Sunday, December 5, 2010

October-November (crammed in one post)

Long time no blog dear friends, and for that, I am sorry. There is so much to catch you up on in the life of the Rateikes!

October 30-November 13, Clif was in California for SERE school so I went to Indy. So glad Clif can check SERE school off of his non-negotiable checklist for the Marine Corps. Poor guy went through a lot and can't even talk about half of it because it's all "classified information". This whole classified information thing will take some getting use to because I hate not knowing things, it makes me want to know about it that much more. Most importantly, Clif is back safely and completed SERE school successfully. He said it was a great learning experience and walked away with great confidence.

Indy was filled with adventures. I went shopping with Anita in search for living room furniture. Her orignial plan was to purchase a couch and oversized chair for reading. However, once we actually went furniture shopping, we just decided to throw in the love seat, I mean why not? W"e had to coax Don on the idea of this, which was not easy. After we had looked at two furniture stores, we went back home with excitement at a deal we had found. When we told Don, he sent us to a third store to "make sure we weren't missing out on any other deals", or that's what he told us. I think he was just prolonging the pain of purchasing new furniture, and also getting two excited women out of his hair. Today, Don and Anita are enjoying their new living room furniture. Glad I could be of assistance. We also hung out with Jill several times which led to more adventures to McCormick's Creek, the meat market in Spencer, and the amish store in Spencer. 

Here are the pictures from the State Park:

Yes, we had somewhat of a photo shoot at the park. But now Don and Anita have a nice picture for their Christmas cards this year and an updated family photo (minus Clif and Brad).

I also had the opportunity to go to a Butler Basketball game with Nick and Anne Stanley. Butler won, therefore the Stanley's have granted me permission to sit with them any time I would like (and they have front row seats).

The Stanleys

                          All in all, it was a good trip visiting with the Rateikes.

After a week of getting settled back in from our trips, we had Thanksgiving. We celebrated Thanksgivng with Ben & Julie, Steve & Katie out our house. It was a great time of fellowship with great friends that God has blessed us with while living in North Carolina. We love these guys and were so grateful to have spent Thanksgiving with them since we are so thankful for them.We also had a massive amount of food, which to my surprise there weren't too many leftovers. Our menu consisted of:

-Jalapeno Poppers
-Cheeseball with olives and crackers
-Cranberry Orange Bread
-White Wine

-Macaroni and Cheese
-Squash Casserole
-Green Beans
-Mashed Potatoes
-Homemade Bread

-Chocolate Chip Pie
-Apple Pie
-Chocolate Pecan Pie

Apple Pie

Chocolate Chip Pie

Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie

I think the pictures say it all! Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving as well. We all have so much to be thankful for. 

Here are some more pictures from the Thanksgiving festivities:

Katie, Julie, & I

Julie & our neice Lucy

getting ready

Place settings


making chocolate covered strawberries 

It's hard to blog when you haven't blogged in so long. So much has happened in just the last month since I last posted. This pretty much covers the end of October through the month of November. I will definitely being following up with a December post being that Christmas is my favorite time of the year!! Stay tuned...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Fall Is In The Air & Haley Is Engaged!!

Well I have to admit, I didn't cook the three recipes I told you I was going to cook this week. It's been a busy week filled with Bible Study, volunteers meeting for Cilf's squadron, Hail and Farewell, and our Fall Festival. I did try a few recipes for things I had never cooked before, however they are not any of the recipes we have chosen for this project. I will still show you the recipes though in hopes you will try them and enjoy them just as much as we have! 

#1: Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Bread

   2 cups all-purpose flour
   1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
   1/2 teaspoon baking soda    
   1/4 teaspoon salt
   1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
   1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
   2 eggs, beaten
   1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana
   1 cup sugar
   1/2 cup cooking oil or melted butter or margarine
   1/4 cup chopped walnuts
   1 cup chocolate chips (or to taste)

1. Pre-heat oven to 350
2. Grease pan
3. In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, & nutmeg. Set aside.
4. In a medium bowl combine eggs, banana, sugar, chocolate chips, and oil/butter.
5. Add medium bowl to large bowl and stir until moistened. (batter should be lumpy)
6. Bake for 55-60 min. for a 9x5x3-inch pan or 40-45 min for 7 1/2x3 1/2x2-inch pans.
              **Sprinkle a little powdered sugar on top and enjoy! **

#2: Triple-Layer Pumpkin Spice Pie

  2 cups cold milk
  2 pkg. (4 serving size each) JELL-O Pumpkin Spice Flavor
  1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1 tub (8oz.) COOL WHIP whipped topping, thawed
  1 HONEY MAID Graham Pie Crust (6oz.)
  1/2 cup PLANTERS pecan halves
  1 tablespoon honey

  1. Beat milk, dry pudding mixes, and cinnamon with wire wisk until well blended.
  2. Spread 1-1/2 cups onto bottom of crust.
  3. Add 1-1/2 cups of the whipped topping to remaining pudding mixture; stir gently.
  4. Spoon over layer in crust; top with remaining whipped topping.
  5. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  6. Meanwhile, cook pecan halves and honey in skillet on medium-low heat 2-4 min.
  7. Spread pecan halves on waxed paper to cool.
  8. Sprinkle caramelized pecans and ground cinnamon over pie just before serving.

