Baking · Special Occasions

The 12 Days of Christmas Baking, Day 2: Peppermint Syrup 

Peppermint Simple Syrup (Skill Level: Easy)


Some may argue that this is not baking or is so simple that it should not count.  The purpose of this Bake Along, however, is to accommodate people of all skill levels because everyone started at the beginning once upon a time.  For those of you who think you cannot bake, you’re safe giving this one a try.

20171213_2117071427883362.jpgHere’s what you’ll need:

1 clean bottle to store it in

1 cup water

1 cup granulated sugar

3 teaspoons peppermint extract or 10 drops peppermint essential oil (food grade, please)

Funnel, silicone spatula, and small saucepan

20171213_204746798100359.jpgIn a small saucepan, pour water and sugar and bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir it with a silicone spatula occasionally so the sugar doesn’t caramelize.  Be careful not to let it burn you with splashing.  It is unlikely if you’re watching it closely (as you should be), but be watchful all the same.  Once it has reached a rolling boil, remove pan from heat and allow it to cool for 10 minutes.  Gently pour in your peppermint extract and stir.

20171213_205443841796231.jpgIt’s that simple!  Now just use a funnel to carefully pour it into your container of choice.  This produces a strong syrup, so you’ll only need a splash in your cocoa or hot chocolate.  Enjoy!


Spider Man is awesome.

Baking · Cookies · Special Occasions

The 12 Days of Christmas Baking, Day 1: Shortbread Snowballs

First, I owe a shout out to all of my faithful friends and family who constantly stick with me and have shown support to me all these years.  This new chapter is dedicated to you.  I love you.

I’m just barely getting this blog back up and running after a 3-4 year hiatus.  It was rough getting through cancer treatment/recovery and resuming a normal life, but I think I am there (“normal,” hah!) and stronger than I have been in years.  I would like to believe that my thyroid and I once had a happy, non-toxic relationship when I was much younger.  I do miss it and life without the constant medical appointments or meds, but who cares when it is such a blessing just to be alive?  I’m counting my blessings, and they are plentiful.  That being said, I have plenty to be grateful for, and what better way than showcasing some of my favorite things to do in my favorite season of the year?

I give you The 12 Days of Christmas Bake Along

Many years ago, a friend of mine brought something similar to these to my sister’s cookie exchange.  I loved them so much that I sought out a similar recipe, tweaked it just a smidge, and a family favorite was born.  My husband gives these as gifts at work, and I now bring them to my own cookie exchanges whenever I have the opportunity.  I hope you get a chance to enjoy them as much as I do.  They’re so easy to make, I’ll give you the recipe.  😉

Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for Day 2 of my 12 Days of Christmas Bake Along.  Post pics of your own Sublime Shortbread Snowballs on the Modern Domestic Goddess community page.

Day 1: Sublime Shortbread Snowballs (Skill level: Easy)


1 cup salted butter, room temperature

1 cup powdered sugar (plus more for rolling later)

2 cups all purpose flour

1.5 teaspoons almond extract

1 cup miniature chocolate chips

1 cup blanched, slivered almonds


Preheat oven to 375°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Cream together butter, 1 cup powdered sugar, and almond extract with an electric mixer. Gradually add flour, and mix until the dough comes together like chunky sand. Using a wooden spoon, fold in mini chocolate chips and slivered almonds.  Scoop cookie dough into 1 tablespoon sized portions. Squeeze/roll together in hand to make round balls. Space two inches apart on tray. Bake for 7-10 minutes or until bottoms are just slightly browned. Prepare a large bowl or platter with a generous layer of powdered sugar.

Remove cookies from heat and place directly in powdered sugar. Roll until evenly coated. Allow to cool and roll once more in powdered sugar.

Yields approximately 2 dozen cookies.

For a printable version, click here.


One Year and Counting!

Today marks the one year anniversary of my thyroid cancer diagnosis. It’s all still very clear to me like it happened yesterday.

