A place to share a little about my crazy life filled with food, friends, faith and freedom.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Fruit of the Spirit.

"....Love Joy Peace Patience Kindness Goodness Faithfulness Gentleness and Self Control." Galatians 5:22. I'll take a little dose of each :)

Unexpected Gifts.

You know those tiny little gifts that an amazingly awesome person gives you in the exact moment you were needing a little pick up? Well that just happened to me, in the form of a delicious little cranberry upside down cake. My dear friend Leslie brought one in my classroom just for me. It was AHmazing. I am now ready to kick butt in this english essay I've been dreading. Thanks Les :)  I sure do have amazing friends.

Recipe to come, but for now- drool over this deliciousness.

Oh. My. Gosh. 

Lemon Parsley Shrimp Pasta

So Tuesday night, for my Dinner with Dad, Dad came home with a giant bundle of delicious organic parsley. I only needed two tablespoons. I should probably be a little more specific when I send Dad to the grocery next time, but hey! Know what that means? Lemon Parsley Shrimp Pasta! Woot. Thanks Daddy-O! I found this super simple recipe over at Kitchen Princess and adapted it just a tad. Including one pasta pot for wheat and one for white (Mom refuses to accept that whole wheat is just as good!) So we make it work. (Love you mom!) I definitely recommend this one, especially with a heaping spoon of fresh parsley on top. Mmhm.

Here ya go!

Lemon Parsley Shrimp Pasta

Total time: 25 minutes
Yield: About 5 medium servings


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined (I used Tiger shrimp)
  • 2 or 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • Juice from one lemon and/or 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pound box of pasta-I used angel hair but any kind will work
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese


1.) Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Cook pasta according to package directions.  Save about 1 cup of the pasta water when pasta is finished.  Drain pasta.
2.) While pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large saute pan.  Saute the garlic for about 2 minutes or until golden.  Add the shrimp and let them cook about 5 minutes or until pink and curled.
3.) Add the lemon zest, parsley and chives to the shrimp.  If using white wine, add it now. Saute all for a couple more minutes or until all the shrimp are cooked through.  Taste and add salt and pepper.   
4.) Combine shrimp sauce with pasta and add the fresh lemon juice. 
 Serve with (loads of) freshly grated cheese on top.  Enjoy!


Creds to Kitchen Princess

P.s Guess what else is going on in my loco casa!? After this delicious dinner we still had leftover parsley...so Momma pulled out some string and we tied the parsley up in the laundry room to dry it out. In about two weeks we will have our very own completely natural herbs. Woot. Dad thinks we are crazy. Parsley hanging over all the clean socks. I say, Nah. :) 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Dinner with Dad.

Mom had meetings at school all night tonight, so it was just Dad and me in the kitchen. You know what that means? Onions. Lots of onions. A rarity in our casa. How in the world could something so essential to culinary success be prohibited in our kitchen, you ask? Well, As I mentioned before, my mom, an ordained Home Ec teacher, is allergic to onions. Yes you heard me right. I lived in this culinary sin unknowingly for 16 years. And then I discovered the real world.  And because I just have to take advantage of every opportunity I can to smuggle those sacred vegetables in the kitchen...We had a dish smothered (well not quite- i just like that word) in onions. Mom will never know...except for the fact that she has a super nose and can spell them two hours after we finish dinner...oh we'll, it was worth it :) Check it out! - Tuna Tomato Pasta

Lets be honest, I am terribly messy in the kitchen. 

Tuna Tomato Pasta

Prep/cook: About 30 minutes
Yield: About 6 medium servings

  •  1 pound whole wheat rotini (spiral) pasta
  •  2 teaspoons olive oil
  •  8 ounces mushrooms, such as cremini, button, or shiitake, sliced
  •  3/4 cup red onion, diced (about 1 small)
  •  2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 4 cloves)
  •  1 (26-ounce) jar purchased tomato-based pasta sauce
  •  3 (5-ounces each) cans white albacore tuna, drained
  •  1/2 cup black olives, pitted and sliced
  •  2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
  •  1 teaspoon lemon zest
  •  1 teaspoon black pepper
  •  1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  •  1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes    
  •  2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley

So many onions. So many tears. 
  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook pasta as directed, just until it is al dente (about 8 minutes). When draining the pasta, reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large separate pot, heat olive oil over medium. Add mushrooms and onions, sautéing just until onions begin to soften, about 4 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook 1 additional minute.
  3. To the pot, add pasta sauce and tuna. With a fork, gently break the tuna into bite-sized chunks. Stir in the olives, capers, and lemon zest, then simmer for 5 minutes to combine the flavors.
  4. Add the black pepper, salt, and red pepper flakes. Stir in the reserved cup of pasta water, then add the pasta. Toss to coat. Stir in the fresh parsley and serve. Enjoy! 


