Lentil "Meatballs"

27 February 2013

Ryan loves pretty much everything I cook.
And although he thinks everything tastes delicious, he likes to complain when dishes don't involve red meat.

He doesn't like that I use ground turkey in a lot of things....and he doesn't like when I create "fake meat" dinners.

It's just a mental thing, because if I never told him there was ground turkey in something, he wouldn't know.

A couple nights ago I decided I wanted to use the extra lentils I had from Whole Foods to make "meatballs". Ryan was all about the Italian feast, until he saw me rolling meatless meatballs. I told him to stop being a baby and wait until he tried them before judging.

Halfway through dinner I looked over at him (and his almost empty bowl) and asked if he liked them. He cringed because he knew I was thinking "I told you so".

And so I give you this delicious recipe for Lentil "Meatballs"!
They truly were so scrumptious. Even meat lovers will enjoy them.


Lentil "Meatballs"

13 meatballs

Ingredients
- 1/2 cup lentils, rinsed
- 1 bay leaf
- 4oz mushrooms
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp wine, white or red
- 1/2 cup broth, chicken, beef or vegetable
- 1 tbsp worchestire sauce
- 1/2 cup oats
- 1 tsp fennel
- 1/2 tsp basil
- 1/4 tsp thyme
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper

Instructions
1// Place rinsed lentils, the bay leaf and 1 cup of water into a sauce pan. Bring to a boil and then simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes only. Drain the lentils and throw away the bay leaf.

2// Pour lentils, mushrooms (I used canned), and onions in a food processor. Pulse until coarsely chopped.

3// Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Sautee garlic for a minute. Add the lentil mixture and stir. Cook for 3 minutes. Add in wine and stir until it evaporates. Then mix in the broth (I used chicken), worchestire, oats, and all of the spices.

4// Once the mixture has dried out a bit, remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl. Place in the freezer for 5 minutes. Spray a mini muffin pan with cooking spray.

5// Remove the bowl from the freezer and make 3 tbsp sized meatballs. Place each meatball in a mini muffin slot. Bake in the oven 40-45 minutes.

6// Serve with pasta and sauce or even on their own with pesto.


Oh yum....

{adapted from}


"I love life. I love being happy. I could sit and watch the ocean go by all day long..."
Check out more from Robin's awesome life:

I Wanna Know...{Week 11}

26 February 2013

I wrote a post a few months back.

I basically opened the floor and gave you guys a chance to ask me ANYTHING.
When I say anything, I mean anything! Blogging, marriage, army, crafting, shopping...


I'd love for you to submit a question for me to answer & for you to be featured next week!!!
Click Here


Week #11! I can't believe it's been almost 3 months and I still have so many great questions that come in. I always try to include both blogging & personal questions.

Brooke
Question #1: When did you start providing the option for people to sponsor you? Is there a right or wrong way to begin? Do you sponsor other people?

Hey Girl! I'm actually answering a second question of yours at the bottom of this post too (: This is going to be a LONG answer.

I believe you should offer a Sponsor page on your blog from day #1. Use Passionfruit. I cannot stress that enough. It is free and it will make your life so much easier. At the beginning, offer swaps. Offer swaps as long as you like. I made the decision in the beginning that I would always offer swap size ads for ANY blog. This was based on the fact that I was appreciative of the women who swapped with me when I started out and I always wanted to provide that to other girls. You don't have to have swaps forever, that is just my take on it. I would say that around 300 followers you're safe to start charging. I think I started with 2 paid slots: a smaller one for $2 and a large one for $4. It's nice to offer paid slots because some girls want their ad on top. And companies won't be able to offer you sponsorship until you give them a slot to buy. After that, I based increasing the cost on how the slots were doing. If they were full and booked through the next month, I knew it was time to raise the prices. I always raise the cost by $2. I never want the cost to seem insane, so I frequently look at other blogs my size and try to make sure our prices are around the same. Those are my opinions on starting ads for your blog. I don't think there is a right or wrong time to start charging, but I do think every girl should at least offer swaps. It's a free way to grow!

Now I do want to say something about paid ad spots. I offer them to other bloggers who want to grow and expose their blog. I pride myself on the fact that I invest a ton of time into my sponsors. You don't just get your ad on my sidebar for most of my slots. I video chat you, work with you to set goals and help you grow as best I can. You should never promise these things with an ad spot if you aren't going to fulfill them. Sponsorships take a lot of time for me. So just consider that as well when deciding to do paid slots. Your sponsors are paying for a service, so don't let them down!

I also don't believe on posting monthly posts saying "Sponsor me next month!". I'm not hating on anyone who does (I know the majority of bloggers do this), I just personally think it's tacky and I don't feel the need to ask people to sponsor me. I've stuck with that policy and my ads are ALWAYS full and booked for months out. Also, don't make your ad spots so expensive that you have to offer 30% discount codes on a weekly basis. Just make your ads affordable and you will have plenty of sponsors.