I had black and blue bruises in a huge patch across my neck from the biopsies which had been performed one week prior. One of the thyroid nodules- the largest- hadn’t even been biopsied because of its precarious location directly on my windpipe. I had 4 others biopsied at the time and even more nodules appeared by the time I finally had my thyroidectomy. (I still consider a Fine Needle Aspiration procedure to be one of the most nauseating forms of torture someone could willingly submit themselves to, but we do what is necessary in order to survive, don’t we?)

The funny thing about my diagnosis, though, is that I was not distraught or devastated or shocked or scared by the news. I was relieved that I finally had answers to my years-long illness. I had confidence in my medical doctors and our chosen treatment. I had hope for the first time in years. Maybe I could finally get some energy again? Maybe I would finally be able to lose weight again. Oh, how I missed the old me! I was able to make a huge list of things with which I could scrape together and create a new life. That was the best I could have been allowed to hope for in years!

After diagnosis followed a slew of doctors exams and appointments and one more biopsy, and countless needle punctures & more before I could begin treatment. It marked the beginning of change. Do I have regrets? Probably, but I have to think really hard to name some. There are a few things I would have changed if I could, but I wouldnt risk too many for the sake of everything I have learned. There are so many things which have changed for the better since then.

My marriage got better. It had been rocky for the majority of it. We are weeks away from our 10 year anniversary now, and I have found that adversity is the best way to draw people closer to God and to each other. We are stronger for it, more humbled and grateful.

My children are stronger. We are working on more patient and tolerant. They’re also naughtier in a lot of ways compared to how they used to be, but I think they will outgrow it. They are more forgiving though. Their prayers and faith are stronger. I’m constantly praying that this trial does not break our family more than it will strengthen us… if that makes any sense.

As for my health, I can finally say that I feel human again. My friends’ and family’s encouragement and kindness have helped a ton. New involvements with the kids’ awesome new school have helped a ton, not to mention the cute friends I have made there as well. It helps a great deal that I have a membership to a fantastic kickboxing gym which is a great fit for my workout personality. I already knew the tools to a healthy eating lifestyle, so that has rarely hindered me, but I am learning a great deal about the importance of eating more calories and not less. (That’s not always easy as I don’t love food or eating, but that’s okay.)

I have found the new me to be surprising. More often than not, I am now that gym-clothes-wearing, minivan-driving mommy who is almost always sipping smoothies, driving between home, school, gym, or appointments/meetings. I keep a fat book in my car for down time, as well as my latest ongoing craft project, or an extra pair of boxing gloves. This makes me laugh at myself a good deal. I never thought I’d be that person. But I am happy! And I feel well more often than I feel poorly.

Lastly, I have good control of my health goals and know exactly how to get where I want to be. It’s amazing how many things I need to stay on top of now that I haven’t got a thyroid anymore. With my T4 and T3 looking pretty good lately, the biggest thing I am focusing on lately is my blood sugar. It will be fine though. My doctor has given me an excuse to go to the gym even more often than I already was. If I do so, which I plan to, then I think everything will fall into place the way I want it to by then end of next year, hopefully sooner.

It’s been a surprising and educational journey this past year. I’m working hard and hope that I have made my loved ones proud. I’m mindful of you all and continually pray for you in your own journeys. Keep the faith- you’re not alone & I’m always here to cheer you on.


The New Year is just around the corner! What are some new goals and/or resolutions you are pondering? Leave a comment on this blog post. 🙂


Going Strong

June 30 marked six months post op for my total thyroidectomy. I knew in my gut what was wrong with me before I received my thyroid cancer diagnosis. That helped me handle the blow of the news with little struggle. I was so happy to finally have answers to my years-long malaise that I was happy to attack the treatment phase aggressively, courageously, and optimistically.

Recovery, however, is such a different life than living with cancer or going under the knife for cancer. Nothing prepared me for the journey I would embark on from that point. I have learned and experienced much more than I ever could have anticipated. For this I am grateful.

I have been blessed with a depth of empathetic understanding which only comes from a personal cancer journey. Cancer is a horrible word and an even worse concept. It is a curse. I would never wish it upon anyone (even people I dislike) and the very thought of someone new having to go through that trial terrifies me. Even more so when it is someone I care about.

I have made friends with strangers with whom I never could have been blessed to become acquainted otherwise. These people are strong and beautiful inside and out. They have changed my life for the better and I hope I can keep a piece of them with me always.

