Beneath the make-up and behind the smile, I'm just a girl who wishes for the world.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Lasagna & Garlic Bread.

Well, here's my first real "foodie" blog! 
Tonight's dinner was pretty amazing
if I do say so myself. And it is SUPER 
easy to make yourself! I'll start with the 
Lasagna since you'll want to get that into the oven first. 

Start with these pretty simple ingredients: 
Lasagna Noodles 
Your favorite Pasta Sauce (I used 6 Cheese) 
Ground Turkey (Or Ground Beef if you'd rather) 
Cottage Cheese 
Mozzarella Cheese 
Seasonings - Italian, Red Pepper, Onion, Garlic, and Chili. 

And now to start... 

 Brown that meat! This is where the seasoning comes 
into play as well. Sprinkle a little bit of each seasoning. 
Except the Italian! So that's Chili Powder, Onion Powder,
Garlic Powder, and Crushed Red Pepper. 
Once cooked, set aside. 

This part may get confusing with the pictures, because 
I forgot to snatch a picture of the first layer of pasta sauce.
So the first step of assembly is putting a thin layer of 
sauce on the bottom of the glass dish. 

Second step, throw in those noodles, dry! I use uncooked
noodles that way they are not overcooked once it is done
baking in the oven! And it cuts a whole step out of the process. 

Next you'll want to pull out that cottage cheese and 
put a nice layer on top of the noodles. Put as little 
or as much as you would like. I tend to put enough for 
the cheese to cover everything except the edges of the 
noodles. That way it doesn't spill out too much. 

Now it's time for that Italian Seasoning, which is completely
optional! If you're someone who doesn't like that flavor, 
leave it out! Not essential. However, we do so I sprinkle 
it over the cottage cheese to give it a little extra zest. 

It's time for that Mozzarella cheese! If you like your cheese
feel free to load more on then I did. I just like enough to hold 
the dish together, but I could have used more. 

The final step is so easy! I typically do three layers
and then get to this step. You don't want your lasagna to go
over the rims. So after that third layer on top of the Mozz. cheese
you'll want to put on another layer of your pasta sauce and 
then top with more Mozzarella cheese. This is so you get that 
nice brown toasted look when finished. If you don't want 
to add more cheese, you don't have to. :) 

Pop that baby in the oven at 375 degrees for an hour
and you'll have a very eager family! The smell will drive
you bonkers!!! But it's so worth the wait. 

Now, you may have caught that I only used half of my package
of ground turkey. For those wondering how much to use, I made
a small lasagna so I only used a half a pound. That container is 1lb of meat. 
For a full 9x13 pan I'd use the whole pound of meat. 

Anyway, that leftover meat.... make a couple patties! 

These can be used to make a couple Turkey Burgers
or if you like a little meat on your spaghetti... 
or some ground turkey for some tacos....
There are many options! And since it's already 
in patties it's easy to access if you only want a little
or a lot. 

A couple other things you can do while you're waiting for that yummy
lasagna... clean the counter! If you're anything like me 
you got a little messy while assembling your lasagna. Plus, I'm a bit of a neat freak. 

Now, that only took about 2 minutes, so what else can you do? 
Set the table. You'll thank yourself later when you're pulling
the food out of the oven and the table is already set for you. 

When there is about twenty minutes til the lasagna is done
that means it's time to start the Garlic Bread. 
I never made my garlic bread this way until I met my husband. 
He's the Garlic Bread maker, so you'll see bits of him throughout
these upcoming pictures. 

 French Bread (The type you still need to bake, but not raw.)
Green Onions 
Margarine (Or Butter if you prefer.) 
Onion Powder
Garlic Powder 

The first step is pretty easy. Take that bunch of green onions
and chop them up, all except for the end bits which you
can see in the corner of my cutting board. 

Normally you spoon some margarine in a bowl, but we
were almost out of our tub margarine so we just used the 
tub to mix the green onions in. 

