When Life Throws You Lemons & Mini Oreo Cheesecakes Recipe

Thursday, July 26, 2012

God is amazing everyday, but some days it seems God shows us a little more that we haven't seen even a portion of what He can do. I LOVE days like that and (for me) today is one of those days.

Yesterday was a rather difficult day. I felt like I didn't have control of anything going on in my life... where will Jason & I live, when will we buy a house, when will we have a baby, when will we finally be able to settle down, and the questions just kept pouring into my head. I just became overwhelmed with the unknown. I knew, even as the thoughts were funneling through my head, all I needed to do was pray about it because God had it under control, but I just had to process that. Of course, I prayed & Jason & I talked about everything I was concerned about & I did feel momentarily better, but I woke up this morning with an overwhelming feeling of guilt because in that moment I kept questioning what God already had planned for me and I know His plans are for good and I trust him. Now on the other side of my head, God kept telling me that He loves me despite my imperfections. He already knew how sorry I was and there was a purpose, but not until I read my devotion for the day did I really feel His PEACE

This is the gist of my devotion this morning: Life is full of times when we are unsuspectingly "bowled a googley," and we find ourselves overwhelmed. In those moments of fear and confusion, it's comforting to know we have a God who is sufficient for ANY challenge.

Trails are to be expected (1 Peter 4:12), and we may well be shocked by the circumstances facing us, but God is NEVER surprised! He permits our trials, and He can enable us to respond to them in a way that honors Him.

When we suffer, we must "commit (our) souls to Him in doing good." wrote Peter (v.19). In God's strength, we can face life's most troublesome curveballs.

Literally, after I read this I had tears in my eyes & I felt like God had just given me the biggest hug & immediately, I felt only the peace that God can bring. I LOVE that God knew I needed him today, His LOVE & reassurance that I don't have to worry or plan for the unknown. I just need to keep faith & trust in him. 

"So then, those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good." 1 Peter 4:19

I hope that if any of you are going through any type of struggle that this message brings you the same peace that it brought me. I hope you know that God loves you & I love you, as well. 

Soooo... I know I always gush about having the BEST husband, but seriously, God really knew what He was doing when He put Jason Bentley Ashe in my life. He makes even the most dreary day filled with sunshine. Jason informed me yesterday that I had received a package from eBay & he said that the label looked just like the ones I use for Bella Grace Boutique. Instantly, I was worried that something I mailed out was unable to be delivered, but he wouldn't open the package until I got home. Once I finally got home from getting my hair done, I noticed the package was addressed to Jessica Ashe (which is not the name registered to my eBay store, Bella Grace Boutique, it is still under my maiden name) so I knew he was up to something. I opened the package and this is what I found.... 

More Pink Kitchenaid stuff for our kitchen. We both love the Pink Kitchenaid Cook for the Cure Line because it supports breast cancer awareness, which holds a very special place in both of our hearts.

 Jason always surprises me, but this surprise came at just the perfect time. Any man who surprises you pink stuff for your kitchen is a keeper. It's the little acts of love that really mean the most.

Yesterday I finished Still Alice by Lisa Genova.

By far, one of the most inspiring, insightful, heartfelt, compelling, devastatingly beautiful books I have ever read. Be prepared to cry. YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK! 

The book is about Alice Howard, a professor at Harvard with her Ph.D. in Psychology. She starts to notice subtle changes in her daily life, but the symptoms could be linked to any numerous normal happenings... such as menopause, but eventually she is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimers. The book vividly paints the portrait of the trials & tribulations that this devastating disease caused not only Alice, but also her family.

Last night, I started reading The Truth about Butterflies: A Memoir by Nancy Stephan

It's FREE on Amazon.

So far, I like it, but after reading Still Alice maybe I should have chosen to read something not so depressing.


Jason said these are now his FAVORITE dessert. LOL He always says that, but they were very delicious.


