10 Years Ago…

Happy Birthday America! - Chicago - 7/4/10

I don’t think I will ever forget the morning of September 11, 2001.  I went to class at the University of Arkansas like it was any other day of the school year.  I was in my Principles of Tax class when the attacks began.  We were clueless.  My 3rd class of the morning was cancelled (unrelated to the events unfolding) so I got on the transit bus to take me to my car like I did many times before.  They always had the radio going on the buses.  As we were riding down the hill, we all started realizing that it wasn’t just the radio playing.  It was the news reports of the planes hitting the World Trade Center towers.  I heard the news but still didn’t quite realize what it was saying and what it meant.  I got back to my apartment, turned on the tv, and immediately watched as the first tower fell.  It was literally unbelievable.  I sat for probably an hour trying to catch up on everything that happened (and watched the second tower fall).  I decided to go to work at that point.  Kind of weird, I know.  My family was in school and at work and I just didn’t want to sit in an empty apartment by myself in that moment.  I guess it’s the sign of a great job & company to work for when I think of work as a 2nd family at times like 9/11.

My prayers go out to everyone who lost a loved one because of the attacks that day.  I’d like to thank everyone in the armed services, firefighters, police officers, & first responders who helped that day and help every day to protect and help all of us.

Never forget!

Tuesday Recipes

My new favorite website for craft & recipe ideas is Pinterest.  I’ve tried a couple of recipes I found on there recently & wanted to share them.

Fruit Salsa with Baked Cinnamon Chips

2 kiwis, peeled and diced
2 Golden Delicious apples – peeled, cored and diced
8 ounces raspberries
1 (16 oz) carton of strawberries, diced
2 tablespoons white sugar (more or less to taste)
1 tablespoon brown sugar (more or less to taste)
3 tablespoons fruit preserves, any flavor

10 (10 inch) flour tortillas
melted butter or butter flavored cooking spray
2 cups cinnamon sugar

1. In a large bowl, thoroughly mix kiwis, apples, raspberries, strawberries, white sugar, brown sugar and fruit preserves. Cover and chill in the refrigerator at least 15 minutes.

2.Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

3.Coat one side of each flour tortilla with melted butter or butter flavored cooking spray. Sprinkle tortillas with desired amount of cinnamon sugar. Cut into wedges and arrange in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Spray again with cooking spray (not necessary if using melted butter).

4.Bake in the preheated oven 8 to 10 minutes. Repeat with any remaining tortilla wedges. Allow to cool approximately 15 minutes. Serve with chilled fruit mixture. Best when made and eaten the same day otherwise the fruit gives off so too much juice and it gets runny.

Tara’s Notes:  I used strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, & pineapple and then strawberry preserves.  I think you could use any variety of fruit you wanted.  Also, I made the chips the first time I fixed this but needed a no-prep alternative the second time I made the fruit salsa so I got the brown sugar cinnamon Ritz crackers.  They worked perfectly & will probably be the route I take every time I make fruit salsa.


Chicken Crescent Roll Casserole

Supper! They are chicken crescent roll roll-ups. Thank you Pinterest for the idea!

2 (8 ounce) cans Reduced Fat Pillsbury Refrigerated Crescent Dinner Rolls
1 (10 3/4 ounce) can 98% fat free cream of chicken soup, undiluted
3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese or swiss cheese (or any cheese of choice)
1/2 cup milk

4 ounces cream cheese (very soft)
2 tablespoons butter (very soft but not melted)
1/2-1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tsp minced onion flakes
2 large cooked chicken breasts, finely chopped (or use about 2 cups, can use cooked turkey)
1/2-3/4 cup finely grated cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp seasoning salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper (or to taste)
2 Tbsp. milk
1-2 cup grated cheddar cheese (for topping)

Set oven to 350°F. Spray a 9×13 dish with cooking spray. Mix together milk, 3/4 cup cheese and undiluted chicken soup (can season with black pepper if desired).

For the filling — (make certain that the cream cheese and butter are very soft) in a bowl, mix the soft cream cheese with butter until very smooth, then add in garlic powder. Add in the chopped chicken, onion and cheddar cheese; mix well until combined. Add in 2 tablespoons milk; mix to combine (add in a little more if the mixture seems too dry). Season with seasoned salt or white and black pepper to taste. Unroll the crescent rolls. Place 1 heaping tablespoon chicken mixture (or a little more) on top of each crescent triangle, then roll up starting at the thicker end. Drizzle a small amount of soup mixture on the bottom of the dish. Then place the crescent rolls seam-side down on top of the creamed mixture in the casserole.
Drizzle the remaining sauce on top (you don’t have to use the full amount of cream sauce, just use as much as desired) and sprinkle with 1 cup (or more) grated cheese, or amount desired. Bake for about 30 minutes.

Tara’s Notes:  This was very good as-is.  I’m a spicy food eater, though, so this was a little bland for my taste.  I think next time I may add some roasted red peppers to the filling to give it a little pick-me-up.  I ended up baking the dish for a total of 45 minutes.  I thought the crescent rolls needed a little more browning at the 30 minute mark.  This may depend on your oven.


If you give either of these recipes a try, let me know how you like them.


Grayson, Lindsey, & Baby Taylor!

For those that don’t know, this is my sister Lindsey and brother-in-law Grayson.  Last weekend, we took this special photograph at the end of our family photo shoot.  We didn’t explain anything.  Shelby just handed them the picture frames and I snapped away.  I’m not sure who realized what this meant first but there were a lot of excited screams in my ears.

That’s right!  I’m going to be an Aunt!!!

Nana Pat

Mark, Lindsey, Carol, & Grayson

Mark & Lindsey

Aren’t the next two pictures precious?

Lindsey & Nana Pat

Lindsey, & Nana Pat

Congratulations, Lindsey & Grayson!  I can’t wait to meet Baby Taylor in March 2012!

Grayson, Lindsey, & Baby Taylor!

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