Dec 11, 2011

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2011

This year I participated in a nationwide cookie swap (The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2011) that was hosted by Lindsay at Love and Olive Oil and Julie from The Little Kitchen and I have to say that it was a wonderful experience for me! Thank you ladies for hosting this cookie swap!!
The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2011
I've been blogging about food/recipes for a couple of years now. Not very consistently but nonetheless blogging.  This opportunity this got me really excited about connecting with other food bloggers and and the food blogging community and maybe even blogging more consistently!
I live in South Texas and all my cookie swap matches got sent to the East Coast: New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia. I really can't wait to participate in this again next year.
I received Cranberry Almond White Chocolate Chip cookies from  Tara at ChipChipHooray, I received Chunky Chocolate Gobs from Beth at Eat.Drink.Smile and Peppermint Mocha Frappuccino Cookies from Lauren at Keep It Sweet. All three cookies were DELICIOUS! I am excited to be able to get the recipes for all three!
The cookies that I sent were called Dark Chocolate Cafenela Cookies. They are a recipe adapted from your basic chocolate chip cookie. I changed things up a bit and used dark chocolate chips, cinnamon and instant coffee granules.
Here is the recipe:
Dark Chocolate Cafenéla Cookies
Non-stick vegetable oil or Canola oil spray
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla Bean Paste
2 cups of Dark Chocolate Chips
1 cup of pecans, toasted
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
Preheat the oven to 375. Spray 2 large baking sheets with non-stick cooking spray or prepare 2 silicone baking mats for your cookies and set them aside. Whisk flour, baking soda, and Kosher salt in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat butter in a large bowl until it is smooth. Add both the brown and granulated sugar and beat to blend.  Add the eggs and vanilla bean paste, cinnamon, coffee granules and beat to blend as well. Add the flour mixture and beat at low speed until it is blended in. Stir in the dark chocolate chips and nuts.
Drop the cookie dough by 2 level tablespoonfuls onto your prepared baking sheets, mounding one on top of the other. Space your cookies like 2 inches apart. Bake until the edges are browned and the tops are golden brown, 11-12 minutes. Transfer the cookies to cool. This recipe made 3 dozen cookies.
I was just gonna send these cookies in a ziploc with some tissue paper but then I thought, "how fun would it be to doll up the presentation?" So, I headed to Target to get me some cute packaging.
This is what I found and how I packaged my sweet goodies!

As I said earlier, I really can't wait to do this again next year!
The cookies I received are from the following lovely ladies:

Lauren from Keep it Sweet

Tara, Beth and Lauren, thank you so much for your wonderful cookies!!

Nov 26, 2011

Thanksgiving Eve

In my home we celebrate Thanksgiving Eve. We do this so that we can make a Thanksgiving dinner of our own. Thanksgiving Day is spent split between my family and the hubby's family.
The first year of our marriage we did Thanksgiving Eve alone, just my husband and I. It was fun! We made our first turkey together and spent our first holiday together as a married couple. The second year of our marriage we added my mom to the mix. We did that because that year she moved in with us after she had her stroke. This year, we are adding some very close friends to the mix and I'm excited about this!
I'm excited about having people over for this holiday because I've never been more grateful for the people that God has placed in our lives.
Our menu tonight will consist of:
Roasted Turkey
Cranberry Pear Stuffing
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Green Beans with Bacon and Fire Roasted Tomatoes

My cousin Patti is bringing dessert and I'm excited about that too!
So, right now, I am waiting to start the turkey. My hubby brined the turkey overnight and got it ready to put in the oven. I just have to insert all the aromatics into the cavity and start our "Gobble, Gobble" roasting.
The house already smells like roasted garlic and onions, pears and cranberries.
I'll post some pictures later this evening hopefully. If not, later this weekend. Thanksgiving Eve, HERE WE COME!

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. 
His faithful love endures forever. (Psalm 107:1 NLT)

Nov 17, 2011

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2011


Hello Blog World! I have decided to move over to Wordpress from Blogger. Wordpress seems a little more complicated but I'm a pretty smart cookie so I am sure that I will figure it out! I'll be trying to import my other blog posts from Blogger over to this blog, we will see how that goes. I am going to be honest UP FRONT! I'm not great with keeping up with my blogs, usually. I have however in the past almost two years acquired an IPad which helps some. Life is usually pretty busy here at my house, in my kitchen, in my life. My husband and I are in full-time ministry at our church and that is where a lot of our time goes, to the Lord but I LOVE to bake, cook and craft. SO, I work hard to make time for those things as well. Those three things really keep me sane on my days off. (Which is not very often, lol) If I don't have something to do when life dies down, I can get pretty buggy. I hope that as I begin posting here, that people will actually read this blog.

IN RECENT NEWS: I am joining hundreds of other food bloggers in the Great American Food Blogger Cookie Swap that is being hosted by Lindsay at Love & Olive Oil and Julie at The Little Kitchen. I got my list of bloggers to send my cookies to and have been working on a recipe since last week. I am excited to say that my cookies turned out well and that my "guinea pigs" all loved them. So, needless to say, I have chosen my recipe for the swap. I promise to keep you updated with pictures and such as I start with this little project. Last night, the husband and I took out all the Christmas decorations. YAY! We decided that we would be changing the colors of the tree this year. We had been using the ornaments I had before we got married (which were peacock feather colors) and decided that we had gotten our monies worth already. So this year we are going with red, gold and bronze (brown) It is also the year that we put up our angel tree topper. We rotate between a star and an angel to keep us both happy from year to year. We had been looking for an angel since last year and found the one my husband wanted THIS year and she is definitely a keeper. I'll post a picture when I can get into the other room to take one. My kitchen is OPEN and this week we are hosting "Thanksgiving Eve" at our home with some close friends. I am very excited about it and so is my husband. He is making the turkey again this year. We decided last year, that brining the turkey is the way to go. My husband decided that after watching Alton Brown's "Romancing the Bird: A Good Eats Thanksgiving". If you haven't seen this episode, it is awesome! Gotta love Alton Brown.

