Thursday, December 31, 2009

NeW YeaRs EvE - Product review

Hey y'all! There isn't a lot going on around here tonight, and I didn't feel like cooking a whole lot of stuff for just us, so we are having these little rotisserie chicken wings. They are made by WillowBrook and can be purchased at Sam's Wholesale Club. The bag is 4 lbs and costs 14.00, so it really is a pretty good value, considering that they are DELICIOSO! I haven't found them anywhere else, but since Walmart is actually Sam's little brother, maybe they would be able to order them????
Just about 20 minutes on a baking sheet and you have some way good appetizers or even a main dish if you want to make sides to go with them. Tonight, we had them as part of a "snack supper " with some leftover bits and pieces from freezer. It turned out to have something for everyone.... wings, pizza, stuffed peppers, ham from Christmas in little crescent rolls, etc.
Tomorrow we will be having some black-eyed peas, leftover ham, and greens to help bring us some good luck in the new year. Happy New Year to all of YOU!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Inspector Hector Plaque Detector

The short people at our house really never wanted to be bothered with proper dental hygiene...until we got the secret weapon....."Inspector Hector Plaque Detector".
Now, they brush three or four ( or eight) times a day without complaint. Something about blue teeth and tongues is really appealing to them.

I am not sure that it does the greatest job of highlighting actual plaque on the teeth, but it does put a generalized blue haze on the whole mouth, which compels them to brush. So far, the excitement of blue teeth has not worn off, and maybe before it does, they will develop a habit of brushing at least twice a day without all the "carrying on" about it.

Right now, they are traveling with Dad to the other end of the world ( East Tennessee), doing the Christmas trip to see the other side of the family. Our family tree sort of has three trunks, so we have to spread the holidays out over both Christmas week and New Years.

It is certainly quiet around here, just me and the dogs. My camera is gone with the kids and Bindi ate the memory card to the little Kodak, so y'all will just have to do with old pics until I get a new one!

They will be back soon enough and we'll fire up a whole new year of cooking and craziness!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve Preparations- the Beginning

Finally! The day is here and we are getting everything together for a lovely day tomorrow. Above is the butternut ( squash) that has been languishing on my counter top for several days. ( We can't call it squash here because if we do, no one will eat to us, it is just a butternut) I used Pioneer Woman's recipe, sort of. You know I can't do anything by the book.
I did do the prep part like she says. But then I was concerned that it wouldn't hold the heart shape that my girl wanted on it, so we added a couple of egg yolks and baked it a few minutes so it would stay put. If you want the recipe, check the link in the side bar, or just hop on over to and take a peek.

It is a lovely golden orangy brown color and has a really mild flavor. Ree is so right about the texture - smooth as silk. It has a really nice, mellow flavor unlike the "in your face" stuff I usually like. I hope everyone likes it, because if they don't I will have to finish it off. Luckily, it is a lot lower carb than sweet potatos and has fiber, so I can have it.

I think the people are getting the idea that we all need to share in the preparations. Here the elder child is searching through my Fanny Farmer cookbook for something to bake. Of course, he picked something that we didn't have all the stuff for, but then he landed on a short recipe for banana nut bread.

Look at his surprise when I told him it was already in the oven! We will have a big loaf out in about 30 minutes....come on over and have some!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Response to comments -

"How many eggs do y'all eat?" " Why do you have so many eggs?"
Ok, so you noticed the abundance of eggs in the fridge. What you didn't know is that there are several more dozen hiding in the garage refrigerator. It all stems from the fact that two weeks in a row I have gone to Walmart and Kroger BEFORE going to Aldi. Eggs are anywhere from 1.27 to 1.77 at the major stores, then at Aldi, they might be .49 or .79, depending on factors unknown to me. I just can't go there and not cash in on that savings. Eggs keep a long time, and since I use a lot in cooking ( especially in all those cakes , brownies, and pies this time of year), so they will surely get used up. Heck, one pound cake takes 6 and a chocolate pie uses 4!
Back when we lived out a little farther, we had hens and it was nothing to have 20 dozen eggs in the fridge at any one time. We gave them away to anyone who would take them! I miss having fresh outta the bird eggs, but those were the most labor intensive eggs ever! We did enjoy the chickens as pets, or at least I did, with the eggs being an abundant fringe benefit. Maybe some day if we ever move back "out" where we can have them, we will get a few hens again. I think my girl would like that.
So, if you ever need to borrow a dozen eggs, just drop by. I am sure I can hook you up!
( and in response to several other comments, I will gladly come sort out your fridge, but I am not washing all the dirty containers that come out of it. It was bad enough to do my own! Hahahahahah!)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Wee Hours at Walmart

