Tuesday, December 28, 2010

It's about time...

Ok, I know, I'm sorry, I haven't updated my blog in....FOREVER!  We had final exams just before Christmas break, so I was busy studying my life away!  Sometimes I cannot wait to be out of school, I love the socializing and I do enjoy learning interesting information, but we all know everything is good in moderation.  Aka: cramming 48 hours studying for 2 exams...not exactly the smartest decision.

Anyway, since I've been home for break, it has been a whirlwind of attending different family Christmases and now we're currently in Iowa Falls visiting my grandpa :) What I've realized is that as each year comes and goes, the way I feel about Christmas changes just a little bit more.  When I was younger, I anticipated Christmas for like.....364 days.  I couldn't even sleep the night before and I would always try to sneak downstairs to "catch" Santa delivering my presents.  And as the years passed, I would still look forward to Christmas day, but the anticipation has definitely changed.  The in between stage, when you aren't the same little kid you used to be and you don't have kids of your own...is kind of...different.  I guess that's just how I feel.

Anyway, I've been baking up a storm in the kitchen with my mama!  I also baked a lot of goodies (banana bread, cake balls, chocolate covered pretzels, cranberry orange bread, tea rings, pancakes, granola...the list goes on and on and so do the calories ;) it's ok, it's Christmas!  I love making homemade gifts for friends and family because it's a great way to show your appreciation by dedicating your time and effort (in comparison to spending lots of money) and I think people appreciate it too.  I'll post the recipes and some of the pictures that I've made soon!

On another note, my wonderful, AMAZING, soon to be sister-in-law, Nicholle, threw an absolutely awesome engagement party for Bobby and me!  My mom and Bobby's mom were also a huge help and made tons of appetizers and desserts along with Nicholle.  We had the party at Nicholle's parent's brewery in Decorah, which I definitely suggest you all check out if you happen to be in the area!  The beers are so delicious and they have many different kinds. 
Here's the link: http://www.tgbrews.com/site/

Nicholle (pictured on the far left) has been such a great help with all the wedding planning (which I do from time to time...or not so much ;) but I am going to get better, I promise!  I am SO excited to be her sister!  She already has one sister, Natasha, who is also in the wedding.  Tash was just married last spring and lives in AZ!  Bobby and I visited her and Josh (her husband) a couple years ago and we loved it!  I wish she lived closer so we could all spend time together :) and I definitely miss her (and the Arizona weather)!  So I definitely have lots of help from family and friends!

Here's a picture of my two brothers (on both sides of me) and their friends at the engagement party.  :)

And in the picture above, my mom is on the far left, and then my "second moms" are on the same side.  My close friends from high school (who are also in the wedding), are on the right! 
Here's me with a tea ring I made for breakfast :) Delicious!
Here's the recipe


  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/4 cups bread flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 tablespoon milk


  1. In a bread machine, put milk, egg, butter, sugar, salt, bread flour, and yeast in the order suggested by the manufacturer. Select the Dough cycle. Start. Butter 2 cookie sheets; set aside.
  2. Divide dough in half. Roll each piece out into rectangles, about 12x16 inches. Spread each dough rectangle with 1 tablespoon softened butter. In a small bowl, combine 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 3/4 cup light brown sugar, and 1/2 cup raisins. Sprinkle mixture onto rectangles. Roll them up jelly-roll fashion, along long side. Pinch edges to seal. Stretch and twist into rings. Place them onto prepared cookie sheets with sealed edges down. Pinch ends together to form a ring. Using clean scissors, cut 2/3 way of the way through the loaf at about 1 inch intervals. Spread each cut slightly. Cover with a clean towel and let loaves rise until double. At this time, you may cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until later.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  4. Bake for 20 minutes. The loaf will be light brown on top and the filling will be oozing and bubbling through. Repeat for second ring.
  5. In a small mixing bowl, combine confectioners sugar, almond extract, and milk. Drizzle icing over warm bread.

So we've received a TON of snow here....check it out!

One of the roads I love running, covered with SNOW! So beautiful.

 My dog, who constantly begs for scraps while I bake...
The other one enjoys protecting the house from squirrels ;)

I'll post the other recipes soon! :)


Thursday, December 2, 2010

When Hardwork Pays Off...

Happy Thursday Everyone!
I don't know how the weather is where you are, but today's not too terrible here!  It's a chilly 30 degrees, but without the blistery wind, it feels much warmer!  Yesterday I went for a little jog out and about and let me tell you...NOT PLEASANT.  Do you ever have moments where you're outside whether it's working on your lawn, running errands, etc. and it's crazy windy and COLD?!  It just makes me downright angry.  Not to sound like the grinch or anything, because I do love this time of year, but not necessarily the weather.  Pretty snowflakes falling from the sky...yes, sleet and 0 degree weather...no thank you.

Ok, enough about the weather.  I mean, who really cares.... And why do we (aka: our country in particular) talk about it so much?  I found this little entry on Urban Dictionary (a dictionary devoted to made up/slang terms that anyone can edit) and had to laugh a little, because it is SO TRUE!

