under where?

I hate making people jealous of me, and so I almost didn’t post today.  But then I thought about it a little more, and I realized that what I accomplished today is truly ‘blog&brag’ worthy: gluten-free pumpkin muffins with marshmallow&raspberry toppings.  These muffins were delicious the entire way though – from licking-the-bowl-clean to eating all 6 muffins as soon as they popped out of the oven.  I’m not even kidding.

But, if I’m totally honest with myself, I owe about 75% of the recognition to Dating Dish.  She came up with deliciously healthy (I couldn’t have combined those two things on my own) recipe for making strawberry oatmeal muffins, and I just twerked the recipe a bit to make pumpkin muffins with marshmallows and/or raspberries.  Got to roll with the season, right?
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Anyway, definitely check out the original recipe by Dating Dish, and when you can’t eat anymore, switch it up and try these delicious bits of pumpkin heaven.  If we’re both eating them, then you can’t really be jealous anymore, can you?
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Ingredients
2 1/2 cup   Oats
1/2 cup      Canned Pumpkin
1/2 cup      Nonfat yogurt
2               Eggs
1/2 cup      Stevia or other sweetner
1 1/2 tsp     Baking Powder
1 tbsp        Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/2 tsp      Baking Soda
1/2 cup     Marshmallows
1/2 cup     Raspberries

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Method:
1.  Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease muffin tin pan made for 12 muffins.
2.  Place all of the ingredients (besides marshmallows and raspberries) in a blender until smooth. Pour mixture into muffin tins and then top with marshmallows and raspberries.
3. Bake for 20.
4. Enjoy!!

to rome with love

When was the last time you felt like anything was possible?  Childhood dreams have been on my mind lately, and, more specifically, how the dreams of our childhood shift and change as we grow older.  According to the Washington Post, the top 5 childhood career goals for children are the following:

Men
1. Professional or Olympic athlete
2. Scientist or Pilot (tie for 2nd)
4. Lawyer
5. Astronaut

Women:
1.Teacher
2. Veterinarian
3. Writer/Journalist/Novelist
4. Singer or Nurse/Doctor (tie for 4th)

How many people accomplish their childhood dreams?  Decide to pursue a goal at a young age, and then, slowly but surely, take steps to make their vision a reality?  Do you think that they are tempted and swayed by other opportunities as they proceed?  Do they feel fulfilled when they accomplish their dreams, or do they reminisce about missed opportunities?

And then, just as interesting and worthy of discussion, are the group of people who, either by choice or circumstance, leave their childhood dreams behind as they grow older.  Perhaps natural talents lead them toward a new dream, or they pursue something else that comes.. well.. easier.  Are these people content with the choices they made, or do they wish they’d pursued their dreams just a little bit longer?

The important thing, I suppose, is not about accomplishing our dreams, but about living a life that we find fulfilling.  With any luck, we are able to channel what impressed us about our childhood dreams (ie: teacher helping others, scientist making great discoveries) into our daily life.  In the end, it’s not about perfectly following the path you planned, but arriving somewhere  you feel content and fulfilled.

As for me, I grew up wanting to be the Ambassador to Italy.  Not a joke.  My eight year-old self told my father that I didn’t want to be the President, but I might like being the President’s helper.  My dad told me that the  Ambassador to Italy ate lots of pizza and helped Italians and Americans become friends.

The case was solved, the issue closed — I would become the Ambassador to Italy (I was also influenced by my dad’s assertion that Shirley Temple was an ambassador).  Until, of course, I realized I would much rather write stories than engage in politics.

Anyway, dear Readers, I was thinking about all this yesterday when I had some sort of divine inspiration for a fall dessert.  I love frozen yogurt enough to become the Ambassador of FroYo, and when I had a near perfect swirl of pumpkin pie and roasted marshmallow, I knew what I had to do :  I invented pumpkin-pie filled chocolate-covered marshmallows.  Can you say that three times fast?

It’s funny how life comes full circle, but I bet the President would make me the  Ambassador to Italy if he tried my marshmallow dessert.  It’s honestly that good.  ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

a love story

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A sparkling engagement ring seemingly invites unsolicited advice from co-workers and family alike about the trials and triumphs of a happy marriage.  One of the most common stories is that the first year of marriage is the hardest, but, if you manage to survive, you’re headed for domestic bliss.  The advice of the well-wishers is based on statistics provided by the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • 20% of married couples divorce within 5 years; 50% of married couples divorce within 20 years.
  • Couples marrying between the ages of 20-24 are 50% more likely to divorce than couples that wait until their late twenties to marry.
  • Couples without a college degree are 20% more likely to divorce within 10 years than a college-educated couple.

It appears the wisest course of action is to get a college degree and marry in your late twenties.  Once married, cross your fingers and hope hope hope that you’re still married in 20 years.

I’m  a newbie to the matrimony game, but my thoughts on the first year are already drastically different from the perception touted by society.  In summary:
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Life didn’t change much after the wedding: I was happily in love before the ceremony, and I am happily in love now.  The largest change, perhaps, was the mutual acknowledgement that we are in this marriage for life, and that our marriage contract doesn’t have an escape clause.

The ‘marriage is forever’ mandate offers an incredible degree of security and liberation inside the construct.  A secure marriage encourages both partners to continue growing as individuals, and understands that a marriage evolves as consistently as the individuals within it.  A husband and wife must be active participants in their marriage – they must each grow as individuals while learning and re-learning the details of their partner and their union.

There is an incredible sense of freedom in knowing that you are loved come what may.  Feel free to try new things, change your mind, and pursue your wildest goals – you are securely loved, and your partner will stand by your side come what may.

Jon caught the common cold, and so we spent the majority of our weekend in bed.  We did, however, brave an outing to the apple orchard to make sure we got a pumpkin before the farms sold out.  Not much to write about, but a perfect example of an ordinary weekend inside a happy marriage:ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage
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