After you've got most of those onions mixed in, 
take that onion powder and garlic powder and pour 
some into the mixture. Mix that together, add in any leftover onions 
on your board and make sure it is all completely blended.

Next, grab a cookie tray and slice that bread in half. 

Time for the buttery mixture. 
Spread it on, and don't be stingy! 
Really lather it on there. 

Last step, pop those babies into the oven on the top rack.
It needs to bake about 15 minutes with the lasagna for the 
buttery mixture to soak into that bread.
I know I said 20 minutes. So the last 5 pull the 
lasagna out and put the oven on Broil.
Pay close attention to that bread so it doesn't burn! 
It may not need the full 5 minutes. 
Make sure to check every minute. 
This is where you'll be glad you already made your table.

You may or may not have some of that buttery mixture left over. 
We did! You can use this for anything. It tastes amazing. 
Use it for when you make spaghetti and want some butter bread.

It most likely won't be very much, but hey, it's worth saving.
It's delicious!!! 

Now, back to the finishing meal! 

This is what happens when you overload your pan. 
I warned you earlier, don't let it happen like mine! 
It's going to be just as delicious if you do though. 

Like I said, watch that bread the last few minutes. 
You want it just as crispy as you normally like garlic bread.

Now... enjoy!!! 

Lasagna Directions: 
1. Cook 1/2lb of Ground Turkey, seasoning it with a couple teaspoons of Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Chili Powder, and Crushed Red Pepper. Once that's done, take off heat and set aside. 
2. Start your assembly. Take your pasta sauce and coat bottom of pan. 
3. Add a layer of uncooked lasagna noodles.
4. Spread Cottage Cheese over the noodles and sprinkle Italian Seasoning on top of the cottage cheese. 
5. Sprinkle Shredded Mozzarella cheese on top of the cottage cheese. 
6. On top of the cheese sprinkle some (not all) of your ground turkey. 
7. Depending on size of dish, do steps 2-6 another one to two times. 
8. On top of your meat on the last layer, pour more pasta sauce to cover completely. 
9. Sprinkle shredded cheese over pasta sauce. 
10. Place in oven for an hour at 375 degrees. 
*** This makes a good 6 portions. 

Garlic Bread Directions: 
1. Chop up your green onions, tossing out the bottoms. 
2. Take out 1 cup of butter/margarine and mix green onions in. If you do not have enough butter add more. 
3. Pour in a 2 teaspoons of Onion Powder and Garlic Powder into the butter mixture. Mix thoroughly. 
4. Cut your Bread Loaf in half and place on cookie tray. 
5. Spread your butter mixture over bread. Don't be stingy. 
6. Place on top rack for 15 minutes at 375 degrees. 
7. The last 5 minutes switch to broil and check every minute until it's crispy enough for you. 

And that's another wild whisper, just for you.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Strawberry Frozen Crunch Cake.

Ready for your mind to be blown? Good. This was the most delicious thing I had in a while. It was so refreshing! I wanted to make this for a cook out that my friend was having that we were invited over to. They handled the meat and jalapeno poppers, and I brought the dessert and baked mashed potatoes. Needless to say, we ate ourselves into comas. It was intense. 


1 box Nature Valley Granola Bars 
1/3 cup Brown Sugar 
1/2 cup Flour 
6 tbsp Melted Butter 
2 Egg Whites 
1/2 cup Sugar 
1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream 
1 Lemon 
4 ounces Cream Cheese
1 1/2 cups Freshly Chopped Strawberries

Put the Nature Valley Granola Bars in a food processor and process until you achieve a course crumb. 

In a large bowl, add the crumbs - brown sugar - flour - and melted butter, and mix together. Then spread into an 8X8" pan that has been covered with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Let cool. Then divide in half and set aside. 

In a mixing bowl, combine egg whites and sugar and mix on high. Add the heavy cream and continue mixing for another five minutes. 

