Wonderful Wednesday: A Little Bit of Lovely

Hope everyone had a wonderful Holiday Season. Best Wishes for a Happy New Year, from our family to yours.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Holiday Season. Best Wishes for a Happy New Year, from our family to yours.


Menu Monday: Angelhair Pasta with Yogurt Sauce

I love pasta so very much, but sometimes it can get so heavy with cheeses and sauces. This simple pasta recipe is loaded with veggies, and has a light citrus sauce that is oh-so-yummy.

Ingredients: (serves 8+)2014-12-28 19.30.38

  • 16 oz Angelhair Pasta
  • 2 containers plain greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesean
  • 3 medium zuchini
  • 1 pint cherry tomatos
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 can garbonzo beans (not pictured).


  1. Thinly slice zuchini, and put in an oiled pan to saute.
  2. When zuchini is about 1/2 way cooked, add garlic and garbonzo beans. 2014-12-28 19.49.21
  3. At this point, start cooking your pasta as directed on package.
  4. Mix together the greek yogurt, lemon juice, and parmesean in a bowl.2014-12-28 19.53.35
  5. When your pasta is almost done, add your tomatos to the zuchinni mixture.2014-12-28 19.55.22
  6. Once your noodles are done, drain and return to pot.  Mix in sauce and zuchini mixture.
  7. Cook together for about 2 minutes, stirring.
  8. Serve and enjoy.2014-12-28 20.03.32

Planning for Walt Disney World

Our Disneyworld trip is one month away, and I can hardly contain myself. We are looking forward to some warmer weather as winter closes in on the PNW.Mine Train

A few things we have noticed:

  • There really aren’t any substantial discount tickets for WDW. Unless you are a service member, there are really no discount tickets for Walt Disney World. Yes, some sites have a discount off of the gate price, but nowadays most people buy their tickets online anyways. Some sites have a few dollars off after tax, but in that case I’d rather just buy my tickets directly from Disney.
  • Large group Dining Reservations are hard to come by, even in the low season. Considering that we are traveling in the low season, I thought we would have no problem booking a few dinner reservations for our large group. I was so very wrong.  I feel we will likely end up doing more counter service dining anyways, but I am a bit bummed about how hard it is to book a meal with my family 😦
  • Magic Bands are now available online in the Disney Store You can now purchase Magic Bands online at the Disney Store. For those of us staying off-property this allows us to have the perk of showing up to the parks ready to parrrr-tay.  I was not looking forward to wasting valuable theme park time my first day in Downtown Disney getting my Magic Band outfitted, so I am thrilled! magicband
  • My DisneyBounds are ready! For those of you not familiar with Disneybounding, it is a fun trend started by Leslie Kay, where you wear outfits inspired by Disney characters. These  are not costumes, just outfits with a touch of Disney flair. Here is an example of one of my Disneybound outfits from my last trip, as Minnie.DisneyboundThis trip I will be: Mary Poppins, Rapunzel, Snow White, Minnie, Jiminy Cricket, and Ariel. I am excited to show my “Disney Side”.

In the next few weeks look forward to my WDW packing list, a final pre-trip redux, and my post-trip WDW on a Budget posts! I ‘m so incredibly thrilled for this trip and I can’t wait to go to WDW!

Menu Monday: Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Vaughn came to me last week with an urgent reminder that I hadn’t made cookies in a while. I whipped out this easy-peasy and very tasty Oatmeal Chocolate Chip recipe that bakes quick for a yummy treat. Also, none of the devil’s fruit (raisins).


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  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 3/4 cups all purpose flour


  1. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cream together egg, butter, brown and white sugar, and vanilla in a bowl with a whisk until smooth.2014-12-14 22.00.32
  3. With a rubber spatula, mix in all other ingredients except the chocolate chips until well combined with sugar mixture.
  4. add chocolate chips, mix well.2014-12-14 22.08.49
  5. scoop into roughly 1/4 cup mounds on a well oiled baking sheet or pan.2014-12-14 22.28.31(1)
  6. Cook for 12 minutes.
  7. Eat it with your mouth.2014-12-14 22.53.48

Review: Time & Oak Whiskey Elements

Note: I purchased these Whiskey Elements fair and square and my review is in no way influenced by anything other than the quality of the product.