I used to be a very private person, but I have learned to be much more open and transparent about my life and who I am. I hope this helps people know that I can relate to them in their own lives and that I will happily always be there to support and uplift them in whatever ways I can.

Some of my friendships have crumbled to almost nothing. It kills me and even though it has been a very long time, I still shed tears on their behalf, whether they deserve it or not.

Some of my friendships have become stagnant and it confuses me. I hope they know that I still hold them in high esteem and wish they knew I will always be there for them when they want me to be.

Some of my friendships have been fortified stronger than I ever expected, and for this I feel profoundly blessed. They have been my greatest strength.

Horrible, ugly aspects of my marriage were finally able to be cast away and my relationship with my husband is better than it ever has been. I feel like we are stronger than we have ever been. We are happy, even when we struggle. (That’s a lot.) We find much to be thankful for in spite of the difficulties we are still facing or the lessons we are still learning. We have goals, and those goals are actually attainable. We move forward with anxious excitement and optimism.

My children are stronger too. They have had such a difficult time of things. Much harder than they deserve. I know their hearts hurt more often than they let on. I hope they can see how special they are and how proud I am of each of them in their strength and goodness. I thank God for them daily because they are my sunshine. They are my motivation to become strong (and fun) again. They are my challenge. I have seen them struggle to cope with this horrible “Mommy is always sick,” “Mommy, why aren’t you fun anymore” life. They impress me constantly with their optimism and their tenacious resolve to make the best of every situation. They have developed compassion more than they had before. They have a strong, unwavering determination to succeed. Their friends, teachers, relatives, and honorary relatives have been such a great help in soothing their aching souls. You will all forever have my utmost and sincerest gratitude for loving them the way they so deserve.

I have been blessed spiritually. My relationship with God was strained for many painful, lonely years, for many good reasons. I have since witnessed miracles great and small, not least of which being the ability and opportunity to rekindle my relationship with Him. An empty chasm has slowly been filling back in. I no linger feel abandoned the way I had felt for so very long.

A beautiful, resilient, spiritual giant of a woman I know, who faces an even bigger, terrifying “dragon” than I do said it so perfectly when she said, “I know that at the end of the day it is not modern medicine that will heal me. True healing can only come through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.” I believe this to be true and it gives me comfort that she has so much strength and support in her life too. I hope someday that I can be as amazing as she is.

Sometimes I get frustrated. I’m frustrated with myself more than anything else. I am used to being successful and resilient. I don’t think I am either of those things now. I used to be good at and enjoy so many things. I have lost my hand, lost my touch, lost my ability in more things than I can count. It hurts because I used to be able to identify myself by my talents and my skills. However, that has taught me that I should not have been choosing those aspects to identify myself to begin with. I will always be many faceted, but whether those things change or not, I will always be me on the inside. If nothing else, I want to be known as kind and sincere.

Sometimes I get “unfrustrated.” Where I no longer have the ability to excel in some things, I have found the ability to excel in others. I can live with that. Quite happily.

And in many things I am simply relieved. An incredibly talented and successful musician once told me that I have the voice of an angel. He and I lost touch over 15 years ago, but his words were so needed and have been cherished ever since. Only the people who know me best understand how badly I have always needed that or any boost of confidence because the biggest trial I always, constantly, and probably will forever face is my lack of self confidence. Singing has been one of my greatest joys and favorite outlets. And although I rarely get to sing publicly anymore, I am so grateful that I still have the ability. One of the largest tumors (I had many) sat directly over my vocal chords. I’m only recently getting the strength back to sing without pain or discomfort. It’s thrilling! There’s no guarantee that the cancer will not come back years in the future and threaten to take it away from me for good, but for now I have it back and I am so happy.

I have been placed on a learning curve for health. I have learned that I have to be my biggest advocate for my health needs and I love how much I have learned so far. I have so much to learn still, but I will get there.

Losing my thyroid has improved my life in many ways, but it has also caused me a great deal of trouble and struggle. It feels like a domino effect where one huge health concern threatens to knock into many other pillars of health. I am still doing a crazy balancing act trying to keep it together and retain my health while I learn to identify my perfect balance. Some days are worse than others. I’m okay with that. “I’m not dead yet!”