Continue to add the fresh squeezed lemon juice and softened cream cheese. Mix on low speed until incorporated. 

Fold the fresh strawberries into the cream mixture. 

In a buttered glass cake pan, press half of the crumb crust mixture on the bottom. Top with strawberry mix and then add the remaining crumbs to the top. 

Cover and freeze for three hours or more and enjoy!

****Hint: Before consumption, cut your slice out and place on plate. Let thaw for 10 minutes before eating. If you try to eat it directly out of the freezer, we've realized it's a bit hard to do. :) 

Monday, September 2, 2013


We all have those little tid-bits of inspiration that pop out of no where right? A lot of these happen to me right before I post a blog post. Something will pop into my head and that will encourage me to hop on and write something. What was it this time? A movie. Julie and Julia to be exact.

My husband and I happened to run across it on TV earlier today and decided to record it. Of course I have seen it before, mainly because I'm a big foodie. I love to cook, and it's a movie about home cooking! I however, do not own it. So I didn't want to miss the chance to watch it again, because who knew when I would see it again?! Well, I'm currently watching it, and Julie in the movie takes on a book of Julia Child's recipes and blogs about it.

What does this have to do with anything? Well, I've been told by so many friends and family members that I really should include food in my blog. Put up pictures and recipes to things I cook, since I cook a LOT. I think I'm going to do it! It may not be a huge start off, but slowly and steady, I'll get her there. 

I don't believe I'm going to be starting tomorrow because we're having a cook out at my mother-in-laws, but Tuesday I may start this. It may not be the most delicate and beautiful meal, but it'll be something. It may be simple, but it's something. :) 

Keep an eye out for a new foodie blog! 
And goodnight, or actually morning since it's 12:58am right now for me.  

And that's another wild whisper, just for you.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Another Chapter Starting...

Well, it looks like another chapter in my life is starting. Along with Graduate school starting on the 27th for me, I am starting a new job on Monday. Since I'm heading into the Mental Health Counseling field of Psychology I figured it's time to actually get into a job that has at least 10% of what my goal job would be, unlike the route I've been taking, retail. 

One of my friends who I have known for the past four years through achieving our Bachelors informed me a couple weeks ago about a job opening where she works. She currently works at a Nursing home here in Fort Wayne, and they had an opening for an Activities Assistant. I went ahead and figured I'd give it a try since I'm not currently working. I knew if I had gotten hired, it would be really good for my resume and for myself, since I had a slight fear of the elderly. Don't ask me why, because I have absolutely no idea why. Any who, I applied, and thankfully for my friend, I had an in. And I got a call back! Needless to say, a few interviews later (less then 2 weeks) I got an offer! I decided to accept and work through Graduate school for as long as I could. I know I will have to complete a few internships, which could get tricky with working almost full-time, but I'm going to try to make it work the best I can. :) 

I start on Monday and I'm pretty excited about it. We also need the money too. Graduate school comes with even more student loans, which since I'm attending can be postponed for a bit, but since Sam just graduated and isn't going back to school his loans are going to start hitting the mailbox with return envelopes. Yay-raa. Not.

Needless to say, I think I'm going to have a pretty busy year! I have 3 classes this Fall semester and once those end I'll be having 3 more classes starting in the Spring. And since it's Graduate School I'll also be attending Summer classes but thankfully I'll only have 2 to worry about during the summer. Not a complete break, but a little easier on the workload then during the school year. I'm ready to just get it all started and finish these next 3.5 years. I will be soooo relieved when I walk across that stage and receive my Masters in Mental Health Counseling. Until then ya'll. I'll be updating as much as I see fit. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Introducing... Mrs. Ashley N. Hicks!

Well it's official! I'm a married woman now! June 15th, 2013 I married my best friend. It was perfect... so I thought after the fact! 