Do I sponsor other blogs? I do. I will tell you I have only sponsored less than 5 though. I got to where I am today by swapping for the most part. I continue to swap whenever I can. As your blog grows, buying ads on a blog that would promote you becomes increasingly expensive. Right now, to get my ad on a blog that I would consider a "good investment ad slot", it would cost between $50-70 a month. Therefore, I have to save money and choose wisely when it comes to who I sponsor. At 200-300 followers, you have an insane amount of blogs to choose from. The pool is a lot smaller for me. I not only look for a blog with 1000+ more followers than me, but also an ad spot that will be more than just my button on their sidebar. Those two things combined will ensure I get my advertising money's worth from that $50-70 I drop. Again, all of these are just what I have found that works for me, so take it or leave it!

Clara
Question #2: Do you have a favorite cookbook you like to use?

Hi Clara! Most of my recipes I make up. If I ever need inspiration or just want to make myself extremely hungry, my go to's are the Food Network Magazine and Pinterest!







Jax
Question #3: How do you store your makeup, hair and beauty products? Especially since you get items like Birchbox in the mail?

Hey Jax! I won't lie...getting new freebies each month from Birchbox is a little overwhelming. Since they are such small items, I usually keep them all in a small makeup bag on my counter so I remember to use them and try them out! As for my other products...all my hair and body stuff is in a tote that I leave under the counter. I store my hairdryer and straightener under there as well. Our current house has NO storage (not even a medicine cabinet) in our bathroom, so I have to settle with under the counter space. In the past, buying a plastic set of drawers (about thigh height) always worked well. I love to be organized, so having separate little drawers for everything is a really great way to go.

Jolynda
Question #4: How do you deal with negative comments left on your blog and how do I stop people from being "Anonymous"?

Oh girl - Honestly, if it's a really mean comment, cry about it if you want. Vent to your husband or friend. Whatever you need to do. And then let it go. Unless the comment may have some truth to it and you want to address it publicly on your blog, I say it's best to just delete it and leave it alone. I can't stand when girls freak out over a comment or an email and then blast it out on their blog or twitter. I've been told many a time: You knew going into blogging that you were putting yourself out there...so you can't be surprised when not every single person in the world loves you. Do I agree with anonymous posting? No. I think those people are being cowards. If they don't like something I wrote or have a problem with me, they should have the guts to tell me themselves.

In the past few months I discovered a website that's sole purpose is to rip apart and bash bloggers. Thousands of pathetic people sit on the site and create thread after thread on this message board about bloggers. I am encouraging anyone reading this to NOT go and try to find this site. Not only will you be "upping" their traffic, you will also increase their searchability on Google. I only found this site because I noticed a ton of traffic coming into my blog from it. When I read the thread that was about me I was devastated at first. I almost cried, I emailed a few blog friends and I called Ryan. The stuff they were writing about me was so hurtful...and completely untrue! Our first instinct is to defend ourselves, but I knew if I tried that I would only bring more attention from them. They attacked me as a person, they attacked my marriage and they said some of the most ridiculous things I have ever seen. I emailed Erin when I saw she was also listed on their stupid board. She told me to cry, vent and let it go. She made the decision, "These people don't know me. If they meet me in person and still want to say those awful things about me then that's fine." It's easy to bully from behind a computer screen and as "anonymous".

You can block "Anonymous" people from posting on your blog though. Go to your Blogger dashboard and click "Settings". Then under Posts & Comments where it says "Who can comment?" - choose Registered User. That will at least keep people from writing on your posts (:


I hope you guys enjoyed seeing some of your questions answered! I'll be back next Tuesday with more!


I'd love for you to submit a question for me to answer & for you to be featured next week!!!
Click Here


"I love life. I love being happy. I could sit and watch the ocean go by all day long..."
Check out more from Robin's awesome life:

February Cara Box Reveal {Link Up}

25 February 2013


I am so excited to see all of the #ClubSexy Cara Boxes that were sent this month!

Today is the day for all of the lovely ladies who participated in this month's Cara Box Exchange to reveal their amazing boxes!

If you want to know more about the Cara Box Exchange, click on the tab at the top of my blog (:

February's theme was "#ClubSexy".
It was based off of a post I wrote about a month ago.
Everyone was supposed to get to know their partners and create a box that would be the ULTIMATE date night for them.

My beautiful partners were Elise & Jami.

I got to know Elise (even better than I already did) and sent her a box (you can visit her blog to see what I sent her!) I've known Elise since I basically started my blog, so I was excited to get paired with her.