I am so fricken tired! Like all the time! Again, this has to do with those massive dominoes I am struggling to keep balanced. In spite of my permanent state of fatigue, I set mini goals for myself each day and keep pushing myself to do better, be better.

I have learned how pathetically weak and silly I am in so many ways! I have so much I should be ashamed of. But that wouldn’t get me very far. So I rely on my Anne Shirley positivity by reminding myself, “Every day is fresh, with no mistakes in it.” I will do better. I will try harder. I will get stronger!

Cancer is inconvenient and I hate the many ugly faces it shows and the ways it threatens to rip apart and damage so many aspects of my life and health. But the truth is that for me (and I know that it is much uglier for many less fortunate people) I will only let it affect me to a small extent. It is a hurdle I get to jump over each day, but it is not an impassable obstacle.

I feel like I have a new, better life in many ways. (I still deal with a ton of crap. A ton. But it just isn’t worth acknowledging all the time.) I am optimistic. I no longer struggle with hypothyroid induced depression. I have a firm handle on my anxiety. I am actually beginning to like myself again. (It has been a while…) I have goals again and I am pushing myself to become involved in more things once more. I’m hoping and demanding that my energy levels keep up with me.

My metabolism is thinking about rebooting. I miss being fit and strong. I’m taking care of me as well as I can and working on getting my hormones back into work. I rely on natural, whole, organic living as much as I can. I believe very strongly about that. Trust me, there’s already enough harmful carcinogenic influences in the world (hereditary cancer here), so why would you willingly threaten your body with even more if you didnt have to? (This may seem odd to say, but I am blessed with many allergies which help remind me to live as well as I can. I slip up frequently, but I will get the hang of it.)

I am fixing myself. I’m looking forward to being allowed and able to kickbox and run again. I love being active and miss having the energy to be so and the energy which comes from being active. I’m looking forward to seeing the old me in the mirror again.

Lastly, my brain fog is slowly leaving. I am able to write again. Only for short periods of time, a few hundred words here and there. But that makes me so happy! Those few hundred at a time are soon going to turn into a few thousand at a time. I can finally see the finish line. It is thrilling to be able to pursue my passion again.

It is thrilling to LIVE with passion again. I am looking forward to the next six months. I don’t deny that it will be challenging. This experience has already challenged me to the core. It is terrifying. Daily, it threatens to break me, to take me away from everything and everyone I hold dear. But that is not something I will let happen easily. It is not in my nature to stand down from a fight. I’m still me, only stronger.



Miscarriage is a touchy subject for many good reasons. Most of the women I speak to had a big deal miscarriage and have lost a part of their heart and won’t ever feel complete again. On rare occasions I will meet someone who had a miscarriage very early in pregnancy so it was only like a heavy period and she had her cry and moved on. I fall into both categories.
In the latter category- After my first miscarriage, the big one- the main one I ever talk about IF I talk about it, I had two other small ones. The small ones were the kind that my body simply couldn’t hold on to because of my then unknown underlying thyroid issue, and my body lost them within the first few weeks. I had my cry and moved on. But…
In the former category- I know I had a little person inside me with a spirit and a name. A fact that very few people acknowledge. His name is Iordain (Jordan) Wolfe Scott and he already had features so very similar to his big brother’s that I bet they could have looked like twins. He had 10 fingers, 10 toes, a cute face, and everything he would have needed to survive and live a beautiful life… except for the womb strong enough to sustain him. He would have had 3 sisters and a brother and parents who love and cherish him. Relatives who would have known as I know just how special his soul is.
This past weekend marks his 2 year birthday. Not of his due date, but of his actual birth (my loss). It came and went quietly with only me to mark it. He should have been mine. There should have been a party and decorations and balloons. He should have gotten a cake and presents and hugs from his adoring family. If only.

Some day, I believe, the time lost will be made up for through the power of the resurrection of our Savior. The Atonement of Jesus Christ is what helps me hold together the pieces of my broken heart for now.
Until then, I look forward to the day when he will be reunited to his adoring mommy once more.


