Maple & Garlic Salmon

Hey there! It’s been awhile and I’ve been seriously procrastinating on sharing one of my favorite recipes with you.

A few updates from my last post:

Thanksgiving at our house was very different this year, but still just as wonderful. We crammed six college football players into our small living room, while also hosting my parents and my brother. A total of 11 people to feed, and we definitely did not skimp on feast. We had more than 10 lbs. of mashed potatoes, green bean casserole (which I made for the first time), plenty of stuffing, corn, rolls, gravy, and 3 TURKEYS! My mom and I over prepared. There was so much food left over that we sent each of the guys home with a bowl of leftovers to eat for later that night. I felt like I had to force them to eat dessert, and we were still left with 2 whole pies.

It was great to have my family in town for Thanksgiving weekend. My mom and I were able to take the train into Chicago for our traditional Black Friday lunch with my best friend Elizabeth and her mom in the Walnut Room inside Macy’s. And we also enjoyed the last football game of the season. We are done for the year. The last game was so great and you can tell that everyone was playing hard. We lost by 14-12, but we had one heck of a season and I couldn’t be prouder of my husband for all of his work that he put into this year.

J’s birthday was the first week of December. I’ve been joking with him that I was throwing him a surprise party. This year, I thought that I would just surprise him by having one of his best friends and his wife over for dinner. That would have been a perfect surprise. We had everything coordinated. J would be getting home at 6:45, and our guest would arrive a little after 7. Tim texted me that the main road to our house was blocked by police officers so they were taking another route. So I thought we might as well start dinner, and they could join us soon after. I was by the stove putting the main course on our plates, when I heard my phone get a text, followed by my husband asking me “what’s in 7 minutes?” DANG! I left my phone on the kitchen table. You could instantly tell by my face that there was some sort of surprise that had just been ruined. I’m a horrible liar. So instead of Tim and Jen surprising my husband, J got to yell surprise when he opened the front door. We still had a great dinner, and enjoyed each others company.

Maple & Garlic Salmon - Tackling Life

Maple & Garlic Salmon – Tackling Life

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Eclair Cake

Is it me, or did Thanksgiving sneak up on us? I suddenly find myself planning this massive dinner (with the help of my mother) and I feel very short on time!

I am happy to report that J and the team won their first game of the playoffs, which confirmed our plans for spending Thanksgiving at our house, and my parents driving 3 hours to join us, and one of my brothers staying here as well. I think I’ve started planning how to pull off this dinner before it was even set in stone that we were hosting. J extended to his players an invitation to spend this Thursday at our house after practice. Many of the guys aren’t from around here, so I am more than excited that we have 6 of them coming to chow down, and of course watch football. Not sure how this will all turn out, so tune in next week for another update.

Since time has been flying, I’ve been already bypassing Thanksgiving to get some things ready for Christmas. Cards are already address and stamped, awaiting to be mailed. I just finished making a wreath (check out my Instagram updates!). Since it’s our first Christmas together, we don’t have a ton of decorations yet, and we are also on a budget. So I’ve been trying to find ways to decorate on the cheap. Shopping for deals for basic decorations, and hitting up the dollar store to add my own crafty touch. I’m excited for how it will all turn out, but I refuse to fully decorate the house until AFTER Thanksgiving. Stay tuned again to how all of that turns out!

We are heading into baking season, which means a lot of parties, and I bet that each of you will probably be asked to bring something. Short on time? Aren’t we all. Here is an easy dessert that is extremely tasty!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Eclair Cake | Tackling Life

Peanut Butter Chocolate Eclair Cake | Tackling Life

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Cookie Dough Cupcakes

Another very busy weekend! Each day packed full, but everything turned out great! I spent Friday night with my small group girls and other girls in our high school ministry group just hanging out and making these really cool mugs. It was a great girls night for them to meet new people and have fun in a relaxed environment.

I spent Saturday morning running some errands to get readyFootball Cake | Tackling Life for Christmas. It seems a little early for me to start doing this, but there were some great deals that I just couldn’t pass up! I then made the journey to Wisconsin for our last game of the regular season. Nothing taste sweeter than finishing out a regular season with another win! An undefeated season deserved a special treat for Tuesday Treat Day. So I tried fondant for the first time. It definitely wasn’t as easy as the shows on TV makes it look. Maybe with a little more practice, and even a class, one day I will be better at it. But I think the cake turned out great! And all of the guys appreciated it.

Sunday was another busy day with out annual High School Ministry Turkey Bowl. We use this event for community outreach, hoping that our students bring their friends. We had a great turn out, even though it was cold and windy. Having heaters, hot chocolate, and lots of chili was the best way to stay warm.

So now that the regular football season is done, we head into playoffs. Luckily our first game is home, so we won’t need to travel. The more we win, the more treats I get to make, so I better start coming up with some new ideas! Below is a treat a made just a few weeks ago. Hope you like it!

Cookie Dough Cupcakes | Tackling Life

Cookie Dough Cupcakes | Tackling Life


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Payday Bars

I learned three things this weekend. 1) My house looks a lot bigger and nicer when it is clean. 2) Four kids between the ages of 3 and 7 have a lot of energy. And 3) I should have registered for more picture frames for wedding gifts.

