Friday, August 22, 2014

Dinner Tonight - Creamy Tomato Shrimp Pasta

I modified this from a Pioneer Woman recipe, and we love it!

  • ¾ pounds Penne Pasta
  • 1 pound Shrimp (deveined and detailed)
  • 6 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 small onion 
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • ½ cup White Wine
  • 1 can Tomato Sauce (8 Oz)
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream (evaporated milk is a little bit lighter)
  • Fresh Basil - To Taste
  • Salt To Taste
  • Pepper To Taste

Cook the penne pasta until al dente

Heat 2 tbsp. butter in a skillet. Add the shrimp and cook for a couple minutes until just opaque. Do not overcook them. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes. Chop the shrimp into bite –sized pieces and set aside.

Finely dice one small onion. Mince two cloves of garlic. Saute in 3-4T butter.

Add white wine. Let the wine evaporate for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Add an 8-ounce can of plain tomato sauce and heavy cream. Stir well until combined. Turn heat down to low and let simmer for 2-3 minutes.

Add your herbs, salt, pepper and chopped shrimp into the tomato cream sauce. Stir until combined.

Add your cooked penne pasta and give it a good stir. Serve!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Book Review: The Life




If you are looking for an easy way to introduce yourself or someone else to the Bible, The Life is a great tool for you to consider.  It’s 106 glossy, easy-read pages in a 5x7ish magazine style book.  It contains the full text of John in the New Living Translation, which is so easy to read and understand. It also intersperses snippets of Luke, Acts and other New Testament books to give a fuller picture of the gospel.  It has diagrams to give visual explanations of a relationship with Christ, and the last few pages are a clear answer to the question, "how can I have a relationship with Christ?".  While written for teens, I think this is a great product to share with both youth and adults.  Simple, clear, and easy to digest; it's a great tool to encourage seekers to explore Christ and his word.  I am encouraging my 12 year old son to read this for his devotionals this month.  I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Book Review: Beyond IQ by Garth Sundem

I've been busy reading through Garth Sundem's book, Beyond IQ.  It's an interesting discussion on the many different facets of the brain that contribute to intelligence and problem-solving.  The author breaks the contributing factors into different segments such as creativity, intuition, expertise, wisdom, performance under pressure, emotional intelligence, willpower and multitasking.  For each segment, he gives research on how the variable impacts our overall intelligence and practical activities we can do to strengthen that part of our brains.  I'm especially intrigued by the dozens upon dozens of brain-building exercises that he has spread throughout the chapters.  If you are interested in learning how to expand your brainpower or the brainpower of young people that you love, pick up this book and see what you think.  Disclaimer:  The publisher sent me a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. 

Book Review: With Every Breath by Elizabeth Camden.

I just finished reading my first novel by Elizabeth Camden, With Every Breath, and I couldn't put it down.  I was captivated by the historical fiction tale.  It's actually a medical fiction tale, dealing with the quest for a treatment for tuberculosis.  But it's far from dull with the lively characters, light romance, and plot twist and turns.  The characters are well developed and easy to relate to.  The story-telling is very natural and easy to read.  The life lessons in regards to family, faith, life purpose, and fear are important things for us all to consider.  I would highly recommend this book to any reader age 13+ that enjoys historical fiction or medical fiction.  I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Spicy Spaghetti


My sister-in-law made this recipe for our family years ago, and we all loved it!  (well, not my youngest two children who only like spaghetti with butter and parmesan, but everyone else)  This week, a friend gave us a whole bag full of cayenne peppers, so we used those in the recipe instead of the cayenne pepper.  It tasted so fresh and wonderful!  I bet if you used tomatoes from your garden instead of tomato soup, that would be amazing too!
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1lb. lean ground beef

1/4 to 1/2 white onion (this depends on how much onion you like)

1t garlic salt

¼ - ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

½ t black pepper

2t Italian seasoning

2 cans tomato soup

One can cream of mushroom soup (we use the light version)

1-2T Hot Sauce (we use Red Devil)

 
Brown the onion and the beef and add the spices, then drain the fat.

Add the soups and the hot sauce.  Simmer ‘til heated, then serve over spaghetti.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Book Review: "a match of wits" by jen turano

Turano has written another great light-hearted fiction novel in "A Match of Wits".  My expectations are incredibly high for her fiction, because I loved the first two so much.  This one wasn't quite as good as the first ones I read, but completely enjoyable nonetheless.  I laughed out loud several times, and stayed up too late reading because I couldn't put the book down.  A little bit of romance, a little bit of chivalry, a little bit of friendship/family, a little bit of mystery, and a little bit of faith.  A perfect combination for a winning novel.  I would recommend this to any female reader age 15+.  I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Book Review: The Young Entrepreneur's Guide to Starting and Running a Business by Steve Mariotti

Well, I picked this book out hoping to share it with my boys, ages 9 and 12.  They are definitely young entrepreneurs, but that's not the intended audience for the book.  Nevertheless, this is a five star handbook for starting a business.  If you are serious about starting a business this book will be an invaluable tool for you.  It has information on writing a business plan, the legalities of running a business, finances, tax structures, market research and social media.   It's 480 pages packed with helpful information!

