Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Let's go ahead and skip the "hello, strangers!"

I've been so absent from my little, itty-bitty place in the blogosphere these past few months. It's certainly been a trying year. I've chosen time with my little family (love you, John and Hoosh!), extended family, friends (though not nearly enough!), and students over daily posts and comments to other blogs. I know this has been the right decision, but I would by lying if I said I didn't miss writing and communicating with all of you!

So...timing...today was a tough day. I felt emotionally, mentally and physically drained. And apparently it was evident, as many people at school took note. I went to a great dinner with my hubby and in-laws before they all headed to Bloomington for the IU game, while I went home to be responsible and work, sleep, etc.

But...I was in a funk. I was distracted from work. TV was boring. I couldn't focus on my book. I was just feeling...ugh.  So I got on my knees and started praying; praying for guidance, strength, peace, wisdom, faith, trust. I poured my heart out. And when I was finished, I was suddenly compelled to pull up my Christmas list on my phone. I was drawn to Amy Grant. And the song I came to? "Breath of Heaven (Mary's Song).

Wow. The words in that song - a song I hadn't thought of since last Christmas - spoke to me and lifted me. I sang my heart out. I don't think it was an accident that I was directed to that song. To those words. Though my prayers might not all be answered immediately or in my time, I felt that God was trying to tell me that He heard me, and that I wasn't alone.

And then it got better. I saw my devotions book and realized that I hadn't done my devotions today. The message: Through the Dry Season. I couldn't believe it was a coincidence that I came across this, and I felt so compelled to share it with you. It comes from Joel Osteen's Your Best Life Begins Each Morning devotional book, a wonderful Christmas gift last year from my mother-in-law Leslie.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven; a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot. {Ecclesiastes 3:1-2}

"We all go through dry seasons in our lives, times when we don't see anything happening. Maybe you've been praying and believing, but your prayers aren't being answered; or, you're giving, but you don't seem to be getting anything in return. Maybe you are doing your best to treat people right; you're going the extra mile to help others, but nobody is going out of their way to help you. What's going on? Is God's Word a lie? Do these principles not work?

"No, these dry seasons are proving grounds. God wants to see how you are going to respond. What kind of attitude will you have when you are doing the right thing, but the wrong thing keeps happening to you?"

Maybe this isn't applicable to you in your time of life. Or maybe, like me, you read that scripture and those words at just the right moment. I will continue to focus my trust in God's providence and to have faith in wait and trial.

Wishing you all a joyful start to this holiday season, and hoping to share some festive recipes and decors with you along the way!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Hanky Pankies

Here I am with another Rapp family recipe! Hanky pankies are always a big hit with crowds, as I personally experienced when I made them for my sorority sisters' monthly girls dinner! These are a staple at the lake and family events because they are easy to make and freeze.

I've adapted these slightly - subbing ground turkey for ground beef - and adjusting the cheese. It's completely up to you and your family's taste preferences! Velveeta cheese will give you a very creamy combination, but you're welcome to use any other type of cheese if you don't like processed food.

PS: Still stuck in iPhone picture land. What can you do, eh?

Hanky Pankies
Recipe adapted from Mimi & Leslie Rapp
Yields about 16 hanky pankies (depending on loaf size)  

Monday, October 1, 2012

Inside Out Sushi


I have been absent for far too long. In fact, I've typed up recipe posts for several other recipes and the like, but my camera cord has been MIA. Whoops! So, my upcoming posts all have pictures from my phone. Better than nothing? I hope so, because I've definitely missed my frequent blog posts and conversations with you!

The title of this recipes comes from Rachael, and a text I got from her after I made these. The original title was "Shrimp Salad on Cucumber," which is not the best. When I told John about Rachael's title suggestion he got SO excited (go Moyer!). He thought it was way better than the original.

Anyhoo, this is a super easy recipe to throw together, plus the "shrimp salad" portion involves NO mayo - how great is that?! It was the perfect thing to throw together before my girlfriends arrived for our monthly "girls dinner." Everyone gobbled this down, and it was so easy (and tasty!) that I will definitely be making it again soon.

