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So I bought myself a Nikon camera! The one I posted about before!

I’ve been having fun snapping pictures around my home and realized I like perspective photos.

The first 2 pictures are of the hallway wainscoting and wallpaper in my old Victorian house. And the second…. well I love the fall and this looked like a great “old and new” photo. Still have some green grass with some falling leaves.

Now I’ve realized I need better lighting in my kitchen for food pictures.

Here’s a blueberry pie.

Let me know what you think of my starter photos!!

2017 is almost over…. how did we do?

I went back and reviewed by post from 2017 resolutions and realized that for the first time in a long time, I actually achieved a resolution!!! I originally set out a goal to read 6 novels from my local library. I actually read 9 novels this year!! I would have read more but in keeping with my resolutions, I had a very fierce conversation and resigned from my position at my job and decided to go back to school for my master’s degree in nursing. So I guess technically I’ve read more than 9 books; do text books count?

Another resolution I decided to keep with was Dave Ramsey and the baby steps like I’ve written about in previous posts. My husband and I have been working the baby steps all year. With a couple of set backs here and there, we’ve done amazing and HAVEN’T used a credit card. We’ve even been able to cash flow my college with-OUT student loans!! I’m telling you, if you haven’t checked this guy out, do it! I listen to his pod casts every day on my way to work. And let me tell you, at 3:30 am (that’s when I get up and head to work) he’s the only voice I can tolerate listening to. And at 9:00 pm (when I get out of work) he’s the only one I want to listen to on my way home. I firmly believe listening to him every day keeps me focus and positive about this journey, because it’s NOT easy. I still have the impulse buy bug every once in a while but I keep thinking to myself as I listen to all these people call in with their questions, “what would Dave say?” every time I want to buy something. As silly as that might sound, it actually helps!

So this year, I’m working on a few things.

I would like to keep reading classic novels along with others during my school breaks. I’m currently reading The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley which is a favorite of mine that I’ve read before. I’ve learned that there are other books about Avalon that Bradley wrote that are now on my list. I love the Goodreads app on my phone. If I’m having a conversation with a friend about a novel, if one crosses my mind or I’m in a coffee shop/book store and I see something that looks interesting, I just quickly open up the app and add it to my list. I think right now there’s about over 100 books on my ‘want to read’ list. I better get cracking!

Through the holidays I’ve had family over and cooked amazing feasts and then come up with creative recipes for leftovers for my family. As always, my husband always gets me something neat for kitchen for Christmas. This year I want to dive back into cooking which has always been a passion of mine. I love cooking from scratch, though I will admit I hate the messy clean up! I love watching the food network and the at home chefs that come up with creative recipes that I want to try. A couple of favorite chefs of mine are Giada de Laurentiis and Ina Garten. They both walk through steps of making things from scratch. Giada makes decadent meals that are simple and usually based in Italian routes. Ina makes more complicated recipes but more comfort foods. One of the things I got for Christmas was an amazon gift card. Which is awesome, because there were a few kitchen gadgets that were on my list that my husband didn’t know about. Among them were some Giada cook books. I might also look into some Ina cook books. I’ve also been holding out for a few things. A silicone scrapper for my mixer paddle, homemade ravioli stamps, silicone cookie sheet baking mats, a spring form pan, and a few other small things that were not needed, just wanted. Which is why I was hoping for a gift card! While I’m in school I’ve decided to work 2 days a week for 15-16 hour shifts. So on my off days, I’ll be able to do homework and dive into cooking. I just HAVE to learn to clean up as I go haha!

As far as some other resolutions that I discussed at the beginning of the year, I am still interested in photography. I will continue to drool over the camera that I found online to buy, and possibly use it as my motivation during this ‘get out of debt’ journey.

Nikon D3400 24.2 MP DSLR Camera + AF-P DX 18-55mm VR NIKKOR Lens Kit + Accessory Bundle 64GB SDXC Memory + SLR Photo Bag + Wide Angle Lens + 2x Telephoto Lens + Flash + Remote + Tripod+Filters (Black)

I was out Christmas shopping with the kids and I saw this picture that I absolutely fell in love with. I am a bit of a coffee nut and it was a picture of 4 cups of lattes. The perspective had the 3 coffee cups lined up behind the first fading out of focus. The cups were also alternating in black and white color. I just couldn’t stop staring at it. I want to take pictures like that. My husband also made a calendar for me this Christmas. He takes photos of us throughout the year and puts them in different months and days of the calendar for a very personalized one. He noticed this year that he had to reuse some of them, so he asked that this year we take more photos. I’m ok with that!