I recommend this book for new entrepreneurs age 17+.  Honestly, it's a great resource for any adult who wants to learn the basics of developing, running and sustaining a new business.

I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Homemade Pesto Sauce.

My 12-year old son & I just made pesto from the basil in our garden.  It's so easy to make, and it's so good on sandwiches, pastas, and pizzas.  If you have basil, you should definitely try to make some!

Pesto Sauce


1 cup walnuts

8-9 cloves fresh garlic, minced

3 cups fresh basil

.5 tsp. kosher salt and black pepper

1/2 cup lemon juice

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese

 
Put everything into the blender (or food processor) except the cheese and pulse ‘til smooth. Then add the cheese.  I usually scrape the pesto back into the cheese container to freeze it for a large meal. Or freeze the mixture in ice cube trays and you can use what you need!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Book Review - Woman of Courage

This is the first book I've read by Wanda Bunstetter, and I was shocked to realize that she has written over 60 books. Woman of Courage is a well-written historical fiction novel about a woman travelling from New York, across the Rockies to be a missionary to the Nez Perce Indians in 1837.  I enjoyed the character development and the settings - I was able to feel a part of the story as the characters travelled.  I enjoyed the many lessons on courage, as the 4 main characters wrestled with danger, forgiveness and the courage to love.  I enjoyed watching relationships grow and develop. I enjoyed learning more about the similarities and differences among different cultures.  I did not particularly enjoy the "thees and thous" in the beginning of the book, so I was glad to see the main character start dialoguing in a more familiar manner.

I would recommend this book to any reader that's looking for a light-hearted Christian book to read.  It's appropriate for ages 15+.

I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Book Review: NIV Essentials Study Bible

I was wow-ed when I got this in the mail last week:  the NIV Essentials Study Bible: Easily Grasp the Fundamentals of Scripture through Lenses from 6 Bestselling NIV Resources
If you're looking for a Bible packed full of good study materials in an easy-to-apply-to-life format, check out this Bible.  It takes the best resources from 6 bestselling NIV resources and integrates them into one Bible.  It includes these highlights:

-Book Introductions from The Essential Bible Companion
-Maps, photos, timelines and Q&A from the NIV Quest Study Bible.
-Study Notes and Guided Tours from the NIV Study Bible.
-Articles from the NIV Archaeological Study Bible 
-`People in Focus Lens' with character studies from the NIV Student Bible
-Reflections from the Great Rescue Bible 

I particularly enjoyed the personal and thought-provoking questions in the Guided Tour sections.  I also liked the Reflect & Respond devotional studies with their application questions and challenges for shifting perspectives.  The Q&A sections answer common questions you've always wondered about with answers from scripture and Bible scholars.

I would recommend this Bible to any teen or adult who wants to know God and his word more intimately.  If you are inquisitive and eager to explore, you will be drawn into this Bible.  If you are looking for questions and teaching to help you apply scripture to your daily life, then you will be blessed by this Bible (well, any Bible will bless you richly, but this one is extra helpful!).

I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Friendship

I love Mary Engelbreit's artwork (above) - she captures so much spirit and truth in her pictures!

I also really like good quotes like this one:  "A true friend knows your weaknesses but shows you your strengths; feels your fears but fortifies your faith; sees your anxieties but frees your spirit; recognizes your disabilities but emphasizes your possibilities."  William Arthur Ward  

God has blessed me with several super special friendships like this, and I am so grateful!  Do you already have a friend like this?  Then tell them how grateful you are for their friendship! 

Do you long for a friend like this?  Think about the women God has put in your life.  Who would you like to grow closer to?  Invite them to spend time with you.  Consider how you can be a good friend to them.  Make plans to spend time together on a consistent basis.  Weave scripture and prayer into your friendship.  Weave your family members into your friendship.  And pray for a deep life-transforming friendship.

Book Review: The Wholehearted Wife by Erin Smalley, Gary Smalley and Greg Smalley




















Guess what book arrived in our mailbox on our 13th wedding anniversary?  The Wholehearted Wife: 10 Keys to a More Loving Relationship by Erin Smalley, Gary Smalley and Greg Smalley.  Great timing, huh?

I really enjoyed reading the book.  It's full of practical strategies for building marriages starting with your own heart and perspective.  It has great questions to ponder individually and as a couple.  It's very Christ-focused! 

The ten keys involve honoring, nourishing, accepting personality/differences, connecting spiritually, communicating, connecting sexually, managing conflict, defusing anger, forgiving, and transforming trials into blessings.  Every key connects to scripture, and every key reinforces that a healthy marriage must start with each person honoring the other.  Since we cannot control our spouses, the best way we can impact a marriage (beyond prayer), is by starting with our own hearts. 

I would recommend this book to any woman that wants to have a great marriage - whether she is engaged or celebrating her 50th wedding anniversary!

I received this book from Tyndale House Publishers as a gift, in exchange for my honest review.