Of course the morning started off good. My Maid of Honor, Elizabeth, got dropped off at my house to ride to Ohio with my mother, sister and I. We all got everything loaded and then started on our way to the hair salon... however, we had to turn around twice!!! The first time I forgot something, I can't remember what. And then we get to the same spot on our way and I have to turn around because I forgot the tie I was supposed to bring for one of my cousins. So, at that point, it was starting to get rocky. Once I hopped back in the car though, we were good and we didn't have to turn around again! We all got to the hair salon and everything started going smoothly.

After everyone was done we got on our way to the church to finish dressing in the basement. Now, we arrive and it's HOT in the basement. Luckily, there were two fans down there that we could plug in and stand next to, because, I was starting to get nervous. Nervous = sweat. The girls and my mother get in their dresses and I'm standing there waiting for help, knowing it's going to take at least 45 minutes to get in my dress because I have a complicated corset back. Well, the clock shows I have 20 minutes until we're supposed to start so I scream at my Mom to get out and help me and I FINALLY get into my dress and all set, a minute before I'm supposed to walk down the isle. I was panicked because we were cutting it pretty close.. even though I knew they wouldn't have started without the bride. I was rushing myself so much that even though I put deodorant on, I forgot to spray myself with body spray! Samuel made a point while we were kneeling by the alter to let me know I forgot... Such a nice husband, right? Haha. 

The wedding went pretty smoothly. Samuel and I only made one mistake. We almost walked to our seats instead of where we were supposed to go which was standing down at the end of the isle. Thankfully Father coughed and pointed with his eyes to where we needed to go. Other then that, everything went smoothly! We said our vows without any mistakes, and our rings were perfect. 

We all head down the isle and walk outside to hop in the limo and drive around the block... annnd the limo isn't here. They're running LATE. In fact, a half hour late. So, instead of driving around a little bit we head back into the church once some of the people leave and start taking portraits. After a half hour of portraits the limo finally arrives and everyone gets in only to realize the air conditioning doesn't work... and then we find out the radio doesn't work. It was pretty tragic. The driver wasn't very nice either. After driving back to Indiana through the rain... we make a few stops and arrive back at the reception hall. The rain let up thankfully so we could get out and wait outside in the cool air until we could make our grand entrance. 

The limo driver takes off, and everyone that was in the front of the limo lets me know he was chewing and spitting out the window and talking/messing with his cell phone the whole time. I was furious, but since he was gone I just set it in the back of my mind to call the limo place Monday with my complaints and demand my money back. That was ridiculous.

Our DJ comes out to greet us as we're getting out of the limo and boy did he cause the girls in the limo do babble! Lets just say... "Hello Guido!" However, it turns out he was a really great guy. He was actually related to me, distantly. It was great. He took control of everything! He introduced us to the music we picked and we went to our seats. The dinner buffet was running late and he got them running out and filling the food up. Once the party started we realized how hot it was, but there was nothing that could be done about it. We watched as the employees working turned the air to 64 but it just couldn't keep up with all our hot bodies so we had them open up the back doors for some fresh air, which really helped. 

The reception was such a blast! The food was amazing, and the people were great. The music was perfect and the dance floor was constantly full!! Sam and I even got our first dance to Beauty and the Beast. It couldn't have been any better. By the end of the night, we all didn't want it to end! The DJ didn't want to stop playing either! He snuck in 3 extra songs while he was tearing down all his lights. He was seriously the best DJ I've ever seen.

Now to open the gifts and enjoy married lift... it's all down hill from here right? :) 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Peanut Butter Cookies... no, not my dog!

Samuel and I spent the day cleaning the house in preparations for the wedding visitors this Thursday through Sunday, aka my mother and sister. They are coming up Thursday for our nail appointment and staying until after the wedding, since they live 3 hours away. It's coming up pretty fast, and I can't wait!

