Monday, April 8, 2013

earthquake cake

Before I decided to go dairy free for the month of April, I found and made this pinterest find.
I love chocolate. This recipe is an explosion of just that. So if you need a fun, quick recipe this one is for you.

I made a couple of changes that I'm sure everyone would be a-ok with. Dark chocolate is the best. Hands down. The original recipe called for German Chocolate cake mix....that just wasn't going to do it for me. I bought dark chocolate cake mix. The recipe also called for semi-sweet chocolate chips...I bought dark chocolate. YUM.

Before and After

Earthquake Cake (Courtney's way)
 1 cup coconut
1 cup chopped nuts
1 box dark chocolate cake mix
1 8oz package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter (1 stick) softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Grease a 9-by-13-inch pan. Sprinkle nuts and coconut on bottom of pan.
Mix cake mix as directed on box. Pour over nuts and coconut.

In a separate mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese, butter, sugar and vanilla with a hand mixer on low to medium-low until well blended (add the sugar about a half cup at a time to prevent a powder explosion). This mixture will look like thick cheesecake batter.

Drop by spoonfuls over the chocolate cake batter, leaving at least a one-inch margin around the sides of the pan (this prevents the cheesecake from bubbling over).

Weave a butter knife in an s-pattern through the batter to create a swirl, but be sure not to disturb the nuts and coconut — keep the knife very shallow. Sprinkle with the dark chocolate chips.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

it's a go blue day

I love Mitch McGary. He's my favorite. I love his energy, his hustle, his spirit.  I love little Spike, Trey, Tim, and Robinson when he decides to play some D. I share in my husbands frustration when Stauskas most the time, but all in all they are a great group....a group that has done well and played hard. A group that will hopefully beat Syracuse and get to the championship game. Oh please, oh please, oh please.

I love everything about march madness. I love the upsets, that last shot that makes or breaks, and the overall energy of the tournament. I hate losing to my husband in our brackets. Ugh, defeat.

This year Jason and I were lucky enough to watch the first round in Detroit at the Palace. Stuffy nosed and not feeling the best we still ventured over to the East side and cheered on the boys. (Boys....I sometimes forget how young they are. What an amazing ride this must be for them...I can't even imagine.) Packed with so many fans that had traveled from near and far to support their teams the Palace was loud, and it was awesome. It was a first of firsts for me in two ways. It was my very first Michigan basketball game and tournament game experience.  I'm super thankful that we were able to check this one off the bucket list.

Jason will be heading down to Atlanta on Friday afternoon to watch the game at the Georgia Dome. Lucky guy is he, awesome wife am I. I'm pretty jealous, but his girls will hold down the fort and we'll be cheering loud from the couch.

It's a Go Blue day! Beat Syracuse.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Easter 2013

Easter came and went pretty quickly, but what a great day of celebration it was. Our pastor, Rod, gave an amazing sermon per usual. We saw numerous baptisms and child dedications which always bring me to tears and warm my heart, and had a great family dinner followed by an egg hunt and a Michigan W.

Pretty perfect day.

Happy Easter from the Kingmas
 2012 vs. 2013 - Growing so big!!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

bread and wine

She's done it again. Absolutely captured my attention and speaks straight to my heart. Shauna Niequist's new book Bread and Wine (out April 15th) is wonderfully written. I love how she uses real life experience and is so easy to relate to. It's simple, truthful, and raw.

I've only just made a dent into the book, and I'm already offering a rave review. I had no doubt it would be just what I needed to read right now. God has a way of doing that for me something I need just when I need it.

The chapter that spoke to me the most last night was her chapter titled "Hungry." In a nutshell it's about her struggle with her self image and how it took her a very long time to embrace and admit that she was hungry...wanting to enjoy food and not have it dominate her life and betray her or make her feel ashamed that she wasn't a certain way...looked a certain way. With the joy of her first pregnancy she was able to let go and finally appreciate her body as her view of hunger shifted...which later gave her the opportunity to demonstrate grace and to make peace with imperfection when she looked in the mirror. (Page 36, Bread & Wine)

This chapter spoke to me because as a woman I believe that we always feel the pressure to be a certain way, act a certain way, react a certain way, and look a certain way. Mad when something doesn't fit the way we want, or when we step on the scale and it's not the number we want to see.
I admit I sometimes curse my closet and give the evil eye to that pair of pants that just don't quite fit post pregnancy. I promise myself I'll eat better, run longer, and give up mountain dew and pasta.

Then I read Chapter 3 of Bread & Wine and I feel better knowing that I'm not the only one. It's funny how that works. I keep reading and then there it is, the thing I've been needing to hear..

"I've lost the pounds and gained them, made and abandoned plans and promises, cried tears of frustration, pinched the back of my upper arms with hatred that scares me. And through it all, I've made friends, fallen in love, gotten married and become a mother. I've written and traveled and stayed up late with people I love. I've walked on the beach and in glittering city streets. I've kissed my baby's cheek's and danced with my husband and laughed until I cried with my best friends, and through all that it really didn't matter that I was heavier than I wanted to be."

Thank you Shauna, thank you.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

boo to the moo

When in pain, go dairy free. Well, at least that's what I've been told for the past couple of months. Now April is here, and I made a promise to myself to try giving up the moo for a month. (When I say moo, I mean dairy. Just to clear that up.)

It's Day 2, and this is hard. A lot harder than I thought it would be. Who knew so many of the delicious things that I love included dairy. Well, maybe you did, but I didn't. I already miss my morning peach chobani, half and half in my iced coffee, and 2% on my rice crispies. I'm slowing making friends with soy milk. It's...well...interesting. 

Why dairy free? Simply, it's in an effort to aid this irritating bank pain that I've had for the past two years. Once upon a time three short months ago while visiting some dear friends in the state that harbors our sworn enemies, the buckeyes, I came down with a very bad case of strep throat. Bad enough that I was put on multiple medications, including the steroid, Prednisone. Oh what a magical drug Prednisone is. I understand now why I was only given 5 days worth of this miracle pill because I felt amazing. Being that it is an anti-inflammatory drug, my sore throat wasn't as sore, and neither was my back. No pain. None at all.

I didn't realize it until day 2 when I woke up feeling refreshed and I realized it was because I had really slept. On any other day I'd have woken up around 2am, having tears sting my eyes because of the amount pain I was feeling just by rolling over. It was not fun, and I was exhausted.
This magical anti-inflammatory drug was a saving grace that week. When the meds were gone, the pain slowly came back, and I knew it was time to take action.

I've had massage after massage trying to aid it. Aleve and Motrin can't touch it.After speaking with my massage therapist, she suggested that I simply try an anti-inflammatory diet to see if it helps at all. I laughed at first, but then went home and did some research. So here I am. Dairy free and praying that by some miracle I can find a way to alleviate pain.

If you're reading this, and you have suggestions please oh please, I'd love to hear them.

Stay tuned...