#3: Jalapeno Cornbread 
This is perfect for those that like to spice things up (i.e. Dad, Clif, Don, Nan, and myself)
  Cornbread mix (your choice)
  1/2 cup Jalapeno peppers (or to taste)

  1. Mix cornbread mixture according to directions
  2. Add in 1/2 cup Jalapeno peppers
  3. Cook according to directions

Ok, enough about food. On to my next (most important) of my best friends, HALEY DuBOIS just got engaged to JOSH HUNTER! I cannot even begin to tell you all just how excited I am for her and her sweet fiance. God is so good! God has truly blessed the two of them with each other. If you think about it, be praying for them as they go through the engagement period. Those of you who are already married, you know what a stressful time that can be. Haley will not only be finishing nursing school at UF, but she will also be dealing with the excitement of their engagement long distance as Josh is in Memphis going to school. I am beyond excited to share in this special day with them in the near future. Congrats Haley and Josh, I love you both! =) 

Gorgeous ring/bling and great taste of Josh's behalf

Yes Haley, I stole these pictures off of your facebook for others to see. Thank you for posting them on behalf of all of my followers! Now Haley will get to begin all the fun wedding festivities such as fun showers, registering, picking out "the dress", and more!

This past weekend we had a Fall party with our Bible study at Christy's house. We enjoyed good chili along with good friends. It was an eventful night as we carved pumpkins, made smores, had worship around the fire pit, and continued our night with games.

sitting around the fire pit

the guys competing in a caramel apple eating contest

some of the girls participating in "chubby bunny"

clif cleaning out pumpkin guts

Julie and I

It was a great weekend that once again, went by way too fast. We have a busy week as we are both getting ready for our trips...Clif is leaving for SERE school and I'm headed to Indy! Because I will be in Indy for two weeks, I will not be cooking dinners contributing to our project. If I decide to while I am residing at the Rateike household, I will definitely post pictures and recipes. Otherwise, I will pick back up Nov. 15!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

60 Recipes in 20 weeks

Alright guys...listen up. I'm doing a project over a period of 20 weeks, which is the approximate amount of time we have left here in NC. I bought 3 new cookbooks over the weekend to add on to the ones I already have. Here's how this is going to work: Clif and I each went through all of the cookbooks and picked out 30 recipes a piece...I will cook the total of 60 varying recipes in 20 weeks (3 meals per week). I plan to post the recipes on here along with feedback and pictures of how each meal turned out. I'm doing this to strengthen my culinary skills and I also love to cook! Hopefully these recipes will spark an interest in you guys to cook some of these recipes for your own families! I will begin this project this week and will post at the end of each week (there will be 3 recipes per post).

Here are the cookbooks I purchased:

Here are a few easy/quick recipes that take 20 min or less to create:

 Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Pancakes
          1 Banana
          1/4 cup Nuts (crushed)
          1/4 cup Chocolate Chips
          Pancake Mix

Directions: Mix up pancake batter according to instructions on box. After, mix in banana (cut into small pieces), with nuts and chocolate chips.

**Measurements can be measured to taste, I normally just throw these ingredients in but it all depends on how many pancakes you are planning to make**

Another quick, but good recipe...

English Muffin Pizzas
          English Muffins
          Pizza Sauce
          Shredded Chesse
          Any other toppings you may want on your pizza

Directions: Preheat oven to 350. Cut English Muffins in half and spread out on a cookie sheet. Spread pizza sauce on each muffin. Then place toppings on each pizza.  Place pizzas in oven for 10 minutes. 

Garlic Sauce: Mince 1 Garlic Clove. Then mix with butter and place in microwave for 30 sec. to melt. 

Well Clif leaves for SERE school Saturday, October 30. I am also leaving the same day for Indiana. I will spend the two weeks that he is gone in Indiana with his parents. Clif being the amazing husband that he is, was able to rig it to where we can both fly out on the same flight from Wilmington to Atlanta and then we will go our separate ways. We both come back on Saturday, Novemmber 13 where he rigged it for us to meet in Atlanta and catch the same flight back to Wilmington. Since this is my first time flying/navigating the airports by myself, I am one happy girl that I will have Clif there to be with me half of the time! :)

While I'm in Indy, Anita and I plan on doing lots of crafting, a.k.a. sewing and monogramming.Don has already threatened to leave and go camping and has informed Anita and I that he may let us visit him. haha Speaking of monogramming, I've been working on a few projects ever since I had my machine fixed.