Jami and I chatted and she set out to make me an amazing date night.
Instead of mailing my box, I had the chance to meet up with her and Little Miss to receive my package!!!


This month was special. I tried to pair girls within their states to give them the opportunity to have blates with each other. (blates: blogger + date)

We met at Panera and had a great lunch...chatting and laughing and getting makeup tips from Little Miss.


Jami created such a thoughtful box. I told her that I loved spending time with Ryan at home. A few drinks, a delicious dinner we could make together, cozying up on the couch...lately Ryan has had really long work weeks, so by the weekend, he is beat. It's nice to just relax sometimes, instead of running around like crazy.


She gave me a bottle of mixer so Ryan could make me delicious beverages while he enjoys a few beers.


Heart ice cube trays to put a little love in those yummy drinks.


She made me two of the cutest recipe cards I have ever seen...


Chicken Enchiladas and "Knock You Naked" Brownies....OoOoOo La La...


She made us this precious board to write lovey dovey notes to each other.
(She had no idea that I had a disaster with a similar board)


A cute mug and some of her favorite tea for snuggling up while watching a movie.


And Little Miss gave me some candles to set the mood.

I loved getting her card and reading her encouraging words. I am so happy that I met Jami and that we live close enough to each other that we can be real life friends!

So what did you get in your box?!
Link up below and show off your amazing date night supplies!!!

I asked last week for anyone to submit Cara Box theme ideas! If you have an idea, post a comment below or email me. If your theme is chosen, I will feature your blog that month and give you credit for your awesome idea. Coming up with themes has been easy, but I know with time it will definitely get harder. I've heard some really creative suggestions so far and I love it!


Keep an eye out for the March Cara Box announcement on March 1st (:







"I love life. I love being happy. I could sit and watch the ocean go by all day long..."
Check out more from Robin's awesome life:

I Wanna Know...{Week 10}

19 February 2013


I had a great response to my post a few months back.

I basically opened the floor and gave you guys a chance to ask me ANYTHING.
When I say anything, I mean anything! Blogging, marriage, army, crafting, shopping...

I'd love for you to submit a question for me to answer & for you to be featured next week!!!
Click Here

Yay for Week #10! I can't believe I get so many amazing questions every week. I always try to include both blogging & personal questions.

Sybil
Question #1: Twitter: Yes? No? What are the benefits? Are there any negatives?

Hey Sybil! Alright, Twitter is a definite thumbs up. If you don't have an account, get one immediately. I know it can be scary. What's a tweet? How come people put # in front of long run on words? I don't know what to say!!! Trust me, I put off getting Twitter as long as possible and I really regret that. First of all, Twitter is the most used social media in my opinion. By having a Twitter account, you allow your readers an easy, quick way to connect with you. It's like a text message, but you don't have to give out your personal number. Secondly, Twitter is a great way to get exposure for your blog. You can tweet out new blog posts or giveaways you are hosting. Third, if you ever want to grow your blog into more of the business side as well, one of the first things companies want to know is how many Twitter and FB followers you have. They want to know that if they sponsor you or give you a product to review, you'll be able to blast it out amongst a ton of people. I say YES YES YES to Twitter! It will help you and your blog grow so much.

The only negative drawback I can see is sometimes people use Twitter in a rude or negative way. They will use it to cut down or be mean to other bloggers. My take on this is that they could be tweeting mean things about you whether you have a Twitter or not, so I wouldn't let that deter you. It's not something I see often, but it does happen.

Holly
Question #2: How do you get in on all these awesome giveaways? I would love to help sponsor one, but I'm not sure how to go about it.

Hi Holly! I think you are asking about the big giveaways I host. I can tell you that personally, my invites go out to my Sponsors first and then to a list I keep of small bloggers who have talked to me about growing their blogs. I think that the majority of bloggers handle their giveaways in the same way. Usually Sponsors are the first to get invites. It's a perk that is frequently listed as something you get with an Ad spot.

I can say that last month I sent out an email for the Michael Kors watch giveaway. I went to the grocery store and 20 minutes later I already had TOO MANY girls signed up. My slots for giveaways go really fast. I always do sign ups on first come, first serve basis.

I encourage girls to do giveaways as much as they are able. It is (in my opinion) the best way to get exposure for your blog and make new bloggy friends! If you don't have money to chip in for a big prize giveaway, sometimes you can find giveaways where the host will accept Ad space. That's always a great way to go!

My Sponsors get exposure depending on which Ad spot they purchase (the In Post Ad is obviously the most bang for your buck), but I know their insane amount of followers come from my giveaways. Just to give you an idea, the average gain for the Michael Kors giveaway was 200+ followers each girl. That's a ton of exposure!!! Giveaways are definitely a great way to go if you have the means to participate (:

Ashley
Question #3: How do you come up with the Cara Box themes?

