Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Just in Time for Mother's Day...A Steeped Tea Teapot Giveaway

What do you think of when Mother's Day rolls around? All the things she's done for you? All the times she put herself on the back burner to make sure you had what you needed? How about all the boo-boos she's doctored up and broken hearts she's tended to? Besides all those things, I think of pampering and beauty. I think of dainty china and tea parties. Even though I don't do many tea parties or go to High Tea much, I do associate the two with Mother's Day. I must say, I do enjoy a good cuppa tea from time to time!
My SIL's sweet friend, Nancy of Steeped Tea, sent me some delicious tea a while back to try. It came at the perfect time...just as we were suffering from sinus infections and colds. My husband drank several cups of the Jenna Jubilee Fruit Tea in an effort to soothe his sore throat and get to feeling better. As I was nursing everyone back to health, I couldn't help but think that delicious tea might be the perfect item for a giveaway.

I love the idea behind Steeped Tea. From the founder, "This company began as a passionate search for the perfect cup of tea. Along the way we discovered that the secret was who you shared it with." 
So, in that spirit, we want to share Steeped Tea with all of you! One of you will win this adorable teapot and some other goodies!
The winner of this Steeped Tea Giveaway will get:

Blue Key West Teapot {This 6-cup ceramic teapot has a built-in mesh infuser}. 
Perfect Pot Spoon {stainless and dishwasher safe - each scoop is 4 teaspoons}
1(1.75 oz) pkg. Chocolate Almond Torte Black Tea {Almond & chocolate dessert that fits perfectly in your cup.}
1(1.75 oz) pkg. Iron Goddess Oolong Tea {Most famous of all the Oolong teas}
1(1.75 oz) pkg. Very Cranberry Green Tea {Green Tea fuses with cranberry, papaya and mango for a bold taste.}

All together, this is an $80 value! It would make a perfect Mother's Day gift either for yourself or the special tea drinker in your life.
Did you happen to notice that the teapot and tea towel are my signature colors? Too bad I can't win the giveaway ;-) This giveaway will run through Saturday night. We'll choose a winner on Sunday so that she can hopefully receive this before Mother's Day! Be sure to share this giveaway with your friends!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
“If you are cold, tea will warm you;
if you are too heated, it will cool you;
If you are depressed, it will cheer you;
If you are excited, it will calm you.” 
I'm linking up at some of these great parties and

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow? Well, it's springtime, and for many would-be gardeners, that means it's time to start planting for a summer harvest. I'll admit, I'm not a big gardener. I'm not really a fan of all the dirt and weeds and maintenance that encompass the life of a gardener. I certainly appreciate the fruit of all that labor, but so far, I have not been one to spend a lot of time with my hands in the dirt. However, starting my Spring Garden is one of the things at the top of my To-Do list.
Fall Tower Garden
"Why start a garden if you don't really enjoy the prep work, the planting and the tending?" you might ask. Well, the truth is, I get bogged down in the logistics of things. I asked for years for hubby to build a raised bed garden. "We'll have to move all the sprinkler heads and rework the sprinkler system," he argued. Picture me with my head hanging low. It's not a hill I'm willing to die on...
Green Beans on Tower Garden
So, last year, my dad gave me a Tower Garden to try out. It's an aeroponic vertical growing garden that doesn't require any dirt, doesn't grow weeds, and won't require us to redo our landscaping. You purchase nutrients to add to the water that gets pumped up from the reservoir. While it's not free to garden this way, it's been a bit cheaper than building the raised beds, hauling in dirt, and moving sprinkler lines.
Choosing Seeds for Tower Garden
I didn't get started until August of last year, but I was really excited about the growing process, which I also used as an excuse to teach the kids about botany.
Seedlings to put on the Tower Garden
I started the seeds in rock wool at the beginning of August and was planting seedlings within a couple of weeks. Here's what I planted on this little tower: tomatoes, green leaf lettuce, gourmet red lettuce, spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, cilantro, parsley, dill, jalapeño peppers, bell pepper mix, cucumbers, yellow squash, zucchini.
Seedlings in Tower Garden
Most of the plants just started taking off; however, some never made it beyond the seedling.
Tower Garden
Each week, the anticipation grew as more leaves sprouted.
Jalapeño on Tower Garden
Then, little buds formed. Flowers and tiny fruit.
Tower Garden
It continued to grow...almost all of the original seedlings grew into beautiful plants.
Harvesting Lettuce on Tower Garden
I harvested some of the tender lettuce pretty early on.
Green Bean Harvest from Tower Garden
Then, the beans sprouted and produced a handful or more a week.
Tower Garden
I watched the squash start blooming, then die off, always keeping the large gorgeous leaves.
Large Squash Plants on Tower Garden
The cucumbers started growing...a couple actually matured enough to eat. The tomatoes produced lots of flowers, and some little tomatoes, but soon the temperatures cooled off too much to ripen them.
Tower Garden
I had a couple of large broccoli and cauliflower plants that probably would have produced some delicious fruit, if not for the frost that took them out in early November.
Full Grown Tower Garden
Last year's Tower Garden experience was truly an experiment for me. I learned a lot about what works and what doesn't, I learned about protecting the plants from the elements and about pollination, and I learned that I really do love the nurturing and pruning part of gardening. I am so excited to get going on it this week, to start those seeds and see what delicious bounty I will have this season.