Here are a few pictures:
Christmas Pot Holder for Mom

Christmas Pot Holder Nan and Pops

I have a few projects in mind that I would like to make while in Indy
     1. Table Cloths
     2. Table Runners
     3. Pot Holders
     4. Pajamas
     5. Throw Pillows
     6. Linen Napkins

If anyone is interested in placing an order for something to be made or monnogrammed or both with the Christmas season approaching, please feel free to leave me a comment or messsage me on Facebook. I would love to have some projects outside of my own.

Today, Clif had 24 hour duty which means he had to be on base at 7:30 am and will be on duty until 7:30 am tomorrow morning to which he will report to his ground job right after. So, he won't be back home until tomorrow night. Therefore I had to watch the Colt's/Redskin's game solo :( ...I did remain a true fan even though I was alone by watching the game as always and wearing my jersey. I'm actually a pathetic sight sitting in the living room on an air mattress watching football alone while being paranoid of every noise made. Also, our house looks like a Christmas tree from outside-every light is on (apologies to the neighbors we don't have on either side of us, which also contributes to my paranoia).

Well that about sums things up for now. Keep checking the blog for those recipes. Also, feel free to leave a comment with your favorite know I love commentary-lets me know you all are alive! Hope everyone has had a restful weekend and has a great week!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Update From The Rateikes

First off, for those of you who didn't know, tomorrow Columbus Day. This may not be a meaningful 'holiday' to you, but due to this holiday, Clif gets a 3 DAY WEEKEND!! WAHOOOO! 

To start our 3 day weekend, on Friday, we went to a Chinese restaurant called Nikki's on the was very tasty! We ordered the Sweet and Sour Chicken, Fried Rice, and of course Sushi. However, the sushi here does not compare to Ichiban back in P'Cola...Mom and Kathryn can attest to that. After dinner, we came back home for a relaxing evening by watching Dual Survivor and Border Wars. Being married to Clif has opened my eyes to a wider variety of shows that I would have never given the time of day. I am now addicted to these two shows and we have it DVR'd. 

Saturday, we woke up and had our morning coffee and quiet times-perfect way to start the day. After, we went on a run outside and the weather was absolutely beautiful! It was perfect running weather...slightly breezy just enough to cool you down but not enough to make you too winded to the point where it hurts to breathe. We came back home afterwards and cleaned up then headed out to New Bern to see the good ol' Nate Smith. New Bern is about hour and fifteen minutes from where we live. Nate right in the middle of downtown New was gorgeous. We watched the Alabama/South Carolina game at his place and then headed to "Captain Ratty's" to catch the Michigan/Michigan State game. New Bern also happened to be having their annual "Mum Festival" while we were there, so after the games, we walked around downtown to see everything. Come to find out, New Bern is a very historical place. For instance, Pepsi was first created in a little shop downtown. For those of you who do not know, I LOVE PEPSI (sorry mom, dad, aunt lesa, etc..I know I've let you down). So of course we went in there to check it out and of course I took a picture. I know Anita will appreciate this because she too has a love for Pepsi.

     I took this picture on my phone, so excuse the blurriness.

Today, Clif and I visited a new Church called "The Gathering". Its located on the beach, about 5 minutes from our house. We liked it a lot and are still praying about where God wants us. After church we came back home to catch some NFL to cheer on our Colts and other games as well. Tonight was even better weather for running, so Clif and I went on a nice little run which was very refreshing in the cool crisp air. When we got back to the house Clif offered to cook dinner, which turned into brinner. Take a look at this masterpiece we like to call Eggs in a Basket:

He has made this for me before, but it has been a while and I had forgotten just how good it was! So, I had two...hahaha. As Clif likes to put it, "You never let me in your kitchen" haha. I feel like it's part of my contribution to cook for him after he's been at work all it's not that I think badly of his cooking. He's great at cooking! So, I will start 'letting him in my kitchen' more often to cook. I am a pretty lucky girl being married to my best friend and a good cook :)

I myself am trying to improve my culinary skills, or baking skills actually. On Friday I made cupcakes during the day while Clif was gone not because I was hungry for them, but because I wanted to decorate cupcakes. haha. Here's  how they turned out:

I decorated these cupcakes with by putting the icing in a baggie and cutting off the corner. This was my last time to do this because I finally purchased a tool that you fill with icing (or anything) to decorate cupcakes (or anything else). I haven't used it yet, but my mom has one, and I know it makes a world of difference when decorating with icing. I would love to own my own bakery...baking is so much fun! However, Clif has informed me that I need to stop making cupcakes, they tend to call his name. 

Since Clif is given the day off tomorrow, we plan to wake up, have our morning coffee and quiet times and then head out on a run. We also plan on doing some grocery shopping as well...hope you all have a great day tomorrow too! :)