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Cherry Apple Gorgonzola Salad Recipe by Leah

Cherry Apple Gorgonzola Salad


Though I’ve only been posting recipes here a short time you probably can tell that we are salad lovers.  They are my go to lunch and my go to veggie side with a meal.  Obviously with a salad you need fresh and tasty greens but that’s only part of it.  The greens provide the most nutrients but they’re also just the base.  To make a salad truly delicious they need to be topped with all kinds of goodies: something savory, something sweet, something crunchy, and don’t forget the cheese!  This is a salad with a combination of all those things and a mild and sweet dressing to boot.


Cherry Apple Gorgonzola Salad




6 oz bag of spring mix salad

romaine head, chopped

4 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled

1/2 cup dried cherries

large granny smith apple, chopped

1/2 cup candied pecans

5 oz gorgonzola cheese crumbles

sweet balsamic vinaigrette

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/8 tsp ground mustard

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper



sweet balsamic vinaigrette

Whisk or blend all dressing ingredients together until the oil and sugar are blended.


In your serving bowl toss together spring mix, romaine, and some of the dressing.  Top with remaining ingredients and pass the dressing along with the salad.




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Oregon Trail

When I was in elementary school we would get to play the original Oregon Trail on massive computers and it was the highlight of the week. I got to sit down, pick the supplies and such, and send my little pixel family down the Trail. And they died. They always died. Every so often the livestock would drown while crossing a river, so my little wagon train would too. Sometimes they were hungrier than usual and died of starvation. 9 times out of 10 they’d die from dysentery. Of course I was a smaller version of the nerd that I currently am and had to learn what in the world my little pixels kept dying from. Ew. They died from uncontrollable diarrhea. Seriously?!

Fast forward through my life and whenever I feel like Murphy’s Law is being exceptionally cruel I say “you died of dysentery”. I had to stop watching documentaries about the actual Oregon Trail because my mind automatically went there. So I’d be the crazy person trying to muffle my laughter because every time they talked about the hardships I’d always wonder how many died of diarrhea.

I’ve worked in the medical field, and had to learn a whole lot more to be an advocate for my medical care as someone with a chronic illness must be, and know how life threatening GI issues were and can be. However there’s still a ten year old inside of me that points at the people in the pictures that does the whole Oprah “and you get a car” type of pointing, substituted with “and you got dysentery! And you got dysentery!”. Yeah, I all ready know I often have a morbid sense of humor.

I’ve actually talked about it so much that L had to share a picture with me that he found online. I get this random text from him and it quickly became my phone wallpaper.

This has become my favorite way of beginning or ending text conversations and the ten year old in me grins like the Cheshire Cat. Have fun trying to get this out of your head now. *laugh* It’s especially fun to mentally do the Oprah point when you’re around a crowd of annoying people, like a school function or the doctor’s office when the doctor is running behind. I can guarantee that it really helps if you get anxious around crowds. When, in your mind’s eye, you see half the people holding the seat of their pants after basically getting the worst dose of colon blow ever, it can actually be difficult to not be cheerful.

Hey, dysentery happens, so sometimes you just have to go with the flow. Yep, I felt obliged to go there. Hopefully the new version of the game sells Pepto Bismol.

This post was approved by the juvenile sense of humor hanging out in the back of your mind. 😉

Homemade Salsa Recipe by Leah



Salsa and chips.  They make me happy.  Little bits of spicy tomato goodness scooped up on a fried and crunchy tortilla. This recipe for salsa is as quick and easy as it gets.  Don’t forget to allow time for it to chill.




yield: 5 cups


28 oz can whole tomatoes and juice

10 oz can Rotel, drained

1 lime, juiced

1 jalapeno, seeded

3 cloves garlic, smashed and halved

1/2 medium white onion

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp cumin

handful cilantro, rinsed and dried



Dump all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until no large chunks remain.  Chill 2 hours.