Oh, and did I mention that it's healthy? Well, it is! Enjoy!

Inside Out Sushi 
Recipe adapted from Skinnytaste
Yields about 40 pieces

Monday, September 17, 2012

Fiesta Chicken & Spinach Enchiladas

As soon as I saw this recipe I knew I had to make it. Last week I made my first-ever batch of enchiladas, sans recipe. They were good, but I felt I could make some just a bit better. I didn't post the recipe because I was on the phone with my sister while I was making them.

Now that I've eaten these, I'm SO glad that I didn't post the other recipe. These enchiladas were so beyond amazing that I can't even believe I made those other enchiladas. Seriously. I'm not even an enchilada person, but wow.

I'd like to play around with these some more to substitute the cream of chicken soup for less processed ingredients. However, for a quick and easy meal, the canned soup is a big time-saver. I highly recommend these, and I anticipate I'll be making more meals from Picky Palate quite soon. Enjoy!

Fiesta Chicken & Spinach Enchiladas
Recipe adapted from Picky Palate
Serves 4-6, depending on portions

Monday, September 3, 2012

BBQ Blue Cheese Burger Cups

Ever since I made these tasty delights, I've had tons of new traffic to the blog. Thanks to all the wonderful people who commented on that recipe, I have a new - and easy! - recipe for you. All I can say is that it was a relatively effortless meal, which is great for me during the week. John was a happy, happy camper, too. He shouted "awesome!" after his first bite, and he hasn't stopped talking about them since.

Normally I would say more, but honestly I'm too tired and I know these will speak for themselves. So make them!

BBQ Blue Cheese Burger Cups
Recipe adapted from my Honey BBQ Blue Cheese Burgers and Cheesy Chicken Pot Pie Cups
Servings vary based on use of biscuits  

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Chicken Taco Chili

Hello, hello! 

Welp, July and August were definitely some lame slow months for the blog. I don't have much of an explanation, other than I really tried to enjoy my summer. I won't always have this kind of time off! I got caught up on some projects around the house - I may or may not share a few of my successful ones - relaxed, visited friends, and got ready for the new school year.

I had a wonderful first week of school with my new kiddos, and I'm ready to get back to sharing yummy recipes and more! I've got a great new recipe for you, and four reasons why you should make it ASAP.

1. This meal is tasty and healthy - what's better than that?
2. The recipe is easily adapatable for my vegetarian friends - see below.••
3. It's fun to try a variation of traditional chili - mix it up!
4. The slow cooker does all the work for you - perfect for a busy household.

Chicken Taco Chili
Recipe adapted from Skinnytaste
Serves 5-8, depending on portions

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Baked Chicken with Dijon & Lime

Happy Tuesday, friends! I've noticed new readers to the blog, so a quick welcome and hello to all of you! :)

I realized this morning that I've had the pictures for the recipe for weeks, yet I keep forgetting to write up the post and share it with all of you. Well, not today! This recipe is full of flavor thanks to a few key ingredients, and it's very easy since your oven does most of the work for you.

While chicken thighs aren't my favorite (I prefer chicken breast), John went absolutely crazy over these. He insisted on eating them like wings, and "mmm'd" so many times that I lost count. I will definitely be making these again soon, especially on a night when I get home late or don't have much energy. Let me know what you think!

Baked Chicken with Dijon & Lime
Recipe via Skinnytaste
Serves 2

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Seared Scallop Salad w/ Orange Champagne Vinaigrette

As I hinted at here, there is not much to say about this salad other than it is fantastic. I almost flinch as I type that because I used to be the person rolling her eyes after someone told me about a "great" salad. However, as I've developed better eating habits I've come to appreciate a really flavorful and filling salad. Even John raved about it - "Mmmm, good cow food!" (aka "rabbit food")

The original recipe for this, courtesy of Skinnytaste, used grapefruit instead of orange. I found orange champagne vinegar for a couple dollars at Trader Joe's, and John isn't the biggest grapefruit fan, so the modification were perfect for us. I do apologize for the lack of step-by-step pictures, but I think you'll find this recipe easy to follow. This came together in a flash, in part thanks to how quickly scallops cook, and is a perfect summer meal.

