Sunday, November 30, 2008

Blame it on Charlaine Harris

Lots of you have asked why I haven't posted much lately. Well, you can blame it on Charlaine Harris. I have been reading the Sookie Stackhouse books for about 2 weeks now. They are so addictive, that I just can't stop reading. I'm on the last one now, so I am trying to just read a few chapters at a time so as to make it last, but I know that I'll likely stay up all night tonight and just do it all. Then I just don't know what I will do because the HBO series has wrapped for the season and the next book won't be out until MAY!!!!!!

I thought it was funny that the cat in the book is named Bob. I may have to get me a big orange tiger cat and name it Quinn. Just kidding. Sorta.

Anyway, if you can stand some blood lettin', outright killin', and humor, read these books. Charlaine is from Mississippi and we ought to do all we can to support southern writers.

So, soon as I finish the last one, which will be tonight or tomorrow, I'll be back to posting like you are used to!

Stephen Moyer plays Bill on the series.......he is SO cute!

Jiffy Corn Pudding Stuff


2 boxes Jiffy Corn muffin mix, 2 cans creamed corn ( 15 oz), 2 sticks butter (melted), 16 oz sour cream ( more or less), 2 cans whole kernel corn( drained), 2 eggs.

Just mix it all together and bake at 350 in a buttered 9X13 baking dish until set in middle and brown on top.

This is good as above, but I like it better with Mexicorn and some jalapenos chopped in.

I don't make this really often because it is quite sweet, but it is always a hit where ever it goes. The best things about it is that it is easy and inexpensive and transports and reheats well.

Yeah!!!!! The Chillren are HOME!

It is about 6:30 am on Sunday - and everyone else is still asleep. I just finished de-constructing a turkey that I overnighted because it was thawed and needed to be cooked.

We went South yesterday and had Thanksgiving dinner with the family. It was all great, way more food that we could eat. There were a bunch of cute little babies to play with, but the cutest of all are the two above. I was so glad to see them I can't even describe it. It was awful quite here the last few days - nothing to do, no chaos, no cooking, no laundry, no fighting.

They were pretty whipped when we got home, so I think I am going to just let them sleep WAY late and play hooky from church (sorry preacher cousin) . Later today we have to go have dinner again with Nanny and Papa in Hernando, so they will need to rest up.

Weatherman says snow tonight......we'll see.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Christmas Yard decor

The red-neck yard decoration has begun. Since the children weren't here yesterday, Daddy decided to get the stuff out so he could put it up without interference AND so they would be surprised when we get them home on Saturday. Above is the no-where near finished front porch and flower bed. I am just not too sure about that spiral tree

Here's the Santa that Norm got at Home Depot last year. He's 10 feet tall and lighted on the inside.

I feel sure that by next week it will look like a three-ring redneck Christmas circus out there, but so what? The neighbor kids made their parents drive by every night a couple of year's ago when our next door neighbor's had an inflatable Sponge Bob out , so maybe we will be a part of the holiday driving tour this year!

Cute Dog Picture of the Day

The kids are gone for the weekend to visit the more southern branch of the family, so all I have to take pictures of are these darn cute dogs. That is Clairesse (poodle) and Lulu ( 10 week old chihuahua) Clairesse really loves any kind of puppy, so I think she just MUST have been in some sort of puppy farm before she was taken in by Miss Allie's Rescue. ( Google that, send her money so she can buy stuff for the dogs, or better yet, adopt a dog.)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Lawn ornamentation

I hadn't taken any good pictures in the last 24 hours, so you'll have to be content looking at my Flamingo sleigh. This is by far my favorite red-neck yard inflatable, so far. I am almost afraid to go to Home Depot or Lowe's because that is where we went wild buying them last year.
My "day off" is once again going to be a breakneck race to get all my errands done before time to pick up kids and go to dance. I have to go to the bank, the library, the grocery store, dog food store, and Target. I'm trying out a new pie today, so look for recipe and pics perhaps even tonight. Just depends on how interesting CSI is.
Ok, I'm off to wake and feed the morning zombies and send them off to school!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Pineapple-Coconut Chess Pie

Here's the pie I promised, but you will have to excuse the over-browning of the crust. I put it in the oven and started watching tv and by the time I smelled it, it was already a bit too brown. Oh well......guess if it doesn't taste good, whoever eats it can just break that part off.