Hey girl! The Cara Box themes just magically appear in my head. Ha. Sometimes I don't come up with the theme until the day I am announcing that month. I try to mix in themes that apply to the time of year (fall, valentine's day..) with themes that are random (childhood). Anyone who reads this: if you have creative Cara Box themes or ideas of what you would like a box to be focused on in the future, please email me!!! I would love suggestions (:

Mandy
Question #4: What's one life changing thing you've done since entering your 20s?

Mandy, I would say the most life changing thing I've done, was make the decision to move to Atlanta back in January 2011. I was born and raised in Florida. I left Orlando and went to college at FSU (north Florida), but I never left the state. My family was there, my friends were there - I just never saw myself leaving.

Then in the Fall of 2010, I went to a conference for my job. I had Lyme Disease at the time and was so sick. Every night instead of hanging out with everyone from the conference, I would have to go to my room and give myself IV meds. Because I was so ill at the time, I wasn't going to go. But something forced me to have the strength, and I went. I met a few people at the conference who told me I should take an opening in Atlanta. There were tons of people my age and the city was amazing. I went home and told my parents, "I'm going to get that job opening and move." They thought I was crazy, but by November I had the offer letter and was set to go.

January I moved and I knew absolutely no one. I found a roommate online. Yeah, I was scared to death. She turned out to be one of the greatest friends I have ever had and was a bridesmaid in my wedding - so it worked out (: I also had just broken up with my boyfriend of 3 years. Those first three months in Atlanta were awful. I won't lie. I cried myself to sleep most nights asking "Why did you do this to yourself?! You made yourself move here and now you are so lonely and sad!!". But then I made a life in Atlanta and I loved it.

October that year, the Atlanta plant began doing layoffs. To keep the job I loved, I would have to move...again...To a strange place where I knew no one. I cried and cried but finally accepted it. I made plans to move to Nashville. On my house hunting trip in December I met Ryan....

Hindsight is 20/20...had I not taken that leap of faith and moved to Atlanta, I would never have been forced to move to Nashville...I would have never met Ryan. I cannot imagine not being married to Ryan or living the life I now lead.

Coming from a girl who thought she would live in Florida forever, I have now moved 4 times in less than 2 years!!! Atlanta - Nashville - Arizona - Colorado.

Take risks. Trust your heart and God. You will look back one day and be so glad you did (:



I hope you guys enjoyed seeing some of your questions answered! I'll be back next Tuesday with more!

I'd love for you to submit a question for me to answer & for you to be featured next week!!!
Click Here


"I love life. I love being happy. I could sit and watch the ocean go by all day long..."
Check out more from Robin's awesome life:

Skinny Stroganoff

18 February 2013

I love comfort food.
I just hate the calories that usually come with it.

On thing my mom used to make us a lot when I was little was beef stroganoff.
There is something about the beef, mushrooms and creaminess that I just LOVE.
It is not a very healthy recipe though.

Last week I set off to make a healthy beef stroganoff.
And oh how I succeeded.
We then turned the stroganoff into stroganoff burgers, but that's another recipe for a different day.

By substituting ground turkey and some other main ingredients, I seriously cut back on calories, without sacrificing flavor. You can serve the stroganoff over a ton of different things. I chose to use protein-packed wheat pasta, but you could even eat the stroganoff alone to cut calories further.



Skinny Stroganoff

serves 2-3

Ingredients
20oz ground turkey
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 can healthy request cream of mushroom soup
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp salt
8oz plain greek yogurt
1/2 cup beef or chicken broth (I've tried both and they are equally good!)

Instructions
1// Brown ground turkey over medium high heat. Add in onion and cook until it begins to look translucent.

2// Mix in the mushrooms, garlic, cayenne, and worcestershire sauce. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.

3// Empty the can of mushroom soup into the skillet and stir well. Add in the thyme and salt. Turn the heat down to low.

4// Stir in the greek yogurt. Once mixed, slowly add in the broth. You can add more if you want a thinner gravy.

5// Spoon over pasta or even eat by itself! Serve immediately.



Yummo!



"I love life. I love being happy. I could sit and watch the ocean go by all day long..."
Check out more from Robin's awesome life:

Easy Red Velvet Pancakes

13 February 2013

The theme of this week is Valentine's Day!

I've focused on not only bringing you Valentine's posts & recipes, but also tried to offer easy versions of everything! That way anyone can find the time to celebrate this holiday.

This recipe is no exception (:

I don't know if you knew this, but yesterday was Pancake Day!! It is always the Tuesday before Lent starts. It dates back a few centuries ago when people would try and use up all their fattening ingredients before they started fasting. Most people made pancakes for at least one of the meals that day. Now this holiday is celebrated all over the world!