3 (8 oz) packages regular or light cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
24 whole Oreo cookies
12 Oreos crushed
Hot fudge or chocolate syrup (optional, I didn't use this)
Whipped Cream (optional, I only used this on half)
Additional Oreo cookie crumbs for garnish (optional)

Place 24 cupcake liners in muffin tins. Set a whole Oreo cookie in the bottom of each liner. Beat together softened cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until just blended. Gently fold in 12 crushed Oreo cookies (I put the cookies in a ziploc bag and crushed them with a rolling pin). Spoon cheesecake mixture over each cookie in the liners. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until the center of each cheesecake is almost set. Cool completely, then refrigerate at least one hour. Top with a dollop of whipped cream, drizzle with chocolate sauce, and sprinkle crushed Oreo cookies on top.

One more thing before I go, Don't I have the cutest cat ever????

I love her SO incredibly much! 

Spiritual Gifts & I'm Sharing a Recipe!

Monday, July 16, 2012

"There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but all the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines." - 1 Corinthians 12:4-11

Don't we all like gifts? It doesn't matter if it is even the smallest gift, I know for me, I get so excited, because most of the time, it is the thought that counts, but how much more exciting & special is it to receive a GIFT FROM THE LORD?? 

The Lord has given each of us at least ONE spiritual gift to use for His Kingdom purposes. The apostle Paul lists several in 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12, and some in 1 Peter 4:9-11

If you don't know what gifts you have, volunteer for a ministry in your church that interests you, or meet a need you learn about. Then ask yourself if you saw God work through you and if you had joy as you served. Ask fellow believers if they think you're gifted in that area. Most important, ask the Lord to help you determine where you fit in His plans because the Lord wants to use you too!!!

Christians who bury their gifts are making a grave mistake.


A brief survey of some of the spiritual gifts mentioned in the New Testament is provided in the following table:

(Romans 12:6; 1 Corinthians14:29-32)
Speaking truth directly revealed from God.Understanding mystery (1 Corinthians 13:2)Timothy (1 Timothy 4:14), Daughters of Philip (Acts 21:8-9)
Service, Helping(Romans 12:7)Aiding others to do God's work. Giving practical assistance to member of the church.Serving the church and the needy (Acts 6:1)Onesiphorus (2 Timothy 1:16)
Teaching(Romans 12:7; 1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:11)Communicating the truth and applications of the Scripture.Understanding the Word of God (Acts 18:26)Priscilla and Aquila (Acts 18:26), Apollos (Acts 18:27-28), Paul (Acts 18:11)
Encouraging(Romans 12:8)Urging one to pursue proper conduct or to console.Encouragement (Acts 9:27)Barnabas (Acts 4:36)
Giving(Romans 12:8)Liberally and cheerfully imparting substance to God's work.Meeting physical needs (Acts 9:36)Dorcas (Acts 9:36)
Leadership(Romans 12:8)Organizing and administering the work of the ministry.Order (Titus 1:5)Titus (Titus 1:5)
Showing Mercy
(Romans 12:8)
Giving undeserved aid to others.Sympathy, compassion toward undeservingBarnabas (Acts 9:27)
Apostleship(1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:11)Being an eyewitness of the resurrected Christ and speaking authoritatively about faith and
Sets forth God's precepts for the church (1 Corinthians 14:37)Paul (Galatians 1:1), Peter (1 Peter 1:1)
Evangelism(Ephesians 4:11)Presenting the gospel with clarity and with a burden for the unsaved.Understanding the GospelPhilip (Acts 21:8)
Pastor / Teacher(Romans 12:7; Ephesians 4:11)Shepherding and teaching the church.Care and godly instruction (Acts 20:28-31)Paul (1 Thessalonians 2:7-12)
The Message of Wisdom(1 Corinthians 12:8)Perceiving and presenting the truth of God.
Applying God's Word or wisdom to specific situations.
The ability to grasp and apply the revelation givenJohn (1 John 1:1-3)
The Message of Knowledge(1 Corinthians 12:8)Understanding and exhibiting wisdom from God. Revelation from God about people,
circumstances, or Biblical truth.
Truth understood in its spiritual sense (1 Corinthians 2:6-12)Paul (Colossians 2:2-3)
Faith(1 Corinthians 12:9)Trusting God implicitly to perform unusual deeds.Accomplishment of great tasksStephen (Acts 6:5)
Healing(1 Corinthians 12:9)Being able to cure diseases.Complete cures (Acts 3:6-7)Peter and John (Acts 3:6-7), Paul (Acts 20:9-12)
Miracles(1 Corinthians 12:10)Being able to perform works of power.People fear God (Acts 5:9-11)Paul (Acts 13:8-11)
Discernment(1 Corinthians 12:10)Distinguishing the power by which a teacher or prophet speaks.Exposure of false prophets (1 John 4:1)Believers at Corinthians (1 Corinthians 14:29)
Tongues(1 Corinthians 12:10)Speaking in a language not understood by the speaker.Praise to God which is understood by those persons knowing the language spoken (Acts 2:1-12).
Thanksgiving to God which may be understood if someone interprets the language spoken (1 Corinthians 14:5,16, 27-28).
The disciples
Interpretation(1 Corinthians 12:10)Making "tongues" understandable.Confirmation of the foreign language (1 Corinthians 14:27-28)