I'll have to let y'all know tomorrow how it tastes, because I have to give it to someone to try since I can't eat it. This one has a good bit of sugar, so I don't even think I can get away with sneaking a bite. Anyway, here is the recipe. Don't rush out and buy stuff to make it though, until I get the thumbs up from someone who has good taste. Hope I know someone who qualifies. Hmmmmm.....
Pineapple Coconut Chess Pie

Two cups of sugar
Four eggs, beaten
1/2 cup of margarine, melted
One heaping teaspoon of flour
One heaping teaspoon of cornmeal
Two cups of coconut
One cup of crushed pineapple, well drained
Two 8-inch or one 10-inch unbaked pie shell

Mix sugar and eggs; add margarine, flour, cornmeal, coconut and pineapple. Mix well. n Pour into unbaked pie shell(s)
Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes. Cover top with loose aluminum foil if begins to brown too much.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Puppy Fun at Work

Lulu and her friend "Bowser", a doxie-rat ( we think). Bowser belongs to Doc, and she is really a little handful!

Bowser and Lulu share potty breaks and bursts of playtime throughout the day.

They are the cutest little things! We just love puppies!

When I get sick of cleaning the litterboxes....

These dang cats do things like this that make me forget how much trouble they are.
Poopie always sleeps on the end of Eugene's bed, and Bob keeps watch over Betty Brunette every single night. I still don't like to clean the boxes every night, but I guess they really are worth it.

How Did you lose all that weight?

A good friend came in today and asked me how I have lost the 57.5 lbs ( yay!) that I have shed over the last year. Well.....I have blogged on this before, but here it is again, in a nutshell.

1. Stop eating sugar. Period. White, brown, no matter- just stop it.
2. No white flour. Ok, that one is harder, but eliminate as much as possible.
3. No potatoes. I have had a small french fry ONE TIME in the last year. Amazing. You can have a sweet potatoe- it really isn't a potato anyway.
4. No white rice. Brown rice is ok in small quantities.
5. Lots of Fibrous veggies. Corn is NOT a fibrous veggie. Spinach, broccoli, turnip greens - YES!
6. Eat lean meats - mostly chicken and fish. Turkey is ok. Limit Bacon and sausage, but the good news is that you can have it. Steak is good, but just a little.
7. IF you need bread, get the double fiber kind. Use "Carb monitor" tortillas. Same for pasta - I can tolerate the "Dreamfield's Pasta" pretty well.
8. Eat smaller amounts. You do not HAVE to feel BUSTING FULL every time you eat. One egg and a piece of double fiber toast is enough for breakfast. You can eat again in a few hours.
9. Drink a lot of water.
10. Carry a little snack in your purse or backpack. It may keep you from going through the drive through and really doing a bad thing.

Common sense is really all it takes. It sure took me a LONG time to figure it out, so don't feel bad. Just eat the right things, in smaller quantities and increase your activity level and you will begin to lose. Also, you just have to accept the fact that life won't be the same again and that "diet" food does not taste the same ( read this as "as good as") as "bad for you" foods. Some things we just have to do. You honestly won't miss the white foods and sweet stuff so much as time goes on.

If you are having a powerful craving for something sweet, make yourself my sugar-free pumpkin pie and put a BUNCH of whipper cream on it. It helps. Good luck, Bev!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

They really are......