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The Roller Coaster



After hitting the one year mark since we began this journey I realized that I’ve gotten depressed due to not progressing during this time.  Our adoption journey has been quite an emotional roller coaster.  When I realized how bad my first feeling from contact from the social worker was complete and utter fear, I knew that I had some work to do on changing my perspective.


I was completely unable to be rational when I saw that she had emailed us.  Terrified that it would mean we have been denied, scared that our dream will get shattered, and honestly a bit panicked because this single person has the dream of our adoption in her hands.  We’re past the happy and hopeful honeymoon stage, while we are now in the worry and pain stage instead.


Adoption is completely worth everything we have gone through and I wholeheartedly believe in it, and I will hopefully be able to advocate for these children in some way someday.  The waiting part, especially once it goes beyond a month without hearing anything, is pretty much like having PMS, in my opinion.  Sorry male readers, but I’m totally going there since it’s a great comparison of feelings.  Anyway, after that honeymoon phase the PMS sneaks in.  You notice that you’re a little more emotional than usual; you can cry from either a sweet or heartbreaking commercial even.  You then hear that internal clock ticking down to THE DAY, but you have absolutely no idea if the train is running on time, so you’re on edge.  Sarcasm drips from your comments without you meaning to be that way, so then you withdraw to keep from sucking the sun out of someone else’s day.  Sometimes you swing from happy to sad, over to being sensitive to every little comment or action, get withdrawn and cranky, and you then go straight to being miserable and on edge.  Tick tock.  Tick tock.  You feel like you’re losing all control over your emotions and it just keeps getting louder.  Tick tock.  Tick tock…


This too shall pass.  Yep.  It’s still an emotional roller coaster regardless of the encouraging quote.  You could throw glitter at this mess and it’ll just be a shiny mess now, so you cry when you watch a car commercial with parents saying goodbye as their kid heads off to college.


Even though this sucks, deep down you know it’ll get better.  You just have to hold on until that train comes to town.  You just have to wait for the adoption to progress to the next stage.  Try and find a way to drown out the sound of the clock; cover everything in glitter and crank up cheerful Christmas music if that’s what it takes to make you feel more in control of your emotions.  I’m taking inventory of the deep freeze and food expiration dates, while listening to Celtic Thunder, to help get me through today.  I’ll transfer all the info to a spreadsheet tomorrow, so I’ll feel a little more in control yet again.  Take it day by day and lean on that support system you wrote about in like the fourth section of the adoption paperwork.  Find your glitter and empower yourself to get through this.  You’ve come this far, so don’t you dare give up; and I will be saying that exact thing to myself over and over.  A child depends on your ability to find a way through this.  Like the old saying goes – you can eat a whole bear all by yourself.  You just have to take one bite at a time.


Confetti Birthday Pancakes Recipe by Leah

Confetti Bday Pancakes


Birthdays are a big deal in our home.  The girls wake up to balloons on the floor of their bedroom and a curtain of streamers hanging over the door.  It’s fun, colorful, exciting, and really sets the mood for the day.  You know what else is all those things?  Pancakes.  Confetti pancakes!  Each birthday we indulge in a stack of festive and cheerful confetti pancakes.  They taste like cake!  They’re certainly an indulgence but birthdays are all about indulgence.


Confetti Birthday Pancakes

Yield: approximately 20 pancakes



1 box Pillsbury Funfettie cake mix

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/3 cup canola oil

3 eggs

2 1/3 cups milk

1/2 cup sprinkles



  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and cake mix.  Set aside.
  2. In another bowl, mix together the oil eggs and milk.
  3. Add the wet ingredients in to the dry ingredients and mix just until combined.  Fold in sprinkles.
  4. Heat a griddle to about 250 degrees F and spray with cooking spray.
  5. Ladle the pancake batter onto the hot pan and cook the pancakes until bubbles form in the batter.  Flip the pancake and cook for an additional minute or until cooked through.


The pancakes are so sweet on their own that we don’t add any syrup.  We typically serve with a strawberry fruit compote or strawberry or cherry yogurt.




