This past week

I've been meaning to blog this week, but I've spent my late nights managing my latest obsession...Better Than Ebay. Ha! I have decided to de-clutter around here and I'm finding more and more to sell. It has been pretty profitable so far, but will end soon with a garage sale on Saturday. Our spare room is full of all the "goodies" and I'm ready for them to find a new home. 

I did make a couple of yummy meals this week! One was from Whole Foods. It is turkey meatballs and green beans. So easy and really good! It took no time to make and was easy to prep ahead of time. 

Another night, I made "burgers" from ground chicken. I loosely followed a recipe that I found  at the last minute by way of Google. It was great! I mixed about a pound of ground chicken with salt/pepper/garlic powder and crushed plain Mom's Best cereal (like Cheerios). Just as the recipe read, they tasted a bit like sausage. Yummy! Along with a side of sweet potato fries and  Italian veggie blend, it was a winner. Sorry there aren't any pics. We were hungry. :)

I'm looking forward to a few tasty meals this coming week. I plan to do a salmon pasta with peas along with key west grilled chicken kabobs (in the oven) and who knows what else. 

This will be my first week to begin babysitting full time. I'm looking forward to it. It will get me used to having two...or three. :) Things will be interesting, but we will get into a good groove. 

Oh, Amelia has started talking in full sentences this past week! Wow! She tells us when she wants to eat, sleep and all the in between! I'm glad because it has been hard to wonder about a lot of those things in the past. 

Have a wonderful Sunday with your family! 


Interesting Substitutions

Today was my first wake up call after vacations. I dropped Amelia off at my mom's house and headed to the dentist to get two permanent crowns put on. It really wasn't that bad, but if you know me well, you know that I have a phobia of anything medical/dental. I went from that to the doctor to have my blood drawn to check my thyroid levels. Luckily, I didn't faint today. I even managed to sit in the regular chair instead of the special chair for fainters.  It all wasn't that bad, but definitely a different day than last Monday when we shopped at the outlet mall and met up with friends for gelato. 

I decided to try a recipe I pinned last night because, after all, doesn't pumpkin brighten up the most manic Mondays? I attempted to make Crock pot Pumpkin Bread, but I discovered that my bread pan wouldn't fit in my crock pot. I decided to just use the recipe and cook the bread in the oven. It came out great!

I had already sliced up the bread to divide among friends when I decided to take a picture. That is key, friends! I have to bake it, taste it and send it away! I am the only one in the house with a "sweet tooth", so it is dangerous to make a dessert and leave it here. 

So on to the interesting substitutions.....

More times than I want to admit, I begin mixing up a recipe before I realize I don't have all the ingredients. My sweet Bear has made many trips to our neighborhood Kroger while I'm in mid-recipe. 

I knew I didn't have any brown sugar, so I did a quick search and found that you can substitute granulated sugar plus molasses for brown sugar. Genius! It worked! (I know you can tell that this isn't my usual "clean" recipe, but it was a last minute idea and sometimes you can't substitute for the "good" stuff.)

I realized that I didn't have vegetable or canola oil, which I don't usually have on hand, so I substituted olive oil. I know it sounds gross. Olives in pumpkin bread!? But, it was great! Very moist! 

Also, as I got down the list of ingredients as I was mixing everything up, I realized that I didn't have any baking soda. I've been using it to make a lot of cleaning products lately. (I'll post about that one day. I'm very excited about it!) So I decided to use baking powder instead. I was skeptical because I know soda and powder usually serve their own important purpose in recipes. It worked too!

So there you have it, my Pinterest inspired pumpkin bread! :)


The Beach

We are back from our first vacation as a family of three. We went to Sandestin for a week. It was really fun and very relaxing. It took little A most of the week to "warm up" to the beach. By Thursday morning, she was having fun. She read her book, sat on her towel and played in the sand with her toys that Aunt JLo got her for her birthday and she walked along the water in the ocean with mommy and daddy. I really wanted her to like the beach because I grew up going to the beach every summer and I had so much fun! I could spend all day there, but Bear likes to play at the pool, so we spent mornings at the beach and afternoons at the pool. They had tons of fun playing in the water together!

Another fun thing about the week was that Allie and her family were vacationing in nearby Santa Rosa Beach, just twenty minutes away! So we met up a for a couple of runs and for a shopping date one night at Destin Commons. It was really motivating to have a buddy to run with on vacation! Each time we met, we ran a little over four miles together.

Allie is actually training for the St Jude Half Marathon and is running as a Hero, which means she is raising money for St. Jude. I will post details on how you can donate soon! She is doing awesome in her training!

