Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I'm Now a Working Woman

Sorry I haven't been posting within the last week! It's been really crazy because my schedule just changed completely!

I finally got myself a job! I now work a full-time position at Fort Hood National Bank in the Loan Department. I work Monday thru Friday 830-530. I love my new job because I get to work hands on with customers, but I also love that I have tons of free-time! I have a very free schedule, when we don't have a loan to work on we can get online or read a book, or work on other things.  This free schedule is amazing because it allows me to not feel like i'm stuck or that I loose all of my day. 

So I am still trying to figure out my schedule, so the blogs may be a little separated for a little while, but i'm working on figuring out how to work everything into my schedule!  I'm sure it will all work itself out, but just stay patient with me while I experience all these changes.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Dreams of Many Travels

Kendall and I have dreamed of travelling for some time now.  Tonight we are spending the evening looking at pictures and trying to plan a trip for when he gets out of the Army. We are both complete dreamers (which can get us in trouble sometimes) but we love to talk about where we want to go and what we want to do with our lives.

Sometimes we dream of living in other countries or going backpacking around the world.  Other times they are more simple, like simply taking a trip to a country in Europe or Asia.  Our dreams will take us to places that we've never heard of or to places we think would be ideal to live in.  They can also sometimes get us in trouble, because we will spend so much time planning out this "perfect" trip or life, and then we are disappointed when we discover it isn't really feasible like we wanted it.

However, it's still so important for us to dream like this! It helps pass time while in the military. It also gives us hope and passion towards a free, simple life.  Here are some of our recent dreams in pictures.  I hope you enjoy it.

These are only a small portion of our many dreams, but I can't wait til we can finally make these dreams a reality! We are going to begin saving as much as we can so that we can really afford some of these places

What are some places you have dreamt of visiting? 


Friday, December 9, 2011

Quite Simple Pasta Salad

Recently, I decided I wanted to try to make some pasta salad from scratch!  Kendall and I love pasta salad and I know that whenever we have it in the house it will definitely be eaten quickly!! We will eat it with meals and as a snack! I didn't realize how easy it is to make though!

Pasta Salad

First gather the ingredients that you want in your pasta salad.  Here is what I used:

Colored Rotini pasta
yellow and orange peppers
Purple onion
parmesan cheese
Red Wine vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar
Olive Oil

Step 1: Cook the pasta as directed.
Step 2: Cut up the vegetables and herbs to the size you want them.
Step 3: Drain the pasta and rinse with cold water
Step 4: Add 1-2 Tablespoons of Vinegar
Step 5: Add Olive oil and parmesan cheese to consistency you like
Step 6: Refrigerate or serve immediately! (I like to refrigerate it cause it's really good cold!) 

Enjoy!  We love to have pasta salad whenever we can, and now that I know it's so easy to make I will definitely be making it more often!! Now, I just want to try to make the pasta from scratch :) 

What are some of your favorite side dishes?  

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Links I'm Loving Right Now!

Today's post isn't going to be quite as long as usual, today has been a bit of a weird day for me.  Kendall worked a 24 hours shift yesterday and then had all day off today.  So it's been a bit of a lazy day for us! However, I wanted to share some of the really cool websites I have come along while surfing the internet!

These are a few of my favorite things... 

1. I absolutely love the crafts over at Sweet Verbena. She always posts some really creative sewing tutorials!

2. I know i've already done a post about it, but Pinterest is still one of my favorite websites! I find so many creative things to do for the home and fantastic recipes!!

3. The sixty-one is an amazing place to find some new music that you may not have heard before!

4. If you're looking for any amazing recipes (besides the ones I post, of course!) :) You should check out Food Gawker!

5. TED Talks are a series of talk from inspiring and incredibly smart people from all over the world. The talks range to about anything you would be interested in and they can be 4 minutes or 20 minutes, depending on the talk.  LOVE this website! So inspiring!

I hope you all check out some of my recent favorite websites and let me know what you think!!

What are some of your favorite websites? I'd love to check them out! 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas...

Christmas is here! I absolutely love this time of year, the snow, the freezing cold, Chicago... OH WAIT! I'm in Texas now.  I do still love this time of year, but it's definitely different this year. It is quite cold here, around the high 30s the past few days (Yes, I know it's much colder in the north right now!). However, I still have so many things that make this holiday really special!

For starters, it means my birthday is here!! This year, I'll be turning 21, which means..... I can finally cook with wine!!! (Yes, I turn 21 and that is what I am MOST excited about!). I also love all the Christmas lights and the Christmas cooking! All of those things I can have no matter where we are!

This year is our first year to actually have a home to decorate.  This is really exciting, but I am realizing how little we have.  I will definitely be stocking up for next year... AFTER Christmas! Here is a little window into Christmas at the Gilliam's this year.

This Cinnamon Roll Cake was absolutely amazing!! Check out the recipe over at Cookin Up North. Definitely Worth it!! 

Doesn't that just look absolutely delicious???  

