Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Pineapple Cheesecake Bars

This is a recipe I got from and modified to be a little lighter in calories and fat. Didn't lose any of its deliciousness...these went FAST!


1 1/3 cups flour (I use Pamela's GF baking mix)

1/4 cup sugar (I sub. 1/8 cup + 1 tbsp Splenda)

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter (I use light)

Bake at 350 in a 13x9 pan for around 12-15 min. The edges should just be starting to brown.


8oz cream cheese (I use fat-free)

1 cup powdered sugar

1 large egg (I use 1/4 cup egg sub.)

1/4 cup sugar (or, again, 1/8 + 1 tbsp Splenda)

1 8oz can of crushed pineapple, drained (I like Dole)

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup finely chopped macadamia nuts

1/4 cup white chocolate chips

Mix the cream cheese and powdered sugar until lump-free - I prefer to use my big stand mixer for this. Add egg, sugar, pineapple, and vanilla and mix throughly. Add in the nuts and chocolate. Pour over the cookie crust and bake at 350 for an additional 15-20 min. or until batter is set.

Melt and drizzle an addtional 1/4 cup of white chocolate over the bars and sprinkle with 1/4 cup finely chopped mac nuts. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 18, 2009


So I have recently become very infatuated with a free photo editing program called PhotoScape. These are some of my fav pics taken by my mom and I in Maui that I have "tweaked" using their free tools...what do you think? The second and third pics I had printed onto canvases to hang in my house, but I think I may get more made soon!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Living Room

"After" pics of the living room/great room. No before pics because my dog ate them I was too lazy to take any! Obviously I was too busy learning to use Strikethrough font - ha!

This is our entertainment center that my little brother made us over 6 years ago as a wedding present...this is the view looking in from the kitchen.

Looking down the hallway into the living room.

View from the entryway.

I recycled this settee from my in-laws and added a table I bought on clearance at Pier 1 and had my fav vintage Hawaiian poster framed.

Little sitting area I created using some great Target finds.

New pillows I got on clearance at Home Goods and on Ebay.

New storage trunk I found at Pier would not believe how much junk you can hide in it...heehee :)

New curtains and shears from Pier 1.

Framed some pics I took in Hawaii. These are all from a single pic I took and tweaked using PhotoScape, a free Photoshop-esqe program. ( I then had the pics enlarged at Wal-Mart and ta-da, cheap art!

And here is an up close and personal view of our new floors - I LOVE them!

My top five ways to save money on home decorating:
1. Do what you can yourselves. We ripped out our own carpet and baseboards and did all the painting ourselves - even painting the baseboards. We saved ourselves close to $1000 this way!
2. If you see something you really like but cannot afford, check Ebay. I found similar zebra pillows at a home store for $90 apiece and had these made by a lady on Ebay for $20 apiece.
3. Bargain hunt. Try stores with discounted items like Home Goods or shop sales at places like Pier 1 and Target. You can find many of the same items as seen at pricey home stores for half the price!
4. Make what you can. I made my own floral arrangements and artwork saving me some serious bucks.
5. Recycle. I repainted some furniture I already had, giving it a different look and made use of pieces relatives didn't want anymore. Also, look for great finds at garage sales. An old piece of furniture can be transformed with a coat of paint and some fancy glass knobs from or a local hardware store.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

First Look

Here are a couple of "before" pics of our guest bath:

And some afters:
we added wainscoting,

hung some pics,

replaced the mirror,

added some knickknacks on the walls,

and painted the walls a sunny yellow.

More to come on the rest of the house! :)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Home Improvement

Day 4 of home improvement and at last tally we have:
1 room finished,
3 rooms to paint,
1 room almost done,
no carpet (getting wood floors Monday - hooray!),
four very confused and fussy pets.
Add to that the amount of paint I am currently wearing, the two electric shocks I received today, and the bruises all over my body and I am VERY READY to be done...hopefully I will have some pics of a lovely home to show soon...

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Breakfast at Tiffany's shower

I am planning a Breakfast at Tiffany's bridal shower for
my future sister-in-law for August 1st

These are the exact invites I ordered

Decor will include Tiffany boxes and bags,

fresh white flowers,

diamond tealight holders,

diamond confetti,

and a cupcake tower w/ cupcakes in a lt. blue liner w/ white frosting sprinkled w/ sparkling sugar. On the top of tier will be a mini Tiffany box cake:

The favors are mini candy jars w/ chocolate and blue labels,
filled with aqua and white m and m's.

