Showing posts from October, 2017

Life is Full of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3


Quote of the Day


Quote of the Day


When in doubt, reach for worthiness…

I’m a runner, not in an athletic way, but in a, “I screwed up or I feel hurt” way, so I need to run away from my feelings. I wish my initial response were one of, “I need to get the facts so I can figure out how this situation went wrong,” but it’s not, and that’s always been the thorn in my side. Author and Research professor at the University of Houston, Brené Brown writes in an article for O Magazine: I could disengage from the tougher stuff. That's what human beings tend to do: When we're under threat, we run. If we feel exposed or hurt, we find someone to blame, or blame ourselves before anyone else can, or pretend we don't care. The article reminded me of an awkward run-in I had with a friend who I lost touch with about a year ago. Our friendship became stagnant because of gossiping that went on between a few friends we have in common. I felt that my friend (I’ll call her Lisa) contributed to the gossiping by standing by and not clearing up facts of what went on dur…

Simple, Perfect Chili

Recipe courtesy of Ree Drummond
Total: 1 hr 40 min
Active: 30 min
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Level: Easy

2 pounds ground *beef
2 cloves garlic, chopped
One 8-ounce can tomato sauce
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup masa harina
One 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
One 15-ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
Shredded Cheddar, for serving
Chopped onions, for serving
Tortilla chips, for serving
Lime wedges, for serving

Place the ground beef in a large pot and throw in the garlic. Cook over medium heat until browned. Drain off the excess fat, and then pour in the tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and cayenne. Stir together well, cover, and then reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. If the mixture becomes overly dry, add 1/2 cup water at a time as needed.

After an hour, place the masa harina in a small bowl. Add 1/2 cup water and stir togeth…

Life is Full of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3


Quote of the Day


Quote of the Day


The Caveira Cocktail

With subtle Mexican flavors, this spicy concoction provides a Brazilian spin on a Dia de los Muertos theme.

1.5 oz cachaça (we used Novo Fogo Barrel-Aged Cachaça)
1/2 oz chili liqueur (we used Ancho Reyes)
1/2 oz cold brew coffee
1/4 oz cinnamon syrup
2 dashes aromatic bitters (we used Scrappy's)
orange twist, for garnish

Mix all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice.

For more recipe ideas visit

Belonging To Ourselves

I may fit in for you but I no longer belong to myself. –Brené Brown
Research professor at the University of Houston and author,Brené Brownwas discussing the struggle of wanting to fit in and morphing into someone who’s the right fit for someone else’s life. I remember meeting a new friend at my kids’ school. She was fun, spunky, and had a bigger than life personality. Shortly after we met, she spent almost all of our conversation time angrily judging our mutual friends or other parents in our school. She would break down every activity people would do and question how they could afford such extravagance and would make fun of their parenting styles. I really liked hanging out with her because when she wasn’t vile, she was super funny. We played off each other’s funny sides and almost always ended up in tears from so much laughter. We would re-cap tv shows or share funny stories--we were hilarious together, but I started to drown in her meanness. I didn’t belong to myself after a few wee…

Mini Candy-Corn Layer Cake

Fall's favorite candy gets reinterpreted as a colorful mini cake your Halloween or Thanksgiving guests are sure to love.

Exposed layer cakes are very popular right now and the mini versions are perfect for your little guests. Display mini cakes on a pretty cake stand for perfect presentation!
By: Kim Stoegbauer

3 boxes of white cake mix
orange and yellow food coloring
white fluffy frosting
3" round cookie cutter
jelly roll pan

1: Prepare each of the three boxes of cake mix in separate bowls according to package directions.
2: Add food coloring to each of the bowls except for the white bowl, until desired color is achieved.
3: Pour cake batter into jelly roll pans that have been oiled and floured.
4: Bake cakes according to package directions, keeping in mind that the cake is thin and may bake faster than directions indicate.
5: Cool cakes on cooling rack.
6: Use a 3" round cookie cutter to cut circles of cake from each color.
7: Stack layers, piping white fros…

Life is Full Of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3


Quote of The Day


Quote of The Day


Black Magic Cake

This deep, dark chocolate cake is the perfect canvas for a spooky holiday dessert. Top it with a spider web or a mummy made from melted and stretched marshmallows.
Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen

Total: 3 hr 35 min
Prep: 30 min
Inactive: 2 hr 15 min
Cook: 50 min
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
Level: Easy

2/3 cup vegetable oil, plus more for greasing the baking pans
1 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 cup boiling water
2 cups granulated sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon fine salt
1 cup whole milk
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Filling and Frosting:
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch fine salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
Spider Web or Mummy Decoration:
2 cups mini marshmallows (about 4 ounces)
Cooking spray
Candy spider or candy eyes, for decorating

Special equipm…

Be One or All...

I can be strong and still be gentle! That was one of the great lessons I learned as I was entering my forties. I could be a whole lot of things, not just one. I could be direct and still be kind, or grieving and still find joy. Needing to stop being strong to handle a situation gently was so foreign in my thirties. A spark of maturity lit a fire under my belly once I started to practice that I didn’t need to trade off one virtue for another! I started to explore my coping mechanisms and found that I was stuck on not allowing myself to do or feel more than one virtue or emotion at a time.

