Sunday, December 11, 2011

Cinnamon Roll Cake

This has become my most recent obsession and I think I am declaring it my signature cake. I think you have to completely create something from scratch to call it your "Signature" dish, but I'm going with it anyways. I found this recipe on Pinterest and have been in love ever since. It's pretty easy to make and it is delicious! But I've decided whenever I'm asked to bring something to a party or just feel like baking, this will most likely be it.

There are 3 Steps.

First, start with the cake batter.
In a mixing bowl, combine the following ingredients.
- 3 cups of flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 cup milk
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla

After everything is mixed, slowly stir in 1/2 cup of melted butter. Then pour batter into a 9x13 greased pan.

Then mix the topping.
- 1 cup of softened butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp. flour
- 1 tbsp cinnamon

The first time I accidentally put white sugar in and it gave it a little crunch. I liked that so I have continued to do that.

Drop the topping evenly over the batter and swirl in with a knife. Bake at 350 for 28-32 minutes, depending on your oven. It is a pretty thick batter so mine usually takes the full time.

While it is baking, mix up the glaze.
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 5 tbsp. milk
- 1 tsp. vanilla.
- 1 tbsp cinnamon (original recipe doesn't call for this, but I think it adds to it.)

While the cake is still warm drizzle the glaze over the cake. It is best if served warm. And trust me, you won't be disappointed. I will definitely be making this for my family when we're home for Christmas!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Thankful Thanksgiving

HOLY CRAP!! I have a blog? WHAT?!

Yes, it has been quite a while. I don't know if I completely forgot about the fact that I started this blog, or if I have just been ignorant and hoping it would keep up to date on my life on it's own, but I'm back. I know I have said it before..but I am going to try harder at staying on top of this.

I don't know about you, but this Thanksgiving I was extra thankful. This year has been filled with so much and I had time to reflect on that during this Thanksgiving. I know Thanksgiving shouldn't be the only day of the year we are all thankful, but it does draw our attention to the blessings in our lives. Thinking back since last year's Thanksgiving I realize how blessed I really am.

This year, I am thankful for a new family to spend Thanksgiving with. It is not easy, at all, to be away from my family on holidays, but it is part of what comes with living on the other side of the country from home. With the blessing of marriage with Alex I have gained a new family to celebrate and feel at home with.

Of course, I could not have this new family without the blessings of my husband since June. Yes, he drives me crazy, but I could not imagine my life without him. I am thankful I not only call him my husband, but my best friend. And I am so excited for many Thanksgivings to come to celebrate as our own family.

I am thankful for my loving parents and my amazing sister. Our family always says we are blessed to not only have a family that loves each other, but we actually like each other. We really enjoy being around each other and spending time together and I cannot wait to have that time with them this Christmas.

I'm thankful for such amazing friends. It's hard graduating college, getting married, and realizing I can't share clothes with my roommate anymore. No, I don't just miss living with them for things I need, but I miss that constant companionship we had. Through this transition in my life I've noticed how great my friends really are. It would be easy for our relationships to change with the ebbs and flows in our lives, but the times I do get with them is no less greater then the last. And for that I am grateful.

I am thankful for Alex's and my job. Serving is not glamorous by any means, but I am thankful for it in this tough economy. And I am thankful for the home we have at Asbury. Not only for the amazing team Alex has, but for the wonderful coaches and their families that we are surrounded by.

I pray I continue to remind myself of all these blessings in my life even when it might not be easy to see all of them. Sometimes it is easy to let the little things in life get you down and overshadow these amazing gifts you do have. There are so many situations that can be going on around us, but it the midst of it all there is a true joy that only the Lord can give us. "Happiness is because of circumstances. Joy is in spite of circumstances."

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Pinterest Obsession.

So clearly it's been a while. I think I forgot I even had a blog. But, I'm back. There just hasn't been a lot going on in the last month. Well, a lot has been going on, which has left less time to blog. And I think my obsession with Pinterest has taken away some of that time too!

I'm pretty sure almost everyone I know is on Pinterest, but if you're not you are seriously missing out. I never knew I could be so creative until I joined Pinterest! I thought I would share some of my favorite DIY tricks I have learned. I haven't tried them yet, because I haven't had the time, but I seriously intend to!

So I think this idea is adorable! Not only does it serve as a little decoration and a reflection of your home's style, but it can also keep you on schedule and organized. I am a HUGE list maker. If it isn't on a list, I probably won't get it done. So I think this idea would be very fitting for my home.