Pancake Day + Valentine's Day = Red Velvet Pancakes


These are so easy!

I used the other 1/2 of the Red Velvet Cake mix from my Homemade Red Velvet Ice Cream.


Easy Red Velvet Pancakes

12 pancakes

Pancakes
2 cups red velvet cake mix
1 egg
2 tbsp vegetable/canola oil
1 cup milk

Cream Cheese Syrup
1/4 cup butter
2oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese
1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1-3 tbsp of milk


1// Heat a skillet over medium low heat. In a bowl, mix together the red velvet cake mix, egg, oil & 1 cup milk. Stir well.

2// Spray the skillet with cooking spray. Pour circles of 1-3 tbsp of batter into the skillet. After 2-3 minutes, flip the pancakes. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.

3// In a microwave safe bowl, warm the butter & cream cheese until melted. Stir in the sifted powdered sugar and vanilla. Add 1-3 tbsp of milk, until the syrup is at your desired consistency.

Enjoy!



"I love life. I love being happy. I could sit and watch the ocean go by all day long..."
Check out more from Robin's awesome life:

Easy Homemade Red Velvet Ice Cream

12 February 2013

Be My Valentine?

I love ice cream.
Love. Love. Love.

A few years back, my roommate and I would make homemade ice cream EVERY WEEK.
I love this base recipe because you can create whatever flavor you want.
You don't need an ice cream machine.
All you need is 2 base ingredients, a freezer and your imagination.

Well, in honor of Valentine's Day, I created one of the best flavors to date:
Red Velvet

Now I have made Red Velvet ice cream in the past, but this is, by far, the top recipe.


You need to make this.
Even if it's not Valentine's Day.
Your sweet tooth will thank me (:

Easy Homemade Red Velvet Ice Cream

- 1 can fat free sweetened condensed milk
- 1 pint heavy whipping cream
- 3 1/2 cups crumbled red velvet cake
- 4oz 1/3 fat cream cheese, room temperature or warmed
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

First, figure out your red velvet cake crumbles. I took a red velvet box cake mix and made half of it. It made 3-4 cups of crumbles. The whole box called for 3 eggs...I used 2 and halved all the other ingredients. It came out perfectly. I'll probably use the other half of the mix to make red velvet pancakes. You can also just crumble a store bought red velvet cake or cupcakes.

Once you have your crumbles set aside, pour your heavy whipping cream into a large bowl. Do not try to use whipping cream or half & half to make this healthier. It will not whip up or work! Make sure your whipping cream stays in the fridge until you are ready so that it's as cold as possible. With an electric mixer, beat the cream until stiff peaks form. It will be thick like Cool Whip or whipped cream.

In a separate bowl, empty the sweetened condensed milk. Stir in the vanilla and room temperature cream cheese (I warmed mine in the microwave). Add in 2 cups of red velvet crumbles and stir until smooth.

Fold in the whipped cream. Once blended together, add another cup of red velvet crumbles. Adding the last cup now will keep these crumbles "chunkier" than the other ones because they have been thoroughly stirred. Reserve any other crumbles for topping.

Place the ice cream mixture in a freezer safe container and freeze for 6 hours.

Scoop out ice cream and top with extra red velvet crumbles. Try to refrain from eating the entire tub in one setting.

Enjoy!




"I love life. I love being happy. I could sit and watch the ocean go by all day long..."
Check out more from Robin's awesome life:

I Wanna Know...{Week 9}

12 February 2013


I had a great response to my post a few months back.

I basically opened the floor and gave you guys a chance to ask me ANYTHING.
When I say anything, I mean anything! Blogging, marriage, army, crafting, shopping...


I'd love for you to submit a question for me to answer & for you to be featured next week!!!
Click Here


I have some amazing questions and answers for Week #9! I plan to answer a few questions a week and will try to include both blogging & personal questions.


Mandy
Question #1: I've been blogging and trying to network for a few months. How have you developed relationships with bloggers? I try to comment sincerely on posts, but after the initial response, many of the bloggers don't seem to care very much beyond that.

Hey girl - Great question! This is going to be a long answer, but I think A LOT of girls should read this. Developing true relationships with bloggers goes way past comments on blog posts. I personally try to go and comment on posts that I read. Even if it's just a two word comment. If I took the time to read it and I liked it, I try to say something. I don't want girls thinking they come and read my blog and comment but I never go out and read any of theirs. Which brings me to my next point: If you comment on my blog with something meaningful, I will do my very best to respond through email. Now if you are a no comment-reply blogger, I really don't have enough time to track you, your blog and your email down. I'm sorry for that, and I usually try to reply below your comment on the post then. These two things are basic interactions. It's how I've started off some of my blogging relationships that I currently have.