I took a quick little trip to "The Walmart" at 3 am this morning to do a little more covert Christmas shopping, and I must say that going in the wee hours is certainly the way to go!
There were only a few cars in the lot , so I got a good space . I went with the intention of getting stocking stuffers and little "fill in" gifts since Santa already got the bigger things. As it was, I ended up getting my girl a new coat because she has been wearing brother's old camo coat. They will be heading up to East TN for a few days after Christmas, and with the amount of snow that has fallen there in the last few days, they both need hats and gloves. Throw that in the basket too.
The shopping gets harder as they get older. The stuff they ask for comes in smaller packages, and some of the WOW! factor is somehow lost, at least for me. I guess if they get what they ask for they will be happy. The girl said yesterday that she wanted ( of all things) a PUPPY! I pointed out to her that we have a plethora of dogs already , but she said that she wanted a different kind with fluffy hair. I have a feeling that this is one request that Santa just won't honor.
So, I am here sittin in the chair with a cup of coffee and thinking about making something good for breakfast. Wonder what the rest of y'all are doin'?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Festive Colors

Take a look at this enameled cast iron roasting pan I got today for $17.99 at Aldi. It will be perfect to hold Christmas Breakfast Casserole next week. Those jalapenos are gonna be made into WOW! sauce tomorrow for some little gifts, so if you want some, come by!

Here's a little gifty I got and am so excited about......Mexican vanilla. It smells SO good and somehow very different from the McCormick stuff that you get at the store. There are even beans in the bottle! So far, I have only used a teensy bit. I am gonna really try and make it last. (I can spare a few ounces for you, Mom.)

Saturday Refrigerator Cleanout

So, since I watched "Julie and Julia" I have been thinking about making some different things than our usual "Ala Paula" fare. Of course, that involves looking at recipes, making a shopping list, and figuring out what I already have. Well......I took a look in the fridge and couldn't tell what was in there. The situation was many half-jars of jalapenos does one person need? I say one person, because I am the only one here who eats them.
I threw out all the jars with one pickle, combined all the peppers, and dumped all the old jelly and other condiments that were questionable. I found a couple of casserole dishes that I thought had been lost......
Here is tonight's dinner..... it was supposed to be for my birthday, but we didn't do it last night, so we will cook these babies tonight. Those are the ugly oreo balls on the left.

So I have most of the essentials to make at least a couple of Julia's recipes. I am thinking we may have some creamed onions with our steak tonight.

Wish me luck....I wonder how Paula's house seasoning work in Julia's recipes? ( I smell disaster)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Julie and Julia

Ok, so I don't get to the movies much, and watching them at home interferes with my reading, cooking, laundry and cleaning up after this family of dogs and kids.
I just watched "Julie and Julia" and I have to say that it is the best movie I have seen in a LONG time. Maybe it is because it is about a blogger ( Julie) who is at an impass in life and decides to cook her way through Julia's big-ass cookbook. It made me want to go buy the cookbook, however, since I am not one to go strictly by any recipe, I am sure that whatever I made out of it would end up not exactly as intended. I am going to try and scratch around and find a few of the recipes to try. I have sort of wandered through Lucy Buffett's cookbook and have made a lot of Ree Drummond's "food of love" stuff, but a really complicated thing kinda scares me! I can make most of " Aunt Paula's " food without even looking at a book and one hand in my pocket, so I figure since I can read and follow directions on some things, maybe I can follow at least the recipe for Julia's Beef stew! ( I can't spell that B word and I really don't want to go look it up)
Anyway, go rent the movie and watch it. You will like it. I am going to the store to buy beef and butter.

Party Day!