Brown Sugar and Balsamic Glazed Pork Loin

This pork loin is by far, one of the best and easiest I have ever cooked! You will love it!


1 (2 pound) boneless pork tenderloin (or regular pork loin)
1 teaspoon ground sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 cup water

1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce


Combine sage, salt, pepper and garlic. 
Rub over roast. 
Place in slow cooker with 1/2 cup water. 
Cook on low for 6-8 hours. 
About 1 hour before roast is done, combine ingredients for glaze in small sauce pan.
 Heat and stir until mixture thickens. 
Brush roast with glaze 2 or 3 times during the last hour of cooking. 
Serve with remaining glaze on the side.

This week I am reading Hollywood Scandals by Gemma Halliday

I got it for free on Ibooks, which is why I am reading it. Who doesn't love a free book. It is actually a pretty good read. At first, I was getting bored, but now that I am about 1/2 way through, it is pretty interesting. 

As most of you know by now, I am a Goodreads addict! I LOVE that website, however, it is not very good for my addiction to buying books. Last week I entered a couple Goodreads giveaways, thinking I was just wasting my time, but this week I received an email saying I won Love is the Cure: Ending the Global Aids Epidemic by Elton John. I am so excited to get it in the mail!

If you haven't signed up for Goodreads, please just go ahead and give into temptation and do so now! hehe Make sure you add me as a friend too!

Have a very blessed week!!! 

Bitterness: The Root that Ruins & 2 NEW Recipes

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.  - Hebrews 12:14-15

Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, boxer & author, (his book, Eye of the Hurricane, above) was convicted of murder in a highly publicized and racially charged trial. The boxer maintained his innocence and became his own jailhouse lawyer. After serving 19 years, Carter was released when the verdict was overturned. 

As a free man he reflected: "Wouldn't anyone under those circumstances have a right to be bitter?... I've learned that bitterness only consumes the vessel that contains it. And for me to permit bitterness to control or infect my life in any way whatsoever would be to allow those who imprisoned me to take even more than... they've already taken."

If you put yourself in Carter's shoes, do you think you would have come to the same conclusion? Bitterness is something that we can have in our hearts and not even know it is present. One of my very good friends gave me some great advice that we should write letters to friends, family, husbands, wives, children, etc.. explaining how we feel they have wronged us & how that made us feel or react, as well as, apologizing to anyone who you know you have done wrong to. I, personally, love this idea because I am just not strong enough to face some them yet. The good thing about once you are done writing a letter, if you feel comfortable, you can send it, or if you don't feel comfortable yet you can burn it and with it make sure you burn those feelings. 