Brunch will be served...I'm thinking mimosas, mini croissants, mini
quiches, strawberries...I think it will turn out very cute! :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Disneyland Recipes

Here are two of my very most favorite recipes from the happiest place on earth:

Disney's BBQ Beans

First prepare the dry bbq rub. In a small mixing bowl combine:
2 cups sugar OR 1 cup Splenda (my personal preference),
3 tbsp paprika,
1 1/2 tsp chili powder,
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder,
1 1/2 tsp black pepper,
and 1/4 tsp cayenne.

On the stove top simmer 1 can of Bush's best vegetarian baked beans, 1/4 cup of the dry rub, and 1/4 cup of Sweet Baby Ray's original BBQ sauce.

Disney's Sweet and Spicy Coleslaw

First make the sweet and sour dressing. In a blender combine:
1 cup white wine vinegar,
1 cup sugar (or 1/2 cup Splenda),
1 1/2 tsp salt,
1 tsp celery seed,
1 tsp paprika,
3/4 tsp black pepper,
and 1/4 tsp cayenne.
Blend thoroughly. Slowly add in 1/3 cup olive oil and blend.

Toss w/ a package of pre-cut coleslaw mix and chill for at least two hours before serving.

Note: these are great served together. The extra dry rub and bbq sauce can be used on ribs or chicken. Baked some sweet cornbread and you have one tasty meal! Make sure to have plenty of napkins or wet-naps handy!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Anniversary

To my sweet husband,

who always makes me feel beautiful, even when I am a mess

who always loves me, even when I am at my worst

who always lifts me up, when I have fallen

who always encourages me, when I am broken

there are not enough words in the world

or stars in the sky

or days in our lives

for me to express how much I love you

thank-you for all that you do and all that you are

my rock, my lover, my best friend

here's to six beautiful years and an eternity more

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

summertime means...


classic trucks



fresh strawberries

fresh lemonade

a sandy beach

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Today I am dreaming of...