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Death by 300's.

Hey y'all. Yesterday I experienced a terrible thing. A terrible thing called my first track workout of the season. A 300 meter sprint, 4 minute break. 100 meters, 15 minute break. Then two 200 meter sprints with a break in between. Only 4 sprints in total. Pretty darn easy, right? Thats what I thought as I approached the 300 mark. And then it began. I survived the first 300 okay, but I am telling you-for only 100 short meters, that next sprint was quite killer. And my oh my did I need every second of that 15 minute break I had just been laughing at, thinking that was way to long a break for a track runner. Shew. I will spare you the rest of the details of my out of shapeness. But hey, I survived. And I definitely enjoyed my slow recovery jog today. I hope y'all aren't dying (too much!) in your work outs! Keep on trucking! :)

Hello track season! 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Hello my dear friend garlic.

Happy Monday y'all! I have a good one for ya today. I came across this mouth-watering dish over at Pinch of Yum the other day and it called my name. (Eat me halle, eat me!) Rustic Garlic Pasta with Roasted Broccoli and Sautéed Mushrooms? Don't ask me twice. 

I made this up with Momma in about 30 minutes. Yum. The perfect way to disguise a few veggies? Add them to a bowl of buttery pasta goodness. Ill definitely be adding this to my dinner time staples.  

Rustic Garlic Penne with Roasted Broccoli and Sautéed Mushrooms

Prep time:  

Cook time:    
Yield: 4 servings 
  • 1 head broccoli, washed and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • ½ tablespoon dried Italian herbs
  • 8 ounces whole wheat penne or bow tie pasta
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, washed and sliced
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (2 cloves)
  • ½ tablespoon flour
  • sea salt
  • sharp, hard cheese for topping (like Parmesan)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss broccoli, oil, and herbs; scatter on a baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20-30 minutes, stirring every so often to avoid burning.
  2. Cook pasta according to directions. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add mushrooms and garlic and season with salt. Stir frequently until the mushrooms have a lightly browned outside and are soft, buttery and tasty (about 15-20 minutes).
  3. Stir in the flour with the butter and mushrooms if there is too much moisture. Add pasta and stir until well combined. Stir in roasted broccoli and top with cheese.

All creds to Pinch of Yum

Early Oats.

Hey y'all. So last night I felt pretty much on top of the world. Coming off from an amazing trip with my youth group to WINTER BLITZ (woot!), I set my alarm for 6 a.m this morning, ready to conquer the world in the form of steel cut oats. There is just something about the idea of waking up bright and early to make a special little breakfast and have some Jesus time. Then my alarm went off at 6:42 a.m. So I pulled out my old Quaker friend, and had a mighty fine bowl of regular oats. I guess ill just have to wait  another day to experience the hype of steel cut oats. But for now, drool over this hearty bowl of yummyness!

Oats + Banana + Cranberries + Honey +
Cinnamon + Honey + Milk = Happy Halle.  

Oh! And for once in my life I didn't have to go in early for Calculus soooo I had a little extra time to make some yummy vinaigrette dressing for my salad today!

I'm in second block right now so I haven't actually tried the dressing yet...but hey, it smells pretty good so here ya go!

Honey Balsamic Dressing: 

Yield: About 2/3 c.
Prep/Total time: 6 minutes

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. dijon-style mustard
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. salt 
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1.) In a small bowl whisk all ingredients to combine or put all ingredients in a jar and shake to combine. 

