Saturday, May 18, 2013


Last spring, I helped a friend plan an engagement party/Bridal shower for her sister and her sister's fiance. She was looking for interesting things to serve, and I suggested a cheeseball. This is the recipe we settled on, and I have made it several times since then. As it has become a favorite of mine, I thought I would share the recipe with all of you.


2 8-oz packages cream cheese, softened
2 c (8 oz) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3 Tbsp. finely chopped green onions
¼ cup finely chopped bell pepper
2 tsp season salt*
1 small can crushed pineapple, drained very, very very well
½ cup pecan pieces

Combine all ingredients, except pecans, in mixing bowl and mix well. Chill for several hours or overnight, then form into a ball. Coat cheeseball in pecans and chill for several more hours. Serve with crackers. Can also be served in a bowl, without the pecans/cheeseball shape.

*I usually add this ingredient. However, when I made this last night to take to an event this weekend, I omitted the season salt as I needed to make sure it was gluten free and I couldn't find anything on the bottle saying season salt was gluten free. I since did a google search to find out that Lawry's Season Salt is, indeed, gluten free. But the cheeseball is just as good with no salt, or a little table salt thrown in, too.

The Piano Guys

If you have not yet been introduced to the amazingness that is The Piano Guys...allow me to introduce you.

Dear blog readers.....The Piano Guys.

The Piano Guys....allow me to introduce you to my blog readers, who I'm sure will become big fans.

The Piano Guys actually consists of a piano guy, and a cello guy (and a bunch of backup guys). As they say, the first thing you should do after naming your group "The Piano Guys" is go find a cellist (ha ha ha). They do instrumental covers of popular songs, and then they do a music video that usually features the most beautiful scenery you've ever seen.

They released a new video this week. Their version of "Home" by Phillip Phillips (of American Idol fame). I like the original song....but I LOVE The Piano Guys version. They took a good song and made it amazing. Enjoy!

Other The Piano Guys Favorites:
1. What Makes You Beautiful (originally performed by OneDirection)
2. A Thousand Years (originally performed by Christina Perri)
3. Peponi [Paradise] (originally performed by Coldplay)
4. Beethoven's Five Secrets (a mashup of Beethoven's 5th Symphony and Secrets by One Republic)
5. Over The Rainbow/Simple Gifts (based on the version by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole and the Shaker hymn)

Actually...just visit their channel. Everything they put out is fantastic.

Happy Listening!

Monday, May 13, 2013

I Just Gotta Say.....

....There is not much that smells better than fresh cut lilacs in the spring.

I love this time of year!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Book Review: The Bridesmaid (Beverly Lewis)

When updating my “Book Reviews” tab, I realized that somehow (don’t ask me how!) my review of The Fiddler by Beverly Lewis never got published! I loved this book so how the review never got shared is beyond me….let me remedy that now!

The Bridesmaid is the second book in Beverly Lewis's Home to Hickory Hollow series. This book is special in that we met the main character, Joanna, in the first book in the series, The Fiddler. While the series takes place in a location familiar to readers of other Lewis novels, and while each book can stand alone with its own story, it was really nice to hear Joanna's story, having gotten to know her in the first book.

Joanna Kurtz is the classic story of "always a bridesmaid, never a bride." While she has stood up with many of her friends at the altar, she has never had the opportunity to stand up as a bride.

Joanna meets Eben Troyer, and falls in love. The only problem is Eben lives in Indiana....and his plan to marry Joanna depends on his brother. See, his brother has gone off to the English world, and unless he returns, Eben can't leave his family in Indiana. 

There is also a side story in the book, also focusing on Joanna, on the fact that she is a writer. She writes stories. And that is certainly not encouraged in the Amish community! In fact it is frowned upon.....will it backfire on her? And will Joanna become a bride, finally? You'll have to read to find out.

As usual, I enjoyed this book. Another winning series from Beverly Lewis!

I received this book from Bethany House publishers. The opinions in my review are entirely my own.

Book Review: Courting Cate (Leslie Gould)

I believe that Courting Cate is the first book I've read by Leslie Gould, and I heartily enjoyed it. An Courting Cate tells the story of Cate and her sister Betsy, who live with their father, a widower, on his farm. Betsy is outgoing. Cate, on the other hand? She somewhat resembles her namesake from Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew.
easy read,

The problem is that their father will not let Betsy marry until Cate, the older sister, has married. This would be fine except that, while Betsy has no trouble finding a potential suitor, Cate has lots of trouble. She is not the most agreeable person in the world, and has driven away every possible suitor, for one reason or another.

Then Pete Treger arrives on the scene. Pete is, of course, attracted to Betsy (as is every other bachelor in the area) but once he realizes he is not the only one knocking on Betsy's door, he goes after Cate. Cate, meanwhile, has decided she needs to start finding a man so that poor Betsy can finally get married, too.

Will Cate find love? I'll let you read the book to find that out.

I enjoyed this book. As mentioned previously, it was an easy read....perfect reading material for a rainy day, or a summer day under a nice shade tree. I enjoyed the subtle references to The Taming of the Shrew. I'm eager to try reading some more of Leslie Gould's books.

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House publishers. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Book Review: The Guardian (Beverly Lewis)

Janette Oke is the author who hooked me on Christian Fiction, and Beverly Lewis is the author who hooked me on Amish Fiction. Whenever Beverly Lewis comes out with a new book, I am eager to dig in. The Guardian is the third book in the Home to Hickory Hollow series. While some characters may seem familiar from previous series', the stories and protagonists are brand new. I've enjoyed the entire series, but this post is not to talk about the series as a whole, but rather about The Guardian.

In the book, we meet Maryanna, a young Amish widow, who dotes on her youngest daughter, Sarah. Sarah is a quiet, sweet little girl, spoiled, in many ways. One night while the family is returning home from a function, Sarah falls out of the buggy and it is not until the family returns home that they realize what has happened. The Amish search for her, but to no avail.

Meanwhile, we meet Jodi...a 20-something teacher, who is housesitting for her cousins in Pennsylvania. One day while out on a run, Jodi stumbles upon little Sarah. She returns Sarah to her home, and makes some new friends.

I won't spoil the storyline with more details. I will just say that, as with every other Beverly Lewis book I've ready, I loved this one. The storyline drew me in, and I was transported to Lancaster County. I recommend this book if you are a Beverly Lewis fan, a Christian/Amish Fiction fan, or just want an easy book to read. You don't need to have read the previous two books in the series - each one can easily stand on its own.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers (thank you!!!!). The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.