Kendall wasn't the most excited about decorating for Christmas, initially... This was his reaction!  

Last year, I decorated an ornament for our family, but this guy was too cute! I just had to keep him for ourselves!!! 

I absolutely love Christmas decorations!! 

My parents gave me a nativity set a few years ago :) This is the first time I got to set it up! 

Playing with Bokeh :) 

And the stockings were hung by the Chimney with care... 

My recent project! 

Homemade snowflakes!  

Playing with the reflection :) 

Last year, I became an aunt!! What a great gift for that year! 

What are some traditions for Christmas in your house?


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Easy homemade Macaroni and Cheese

I am always on Pinterest looking for new recipes, crafts, decoration ideas, etc...  Each week, before I go grocery shopping, I will go into my dinner pin board and see what I want to make that specific week.  When I saw this recipe for homemade Macaroni and Cheese, I knew I HAD to try it! The recipe I followed was posted on Revolutionary Mac & Cheesecake's blog (however, I believe she got it somewhere else).

I am always looking for new ways to make staple foods completely from scratch! This was definitely a great find.  Although, I will tell you right now, if you want it to taste like that lovely box, you will be wildly disappointed.  However, this is a FANTASTIC dinner substitute.  It's very filling!

OH! and did I mention this is a very easy recipe!

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese 

2 cups of shell pasta 
2 cups of milk (2% or whole) 
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese 
1 spoonful of dijon mustard (If you want) 

Step 1: Take 2 cups of shell pasta and cover it with 2 cups of high fat milk.  (I used Whole milk, but you can also use 2% milk.) 
NOTE: Make sure that you stir frequently as it gets hotter, you don't want the milk to burn. 

Step 2: You will know milk and pasta are ready when it becomes very creamy (See above: this takes about 20 mintues) 

Step 3: Put 1 cup of freshly shredded cheddar cheese and cover

Step 4: Mix thoroughly once melted. You can also add about a small spoonful of dijon mustard if you want. Although I don't feel it's absolutely necessary.

Step 5: Serve immediately! (If this sits for too long the cheese won't be nice and creamy.) 
And as always, Enjoy! We enjoyed this meal alongside some Amazing homemade buttermilk biscuits

What are some of your favorite foods with Macaroni and Cheese? 


Monday, December 5, 2011

Buttermilk Biscuits

A few weeks ago I really wanted to make some true buttermilk biscuits.  Not just the ones from a package or box, but some that tasted as good, if not better, than the restaurants! So I began my search for a recipe.  I watched probably 10 videos and read the same number of blogs. Then I combined everything I learned about how to make them and created my own recipe and they turned out incredibly! They have become a staple in our house!

Warning: This recipe require you to get a little messy. So take off your rings, put on an apron, and let's get to business!

Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits

Gather these ingredients:
flour (you'll need a lot of it, so bring the whole bag/container) 
baking powder 
1/2 stick of crisco 
1 stick of butter 
about 1 cup of buttermilk (you can make this by measuring out 1 cup of milk and adding about a tablespoon of vinegar) 
Clean hands

Step 1: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Take a big bowl and combine 2 cups of flour with about 3 palms full of baking powder (about 3-4Tablespoons)

Step 2: add salt to taste: If you want to not taste the salt; about 1-2 pinches. If you want them to be a little salty, 3-4 pinches.

Step 3: Mix dry ingredients thoroughly as you want to everything to be mixed evenly. I use my hands for this, you can also use a spoon if you want to...but your hand WILL get messy! So you might as well get over it now. :)

Step 4: Add the butter to the dry mixture. Take your hands you want to combine the butter and the flour.  You want it to get to the point where there are no chunks of butter left. If will look something like dry cottage cheese (see picture below).  You can tell it's ready when you can squeeze it into a ball, but then completely crumble it.

Note: mine weren't quite "crumbly" enough, so I chose to add a little more flour to it. 

 Step 5: Create/Take your buttermilk.  I made a little more than a cup.  Add the milk to the flour and butter mixture 1/2 cup at a time. (If it's too dry, add more milk. If it's too liquidy and sticky add more flour) This is where having lots of flour can come in handy as it's easy to put in too much milk. (If you have to put in more than a cup of flour you may want to add in a bit of baking powder so that it rises correctly) 

Step 6: kneed it by hand until it no longer sticks to your fingers (you may need to wash your hands in the middle if there is too much stuck to your fingers). You want to kneed it until it is smooth.

Step 7: break off balls of dough the size of biscuits you want.

Note: They will expand, so don't make them too big

Step 8: Put them on the baking stone or cookie sheet and stick in the oven.  They will cook for anywhere from 15-30 minutes depending on the size.  Make sure you check them frequently.  You can tell they are done when the tops are golden brown and they aren't too gooey on the inside.  Bake to your liking :)

Step 9: Let them cool a few minutes and then ENJOY! We tend to make more than enough and then put them in a baggie in the fridge.  They will keep for at least a week (although ours NEVER make it that long!) 

What do you usually serve biscuits with?  

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