Seared Scallop Salad w/ Orange Champagne Vinaigrette 
Recipe adapted from Skinnytaste
Serves 2-4, depending on portions

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

WIAW: Quick Trip & Summer Staples

Hello, August! My you came quickly. I'm blogging from Chicago, where I'm visiting my good friend Jessie for the day/night! She's working on her MBA, and finished her last final Monday night. Since she has a few weeks before fall classes resume, it was the perfect time for a fun night away.

Sorry about fuzzy self-portraits!
I've been dying to check out RPM Italian, but never seem to get a chance because I'm usually in town for specific events. Jessie suggested we walk there for a drink since it's only a few blocks from her place. I happily agreed, and we tried the "G-Rizzle." It's not on the menu, but I follow Giuliana Rancic on Twitter, so I knew to order it. It was delicious! Lime and ginger combined for a perfect summer cocktail.

After our drink we decided to walk to Portillo's - my favorite! - to get chopped salads to go for dinner. Not only did I save money, but I loved every bite of my salad. It's so good!! It's probably good I don't live in Chicago anymore or else I might have a bit of problem. We ate our salads at Jessie's apartment, and spent the rest of the night watching the Olympics. It was a perfect night with an even better friend. To top it off? I get to have lunch with one of my best and oldest friends before I head back to Indy!

Honestly I was too busy having fun with Jessie to be good about taking pictures, so my WIAW post is a bit different this week - in case you didn't notice already. ;) In honor of this month's What I Ate Wednesday theme, "Summer Staples," I've included some of my favorite new recipes of the summer in this post! Thanks to Jenn for the suggestion - and for hosting!

This was absolutely amazing! I saw a recipe for a seared scallop and grapefruit salad from Skinnytaste, and I knew I wanted to put my own spin on it. The hubby and I aren't crazy about grapefruit, so I substituted oranges, and even found an orange champagne vinegar at Trader Joe's to use for the dressing. This is easily my favorite new salad. {Recipe coming tomorrow!}

Creamy Smoothies

I've been going crazy combining various flavors of Chobani Greek yogurt with fresh ingredients. My favorite combination has to be Strawberry Banana Chobani + 1 cup fresh strawberries + 1 frozen banana + freshly squeezed juice from 2 oranges + a handful of spinach + chia seeds. When I gave the hubby some of it he exclaimed, "people would pay for this!

Another great summer salad, especially if you are able to grill your chicken. This salad has so much flavor and is a really filling and easy meal. The dressing complimented the veggies and chicken perfectly. John and I love this for dinner on a beautiful summer night. {Recipe here}

Monday, July 30, 2012

Quinoa Cakes w/ Spicy Marinara Sauce

Happy Monday, friends! I hope you had a very restful and enjoyable last weekend of July. We had a wonderful time at John's lake house this weekend, and we were able to spend so much time with his extended family. We only see each other once a year for our lake reunion, so it really is a lovely time.

Now that we're home? I can't believe I go back to school in two weeks! It's crunch time, and I am busy, busy making sure everything is ready for the start of the new year. Today's agenda includes some strength training at the gym, grocery shopping, a target run, and...reorganizing our closets. We'll see how far I get on that...

I stumbled across this recipe one night while jumping from blog to blog, looking for something to stand out. I bookmarked it, and it was perfect for when we got back from vacation because I had all the ingredients on hand. Much like this recipe.

Anyhoo, this is packed with awesome flavor! John went on and on about these, even saying they tasted like breadsticks with the dipping sauce. I was crazy about a filling and tasty meatless meal. Plus, it's a pretty cheap meal, too. Let me know what you think!

Quinoa Cakes with Spicy Marinara Dipping Sauce
Recipe for Quinoa Cakes adapted from Let's Dish, via Kitchen Trial and Error
Recipe for Spicy Marinara Dipping Sauce by Call Me Mrs. Rapp 
Yields about 8 cakes

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Loaded Turkey Santa Fe Baked Potato Skins

I didn't have the highest expectations for this dish. I was excited to try something new, but honestly I thought this might be a bit bland. Thanks to a few key spices and veggies, this was a phenomenal meal. John has told me every day since I made these how good they were. Who doesn't appreciate that?