Sometimes it seems that it is easier to "just sweep your feelings under the rug" rather than confront the person about the issue and deal with it. When I read Joyce Meyer "Approval Addiction", I came to a better understanding of why, sometimes, it is more beneficial to confront the issue. For one, it relieves you of those feelings and for two, the person is aware of the issue at hand. They can choose to fix the problem or not. What they do after the discussion is not your concern, you have opened the door for your bitterness or resentment to leave.

When we hold on to disappointment, a poisonous root of bitterness begins to grow. Allow the Spirit to fill you so He can heal the hurt that causes bitterness.

Currently, I am reading The Guardian by Nicholas Sparks. It's amazing which should be no surprise because all of his books are phenomenal! 

Julie's husband dies, and he sends her a note and a box. The note was written before he died, and he asked that it be delivered once he was gone. Inside the box was a dog, whom Jim sent to keep her safe. Julie gets mixed up with a dangerous man, and her late husband's best friend Mike is there to help her out, and fall in love with her.

Jason & I just started reading The One Year Love Language Minute Devotional by Gary Chapman. The first couple that we read, I wasn't over the moon about.... and that is just because it was focusing more on problems in marriages, but the more we have progressed, I am absolutely in love with it, just like any other book by Gary Chapman! It is a must read for you & your spouse! The devotions are to short and to the point, but like some devotionals that are short & you feel the longing for more, this one is different! You won't be sorry!

"The Love Languages Devotional "is your daily guide to how to express heartfelt love to your loved one.


This chicken is absolutely amazing! Some recipes that call for dipping into multiple ingredients sometimes tend to all fall apart, but this one didn't!

2 cups of Barbecue flavored Fritos, crushed 
2 tablespoons buttermilk powder 
2 eggs 
1 tablespoon half and half or milk
3 medium to large chicken breasts, or 5-6 chicken thighs, de-boned and skinned 
Your favorite barbecue spice mix or rub. I used Montreal Seasoning BBQ Rub & it was spectacular!


Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and a wire cooling rack.
Place Barbecue Fritos in a gallon sized ziptop bag. Seal the bag, pushing out as much air as you can. Use a rolling pin to roll over the Fritos in the bag repeatedly, until you have breadcrumb sized pieces. You can also use a food processor to accomplish this.
Add two tablespoons of buttermilk powder to the crushed Fritos and shake the bag. Pour the crushed Fritos onto a large plate and set aside.
In a medium bowl, crack two eggs and add milk or half and half. Whisk the eggs and milk together until fully combined.
Take a fully defrosted piece of chicken, dip it into the egg wash to coat completely, the sprinkle the egg-coated chicken lightly with your favorite barbecue spice mix or rub. This is entirely to your taste, so sprinkle as little or as much as you want. Then dip and roll it into the crushed Fritos on the plate.
Repeat the dipping process once more with the same chicken breast, essentially “double dipping”. No need to season again on the second dip.
Place the coated chicken breast on the wire cooling rack that is set into the baking tray and repeat the process with the remaining pieces of chicken.
Bake at 425°F for approximately an hour. If the Fritos topping starts to get darker on top, lightly cover with a piece of foil to prevent over-browning.
The chicken is done when it reaches 180°F when pierced with a meat thermometer.


- 1 pkg dry cake mix-white, yellor or french vanilla
- 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature 
- 1/3 c butter, room temperature
- 1/3 c sugar
- 2 lg eggs, divided
 - 29 oz can light peach slices, drained
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13” pan with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, combine cake mix, butter and 1 egg; mix with fork just until crumbly. Set aside 1.5 cup crumbs for topping.
Press the remaining crumbs on bottom of prepared pan; Bake 10 minutes.
Cut peach slices into 1” pieces; Spoon onto partially-baked crust.
In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, 1 egg and vanilla extract; beat with mixer until creamy. Spread over top of peaches.
Sprinkle with reserved crumbs; Bake 30 minutes.  
Chill at least 30 minutes before serving; Serves 12. Store leftovers in refrigerator.

OK! Well that's all for now! I hope you all have a very blessed week!