Today is Christmas Party Day at school, and the little people dressed appropriately in the shirts that they got for Christmas last year. After the party, we'll be checking out of school to do some fun stuff and maybe a little shopping. Then maybe home to do some chores, then settling in for some movie watching and a little nap!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Winter Recital 2009

These are just a couple of pictures from the recital last Sunday. The recital really makes us remember why we do all that sitting and waiting and looking for shoes, etc.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Our Fifth Recital

Today was our girl's fifth dance recital....time flies by it seems. It really hasn't been that long since she was wearing a little blue dress with a halo, doing little bows and dips. This time she had three different costumes and dances. I was so proud of her accomplishment. She has really come a long way from even since last year!

I think her big brother was pretty proud of her too. Of course, we had to bribe him with ice cream to get this picture.

This one didn't require a bribe at all......
I'll post more pics as I get them.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Party Preparations

We have a moderate sized party to attend tonight, and tragedy has struck. I can't find my good crab dip recipe anywhere! I have only made it a jillionty times and I remember everything that is in it, but you know how easy it would be to miss one thing and really mess it up! It was a highly requested menu item, so it really needs to turn out right. Everyone loves the hot bubbly
"crab crap." I suppose I will just wing it and it will turn out fine.

Last night I made a beautiful chocolate pound cake that will have a ganache drizzle on top at some point today. It won't take but about 5 minutes to finish that , so no worries there. The only other thing I know for sure I am making right now is stuffed jalapenos, although I may have to eat them all by myself because I am not sure that these party people are tough enough to handle them. My "almost 7 year old" eats them like popcorn, so I know they aren't all that hot!

Stay tuned for some pictures over the next few days because we plan to play wii hula hoop at the party and we have dance recital should be very very interesting!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A New Pack Member.....TEMPORARILY!!!!!

I know what you are thinking......"temporary......we've heard that before. " This time, it really is short term because the baby lab will be going to a new home on Christmas Eve via Santa's sleigh.

She was born at our clinic by c-section about 8 weeks ago, and has a condition called "ectrodactyly" which means that she has a "lobster" foot. You can see it in the photo above. It is only one foot, the right front, and she uses it well. It looks a little different, but when she is moving along at playing speed, it is hard to see. For her, at least at this point, it is not a disability at all. She already has a home with two precious little boys who will be so surprised when she appears under their tree on Christmas morning. In the meanwhile, this old elf is busy trying to get her used to sleeping on her own without wailing all night and at least starting her on house training. So far, she has done pretty well on the outside part, but is still sleeping with Bindi at night.
The kids here are really excited to be able to help Santa give a sweet surprise to some other kids. This one didn't cost anyone anything, and we have saved a little life and used it to give some happiness to someone else. That is really what it is about , right?

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Sunday, December 6, 2009

December 6th

I am lagging........WAY BEHIND. Usually by this day in December I have already mailed out 50 or so Christmas cards and done at least SOME shopping. Not this year. Today we were finally able to convince both of the above parties that they would be in a good mood at the same time and would willingly stand still at the same instant so I could take a pictures to use on the cards. There was much discussion of cooties and touching and germs, but finally, under threat of bodily injury, we got this. There were a few others, but they involved dance and taekwando poses and crossed eyes and bunny ears. Heck, I may just make cards with them all!

Maybe the shopping spirit will hit this week, maybe not, but at least the card photo has been made!
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Friday, December 4, 2009

Another Addiction

Last Saturday night, I got a tremendous craving for "Olive Garden" salad, so Sunday after church we went there and ate the it til I nearly popped. It is probably the one thing I can have without feeling TOO guilty! Ever since, I have been making the home version, but I don't know what is missing. I even stopped in and got a bottle of dressing at Olive Garden on Monday , and have put in everything that I can see in the salad ( and no extras) and it still isn't quite the same. I have almost made myself sick eating the peppercinis straight out of the jar, and I have had so much garlic- infused dressing that I could likely repel vampires.

Eventually, I am gonna get it right!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Product Review - Madras Lentils

Ok y'all, before I go into how good these things are, let me first say that I have been to an Indian restaurant ONE time.......and that experience left a lot to be desired.
The first problem with the Indian place was that we went as a group, with NONE of us knowing anything about Indian cuisine. There were all these people gobbling up all the stuff on the buffet and we were just a few poor scared red-necks who didn't even know WHAT we were eating much less how to eat it. To me, it looked like a bunch of odd soups with little scraps of bread. We did find something familar in the tandoori chicken, but it was a brilliant magenta color, so we were a bit wary of it. We left a bit unsatisfied with our experience and had to send a runner to Wendy's later in the day.
Back to the lentils........One of the participants in the Indian Restaurant Debaucle, Dr. C., found these little tasty packets at our local Costco. She noted the relatively low carb content and called me after she tried them and pronounced them , "Fitt'n to eat". She said, " These thangs are good and I am purty sure you can eat 'em. " ( Y'all that know her can almost hear that, right ?)
She bought me a box, and I had my minon pick them up the other day and haul them home. He was delivering pumpkin pies and just made a little trade at that stop.