We ate out a couple of times and had awesome experiences at both places! I know many of you have been to Destin and know where to eat, but I have to plug these two places, just in case you haven't been there. The first place we went was Dewey Destin's Harborside Restaurant. We were able to sit on the dock overlooking the marina and the bay. It was really rainy that day, but it was still really neat to be able to sit outside. I got a pecan crusted grouper and it was wonderful. Probably one of the best fish entrees I have ever eaten.

The other night we went out to eat, we went to the Back Porch. Again, we were able to sit in a spot overlooking the water. This place is right on the beach! It was beautiful! I usually like to try things new and don't usually get the same thing twice, but I got grouper again and it was amazing again! :)

If you follow me on Facebook, you may remember Bow Bootcamp from earlier this year. You will know that I was so happy when Amelia wanted to wear her bow to the beach! 

This was a cool idea that we stole from a fellow vacationing beach bum. We put our phones in little baggies while on the beach, so they wouldn't get wet or sandy. It worked well. Sadly, we learned the hard way, because Bear's 3 got wet and we went and upgraded to the 4. We are not the folks that are waiting on "the next big thing". We are the ones that wait for the SALE. We were able to trade in each of our phones for $74 and only had to pay about $25 for the new ones. Pretty cool! 

 Cline family vacation 2012 was a success!  We look forward to many more!
We really enjoyed staying at the Maravilla in Sandestin.  A sweet family from the Memphis area owns the condo. We highly recommend it!


Mini Mexican Pizzas

I made mini Mexican pizzas for dinner last night. I found the recipe on this blog via Pinterest. The ingredients aren't 100% wholesome, but some nights 90% or so will have to do. :) I used wheat tortillas and lean ground turkey. I doubled the recipe because I had all the ingredients on hand. After dinner, I said, "take that Bagel Bites"! :)

 I did feel really good about the fact that I used homemade taco seasoning that I mixed up that afternoon. I found that recipe here. It was super easy to mix up and I wish I had done it sooner. Now I can tweak it to make it more spicy or whatever and I'm not worried about MSG or preservatives!

 I have been using plain yogurt as a substitute for sour cream for a while. I topped my pizzas with that and salsa last night. They were yummy! It does sound weird to put something that I customarily a breakfast/dessert item on a dinner food, but try it and I think you will like it. I love Fage total 0% Greek yogurt. I use it in a lot of recipes and just like eating it plain too. It helps to cut the fat/calories in recipes and has wholesome ingredients. 

I meant to take a picture of my mini pizzas, but forgot. Bear gets home at 6:30, so we are all hungry and ready to gobble up dinner. I do, however, have this one of our Little Miss with a yogurt mustache. I was excited that she liked them because she isn't too fond of meat these days.

Do you use yogurt as a substitute for other ingredients in recipes? I'd love to hear ways that you use it too!


Sun~Drop & Chocolate are Alive and Well!

So this is my first post in 2012. Better late than never, huh? It has been a crazy year! Bear had back surgery in June. He has fully recovered and we are so thankful. Meanwhile, my thyroid decided to throw me for a loop and I felt, well, nuts for most of the past few months. Thankfully, I have found a doctor who has things under control. All the while, our sweet girl has been our little sunshine! The Lord has continued to show his favor and faithfulness in our lives through it all. 

This has been an emotional, yet fun filled week. We just celebrated Amelia's birthday on the 29th of August. We had a fun party in our backyard for her on the previous Sunday. She had a blast playing in all the water activities and jumping on her new little trampoline. We met a couple buddies at the Memphis Botanical Gardens to tour My Big Backyard and had lunch at Panera Bread on Wednesday. Then, Monday, September 3rd, we celebrated "Gotcha Day". The actual day we became a family of 3. We went downtown to the Spaghetti Warehouse and had a yummy pasta dinner. (Amelia's fave) Then we walked around the park overlooking the river. It's crazy that it has been two years since she has been in our lives. We have loved every minute! 

A couple of weeks back, Jolaura took her pics at the sunflowers off Germantown Parkway. If you are in the Memphis area and looking for a good photographer, she is awesome! You can check out her work at JolauraBellPhotography.com

Thanks for stopping by to read what has been going on with us!  I am looking forward to blogging more frequently.  I want to write about more than Amelia, though I know she will most likely be mentioned in every post. :) I look forward to sharing many of my cooking ventures, ideas/practices in living/eating/using wholesome ingredients, antics from our daily lives and sharing what the Lord is doing in our lives through it all.