Baking For a Cause: Company Bakesale!

During the fall of each year, the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas begins their annual fundraisers to support their three target areas: Education, Income and Health. I work for a United Way agency, so we do our best to raise money for them. (It's giving back, which in turn gives back to us!)

This year I've contributed two sets of items:
 Sticky Buns and Salted Caramel Popcorn Mix!

How did you guess? Yes, it's an Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa) recipe. I was in a pinch, and I knew I had the main ingredient to the sticky buns on hand: puff pastry. That's right. This recipe calls for a short cut, instead of making yeast dough. With yeast dough, you have to wait for it to rise (at least once), and that can take hours.

One Saturday a few years ago, Husband said he wanted cinnamon rolls. I love breakfast rolls, so I happily agreed. THREE hours later, we had fresh-out-of-the-oven cinnamon rolls. I swore I'd never again bake them from scratch. Even breads don't take that long to proof!

Along the way I burnt some caramel...oops!
I had to start over!
This time, I was equipped with a short list of ingredients, and no proofing time! I did two sets: ones with chocolate chips and ones with raisins and walnuts. I hope they sell!

Salted Caramel Popcorn Mix via Everybody Likes Sandwiches

 I LOVED this recipe when I first saw it on Pinterest. It was pinned by my friend, Kendra, on one of her fabulous boards. After the popcorn set, I placed individual portions in clear plastic party cups, then covered them in clear wrap. Ready to be sold at a bakesale. Check it out! Love it. Make it!

The bakesale is today, and I'm in Denton talking to healthcare providers. Boo. I'll be missing all of the action. I'll expect a full report when I get back to work on Monday!


A Tale of Two Soups

It was the best of times....

A few weeks ago, the Husband and I were hungry on a rainy weekday night. We had noticed a new pho place set up shop a month or so prior, and decided the weather was perfect pho weather.
There's something about ducking in from the rain and drizzle to dip your face in the lovely aroma of a steamy bowl of pho. Your shoulders are a bit damp from the rain, which contrasts with the warm 'hug' of the broth as you gulp it down. YUM! I think I've convinced myself I need to go back soon!

Beef Pho at Pho is For Lovers

Shortly thereafter (aka the weekend), I decided to make more soup upon reading this blog post by Jenna. So simple, yet so delicious. I'm pleased that I made a double batch, because it lessened the pain of sharing with Husband. :) Thanks, Jenna!

Ginger Carrot Soup

I'm so glad it's soup weather again.


Biggest Loser 12: Episode 2

It's the second episode in, and the drama has started! Already. 

John is already on my blacklist. HOW can you, with one week under your belt, begin to talk about your team mates behind their back? He's supposed to be somewhat trustworthy, considering he's a high school football coach. Although he apologized in front of his team, he's still on my bad side. I realize it's a game, but the gameplay shouldn't be a big issue (or on camera) until later on in the season. That's the point to get scrappy. Not now.

Secondly, we finally got a smidge more info on Sunny! I'm excited she's standing up for educators in Texas. I feel like teachers here are getting somewhat of a raw deal, and this is good PR in a way.

In episode 2, BL again touches on the regular person schedule. We 'regular people' have full-time jobs with only a limited time to work out each day. MOVE ON Biggest Loser! We know it's hard for us to lose weight! That's why we have to work harder for big results. WE KNOW.

I'm calling it now. The 'old' team is going home. Yes, the whole team. It's painful to admit, but these folks don't seem to have the wherewithal to finish this race, and well. Except for Mike, they all seem to have some sort of physical issue (i.e. knee replacement), that will ultimately hold them back mentally. Case in point: Johnny. Mark my words, the blue team will fade out soon.

One thing I'm thrilled about: They've eliminated the "America's Vote" pity save, and replaced it with a marathon. All contestants, sent home or still in the game, will compete in a marathon run to vie for one of the final four spots. This is SUCH a great idea. That chance will be as beneficial as the $100,000 'at-home' prize. I want to fast-forward to the run to see who wins!

Which team is your favorite?


Biggest Loser: Season 12

It's time time of year again for a group of overweight and obese Americans to engage in a reality show about losing weight and gaining yourself. It's called The Biggest Loser, and it has an audience that rivals other well-known reality TV shows. I've watched this show for four full seasons now, going on my fifth. While it's riddled with product placement and crazy shenanigans, it speaks to the public health advocate in me. It's inspirational, and I find myself watching what I eat and exercising more during the weeks it runs. It's win - win, no?

Last season, my favorite contestant was Hannah. She was the younger sister (her sister competed as well, and won), took the safe route, and had doubts about being independent or treating herself with respect. I identified with her because her story is similar to mine in a way. In the end, she placed second, but learned she was worth taking care of, and taking a chance on.

Hannah after finishing The Biggest Loser

This season I'm going to attempt to recap each show, complete with snarky remarks. Yes, I realize that's a big commitment for someone that aims to post once a week; however, it's going to happen!

