Sunday, December 27, 2009

Pan-seared tuna with avocado, soy, ginger and lime

Tonight I made pan-seared tuna with avocado, soy, ginger and lime. This is a delicious combination of flavors! I served it with brown rice and roasted broccoli, with extra sauce poured on top of the rice and broccoli. This was an easy and healthful dinner to start our detox from all of the (delicious, yet heavy) holiday food we've been stuffing ourselves with.


Friday, December 25, 2009


We had a great Christmas! Jeremy's brother, our sister-in-law, and our nephew all came down from Ohio. We spent most of our week hanging out at Jeremy's parents house with them all, playing games, eating good food, and visiting some other family in the area.

Our nephew, playing with one of his gifts

Jeremy's sister Lisa, opening her presents

Jeremy helping Blake open his stocking

Jeremy's brother Bryan

Our sister-in-law Meegan

Jeremy's Dad, Blake and Meegan



Homemade Christmas gifts

I love giving homemade gifts. I like taking the time to think of something special for friends and family, putting the time and creativity into the project, and being able to give something just a little more special than a store bought item. Homemade gifts can be frugal, thoughtful, and meaningful when done right, and given to a recipient who appreciates handmade items. I can't always seem to come up with a homemade gift that everyone on my list will enjoy, and I'm not into giving handmade gifts just to do it, so when necessary I'll purchase a gift. Since I was short on crafting time this year we bought gifts for most of the people on our list, but I still tried to make a little something special and handmade when possible. Here are some of the gifts that I came up with...

baby headbands for my niece (who is due February 18!)... I used stretchy lace for these, cut it to about 14-15 inches, sewed it together, then sewed a fabric flower on one, and an easy grosgrain bow on the other... this was quite an easy craft and turned out so cute!

pumpkin butter... for as long as I can remember I've given my mom a jar of pumpkin butter every year for Christmas, a couple of years ago I started making and canning it myself, rather than purchasing it at specialty shops. I made a few jars this year to send to friends and family. It's great on toast, pancakes, or waffles.

a tie tshirt for my nephew... I've been eyeballing this tutorial for a while and was itching for a chance to do it. This would be great on a onesie for a baby shower gift.

family cookbook... this has been an ongoing project, two years ago I gave these to my mom, mother-in-law, and sister-in-law. each page has a recipe, variation ideas and notes, and a picture of a family member taken within the last year. each year I continue to add to these, type up new recipes that we've tried that year and add new pictures. it contains all of our favorites, all of the classic family recipes, and some other fun creations. I gave them in a large binder, divided into sections (appetizers, soups, meat, etc.) and placed each page in a sheet protector so that it's spill proof. then each year new recipes can be added to the back of each section. I did this in Microsoft power point and used an existing presentation template to make this cheap and easy, and I print the pages myself. However any cookbook software (like Master Cook) could be used, or an entire book could be designed and ordered from any photo website comparable to snapfish.

personalized return address labels and bookplates designed in Microsoft Word then printed on labels


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve- Dollar Store Family Tradition

Every year on Christmas Eve we go to the Dollar Store with Jeremy's family and his Dad gives us enough money to buy 1 present for everyone. We sneak around the store picking out items and go home and exchange our gifts. Some end up being gag gifts, and some end up being practical, but they are all great for a good laugh, and fun pictures! Here's some of the excitement from this year...

Jeremy's sister Lisa, with her bag of gifts ready to be distributed

Jeremy with his new gun

Jeremy's Mom, with her antlers

My pile of loot... storage bags, a baking dish, headbands, a foot scrubber, a sewing kit and 2 knock-off shammy cloths

Jeremy's brother Bryan, wearing his light up glasses that I gave him, and holding up the "du rag" that Jeremy gave him

Jeremy's Dad, wearing his pirate hat and making his best pirate face

Bryan, wearing the du rag


Friday, December 18, 2009

Glazed Carrots

I had plans with a friend this evening, so I needed a super quick side to throw together. This worked out wonderfully. A touch of cinnamon, thyme, or dried cranberries would be an excellent addition also. I did this in the microwave, while I washed off my post gym sweat, but the carrots could be stir fried, boiled, roasted, or steamed depending on your preference.

Glazed Carrots
-1 lb. baby carrots
-1/2 cup pecans, toasted
-1 tbsp. butter
-2 tbsp. brown sugar
In microwave safe dish with lid, melt butter for 30-60 seconds. Stir in brown sugar, then carrots, until mixed well. Cover and microwave 10-15 minutes, until desired tenderness is achieved. Stir in pecans.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Merry Christmas

Consider this a bloggy Christmas card for all of those out in blogland that I don't have addresses for.