So after making dinner and cleaning the house, we felt like a treat. What did we do? I believe the title of this post gives it away. That's right, I made Peanut Butter Cookies. No, we didn't cook Peanut Buttah, no dogs were harmed in the making of these cookies. :)

I started with mixing together all my ingredients and then rolled the dough into balls. Those balls got swirled in sugar and then placed on a greased cookie sheet, ready to bake! After 10 minutes in the oven they came out looking like this:

Then I took a metal fork and smashed them down a little bit that way they weren't peanut butter cookie mounds! Since they had been in the oven for a good 10 minutes, it was Hershey kiss time! Stick them back in the oven for 2 minutes, pull out, and enjoy the semi-melted kisses!  

After you pull them out don't hesitate. Go ahead and grab your favorite spatula and carefully place them on some cookie cooling racks. 

Once you let them cool, they are ready to be enjoyed!!! We definitely enjoyed them! 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Guess who is back?

Yeah, it's me. Do I have to introduce myself again? I think I might. Hello, I'm Ashley, the writer of this blog. However, I would understand if you don't remember me. I can't believe this is the first post I've made in 2013! I have been very neglectful towards this blog. I apologize.

There has been tons going on in my life. Like you previously knew, I am engaged, still. Our wedding is coming up very soon! Twenty days to be exact.... 2-0, twenty. I feel like I was just getting engaged, that's how fast this whole year has gone for me. Our planning has gone pretty smoothly, although it definitely had some ups and downs. Lately it's been all about the little last minutes that always show up for weddings. I've made all my appointments, in fact this Friday I'm getting my hair highlighted so it's nice for the wedding. My nails have been done and will just need a fill 2 days before I walk down the isle and marry the man of my dreams.

Okay, stop talking about the wedding right? Okay. But that means I get to talk about my Graduation! I recently graduated with my undergraduate degree on May 18th! It was exciting and I'm so happy to be done with that adventure in my life. What's my next adventure you ask? A family? I don't think so. My next adventure is heading to Graduate school! I've been accepted and I will be starting in the Fall semester. (I'm nervous, but I can't wait!) My program is Mental Health Counseling, which of course goes quite nicely with my undergraduate Psychology degree. I can't wait to hang them up together once I've completed my graduate degree! I will have to wait though, three and a half years. Almost as long as my undergraduate adventure, but not quite. It's going to be one hell of a run though, and I have a feeling that it's going to be amazing.

So, where does family fit in now that I'm getting married? Not until I'm almost done with my degree. Sam and I have thought a lot about it and talked a lot about it, and even though I'd like to have a child right away, it is smarter for us to wait until I'm done or almost done with school that way we're established in our house and we have some savings. (Because school bills are a biotch!) Sam should be done with his student loans by the time I get done with my degree, that way we'll only have my student loans to pay for... and hopefully I'll be in a nice position counseling somewhere to be able to get those paid off asap!! If you have any tricks of the trade on paying those off, let me know... its going to be in the tens of thousands. Darn private colleges that hardly offer ANYTHING to help cover costs. $$$

However, even though college is expensive, some are some aren't, if you can get in somewhere, you should go. It teaches you many, and I do mean many, life lessons. I don't know where I would be today without taking that leap of faith and going to college. It was definitely an experience that I will never forget, and I can't wait to start this new journey of my life, furthering my education even higher.  Who knows, I may be Doctor Ashley someday. :)

Other new? We have a new addition to our family! Obviously I'm not talking about a child, but he'd a child to us. We have a little Yorkie Terrier named Atreyu. That's A-Trey-U. Like the little Indian boy from The Neverending Story. One of my favorite childhood movies! It was either Atreyu or Falcor! But, I think we made the right choice. We also call him Peanut Buttah. He's a good boy, and here he is folks! Atreyu's big blog debut!

He's such a cutie isn't he? He's definitely my baby, and he's a good boy. He's a little over 5 months old now, born December 16th. He's a precious thing and in the 2 months that we've had him he's become quite attached to Jacob Marley and Leah Maria.

I've got quite the family. And I wouldn't trade them for anything in the world.