Today was Children's Sabbath and the kids sang and participated in other parts of the service.
I was so proud of "Eugene" and "Betty." They did a great job .
( I don't know why, but they want to be called Eugene and Betty now. I have been going along with it, but I sure don't know where it came from)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Just call the Thanksgiving Hotline

I think my number must have been published somewhere as a "How to make stuff for Thanksgiving" hotline. I have a voice mail on my cell phone from a former employee asking how to cook a turkey "like you did that time when it all fell apart." Since I don't have a turkey thawed and ready to go, you'll just have to read carefully and follow the directions.
You will need:
1 turkey, thawed
1 covered roasting pan that the turkey will fit in.
1 onion
1 orange ( yes, an orange - doesn't have to be a fancy navel orange)
2 stalks celery
poultry seasoning
1 quart boiling water.
Here is what you do:
This must be done 1 hour before bedtime the night before you want to have the turkey. You will see why at the end.
1. Turn the water on to boil
2. Wash the turkey off with cold water
3. Put turkey in roasting pan. Mine is one of those blue speckled enameled ones from Walmart. It never fails me, but I would love to have a real big enameled iron one.
4. Cut onion and orange into quarters and stuff into the cavity of turkey. Celery same.
5. When the water is boiling, pour it slowly over the turkey. This will make the skin "shrink to fit" and gives enough moisture during the roasting process so it won't be all dry. You need not use the whole quart, just enough to shrink the skin and have an inch or so of water in teh bottom of roaster.
6. Season the turkey with salt, pepper, poultry seasoning, or whatever else you like. Teh seasoning will mostly stay on the skin and in the juice, so if you get a little too much, it won't be too bad. I have some fancy poultry rub from Fresh Market that I am going to use this year, but the regular stuff is wonderful too.
7. Put the lid on the roaster and put it in the COLD oven on the center rack.
8. Turn the oven on to 500 degrees. ( just do what I say)
9. When the oven gets to 500 degrees, let it stay on for about 15 minutes, then turn it off. Do not open the oven door under any circumstances.
10. Go to bed.
11. Wake up at a reasonable hour. Smell the turkey - Great huh?
12. Make coffee, then take the roaster out of the oven.
13. You will have a perfectly cooked, falling apart, juicy delicious turkey to pick apart and serve for your dinner. It ain't pretty, but it sure tastes good!
The thing about this particular method is that your oven is insulated enough to maintain a cooking temperature for 6 hours or so if the door is not opened. If you let it heat to 500 and maintain 500 for 15-20 mintues, it cools so slowly ( if the door is NOT opened) that you get a cooked and ready to handle bird 8 hours later. The reason that you have to do it while everyone is sleeping is that someone WILL open the door if there are people up and walking around when it starts to smell good. If the door gets opened, the temp drops rapidly and you will have to figure out how to cook it done without messing it up. Oh, don't worry about the turkey staying in the oven all night. It doesn't care that it is in there alone. No germs are going to grow on it. I have made a LOT of these and no one has died or had the trots yet, that I know of.
I will do pictures of this "process" as soon as the turkey I have thaws out!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Porkchop-san got his Yellow Belt

Tonight was test night and the candidate was confident that he would succeed.
He did fabulously in his patterns and individual moves and did very well in his defensive moves.

He did have to take down this 10 year old girl, but hey, she was a higher rank belt. Please don't notice the crappy photography.

The proud belt holder. Couldn't you just eat him up? He was pretty disappointed that he didn't bring home a BLACK belt tonight. Imagine that discussion on the way home in the car. Hahaha!

Our friend Maya

Maya was at her first photo shoot and sent us this picture. She will be staying with us over the Christmas holidays, so I figured that y'all should go ahead and meet her. I am sure there will be tons of pictoral updates while she is here - her mom will be checking the blog daily for Maya updates.

It's gonna be a LONG day!

I don't know if I have enough coffee here to get me going this morning! The dogs and I have been awake since 3:30. I'm not sure what was going on, but the creatures were stirring, and we had to get up. FYI- at 3:30 in the morning, there is NOTHING on TV worth watching.
We ( three chihuahuas and computer in my lap) have been sitting here in the big chair drinking coffee and watching Little People, Big World for a while. That show makes me irritable, but I do like to see that their house is way messier than mine.

