Wednesday, May 29, 2013

white chocolate raspberry fudge

white-chocolate-raspberry-fudge

This is fudge that melts in your mouth, and is the perfect combination of sweet and fruity!

Ingredients:
3 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter (1.5 sticks)
5.5 ounce can evaporated milk
12 ounces white chocolate chips
7 ounces marshmallow cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup raspberry preserves
(I find it necessary to have a candy thermometer.)

Cut the white chocolate chip bag open. Have the marshmallow cream, vanilla extract, and raspberry preserves measured and ready-to-go before you start.

Directions:
Melt the butter over low heat in a saucepan. Then stir in the sugar and evaporated milk.

Turn the burner on high, and continue mixing these three ingredients until the thermometer reaches 236-240 degrees. Photo below is what the bubbly mixture will look like at this point.

This part all happens really fast—having a helper would be a good idea. Quickly turn off the heat and move the pan off of the burner. Stir in the white chocolate until melted. Then stir in the marshmallow cream until it is blended. Add the teaspoon of vanilla. And lastly, swirl in the raspberry preserves. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 inch pan.

Cool at room temperature and cut into squares. It might help to store in the refrigerator for easier cutting.


And share the three pounds of sweetness with your friends!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

“The Bachelorette”: Stephen’s top 10 list

bachelorette-desiree

Rachel: I am so glad that the Bachelorette has returned for a new season! I think Desiree is stunning, and I can’t wait for her to find a lasting love (hopefully)! She welcomed 25 new guys (and one 4-year-old) on the show last night, and as usual, they are half good, half bad. My Stephen is often coerced into watching with me.

These are Stephen’s TOP 10 THINGS THE GUYS SHOULDN’T HAVE DONE:

10. Mention how Desiree was a contestant last season.

I’m sure the last thing Desiree wants to talk about is how Sean let her go, how her brother lost her the rose that night, or how watching last season makes the new contestants feel like they know her. This is the here-and-now boys.

9. Assume Desiree’s penny from last season is still in the mansion fountain.

Granted, this one turned out okay. I felt a little tense when he kept looking for the penny though. I don’t like being nervous for the guys during the intros.

8. NOT give Desiree some homework when meeting her.

This is a double negative: I want to applaud Will from Chicago and his nickname-giving. He told Desiree that she would have to come up with a nickname for him later on in the night. This ensures she will think about him after he leaves. (Also calling her Athena is a multi-layered compliment of the classic variety.)

7. Think shock value equals creativity.

Not wearing a shirt? Not creative. Go on “Bachelor Pad” if you want to show-boat like that.

Wearing a suit of armor? Sweet thought, but it pigeon-holed you. As the guy who wore a suit of armor.

Magic tricks? This isn’t my seventh birthday party. But the napkin rose into a real rose was awesome. As was the disappearing-Desiree trick. Carpe Diem.

6. Be TOO creative.

Guys who dressed down to show their normalcy, or dressed up in a tux with Doc Martens to show they’re serious but ready to party, or faked a proposal just to tie their shoes—all made good impressions with their creative choices. They got roses.

Guy who went too far: The “make my own, mismatched, yet memorable suit jacket.” I liked it. I remember him. His name was Micah. I think. He tied it in well with her creativity from last season. But he didn’t get a rose. Or any air-time after his initial introduction.

5.5: Not be creative at all.

This is a shout out to all the guys who said “Hi, you look pretty. Can’t wait to talk to you inside.” I forgot who you are before you even got in the house. Happens at least . . . three times each season.

5. Equate your desire to come court the Bachelorette with deciding whether or not to kick or receive at a football game. A coin toss? Really?! Red Flag. 

4. Say you’re best friends with your kid’s mom, but imply that even that wasn’t a good enough reason to get married. (Even though I’m sure you’ll say you want to marry your best friend somewhere along the line.) Red Flag.

3. Say “For the right reasons”

I have serious problems with “Bachelor/Bachelorette” buzzwords or phrases. “For the right reasons” is right up there near the top. I only had 55 minutes this season before I heard it.

2. Keep trying to use the “Fantasy Suite” approach long after it didn’t work the first time.

It was pretty obvious Desiree didn’t like the whole “Fantasy Suite on the first night” idea. Granted, as an idea, it wasn’t that bad—but the delivery and intent behind it was horrible. If it was a joke, it could’ve been awesome: take something from the show, put it out of context, and create a new, clever opportunity for conversation. However, it’s obvious Jonathan had other things in mind.