I made this with only 4 potatoes, but I kept the recipe the same. I had some leftover turkey filling, and we've used it by itself and in wraps. I definitely plan to make more of this for lunches during the school year. It's a great way to get in veggies and protein while keeping things light.

One last suggestion? Use nonfat Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. John always claims he can tell a difference, so this time I acted like it was sour cream. Guess what? He didn't figure out it was Greek yogurt until he finished his meal and I told him. Sneaky substitutions for the win. ;)

Loaded Turkey Santa Fe Baked Potato Skins
Recipe adapted from Skinnytaste
Serves 3-7, depending on portions

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

WIAW: Anniversary

It's been awhile since I've done one of these! These eats are from yesterday, also known as John and my second wedding anniversary. While much of the day was rooted in routine, we managed to spend some extra time together, and had a wonderful day. Thankful for another year with my hubby and ready for even more memories together.

As always, head over to Jenn's blog to see more foodie fun or to link up yourself!

Breakfast: Anniversary Egg Sandwich

John made me his specialty - and my favorite! - open-faced egg sandwich. Trader Joe's sprouted 7-grain bread + reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese + an over easy egg = a perfect start to our special day - especially when I'm not the one doing the cooking! ;)

Snack: Gatorade G Series Energy Chews in Cool Blue

Thanks to Ashley's giveaway a few weeks ago, I scored a free box of these. I had a packet before I headed to the gym for some cardio, this arm workout and a few leg and ab exercises. I've had some before my last few workouts, and I've really liked them!

Lunch: Loaded Turkey Santa Fe

My goodness was this tasty. I made Loaded Turkey Santa Fe Baked Potato Skins (recipe coming tomorrow!) the other night, and fortunately we had leftover filling. John put some in a tortilla to make a wrap, and I ate my in a bowl with a fork. Delicious! I will definitely be making this for school lunches this year.

Celebratory Champagne Toast with our Wedding Flutes

Cheers to two married years! :)

Dinner at Harry & Izzy's downtown

John and I splurged and went to one of our favorite downtown steak houses for our anniversary dinner. Since we had a glass of champagne at home, we skipped wine at dinner, but we did enjoy the famous shrimp cocktail, filets with blue cheese and roasted asparagus. Everything was fantastic! I even saved half my 8oz filet to bring home. I love leftovers!

Happy anniversary to us!
Dessert: Fresh Strawberries (unpictured)
Whoops! Forgot to take a picture. John and I shared a bowl of fresh strawberries as we relaxed and enjoyed the rest of our evening. I couldn't ask for a better anniversary or hubby!

Anniversary Fashion:
Top: BCBG, via BCBG Outlet (vacation find!)
White stretch skinny jeans: Hudson, via Nordstrom Rack
Shoes: Calvin Klein, via Bloomingdale's Outlet (another vacation find!)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Linguine with Tomato Clam Sauce

This is a simple and delicious meal from the cookbook my wonderful mother-in-law gave me for Christmas. She knows how much I love having pictures of recipes, and this cookbook is filled with 1,000 recipes - AND all have a picture. Love it!

I made this recipe when we got back from vacation a few weeks ago. We didn't have much of anything left in our pantry or fridge, but we happened to have all the ingredients needed for this dish. It was very light for a pasta dish, and a nice, quick summer meal.

Also, apparently I was spent from taking so many vacation pictures because I only took two shots of this dish. Rest assured, you won't need step-by-step pictures for this simple dish.

Linguine with Tomato Clam Sauce
Recipe adapted from The Illustrated Kitchen Bible
Serves 4

Monday, July 23, 2012

2nd Anniversary Trip to Disney

Happy Monday! 

Today is a big day. Today marks three weeks until work/school resumes. It really hit me today, and I ended up spending several hours today running errands, working out and enjoying my last bit of unstructured free time. I have a feeling these next weeks will fly by, and I want to be sure to enjoy this time.