Now is it ironic I LOVE this idea? It can't be very hard and looks so sweet. You could really use any letter and any colors to put in your house, and I think I already know where I want to put mine!

So this isn't exactly a very easy job, but it seems rewarding and less expensive than buying a rug this cute. She started with a rug from IKEA and then found a stencil that she likes. Then she cut out the stencil and traced it on the carpet. The tedious task came when the painting started. But needless to say, I think it came out great. And I might actually try it one weekend.

Well, I need to go for now, but I will plan on being back more often :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Simple and Delicious

Alex has this amazing app on his iPad called Recipe Book that not only can I input recipes I like, but I can also go online and directly download recipes off sites like Martha Stewart and Epicurious. My favorite site is Martha Stewart. She has awesome recipes. My favorites are her "Lighter" recipes. And "Lighter Sesame Chicken" is at the top of that list! I have made it twice, and of course the second time around is a lot easier than the first. But it was still a pretty simple to make! And I highly suggest it!

You will need:
  • 3/4 cup rice
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped or crushed with a garlic press
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, such as safflower
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 pounds broccoli, cut into large florets, stems peeled and thinly sliced

1. Cook rice in rice cooker or pot on the stove.

2. In a small bowl, combine honey, sesame seeds, soy sauce, and garlic. In large bowl, whisk together egg whites and cornstarch. Cut up chicken and coat with the egg white and cornstarch mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

3. In a large non-stick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken and cook til golden brown on both sides. Usually about 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate and then cook the rest of the chicken.

4. While chicken is cooking, chop scallions.

5. Return the rest of the chicken to the skillet and add the reserved sauce and chopped scallions.

6. Meanwhile, steam broccoli for about 4 to 6 minutes.

Serve chicken with broccoli and rice. I hope you enjoy! It is lighter than the deep fried sesame chicken from the local chinese hot spot and just as good. If not better :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Sweet Southern Charm

Ok, so I know it's been awhile. It's almost like I forgot I had a blog!

I have recently become obsessed with all thing southern. By all things southern I mean, design and architecture. I haven't adopted an accent, even though some say I have, or been saying ya'll. I know plenty of sweet people that do, but it will never roll off my tongue quite the same way.

Over our honeymoon I read The Help. I'm sure you've heard about it before, but it is amazing. READ IT! I also went and saw the movie this week and loved it. Like reading any book before seeing a movie, I was constantly comparing. But overall they did a really good job. There is just so much background in the book that couldn't be included for time. So I would suggest reading and watching!

With all that said, The Help sparked my interest in southern life and architecture. Nate Berkus helped a little bit as well. He did a special show on The Help because he was a producer on the film. Part of the show was called House Proud. They feature homes around the country that are original and have a special touch. The home they featured was amazing! It was an extremely old and dilapidated home, built in late 1790's, that this family had renovated. They renovated it to keep the look and style of the original home. So it looked gorgeous! The used a special paint to show the original paint on the walls, so it still had the same feel. However, I would not be able to live in it! Number 1, they said it was a little creepy because it was so old. Number 2, they have minimal electricity because they could only add so much wiring and everything to the structure. So they use a lot of candles. Which I'm sure is beautiful and romantic, but can get a little creepy to me. :) But anyways, it was amazing.

This is what the house originally looked like.

Part of the renovation on the inside

Isn't this gorgeous?

This is the link if you want to see a clip of the show of this House Proud!
And here is a link to a magazine that featured it's renovation:

I was talking with Alex about this house and we were talking about how cool it would be to fix up an old house. I just think that would be such a fun experience together. I doubt we would take on a task that big anytime soon. But the thought of it is cool, right?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I Want To Be Friends With...

Nate Berkus. So for real, has anyone watched his show? Since I am currently unemployed I have had the wonderful opportunity to watch morning shows. Great, right? Most of the time I go work out in the mornings, but sometimes I get to catch some of the shows that are on and Nate Berkus is by far my favorite right now. Im sure my parents will be happy to know that's how I'm spending my mornings, but it is what it is.