1. Make the Bachelorette console YOU and your feelings . . . on the first day.

Larry, the ER doctor: the poor, heartfelt, yet ultimately doomed ER doctor, didn’t have a chance after his dance moves failed. He could have—it wasn’t insurmountable. However, he never got past it. I feel for Larry. His low point came when Desiree had to make him feel better about it. This is a “Bachelor” staple: “I don’t know how he/she feels about me, I’m so confused about your feelings, reassure me about your feelings for me” —but it usually comes in week five. You have to be upbeat during the first night, no matter what.

 

I (Rachel) can’t wait to see where this season goes! My favorite guys from episode 1 are: Robert, Ben, and Drew. Good luck, Desiree!!

Monday, May 27, 2013

my wild boy and Idlewild | non-stagrams


No one makes him smile like his daddy does!


A rare photo with all three of us in it.


He loves playing with his Color Wonder markers, but we have a hard time finding the caps again!


Standing inside the ottoman (again with a Color Wonder marker).


Just playing around at Lowe’s :)


Endless entertainment.


First cherries of the season!!


This was the first time he asked to take a book on a walk with us.


After an hour-long car ride, I was helping him out of his car seat, and he climbed into the driver’s seat and grabbed the wheel.


Spinning the Merry-Go-Round at the park for his new friend, Parker.


Strawberry cheesecake and chocolate chunk frozen custard… yumm!


My puppy love.


I happened to see this photo at church yesterday for Memorial Day… it’s Ray (in uniform) from the story I told the other day.


He loves the new free piano app we downloaded :)


Cheesin.


We made some chocolate chip cookies to surprise Daddy.


Trip to Idlewild amusement park! 85 degrees!


Nolan loved this “Jungle Catch”. The balls were suspended by a constant stream of air.


The pavilion that we had lunch in with MOPS friends.


My friend Briana and me.


We tried putting Nolan on this ride. Briana’s son is behind him. Once the cars started moving, Nolan screamed and cried so much that we asked them to stop the ride. Maybe next year!


He woke up screaming after he had already gone to bed for the night. I wondered if he had nightmares about the cars, haha. Then he fell asleep on me, which hasn’t happened in months and months.


A stop at Target. We bought him a pail and a shovel to play with outside.


Olive Garden!


A fun Friday night out :)

Sunday, May 26, 2013

frozen grasshopper dessert

frozen-grasshopper-dessert

This dessert is perfect for a hot day. It is a minty mix of cream cheese, marshmallow cream, and whipped cream with a crunchy Oreo crust!

Ingredients:
1 cup chocolate cookie crumbs (about half a package of Oreos, without the cream, crushed)
2 Tablespoons sugar
3 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 package cream cheese (8 ounces) cubed and softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon peppermint extract (or mint extract)
3 Tablespoons milk
1 1/8 cup marshmallow cream (5.25 ounces from a 7 ounce jar)
¾ cup whipping cream

Directions:

Line an 8x8 inch pan with foil, folding the edges over the sides of the pan. Spray with cooking spray. In a bowl, mix cookie crumbs, sugar, and butter. Press evenly into the pan.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, vanilla extract, mint extract, and milk with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Next, add marshmallow cream, and beat until well-mixed. Refrigerate for 45 minutes.

In a chilled, large bowl, beat whipping cream with the mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese/marshmallow mixture until blended. Add a few drops of green food coloring if you want the dessert to be green instead of white. Pour over the crust. Freeze at least four hours before serving.

Remove from the pan, lifting up the foil to help. Let it sit for a few minutes in room temperature before cutting.

Optional: garnish with a dollop of whipped cream or mint candies.

Keep remaining dessert tightly-covered in the freezer.

Friday, May 24, 2013

meet Marissa, and her summer staples!

I’m so excited to be posting today on Floral and Fudge! I’m Marissa from Our Little Family Blog. First, here is a brief bio about me…I am currently taking a break from teaching middle school science to take care of my four month old baby girl, Quinn. (See more about us here!) Since moving down south, it is not unusual for our northern friends and family to be staying with us on any given day, and we get to enjoy running around in flip flops all year long! If I were to categorize my blog, I would say that it is a “lifestyle blog.” I began blogging three years ago after I got married as a way to stay connected to friends and family. Now, it has gradually grown into one of my biggest hobbies! I mostly blog about our growing baby, baking, nesting, travelling, and everything else in between!

