Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Cast iron skillet pizza

Anytime I'm looking for a sumptuous recipe I ALWAYS go to my best friend Mika's blog first and this time was no exception.  If you've been following me for very long then you know that Mika and I met 15 years ago when we both adopted our beautiful daughters from South Korea.   We've developed a friendship that's more like family and enjoy spending as much time with them as we can.
Mika and Bailey on the right and Kenzie and I are on the left.  This was a Dillon picnic when the girls were just around 1 year.

Mika has this amazing blog called Mika's Pantry and she is definitely a foodie, if you want the most amazing recipes click on her link now!  She makes these pizza's that are so mouth watering and are to die for.  They have a pizza oven grill and make up new pizza's all the time.  Last time we visited she made a BBQ pizza that was out of this world.  Now, she's into cast iron cooking and of course she HAD to make pizza in it and I had to try my hand at it too.

First I placed the dough in a greased 12" skillet and then covered it with a disposable shower cap.  Shower cap???  I buy them in bulk for really cheap and then use them like you would those more expensive covers from the grocery store.  They're great for 1/2 a watermelon or anything that's an awkward size and shape.

 So the big secret that everyone shared with me was that you need a very hot oven like 450-500 degrees so the crust get a nice crunch to it.  For more info click here and read Mika's detailed instructions!

It's really deep dish and delicious!

Thanks for reading,

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Mercy Me-It's Christmas review and CD giveaway

About the CD:

Mercy Me It’s Christmas? CD will be available in Pizza Ranch locations beginning November 1, 2015 through December 31, 2015.  It has 4 exclusive songs that can only be found on the CD version being sold by Pizza Ranch.  Each CD will be sold for $5 plus tax.  Pizza Ranch will give away the CD with a $25 gift card purchase as well as sell the full album at each of its 200 locations throughout the Midwest and Great Plains states.  “We are so excited to debut our new Christmas album, MercyMe, It’s Christmas, with Pizza Ranch” said Bart Millard with MercyMe. “Pizza Ranch is a fantastic restaurant with a great mission to glorify God. It’s the perfect gift to give this Christmas season and the perfect CD to get you in the Christmas spirit.”

1. Newborn
2. Christmastime Again
3. Sleigh Ride
4. I’ll Be Home For Christmas
5. Hold On Christmas
6. A Holly Jolly Christmas
7. Go Tell It On The Mountain
8. Do You Hear What I Hear
9. Our Lullaby
10. Joy
11. O Come, O Come
12. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (Exclusive Bonus Track for Pizza Ranch)
13. O Holy Night (Exclusive Bonus Track for Pizza Ranch)
14. Silent Night (Exclusive Bonus Track for Pizza Ranch)
15. Joseph’s Lullaby (Exclusive Bonus Track for Pizza Ranch)

About Pizza Ranch:
Cultivating its mission To give every guest a legendary experience since its inception in 1981, Pizza Ranch connects with its communities in a way that provides bridges for friends, family and colleagues to come together. Today, Pizza Ranch is based in Orange City, Iowa and owns, operates and franchises over 190 locations in 13 states. Consistent growth has been a Pizza Ranch staple, as the brand has become a beacon of community involvement and exceptional food. The Pizza Ranch buffet features legendary pizzas, salads and desserts, and is delivered with an unmatched service quality.  We are extremely blessed to have a very close connection with our guests, said Adrie Groeneweg, co-founder and president of Pizza Ranch. This project extends the brand’s essence to a new dimension beyond our four walls and into their lives. It’s a new kind of way for us to relate to our loyal fans.

Sharing from my heart:

Last week at youth group the youth minister asked all the kids to raise their hands if they like Christmas music, and come to find out my darling daughter didn't raise her hand.  BAH HUMBUG she doesn't like Christmas music!  Where have I gone wrong with her?  So I started asking her WHY??  What's the deal? How can you not like Christmas music?  Come to find out, she doesn't like the majority of Christmas music.  There are a few exceptions like Pentatonix and YES she likes this Christmas CD by Mercy Me!  Maybe I haven't gone wrong after all.  Although she did inform me it's still too early to play Christmas music, the appropriate date to starting listening is apparently the day after Thanksgiving!  Yippee it's almost time (according to Makenzie).  
Anyway, I really enjoyed this CD and can't wait to listen as I play taxi driver and take my kids back and forth to all of their different activities and I added it to my Christmas playlist on my iPhone. You really can't go wrong with anything by MercyMe, they're one of my absolute all time favorites.

Giveaway time:

In the comments let me know what your favorite Christmas song is.  Mine is Mary did you know?
*Open to the US and Canada.  Giveaway ends on 11/24/15 at 11:59pm CST.

Thanks for reading,
"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Kenzie's 15th gotcha day

Another year has flown by and now it's time to celebrate Makenzie's 15th Gotcha Day!  I was laying in bed thinking about how our life has changed so much from 15 years ago.  15 years ago today I woke up in LA just hoping and praying that we would finally have a child of our very own to love.  We'd been through a lot over the previous 8-9 years with 6 miscarriages, 3 failed domestic adoptions and I was full of doubt that we would finally have a child.  As we were preparing to start our day we heard a knock on the hotel room door and surprise it was Kevin's parents and my mom.  They wanted to be there to share our special arrival.  Kevin and I were both anxious and worried that everything would go ok.  We all headed to the Santa Monica pier and had a quick lunch and took some pictures on the pier and then we headed back to the LAX airport.  We must have arrived an hour or 2 early just in case their flight from Korea just happened to come in earlier than expected.  Our lives were about to change forever and we didn't have a clue. 

 We heard that the plane arrived and now we had to just wait and wait while they started their journey through customs.  Our dear friend Beverlee was bringing Makenzie to us from Korea and all of the sudden I see a Korean man carrying Makenzie and I kind of started freaking out inside because why did some stranger have my baby?  Whew, here comes Beverlee and she tells us this is Mr. Chae and Kenzie was his first baby to escort to the USA. He hands her to me and I look in those beautiful almond shaped eyes and that's it.  She's ours!  Kevin is crying and misses seeing her reach her tiny, dimpled fingers out to him and then she smiles at us and it's the most beautiful smile I've ever seen.  The next couple of hours are a blur and guess what?  We find out that she already knows how to roll over, that she likes to pop a pacifier in and out of her mouth and she can suck down a bottle in less than a minute.  That of course is the short version of our special day that we call Gotcha Day.  

We always celebrate this day for both of our children because it's not their birthday which is when most people get to see, hold and touch their baby for the first time and we never want to forget that miraculous day.  This year we made Korean food, we usually do to honor their heritage and because we love bulgogi, chap chae, pot stickers, rice and of course you can't forget the kimchi!  This year we took Kenzie to see a production that her dance studio The Legacy Project put on called "What If".  

Thanks for reading,

The Flirtation Experiment-book review and giveaway

About the authors:  Lisa Jacobson  is an author, a podcaster, and the founder of, an online community of Christian women aut...