A few months back I backed a Kickstarter for a great new company out of Portland, Oregon called Time & Oak. Time & Oak far exceeded their Kickstarter goal for their unique little creation: “Whiskey Elements”.

On their Kickstarter page, Time & Oak describe state the Whiskey Elements will “Customize the flavor of your favorite whiskey and improve the quality in 24hrs. After a year of development, 6 patents filed, hundreds of samples tested, 3 ovens destroyed and a couple nights we don’t really remember, you can now get 3 years of aging ‘effects’ (time travel not included) in just 24 hours, and have complete control over the flavor. ”

Needless to say, Vaughn and I were very excited to try this thing out! Our Whiskey Elements arrived in the mail this week, and we were eager to share with you our results.

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The Whiskey Elements are sturdy and well constructed little pieces of wood.  We had the standard elements, though they do come in different flavors.

The basic idea is that you put the stick in a bottle of whiskey for 24 hours, and it changes the flavor. Vaughn and I were ready to be guinea pigs.

Vaughn chose a cheaper Whiskey that neither of us had tried before. At about $15 a bottle, this whiskey is a basic Canadian Whiskey.

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We reserved a small amount of the whiskey for comparison, 2014-12-15 21.38.37 plopped in our whiskey element, and waited….

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24 hours later, we were ready to taste.

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First we tried the un-treated whiskey. Vaughn called it “incredibly unremarkable”. In fact, I was really not impressed by it at all. It was very basic and had no really unique flavor. It was smooth in the mouth but burned going down. Overall, I gave it a big thumbs down and I will not buy that brand again. 2014-12-16 22.05.13

Next, we poured the “elements” whiskey.

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Immediately we noticed a difference, even in the smell. The taste was so much smoother, and the burn was gone. It might have been my imagination but it almost tasted a little sweet to me. It’s hard to describe, but the Whiskey had a totally different flavor profile.  Honestly,  I would not have drank the stuff before, but with the elements it was a really great flavor and drinkable on it’s own.

I am excited to try this in a higher quality whiskey or one that I actually enjoy, a bourbon perhaps. We also received with our Kickstarter package some Scotch Elements specifically for scotch that I look forward to trying out.  We recieved a pretty great package as part of our Kickstarter, but for $12.00 you receive two Whiskey Elements which are good for two fifths of Whiskey or one half-gallon, which is a pretty good deal. I plan on purchasing the flavor sets soon to give those a try.

Overall, we would highly recommend this product.



Menu Monday: Honey Lime Shrimp with Coconut Rice

Sometimes, you just want something a little different for dinner. I was going through my pantry and found an inordinante amount of coconut milk, and decided it was time for a shellfish day in the Emmons-Smith home. Presto!


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Honey Lime Shrimp

  • .75 lb shrimp (I use a cooked shrimp from our local grocery store deli)
  • juice from one lime
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • one clove garlic, chopped

Coconut Rice

  • 1 cup rice (I used jasmine rice)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • coconut flakes as desired


  1. Place all rice ingredients in your rice cooker and let it do it’s thing. If you don’t have a rice cooker, a pot will do just fine.
  2. Mix all Shrimp ingredients except the shrimp together with a whisk.2014-12-07 20.16.36
  3. Add sauce to shrimp and let sit in the fridge for about 30 minutes.2014-12-07 20.17.28
  4. Sautee all ingredients together in a pan for about 10 minutes. Shrimp will start to brown from sugar in the sauce.2014-12-07 20.25.15
  5. Eat it because it is delicious. 2014-12-07 20.39.53

This is an easy and delicious dinner that is moderately healthy and very filling. Enjoy!