Tomorrow is an even bigger day. Tomorrow is our 2nd wedding anniversary. It still feels like yesterday that I was reading John's letters to me on our wedding day. They made my heart swell with love as I prepared to do the best thing I've ever done - marry John. I'm grateful for my handsome, considerate, intelligent, funny husband, and I can't wait to make more memories with him.

Some of my favorite memories from this year included our trip to Disney World. We ran around like crazy all day, every day - including the park's extended hours (the app I told you about was the best tool, thank goodness we had it!)! I don't remember the last time my legs hurt that bad, but it was worth it for all we did and saw. The weather was more bipolar than Indiana, which I never knew to be possible. Thanks to a certain tropical storm, we were in hot sun and complete downpours within seconds of one another.

We laughed, relaxed, and enjoyed being big kids. The next time we go will be kiddos, so now we have a special time, too. This trip was our anniversary gift to each other, so I thought this was a fitting time to share some of my favorites. (Last year we went to Universal Studios!)

Inside our beautiful hotel...We loved The Grand Floridian!

Being a bit silly

Waiting in line for Winne the Pooh ride


Beautiful breakfast

Some of the weather we experienced

Don't get splashed!

Had to show the castle!

Self-portraits, most often in line :)

Last picture of the whole trip...wiped.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Mimi's Steak Fries

Hello, strangers friends!

I have clearly been enjoying my summer so much that I've neglected my little blog. I'll get into that in another post, but for now I have a great summer recipe for you!

A few weekends ago I helped John's grandma, Mimi, make these steak fries. I've had my wonderful mother-in-law's version of these for years, and I absolutely love them. Last weekend we went to the lake with some friends, and I decided to recreate Mimi's recipe. The fries were a huge hit! Even better? They are so easy to throw together and absolutely delicious.

I hope you are enjoying your summer. I've missed you all, and I would love to hear what you're up to. Until next time!

Mimi's Steak Fries
Recipe adapted from Mimi (and my Mother-in-Law Leslie!)
Yields 2 sheet pans of steak fries 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

WIAW: Disney Edition

Hi, friends! So I am so beyond exhausted right now. We've been go, go, go ever since we got here. John has bruises on the bottom of his feet - crazy, right?! - and I have legs more sore than any workout has ever produced.

I didn't really focus on this month's theme of "Healthy Snacking", as I didn't do much snacking at all. Instead I focused on eating (fairly) healthy while on vacation. Head over to Peas and Crayons, hosted by Jenn, for more good eats. I plan to sneak in a few during long lines! ;)

We've been having the best time here, and I'm not complaining a bit (okay, besides the crazy humidity). So, my What I Ate Wednesday, is going to be short and simple.

Breakfast at The Grand Floridian Cafe: Lobster. Eggs. Benedict. 

Need I say more? Two poached eggs + hollandaise + tomatoes + lobster hash (lobster, onions, asparagus, potato shreds). Absolutely delicious. Although, what lobster dish isn't amazing?

Snack: John and I split an Edy's Strawberry Fruit Bar...

...while waiting in a 1 hour and 45-minute long line for the Jungle Cruise. I also wrote a blog post, while waiting in the longest line we've experienced this whole trip.

Lunch at Frontierland Cafe: Salad + chicken + drizzle of ceasar dressing; strawberry yogurt.

As part of our meal plan, we have one "quick service" meal a day, which includes an entree, dessert and drink. This means a limited menu and cafeteria-style food. With all the walking (and running!) we were doing, I knew I needed something healthy yet filling. And I found an option to suit my needs! Who says you can't eat healthy while on vacation?

Dinner at Portobello, an Italian restaurant in Downtown Disney 

Our table (John's parents, sister and the two of us) split some awesome appetizers: calamari and mozzarella-stuffed rice balls with marinara, plus bread with roasted garlic and olive oil spread.

Honestly I was skeptical of the rice balls, but they were so creamy, thanks to the rice being risotto and the addition of fresh basil. I loved these! I had half a rice ball plus a few pieces of calamari, both dredged in marinara. I finished it off with half a roll + roasted garlic spread.