The agenda for today is a busy one. Gotta go get some new tap shoes, go to work for an hour or so, go to the grocery, buy dog and cat food, go to dance class, then go to TaeKwanDo to test up for a new belt. I have a bunch of laundry to do and the house looks like a shaken snow globe, but that stuff may have to wait until the weekend. Y'all have a great day! We'll have TKD test pics later tonight or tomorrow.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Pumpkin anyone?

This morning I used some of the fresh pumpkin puree in some pancakes for the little chirrens and the never knew what hit them. The remarked on how delicious the pancakes were.....hahahah. The joke is on them because, pumpkin in technically a vegetable and as we all know, "Vegetables are not good for boys."
Anyway, I put 2 tbsp of pumpkin in with 3/4 cup of Fiber One pancake mix and enough water to make a thickish batter. Then added 1/2 tsp vanilla, a tsp sugar, a dash of cinnamon, and mixed well. Then, they were cooked on an electric griddle thingie until bubbly on the one side, then flipped. It took a little longer than normal, but worth the effort. Of course drowning them in maple syrup sort of negates any healthy benefit, but at least there was a bit more FIBER and VITAMINS than there would have been if I had not put in the pumpkin.
Now I just gotta figure out how to get it into some other things without them knowing. Spaghetti sauce? Biscuits? Oh the possibilities!!!!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

One pumpkin = 8 cups puree

Punkin killin'.........continued.

Here's what it looked like coming out of the oven. I used a big spoon to scoop/scrape it off the skin. It was kinda stringy, reminding me of my spaghetti squash disaster.

After a quick spin in the blender, it was the consistency of applesauce. I had to add quite a bit of water to get some action in the blender, so it spent a few minutes in a mesh strainer after the whirling. My food processor sort of self destructed back in the days when I used to grind up a lot of chicken gizzards and livers for the dogs, so I don't have one anymore.

So, end result is 8 cups of lovely pumpkin puree that will make some fab pies or pumpkin bread. I am thinking about sneaking a little in some pancakes for the little people in the morning. I am a little concerned that the water content is going to be somewhat higher than the canned stuff, so I guess I'll have to put it in the strainer again before I use it. The color is a little lighter than the canned product, but that doesn't matter to me.

Another odd fact - my dogs were going nuts when I was scraping the pumpkin meat off the skin, so I gave them some. They LOVED it. They will probably poop orange tomorrow. Oh well......

Fall is butchering season.....

....and in this case, the victim was a pumpkin. I ran out of time when Halloween rolled around and never carved the jack-o-lanterns, so I thought I would follow P-dub's instructions for making my own pumpkin puree since I seem to be able to find uses for it.

Here he is with his innards all exposed. This pumpkin was a bit larger than a "pie" pumpkin, but according to Ree, it ought to work fine. I used my ice cream scoop to get the guts out since the melon-baller bit the dust when I made those funky pear preserves.

So, here he is , all drawn and quartered ( actually eighthed) and laid out on a baking sheet. It took two of these dinky pans to hold it all, but it is all in the oven as I sit here. It smells like something is happening. I'll be sure and post more pictures as things progress. I know you won't be able to sleep until you see how it turns out. True Blood starts in a few minutes, so you can be assured that you won't see more pumpkin tonight. Buuaahhahahaahahaha!

From the Bowels of my Hard Drive

I have no idea where this recipe came from, but I know I have made it and it was really good, however it has not been done in this kitchen for at least a year due fact that I LOVE it and would eat way too much of it. This is one you can really play with, so add extra stuff if you like. Some browned sausage might make it sort of a german-theme casserole . Hmmmmmm.

Potato Casserole

4 cups frozen O’Brien hash browns
1 (7.6-ounce) package butter and herb mashed potato mix
1 stick butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
¼ cup finely chopped onion
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cups boiling water
2 cups canned French-fried onion rings
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Bring a pot of water to the boil and add the hash browns. Cook for 5 minutes and drain. In a large bowl, mix together the cooked hash browns, mashed potato mix, butter, cream cheese, jack cheese, sour cream, garlic salt, salt and pepper. Stir in the boiling water. Place in a greased 2-quart casserole dish. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes. Sprinkle the onion rings over the casserole and bake for about 5 to 8 minutes longer until onions are golden brown.