~Mrs Galvan~

Sep 13, 2011

The Chocolate Diaries by Karen Linamen - Book Review


"The Chocolate Diaries" by Karen Scalf Linamen was a refreshing and inspiring book. I really enjoyed getting to know Karen through this book. I will definitely be picking up other books that she has written.

This book came at a great time in my life. I had battling the blues and this book was uplifting and encouraging in so many ways. I love that I was able to really relate to the personal reflections that Karen shared.

I am a foodie at heart and that is really what drew me to this book. Mod-way through each chapter were little excerpts about how to make life sweeter. I loved these little parts because they were anecdotes from others who Karen is connected to.

It is a GREAT READ!! It's funny and honest and I completely and totally recommend it!

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

Jul 13, 2011

Love at Last Sight by Kerry & Chris Shook- Book Review


I FINALLY finished Love at Last Sight  subtitled 30 days to grow and deepen your closest relationships by Kerry & Chris Shook. When I saw that this book was on the list for review I got a bit excited. I've been at a point in my personal life where I felt like this book could do me some good and I was looking to be enlightened some. When I received the book, I sat down immediately to read it and was ready to put it down after the first 5 or so pages.
   It's a cool book because you go through this 30 day "program" where you even have daily homework.  I think that's why I was so excited about it, I like homework:)

However, this book didn't teach me anything I didn't already know and there was nothing refreshing about it for me personally. I do however, know that others will more than likely benefit from this book.


It reminded me that we really must love others as though we may not see them again tomorrow. 

I work hard to live my life that way already and I guess that's why this book was hard to get through for me. For someone who does not know how to live this way, this book will be great for them. it will enlighten them and it will most likely change their lives and relationships.

It's a good read. I like the perspective that it's written from and I like that you kind of feel like you're having a conversation with the authors. If you have the time and could use some advice on how to love your loved ones better, I recommend reading it.

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

May 3, 2011

New Cookbook: Hungry Girl's 300 under 300


So, just bought this book last weekend and this morning I made my first "egg mug". I had honestly NEVER thought to make eggs in the microwave, LOL! It came out really good!

I'm really excited to try lots more of the recipes in this book. There are recipes from breakfast all the way through dinner and including desserts that are all under 300 calories. Plus, there are still ways to make them with even less calories, is what I'm finding.

My "egg mug" this morning was a whopping 70 calories!

So, if you are watching what you eat and are looking for everyday meals that have healthy swaps, this is a great book! I totally recommend it!

~Mrs Galvan

Mar 29, 2011

Digiorno Pizza & Hoops Houseparty!


Houseparty.com  ever so graciously chose me to host a Digiorno Pizza & Hoops party a few weeks ago and it was soooo much fun! I received an awesome party pack!

It included a spatula, an oven mit, a cooking timer that looked like a basketball, the most AMAZING pizza cutter ever, a mini-basketball and hoop set, these really cool boomwhacker inflatable noisemakers (that all the kids loved) and great coupons so my guests could go out and try the pizza on their own.

My favorite was the pizza and breadsticks. I had never had Digiorno Pizza and I was pretty impressed! The cheese on everything was awesome! (I am a cheese lover so this really matters) I usually have to ask for double cheese on my delivery pizzas and this was awesome.

I was however VERY disappointed in the boneless wings. To me, they were a lot of trouble to make and only 7-8 wings come per pizza. I thought the serving size was ridiculous. I mean understand that the company can't put a dozen wings in a box but at least 10, geez! They didn't taste bad, but I've had better for all the trouble.

I also made some fun goodie bags that had the coupons for $4 off any Digiorno Pizza, the inflateable noisemakers and I found the cutest Easter eggs that looked like basketballs so, I had to buy those and fill them with chocolate! Yum-O!

My hubby made his famous banana pudding for us all. It was sooooooo good! It looked beautiful too so I had to snap a picture of that for here as well. It's all sugar free/fat free except the cookies:) they have real sugar...lol!

At the end of it all, we were sooo tired but the food and company were well worth it all. Thank you Houseparty for another great party and thanks Digiorno for making some great stuff!

P.S. My momma had a great time too:)

~Mrs Galvan~

Mar 23, 2011

The Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner (book review)

The Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner is a definite read! Once I sat down to read this book, I had a hard time putting it down.

Lauren Durough, is a single young woman from a prestigious family. She has grown up with all the things money can bring her while growing up but she doesn't really like living that way. She decides that she wants to earn some money on her own and lands a job transcribing an ancestral journal, for an 83 year old librarian, that belonged to Mercy Hayworth. Mercy Haworth's story is set in the 1600's during the Salem witch trials. Lauren finds herself deeply connected to Mercy's life and secrets. Mercy's life makes Lauren take a deeper look at her own life.

Throughout the transcription of the journal, Lauren learns what mercy really means and is able to see and find her true self in it. She learns that about society's stigmas and stereotypes on those who are not as wealthy as she has been. She finds love in an unexpected young man and she learns truth about who she really is and not who others believe her to be.

I will read this book again, that is how much I liked it and I will definitely be passing this one on.

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