The best way to really build a relationship is interact with the blogger outside of a post. Send them an email. I get 100s of emails a month from girls who are just starting out, need help figuring something out, or just want to talk. I now would call a majority of these girls "friends". We email back and forth and even video chat each other. You can also just "Tweet" them. I've found that I instantly can connect with someone who sends me a hilarious Tweet. I then go look at their blog and think "I wanna be friends!!". 

I am in no way being prideful or saying I am above ANY blogger, but Wifessionals has completely grown beyond what I ever thought it would be. I now have 1500+ amazing readers and it's really hard to personally connect with each and every one on my own. I initially followed back everyone on Twitter and Instagram, but recently I've found that I can't stay connected to girls I actually talk to by doing this. I had to start only following girls I "know". I have apps that manage this for me. For example, if you have never "liked" or commented on an Instagram picture of mine, the app tells me that and I usually am not following you back. But if you tweet me, comment or like my instagram photos, I do my best to interact and follow you back. If all 1,000 of my twitter followers were tweeting me, I would follow all 1,000 of them! I love building relationships with girls.

I think this is REALLY important for smaller bloggers to read and understand. A lot of time bigger blogs aren't ignoring you on purpose. They literally have so much stuff coming at them that it's hard to keep track of everything. There are girls I've heard about who reply to all of their "friends" comments and ignore smaller bloggers - I don't agree with that and I think that's rude. But the majority of us love connecting with you! Just reach out to us outside of commenting on posts and I am sure you will see a huge jump in your ongoing interactions with other bloggers!

Clara
Question #2: How do you add Rafflecopter to your blog?

Hello Clara! Rafflecopter is the easiest way to run giveaways in my opinion. It is free and it manages EVERYTHING. All you do is go to Rafflecopter, Plan a Giveaway, and paste the code for your widget into the blog post where you want it to appear.

Alot of girls initially have issues with Rafflecopter. It can be very fickle. The best way to get it to work is to type up your entire post and then click HTML at the top left. Go down to where you want to have the Rafflecopter show up and paste in the code. Then switch back to Compose. You should see a hyperlink that says "Rafflecopter Giveaway". Once you hit preview it should show up in it's entirety. If you switch back and forth between HTML and Compose after you've pasted the code in, it will sometimes make the Rafflecopter not work anymore. then you just need to delete the code and re-paste it in.

Harriet
Question #3: How do you plan your blog posts? Do you write them in advance or have a weekly plan for what you will blog about?

Hi lady! I constantly have a notebook with me wherever I go. I write down anything I see that could make for a good blog post. I have a column for items I can't live without, one for personal posts, one of guest posts and one for random ideas. This really helps me so that if I have writer's block one day I have a bunch of ideas to choose from.

I have found that writing my posts in advance is the way to go, personally. I plan out posts every week, sometimes as much as a month in advance. This is particularly true with product reviews. I don't want to have too many in a week or forget to do one, so those I write on my calendar over the next month or so. Then I have posts that are weekly, like I Wanna Know or 30 Second Thursdays. I just fill in the other days with ideas. Sometimes I change my mind the day of and end up reverting a post back to draft to use later. But planning in advance and scheduling posts really helps to keep blogging "daily" manageable.

Veronica
Question #4: Do you have a limit to how many blogs you, yourself will follow? It seems like I'm constantly finding blogs that I love, but my reading list is piling up...

Hi Veronica! A few weeks back I talked about how I manage reading all the blogs I follow. You can find that post here. I am a HUGE advocate for Bloglovin'. If you don't use it, you should. I now follow close to 200 blogs on a daily basis. The thing that is awesome about Bloglovin' is you place your blogs into categories. I have one for my closest friends, one for cooking, one for giveaways, etc...If I only have 5 minutes, I usually click on my BFFs so I can see if anything big has happened lately in their lives. I only ever look at the "giveaways" group if I have a ton of time to spare. Bloglovin' is great because it keeps all posts "unread" until you either read them or mark them as read. So even if I don't check my food blogs every day, 3 days later Bloglovin' will show me all the posts I haven't read yet.

Because of this, I don't have to limit the blogs I follow. You just have to take the time at the beginning to wisely categorize them. Then you are able to truly read through the blogs you love the most, while saving other great blogs for later (without missing any posts if you don't want to).

Hannah
Question #5: Before you met your husband, how did you stay positive about trusting God and knowing that He would bring the right one.