This has been a crazy year to say the least. We've moved from Myrtle Beach to New Orleans, both started new jobs, found new church(es), and made new friends. The Lord has guided us each step of the way, amazing us with His providence and provision as our transition occurred unbelievably smoothly.

Since May we've been living in an old Victorian, typical New Orleans styled shot gun home in Uptown New Orleans. We've experienced some of the flavor of New Orleans, including parades, crawfish boils, and creole cooking. We've connected with family members that Jeremy has either never met, or hasn't seen since he was a small boy. We've fallen in love with absolutely everything (well almost everything... not the crime) about this city. We love the Mangerchine roots here, driving by the homes that Jeremy's family grew up in, the schools they attended, and the hot spots they hung out at. We love the spicy cooking, abundant seafood, and multitudes of restaurants to dine at. We love Audubon Park, and all the gigantic oak trees within it. We love the array of different style homes, the character they possess, and the diversity around us. We love the community of friends that we've found. We love that there's always something going on. We're even trying to root for the Saints and become fans as we submerse ourselves in the culture around us.

We are both working on the Northshore, about 50 minutes from where we live, and we enjoy our commute together in the car everyday. We are currently training to run the Mardis Gras Rock and Roll 1/2 Marathon in February, as well as keeping up with regular weight lifting. Jeremy has his first tattoo over 3/4 of the way done, and we are loving everything about it. Shannon loves to cook, and we both love to eat, whether that be at home, or at our favorite ethnic restaurants. We're looking forward to getting to spend the whole week of Christmas with Jeremy's brother, his wife, and their son, who will be visiting from Ohio. We'll spend most of our time with them at Jeremy's parents house, enjoying games, food, puzzles, and talks.

This has been an awesome year for us, and we feel completely blessed! We are in the best shape of our lives, are the most financially "secure" that we've been, are close to family and a great community of friends, and are really enjoying all of the time that we get to spend together.

With love, we wish you and your family a Merry Christmas!

May your holiday be filled with the presence of the Lord, time with family, good food, laughter, joy, and peace. May Christ be in the center of your heart and life, and may you be used by Him, for His glory.

Love, the Mangerchines

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Holiday baking

This weekend I busied myself with some holiday baking. Baking cookies is definitely a holiday tradition that I enjoy, and I love having them to pass out to neighbors and co-workers. We managed to bring a bunch of cookies to a Christmas party, pass them out to our neighbors in tins, bring some to each of our offices, and still have a bunch leftover for small group on Tuesday. It was fun to have a chance to meet some neighbors that we hadn't met yet and start building better community in our neighborhood. One family even invited me in for a bit. Here are some of our favorites from what I baked this weekend.


Fudge is a great option for vegetarians who don't eat eggs. You could easily use a soy or rice milk and make this vegan also.

-3 cups granulated sugar
-3/4 cup real butter
-2/3 cup evaporated milk
-12 oz bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
-7 oz marshmallow cream
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1 cup chopped pecans

Bring sugar, butter and milk to a boil in a medium saucepan. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly, remove from heat. Stir in chocolate chips, marshmallow cream, and vanilla until thoroughly mixed. Stir in nuts. Pour into greased 13x9 dish. Cool to room temperature before slicing.

Toffee Cookies

These were our favorite out of all the cookies that I made.

-2 1/4 cups flour
-1 tsp baking soda
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 cup butter, softened
-3/4 cup brown sugar
-3/4 cup granulated sugar
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-2 eggs
-1 bag (10 oz) toffee bits

Heat oven to 350. Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter, sugars, and vanilla until well blended. Add eggs and blend thoroughly. Gradually add flour mixture, beating well. Stir in toffee bits. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake 9-11 minutes.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

-1 cup shortening
-3/4 cup white sugar
-3/4 cup brown sugar
-2 eggs
-2 tsp vanilla
-2 1/4 cups flour
-1 tsp baking soda
-1 tsp salt
-2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, cream together shortening and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well with each addition. Stir in vanilla. Gradually stir flour mixture into and creamed mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

These cookies would also be great with cranberries and white chocolate instead of the raisins.

-1 cup butter, softened
-1 cup white sugar
-1 cup brown sugar
-2 eggs
-1 tsp vanilla
-2 cups flour
-1 tsp baking soda
-1 tsp salt
-1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
-3 cups quick oats
-1 cup raisins
-1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375. Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In large bowl, cream together butter and sugars. Beat in eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Gradually stir flour mixture into creamed mixture. Mix in oats. Chill for at least 1 hour. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets, flatten the tops of the balls slightly with fork or spoon. Bake 8-10 minutes.