When You Feel Like Giving Up


I received this picture from one of my fellow sisters in battle. She found me through WordPress and I am grateful that we talk now– she is amazing. We ended up doing our RAI treatments back to back and slightly overlapping. Her in Australia and me in the states. How this quote has helped me! Whatever your walk of life may be, I hope that you too will endure with courage and grace. It is okay to have low points or to be tired. It is okay to doubt as long as it doesn’t overcome you. Just never give up. You’re never alone.


Optimism does not equal Strength

Last night (this morning) I didn’t go to bed until about 4am. I have been struggling with severe calcium deficiency off and on for a whole week. Symptoms got so bad that I finally decided to do as counseled and go to the ER to get my blood checked and to hopefully get an IV. Instead, I was so badly treated by the worst “nurse” I have ever encountered in my life. And the experience only went downhill from there. It is difficult to go into specifics right now because I am still so traumatized. Incompetence was the theme of the morning. I actually threw up and nearly fainted. Then 4 more stabbings by two other people and 3 burst veins later, I went home. No blood work. No IV. Absolute nightmare. I will never go back to that place again.
My heart hurts emotionally. My body hurts physically. The layers of optimism I have so carefully cocooned around myself for protection were viciously, humiliatingly stripped from me and I reached the all time low point where Cancer had shown its hideous face at me and gnashed its teeth, wishing it could break me.
In the car I cried. So much. I have not felt so poorly in a very long time and then the abominable treatment I received last night made me want so badly to throw in the towel and run away from this life and just pretend that all of the bad dreams would go away.
I’m not feeling my best today. The dam has burst and tears are going to be present for a while. It is amazing how optimistic my last post was and how quickly it was broken in a matter of hours by one truly ugly soul.
Today is now about summoning the true strength which is untarnished by ugly souls, judgemental people, negative influences and more.

I’m borrowing that strength from my husband today. I was optimism. He is strength.



It’s the Final Countdown…

It’s just a matter of days until I go radioactive. My doctor said I don’t need to do LID (low iodine diet) before I go in, but I am going to for at least 3 days anyway (hope it helps at this point). The following week I am told to do LID.

Monday is my last “normal” day of nothing.
Tuesday- thyrogen shot
Wednesday- thyrogen shot and labs
Thursday- RAI & isolation
(I admit, I have been looking at it like a radioactive staycation. I am so looking forward to the solitude. Health permitting, I plan to sleep, pamper myself, and write in my book a ton!)
Friday- isolation
Saturday- isolation & homecoming
Sunday- Wednesday- home isolation
Thursday- Whole body scan
Friday- who knows…?

I’m so ready. There’s so few hurdles left.


Cancer can kiss my —. 😉

Baking · Breads · Cakes · Soups · Special Occasions · Supper

Happy St. Paddy’s Day!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
For all you last-minuters like myself, I just have one piece of advice:


Okay, not really. It’s yummy, and I appreciate corned beef at least once a year, but I’m going to let you in on a little secret: (whispers: It’s not reeeeally Irish.) It’s totally Americanized Irish food faire. Granted, my ancestors left blessed Ireland a couple hundred years ago, but we still love our heritage. (I’m more English and Scottish, but my husband has loads more Irish than I do, so we’re covered.)

I digress…

Back to the point then. If you want to celebrate tomorrow with something delicious and slightly more authentic, I’ve got some recipes for you to try. Our dinner menu tomorrow will include Beef Stew, Soda Bread, and Apple Cake. These are all adaptations from recipes I have collected from friends and internet over the years. I’ll make them into .pdf and printable versions later when I am up to photographing the yumminess. For now, enjoy!!