"when ones conversation with another is not specifically about the weather, but only regards dry less meaningful topics such as "what are you up to tomorrow?" or "how has your day been?", reaching no higher significant peaks"
Do you agree?!  :)  Sorry if you happen to be a meteorologist or weather channel fanatic.  Forgive me.

Moving on, (can you sense I already am getting off task?!)
So I mentioned in the first post that I run cross country and track at a private college.  We just finished up the cross country season here in the Midwest.  Our team (both men and women) qualified for the Division III national meet.  Now, a lot of people don't comprehend what the word national (in this specific context) entails.  Let me tell you folks, it's a pretty big deal.  Only 32 teams in the entire division III nation can qualify.  And we did it!  :) We ran against teams that flew from Vermont, New York, California...(get my point?!) and guess what?  WE PLACED 6TH! Woo Hooo!! Our team did outstanding!  You can see results here if you choose to be a running geek like me ;) 
and here's a little summary from our college sports website: 
"Today's sixth place finish is Luther's highest finish at the national finale since 2000 when it placed third. It also tied the second highest finish in school history. In 1983, Luther made its first appearance at the national championships, and that year also finished sixth. This year, the Norse were making their 11th appearance at the national meet and fourth in the past five years."

Ok. Just had to share a little excitement!  But it was amazing not only because all of our hard work and dedication throughout the summer and season paid off, but also because of our amazing fans.  We had so many friends, family, teammates, alumni, etc.  A 6k race in 30 degree weather with tough competition is quite  a mental and physical challenge.  Without my family, friends, teammates and alumni there, it would've made it pretty dang painful!

Now, I promise, I won't blog about running for awhile.  We'll be in the off season until indoor track season starts (in February).  Unless of course, it's negative degree weather ;)

I also told you, in my first post, that I'm getting married in July.  Now that wedding planning is underway, my fiancee (man that sounds weird!), and I took some engagement pics in October.  Our photographer is so fun and creative!  We loved spending time with her and I suggest you check out her website: aunypolephotography.com.  She's a blast and super laid back!  I'll give you a quick preview of some of pictures she took.  Speaking of planning weddings, I never knew how complicated a guest list could be.  Seriously.  No one warned me!  So my future hubby and I are currently compiling pretty much every person we've ever been close with, not to mention our parents friends, etc.  The list goes on and on and ON!

On another note, I've been baking and cooking like a madwoman lately!  My little bro and I had our team out last night for some snacks and to finish up Toy Story 3!  What a great animated movie!  I never guessed I'd be into animated movies as a 21 year old, but I loved it.  Another great animated movie I suggest you watch is Up.  And I'm not bias to the movie just because the old woman's name is Ellie.  Although that's pretty sweeeeeeet. :)
I threw together some spinach-artichoke dip, um to DIE for!  Not only did I substitute all the ingredients for lower fat ingredients, but I also added leeks!  I know you're probably thinking, YUCK!  Who would add leeks to spinach-artichoke dip?!  But let me tell you, it adds another dimension and it's deliciosa!  Just satay a couple chopped up leeks in some olive oil, add some minced garlic, a few of your fav spices and mix it right into your standard spinach artichoke dip!  Then bake as indicated on your spinach artichoke recipe!  So yummy! (Don't forget to sprinkle a little parm cheese on top for extra flavor!).   I also made some super easy peasy fruit dip.

Fruit Dip
1 (8oz) container light strawberry cream cheese
1 (8oz) container marshmallow creme
2 Tbsp. orange juice
1 cup cool whip

With hand blender or kitchen aid or whisk combine the first three ingredients.  Then add in the cool whip.  Serve with a spoon and any kind of fruit.  (I chose to add cut up apples and bananas).

I also made a pretty stellar 7-Layer Dip.  Man that stuff is addicting.  You can find that recipe here:


The team inhaled it.  Honestly, it was about 10 minutes for 15 people to demolish a 9x13 pan.  So I suggest you make this!

Thanks for listening to my rambling :)  I hope you have a fantastic Thursday!  And guess what...tomorrow is FRIDAY!  Yiipppeee!!

-Ellie :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

First Post :)


I have been toying with the idea of starting a blog, not only because I am slightly addicted to reading the various blogs out there, but also to broadcast my passion for cooking and baking, eating healthy and maybe not so healthy ;) and I just feel like it, ok?! ok :)

A little about ME:

1.) I'm 21 years old and attend a private liberal arts college in the Midwest and am double majoring in Psychology and Health with a minor in Biology
2.) I hate cold weather but I LOVE snow :)  (oooh and Thanksgiving and Christmas!)
3.) I participate in cross country and track, I stick to the long distance events
4.) My favorite new hot beverage=english toffee cappucino mixed with coffee (weird, I know..)
5.) I'm still in search of a perfect banana bread recipe (I think I've made about 1000 different recipes..ahhh!) so if you have a recipe you LOVE, please please PLEASE comment below, I'd LOVE to try it!
6.) I'm getting MARRIED in July!!!  But I feel like a teenager at heart..(ooh and any comments/suggestions are welcomed!!)
7.) Writing is not my greatest strength, so bare with me for the upcoming posts :) I tend to write/speak whatever happens to be on my mind at the moment, so expect randomness/unfiltered (which should be "filtered") comments.  Just wait and see! 

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