Ok, that is the “official “ recipe. Here is what I do to make it better. I can give you the secret in one word…….wait for it……..b….a…..c….o….n. Yes……bacon. I cook a few slices of bacon and crumble on top with the onion rings. Serve this with some fried chicken and black eyed peas and you can die happy!

Pecan Pie - Another recipe request

Pecan Pie

3 eggs
1 C sugar
1/2 C White Corn Syrup ( Karo for those of you who live "down here")
3/4 stick margarine, melted
1 C chopped pecans
1 unbaked pie shell

In a medium bowl, beat eggs. Blend in the sugar. Stir in remaining ingredients, mixing well. Pour in pie shell and place in cold oven. Turn oven to 300 degrees. Bake 1 hour.
You can make your own pie shell, but I almost never do. It is too much trouble. Even Paula Deen uses "store bought" sometimes, so I take that as permission to do the same.
Pecan pie is about my all time favorite, but it is also one that will likely never be made anywhere near acceptable using splenda, so until they come out with something that will make it not affect my blood sugar, it is off my list. I am so glad that y'all can still have it though.
Oh, and by the way, we say it "puh-khan"here in the true South. It isn't "pee-can" unless you are a yankee. If you want to say "pee-can", go ahead, just say it softly so it won't hurt my ears.

Betsy's request

Betsy wrote me and said she needed a recipe for Sweet Potato casserole. Well, the problem with that is that I don't use a recipe. I just make it and it is different every time. If I have canned potatoes, I use those. If I am out of one thing, I substitute. Like Emeril says, "It ain't rocket science, it's just cookin'."

Anyway, here is one that I had cut outta somewhere that is pretty similar to what I do. You can omit the topping and just dump some marshmallows on it at the end and brown for a few minutes, if you want. My girl chile likes it that way. This year, I am going to try to make something edible out of sweet potatoes and splenda.....we'll see what happens.

Sweet Potato Casserole

The sweet potato stuff:

3 cups cooked, peeled and mashed sweet potatoes ( I would use canned probably)
1 cup sugar ( maybe splenda????)
1/3 cup melted butter
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. ginger ( cinnamon,nutmeg,and ginger are all in pumpkin pie spice- I use that)
¼ cup heavy cream or half and half ( oh, go for the cream - it is Thanksgiving after all)

1 cup brown sugar ( the splenda brown sugar mix might do ok here, just use about 1/2 cup)
1 cup broken pecans
1/3 cup all purpose flour
3 T. melted butter

Mix all ingredients for the sweet potato part, except the cream. Beat at medium speed. Then add cream and mix well. Pour into a 2 quart greased dish. I am not sure why the cream has to go in separately, but it does. If you want to live wild, put it in with the other stuff and see what happens.
For the topping, mix all ingredients together with a fork and sprinkle over the top of casserole. Bake for 25-30 minutes in a 325 degree oven. If you are gonna use marshmallows instead of the pecan stuff, go ahead and bake it naked for the 25-30 minutes, then take it out and cover with the marshmallows, then bake another 5-8 minutes to brown in marshmallows.
Hope that helps, Betsy! If you trial run it and it isn't what you wanted, let me know and I'll try again!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Mock Danish - Probably won't make it to Southern Living Magazine

Here' s what goes in it. Most recipes I have seen say use one large egg, but I only had mediums this week, so I used two. That is about 2 ounces of cream cheese, softened in the microwave.
So, you soften the cream cheese, add the egg, beat it together with a fork, then add 1/2 tsp vanilla and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Add two packets of splenda or 1 tablespoon of the granular splenda. Mix well.
This is what it looks like once you get it mixed together. Not too bad, so far. Microwave on high in 20-30 second intervals until set in the middle.

It sort of looks like grey oatmeal. Not the most appetizing sight, but since the name makes you think of a delicious danish, one can overlook the less that appealing visual.