Irish Beef Stew
2lbs beef stew chunks
olive oil
salt and pepper
1 bag of pearl onions
3 cloves minced garlic
a healthy dollop of tomato paste (About 2-4 oz…what, you don’t know what a dollop is?)
1 large chopped potato
2 medium peeled and chopped parsnips
2 medium peeled and chopped carrots
1 small to medium turnip, peeled and chopped
1 small to medium rutabaga, peeled and chopped
4 cups low sodium beef broth
12 oz Guinness (I do a non-alcoholic substitution with usually apple or juice and a shot of malt vinegar because we don’t consume alcohol in our home- or you could add more broth and some sautéed mushrooms)
A few shots of Worcestershire sauce to taste
Fresh parsley for garnish

Use an enamel stew pot or dutch oven and coat the bottom with oil. Brown the stew meat on all sides in small batches on medium-high heat. Each time a small batch of the meat has been browned, just remove it and leave on a plate on the side. In the same pan, sweat onions and garlic, salt and pepper, and tomato paste. Be sure to scrape up all those yummy browned bits from the bottom of the pan and also let some of that tomato paste brown a little from the heat of the pan. Add beef chunks and any remaining juices back to the pan now and deglaze the pan with the stock, your beer or beer alternative, and Worcestershire sauce. Simmer for 1-2 hours.
In a separate pan, sauté with olive oil all the chopped veggies to give them a nice brown exterior. Don’t fully cook and especially do not burn them! This is just to give them extra flavor. After your stew meat has simmered for 1-2 hours, add in the veggies. Simmer for 30 or so more minutes. (Adjust the salt and pepper as needed before finishing.) Garnish with fresh parsley and enjoy!

It’s excellent with Irish cheddar scones. However, I like to skip the cheese scones and go for the sweet Irish soda bread. Truthfully, it’s because I only have so many calories I can spare in one day, so tomorrow I’m going for the soda bread. Leave a comment on this blog post if you want me to share my scone recipe later.

Irish Apple Cake
4 granny smith apples, cored, peeled and diced, about 2 cups (extra is fine)
1 c granulated sugar
4 T butter, softened (room temperature)
1 egg, beaten (room temperature)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cloves (optional)
1 c all-purpose flour
¼ c chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F
Chop apples and macerate in sugar, salt, and spices while preparing other ingredients.
In a large bowl, mix butter, egg, and vanilla. Add apple mixture and gently mix. Add baking powder, baking soda, flour, and nuts. Mix well.
The dear woman who shared this recipe with me used to make it in a large bread pan, so that’s what I do. Although, you could just as easily pour it into a charming little cake pan or dish and serve it that way after baking. (Prepare the pan with your favorite method: butter, baking spray, etc.)
Bake for 45min until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the cake is lightly browned. Remove from heat and rest for 5 minutes before removing it from the pan.
Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, or dusted with powdered sugar. (I’m in heaven with just the cake and a glass of milk.)

Here’s a fun tip- I also make this recipe in a muffin tin for quick breakfasts. Skip the muffin liners and just spray the tin directly with baking spray.

Sweet Irish Soda Bread
5 c flour
3/4 c sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
½ c (1 stick) butter
2 1/2 c raisins, soaked in water for 15-20 minutes and drained
3 T caraway seeds (I don’t always have these and it tastes fine without)
2 1/2 cups buttermilk (I don’t often have buttermilk on hand, so I do that milk and lemon juice trick. If I don’t feel like doing that, I just use normal milk. Whatever you have on hand will work fine.)
1 large egg
Milk for brushing tops of bread
Raw sugar for sprinkling tops of bread before baking

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter 2 (9 by 5-inch) bread pans.
Stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Cut in the butter and mix very thoroughly with your hands until it gets grainy. Stir in the plump raisins and caraway seeds.
Add the buttermilk (or milk) and egg (beaten) to the flour mixture. Stir until well moistened. The “dough” should resemble thick cake batter like a standard quick bread. Equally fill 2 loaf pans. Lightly brush just a little bit of extra milk on the tops of the bread, then sprinkle the top of each with raw sugar to make it shimmery! Bake for 60-70 minutes. A toothpick in the center will come out clean when it is done. Cool in the pans for 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Another fun tip- Slice it and leave it out overnight to dry a bit and then make French toast with it in the morning. It’s YUM-AZING! (Haha… Sorry, couldn’t help myself– don’t worry, I don’t actually say that in real life.) It’s the best!

And if these holiday meal ideas still don’t appeal to you, despite how Irish they may or may not be, then here’s one more interesting tidbit. Saint Patrick wasn’t Irish either, so just make what sounds good and celebrate however you wish. Happy Saint Patrick’s Day and Éirinn go Brach!