Oh Hannah this makes me laugh. I did not stay positive and trust God very well. The year leading up to meeting Ryan was spent with a lot of crying and frustration, just ask my roommate at the time. The first 9 months of that year I was so impatient. I was 24 and really upset that I wasn't even dating anyone! I went on a few dates, but nothing like a serious boyfriend that could maybe turn into more. In the 10 month of that year, I was so fed up with going on dates and it going nowhere. I began to pray that God would just not bring any guys into my life until it was "the one". I would rather just spend time with my girl friends and not constantly be going out with guys, getting to know them, trying to begin a relationship, and then a few weeks later it turning out to be a waste of time.

The eleventh month of that year I honestly did not care about boys. I found out I was moving to Nashville and so I directed my focus to packing up and spending those last few weeks with my friends. And then, when I least expected it - when I totally did not care about trying to meet a guy - I met Ryan...in a bar...on my house hunting trip to Nashville.

So in a sense I trusted God by not settling for someone. I did believe He had someone perfect for me. But just because I knew that in my heart did not mean I was happy or la-dee-dah all the time. It was quite the opposite. But I think me going through that struggle with God, me coming to the point where I quit and gave it over to Him, that's what made me appreciate Ryan so much when I found him. I realized that when I stopped trying to control everything, God alone brought Ryan in my life.


I hope you guys enjoyed seeing some of your questions answered! I'll be back next Tuesday with more!


I'd love for you to submit a question for me to answer & for you to be featured next week!!!
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"I love life. I love being happy. I could sit and watch the ocean go by all day long..."
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Amazingly Easy Valentine's Day Cookies

08 February 2013

Let's face it:
Some of us aren't Betty Crocker's. That's ok.
Some of us are, but just get super lazy.
Maybe you just don't have a lot of time.

I created these cookies for you. They come from a cake mix and could not be more simplistic.
These would be great for taking to work or sending with you kids to school if you're short on time.
Or if you just want an amazing batch of cookies.

These are both peppermint and chocolate.
They are also funfetti.
Oh.My.Lord.

I had Andes peppermint crunch from the holidays. That is what the white chunks are. The dark spots are chocolate chips.

You can also use regular Andes chips which will be brown and then use white chocolate chips.
Same color scheme.
Just as delicious, I'm sure.


Peppermint Chocolate Love Cookies

12-18 large cookies

Ingredients
1 box funfetti cake mix or white/yellow cake mix
2 large eggs
1/3 cup oil
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or white chocolate chips)
1/2 cup Andes Peppermint crunch (or Andes chips)
Red food coloring

Instructions
1// Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking pan with parchment paper.
2// In a large bowl, combine cake mix, eggs, and oil. If using funfetti, you can sift out some of the sprinkles if you don't want colored dots in your cookies. Once the batter is smooth, add in red food coloring to your liking.
3// Fold in the Andes chips and chocolate chips.
4// Scoop out 1 1/2 tablespoon balls of dough and place on parchment paper.
5// Using a flat surface (I used the bottom of a mason jar), flatten cookies to 1/4" thickness.
6// Bake 7-8 minutes, or until cookies are crisp around the edges.
7// Remove cookies from the oven and cool. While the cookies are still warm, transfer to an airtight container. This will keep your cookies ooey gooey for days to come!



"I love life. I love being happy. I could sit and watch the ocean go by all day long..."
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Sweet Pepper Chicken With Linguine & Mushrooms

05 February 2013


I recently reviewed the cookbook Cook.Taste.Winter.Smile.

After making a few adjustments, I created 2 recipes for Wifessionals:

Cranberry & Clementine Muffins
Sweet Pepper Chicken With Linguine & Mushrooms

This chicken was so wonderful, and so different than anything I have made in the past. I took the original recipe in the cookbook and converted the measurements, cut the recipe in half, and substituted some ingredients for healthier or easier to find ingredients.

I think you will love this recipe as much as we did!


Sweet Pepper Chicken With Linguine & Mushrooms

serves 2-3

Ingredients
2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
8oz portobello mushrooms
4oz 1/3 fat cream cheese
1/3 cup sharp cheddar
1/3 cup sweet peppers, seeds & stems removed
1 egg
1 tsp thyme
1/3 box linguine
1 tbsp butter
50ml heavy cream
1 tsp parsley
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt & Pepper

Instructions
1// Preheat the oven to 390 degrees. In a food processor or using an immersion blender, mix the cream cheese, cheddar, sweet peppers, egg & thyme.
2// Cut the two chicken breasts in half. Season with salt and pepper and place in a foil lined baking dish.
3// Spoon pepper mixture on each chicken breast a fold in half (so filling is "inside"). Secure with toothpicks. Pour remaining pepper mixture on top of the chicken.
4// Cover the chicken with foil and bake for 10 minutes. Then, remove the foil and bake for an additional 12-15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
5// In the meantime, cook the pasta to al dente. In a large pan, sauté the mushrooms in the butter until tender, 4-5 minutes.
6// Add the cream to the mushrooms and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the parsley and stir.
7// Once the pasta is cooked, drain and return it to it's pot. Toss with the olive oil.
8// Slice the chicken. Plate the food with the linguine on the bottom, then the mushrooms and the chicken and extra pepper sauce on top.