Anyways, he is awesome. First of all, he seems like the nicest person. In most of the segments of his show he is always doing things for other people. I know that sounds stupid, but if you watch the show you would understand what I'm getting at, maybe. But he just seems like a really nice person. Second, he has the BEST ideas. Anything he looks at can either be used in some setting of your home, wardrobe, or it is cheap! He is always bringing other creative people on the show to share their cheap, creative ideas as well. Almost anything you give to him, he could transform into the prettiest piece ever! People will bring random finds from yard sales and thrift stores to him to be transformed and they all end up looking so expensive and unique. I know he has a team of people helping him as well, but I'm just enthralled every time I watch the show.

It makes me so excited to eventually have our own home and be able to try some of his tricks. We're about at our max for anything to come into this little duplex of ours! Like I said in the last post, I am not super creative but want to start trying things because it can potentially save a lot of money in decorating and give your home a unique looks that really no one else has.

He is always offering budget-friendly ideas. This was a segment he did with a couple on a budget and how he re-did their bedroom. The headboard is literally plywood covered with fabric. And the side tables are off eBay that he repainted. How cute is that?

Ok, so enough of my rant and rave about Nate Berkus. I just wanted to share some of his awesome ideas!  I know that I'll definitely keep up on his ideas and hopefully be able to actually use some of them within the next few years! For now, I may just try little ones. :)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Testing My Creative Side

I have seen so many blogs lately where people have some of the most creative, crafty ideas. Of course I get so jealous when I see them cause I think to myself that I could never do anything that cute. Ever. So this weekend I decided to test myself and see what I can do. So I dragged Alex to Hobby Lobby with me, one of his least favorite places to be, to pick up what I "think" I might need to make my new home decor. Like any project, you always have this perfect idea in your head and what you will need to get the flawless, finished project. As I was going through Hobby Lobby I really didn't know exactly what I needed so I grabbed a blank canvas, 3 colored paints that I liked, some cheap paint brushes, and a stencil I thought would look pretty.

After checking out I was a little apprehensive to see how this would all turn out. Usually when I try to be crafty it turns out to be an ultimate fail. So needless to say I was a little nervous. I got started by just painting the entire canvas and then painting the stencil where I wanted it. I surprised myself because I loved it at this stage in the process. 

Last week at church Psalm 90:14 came up on the screen during communion and I just thought it was such a great verse to be reminded of everyday. So I decided I wanted to put that verse on here. Originally I was going to put it above our dresser in the bedroom so that we would see it when we wake up in the morning, but the color blue I painted it with clashed with our bedding so I moved it to our kitchen. 

Today I added the words and I wasn't as excited about the way it looked painting it on. I almost wish I would have had some sort of pen or a stencil, which would have been a ton of work, but I think it would have looked better. I do like it a lot and I think it will be a great reminder everyday, but just not as happy with the writing.

Here is the finished product! I am going to add some pictures underneath it but for now it's just over our kitchen table. So I would encourage you, if you aren't necessarily the crafty type, to branch out and try something! You might be pleased with the end result :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Yummy in my Tummy

Recently Alex and I were with our good friends, the Rexfords, and they asked about how the cooking has been going since we've been married. Of course, I looked at him to answer, and he just smiled and said it's been good. Now I know he was just trying to be a good husband, but I knew he was getting a little bored with my "go-to" meals. He has been so sweet and really hasn't said a word about it, but I knew how he really felt!

I really didn't cook a whole lot at home, well really at all. I started cooking more when I lived in an apartment, but during school we always had the caf so I didn't cook all that much. But now, it's something I have to get used to! I actually enjoy it for the most part, but I needed to expand my menu to say the least. 

So I got online and started looking for relatively easy recipes. I think I'm going to try at least 1 new recipe a week. This week I tried a 7-Layer Mexican Pie and Capellini with Asparagus and Bacon. The Capellini actually called for pancetta, but I couldn't find any at the store so it said I could use bacon instead. Alex didn't like the pasta as much as I did, but he loved the Mexican Pie. So I thought I would share the recipes for that.

7-Layer Mexican Pie
2 cans pinto beans - rinsed and drained
1 cup Pace Picante Sause
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 can black beans- rinsed and drained
1 small tomato - chopped
7 flour tortillas
8 oz. Shredded Cheese

Also have 2 medium sized bowls out to mix in, a cooking sheet, and set the oven to 400 degrees. 