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Two of My Favorite GMM Videos



I was a very happy Mythical Beast on the 9th when Good Mythical Morning (GMM) had Kelsea Ballerini as their guest on two of their YouTube segments.  I thought a couple of funny videos might help with those possible green beer hangovers.  *grin*  They both have a country flavor, but I think they’d be hilarious even if I wasn’t a country fan.


If you aren’t familiar with their channel, GMM is hosted by “internetainers” Rhett and Link.  They have 3 segments each weekday with a “show after the show” on their GMMore channel.  They guys are known to do a lot of “will it” themed taste tests, games, skits as other characters, and have their own merchandise (L spoiled me with some merch I wanted ever since I discovered them and I am currently dressed in these *grin*), a book, a bunch of albums (some as singles), weekly podcasts, and two seasons of their Buddy System series on YouTube Red.  They have been friends since they were kids and somehow have been able to work together in different ventures for most of their lives without ruining their friendship.  GMM is a favorite YouTube show around the world and us fans refer to ourselves as “Mythical Beasts”.


Now, back to the fun part!  They changed things up this season and are having more guests on the show, and when country singer Kelsea Ballerini was on they brought out their country sides.  In the first segment they create country songs out of online complaints and in the second the guys take up their country singer characters (a duo named Rabbit Lightning) to sing backup during Kelsea’s “I Hate Love Songs” performance.  (I added the link to the picture of each segment, so just click the picture for a new tab that goes right to it.)  Hopefully these will help you start your day off with a smile (and maybe convert a few more people into Mythical Beasts *grin*)!


First segment:

GMM and Kelsea Ballerini Online Complaints Country Songs


Second segment:

Kelsea Ballerini ft Rabbit Llightning Singing I Hate Love Songs

Chocolate Strawberry Nutella Cake Recipe by Leah


Delicious!  This cake is delicious!  I wanted to make a dessert with Nutella but nothing very appealing was coming to mind.  I wanted a showstopper.  So, I turned to my trusty friend, Google.  Believe me when I say there are A LOT of Nutella desserts out there.  If you’re ever feeling the need to sit and drool at your screen just type Nutella desserts and lose yourself in the hazelnutty goodness.

My search eventually led me to Pioneer Woman and her Chocolate Strawberry Nutella Cake.  This cake was inspired.  I knew immediately it was what I was looking for.  Everyone that ate it agreed.     Be sure to check her website for the cake recipe and beautiful pictures.  The only thing I changed was to use my favorite chocolate layer cake recipe.


Chocolate Strawberry Nutella Cake




1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup hot water

1/2 cup sour cream

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed

3 large eggs, room temperature

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups Nutella


2 pints strawberries, hulled and sliced

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

whipped cream

2 cups heavy cream

1/2 cup powdered sugar




  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease two 9-inch round baking pans with butter and line the pan bottoms with parchment paper.  Grease and dust the pans.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the cocoa powder and the hot water and stir until smooth.  Let cool to room temperature  Stir in the sour cream and vanilla.  Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachement, beat the butter on medium-high until smooth and shiny.  Add both sugars and beat until the mixture is fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 30 seconds between each addition.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.  With the mixer running on low, add a third of the flour mixture to the egg mixture, followed by a third of the cocoa mixture.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and repeat the process twice.  Continue to beat on low until the batter is fully mixed, about 20 seconds more.
  5. Divide the batter evenly between prepared pans.  Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes.
  6. Transfer the cake pans to wire racks and let cool for 20 minutes.  Run a knife around the edges of each pan, invert the cakes onto wire racks and peel off the parchment.  Flip the cakes back over and let cool completely.


Stir the strawberries with the sugar and the vanilla.  Let them macerate for 15 minutes, then drain off the excess juice.

whipped cream

Whip the cream with the powdered sugar.


  1. Turn one cake layer upside down on a serving platter.  Spread half the Nutella all over the surface.  Spread on half the whipped cream and top with half the strawberries.

2. Place the other layer upside down on top and repeat with the rest of the Nutella, whipped cream, and strawberries.  Keep chilled until serving.  Cut with a serrated knife.




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