Maui, Hawaii '07

Sunday, April 12, 2009


But now in a single victorious stroke of Life all three-sin, guilt,
and death-are gone, the gift of our Master, Jesus Christ. Thank God!
1 Cor. 15:57 MSG
From Max Lucado's He Chose the Nails:
The words of King Herod when told of the birth of Jesus.
"Kill him. There is room for only one King in this corner of the world."
The number of religious leaders who believed a messiah had
been born in Bethleham. Zero.
The type of people who did. Some stargazers, night-shift shepherds, and a couple of newlyweds who claimed to have more experience giving birth than having sex.
The rewards given to Joseph and Mary for bringing God into the world.
Two years in exile, learning Egyptian.
This was the beginning of the Christian movement.
And these were the calm years!
The word on the streets of Jesus' hometown when he claimed to be sent from God.
Weird family. Have you seen his cousin?
The reaction of the hometown folks. Stone him.
The opinion of his brothers. Lock him up.
The number of disciples Jesus recruited. Seventy.
The number of disciples who defended him to the authorities. Zero.
The assessment of Jesus' followers as found in the Jerusalem editorial page.
A group of unemployed ne'er-do-wells recruited off the shipping docks
and out of the red light districts.
The number of lepers and blind and lame people Jesus healed.
Too many to count.
The number of healed lepers and blind and lame people who
defended Jesus on the day of his death. Zero.
The popular opinion regarding Jesus before he cleansed the Temple.
See if he'll run for office.
The popular opinion regarding Jesus after he cleansed the Temple.
Let's see how fast he can run.
The decision of the Jewish council.
Three spikes and a spear.
The talk on the streets of Jerusalem after Jesus died.
He should've stayed in the furniture business.
The number of times Jesus prophesied that he would come
back to life three days after his death. Three.
The number of apostles who heard the prophecy. All of them.
The number of apostles who waited at the tomb to see
if he would do what he said. Zero.
The number of his followers who believed in the resurrection before it occurred.
You do the math.
The odds a street-corner bookie would've given the day after the crucifixtion on the possibility that Jesus' name would be known in the year 2000.
"I'll give you better odds that he'll rise from the dead."
The official response of the Jewish leaders to the rumors of the resurrection.
Of course they say he's alive. They have to. What else can they say?
The actual response of the Jewish leaders to the resurrection of Jesus.
"A great number of the Jewish priests believed and obeyed" (Acts 6:7).
The decision of the Jewish leaders about the church.
"If their plan comes from human authority it will fail. But if it is from God,
you will not be able to stop them" (Acts 5:38-39).
The response of the church.
"The number of followers was growing" (Acts 6:1).
The official response of the Jewish leaders to the conversion of Saul.
Good riddance to the former Pharisee. Won't be months before
he is in jail, and then what will he do? Write letters?
What Saul, turned Paul, understood that his former colleagues didn't.
"God gave (Jesus) as a way to forgive sins" (Romans 3:25).
The belief of French philosopher Voltaire.
The Bible and Christianity would pass within a hundred years. He died in 1778.
The movement continues.
The pronouncement of Friedrich Nietzsche in 1882.
"God is dead."
The dawn of science, he believed, would be the doom of faith. Science has dawned;
the movement continues.
The way a Communist dictionary defined the Bible.
"It is a collection of fantastic legends without any scientific support."
Communism is diminishing;
the movement continues.
The discovery made by every person who has tried to bury the faith.
The same as the one made by those who tried to bury its founder:
He won't stay in the tomb.
The facts.
The movement has never been stronger.
Over one billion Catholics and nearly as many Protestants.
The question.
How do we explain it? Jesus was a backwater peasant. He never wrote a book, never held an office. He never journeyed more than two hundred miles from his hometown. Friends left him. One betrayed him. Those he helped forgot him. Prior to his death they abandoned him.
But after his death they couldn't resist him. What made the difference?
The answer.
His death and resurrection.
For when he died, so did your sin.
And when he rose, so did your hope.
For when he rose, your grave was changed from a final resting place to temporary housing.
The reason he did it.
The face in your mirror.
The verdict after two millenniums.
Herod was right: there is room for only one King!
On this Easter Sunday, may you enjoy the presence of our King.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Gluten-Free Strawberry Pizza

So I've already been slacking on my blog...that's what 2 weeks of the flu will do to you!
I'm feeling better today, so I'm whipping up a little treat for Easter tomorrow: Strawberry Pizza. This has become a family Easter fav around here. When you live in Central CA. and have fresh strawberries available, how can you resist?!

My recipe:

2 1/2 cups Pamela's GF Baking and Pancake mix (Can easily sub. for flour in almost any recipe. Available at Whole Food's or
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter (I use Smart Balance 50/50 blend w/ Omega 3's)
1/2 cup Splenda baking blend (or 3/4 cup gran. sugar)
1/2 cup Splenda brown sugar blend (or 3/4 cup lt. brown sugar)
1 tsp real vanilla extract
2 eggs (I use eggbeaters)

Bake in an 11x9" pan at 375 for approx. 16-20 min. (until edges are brown and fork comes out clean in the middle - I like to leave mine the tiniest bit "gooey"...makes the crust nice and chewy!) Let cool ALL THE WAY (this is very important - otherwise the topping will melt!) If I'm in a hurry, I put mine in the freezer for about 30 min.

In a large bowl combine 8oz softened Philadelphia cream cheese (I use the fat free) and 8oz Cool Whip (again, I use the fat free). Blend until smooth using an electric hand mixer (I use my KitchenAid stand mixer). Add powdered sugar to taste - I usually end up using about 1/3 - 1/2 of a small (16oz) box. Put bowl in the fridge to firm.

In a separate bowl combine 2-3 pints of fresh, thinly sliced strawberries (the riper the better) with a 14oz tub of Marie's Strawberry Glaze. You can also use the sugar-free glaze and add Splenda to the mix to taste (the sugar-free is a little tart). Again add Splenda or powdered sugar as needed to get the desired sweetness.

When the crust is completely cool layer the whipped topping/cream cheese/sugar mix on top. Next, pour the strawberry mix on top. Chill and serve. I find it's best when made the day before serving...the flavors really "pop" the next day!

Happy Easter and THANK-YOU LORD FOR GIVING YOUR LIFE FOR US! How can you NOT want to celebrate that?!