In my twenties and thirties I didn’t think a leader needed guidance because they were in leadership--they should already know how to handle their role without guidance. I expected the same of myself, if I were assigned a leader role in any project at work, I would go through a lot to not show that I needed guidance, because if I was the leader, then I should know or figure out what to do on my own, rig…

Frankenshake and Bride of Frankenshake

Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen
His and hers Halloween shakes (one mint, one vanilla) are made in a single batch, then dressed up for the holiday in this ultimate trick-or-treat.

Total: 30 min
Active: 25 min
Yield: 2 milkshakes
Level: Easy

3 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
20 chocolate wafer cookies, finely crushed
4 chocolate-covered caramels, such as Rolos
2 ounces red candy melts
2 pints vanilla ice cream
1/2 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
3 to 4 drops green food coloring
Canned whipped cream, for serving

For the Frankenshake:
Melt the chocolate chips in a small bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir, then heat until fully melted, about another 30 seconds.

Tip a pint glass or beer stein on its side. Using a toothpick, skewer or clean paintbrush, draw a mouth and eyes on the inside of the glass with the melted chocolate. (Add a few stitches to resemble a Frankenstein face.) Stand the glass upright and brush chocolate on the rim of the glass and about a qua…

Caramel Apple Pie

Recipe courtesy of Ree Drummond
Total: 2 hr 25 min
Active: 1 hr
Yield: 8 servings
Level: Intermediate

Perfect Spiced Pie Crust:
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for flouring
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) salted butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup vegetable shortening or lard
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
1 egg, lightly beaten

Pie Filling:
6 to 7 cups peeled and sliced Granny Smith apples
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

Crumb Topping:
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup quick oats
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 jar (or more) caramel topping

Special equipment: a pastry cutter

For the perfect spiced pie crust: Mix the flour, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg in a bowl. Add the butter and vegetable shortening. Work the butter into the flour using a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles tin…

Life is Full Of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3


Quote of the Day


Quote of The Day


Pan De Muertos (Day of The Dead sweet bread)

This sweet bread is traditional for Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations in Mexico.
Ingredients Dough 1/2 cup of sour cream
1 1/2 cups of flour
1/2 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of anise seed
2 packets of dry yeast
1/2 cup of milk
1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup of butter
4 eggs
2 tsp. orange zest
1 tsp. cinnamon, ground
Approximately 3 - 4 1/2 cups of flour

1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
1 Tbsp. orange zest
2 Tbsp. white or color sugar for sprinkling

Mix all dry ingredients together except the 3 - 4 1/2 cups of flour.

In a medium pan, over low heat warm sour cream and butter until butter melts. Remove from the heat and stir in the warm water. Add the liquid mixture to the dry mixture. Beat well. Mix in the eggs and 1 1/2 cups of flour. Beat well.

Put in the rest of the 3-4 1/2 cups of flour, little by little (use less or more as you see needed). Knead the mixture on a floured board for approximately 9-10 minutes.

Put the dough in a greased bowl and allow it to…

Sunny's Double Chocolate Bread Pudding with Bourbon Whipped Cream

Recipe courtesy of Sunny Anderson
Total: 1 hr 50 min
Prep: 20 min
Inactive: 40 min
Cook: 50 min
Yield: 18 to 20 servings
Level: Easy

Bread Pudding:
2 tablespoons butter
6 croissants, stale and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 loaf cinnamon raisin bread, stale and cut into 1-inch squares
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
6 cups milk
1 1/2 cups chocolate syrup, such as Hershey's
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 to 6 scrapes fresh nutmeg
6 eggs

6 tablespoons butter, cold and cut into small cubes
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon Maldon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Bourbon Whipped Cream, for serving, recipe follows
Bourbon Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon bourbon
1 tablespoon sugar

For the bread pudding: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the bottom and sides of the baking dish with the butter.

In a large bowl, add the croissant and bread chunks along with the chocolate…

Extra-Crunchy Sheet-Pan Mac and Cheese

When you spread your mac and cheese out on a sheet pan and top it with lots of buttery breadcrumbs, you achieve maximum crunchiness in every cheesy bite.

Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen
Total: 40 min
Active: 25 min
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
Level: Easy

Kosher salt
1 pound elbow macaroni
2 cups half-and-half
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon hot sauce, or more to taste
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Special equipment: an 18-by-13-inch sheet pan.

Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni, and cook according to package directions until al dente. Drain the macaroni, reserving 1 1/2 cups of the pasta water. Set aside.

Heat the half-and-half, cream cheese, and reserved pasta water in a large pot over medium heat, stirring until the cream chees…

Friend Squads

The amazing writer, Brené Brown said in a recent video that we have an askew view of what our friend squad should look like in real life. Brené Brown's nail-on-the-head statement, “the beer commercial messaging on what a squad looks like; everyone is in slow motion--loving each other. You’re running with a big crew. That messaging is constant.” She goes on to say, “having done the research; what I see over and over again is that it does not exist in real life. People have one or two people with whom they can be vulnerable and real. And if you have one person with whom you can be vulnerable and real, you’ve got the most amazing squad in the world, and we’re so lucky to just have a person. I think the battle is, the stories we make up about what everyone else has, and what we’re supposed to have. As opposed to really assessing what we are, and what we do have--and being grateful for that.” As far as my history of friendships goes, Brené is right on! I love the idea of a big squad b…

Life Is Full Of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3


Quote of The Day