Are you a gardener? Have you already started your seedlings? How does your garden the ground, raised bed or containers? I'd love to hear about your gardening adventures and experiments!
I'm linking up at some of these great parties and

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Food for the Soul ~ Resurrection Sunday ~ Romans 6:8-11

Wishing you and your family a wonderful Easter! May your day be filled with the hope that can only come from our Risen Lord! So thankful to be alive in Christ! He is Risen! He is Risen, indeed!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Mix and Roll Sugar Cookies

Are you ready for a super easy rolled cookie recipe? My kiddos love making cookies, especially the kind that you roll out and decorate. I've got pictures of my youngest making Christmas cookies and there was more colored sugar covering the cookies than actual cookie itself. She is a lot more (ahem) sparing with the sprinkles now that she is older. It's more of an art form now.
Mix and Roll Sugar Cookies
These Mix and Roll Sugar Cookies were ready for her to decorate to her heart's content in just a few minutes.
Cake Mix Roll Out Cookies Ingredients
Here's what you need: cake mix, butter, shortening, flavor extract, egg, and colored sugar or frosting.
Mix and Roll Sugar Cookies process
Just mix it up.
Mix and Roll Sugar Cookies process
Roll and cut.
Mix and Roll Sugar Cookies Decorating
Decorate and bake.
Mix and Roll Sugar Cookies
Let them chill out on the cooling rack for a bit.

Mix and Roll Sugar Cookies
(adapted from Betty Crocker)

1 yellow cake mix (or any other flavor)
1/2 cup softened butter
1/3 cup shortening
1 tsp. almond extract (lemon or vanilla would be tasty too)
1 egg
colored sugar or frosting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In mixing bowl, combine cake mix, butter, shortening, egg and extract. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then high for 1 minute.

Divide dough into thirds. Using a floured rolling pin, roll out each portion onto lightly floured work surface to about 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into shapes with cookie cutters and place on ungreased baking sheet or one outfitted with a baking mat. Sprinkle with colored sugar, if desired.