Use immediately or keep, covered and chilled, up to one week.
Printable Recipe Here!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Mom's Blue Ribbon Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Note to self- must post more regularly. I'm so sorry, but I just keep getting so distracted in my obsessing over other food blogs that I forget I'm attempting to make my own here! I just can't help taking a quick peak at Eat Live Run's Virtual Coffee Dates or One Lovely Life's  5 Fact Fridays....and now, yes I did it, I added another to obsess over- Joy the Baker. I watched her "about me" video and I fell in virtual love. My blog crushes might be becoming a problem...nah, not yet. So anyways! About the cookies! 

I found this cookie recipe in an old Guide Post Magazine when Momma and I were cleaning out her sewing room last week. Anything under the "Comfort Food" section is an automatic run to the kitchen recipe . Especially when it is 5 degrees out and you don't really want to clean out a cold sewing room any more (sorry mom!) Cookies are always the perfect escape :) So here they are! 

Mom's Blue Ribbon Chocolate Chip Cookies

(creds to Guidepost Magazine) 

Yield: About 3 dozen (dough freezes well) 

  • 3/4 c. White sugar
  • 3/4 c. Brown sugar 
  • 1/2 c. Butter
  • 1/2 c. Shortening
  • 3 eggs 
  • 1 tsp. Baking soda
  • 1 tsp. Salt 
  • 2 3/4 c. Flour 
  • 1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips 

1.) Preheat oven to 350. Cream sugars, butter, and shortening.
2.) Add eggs one at a time, stirring after each addition. 
3.) Add soda and salt. Sift in flour 
4.) Add in chocolate chips- beware of over mixing! 
7.) Place medium size blobs on baking sheet or stone 
8.) Bake for 8-12 minutes, until perfection. 


P.s If you would like to know the culinary masterpiece I'm working on right now ill give you a hint. It involves opening a frozen card board box with funky looking "bagel bites" enclosed, preheating the oven, and shoveling the "at least eight" bagel things the boy I'm babysitting requested me make...I won't mention that a few of them hit the floor...anyways! Have a great day y'all! 

Printable Recipe Here!
Insert in tummy now. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

My sista from anotha (Country) is back!

Angela, the incredible Spanish extraordinaire my, also extraordinaire, cousin Chris married, is back from her month long trip to Spain. Chris joined her for a couple weeks over in Spain, as well, and they just came back home to KY tonight! They are upstairs eating Momma's to DIE for crock pot Chicken Tortilla Soup. So I gotta go chat it up with my sista and the fam! Soup recipe to come. But for now please drool over this heaven in a bowl.

Yes, Please. 

A little Ketchup.

Catch up. Do ya get it? I'm so funny. Okay anyways! So last friday night Momma, Daddy-O and I had a yummy dinner of rosemary seasoned pork and Yukon potatoes with garlic roasted green beans. Mmmhm. It was a good one. Then Dad and I watched The Hunger Games! Woot! I cried. Again. I mean how can you not?! Little Rue...oh no here it comes again. It really was quite a great night-tears included! Bonding with the fam on a Friday night. I'm living the teenage dream here y'all. But for real-I really loved cooking and spending time with them :)
Oh hey, did I mention my Momma is allergic to onions?
I have lived 17 years without onions in my food. I know it's basically a cooking sin,
but now that I am in the kitchen-watch out Momma! :)

Here ya go:

Rosemary Seasoned Pork and Dijon Yukon Potatoes

Prep Time: 20 min.
Total Time: 1 hr. 5 min.
Yield: 4 servings

  • 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary leaves, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic-pepper blend
  • 1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 3 Yukon potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 4 cups)
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into 1/2-inch wide wedges
  • 4 bone-in loin pork chops, 1/2 inch thick (I used 2 bone in and 2 boneless)

1.) Heat oven to 425 degrees. Spray 15x10x1 inch pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl, mix mustard, oil, rosemary, garlic-pepper blend, seasoned salt, and paprika. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the mustard mixture.
2.) Add potatoes and onion to remaining mustard mixture in bowl; toss to coat. Place vegetables in pan.
3.) Roast vegetables uncovered for 25 minutes. Turn and stir potato mixture. Brush pork chops with reserved 2 tablespoons mustard mixture. Add pork chops to corners of pan.
4.) Roast uncovered 15 to 20 minutes longer or until pork is no longer pink inside and veggies are tender.