Sunday, December 6, 2009

Mexican Coleslaw and Chocoholic Cake

Today we celebrated Jeremy's Mom's birthday. We hung out and watched our Saints defeat the Redskins, making us 12-0. Then I made dinner for us all in honor of my Mother-in-law's birthday. I made one of our favorites, Fish Tacos and Black Bean and Corn Salad. I always shred red cabbage as a topping for the fish tacos, and this time I decided to try to come up with another accompanying side dish in which to use the remaining 3/4 head of cabbage... and so, Mexican Coleslaw was created.

Mexican Coleslaw

The cayenne isn't necessary here and could easily be eliminated, but when we're dining on Mexican I like it spicy. Cumin, corn, or black beans would be a great addition here as well.

-3/4 head red cabbage, finely shredded
-a few carrots, shredded
-1/2 green pepper, diced
-1/4 red onion, diced
-a handful of fresh cilantro leaves
-juice of 1/2 lime
-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
-2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
-2 tablespoons sugar
-1/4 cup mayo
-1 teaspoon salt
-fresh ground black pepper

Whisk together lime juice, cayenne, vinegar, sugar, mayo, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Toss in remaining ingredients. Chill for at least 2 hours prior to serving.

This was the cake that my Mother-in-law requested for her birthday as she is a serious chocolate lover. The cake is best served still warm, with vanilla ice cream, or having been chilled in the refrigerator for a bit.

-1 package Duncan Hines chocolate cake mix
-1 package chocolate instant pudding
-1 cup milk
-1/2 cup sour cream
-4 large eggs
-1 cup chopped pecans
-2 cups nestle semi-sweet chocolate morsels

-1 (2 oz) nestle semi-sweet chocolate baking bar
-1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar
-3 tablespoons butter
-2-3 tablespoons water
-1 teaspoon vanilla

For cake preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour bundt or tube pan. Combine cake mix, pudding mix, milk, sour cream and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Beat on low speed just until blended. Beat on high speed for 2 minutes. Stir in morsels and nuts. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 55-65 minutes or until wooden pick comes out clean. Cool in pan for 20 minutes, invert on wire rack to cool completely.

For the glaze melt baking bar and butter in small sauce pan over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in powdered sugar alternately with water until desired consistency is reached. Stir in vanilla extract, pour glaze over cake.


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Apple Crisp

Today we attended a cookout at a friends house where I needed to bring a dish. Since we had apples going bad I decided to turn them into this delicious dessert.

Apple Crisp

-3 tablespoons butter
-1/2 cup oats
-1/2 cup whole wheat flour
-3/4 cup brown sugar
-1 teaspoon cinnamon
-1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
-3/4 cup chopped pecans

-juice of 1/2 lemon
-6 apples, peeled and diced
-1/4 cup sugar

Mix filling ingredients well and place on the bottom of greased 8x8 dish. Mix oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in medium bowl. Cut in the butter to the dry topping mixture. Stir in the pecans, and top the filling with the crumb topping. Bake at 375 for 40 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Spaghetti Squash

Since I was a kid my mom has been serving spaghetti squash either with pesto sauce, marinara sauce, or just plain old butter with salt and pepper and maybe a sprinkle of cheese. I'd almost say it is comfort food for me, because I didn't grow up eating the traditional comfort foods like mac and cheese, pizza, lasagna, chili, pot roast, stew etc. Tonight I enjoyed this with marinara sauce, and was thrilled that my friend Rebecca (who doesn't like vegetables) even liked it, without the sauce of course, because she doesn't like sauces either.

Spaghetti Squash

Prick holes in a spaghetti squash with a fork. Bake at 350 for 1-1.5 hours, until the squash is tender. Cut squash in half, hollow out seeds with a spoon, then shred the squash with a fork so that I comes off in spaghetti-like strands.

Simple and Quick Marinara Sauce

-1 28 oz can of tomatoes, and 1 15 oz can of tomatoes, any combination of types that you like. I normally use 28 oz of tomato sauce, and 15 oz of crushed tomatoes, but you could use all of one or the other, or substitute with a can of diced tomatoes if you like your sauce on the chunky side.
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-salt and pepper to taste
-1 tablespoon sugar
-pinch red pepper flakes
-1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
-1 tablespoon olive oil
-either 1 teaspoon each of dried basil and dried oregano, or 2 teaspoons italian seasoning, or fresh basil when I have it (if using fresh basil add it to the sauce just before serving)

Heat olive oil in sauce pan over medium high heat. Saute the garlic for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add remaining ingredients. Reduce heat and simmer at least 30 minutes, but the longer the better, and if it sits in the fridge overnight and is heated back up and served the next day it's even better.