Bake for 6-8 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool for a minute on the baking sheet, then transfer to cooling rack. Decorate with frosting, if you didn't use the colored sugar.
Mix and Roll Sugar Cookies on a plate with coconut grass
These were seriously so, so easy. Normally, you have to refrigerate sugar cookie dough first...not so with this one. Almost instant gratification! Make sure you keep your work surface and rolling pin floured and you will have no problems with this dough sticking. These also had the perfect texture...just a bit crunchy with a yummy, buttery flavor.
Mix and Roll Sugar Cookies place setting with coconut grass
Cut into the shape of a flower, they could be put in a bed of green "grass" (colored coconut) on a small plate and used on each place setting at the Easter table or for Mother's Day.
I'm linking up at some of these great parties and

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

All Things Thursday Blog Hop #41 and Features

Welcome to the 41st All Things Thursday Blog Hop! We're so happy to have you party with us! Check out some of the wonderful projects your fellow party-goers are linking up, and please share what you've been working on too.
Here are some of the great projects and recipes linked up last week! If you missed them, follow the links to check them out too.
Peeps Houses by Yesterfood
Chicken Caesar Salad Subs by Life with the Crust Cut Off
Chocolate Hot Cross Buns by Butter & Jam Blog
White Chocolate Party Mix by Casual Craftlete
Mushroom Yard Art by Little Vintage Cottage

We now have an All Things Thursday Pinterest Board where each of us hosts will be pinning our features from the week.  Just another way to bring attention to your great creativity! If you were featured this week, be sure to grab a button.

All Things with Purpose
Okay, it's time to link up those awesome projects you've been working on! We can't wait to see what you've brought to the party. Don't forget to visit some of the other links. Everyone loves a sweet comment!
All Things Thursday Blog Hop
Are you new to Posed Perfection? I'd love to connect with you!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Chicken Ravioli with Homemade Tomato Cream Sauce

When we lived in Arizona, one of our family's gathering places was a restaurant called Carabba's. My absolute favorite dish there was Mezzaluna, which is a half moon ravioli with chicken, ricotta and spinach along with their tomato cream sauce. My SIL, Donna, gave me this recipe for a Homemade Tomato Cream Sauce that pairs wonderfully with store-bought chicken ravioli. Now I can have the taste of the Mezzaluna without having to leave the house (other than having to get ingredients, of course).
Homemade Tomato Cream Sauce
Chicken Ravioli with Homemade Tomato Cream Sauce

1/2 stick butter
3 Tbsp. chopped onion
3 Tbsp. chopped carrot
3 Tbsp. chopped celery
1 can Italian tomatoes (or use regular diced tomatoes with 1 tsp. minced garlic and 1 tsp. Italian seasoning)
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp. salt (adjust as needed)
1 tsp. sugar
1/3 - 1/2 cup water
1/4 to 1/2 cup heavy cream or half & half
1 package chicken ravioli

Melt butter in large sauce pan. Saute onion, carrot and celery for a few minutes. Add in tomatoes, salt and sugar. Simmer for about 1 hour adding a little water about halfway through cooking time. Transfer to blender and puree. Return to sauce pan over low heat and add 1/4 to 1/2 cup heavy cream (or half & half). Heat through. Meanwhile, cook ravioli according to package instructions. Pour tomato cream sauce over cooked ravioli and top with Parmesan cheese.
Homemade Tomato Cream Sauce
One of these days, I'll get the nerve to try my hand at making homemade ravioli. Until then, I'll take the shortcut with the pasta and just top it with this delicious tomato cream sauce. It's a great way to fool the tastebuds...kind of like when I make a cake with a mix and then top it with frosting made from scratch. What's your favorite shortcut in the kitchen that delivers almost the same taste as "from scratch"?
I'm linking up at some of these great parties and

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Food for the Soul ~ Psalm 147:11

Did you know that when you fear God you put a smile on His face? John Piper describes the fear of the Lord as "the fear of straying from Him," which "expresses itself in taking refuge in God." He longs for you to take refuge under the cover of His wings and to trust in His unfailing love.
We've been talking with our Women of Grace girls about what it means to fear God. We usually associate fear with driving away something or someone. But fearing the Lord actually draws us deeper into His loving arms. Oh, that we would always know the "fear of straying from Him"! May the joy of the LORD be your strength and your song this week!