I love Rachel’s “Pin-spired” posts, and thought I would share some of my favorite styles for this summer!

Since I am running around the house and doing errands most days, I have found bright shorts to be an easy, comfortable, and fashionable staple in my wardrobe. Pair these up with a cute jean jacket and sandals, and all of sudden you have an easy outfit for when you are rushing out the door!

Now for the baby…I am obsessed with Baby Gap, particularly the rompers for girls. They make for a super easy outfit and look adorable! For little boys (I had my nephews in mind), I love anything with stripes. You can’t go wrong!

Thanks for letting me share with you today. Check back next week for more on our latest travels and five fact friday! Don’t forget to leave a comment and follow my blog! You can find me on Pinterest too!

Thanks for having me on Floral and Fudge today, Rachel!

~Marissa @ Our Little Family Blog

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

when Stephen met Rachel

I met Stephen seven years ago on May 21, 2006.


photo from our honeymoon

In January 2006, during my Christmas break from college, I helped my mom and stepdad move from Nebraska to Pennsylvania. We unpacked our boxes, got settled, and then I flew back to Chicago for the second semester of classes. In  May, I returned to Pennsylvania for a month before I went to work as a camp counselor for the summer.

I had heard Steve’s name, and I caught wind of how he was well-liked at our new church. A friend showed me a photo of him from high school, so I had a general idea of what he looked like. (He was cute!). I met his mom and two of his brothers a few times. But Steve was away at college, and May 21st was the first time that our paths collided.

It was a Sunday morning, and my mom and I were sitting together in church. From the left side of the congregation, Steve approached the microphone up front. He brought out his guitar, and began singing “In Christ Alone”. Between the powerful lyrics of the song, and his incredible singing voice, I wiped away a couple tears from my eyes. He was so handsome, and I felt an immediate stirring in my heart.

When church was over, I was walking past him to leave the room, and we managed a “hey” and a “hi”. :)

Later that night, we came back to church for a special “Spring Sing” (think church talent show). Steve was the M.C., and he was really witty on the microphone, introducing the kids and adults for their music performances. At one point, I remember distinctly that an older woman in the church, Doris, (a true saint of the church) told the story of how she met her husband, Ray.

Doris was sixteen years-old, and she was a soloist at her church in Michigan. As she was up on the stage singing, she noticed a man in army uniform walk in late. She said that she almost stopped singing. They continued making eye contact through her song. And when she sat down with her mother in the pew, she whispered, “My husband just walked in the door.” Doris and Ray were married for 62 years before he passed away. I looked across the room to Steve.  Somehow I felt the same scenario had just happened to me.

After the show, everyone went downstairs to the fellowship hall for dessert. I sat down with my mom, my friend Meghan, and Meghan’s mom. And a surprise to me, Steve sat down right across the table from me. He was definitely extroverted and enthusiastic. He introduced himself, and he learned a little bit about me. And what sticks out the most from that first conversation—he drew me a map on the paper tablecloth. Since I was new in town, he wanted to show me all of the hot spots. I’m sure I had the biggest smile on my face. He told me the best place to eat in town was Sheetz (gas station/convenience store), and he even proceeded to tell me the best way to make a slushie there. I was floored by his kindness, his energy, and his green eyes.

Steve and I saw each other at church a couple more times that month, and we had a memorable game of frisbee golf on Memorial Day. I left for camp in mid-June. He worked at the same camp in previous summers, but chose not to counsel there in the summer of 2006. He however did volunteer at camp for 2 weeks—one week in June, and one in July. I continued to have the biggest crush of my life. Camp is a story for another day. 2006 did not end up being our summer. The spark had been lit, but we would wait until July 2007 for a relationship to begin :)

Monday, May 20, 2013

a walk around campus | non-stagrams

After Steve finished his final papers on Thursday, the three of us took a walk around his campus.


Nolan was so excited to have the freedom to roam!


He was pointing upwards, saying “Tree! Tree!”


Stopping in front of the English building where Steve had all of his classes.


Happy boy.


The sun was bright as it was going down.


Waving and yelling “Bye” at Mommy and Daddy (who weren’t leaving).




Hanging out on the steps.


He LOVES rocks and wanted to stay here and play.


Giving Mommy some rocks.


He got so tired of walking that he asked to be picked up on the way to the car (never happens).


He slept really well that night!

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