1. In bowl 1, mash the pinto beans with a fork. Stir in 3/4 cup of picante sauce and the minced garlic.
2.  In bowl 2, mix the picante sauce, cilantro, black beans, and tomato. I also added some cooked ground beef into the mixture. 
3. Put one tortilla down on a cooking sheet. Spread an even layer of the pinto bean mixture on the tortilla within 1/2 in of the edge. Top with cheese. Add another tortilla and a layer of the black bean mixture and add some cheese. Repeat 2 more times and top the last tortilla with the rest of the pinto bean mixture.
4. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 400 degree for about 35-40 minutes. Uncover and top with cheese. Cut into 6 wedges and serve with some extra sauce, sour cream, and some tortilla chips!

It's pretty easy to make and I think it's one of Alex's new favorites! Hope you all try it out and enjoy!

Just wanted to add this picture of a pretty sunset we had here on our way home one night. Hope it brightens your day and reminds you of how awesome our God is. 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

1 Month Down.

So I know this is a small mile marker, but Alex and I have officially been married one month! (2 days ago actually)
And today we got the wedding albums in that I put together after we got our wedding pictures from the wonderful Cat Satre. I wish I would have put them all in one book, but I was worried I was going to burst the seams with all the pages I was adding! Anyways, I am so excited to actually have tangible pictures. I don't want it to come off vain, but I absolutely LOVE our pictures. So if anyone is looking so an amazing photographer, this is my shout out to Cat. She is awesome and so fun to have photograph your wedding! 

Here are a few of my favorites...
(This barely puts a dent into how many great shots we have)

When I got these pictures, I was able to actually reflect on everything this day meant to me. I'm sure any married couple would say the same, but the day of the wedding goes by so fast and there are so many moments you miss. If I could, I would go back and do it over, and over, and over again just to relive those moments with so many people I love. We didn't get a videographer, but my uncle used a video camera to capture those moments in motion, and I loved being able to watch those. It was kind of life watching everything happen as a fly on the wall. I know that sounds weird, but it was fun to just see what everybody was doing and all their reactions even when I was focused on something else. It is such a blessing to look at those pictures and watch the video clips and see how many people we have around us that support us in our marriage. We are so blessed with such amazing friends and family and to have them all support us and encourage us through this time in our lives together.

Life has been so fun to go through this with Alex. I had quite a few people tell me the first year of marriage is the hardest. And I know we aren't very far into that year, but it really has been so much easier than I expected. And I don't mean easy like we don't have to work at it, but the transition has been so smooth. I was worried it would be hard for me to get used to seeing boy stuff everywhere, and that we would have trouble figuring out how each other lives and does things. We do a lot of things differently and we are both very stubborn and want to do it our way, but we have learned to be patient and work with each other a lot. Even when we disagree it's easier for us to talk about and work through. I have just loved watching him and noticing all his quirks and the funny things he does. He already makes fun of me for doing this blog, so I won't share too much of that stuff about him cause he'll probably just make even more fun of me. But needless to say, he keeps life fun and interesting. It's easy for me to get too focused and stressed about things, but he just enjoys life and that slows me down some time. So he balances me out pretty well.

All that to say, I've realized that everything in life doesn't have to be perfect, but having the ones I love around me is most important. And if you're reading this you're probably one of them. So if I haven't gotten the chance to talk to you recently, or if I saw you yesterday, I hope you know how much I love you and feel so lucky to have you in my life.

The End. 

Monday, July 4, 2011

Count Me In

So I guess I am adding myself to the list of people who have a blog. I am totally not one of those really creative people who will be writing posts that everyone is dying to read, but I figured I would give it a try. Thinking about this time in my life where everything is new and exciting, I think it would be fun to be able to share it. I used to think it was worthless to blog, but I have really loved reading other peoples blogs, especially friends who I don't see very often and I get to keep up to date on what is going on in their lives. I feel like so many people start blogs when they start a new chapter of their life to share with others, so I guess you can count me in with that group!

Just for a little tid bit of information, Alex & I just recently got married on June 5th, 2011. Tomorrow will mark our first married month together! He is a head swim coach for Asbury and I am currently looking for jobs, but in the meantime get to help him out and nanny a family. We met on our college swim team, became best friends, and now I get to spend every day with him! He has brought so much laughter and joy to my life I can't explain it. I keep telling him he has gotten funnier since we got married cause lately he always has me laughing! Well anyways, I'll spare you all the mushy details, but I have LOVED being married to him and can't wait for the years to come.

Hopefully the posts after this one will be more interesting and you'll enjoy keeping up to date on the Keysers!