To prepare them, you just snip open the foil packet, pour into a microwavable container and heat til warmed through. I used a coffee mug and it works beautifully.

The flavor is a lot like chili, but the texture is thinner and the lentils are small, making it more of a soup. It is vegetarian, low fat, and very low carb. Each serving is 120 calories and only 18 carbs plus 4 grams of fiber , yielding a net carb of 14. Of course, like all things that taste good, there are two servings per packet, meaning that I am going to eat the whole thing, giving me a net carb of 24, which still isn't too bad.

I can really see me eating these requently, especially as a part of a "taco" salad or some sort of burrito , maybe even with some peppers and onion added . It is a vegetarian dish, so those with cholesterol or meat issues could enjoy them as well. Overall, I was really pleased with the flavor, texture and appearance of it and the nutritional content is very good for my needs! I am thinking that they would be delicious with some fritos and cheddar cheese, however that would completely wreck the intent of having something that is flavorful with low fat and carbs. One suggestion on the box is to add sour cream to make a dip....hmmmmmmm. Maybe a little experiment for the office Christmas party????
Thanks so much for your contribution, Dr. C., to both my lunch and my blog!

Monday, November 30, 2009


Here are some lovely ladies who were surely glad we were having turkey rather than steak.

Baa baa black-n-white sheep.

Minature horse, Tater Tot.

Taz is Tater Tot's daddy.

Goat sandwiched between two sheep.

Remember that story about the musicians of Bremen? I just expected these guys to stack up and start playing a tune. As it was, the pig was highly disturbed....I think she was expecting some dinner since everyone else was eating.

Two of the more domesticated critters we saw that day.

There was way too much food, a lot of fun, a short nap for the menfolk, football, a golf cart, tons of animals, and a whole herd of very sweet children.

It was a very good day of Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

Here's what we have to be thankful for..........our wild bunch! We had a lovely day at the ranch playing outdoors, driving the golf cart, looking at cows, and petting and loving all the animals. Of course, there was WAY too much food and we ate more than we should have.

I have lots of pictures but since we just got home, I just wanted to quickly wanted to wish all of YOU a very Happy Thanksgiving evening!
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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Orange Slice Cake - Preview

Hey folks...just a little preview. At least it came out in one piece. I kinda over floured the pan, so it was a little dullish on top, so there had to be a glaze hastily invented. We'll take it to church tonight and see how it goes over. Unfortunately, church dinners are not the best place to get opinions on new recipes because everyone gets some of everything and often there is just so much that one item gets sort of "lost". Also, no one knows who made stuff, so you don't get feedback.

If things go well and anyone tells me that it was good, I'll tell you how I did it.
Now I gotta go make lunch for the starving family and then then get ready for work.

Have a great afternoon!
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Trust the Taste Tester

According to our resident taster, it really doesn't matter if the cake LOOKS good, but the important thing is that it TASTES good.
Just to be sure that the fault was mine and not the cake pan, I decided to give the old thing another chance. At this very moment, she is in the oven holding an orange slice cake batter which will hopefully make it to the plate without coming undone.
No worries, if it turns out I will put the recipe up since I made it up sorta. The one I found on the internet was way too complicated and took about three hours, so there was a cake mix in the pantry volunteering for an experiment. I guess we'll see in a little while how it goes.
This time, I greased the pan with butter flavored Crisco because I bought about 20 sticks of it last year during a cookie frenzy and have a LOT left over.
Supposedly, if you put a LOT of criso in there, then dump in some flour and shake it around,

Then you would get this. I had to go back and bang a little more flour around there in the middle.

As you can tell, the broken cake incident has stuck in my craw. I am thinking about trying to make some "Pumpkin Bread Pudding" with the messed up cake. Anybody got a recipe for that?