Among some other resolutions, other than the standard “lose weight” I’m going to work on eating more healthy and making better choices. Reading nutrition labels. Comparing products. My husband’s cholesterol was a little high this past MD appointment for a physical. So I’m going to work on cooking with lower cholesterol options. I’m sure that will help the both of us. He also wants to quit smoking! That will help us save so much money in addition to making him healthier!! Thus propelling out get out of debt journey.

So here’s to 2018, lets see what you bring!!

Little indulgence for breakfast 

This one of my favorite quick little recipes for breakfast that times like it took a long time to make with the kick of flavor that will leave you satisfied and the aroma of cinnamon floating through the kitchen will make you think you’re about to dive into something so decadent! 

 

This is so simple, you’ll love it! 

You’ll need bread for the toast base. You could use English muffins or flat bread, whatever your preference. Ricotta cheese, blueberries (fresh or frozen), and a sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar. I like to toast the bread a little first so I doesn’t get soggy. Then I spread on the ricotta cheese so it covers the whole surface of the toast. The top with blueberries and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Broil for about 5 minutes and enjoy!! You’ll notice it’s done when the blueberries start to ooze!

Hello 2017…… resolutions?

The new year always brings to mind resolutions. Starting fresh. A sense of gazelle intensity to accomplish new goals that have been on your mind of a little while. The standard ‘lose weight’, ‘save money’, ‘pay off credit cards’ are all great but if we set them every year and don’t achieve them should we still set them as a goal?

Of course! Always striving to move forward is what keeps us motivated. So yes, this year I want to lose weight, save money and pay off credit cards. I’m going to dust off the treadmill and “put the cookie down!” as my mother says.  I will give a nod to Dave Ramsey for my savings and pay off goals. I started his baby steps back in November and I’m thrilled with the results so far. I’ve paid off 4 credit cards that I’ve been chasing for years. I set up an emergency fund that I actually had to use recently for unexpected injury coverage for my fur baby. In the past I would have been reaching for my credit cardS to spread the cost over as many as I could because they were all almost all maxed out. It was such a wonderful feeling to be able to write a check to cover the bill. I never would have been able to do that without the teachings of Dave. I encourage you, if one of your goals this year is to be more financially healthy, then check out Dave Ramsey. I listen to his podcasts almost every day, I use his FREE app EveryDollar every day and I got his book “Total Money Makeover” for Christmas that I’m in the middle of reading. You’ve got nothing to lose, check him out!

Ok, enough about money and losing weight. What else do I want to do for a personal achievement this year. I was thinking about it yesterday while I was mindlessly folding laundry. You know, you get that blank stare and let your mind wander to that imagination that used to flow so freely when you were a child. I then realized that Journey 2 Mystery Island was playing on TV in the background. A movie based on a Jules Verne novel. That’s when I decided that I wanted to ready classic literature in 2017. Journey to the Center of the Earth, Around the Work in 80 Days, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Mystery Island, Treasure Island, The Canterbury Tales, The Divine Comedy, Moby Dick, Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, The Great Gatsby, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, The Iliad, The Odyssey (again), The Picture of Dorian Gray… I could go on and on with books that have popped into my mind that I want to ready, but maybe I’ll keep my 2017 list to 6 novels… to start. And in keeping with my Dave Ramsey plan, I think I’m going to get a library card and check them out, where in the past I would have purchased them. This makes more sense for one of my other goals too. I want to purge my house of junk and if I purchased these books, I’d read them, then they’d sit on a shelf and collect dust. This way, I can read them then return them to the library for someone else to enjoy!

Another thing that I want to and need to work on this year is moving out of my comfort zone. I was given a book a while back to read that I never got to finish, “Fierce Conversations”. I need to work on saying the things out loud that make me uncomfortable. I know that they make me uncomfortable because I’m afraid of hurting the other person’s feelings or I’m afraid of what the reaction will be. IT’s not helping me in my personal or professional life. Of the list of books I want to read, I think I need to start with that one.

The last thing on my resolution list this year is photography. I want to buy a nice camera that I’ve talked about in my previous post. I want to do a little research on photography. Scenery, life events, food, and people. Those are my targets. I don’t know if I want to go as far as to say I want to take a class on photography, but I’m not counting it out either.