The verdict? It was ok, but of course, it is NOT a danish and in no way resembles one. If I had to say, it is a bit more like French toast. In fact, if I had some sugar-free maple syrup, that would probably be pretty good on it. I might try it again when the family has pancakes and I am feeling left out, but I doubt this will be one that I go to as a staple meal. Maybe with some blueberries??

Mock Danish

Hey y'all. I just wanted to let you know that I am about to go in the kitchen and experiment with the legendary Atkin's "Mock Danish". Wish me luck......picture post to follow when it gets done, regardless of outcome. Hahahahahahahaha!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

It ain't Christmas........

...but the "Christmas Cactus" thinks it is. This thing is about 10 years old and just keeps on growing and blooming despite the horrible care it gets. I toss it outside every spring and let the bugs eat it until it gets cooler in the fall and then I bring it in and this is what it does. It is really a lot prettier and way "pinker" than it looks in this picture.

Lovely Lulu

Winn Dixie, Lulu, and Allie relaxing on the Superman blanket in front of the sink. I was tired of them milling around my feet, so I tossed the blankie down and they all sat right on it. It is so funny to see Lulu do everything her mom and big sister do.

It looks like she may have a little bit longer hair than Dixie and Allie. Her daddy has long hair and looks a bit like a papillion, so no telling how Lulu will turn out. It doesn't matter - she is absolutely precious no matter what kinda hair she has.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Here we are in all our glory at the top of the mountain in Gatlingburg last Thanksgiving.

Here is Sissy's birthday party. The beginning of the shrinkage is apparent I think.

At Easter, things were slowing down a bit, but still headed in the right direction.

Remind me why I PAID for a picture with a bird. Still fat, but doing well.

Ok, so now here is what things are like now. The straight hair is a big improvement, don't you think? I can't even tell you how much more time it takes to make it be that way, but I think it is worth it.

I really do like the way it feels to be healthier, but DANG, I do miss eating all that bad stuff!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

New Glasses

The little Coconut had to get some glasses today, and she was THRILLED to get them.

I think she wanted them because everyone else in the family has them, but she had no idea that she really needed them or what a difference they would make in her vision.

On the way home from the optical store, she was really quiet in the car. She was just looking out the window and taking in all the differences. Last year the ophthalmologist said she was "borderline", but this year....."whoa, she really needs some glasses."

Here she is doing what she says is her "mean" face. Luckily, we don't see that one very often.

Monday, November 3, 2008

A sign of the Apocolypse

At least it seems like one to me. I found a flea on my dog at 4:30 this morning. I have not seen a flea on my dogs in probably more than a year, and even then it was one we picked up on a walk. Of course, because we haven't had a problem I have been slack in using the flea control products that I have in the "dog stuff drawer." So, I just finished catching all the dogs and putting some FR*ntline on them. I only found the one flea and it was on Clairesse. Of course, she is easy to find them on because of her ultra short haircut. I am hoping it was just a transient one that we collected when we went down to the playground yesterday. I took the little dogs in the stroller and the big ones on leashes. It was a trying journey, and we won't do it again, but I just thought I would give it a shot.
I may have the kids bathe the dogs tonight. They have to practically put on wet suits to do it, but it is a fun way to burn up an hour and also get something done that needs doing!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The last thing we wanted

...... was another car note, but with the little gold car probably totalled and if not needing to be out of comission for a long time, we just went out today and bought another car. If the gold one ends up getting fixed, we can just sell it in the paper or something. There is bound to be someone who would want to snap it up if it can be fixed where it looks good.

Anyway, this one is a Ford Freestyle and it is sort of a cross between a mini van and an SUV. To be honest, we really did miss having our van when we got rid of it because so often we go places with the kids and other people and we just couldn't all go in the same car. I guess Daddy will drive the blue car since he puts in more miles most days and I will get the new one. Lots of pressure on me when I am driving "the good car" because I have such a hard time keeping one clean. Oh well...............