Monday, November 28, 2011

"I didn't even know it!"

Well, Happy late Thanksgiving and welcome to the time of "almost" Christmas! It is such an exciting time of the year with lots of things going on: parties, traveling, family, decorating and cooking! In all the exhaustion, I think it's important to sit down and think about what does this time of year mean to you?

Our family had a wonderful time in Branson! We had some R&R in a beautiful cabin between riding rides at Silver Dollar City, the AWESOME SIX show (look them up on youtube: SIX [They are an acapella group]), and shopping! A lot of the time we were in the cabin, it was nice to just "be" with my family: talking, laughing, watching movies and playing board games. It made me realize how blessed I am to have such a loving and fun family. No matter how simple the act, I love just being with them. Also, what a blessing it was to see my Grandmother celebrate her 87th birthday. She is truly a beautiful woman inside and out. Now to add my my immediate family, this year I have been extra blessed to adopt my "family by marriage." I love them so much and I am so excited to celebrate Christmas with them! I can't help but ask what I did to deserve TWO awesome families. Here are some photos from the weekend!

Now, I bet you might be wondering where the title is coming from. Well tonight, as I was honing my wifely skills. I decided I didn't have what I needed for a particular recipe so I thought I would simple use one as a guideline. I began to throw all these ingredients together, sliced up some apples and just threw the final touches of cinnamon and brown sugar. Into the oven it went. It smelt AWESOME! I looked at the recipe that was originally called "Cinnamon Peach Kuchen." I assumed I had simply changed it to "Cinnamon Apple Kuchen." But then I thought, what is kuchen? So, in true MelRoe fashion... I googled it. Kuchen is actually the German word for cake. I was feeling particularly proud of my ethnic creation because my handsome hubby speaks German quite well and we hope to make it one of our many homes one day (haha military can say that right?). I ran up and immediately told him and to my delight, he seemed to impressed but of course in my southern draw of "KOO-CHIN," he corrected it to "Kue-chen."  Oh well, I hope it tastes as good as it smells because it looks a little sad. Haha. "I made a German dish and 'I didn't even know it!'"
For this lovely recipe, you will combine 2 cups of flour, 2 Tbsp of sugar, 1/2 tsp of salt, 1/4 tsp of baking power; cut in butter and mix until crumbly. Now, if I had the redo, I would use my kitchen aid mixer rather than the hand mixer I used. Also, I might add a little more moisture because the crumbly dough was hard to ply to the pan. Speaking of pan, the recipe calls for a springform pan. I didn't have one, so I just used a cake round pan. Either or, ply the dough around the pan all underneath and about 1/2in to 1 inch up the side

I cut up apples from 2 large apples into thin slices and laid a layer down, sprinkled a little cinnamon and brown sugar. I repeated that probably 2 more times. Throw it in the oven at 350 degrees for a good 20 mins and you will notice the cinnamon and brown sugar caramelizing on top. Meantime, lightly beat 2 egg yolks and 1 cup heavy whipping cream to use after the 20 minutes are up. If time is up, pour over the apples and put back in the oven. Bake it for about 25-30 more minutes, or until you see that the top is set and take it on out! Let it cool and enjoy (which I am about to do! yay!) but make sure to refrigerate afterward!

Now, I am going to enjoy my German treat that I didn't even know I could make but I will leave you with a little something to get you in the Christmas mood! I introduce the first Roe Christmas tree... Enjoy!

Live. Laugh. Love. and Kuchen :)

Mel Roe

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Ready or not here comes the holidays! It is so hard to believe that Thanksgiving is just two (truly one) days away. What kind of traditions does this time of year bring for you?

I've been seeing a lot of facebook statuses this month everyday listing something they are thankful for or (like I did last year on Thanksgiving day) listing something they are thankful for, for every letter of the alphabet. I LOVE reading them and I love to think about the things that I am thankful for in my life. But, why only list our thankfulness around Thanksgiving? Why do we really dwell about it then? Are there not blessings every day of every year? Is it our families being so close? Is it the "warm fuzzies" that the holidays bring? I am not asking these questions to say that everyone is ONLY thankful around Thanksgiving... I know that is not the case! But can't one agree, we tend to really think things through in the holidays. After all, holidays create some of the best memories of our lives with our loved ones. Yet, they can be the hardest times when you think of the holes left in our hearts when our loved ones are not there or have passed on.

I too, have been reminded of thankfulness this month. I am healthy. I have a wonderful job. I have great friends. I got to have my husband home for the holidays safe! I have an outstanding family. I truly don't need for anything physically or emotionally. But, I feel almost selfish to think, I don't recognize these everyday and I ask God all the time to show me his will and show what to daily seek out. It's all in front of me, all the time and how often do I take it for granted. God has blessed me so immensely and I do not deserve one ounce of it. We all do not and sadly, we are in a society that makes us feel entitled. So entitled that we deserve what we have and more. We are truly a selfish society and that is devastating. I found this video "googling around" on the internet and it is so true at how blind we are to our daily blessings... the smallest ones. Take a look at "Thankful":

I am praying that God really works on my "thankfulness meter," not only this Thanksgiving, but all year because truly I am blessed. What about you?