I’m not very good at keeping the house clean. It’s rare when I vacuum and dust. Clothes still haven’t found a way to fold themselves, or put themselves away. But I have gotten better at keeping the kitchen clean (see post about our unwanted guest a few months ago). My mother would be disappointed, but she would never know, because I make sure the house looks perfect when she’s in town. But if I kept it clean, I wouldn’t stress or work as hard before she got here. I’ll get better, I hope.

This Saturday the Wartella family came to town for the football game. They were able to witness another Wheaton victory! Kyle and Kristen are family friends of ours. Kristen’s parents live down the street from mine, and her youngest brother is one of my best friends from high school. And Kyle was the pastor for our wedding. I was so excited when Kristen let me know when they were coming to visit! I couldn’t wait to see their four kids, especially Ruby who they just adopted from Ghana and we had not been able to meet yet. I loved having them in town and spending time getting to know each of the kids’ personalities, but by the end of the night, I was exhausted! Kristen, I don’t know how you do it! But God has blessed you and you are such a great momma to those 4 (soon to be 5!!) kiddos!

I finally ordered wedding pictures, and have been having so much fun decorating our house. While I don’t mind at all stopping to shop for picture frames, I really wish that I would have registered for more. It definitely would have saved us some money, but mostly, I have so many pictures and ideas for the house that I want to put up. Check out my Instagram pictures to see what I’ve added to our house recently!

Pay Day Bars

Payday Bars | Tackling Life

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Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

Hi there! It’s been awhile. So long that my husband grew a beard! (Check out that picture on the right side of the screen!)

These past few weeks have been busy! Mostly because I’ve been in the kitchen a lot. J and I have decided that we need to start eating better, so we are trying to do another Whole 30. If you have never heard of Whole 30, I suggest you check it out, maybe even give it a try. It’s 30 days of no added sugar, grains, beans, dairy. It sounds horrible and it takes a lot of discipline, but it has made us feel a lot better, and even more inspired when making meals (who knew beets were so good??). We started out great the first 2 weeks into it. It takes a lot of prep in the kitchen, and I found myself making food late at night so I would have something for lunch the next day. But with Halloween, and football season, it became really hard to stick to the very strict rules. So we decided to modify it a little bit to our lifestyle. Two and half weeks of eating better, and I’m down 4 lbs. Not that I was trying to loose weight (it’s definitely an added benefit), but we were just looking to feed our bodies they types of food that will give us energy and make us feel better. This was incredibly difficult when it came to Tuesday Treat days for the players. Not being able to taste what I made, and then having to get up close and personal while taking pictures was torture!!

And we are now 80% done with the regular football season, with an amazing 8-0 record thus far. I am incredibly proud of how hard my husband has worked, and the energy he gives daily to these young men when I know he is tired and hasn’t had a day off all season. I love seeing how proud he is every week at how hard his guys played. And I don’t mind a bit rewarding them on Tuesdays with lots of sugar!

Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

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Halloween Bark

What a busy couple of weekends! I feel like I have constantly been on the go, yet there has been so much to celebrate! Last weekend I was able to go back to my hometown to witness one of my best friends from high school marry her high school sweetheart and one of my oldest childhood buddies. I am so happy for them and wish them a lifetime of adventure and love! I also tried to spend as much time as I could with my parents, and it was great that they could be my dates to the wedding since J had to stay home for football. I was a little bummed that he wasn’t able to meet all my friends who were in town but I was also missing all of his former teammates who were back for the homecoming football game. Wish I could have been in two places at once!

This weekend my in laws came to visit. I absolutely loved having them! Since they live so far away, we take advantage of the time when they are here and try to pack in as much as we can. They were able to help celebrate another football win to continue this at 5 – 0, and I got to share great news when I woke up to a 5:47 am text (what was my brother thinking??) to find out that I am getting a sister!! I am so excited for my oldest brother and his engagement, and couldn’t be happier about his choice of future bride. Our family absolutely adores her and she makes my brother incredibly happy! Congrats Joe and Caitlin!

HalloweenBark

I’ve been feeling very fall festive as of late. I don’t know what it is, but I am enjoying the cooler weather, the fall theme decorations, and all of the seasonal flavors. I came up with a great treat for the guys this week, with all the best flavors. Peanut Butter & Chocolate.

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Maple & Caramel Brownie Bars

Wow have I been busy! I’ve been trying to find some time to share what’s been going on around here, and before I knew it….IT’S OCTOBER!! How crazy is that?

We spent our last weekend in September making a quick trip to Boston. It was the bye week, which means we must take advantage of a free weekend of no football! Since this was the only time this weekend would ever fall on the same day as our niece’s birthday party, we thought we would surprise her! Minus a few issues at the airport (every flight out of Chicago was canceled that morning) we were able to pull off a complete surprise for a very happy soon to be six year old! It was also great to spend a day with J’s sister and her family. We flew back the next morning, took a nap, and got ready to start the week with our Sunday night activities.

Maple&Caramel Brownie Bars

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