookies on a cookie sheet in an oven. So I thought I should probably give you an idea of what my baking actually is like. For starters, I don't have a nice large oven. But I am so thankful for our toaster oven as it has provided much variety to my cooking this past year. I usually buy a disposable aluminum 13x9 for most of my baking, and I reuse it until it falls apart. The grocery store has not had those in stock for a couple weeks now. For most other dishes (baking chicken or roasting vegetables), I can use my glass casserole dish. But I didn't think that would work too well for baking cookies. So I found a couple aluminum pie plates that I have been saving. I cut the sides off and used the bottoms as my cookie sheets. I could only fit 4 cookies on a plate, but at least I could fit both plates in the oven at once! It took a little while to get all 40 cookies baked, but at least the toaster oven is basically in my bedroom. I can sit on the bed, talk to my family, watch football, and keep an eye on the cookies all at the same time. Living in a small place does have its advantages!

The cookies are currently sitting in my refrigerator, individually wrapped in plastic since I didn't have a container large enough to store them. This also makes it very easy for Ryan to grab one (or two) on his way to the library. I think it's time for me to make a cup of coffee and try one myself.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Baby Hat Giveaway!

I'm so excited to tell you all about my very first giveaway! My lovely friend, Tara at Dandy Giveaway, is featuring this brand new baby hat from my shop.

You can enter to win by visiting her site here and following the instructions. The giveaway will be open for the next two weeks, and you can get up to 7 entries. Good luck everyone!
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