"I love life. I love being happy. I could sit and watch the ocean go by all day long..."
Check out more from Robin's awesome life:

I Wanna Know...{Week 8}

05 February 2013


I had a great response to my post a few months ago.

I basically opened the floor and gave you guys a chance to ask me ANYTHING.
When I say anything, I mean anything! Blogging, marriage, army, crafting, shopping...


I'd love for you to submit a question for me to answer & for you to be featured next week!!!
Click Here


Week #8! I plan to answer a few questions a week and will try to include both blogging & personal questions.

Kaitlyn
Question #1: How do you get all of these products to review? Do companies contact you or do you randomly contact them?

Hey Kaitlyn! I would say that 20% of companies contact me and 80% I contact myself. If you're a small blog or haven't ever done reviews, I suggest you take things you love or already own and do reviews on those items first! I used to do a series called Obsessed! I would do reviews on anything I use that I couldn't live without. It was everything from make up to cleaning supplies. This is a great way to show companies you can provide quality reviews. My first big product review was the Hana hairdryer. They contacted me. But usually, I think of items that I really like or that I think my readers will like and I go on my own to the companies. The worst the company can say is "no", but I've found that a lot of companies like working with bloggers to get their name out there!

Jovana
Question #2: What does your typical week day look like?

Oh my goodness. Lately I have been SO unorganized. My blog has grown so much that I have tried to find a better and more efficient way to get everything done. What I really liked last week was that I seriously sat down and for one whole day (12 hours) & I wrote out all my posts for the week. Yes, that Monday seemed very overwhelming, but throughout the week I didn't have hours of blogging to do every day. I am blessed that I don't have to go to work every day, so my blog is kind of my job/hobby. But I still have the house to manage and tons of chores to do!

I think from now on I am going to try and get all of my posts pretty much finished on one day of the week. The other days I respond to emails or other messages from readers, but my time is freed up to take care of things around the house or do errands. When I don't plan like this, I end up spending 4-5 hours a day just writing blog posts, talking to companies and responding to emails. Then I eat lunch, do a few chores or errands, and sit down to blog about 4 more hours. It's A LOT!!! I love my blog, though, and it's important for me to have quality posts, so planning ahead seems the best way to accomplish that.

Kelly
Question #3: What is your favorite thing to blog about and read about on other blogs?

Hi Kelly! Honestly, my favorite posts are the ones that come from my heart. Not saying that my heart doesn't go into each one that I write, but it's the ones where I can really show the readers who I am and how I feel. Those are hands down my favorite ones to read as well.

I think we are drawn to raw honesty and it is so cool when I am scrolling through Bloglovin' and I stumble on a friend's post that shows me something I didn't know about her before. Especially when I find myself connecting exactly to what she is saying. I think this is how we find out bloggy soulmates and how we feel like we are bff's, even if we haven't ever met in person (:

Hannah
Question #4: What is one thing you wish you could have told yourself 10 years ago?

Oh Hannah...
There are SO many things I wish I could tell myself 10 years ago! At that point I would have been 16. Sweet 16 and Never Been Kissed.Yep, I was so worried that I would never find a boy to marry, much less kiss me! I would tell myself to save my kisses because I did get kissed at 16 and lost a lot more kisses after that to gross, icky toads...

I think I would have definitely told myself to always trust God. That's easy to say, but my freshman year of college my life fell apart. I went through so many painful things and I didn't know if I believed in God anymore. Thankfully He kept pulling on my heart. I don't even want to think of where I would be today if I had never come running back into His arms. I also needed to trust that He had a man waiting for me. I was so impatient by the year I was 24. I always thought I would get married straight out of college (just like my parents & so many friends), but when that didn't happen I was frustrated and quite frankly, freaked out. I didn't want to end up single and 40! Being a Sex & the City character, "free, independent, OLD & alone" was NOT appealing to me! I just always felt I was meant to be married and have children. If I would have trusted God more (or known I would meet my husband on the weekend of my 25th birthday) I wouldn't have wasted so much time looking for "the one" and would have just enjoyed the present time I was in. Hindsight is always 20/20, and even though I would love to tell myself all these things, the steps and mistakes I made in the past brought me to where I am today - and I wouldn't change a single thing!


I hope you guys enjoyed seeing some of your questions answered! I'll be back next Tuesday with more!


I'd love for you to submit a question for me to answer & for you to be featured next week!!!
Click Here


"I love life. I love being happy. I could sit and watch the ocean go by all day long..."
Check out more from Robin's awesome life:
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