My entree certainly did not disappoint: mahi mahi with polenta served over tomato sauce.

The polenta was creamy, and the mahi mahi was cooked perfectly. The sauce was an excellent pair to bring out both flavors. Add some zucchini on top, and this is a recipe I must recreate!

Dessert (two-parts!): I had a few bites of John's creme brulee (my favorite dessert) at the restaurant (unpictured), plus a piece of chocolate left on my pillow at the hotel.

I may not be commenting on your comments or emails right now, but I promise you I am reading them. I so appreciate them! I'm doing my best to conserve battery life on my phone during the day, and comments fail on my blogger app. I will respond soon, I promise!

Now, I crash. Must be rested for my last day at Disney. Wish my legs luck!

A Day in Disney...in Instagram

I'm going to keep this quick.  

We're having a blast, and are making the most of every second.

Thanks to Tropical Storm Debbie, Orlando weather is even more bipolar than Indiana. 
And humid. So very humid.

We were up for 22 hours yesterday.

My legs are mighty sore. Yowza.

I'm blogging from a very long line for the Jungle Cruise. Thanks, Blogger app!

More updates soon!

For now, a quick peak at our first day.

Unfortunately, pictures don't appear in chronological order - major pet peeve - but you get the gist. I'll try to add descriptions later. *Updated to add: descriptions!

Happy Tuesday, friends!

Waiting in line for Mission Space in Epcot
First shot at Disney; outside the monorail! Hair is still down at this point...
My "Goofy" hubby :)
Just minutes after our first picture my hair was up in a bun. Humidity and I don't mix well.
Soaking wet after running through Animal Kingdom, trying to make our bus... in the pouring rain.
PS: The bun didn't help the humidity hair mess. Cue side french braid,

Monday, June 25, 2012

And We're Off

Now to the good stuff...vacation!!

We're headed to Orlando for a few days, where we're staying at The Grand Floridian Resort & Spa on Walt Disney World! The plan is to have a day or two to ourselves, and then we have a special surprise in the works. It's John's dad's birthday Tuesday, and he is in Orlando with John's mom and sister. We're going to meet up with the family at Disney World and surprise John's dad, because he has no idea we'll be there. Fingers crossed we pull it off and go 2 for 2 in the surprise party department this summer.

Our hotel for two nights!

While we're at Disney we plan to use a new app that John found for my phone. It's called Disney World Wait Times, Dining and Maps by UnderCoverTourist.com (quite the mouthful!). It's a free app (with ads) that updates to show you the wait time for every ride in all four parks. We're hoping to use it to maximize our time. I'll be sure to let you know how it works out.
After spending two nights and three days at Disney World, the hubby and I will rent a car and drive to Sanibel Island Wednesday night. We made the drive last year, when we took a day excursion to Orlando. 

Not my fittest point. Good thing it's never too late to make a change!

Thursday we'll pick up our good friends Ally and Wes from the airport, and the four of us will enjoy a relaxing 4-night stay at John's grandparents' condo. We are so fortunate that they have a condo that they allow us to use, as well as a car they keep at the condo. We definitely would not be able to take this vacation if it weren't for their generosity. Thanks, Mimi and Papa!

The last time Ally and I were on a vacation together was when we went to Japan for spring break our senior year of college. We were part of a pioneer service-learning course, where we studied International Public relations, specifically those in Asian countries (China, India, Japan). We traveled to Tokyo and surrounding cities to meet with public relations executives, journalists and even the U.S. Ambassador. While this is not even close to being the same kind of trip, I'm so looking forward to making new memories of new travels.

While we're in Sanibel we hope to hit up lots of fun things on the island and possibly Ft. Myers. Ally and I are already planning an outlet mall trip - thanks to babysitting money! - and John and I will attend a dinner theater one evening, courtesy of Mimi and Papa. We even hope to see Swade, who will be in Captiva around the same time visiting a sorority sister of ours.

I'm not sure how much I'll be posting this week, but I'll be sure to have a few posts recapping our trip. If you read this long, and have any suggestions for places to go or things to do during our stay, please let me know. I'd love some fresh ideas! :)

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