Printable Recipe Here!

Adapted from bettycrocker.com


Garlic Roasted Green Beans:

I just took a bundle of green beans with the ends chopped off and added 1 tbsp. olive oil and 1 garlic clove. Add a pinch of salt and throw them in the oven at 425 for about 10 or 15 minutes.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Creamy White Chicken Chili + Snow + Family = :)

Ok, if you haven't added the recipe book "Taste of Home: Best LOVED Recipes" to your collection... Go buy it right now. It is the perfect combination of classic recipes with a little flare. Plus there are tons of mouthwatering pictures. Like these Cappuccino Muffins that want to be in my tummy right now. Mmmhm. So far Momma and I are 3 for 3 out of this delicious book, and I am drooling over the 1,482 other recipes calling my name. Tonight's success- Creamy White Chicken Chili. It was a wow. Not healthy, but a wow. So, if it is snowing outside your window and you need a little warming up I suggest you whip up some of this Taste of Home goodness. It just makes you feel good inside :)

Here ya go!

Creamy White Chicken Chili 

Prep: 15 min.
Cook: 40 min.
Yield: 7 1/2 c. Servings

  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, shredded
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. canola oil
  • 2 cans (14 1/2 oz. each) great northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (14 1/2 oz. each) low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cans (4 oz. each) green chilies
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (I honestly forgot the cayenne and it still tasted great!)
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • Monterrey Jack Cheese for topping

1.) In a large saucepan, saute the chicken, onion, and garlic powder in oil until the chicken is no longer pink.

2.) Add beans, broth, chilies, and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.
3.)  Remove from heat; stir in heavy cream. Sprinkle some Monterey Jack on top.


Printable Recipe Here!

Creds to Taste of Home: Best LOVED Recipes

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Fro Yo fo days.

Turquoise Blue Cuisinart Ice Cream Freezer.
Thank you Momma!
Did I tell you I made frozen yogurt the other day with my NEW ICE CREAM MAKER (I'm still really hyped. Can you tell?). A little piece of frozen strawberry heaven. Yumm. 

 Here ya go!


Lowfat Strawberry Frozen Yogurt 

(adapted from Cuisinart recipe pamphlet) 

Prep time: 15 min
2-4 Hours for Straining 
Total Time: 2-4 hrs + 15 min + Overnight Freezing Yield: Ten 1/2-cup Servings

  • 4 cups low fat plain yogurt (I used greek), strained through a cheese cloth (I used a coffee filter) for 2-4 hours
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • Pinch Salt
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp. light corn syrup 
  • 1 pound frozen strawberries
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. honey
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice 

1.) In a large bowl, whisk strained yogurt with sugar, salt, vanilla, and corn syrup; reserve

2.) In a medium saucepan, heat berries, honey, and lemon juice on low for about 10 minutes, or until just softened. Strain, discarding liquid, and cool. Once the berries are cooled, stir into the yogurt/sugar mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours or overnight. 

3.) Turn on 1 1/2 qt. ice cream maker; pour the mixture into the frozen freezer bowl and let mix until thickened, about 15 to 20 minutes. The frozen yogurt will have a soft, creamy texture. If a firmer consistency is desired, transfer the frozen yogurt to an airtight container and place in freezer for about 2 hours. Remove from freezer about 15 minutes before serving. 


Printable Recipe Here!

Monday, January 7, 2013


Passion, how I miss you. 
I haven't stopped by in quite a while. There is one reason for that. And it's a good one. PASSION CONFERENCE 2013. 65,000 High School Seniors and College students. Taking on Atlanta, GA. Jesus on steroids. The craziest thing I have ever done in my life. Oh God is so good. 

Oh yeah, and did you know there are 27 million slaves in the world right now? Men, Women, and Children sold into labor, trade, and sex trafficking. All across the globe-including right here in America. (Atlanta is in the top ten of highest trafficked cities.) This is insanity. We are talking about modern day, civilized society. All of this is horrific and hidden. These 27 million voices have gone unheard for far too long. WE can do something about it. Simply tell people it exists. Tweet it, Instagram it, Facebook it. #enditmovement. Lets shine a light on slavery, friends! 

Are you in it to end it?