I always revert to Romania (a lot actually) when I think about some of my greatest blessings that taught me what giving does for the soul and for others. God has planted this unbelievable seed of love and yearning for these people that I can't even begin to explain. I truly don't think there is one day that passes that I don't think about Romania and the sweet people there. I can't wait to go back!! This is our missions month at church and I've heard a lot of people talk about their experiences and I have missed Romania in a terrible way. But, in all my thinking of thankfulness, I can't help but think of them. They may not have every physical need met, like most of us do. But they are so rich in heart, love and family... they truly have it all. The first example that just pops in my head is while we were making the drive in from Bucharest to Brasov. We passed a lot of the countryside and small homes a long the way. Homes that most would frown at and say "I wouldn't live there." A lot of the homes have dirt walks leading to them. As I looked out the van window, I see a woman, sweeping her dirt walk and there are flowers here and there. And her tiny home, although not much, looked so loved and taken care of. That action alone, shows pride and thankfulness. Also, any time we were working, every person that went through the doors into our little make shift clinic... they always expressed thanks. But that isn't why I chose to give my time and my gifts God has given me. I wasn't looking for a thanks or a warm fuzzy. I chose to give because God commands us at Christians to give all that we can. But how often do we disregard the call to give?

Giving isn't always easy to do and excuses always loom. The economy is tough and we might not have the finances. We might be busy and the time just isn't there. The world gives us distractions and we may not pay attention. I won't lie, I was on my way running into Kroger to pick up a couple of items to back with, less than a 5 dollar purchase for sure. I had 7 dollars in my purse (in cash... a rarity with me because I hate carrying cash) and I see the salvation army at the door ringing that sweet little bell. It was rainy and I wanted nothing more than to just dash in without a handful of purse and umbrella in tow but I knew, I could definitely use my card for the purchase and I needed to get over my wants for the day. So, I gave my 7 dollars and smiled... it felt great. It didn't take much, a huge financial effort or strain on time... Just a simple drop. So, if it feels SO good when we give, why do we not give more often. Giving can be as simple as a compliment to a hard working co-worker, a couple dollars to the Salvation Army, adopting a family for Christmas or giving all you can to go on a mission trip. No matter how big or how small, I promise, God blesses you immensely.

So, my question and thought amongst the ramble, what will you give amidst your thanks this year?

This might make absolutely no sense to anyone but myself. But I guess this is "my space" to share my thoughts, so here they are. I hope you all have a safe and great Thanksgiving full of thanks and of giving, as well. I'll leave you with a picture of just one of the many things I am so thankful for...

Welcome home to my sweet and awesome hubby! Also, welcome home and God bless to all the guys who went with him and deployers who returned home for the holidays!

Live. Laugh. Love and Thankfulness. :)


Monday, November 14, 2011

Honing New Skills: Learning all the way.

     In my single days, cooking for only myself in my apartment was fun but it truly consisted of meals of simplicity (or you know, I just ate out... a lot.) Let's face it, what single girl will eat 3 servings of left overs before it goes bad... it just wouldn't happen.
    As Jon and I began dating and got engaged, I started becoming a frequenter of and cook a good meal here and there. But after we got married (barring the E-Coli strike), I really delved deep into my cookbooks and have found a new form of love and relaxation.  Cooking has become a therapeutic end to my day. I'm sure other hygienists can relate out there (or any other profession where your hands are your livelihood) that the last thing you want to do when you get home, is use your hands even more! But, with that said, it has been a stress reliever.
     Jon made the comment to me a week or so ago and said "I feel bad that you are in there cooking and I'm just here watching the news." I thought about it a little bit and maybe single Melissa might have been annoyed at that but it is so not the case now. I have about a 5 minute commute home and while dental hygiene might seem like a "cush" career, it is actually a pretty monotonous and "heavy" job some days (but nonetheless a blessing). Think about it: you do the same thing day in and day out, yet luckily, no day or case is the same. But on top of the monotony, you hear about how an individual dislikes being there (of course, "nothing personal") and every bad experience they have had. Now to be honest, it does kind of get on my nerves after a while, but I understand... scraping enamel doesn't really send people dancing in the street (well maybe me but that is why I have a twisted love for dentistry). With the complaints, you do hear about a lot of heartbreaking things.... deaths of children, parents, spouses and illnesses... cancer and Lord, do I wish I had the right words for everything. So often, the dental chair ends up a place similar to a counselors couch where people just let go and to be honest, some people are just emotionally done.  Honestly, I do bring these heartbreaks home often time and think about what I could do, what I could say. Often now, I find myself during my cooking time... decompressing and loving just being there in "my space." I told Jon all of this and it seemed to just click and it's something that I feel like we have a learned understanding now. For example, his decompression times are his 30 minute drive home and the time he walks in the door (gives me a great hug and kiss, of course!) and goes and get comfortable for the evening. It is funny that even just a month in, you begin to respect and appreciate things like that.
     Now, although I'd like to say just all my meals are complex, they aren't. There are some nights where simplicity is still needed. But the question is: how can you quick and simple but still remain healthy? It is possible! There are tons of cookbooks and websites that specialize in such! My theory: if you can read... you can cook. Simple.
     This has become a favorite and quick meal for Jon and I. I shared the dish with my parents this weekend and I think they are about it too! I made Jon and I an asparagus soup with  Hummus wraps. For my parents, I substituted the asparagus soup with carrot soup. The great thing about the soup, it's extremely versatile and can be used with most any vegetable. Check it out...