And though it won’t happen in 2017, my resolution of paying off debt and becoming debt free through Dave Ramsey is going to move me towards another resolution; my bucket list. I keep a little list of my goals on my phone. I’ve noticed that most of my bucket list is destinations to travel too. I’m hoping that within the next 2 years my husband and I can be completely debt free (except for our mortgage) and then we can start traveling. So maybe my 2017 resolution list needs to include getting a passport for me and hubby, what’d ya think……….

 

What are some of your resolutions?

Small tricks for better food photos — Cooking without Limits

In food photography we use lots of tricks to make our life easier and also amazing photos. As a food blogger you need to show your food as good as you can. Sometimes all falls apart: the dressing doesn’t stay long on the salad, pasta is sticking together, the dessert looks like you just throw […]

via Small tricks for better food photos — Cooking without Limits

As you can see from reading my blog posts, I love to cook and recently trying to take up photography as a more serious hobby. One of the first blogs I started following was ‘cooking without limits’. She posted this and I was so grateful! I’ll definitely be using these tips as I move forward combining my 2 hobbies.

Wanting to get serious about a new hobby….

Image result for photography

Serene pictures of still water in the morning or terrifying pictures of wrathful sea sprays during a storm. Rustic, worn red brick buildings to weathered bark on century old trees.

So I have realized that I love to take pictures. Whether it’s beautiful sunrises or sunsets when my husband and I are out on our boat, scenery that strikes me, or most recently my favorite meals. But my iPhone just doesn’t do them justice.

So I’m looking into getting a better camera than that one on my iPhone or the pocket sized Canon or Sony personalized, point and shoot cameras I’ve had in the past. I’m looking for a Canon or Nikon that has exceptional image quality and long range zoom. I have seen mention of “mirrorless” and “DSLR” which sound like they are in the area of what I am looking for. However the more research I do, I think I really want a DSLR camera. The mirrorless seems nice and light and compact compared to the DSLR but I like the idea of interchangeable lenses that come with the DSLR and I’m looking to upgrade the quality of my pictures.

I have seen cameras for sale that have Wi-Fi enabled features, which I thought would helpful to upload some of my favorite pictures to my blog.

So for those of you bloggers that also dabble in photography or have made photography a serious hobby, can you give me some insights and suggestions.

Thanks!

(Image credit)

Thanksgiving was a hit and so was my sweet potato casserole!

My thanksgiving brainstorming was well worth it. I referred to my planning list and it kept me on track for my days of baking and all morning of cooking, just in time for my family to arrive at my house with the incredible savory scent of turkey wafting through the house. Other than my amazing turkey (I do have to pat myself on the back for this one, it really was amazing) the other HUGE hit was my sweet potato casserole. It was the first time I made it so I was a little nervous that my family might not like it or it would be too sweet to go with a savory meal, but boy was I wrong. They kept coming back for more. My husband even asked me “do I have to wait until next thanksgiving to have this again?”.

So because it was such a huge hit, I figured I would share my recipe with you!

I looked up a couple of recipes online to get a base idea of how to do this and then took liberties with making the recipe my own.

Ingredients:

  • 6 sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup of sugar (if you want yours less sweet, you can cut back to 3/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup milk

Topping Ingredients:

  • 1/2 butter melted
  • 1 cup brown sugar (don’t cut back her for the sake of sweetness, you’ll need this much to cover your whole casserole)
  • 1/2 flour
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. Then peel your sweet potatoes and dicing them to boil. Once boiled, strain and put in a large bowl to mash. Beat in the sugar, softened butter, eggs, vanilla, and milk until your potatoes are very smooth and creamy. It may look a little thin or runny right now, don’t panic because it will set up when we put it in the oven. Grease a 9×13 casserole pan with butter on all sides. This will keep the corners of your sweet potatoes from drying up and potentially crisping. The idea of this dish isn’t to have crispy texture, you want your potatoes velvety all the way through. Once your pan is greased, pour your potato mixture into the pan. To make the topping, combine all the toping ingredients and mix well. I like to use my hands (once the butter is slightly cool) because I feel you get a really good blend. Then with my hands, I spread and crumble the  topping all over my potatoes. Bake for 30 minutes. This is a dish you can make earlier in the day and then reheat if needed, but if you make it the day before and then put it in the fridge, the pecans won’t be as crunchy and you’ll miss out on some of the texture needed to balance this dish.

Here’s a picture right out of the oven:

swee-potato-casserole

I have decided that since I have been blogging about different things that I’ve cooked, I need a better camera! This photo does not do the dish justice. Maybe Santa will bring this girl a nice Canon or Nikon camera for Christmas… I should make sure my husband sees my Christmas list right girls!

Enjoy!