Week 1: Intro to New Contestants & Trainers
It's unfortunate that we've lost Jillian Michaels for this season, but she's moved on to what she deems as 'bigger and better.' I haven't seen her new show (The Doctors), but how can it changes LIVES the way BL does? I have doubts. Bob Harper is back, of course, as the lead trainer. BL welcomed a oddly one-named trainer, Dolvett, and the world renown(?!), wonder woman Anna Kournikova. I'm pleased the producers replaced Brett and Cara from last season, though. I liked both of these trainers, but they didn't produce results like Bob and Jill.

On to something good: I LOVE the new setup for the teams. I've been saying for several seasons now that the teams should be separated by age, rather than teaming people up from previous relationships. We have three groups: the young (20-38), the middle (39-49), and the old (50-65). So far, the middle contestants have been pulling it out and succeeding at each challenge and/or in the gym. While that's great, I will still be rooting for the young group. How can I abandon my age group? I might, if I can't find anyone I identify with or I find an individual I like best.

The new contestants are fresh and new. Still happy. There's no way to foresee what's to come on the ever-changing setup for each season, BUT they have to know pain is coming. I never look forward to the mid-season breakdowns that BL plays up so much; however, these 'breakthroughs' are needed to finish the journey. I'm getting ahead of myself though. Let's talk people.

Favorites: Joe (46 - Knoxville, TN), Ramon (27 - Florence, CO), Sunny (41 - Frisco, TX) and Vinny (27 - Nashville, TN). Ramon's and Vinny's personalities remind me of Hannah's. They're so positive and cheeky. Gotta love a cheeky reality contestant. Sunny's got my vote because she's a hometown girl from Frisco (IKEA shout out!). Joe is very special, already, because of his family dynamic. Who are your favorites?

I can't wait until tomorrow night at 9pm! Keep checking my blog for updates, and let me know if you're a Biggest Loser fan!

Waiting. Hope. Patience.

I'm in that limbo-state right now. Waiting. Hoping. Exercising all of the patience I have.

I'm waiting on things to come into focus, but haven't yet. How frustrating, scary, eventual. Have you been there?


Power to Recover

Not a lot of people (family and friends) know what I do for a living. They might know what my title is or have some idea of what I do each day, but they don't really know why I do what exactly it is that I do. It's a small part of what's called public health.

I believe it's important to help others. Even through the simplicity of this statement, it's the core that rings true with me. Life isn't about just you. It's about the people around you and how you, as a factor of humanity, live your days.

Oftentimes, people are caught up in something they can't handle themselves. They let it rule their lives. They think they don't have the power to conquer something they believe is bigger than themselves: addiction. Helping people realize they have this power inside of them to stop is most of the battle. I believe this is the key to recovery, and that's the reason I've chosen this path.

Excerpt from "You're Not My God"
Keith Urban

Little white lines on a mirror
Cut neatly in a row
Medicine that kept me from looking in my soul
I thought you were the answer
To all of my despair
And you almost had me six feet down
But I'm still breathing air

'Cause you're not my god
And you're not my friend
You're not the one that I will walk with in the end
You're not the truth
You're a temporary shot
You ruin people's lives and you don't give a second thought
You're not my god

From the cradle to the grave
Temptations all around
But no matter how good the fix
It's gonna take you down
Now some call it a weakness
Some call it a sin
But it's all the same behind each game
I see your evil grin

But you're not my god

For clarification: Keith Urban is in recovery, and his drug of choice was cocaine. He's more than 5 years clean & sober.


Peanut Appreciation

Happy National Peanut Day!

Doesn't that look delicious!? Enjoy a peanut product today! (My pick is defininately peanutbutter.)


New Season - New Decoration

Yes, we've all noticed what a drab look my blog's had for the past month. Well, what readers I do have noticed. (Thank you for reading!)

I've decided to bring in new colors, patterns and themes. Bright and beautiful!

As I searched for these new images, I ran across a few that depicted one of my favorite color combinations.

{Yellow & Grey}

Check out my Pinterest for the original locations of these lovely photos.

Simple Things

I'm back from my anniversary trip to Chicago with Michael, and I'm enjoying my last day off. I'm finishing up a load of laundry, and it's now time to iron a few things. These 'few' things are all mine, because it costs an arm and a leg to have a woman's item dry cleaned or pressed. Thus, I am pressing at home.

I've said before that simple things are sometimes the nicest. A month or so ago I bought a new ironing board cover to replace the old, faded blue one of my college years. (I think I might have ironed one or two things a semester.)

This new one is a cheerful, simple plaid of purple, pink and white. Quite feminine.

It almost makes me want to iron more!

P.S. - I'm waiting on Michael to download all of our Chicago photos. I plan to have some of them printed for once, and I will share many of them here on the blog. Until then!


Flowers & Beige

Yet another post of What I Wore Today.

Sweater: Banana Republic | Shirt: Thrifted | Belt: H&M

 Last night I received word that we were going to have a site visit from a potential funder, so this is what I chose to wear. Smart and professional, with a little fun.

Shoes: Antonio Melani
On another note, Happy September! Sweater season is finally arriving!