Friday, June 22, 2012

Missing PapPap

My PapPap passed away 10 years ago, today. I can't believe it's been that long. The memories that I have of / with him are such a cherished piece of my heart.

I wish that PapPap and Jeremy could have met each other. I think they would've really gotten along well. But, Jeremy and I started dating a month or so after PapPap passed away. But, I know that he's looking down from heaven and smiling that Jeremy and I have each other.

© 2012 Jamie V.
It just occurred to me that I have yet to finish the mini-scrapbook that I started making years ago. It just became too much for me to handle, so it was pushed to the side. I'm going to start working on it again, so that I can get it finished in the next couple of months. I just read a short letter I wrote to him four days after he passed away, and it brought me to tears. I'm going to write him another short letter today.

He holds such a special part of my heart, and I'm so grateful that we had the time we did together.
I love you, PapPap!!!

Cheesy Chicken & Wild Rice Casserole

Jeremy and I tried these a few weeks ago, and it's absolutely DELICIOUS!!! It tasted great the night we made it, and as leftovers (and I'm not much of a leftover person). We'll definitely be making this again!

Cheesy Chicken & Wild Rice Casserole
Adapted from

© 2012 Jamie V.
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup diced onions (approximately 1/2 - 1 medium onion)
1/2 cup celery, finely diced (approximately 3 stalks celery)
1 cup peeled and diced carrots (approximately 3 carrots)
2 Tbsp fresh minced garlic
2 cups shredded, cooked chicken breast
2 cups steamed white rice
16 ounce prepared wild rice (recipe recommends Trader Joe's, but we just prepared Uncle Ben's wild rice)
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic salt

Cheese Sauce:
4 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Top with 1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat.
  3. Saute onion, celery, and carrots until softened, about 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Stir in chicken, both rices, salt, pepper, garlic salt. Reduce heat to low.
  6. To prepare cheese sauce, melt butter into a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
  7. Whisk in flour, salt, and pepper. Then, slowly pour in chicken broth, whisking continuously.
  8. Whisk until thick and nearly boiling. Stir in cheese until melted.
  9. Pour cheese sauce into rice mixture. Transfer to a 9"x13" baking dish.
  10. Top with additional cheddar cheese.
  11. Bake at 350ºF for 25-30 minutes, or until cheese is melted through.
  12. Serve.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Baked Cinnamon Breakfast Bites

Jeremy and I tried these a few weeks ago. I think we added too much of the crisp rice cereal and cooked them a bit too long (I've adjusted the cooking time below). They were okay, but we'll have to try them again to see if it's a keeper recipe.

Baked Cinnamon Breakfast Bites
Adapted from

1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup crisp rice cereal, coarsely crushed
2 Tbsp plus 1/2 cup sugar, divided
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter-flavored shortening
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, melted

  1. Preheat oven to 425ºF.
  2. Mix flour, crushed cereal, 2 Tbsp sugar, baking powder, and salt in large bowl.
  3. Cut in shortening with pastry blender or fork until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  4. Add milk and stir just until moistened.
  5. Roll dough into approximately 2-1/2 dozen 1" balls.
  6. Mix cinnamon and remaining sugar in a small bowl.
  7. Drop balls (one at a time) into melted butter and roll in cinnamon sugar mixture.
  8. Place balls onto greased cookie sheet(s).
  9. Bake at 425ºF for 12-15 minutes (careful not to overcook), or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  10. Cool for a few minutes in pan before removing.
  11. Serve.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Audience of One by Big Daddy Weave

I've been listening to inspiring music today, and while many songs have touched me, this song jumped out to me. I think it's a beautiful (and timely) reminder that it is to our Lord that my life is devoted... He is my audience of one. I long to live a life that brings glory to His name, and sometimes I need to be reminded of what is most important in my life.

Audience of One by Big Daddy Weave

I come on my knees
To lay down before you
Bringing all that I am
Longing only to know you

Seeking your face
And not only your hand
I find you embracing me
Just as I am

And I lift these songs
To you and you alone
As I sing to you
In my praises make your home

To my audience of one
You are Father, and you are Son
As your spirit flows free,
Let it find within me
A heart that beats to praise you.
And now just to know you more
Has become my great reward
To see your kingdom come
And your will be done
I only desire to be yours,

So what could I bring
To honor your majesty
What song could I sing
That would move the heart of royalty
And all that I have
Is the life that you’ve given me
So Lord let me live for you
My song with humility

And Lord as the love song
Of my life is played
I have one desire
To bring glory to your name


And we lift these songs
To you and you alone
As we sing to you
In our praises make your home