For the soup (yields 5 servings, takes 15 min. to prep and about 20 to cook)
4 cups Chicken Broth, 1 1/2 lbs fresh asparagus cut into 1 inch pieces, 1/2 cup of whipping cream, 1tsp sugar

1.In a saucepan, bring broth and asparagus to a boil. Simmer for about 5-7 minutes or until really tender (from experience: make sure it is really tender or it will be "pulpy" even after you puree it.) Cool for 10 min.
2.  In a blender (I favor my NuWave... LOVE IT), cover and process soup in small batches until smooth (puree almost); return to pan. 
3. Stir in cream and sugar; heat through

Substitutions: Carrots: 4 large carrots; Broccoli: 3 cups chopped fresh broccoli; Cauliflower: 3 cups Cauliflowerets; or the Vegetable you wish to have!

1 cup of soup: 122 Calories

For the Hummus Wraps (2 Servings, Prep time is 10 min)
2 room temp flour tortillas (8 inches), 6 tablespoons hummus, 1/2 cup shredded carrots, 1 cup fresh baby spinach, 6 slices of tomato, 2 tablespoons of green goddess salad dressing

1. Spread the tortillas with hummus. Layer with carrots, spinach and tomato; drizzle with dressing. Roll tightly.

Total calories: 1 wrap appx 308 calories

Now, Jon and I have made a promise to really watch what we eat and stay active. We have no idea how many people  have  told us that you gain a "newlywed 20." So, we (for the most part) use organic and low fat/calorie/sodium products. In all recipes, we tend to substitute the usual products for healthier choices.

Here's the final products: 
To make the pretty designs in the middle that you often see in restaurants: simply add a tiny bit of cream and design with a toothpick! 

Next time, I'll go a little more complex... perhaps, when I crack into my slow cooker! 

Until next time, Live.Laugh. Love.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

A New Start and a Little Blogging Facelift!

Hey everyone! I seriously can't believe I haven't posted since January. It has been such a whirlwind year that can only be described as perfect. Isn't funny how the best things in life are the ones that are not apart of your plans. I think it is so true when they say that "You make plans and God laughs at them."

Through 2010, God took me through the most amazing journey. From teaching me how to trust and just "be," to graduating college and finding my first job; From meeting some really precious people and showing me Romania and what God has planned there, to beginning a relationship with my soul mate... my best friend... Jon.

As 2011 came, God has taken my heart and grown it in so many wonderful ways. In January, I found myself face to face with Jon and just knowing, he was it. God has blessed me with such an incredible person and on April 27, Jon asked me to be his wife. Finally, on October 8, I became a Roe. It was such a WONDERFUL day. I can honestly say (after so many wedding day horror stories!) our day was perfect for us. Yes, little things went array (like anything in life) but they were indeed little. Thank you to all who made our day so special.

So, now that I feel we are "updated" and I am sure I'll write more about the wedding day and share some photos from Kristina Eisenhower Photography... now to share some of her newlywed adventures.

The day after the wedding, I woke up with this headache and really wasn't feeling to great. Sadly, my "not feeling great" showed in the form of hugging the porcelain throne. That's all I'll say. Ha Ha. From getting sick while trying to get ready for our post-wedding day brunch at my parents and also on the way there, finally a sweet friend and her mother had the most wonderful thing ever... a Zoforan (anti-nausea pill). Luckily, I made it! We then honeymooned to the AMAZING Punta Cana, Dominican Republic Dreams Resort. (Highly recommend it to everyone!) Upon our arrival back home (plus 5 days), Jon came down with some really bad sickness. After a not so fun couple of days, doctor visit and finally an ER visit, we found out he had E-Coli. It was very scary but luckily, he is feeling much better.

I have made the joke to a lot of my patients, "We are testing our vows early." But what I have been told repeatedly, a marriage that is not the easiest in the beginning is going to be a great marriage. Based on the fun we have and just enjoying these days, I think they are right.

I know I didn't write of anything of much interest but more to come (as a promise to blog more!) Next time, you will learn about my new obsession but I'll post a clue:

But for now, it's bed time for this working girl.
Live. Laugh. Love.